Trip to East Timor - Report by Andika Mongilala (2016)

Andika Mongilala is the ASCM national treasurer. He became involved in student activism in the Indonesian Student Christian Movement (GMKI) before moving to Australia.

I want to say thank you to

  1. East Timor subcommittee and Australian Student Christian Movement who has supported us
  2. Ann Ng, she helped us with everything there
  3. Helen Mary Hill helped to support every activity

When we visited East Timor, I met with many people who live there, and learned much about how to live in East Timor. I met with

  1. Pat Walsh and talked about history when Indonesia invaded
  2. Helen Lill and talked about development program for East Timor
  3. Tonny Ragill da Silva and East Timor SCM, We talked about SCM activity
  4. Alfa Silva Natureza (Tonny’s son ) and student friends. We talked about Indonesian and Australian government perspectives.
  5. YWCA. We talked about Women’s program
  6. YMCA, We talked about Sport program
  7. Museums
  8. Security, cleaning service and customer service hotel  (one of them was from Indonesia army)
  9. Taxi Drivers
  10. Barber
  11. Hosanna Foundation Executive Committee

I learned about East Timor when I studied in Indonesia but with Indonesian perspective, but after I migrated to Australia, I learned a difference perspective about Fretilin and East Timor.  That is why I wanted to go to East Timor. I went to museums, talked with Helen and Pat (foreigners), talked with a university student, talked with East Timor citizens, Indonesian  (East Timor resident). I got information about how to live in East Timor.

Honestly, I don’t really trust museums because all Indonesian museums really hate the Dutch and present them in a bad light, while Dutch museums present a different perspective. I saw this in East Timor too. Every part of museums blamed Indonesia,  but I realised Indonesia army did terrible things there. I learned the reason why Indonesia came to East Timor and I got information because USA and Australia really worried that East Timor would become communist, and USA and Australia asked Indonesia government to colonise East Timor.

We learned about East Timorese culture; generally, they believe in superstition, are not on time and like to change appointments. Some Australians may be upset and confused about this, but this is a good experience for people who usually live in organised societies with good infrastructure.

I think this program is really good for members of ASCM to learn more about East Timor and how we can support to East Timor SCM. Thank you for this opportunity. I hope that each participant will also write a report and share with the sub-committee so that they know what life is like there and how things are for SCM TL.