The other side of the Globo

Not since the flight of the Portuguese court to Rio in 1807 has Brazil been so important to Timor. Welcome news, this “Carnaval” in Dili, with its mix of Ivete Sangalo and trio elétricos. I even tip my hat to Gil Alves. Would have been fun to join in.

I remember noting the irony of watching a Brazilian novela, dubbed in Indonesian, on satellite television in Maliana in 2003. In fact it was a novela that helped me better my Portuguese as a student in Brazil in 1999.

Dubbed novelas have helped a generation of children learn their first words in Indonesian, across Timor.

I just want to say “parabens” to those who finally realized that Brazil can help Timor learn Portuguese, not through bilaterial aid, but by making its pop culture more accessible. (I will not be baited into talking about language. Portuguese was the choice, then it has to be made to work.)

It has been obvious for the longest time that Timorese children were not going to learn Portuguese from the classroom alone.

Their older brothers and sisters are busy listening to Brazilian country music – caipira, singing words they do not know the meaning of. Anyone who has ridden on a bus in Timor (oops I guess that excludes the people who make the decisions) would know that Chitãozinho & Xororó and Leandro and Leonardo have done more to promote Portuguese in Timor than anybody else. (Recognize this ditty?)

So great news that TVGlobo’s world famous soap operas are going to hit Timorese airwaves and Dili will parade in Carnaval.

And by the way, I also know quite a few Timorese also eager to soak up Brazil’s “social technology” — its dynamic social movements and forms of self-organization — can the embassies who funded Carnaval get behind supporting that too?

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One thought on “The other side of the Globo

  1. Of course it was obvious, it was obvious five years ago, but you are dealing with Lusophone people here, for whom reality is an alien concept.

    The Brazilians and the Portuguese do not know how to promote their language, other than as a form of Latin without the life in it. The idea that learning a language is something to be enjoyed is completely alien to them. No, it is something to be endured, like self-flagellation!

    Or, make it into complete farce, by using it in the courts, which is the equivalent of Britain using Norman French. (It once did, which is why my passport has a motto in a language most British people don’t speak.)

    And one detail, which has escaped these people : have they ever heard of subtitling? If English-language channels like HBO, Star World and BBC Entertainment can see the need for it, despite the overwhelming popularity of English, so why not Portuguese-language ones like TV Globo?

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