East Timor Crisis: TIMOR QUESTIONS
Tuesday 14 September 1999
Physically, and in terms of its weather, East Timor is a cross between tropical south-east Asia and the outback of northern Australia. At the moment it is the height of the dry season, when most of the country's rivers turn to arid beds of pebbles and the forest vegetation becomes brown and scorched. Between November and April, the monsoon settles over most of the island bringing floods and land slides and lush tropical growth. The coastal areas of Timor are hot and humid for the most of the year, 0and dominated by mangrove swamps and lowland jungle. Higher up, eucalpytuses and acacias grow on the bushland, and in the mountains villages temperatures drop as low as 4C.
What kind of legends are told?
East Timor's creation myth tells of two little boys who lived on their own on a tiny isolated island off what is now West Timor. One day a giant crocodile stopped by, and asked the boys for some water. In return, he offered to give them a ride so they could see something more of their island. Round and round the crocodile swam with the pair on his back, until he became famished with hunger. Guiltily, he began to eye the two young morsels on his back. But this was a noble crocodile, incapable of harming those who had helped him. After a while he slowed, stopped, and quietly died, petrifying into the island of Timor.
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