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East Timor: Cats, Monsters in Pre-Election Video Humor

The presidential elections in East Timor are scheduled for March 17, 2012, and the electoral campaign [tet] period is expected to start next week, on February 29. Meanwhile, a few candidates have been using social networks for outreach, and Timorese netizens are debating the democratic process and the future of this ten year old country mostly through Facebook and blogs.

One of the most original uses of citizen media in the anticipation of the elections, however, is not serious at all – user Slogheinn on Youtube, has uploaded a series of humorous videos that mock four of the best known presidential candidates.

Such is the case of Francisco Guteres Lu-Olo, the President of the historical opposition party Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN), who presented his candidacy with the highest number of undersigned proponents, 22,590. As the video plays, the mimic of “Comrade Lu Olo”, feels frustrated for being in the “shadow” of Mari Alkatiri, the Secretary-General of Fretilin. Lu Olo whines for having to run once again for president, after he headed the National Parliament of East Timor from 2002 to 2007, and was defeated in the second round when running for the presidency of the country in the 2007 presidential election:

http://youtu.be/DP6olsA3tp0

Problema nia Alkatiri obriga mak husu ha'u ba deit ona.
Ha'u baruk sai tiha prezidenti hotu, Alkatiri mak manda nafatin ha'u hanesan uluk quandu ha'u sai prezidente Parlamento.
Ha'u hatene katak ambisaun sem capacidade ne'e crime, mais se chefe obriga ne'e ha'u tenki ba deit mesmo que laiha qualidade.
Ha'u la hatene tamba hira mak Alkatiri tenki uza ha'u conforme nia hakarak…
Dala ruma ha'u tenki marca diferensa husi nia (…)

The problem is that Alkatiri made me [do it], asking me to go, full stop.
I'm fed up with being President, Alkatiri is always ordering me just like when I became the president of the Parliament.
I know that ambition without capacity is a crime, but if the boss makes me do it, I just have to do it, even if there is no quality.
I don't know why Alkatiri has to use me as he wants to…
Sometimes I have to make a stand to differentiate from him (…)

The current President of East Timor, José Ramos Horta, whose candidacy according to Centru Jornalista Investigativu Timor Leste (CJITL) was supported by 7,977 proponents (though his website announces he has received around 116,300 petitions), is represented by a kitten in a rather catholic video approach where he recalls the assassination attempt he suffered in 2008:

http://youtu.be/VkVx6S0L48k

Ha'u hakarak recandidata ba Prezidenti da Republica, mais ha'u tenki ba consulta lai ho amu bispo nain rua, papa nain tolu ho kuku nain ha'at para hare se sira apoiu ha'u ka la'e.
Se la'e ha'u ba koko tok iha ONU. Se ema lakoi hili ha'u, ha'u fila lalais mai Timor [...] ha'u nia povu sei presiza ha'u.
Imi hakarak hatene uluk ema tiru ha'u ne'e ha'u ba tiha ona lalehan. Jesus dehan ha'u atu troka orasaun Pedro sai porteiro iha neba mais malai mos diak, maibé ha'u dehan labele. Ha'u tenki fila ba Timor (…)

I want to re-candidate for President of the Republic, but I must go and ask three bishops, three popes and four owls to see if they are going to support me or not.
If not, I am going to check with the UN. If people don't want to pick me, I am coming back to Timor very fast [...] my people still needs me.
If you want to know, in the past someone has shot me and I have gone to heaven. There Jesus told me I should replace Peter, to become the gatekeeper over there, but the foreigner was nice but I said I can't. I have to go back to Timor (…)

Fernando de Araújo, also known as Lasama, the current President of the National Parliament, supported his candidacy with 8,314 signatures. As part of his mocked electoral promises, he supposedly intends to lower the price of “noodles to 5 cents and palm wine to 1 dollar, as well as to open a big casino for playing cards”. As his avatar says, “listen to me! I want to be president of the republic too!”:

http://youtu.be/-Z1FwtA988g

The Major General of the Armed Forces of East Timor, known as Taur Matan Ruak (Tetum for “Two Sharp Eyes”), whose candidacy was supported by 10,000 proponents, “takes the opportunity to explain to the voters why he wanted to be the first starting to campaign”, in anticipation of the date scheduled:

http://youtu.be/TOR2720Je7Y

Even the Prime Minister and former President of the Republic, “Maun Bot” (big brother) Xanana Gusmão, has had his own avatar making a call to the “dear people of Timor Lorosae to prepare themselves for the party of democracy”.

  • Maarten

    Thanks for the article, and focusing on actual electoral stories! But if you say “Timorese citizens are debating the democratic process and the future of this ten year old country mostly through Facebook and blogs.” I have to remind you that internet penetration in Timor-Leste is estimated at 0,2% (http://www.internetworldstats.com/asia/tp.htm)
    I think they still mostly discuss in microlet and while waiting at the bank…

  • http://saritamoreira.com Sara Moreira

    Hi Maarten,

    You’re absolutely right! I should have written “netizens” to reduce the scope of Timorese citizens who actually are on Facebook and blogging… By the way, let me suggest you an old post about the Internet penetration in the country: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2009/02/02/one-only-isp-and-one-big-digital-gap-in-east-timor/ Things have changed quite a bit, now! But even so, there is a *lot* to be done. Stay tuned for more articles on the use of citizen media in East Timor in the preparation of the elections!

    Best regards,
    Sara

  • Pingback: East Timor: Notes on the Presidential Elections · Global Voices

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