Friday, May 8, 2009

May 1 celebrations

I am told that on May 1 it is a tradition in the villages to hold what Aussies call an ‘emu parade’. You go round sweeping, picking up litter and generally making the place more presentable. On very short notice, the Government in Dili decided that public servants would do the same in public places. So would the consultants. Of course May 1 is a public holiday here, so all the public servants were on overtime. The consultants were unpaid.

Then the Government held a celebration in the just-cleaned area. Three hours work by five hundred people flushed straight down the drain as the crowds gaily threw, and trod underfoot , every piece of litter they could lay their hands on. As I was nearby, I was only grateful that no-one had thought of burning it, as most was plastic.


This Friday, we are being told to do it again. I view it as a bit of a hoot, other malae were less amused. However, no-one could really complain. I saw the Minister for Finance with a broom (see photo), and she can’t walk too well (having had polio), but she was quietly and methodically sweeping away. I am told the PM was also in line for cleaning and that this is part of a “Clean Up Dili” campaign. The old UN administration (UNTAET) apparently used to do the same.
And the streets do look very much cleaner for the exercise. I saw a lot of private companies also taking part near their shopfronts.

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