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Timor's original culture under threat

Dili Weekly - August 13, 2018

Estevao Nuno – The executive director (CEO) of NGO Timor Aid, Florentino Sarmento, said the original culture of Timor, handed down from the ancestors will go extinct unless young Timorese develop an interest for its development.

He said culture is the country and people's identity but today's youth prefer modern culture rather than the original culture. "One day it will be extinct unless younger generations are involved in preserving our culture," he said in Dili.

He urged new generation of Timorese to contribute towards the preservation and development of Timor's culture handed down from the ancestors.

He said currently Timor Aid is making links between original and modern culture to show the world what Timor can do. "We use tais [traditional cloth] in novel ways that we can present at various events," he said.

He added Timor Aid is committed to engaging Timorese youth to preserve Timor's cultural identity. "We have to protect our country, our culture and show the world Timor also has its own culture," he said.

Meanwhile, the President of Dili Municipality Youth Council, Manecas Lobo dos Santos, appealed to the Timorese youth to take active part in sustaining traditional culture handed down from the ancestors to prevent it from extinction.

"To preserve our culture, youth females should approach their mothers and grandmothers and learn how to weave tais," he said.

"Do not be overly modern otherwise, or [culture] will go extinct." He added the in the municipalities young women are no longer interested in tais weaving.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of State for Art and Culture (SEAK), Teofilo Caldas, said SEAK will work with Alola Foundation, Timor Aid, and UNESCO to facilitate training on culture for the youth.

"We raise awareness on Timor's cultural norms and then we provide training on how to integrate those norms into cultural activities to present Timor-Leste's identity to the world," he said.

"For example, handicrafts, cultural dances, cultural music, and cultural cloths such as tais. We can integrate these forms into the training."

He added the Secretariat of State intends to raise awareness on Timor's art and culture three times in a month to communities in the municipalities and to be able to directly observe art and culture services on the ground.

Source: http://www.thediliweekly.com/en/news/15983-timor-s-original-culture-under-threat