Reading the pig entrails

Last Sunday morning, there was a ceremony in front of the Palacio do Governo where (amongst other things) Timor’s leaders promised to be nice to each other and “bury the hatchet”.  I watched for about an hour but it was pretty hot and a little slow going.

It didn’t seem to stop the boys getting stuck in later in the day and one Timorese working as a UN interpreter was killed.  At 9:30pm, rocks were thrown at the front doors and windows of the Hotel Timor.  Guests were told to turn off lights and keep away from the windows at the front.

One part of the ceremony involved the symbolic killing of a pig.  Probably in deference to the large foreign presence, the actual kill was carried out away from the Palacio but body parts from the pig are presented to various leaders – eyes to those with a vision for the country etc. etc.  At the same time, a “matan dook” (witch doctor) reads the pig entrails.  I understand the reading was not good – maybe the pig ate a bad prawn or something.  Apparently, this means more upheavel.

Then there is the story of a pig giving birth to an elephant (ie a pig with a birth deformity on its head) which is also bad karma.  And stories of the Virgin Mary being seen talking to children.  Another bad sign.

Apparently, this is all bad news.  But to be honest, I think I need another gin to catch up with all this.

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  1. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » East Timor: Native Ceremony

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