Starting at about 8 pm last night not-too-distant neighbor began to play Asian karoke-like covers of country classics. There was the classic cracking of the box speakers as they were cranked up too loud.

This would be normal, except this went on until 5:30am.

I thought I was hallucinating, perhaps a fever from a couple of nights ago had come back? Perhaps I was stuck in some bizarre dream?

But no. I wanted to call the police, but the phonecall would have achieved nothing, as the police are afraid to really go out and fight crime (especially ones against ear drums). Plus the call would have cost me the remainder of the $5 on my phone card.

I thought, surely, the favored Timorese vigilante method “tuda fatuk” (throw rocks) would work well enough. But nobody apparently could muster up the energy or the outrage to throw rocks!

Perhaps somebody had decided to have their wedding on a Wednesday night, and hold the whole neighborhood hostage to their noise: young babies, old people, working people, sick people and all.

Another wilder theory is that the Motael church had decided to throw a party for Santo Antonio. More like a country-music rave! I’m going to investigate this theory, and if it is true, go with a neighbor to make a formal complaint.

The country-church-rave aside, there is some strange aspect of Timorese culture whereby people enjoy listening to music at an extremely uncomfortable level, with the crackly bass of burned out speakers, and a screaching, buzzing treble. The worst sensation is riding in a microlet, the Indonesian equivalent of a kombi, which turns into an enormous defective speaker. And you crammed in there riding in the back with babies, children, chickens, collared greens and old people all trying to think of nice things so that they don’t lose their minds with the noise.

A friend remarked, at a party for independence at a kindergarten nearby, that the most famous singer in Timor, Tony Perreira, managed to make his live music sound as though it was being played in a microlet. As if people liked it that way!


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