David Scott Obituary

April 25th, 2012 jen Posted in David Scott, David Scott - Obituary, News from Port Phillip, Port Phillip Residents Comments Off on David Scott Obituary

Giant of social welfare, and human rights activist David Scott AO and Ordem de Timor-Leste (Timor-Leste's Presidential Medal - see story here), passed away this week. The funeral service will be held at Christ Church , South Yarra, corner Punt and Toorak Roads, South Yarra on Saturday the 28th of April commencing at 2 pm. Flowers welcome, but donations to the Brotherhood of St Laurence will be appreciated. This obituary was written by Richard Tanter  and circulated by email yesterday. "On the 7th of December 1975 David called an emergency meeting at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Brunswick St, Fitzroy in response to the full scale attack by Indonesian armed forces on Dili earlier that day. The large number of people present resolved to set up the Australia-East Timor Association." David was well known in East Timor circles for this extraordinary commitment to the cause of self-determination for the people of East Timor from 1975 onwards. He told some of that story in his 2005 book "Last Flight Out of Dili: Memoirs of an Accidental Activist", and more in another study of Australia and Timor Leste still to be published. Find links to chapters written by David for 'Last Flight Out of Dili' and omitted during publishing : All They Got Was Misery and Japan: the Reluctant Invaders. Chapters in Tetun: Japaun Relatante Invasores and  Timor Oan Hetan-terus What may be less well-known in the wider Timor-Leste activist community is the fact that this was but one of the fields where he made an extraordinary contribution, both within Australia and beyond. In the 1950s and 1960s David built the Brotherhood of St. Laurence into the most significant and progressive agency for social welfare and social policy in Australia. He founded Community Aid Abroad, the largest non-government aid agency and campaigner for global justice, which later became Oxfam Australia. His original vision for CAA, which was for many years a reality, was that it should be a genuinely transnational network linking people living communities in Australia with the people of communities in poorer countries, rather than a simple matter of donating money. David was the chair of the Land Conservation Council of Victoria, and the first Commissioner for the Environment in Victoria. He also served on the Board of the State Electricity Commission, and in many other public capacities. He also played a key role over many years in the International Council on Social Welfare, and many comparable Australian welfare bodies. He was also the founder and publisher of the monthly magazine Australian Society. One of David's great achievements was his role, together with others, in preventing a ghastly miscarriage of justice in the case of Robert Peter Tait, who was convicted of a quite brutal murder in 1962, and sentenced to death, even though he was manifestly insane. Together with others, David led a huge public campaign against the government's determination to hang Tait. David applied for an order that Tait be psychiatrically assessed. The government refused, and David took the case to the Supreme Court and subsequently the High Court in an emergency hearing which brought down an injunction against Tait's hanging after the government challenged the authority of the High Court. Tait sentence was eventually commuted to life imprisonment, and he died in a psychiatric facility. As a result of the public and legal campaign, only one person was executed in Victoria subsequently. Those of us who worked closely with David, and who were privileged by his friendship, valued his extraordinary combination of determination, political skill, and generosity of spirit. Social and political movements are never a matter of one individual, but there are times when the role of one person is critical. It is probably fair to say that without his central role in organising practical and political support for the Fretelin external representatives immediately following the invasion of East Timor in December 1975 and the years following, and his vigorous campaigning in Australia, the United States and at the United Nations, it is far less likely that the people of Timor-Leste would have eventually gained their freedom from Indonesian colonialism. What marked out David's work in all these fields was a special kind of political creativity, which had a great deal to do with the way he worked with other people building organisations. My own life was deeply affected by David in many ways that I can only begin to account for. It is right to say that I was privileged with David's friendship and trust and companionship in the darkest years of the movement to support self-determination in East Timor, and in other endeavours. He had a great capacity to find people who could work with him on the issues he felt deeply about, and to bring out the best in such people. Richard Tanter School of Social and Political Studies, University of Melbourne, Senior Research Associate, Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability http://nautilus.org/about/associates/richard-tanter/publications
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Another Suai Friend on English Scholarship

September 11th, 2011 jen Posted in Friends of Suai News, Scholarships Comments Off on Another Suai Friend on English Scholarship

My name is Aureo Moniz Cardoso. I am from Suai-Covalima. I am in Melbourne, Australia studying English. I was given this opportunity by the Friends of Suai. I arrived in June and I am staying with a family in Port Phillip, Desleigh and Randall Kent. I applied for a scholarship from the Mangold Trust Fund in March this year and I received the happy news that I was successful one month later. I began studying English in Pre-Secondary school in Fohorem when I was 16. At this time I studied for three years. I studied in Secondary school in Suai for a further three years. I thought learning English would be very helpful. For now I hope this will help our community through the friendship with the people of Port Phillip. [The photograph above shows me with Pat Jessen, Co-ordinator of the Friends of Suai at Birrarung Marr in Melbourne]
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Pat Jessen visits Suai with Mayor

August 30th, 2011 jen Posted in Friends of Suai News, Pat Jessen Visits Comments Off on Pat Jessen visits Suai with Mayor

Co-ordinator of the Friends of Suai Pat Jessen, left Melbourne last weekend with the Chairman Bill Armstrong, to prepare for the visit of Port Phillip Mayor Rachel Powning. They will be there for the Independence Day Festivities and report that Alberto Barros the Co-ordinator of the Community Centre has organised festivities at the community centre on Saturday with a visit to the sub district of Fohoren to see Sr. Helen Nolen for lunch and visit to the schools and health centre. Pat also reported that the Fountain Gate School has donated library shelves and Suai resident Joni Chung, who is currently living in Melbourne has organised them for shipment with Rotary. Pat is going to screen the installation videos 'Unforgettable Selections from a Friendship' exhibited in the 'Connections Across the Timor Sea Exhibition' in 2010 in the St Kilda Town Hall Gallery. Director and Editor of Suai Media Space and the installation, yours truly Jen Hughes will upload the videos on Suai Media Space for you to enjoy.
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Port Phillip Mayor to visit Suai

August 30th, 2011 jen Posted in News from Port Phillip, Press Releases 1 Comment »

Mayor Cr Rachel Powning will visit Suai in East Timor next month, following last year’s resolution to renew the City of Port Phillip’s Friendship with East Timor for a further ten years. The Mayor will meet with President Jose Ramos Horta and the Minister responsible for friendships with Australian local government Mr Arcangelo Leite to discuss how the City of Port Phillip can assist Suai/Covalima in its formation of its first municipal government, following the national elections planned for 2012. “The experience of the last ten years has shown us we have a clear, strong and robust relationship with Suai and the district,’ said the Mayor. “Through our Friendship, Council and our community in Port Phillip are in a good position to offer support to this fledgling nation in the area of local government, sharing knowledge about human resource management, town planning and support for the natural environment. There is so much we can do, and we are always looking for more residents in Port Phillip to get involved. “Our strong focus continues in the area of community development. Suai is the designated location for a wharf, new airport and supply base for oil and gas development in East Timor and the local people are keen to attain new skills for potential employment. “During my visit I will also meet with the two Friends of Suai volunteer language teachers, Lynn and Dermot Clancy who are in Suai for six months providing support to the 33 English teachers as part of a train the trainer program,” she said. The City of Port Phillip supports small targeted projects and the Covalima Community Centre through the Friends of Suai, community reference group established in 2000. Last week, Council changed the name to Friends of Suai/Covalima, reflecting the municipal reach of the program. The Covalima Community Centre provides opportunities for training youth and community members in computer technology and English. The centre also supports over 100 women in small livelihoods economic development. Friends of Suai/Covalima is seeking new local people to get involved in activities to promote the Friendship for future, If you are interested please contact Pat Jessen on 9209 6777.
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Fundraiser for recovery of Zumalai

August 30th, 2011 jen Posted in Friends of Suai News, Fundraising Comments Off on Fundraiser for recovery of Zumalai

In mid August terrible news was reported when there was an incident of civil unrest in a number of outlying villages in the Zumalai sub-district that led to the stabbling murder of a policeman and the burning of around 100 houses. We have information that a number of families have found shelter in the Church in Zumalai town. Calm has been restored but a number of families have been left without homes. The people of Zumalai have asked for help with some emergency funding for food and clothing.  A member of the Friend of Zumalai-Kiama Council NSW is organising a fundraiser and we will pass on the information when it is available. For more details of the incident and follow up by the law, and to follow  all current affairs from East Timor we recommend http://www.etan.org and http://timortoday.com/
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‘Taking Steps ‘ New Women’s Livelihood Project

May 18th, 2011 Annww Posted in 'Taking Steps' Womens Livelihood Project, Friends of Suai News, News from Suai, Suai Visit 2011 Comments Off on ‘Taking Steps ‘ New Women’s Livelihood Project

by Ann Wigglesworth
‘Taking Steps’ is a project to support women's livelihood development. Covalima Community Centre and Friends of Suai run the project with funding from International Women's Development Agency (IWDA). Six women’s groups have started small scale livelihood activities in Suai Loro, Matai, Ogues, Salele and Lalawa. Some make Tais, others have started new agricultural activities, food processing or other crafts.
The groups Fitun Naroman and Haboras Goronto both weave Tais. Fitun Naroman have started a small shop in Suai Loro (photo). Since the project started their activities have diversified to include rice production. Haboras Goronto have started chicken rearing.

Fitun Naroman members

Cruz Minarai group are making some lovely crafts including baskets and woven mobiles. Halibur Aikan Local (Halal) group have asked to learn some of these skills from Cruz Minarai. The project will support this exchange of skills.

Cruz Minarai crafts

Haburas Maudemo make banana chips which are sold locally in Salele and grow vegetables are sold in the Suai market (photo).

Selling Haburas Maudemo vegetables in Suai market

The Chefe de Suco of Maudemo is Maria Fatima who is the leader of the Haboras Maudemo group. In the photo at the group vegetable plot she is on the right.
Haborus Maudemo vegetable plot

Haborus Maudemo vegetable plot

The project staff visit the groups regularly to give support, organize skills training, and help resolve problems that the group might face. Another group in Maudemo are Halibur Maudemo making tempe. Alita, the Project Coordinator is in the background.

Halibur Maudemo group making tempe

The Halal group make banana chips which are sealed in plastic packets to keep fresh for sale. They are also planning to start a fish pond.

Halal group make banana chips

Filizarda, the leader of the Halal group, said that her role as the women’s representative on the Suco Council now has more meaning than before because can represent the views of other women and also inform them about the other women's issues in the Suco. (Suco - small village) Maria Fatima and Filizarda attended a women's meeting at the Friends of Suai community centre to discuss coordination with and support of the Gender Focal Point, who is the government's representative, to ensure gender issues are considered in all government programs. Taking Steps is an exciting new project with potential to reach out to more women. It is about women forming groups, sharing, learning and building confidence and leadership. FOS is commited to ensuring that funding for this project will enable the project to continue to support women of Covalima.
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Maliana Womens’ Exchange – Pat Jessen

May 10th, 2011 jen Posted in Friends of Suai News, Maliana Women's Exchange, Pat Jessen Visits Comments Off on Maliana Womens’ Exchange – Pat Jessen

This was a very special event.  The Women's Project of the Covalima Community Centre together with  Alberto dos Barros, Co-ordinator of the Friends of Suai in Suai, took some 30 women from Suai to share information and ideas with other women's groups in Maliana. (It's rare for people to travel between districts in the poorer rural areas). Maliana is North of Suai (map) and North-West of Bobonaro in the Bobonaro district. The community centre car and the youth centre car, both donated by Friends of Suai and Rotary, were used to take women from Suai. This was an exciting  learning and sharing event for the participants.  In Maliana they saw the making of a fuel efficient stove made from local clay, the making of Banana chips, local pesticide production among other things.To visit one of the projects, the road to was a mess but the women decided they wanted to go regardless. They walked 16 kilometres to visit this village. The slideshow provides a small insight into the process and people involved.
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Suai Market & Covalima – Lots Happening 2011

May 9th, 2011 jen Posted in Friend Visits, Friends of Suai News, Suai Visit 2011 Comments Off on Suai Market & Covalima – Lots Happening 2011

Suai Market at the centre of town with lots happening in 2011 This year I set out with another full agenda and as usual we have too many stories to tell to share with you on Suai Media Space. In this post I want to tell you what Suai felt like this trip because its ten years since our Friendship began and seven years since I took on the role as coordinator for the Friends of Suai. I always look first to the market to see how much food there is and the variety of food available. From the little video here you can see what the market was like in 2000. People were living and working under tarpaulins that leaked when it rained and food was in very short supply. When I first visited Suai in 2005 the situation was better than in 2000 when people were hungry because crops had been burned and homes destroyed in 1999. By 2005 when I arrived there was still malnutrition and hunger and although there was food in the market it was still there in small piles and the variety was limited. This was not all due to the 1999 conflict. Floods followed by drought were affecting Covalima. In 2011 Covalima and the whole of Timor-Leste was affected by ongoing rain, the same weather pattern affecting northern Australia. The farmers have not had a suitable planting season for maize and rice, however the Saturday markets were plentiful with greens and other vegetables more than I have seen before.   The variety of food has improved and the quantity has improved. Also a greater variety of other merchandise was available including pots, pans, bike inner tubes, fly wire screens, plastic toys indicating their was more ready cash available for some. The number of people trading working and buying in the market had increased. The Covalima-Dili road (both roads) are in the worst state ever due to the rain, this is affecting the movement of the usual traffic, so there were less people coming to town.
The wind down by the UN toward 2012 is being felt too with numbers of people pulling out of town and not all being replaced. There is a flurry of ‘development’ coming with the electricity power line being outside town and the Portuguese Telecom crew erecting a new communications tower. With the promise of the oil and gas supply base, a new wharf and revamp of the airport with talk of implementation of the Polytechnic plan for the ‘school of petroleum and tourism’ there is a strange anticipation in the air, although public information is slow to reach  the local community from Dili. Some of the international people were arriving on the UN helicopter or the MAF charter flight but generally it was quiet apart from some construction teams managing to brave the conditions. Government cars are numerous now, motorbikes are everywhere and there are regular buses to areas of  Covalima and neighbouring districts as well as to Dili and West Timor to buy goods.  There is more money in the community due to pensions and payouts by the government so the increased cash flow is showing with new houses going up and people have access to secondhand clothing on sale at the market. The iconic unfinished church in the grounds of Our Lady of Fatima School is changing shape too. The three-pointed façade has gone and some of the locals are not happy about that.  It is being built with local donations and church money and other funds and will become the main church in the town. In the slideshow are drawings by Australian War Artist Wendy Sharpe Christmas 1999-2000.  Another is a drawing by  Suai Loro Artist Natalino dos Reis titled 'Friendship'. You can see more of his art and the art of other Covalima artists here.  The third (Canossa Cow) is a photograph by Livania de Jesus. Cannosa Cow was taken in the Friends of Suai Photography Workshop in 2009. This and other photographs were exhibition in Connections Across the Timor Sea Exhibition held in the St Kilda Town Hall Gallery as part of our ten year friendship celebrations in 2010.
The Suai Church rebuilt in 2010 was too small before it was completed with hundreds of churchgoers in the grounds each Sunday to take communion.  This is very significant for the people of Suai – read our story about it and see the paintings and drawings by Australian War Artists Wendy Sharpe and Rick Amor in here for more. Another landmark structure on the school grounds was a huge traditional house built with USAID money by local carpenter Felix Correira and the Bunak men from the mountains near Suai. Click on the thumbnail to go to interview with carpenter in 2000. Last year for some unknown reason this beautiful building collapsed.  Our local filmmaker Jen Hughes filmed it being built in 2000. You can see  interview with Snr. Felix Correira here. (video of building  to come)
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Suai Loro Uma Lulik Ceremony

April 28th, 2011 jen Posted in 2011 Uma Lulik Ceremony Suai Loro, Events, Friends of Suai News, News from Suai, Traditional Dance Comments Off on Suai Loro Uma Lulik Ceremony

Suai Loro is the area of land between the Timor Sea South of East Timor and Suai the largest centre of Covalima. Uma Lulik are the Tetum words for Sacred House. The Sacred House is the architectural home of animist culture in East Timor.
The following video was shot by Pat Jessen Co-ordinator of the Friends of Suai on her recent visit to Suai.
Pat: "The Uma Lulik Ceremony lasted for seven days in April 2011. The community had waited for seven years due to lack of funds. Suai Loro is a matrilineal society with  liurai-feto (female royal heads of community). Note the rich cultural heritage of the dancers and the beautiful ceremonial tais (handwoven textiles)".
You can see  photographs of the beautiful carpentry and carvings in the newly built Uma Lulik in Fohoren and read about it here in an article written about traditional culture by youth media students in a  digital writing and photography workshop funded by the Friends of Suai in July 2008. See Photographs of Fohoren Uma Lulik. Fohorem is in the mountains several hours drive from Suai over very rough terrain.
Balthasar Kehi, (a member of the Friends of Suai Committee ), tells us that originally Koba Lima did not include Suai because Suai had her own kingdom. It was the centre of the great kingdom of We Hali.
The original name of Suai Loro is Suai Loro We Hali. The Tetun word Loro translates in English as sun. But it is also the most respectful title for a sacred king/queen whose main role, like that of the sun, is to enlighten. In English 'We' translates as water and 'Hali' as Bunyan tree. Suai Loro is next to the Timor Sea and the Bunyan tree is indigenous to it. The kingdom of We Hali was the biggest kingdom in the undivided island of Timor. The seat of power of this kingdom was in Suai Loro. You can read more about the division of Timor in an article by Balthasar here titled Koba Lima Suai.
More about traditional culture in East Timor...
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School Library training with Port Phillip volunteers

February 4th, 2011 jen Posted in Friends of Suai News, Library Project, Library Training Feb 2011, Library training for Suai Comments Off on School Library training with Port Phillip volunteers

500 books given to the Suai Secondary School have already arrived in Suai for the school library. The library, that was funded by the Friends of Suai and Rotary Club of Balwyn was inaugurated in 2009.  Friends of Suai member Desleigh Kent and retired St Kilda librarian Sandra Whitborn are leaving on Monday to set up the library and train a young man and a young woman, who can continue the work after they leave. Desleigh has been to Suai several times before to teach English as a second language to young people and some of the school's English teachers. Jenny Green is going to Suai again to do further training with the English language teachers at the Friends of Suai Community Centre. This will be the first trip for Sandra. Two library technicians were being trained for the new library in 2009. For photos and previous articles about the Library Project.
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