East Timorese Regret

Nov 24th, 2006, in News, by

Most East Timorese regret having seceded from Indonesia, it is claimed.

Antara, in an article entitled "The People of East Timor Regret Separating From Indonesia", tells us that a Mrs Domingos, who is visiting relatives in Mataram, Lombok, says that "most" East Timorese have begun to miss being a part of Indonesia and that independence has only benefited a small group of people. Those out in the villages and suburbs suffer and things have gotten much worse for them since the split from Indonesia, and they would like to once again "live freely", as in the past.

Ethnic conflicts between those from the east of the country with those from the west have seen daily fighting. Businessmen who originally come from Jakarta, Surabaya, etc, have fled Dili. Prices of basic goods are two to three times more expensive than they are in Indonesia - a liter of petrol costs about 15,000 rupiah.

However when Mrs Domingos is directly quoted it appears she did not say "most": antara

The conditions of living are so bad that some people often express regret over having left Indonesia, because in the time of integration with Indonesia they had a better life.

23 Comments on “East Timorese Regret”

  1. things have gotten much worse for them since the split from Indonesia, and they would like to once again “live freely”, as in the past.

    people often express regret over having left Indonesia, because in the time of integration with Indonesia they had a better life.

    Countries emerging from years of occupation; naturally experience the chaotic scramble that often accompanies sudden freedom.

    However, as you allude to, given the choice of words (“live freely”), this is obviously a piece of pro Indonesia propaganda.

  2. avatar Julita says:

    Check the website “East Timor and Progress” see what you come up with. There is many sides to everything.

  3. avatar Oigal says:

    things have gotten much worse for them since the split from Indonesia, and they would like to once again “live freely”

    Gotten much worse? How much worse could it get for the thousands (tens of, hundreds of) East Timorese who disappeared?

  4. avatar Karlira Kanakahuko says:

    Because of her regrets, Mrs. Domingo should apply for Japanese citizenship, if she want to be part of Indonesia again, because Japan and Indonesia are synonymous country and most of all, Japan and Indonesia are only only one country. Bakeru Indonesia!

  5. avatar Anonymous_aloy says:

    Just as some Indonesians are longing for the good old days of Soeharto era, or Muscovites reminiscing of the strong Soviet state, it is not surprising to hear some Timorese lamenting their current conditions.

    This is not to say that these voices represent the majority, so one can be forgiven for being suspicious of the overall bias of the Antara report.

    On the other hand, I would restrain from singling out people like Mrs. Domingos who, unlike myself and perhaps Oigal, do not have to live a hard life in Dili.

  6. avatar Oigal says:


    Please don’t make assumptions on my behalf, I did not single out anyone just the comment.

    Times are no doubt difficult in Timor-Leste at the moment but to paint its history as a bed of roses is obviously false. This is the fault of sloppy biased journalism

    The lady has point though, in the heady world of lofty ideals, do gooders and deamers the day to day economic reality life for the “little people’ rarely changes much. The UN has much to answer for, although not as much as some, who to date have still not been called to answer for the crimes committed.

  7. avatar Riccardo says:

    The real tragedy here is Antara’s utter and total propaganda, and even worse, is that most Indonesians that read this will swallow it all as pure fact…. It may well be true that one Antara hack found 1 single person — who was not even identified in full (Domingos, or more likely Dominggos, is similar to Mrs. Smith in the US or UK) — who is upset with the way things are at present in her country. 20% of the people did indeed vote to stay with NKRI, so she could, if she’s even a real human, be one of those people. She could also simply be suffering economically as the country has not been able to provide enough jobs yet as they haggle with Australia about the profits from the Timor Gap gas fields.

    When those gas fields start really producing, they could well become as rich as Brunei or Singapore in a matter of 4~5 years.

    I lived there during and after the 1999 vote for independence and everybody had strong opinions about this and that, but they were sure glad to be able to complain about politics or the economy — as opposed to getting TNI guns shoved in their faces and having their daughters raped while E. Java’s finest shouted Allah Akbar…

  8. avatar RaiDobenTimor says:

    As a Timorese myself I am not one bit surprised that some sectors of Indonesian society still cannot bring themselves to accept that the VAST MAJORITY of Timorese people let the world know in 1999 that they never wished to be a part of Indonesia.

    Almost 1/3 of the East Timorese population that died as a result of the Indonesian invasion and annexation of Timor Leste is something the East Timorese will never forget.
    It is not difficult to find an East Timorese who regrets Timor’s independence. All you have to do is ask Eurico Guterres or any of leaders of the militias set up by the Indonesian army who still live in Indonesia and you’ll get plenty to write about their regrets.

    These sectors of Indonesia society including Antara should wake up and smell the coffee.

  9. avatar Matebian says:

    I was really surprised by Domingas’ comments, REGRET???? that is her freedom of express, moreover do not let down East Timorese people who had suffered and lost their lives for defending their fundamental rights. Let Domingas sell her [obscenities deleted by admin] by the elite forces of Indonesian. Let her [obscenities deleted by admin]. bloody idiot pro-integrationist and prostitute-minded person. I just wanted to say that there is no regret if she sell her [obscenities deleted by admin] for the Indonesian army, i’d be more than happy if she’s [obscenities deleted by admin].

  10. avatar Hassan says:

    RaiDobenTimor: why don’t you wake up and smell the weasel.

    Riccardo: Antara is propagandising? and you’re not? that’s not even funny. As for the timor gap fields, timor leste will be lucky if it got 10% of the proceeds from those greedy Australians.

  11. avatar Philly Mcfadden says:

    Hassan, I feel so sorry about you… you are so judgemental and narrow minded! Do not judge all Australians are greedy, there are a lot of good Australians and many of them are Moslems too.

  12. avatar EvanC says:

    Dont blame Indonesia if the timorese regrets their independence. They had chosen their future. I know that they dreamt about a better future. However you can see the results. Tribal conflicts, bad economy, and many problems more. The east timor almost stated as ‘failed state’. Remember, they got their freedom when Indonesia was going to reformation era. Democracy in Indonesia started to run. You can see the results now. Indonesia now is the third biggest democracy country. And everything gets better and better although there are still many problems. Democracy grows fast in 6 years and human rights is more respected. So, it’s timor’s mistake if they regrets this. Now, they cant live w.o. Australia and they are under Australia’s control. Indonesia did not colonize them. They themselves wanted to integrate with Indonesia. We didnt force them to join. So, its logical if I say Indonesia didnt colonize them.

  13. avatar Oigal says:

    Evan C,

    Your knowledge of history is absymal as is your knowledge of current affairs. East Timor did not want nor choose to integrate with Indonesia!!! They were invaded in 1975 just weeks after they achieved independence from Portugal. Try http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,25689-1897195,00.html or type East Timor into any search engine. I know they in the past Indonesia was force fed a lot of crap through its media but there really is no excuse these days for such poor research.

    Please try some reading with an open mind..

  14. avatar Tomaculum says:

    I’m against an occupation wherever it happen, but I wonder till now, why the so careful world didn’t say anything to the colonisation of East Timor by Portugal till 1975 (!!!). And now there are the Australian settled as overseer. Anybody who has a knowledge about the history of Indonesia after the freedom proclamation of 1945 will surely wonder about the insensibility of the world conditioner (the Australian army was involved at that time).

    Second: what is the purpose of the Australians and the USA to “help” East Timor to their freedom?

    Maybe the world alliance should set more overseer in ET and give more and massive financial help, so that at least a social balance can be reached.

  15. avatar Faiz says:

    We may flashback and look at big pictures,
    The 1975 “occupation” are not sole Indonesian Government (Mr. Soeharto regime)intention, but more or less the US and Australian Government are encourage Mr. Soeharto to do such an action in the middle civil war in East Timor after Portugal leaving them in chaos.

    Nothing surprising as its just parts of Cold War era Strategy to shoot down all communist emerging country.

    While only claimed (by some people),
    The regretful (of most people) are understandable,

    simply I said,
    The guerilla experience succesfully told and help their freedom movement leader to become an insightful orator and survivor,

    It is so pity that when the time come for them to rule the country after seceded from Indoensia,
    their leader skills is just and only there,
    they only can give good speeches.. whics is at the end it is an unfruitful speeches..
    What then the meaning of freedom if it is fail to provide good living for all of the people …
    its hard lesson to learn…

    As the people are used to be parts of our nation, I know some of them well, I feel their misery…
    hopefully international allance may find the proper way out to salvage them,

  16. avatar Litho says:

    I do think that Indonesia is better without East Timor and vice versa.

  17. avatar Oigal says:

    “The 1975 “occupation” are not sole Indonesian Government (Mr. Soeharto regime)intention, but more or less the US and Australian Government are encourage Mr. Soeharto” Yep but that don’t make it right, no justisy the murders and killings..Australia and the US were proper bastards in turning a blind eye at the time and the East Timorese paid the price.

    “action in the middle civil war in East Timor” What civil war..that is not correct, it was used a propaganda and excuse to invade but was just a lie!!!

    “The regretful (of most people) are understandable” Simply not true!! I know it makes Indonesia feel good to think that but its just not true..

    What then the meaning of freedom if it is fail to provide good living for all of the people “¦
    its hard lesson to learn””… they never had that under Indonesia eithier!

    “And now there are the Australian settled as overseer” What rubbish, its a UN force and includes Malaysia and SIngapore to name just a couple. In fact, Australia had a far far better deal with oil and gas revenues under Indonesia control

  18. avatar Riccardo says:

    Some of these comments are downright shocking. I knew that ignorant taxi drivers still believe this propaganda about
    “ET wanting to join NKRI”
    or “US, UN, Aust, ‘helping’ them get freedom in 1999”
    or “ABRI was simply trying to stop a civil war”
    or “The US and Aust. told RI to invade ET” (would Indonesians jump off a cliff if the US told them to?)

    But goodness gracious sakes, the people on this blog, I am assuming, are computer literate, with a solid grasp of English and mostly decent educations.. So I thought you people would have a different perspective than the ignorant taxi drivers that rant on to me about this stuff.

    For those of you interested in the internationally accepted and most accurate accounts of East Timor from 1974 to the present, go to this website:

    AND the recently released report of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor (CAVR) is a must read. It’s in Indonesian and English and it’s totally free of charge.

  19. avatar Faiz says:

    Well, whatever,

    regardless so many different perspective, no problem with that
    I just have a chance talk to some of the people there, and concern with their problem,

    The hard fact is that :
    1. ET people should not blame anyone outside for their own misery,

    its useless saying US, Indonesia, Australia, etc are bastard etc…

    better use your energy to work and develop ET for your good living..

    (..should still encourage looking someone to blame, they should blame themselves..

    2. ET people need money for proper living…

    debating what already happen is only good in seminar or forum,

    IN REALITY, people there need food, not an detail answer or pages of report of what already happen,

    not to claim that under Indoensian governance was 100% better, but IT WAS CLEARLY BETTER than current situation..

  20. avatar joey says:

    I don’t understand this Mrs. Domingos.
    Why can’t she agree with Mrs. Ahmedajad of Iraq who says that life under Dictator Saddam was hell compared to the one under dictator Bush.
    I really don’t understand.

  21. avatar Rudy Hendra says:

    not to claim that under Indoensian governance was 100% better, but IT WAS CLEARLY BETTER than current situation..

    Well, if it is really better, why does a Timorese said something like this below? :

    the VAST MAJORITY of Timorese people let the world know in 1999 that they never wished to be a part of Indonesia.

    I think East Timorese will be happier outside Indonesia. The gas/oil can be used to develop their own little country without being swallowed up by Jakarta.

  22. avatar Miguel says:

    Regreting independence? You must be kidding me! How can anyone regret independence from Indonesia after Indonesia killed more than 200.000 people in 25 years? Does Mrs. Domingos or her family had a position under Indonesia?

    This is so absurd as saying that Poland and the Soviet Union miss the German Occupation during WWII!

  23. avatar Saipul says:

    East Timor is the world’s poorest nation today. The human development level is declining along with average lifespans and various other indicators of living standards. Hundreds were reported to have died of starvation in 2005. Under Indonesian rule, starvation was blamed on Indonesian mismanagement; now we know it is because of Timor’s poor soil. The economy is in tatters and the government collapsed in mid-2006. Deadly gang violence is a daily occurence in Dili even with thousands of foreign peacekeepers in the country. To say that things are better off now for East Timor than they were under Indonesian rule would be laughable to a person of any political persuasion. This is why 200,000 East Timorese continue to live in West Timor and have accepted Indonesian citizenship. Remember, less than 2,000 of those are transmigrants; the rest are native East Timorese.

    Even NTT, Indonesia’s poorest province, is doing better than East Timor. This year the nominal per capita income of NTT will surpass that of East Timor, which will be 3-5 times higher in purchasing power terms since East Timor uses the dollar. East Timor’s independence has been a disaster from day one. Its complete failure has silenced independence activists from Papua to Aceh. And while East Timorese nationalists spout their usual propaganda, Indonesians see their living standards increase gradually while East Timorese see theirs decline rapidly.

Comment on “East Timorese Regret”.

RSS feed

Copyright Indonesia Matters 2006-18
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact