I had the chance to visit the youngest kid on the block in November 2006. East Timor (or Timor Leste, as they would like to be called) is the youngest country in Southeast Asia and one of the youngest in the world. They are independent of Indonesia since August 1999.
My trip to East Timor was more like of a “pilgrimage”; it’s more of spiritual than a pleasure trip. Because this country has been on my advocacy since I took on world issues. I have campaigned for the freedom of East Timor in my own way.
My main advocacy issues are dominated with either them or Tibet…and it was such a spiritual (and personal) fulfillment to see them independent again…*sighs with a sweet smile*.
One of Southeast Asia’s hidden treasures indeed. Unspoiled, white sand beaches… serene environment and genuine culture. The smiles are real and their spirit is inspiring.
Since its’ independence, Timor Leste now shares the distinction with the Philippines as being the only 2 predominantly Roman Catholic (Christian) nations in Asia. This is mainly because Timor Leste is a former colony of Portugal and used to be called Portuguese East Timor until 1975. They are also pending admission to the ASEAN as the 11th member.
Atrocities and human rights violations are rampant since Indonesia invaded in 1975 when the Portuguese left. And this peace loving people has been held capture on their own land ever since. My gosh, I’m sounding like my old self back in the 1990’s!!! – enough of this! Whew!
This huge, huge statue of Jesus Christ was built by the Indonesians on their last day on Timor. Hmmmm....very Sao Paolo though...well. They have facilities for scuba diving although I don't do that. But I surf! I hope they could discover this on Timor. Their premier beach destination is in Dili (the capital city) and Com. Wonderful places.
Anyway, my point is, if you have seen everything in Southeast Asia already and you’re into isolated beaches, simple living and no tourist at all…visit our brothers in Timor Leste. Tell them I sent you!!!