Introducing you to Crimpalene my alter ego

I had arrived that day and just gone to sleep when I heard a frightening rumbling noise in the distance. I had no idea what it was but the rumble was building in volume and getting louder as it was moving steadily towards us. I was sharing my room with a young woman who had arrived to work for Timor Aid as a volunteer. I whispered "What the heck is that?" (Actually my language was more colourful..) somehow she had managed to stay sound asleep so I crept out of my mozzie dome to see if anyone else in the household was up. All was quiet, so I crept to the front door. By this time the rumbling was really loud and I was trembling. As I opened the door I was blinded by a huge spotlight shining in my face. It was too late to retreat to avoid being seen and I was still curious so I pushed the door closed a little but kept peering out to check what might happen. It was seconds before I realised it was a military tank rumbling along the corrugated road in front of the building about 100 metres away looking for militia. Nothing more happened, except now I had time to notice my heart was pounding and every dog in the villages around, that would normally have been asleep was barking, while thousands of crickets were shrieking, but still nobody stirred. I was amazed they could sleep through this, and marvelled at how useless our so called ‘security’ was. Gradually the rumbling disappeared and the dogs and crickets quietened down until all was peaceful again and I could return to bed to reflect on what had happened.

It wasn't the first time I felt rather foolish in Timor, because, although I had intellectualised the danger in my situation, it quickly reached another level when I felt the fear of the unknown and the unexpected, with the thought that me and my friends in the Timor Aid house, might be the target of some violence. When I returned home to St Kilda I marvelled anew at our propensity for fast and frightening entertainment such as the roller coasters and the Slingshot at the St Kilda Festival.

When I told my friends in the Timor Aid house the next day what they had missed they couldn't believe it. That night I stayed up with my camera and microphone to record the sound. A man from a French East Timorese solidarity group stayed up and waited with me until midnight. Eventually he tired of waiting, and as he left for bed he quipped “ If I come out in the morning to find you have disappeared, I’ll finish your film and call it “ Looking for Jenny in East Timor”.

This is the animation my friend Katie made about it. Let’s put a little short reality video with it which I shot at the same time too. It’s quite cute.