This site brings together the publications of Dr. Sara Niner about people & politics in Timor-Leste.

05 October, 2010

Seminar Summario OINSA BARLAKE MUDA IHA TIMOR LESTE? Is barlake changing in Timor-Leste?

Seminar husi Dr. Sara Niner, Monash University
Is barlake changing in Timor-Leste?
Haksesuk depois ba panel Timor Oan
Followed by discussion from Timorese panel.
Universidade Timor-Leste (UNTL) Dili 24 Sept

Sumário: Pratika lisan ka adat neébe hadulas serimonia kaben sira no relasaun entre familias ka uma lulik husi parte noeiva no noeivo sira hanaran barlake. Ida neé hamaruk relasaun ajuda malu sira entre famila husi feto no mane no kontinuasaun de troka sasan ba malu e fahe servisu iha tempu lia mate ou lia moris. Barlake ne’e nu’udar parte ida husi sistema bo’ot ida (adat ka lisan) ne’ebe regula sosiadade indígena ho nia objetivu hodi hametin solidariedade no armonia. Embora iha diferensa barak entre grupu etno-lingistíku ne’ebe distintu iha Timor, maibe barak mak iha fiar no estrutura socsial hanesan. Ba ema barak iha Timor, Barlake no lisan fo sensasaun makas ida konaba identidade no valor ba sira nia moris. Tuir tradisional relasaun entre feto no mane ne’e kompleta malu, maibe baseia ba dominasaun mane no feto sai hanesan subordinada. Hadiak balun ba situasaun ida ne’e, ba maioria feto sira tem ke halo liu husi pratika sira hanesan barlake.Seidauk tan komplexidade no variedade husi barlake, ladun dokumenta ho diak, no peskisa konaba oinsa barlake afeta ba feto sira nia vida seidauk too ba objektivu ida ne’e.
Influensia estrangeiru, hanesan religiaun katólika iha Timor Leste, afeta no muda lisan ka barlake, maibe ao mesmo tempu influensia estrangeira sira ne’e mos adopta-an  tiha ba lalaok tradisaun Timor Leste  nian. Desordem ba família sira no vida ekonómika ne’ebe kausa husi okupasaun Indonésia (1975 – 1999) no ejijénsia iha periúdu rekonstrusaun, destina kom ke família barak dala barak hahu la konsege kompleta pedidu Barlake nian ka sai hanesan todan ida ba família ne’ebe depois lori ema ba frustasaun, iha situsaun ida ke todan tiha ona ambiente post-komflitu. Ohin loron, hanesan iha fatin barak iha mundo, ema la halao ona kostume tradisaun sira, hanesan barlake maibe sira uja sira nia rekursu sira hodi selu edukasaun moderna no asistensia saúde, ho mos uma, kareta, no produtu moderno sira seluk. Ho rasaun ida ne’e, ohin loron iha mudansa signifikante iha Timor Leste. Barlake mos sai hanesan objektu de atake ida ba feto activista sira tamba nia afeta feto sira nia moris. Ohin loron, kritisismu sentral maka, barlake sai tiha ona nu’udar “noeiva nia folin” deit,  ne’ebe halo ita hare hanesan feto no nia fertilidade selu tiha ona no trata feto hanesan produtu ida. Seidauk tan Lia nain sira hateten katak , troka/folin ne’ebe iha barlake ne’ebe los tem ke hanesan, no haforsa relasaun entre familia sira. Aumentu iha uja osan inves de produtu tradisionais iha prosesu fo folin iha barlake, hanesan karau, kafe, fahi ou tais diminue valor prosesu ne’e, halo Barlake hanesan prosesu sosa feto  ida do ke kostume importante kultural ida. Investigasaun ida oinsa barlake muda no oinsa nia afeta ba feto sira nia moris no sira nia familia bele asiste iha hetan solusaun ba impaktu negativu balun.

How is Barlake changing in Timor-Leste?

Abstract: In Timor-Leste indigenous customary practices that surround marriage and relations between the families or clans of the bride and groom are called barlake. Barlake creates relationships of life-long commitment of mutual support between the families of the bride and groom and an ongoing exchange of goods and duties in the context of ritual life and death ceremonies. These practices are integral to a wider, complex system of social action and ritual exchange that regulates indigenous society and aims to build social solidarity and harmony. Although there are many differences between distinct ethno-linguistic groups in Timor most share very similar cosmological beliefs and social structure. Gender relations, while complementary, are marked by the domination of males and subordination of females. However for most people in Timor-Leste these practices engender a deep sense of identity and meaning. Any significant improvements to the lives of the majority of women must be made through an engagement with these indigenous or ‘traditional’ practices. Yet the complexity and variability of barlake systems is little documented and research about its everyday impact on women’s lives is sorely inadequate for this purpose.
The spread of Catholicism in Timor-Leste and the impact of modernity have degraded indigenous practices to varying degrees, but conversely these foreign influences have also simply become synthesized into indigenous systems. The disruption to family and economic life caused by the Indonesian occupation (1975-1999) including the final conflagration of 1999 and the challenging reconstruction period, has meant that many families often cannot begin or complete this exchange process or that the exchange becomes a burden for families leading to angst and frustration in an already tough post-conflict environment. Today, as is the trend in many societies, individuals are opting out of traditional practices, like barlake, in favor of using their available resources to pay for modern education and health services, along with more contemporary homes and commodities. For these reasons there are significant changes to barlake in Timor-Leste today. Barlake has also come under attack from the modern women’s movement because of the way it affects the lives of women. The main criticism today is that an uneven exchange of goods, favoring the bride’s family, encourages the perception that women and their fertility are being bought and subsequently treated as a commodity. Yet traditional authorities contend that legitimate barlake exchanges are equal. There is also a sense that the increasing use of money in place of the traditional exchange items, such as buffalo, coffee, pigs, jewellery and hand-woven textiles (tais) is degrading the process, making it seem more akin to a commodity exchange than a meaningful cultural practice. An investigation of how practices are changing and the effects on the lives of men and women may assist in finding solutions to some of these negative impacts.


1 comment:

  1. I have jsut realised I need a full month to work on this paper to include all the new information and data I recieved from the panel who discussed barlake after I delivered my paper at the University (and lots of great comments from reviewers and interested parties) and also I need to do some extra lit review on barlake in the surrounding region. Anyone got any good ideas for a month's post-doc fellowship so I can finish it?