Friday, June 29, 2007

PD hakarak fa'an rai Timor-Leste ba ema riku sira!!!

Monday, June 18, 2007

STL and the former pro-Indonesia elite

STL or Suara Timor Lorosa'e is a newspaper full of crap reflecting the intellectual capacity of its chief editors, Salvador Ximenes, Domingos Saldanha, et al. Ximenes and Saldanha are former autonomy supporters. Under Indonesia, they established this newspaper under the name Suara Timor Timur with the support of the Indonesian military. Suara Timor Timur became the Indonesian army's tool to propagate its propaganda and intimidate the East Timorese to submit to Indonesian rule.


STL has small column which it calls "Lidun" (corner in English). Lidun acts like an editorial piece quoting its subjects and then provides a short answer to it. The answers are meant to be provocative and carry a point. However, the fact is that these answers always fall into the absurd. Anyone will notice that this "corner" just reflects the intellectual deficit of the editorial team at STL.


Thus STL's "Lidun" on page 5 in its June 15th edition says:


55-Lebo denied intimidating the population in Gleno.

Why are Gleno residents taking refuge in the Borja Park, Motael?


(In Tetun: 55-Lebo dismente intimida populasaun Gleno. Tanbasa populasaun Gleno refujia mai Jardim Borja Motael?)


Then on page 6 STL reports that "Ermera refugees are growing in the Borza [sic] Park, Motael". The report cites the refugees, 81 of them, as saying that they had been forced to take refuge in Dili after coming under attack from the group Colimau 2000 and other groups belonging to the opposition parties. Some of them testified that their attackers yelled "Viva Ramos-Horta" as they launched their assault while others said that they were taken as prisoners for days. These refugees identify themselves as members and sympathisers of FRETILIN and have been under pressure to give up their support for Fretilin. They came from the villages of Lisapat and Urahou, areas known as Fretilin stronghold, in Ermera.


Colimau 2000 is a shadowy group based in the Maliana-Atsabe regions with suspected links to the former pro-Indonesia militia groups in West Timor. This group has caused much violence in and around the same region. A few years ago Colimau 2000 attacked villagers around Hatolia area. This event prompted the newly independent Timor-Leste government to deploy F-FDTL around the area and tens of members of Colimau 2000 were arrested and handed over to police (see the UNMISET press release at However in April of 2006 this group came to prominence again. It is believed that Colimau 2000 high jacked the peaceful rally organised by the "Petitioners" group and kicked the wider conflict which nearly brought Timor-Leste to a civil war. Interestingly enough Colimau 2000 has since organised itself into a political party called PDRT (Partidu Democratica Republica de Timor) and will contest in the upcoming elections.


Reports of other attacks against supposed Fretilin supporters have also increased ever since the result for the presidential run-off was announced. Fretilin supporters in the districts of Liquiça, Oécusse and Ermera came under regular attacks by supporters of Partido Democratico (PD), Xanana's CNRT and a breakaway faction of Fretilin called "Mudansa". These attacks are well documented with the perpetrators well identified. However nothing has been put in place to stop the attacks or have the perpetrators arrested and bring them before a court.


55-Lebo is a group composed of former resistance fighters accused of being part of the group armed by the Fretilin government to act as its death squad to eliminate its political opponents. They are said to be hardcore Fretilin militants. There have accusations against them that they were terrorising the Ermera population to force them to vote Fretilin. It is a fact however that this group is linked to Fretilin and was organising Fretilin's campaign in Ermera area.


The Borja Park in Motael is the actual Jardim Borja da Costa, a park next to the Motael Church compound. There are already a lot of IDPs taking shelter at the church compound. The political-military crisis that occurred last year also pitted the "lorosa'e" against the "loromonu". The "lorosa'e" people were said to be politically aligned to Fretilin. They were also accused of collaborating with the F-FDTL to attack the "loromonu" people and drive them out of Dili. As it turned out, when the ISF was deployed in Dili and the F-FDTL retreated, the "loromonu" people gained upper hand and drove the "lorosa'e" residents of Dili out of their homes and into IDP camps. So, many of the IDP camp residents are "lorosae" and are commonly acknowledged as supporters of Fretilin. It would make anyone believe that these "lorosa'e" people would still hold some kind of resentment against the "loromonu" people after last year's conflict. After all it was them who drove the "lorosa'e" people out of their homes. But the situations around the camps have been peaceful. In fact there is mutual acceptance among the IDPs, after all they all sympathise with Fretilin.


By following the above information and then correlate it to the news as reported by STL on its page 6 would lead anyone to conclude that the Gleno refugees have nothing to do with the 55-Lebo group. The 55-Lebo group is in fact aligned to these refugees politically as all of them are linked to Fretilin. The refugees have been driven out of their homes in Ermera by groups opposed to Fretilin, namely Colimau 2000/PDRT and even members of PD and CNRT. It wouldn't make sense that the 55-Lebo group would be attacking some of its own.


However the STL editorial appears to suggest that somehow 55-Lebo is the principle cause of the refugees' displacement. It quotes the 55-Lebo as denying any intimidation from their part on the Gleno population then it asks the question as to why there are refugees from Gleno present in Dili. This rhetorical question puts the responsibility on the 55-Lebo group and ultimately to Fretilin; that 55-Lebo denies having being involved in any acts of intimidation yet the fact that there are refugees in Dili proves the opposite. In addition the report on the Ermera refugees is buried on page 6 in amongst other unrelated news reports. Anyone interested in politics and security, particularly on this issue, will have difficulty in noticing this article.


But STL is not only known for its incompetence and complete lack of professionalism. It is also known as a politically tendentious paper, specially its stance against Fretilin. It has been touted as the media wing for Fretilin's opponents much like the role of the private media in Venezuela in conjunction with the opposition groups in their crusade to overthrow President Hugo Chaves. This latest editorial by STL follows a steady stream of negative and often inflammatory articles and editorials against Fretilin. STL's articles and editorials are not only politically tendentious, but they are also marred with inaccuracies, inventions, rumours and gossips. This editorial piece is in fact attempting to accuse Fretilin and its members for what it is clearly a victim of. Members of Fretilin are attacked and groups linked to Fretilin are put on the spot to forcibly accept responsibility. Even when members of Fretilin are attacked, Fretilin is still accused as the attacker. STL knows that to make such direct link is next to impossible because no reader would believe in it. So STL puts out the tendentious editorial while buries the actual news somewhere in the middle of the page. Usually when Fretilin is accused of any type of attack, the report is revealed on the first page taking the most prominent headline.


It is obvious that STL's objective is not that of journalism and least of all to contribute to the development of democracy in Timor-Leste. Its ultimate objective is part of a wider agenda sponsored by the former pro-Indonesia East Timorese elites, be they in Timor-Leste or in Indonesia, to sabotage Timor-Leste move towards a successful and independent State. The fact that STL is run part of this self-serving elite is not a peculiarity but it fits perfectly well into this piece of conspiracy. If one takes a more profound look into the way STL has made its various reports in the past, there is a correlation between the eruption of conflicts and STL reports. This is no coincidence as the inflammatory, error-ridden and inaccurate reports that STL often put out became the focus for the eruption of new conflicts. For these former pro-Indonesia elites, destruction of Fretilin is also a goal in itself. If Fretilin is discredited and eliminated from the East Timorese politics, then the whole independence movement is also discredited and history can be rewritten to vindicate the self-serving pro-integration movement.


STL is obviously not an independent media institution but an organisation with a political agenda. It is not contributing to public information and development of democracy in Timor-Leste. In fact its whole existence and operation is designed to prevent Timor-Leste from developing into a nation truly democratic and independent. Its links to the former pro-Indonesia elites is a testament that the struggle for a truly independent, stable and viable Timor-Leste is far from over. Fretilin has been the only political organisation capable of defending the East Timorese right to independence and is steadfast on defending this right at any cost. Fretilin is a threat to people like Ximenes and Saldanha. However the results of the upcoming elections will be seen by these former pro-Indonesia elites as a victory, though a small one. A failed-state is their ultimate goal. STL should be placed under constant surveillance for the coming years.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

“Gente à volta de Xanana é do pior que há”



Mário Carrascalão diz que "Xanana Gusmão está a dar guarida à chamada
FRETILIN-Mudança para "regressar à FRETILIN quando destituírem Mari

O ex-Presidente Xanana Gusmão, líder do Congresso Nacional de
Reconstrução de Timor-Leste (CNRT) e candidato às legislativas de 30
de Junho, está rodeado de "gente do pior que há em Timor-Leste",
afirmou ontem Mário Viegas Carrascalão.
"Há indivíduos que estão com ele que se chamavam, por exemplo,
Francisco UDT, depois chamaram-se Francisco APODETI, hoje são
Francisco CNRT", disse à Lusa o presidente do Partido Social Democrata
(PSD) e cabeça-de-lista da coligação eleitoral com a Associação Social
Democrática Timorense (ASDT).
"São um grupo de pessoas que viram no fascínio de Xanana, na posição
que Xanana tem, a possibilidade de viver à sombra dele", acrescentou
Mário Carrascalão numa entrevista concedida a meio da campanha
eleitoral, acrescentando que "o objectivo número um de Xanana é
destruir Mari Alkatiri".
"Não é destruir a FRETILIN", analisou o líder do PSD e ex-governador
de Timor durante dez anos, quando o território se encontrava sob a
ocupação indonésia.
"Xanana Gusmão está a dar guarida à chamada FRETILIN-Mudança, que vai
depois regressar à FRETILIN quando destituírem Mari Alkatiri",
secretário-geral do partido maioritário e ex-primeiro-ministro.
"Isso não é saudável aqui para Timor", considerou Mário Viegas Carrascalão.
"Eu gostaria de ver Alkatiri destruído democraticamente, e quando digo
destruído é eliminado da cena política em eleições", não de qualquer
"Mas a última coisa que eu queria era ser acusado de contribuir para a
instabilidade em Timor e tenho de arranjar forma de convivência com o
próprio CNRT, que tem muita gente, muita gente, de quem não gosto",
adiantou Mário Carrascalão.
"Isto engana o povo, que olha a sigla e pensa que este partido lutou
pela libertação de Timor", continuou o presidente do PSD pegando num
jornal do dia e apontando o artigo de primeira página sobre o CNRT.
Para Carrascalão, Xanana corre o risco de perder a credibilidade que
tinha, porque "para ser governo, é preciso ter-se sensibilidade para
assuntos dministrativos e temas sociais. Não é só discursar. É preciso
saber como".
"Há com certeza técnicos para fazer as coisas, mas se um líder não
acompanhar, é co-responsável. É engolido", prosseguiu, opinando que
Alkatiri é odiado em Timor-Leste.
"A maior parte da população odeia-o. Talvez sem razão. Eu não sei",
afirmou, esclarecendo que ele liderou um Governo que "nunca disse a
Alkatiri que discordava dele ou em que algum ministro ameaçasse sair.
Todos querem comer. E isso vai ser pior com o CNRT".
"Xanana é um homem bom demais para fazer o que eu fiz durante dez anos
aqui em Timor: usar o princípio de que só morro uma vez mas aquilo que
eu entender que está certo, é isso que eu vou fazer", analisou ainda
Mário Viegas Carrascalão.
"Eu não sou como ele. Sou bom mas não sou aquele bom como o Xanana,
que chora e comove as pessoas. Para mim, o que é, é. Quem gosta,
gosta, quem não gosta, não gosta. Não vou modificar-me para fazer
jeitos", declarou.
Sobre a candidatura de Xanana Gusmão, o candidato do PSD às
legislativas declarou que "ele é uma pessoa que devia continuar na
posição de um pai deste país, e não meter-se em questões de governos".
"Já com José Ramos-Horta eu disse: você é um Nobel da Paz, deve cuidar
da paz, da harmonia, e um chefe de governo tem que tomar decisões
drásticas. Vai causar muita antipatia".
Para Mário Viegas Carrascalão, o novo Presidente da República "deu o
primeiro passo errado" ao promulgar a lei de alteração eleitoral.
"Eu adiava as eleições mas nunca assinaria uma lei contra a minha
consciência. O próprio José Ramos-Horta dizia que não concordava com a
lei", concluiu.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Xanana the traitor?

David Alex was obviously killed in a gun battle with TNI but it's not the battle that is a problem here, the question is how did the enemy know about the whereabout of David Alex Daitula, if there was any treason who did it and for what purpose.

Don't just accept one side of an event and think it's the absolute truth but there must questions when you feel that there was some element of missing facts about that event.

Let me ask you some questions. Hw did the indonesian military knew about Daitula's exact hidden place?..After 21 years never captured by Indonesian army, how can TNI knew with so much details about the position of David Daitula at that time and easily launching an ambush to capture and kill him the following day?...

Bear in mind that some attacks launched by Daitula against BRIMOB (Indo.Police) and TNI, some months before his killing, were never agreed by Xanana Gusmao. Daitula was heavily criticed by Gusmao and even Horta at that year. Daitula was even considered the hardliner among FALINTIL's commanders.Though the fact that he was vice chief staff of FALINTIL.

About Mauhudu I probably would not say that Xanana has a role in his murder but I would say that Xanana excessive illogical reconciliation strategy with TNI generals which tend to make all Timorese people to experience absolute amnesia about TL history of massacre and crimes, which created by him just to please those criminals TNI generals, will certainly a main factor that hurt, discomfort and create a sense of denial to justice for all the victims of indonesian military crimes. In this case, it includes Mauhudu's family which dream for justice to prevails. Xanana failed them by his reconciliation without justice and reconciliation to forget the past. Who are the winners for this absolute ridiculous reconciliation shit**?? Of course they are those criminals; TNI generals warmly hugged and kissed by Xanana Gusmao, the Nobel Peace Prize dreamer.

My friend, we timorese shall not think that Xanana is uncriticiseable or he is the God himself. I tell you he is just an ordinary Timor citizen trusted by timorese people to lead them. So as a member of timorese society I have all my rights to critice him and demand for his responsability and responses to many questions about the suspected and unnormal deaths of many FALINTIL commanders under his leadership.

Xanana himself criticed Nicolau Lobato about many Falintil commanders' death under Nicolau's leadership. So why not shall we now question Xanana about treasons commited by some pro-independence elements, close to Xanana at that time, on the deaths of Daitula David Alex, Pedro Nunes Sabalae and his assistant, and sudden death of Konis Santana who told to be sick but in fact was known to be healty before his death. You don't believe me, just ask Somoco, the East Timor actual vice interior minister.

Many and many FALINTIL and clandestine commanders were traited just because they are to tough on their principles about how to fight against Indonesian occupation.

There was a treason on the death of a resistance commander chief of CLFC and his assistant, involving some elements in clandestine movement associated with David Ximenes which obviously responsible directly to Xanana Gusmao at that time. For this Xanana must be held accountable and to respond to questions arrised by the families of these individuals.

Thank you Ze Luis....

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ze Luis <>
Date: Apr 26, 2007 7:28 PM

Ne'e Frente Revulusionariu ka Frete Reaksionariu! Etiketa la iha,
promove lia bosok no isultus hanesan imi nia patraun.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Abilio Mausoko sei fó depoimentu iha dia 5 de Juñu

Tuir isuisu ne’ebé la’o iha Dili laran ne’e, Abílio Mausoko (Abílio Warga ka Abílio Mesquita) sei fó ninia depoimentu ba iha tribunál iha dia 5 de Juñu (lee ninia istória iha ne'e). Saida maka sei mosu iha ne’ebá? Ita hein…

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Senñór Prezidente RDTL, José Ramos-Horta, Ó bá ne’ebé agora?

Foin daudauk Timor-Leste komemora ninia aniversáriu ba dala lima Loron Restaurasaun ba Independénsia nian. Iha loron ne'e prezidente foun mós simu ninia pose hodi komesa mandatu foun. Timor-Leste nia prezidente foun maka Dr. José Manuél Ramos-Horta, premiadu ho Nobel da Paz no mós diplomata ho rekonhesimentu iha mundu tomak.


Parese problema imediatu ida ba Prezidente Ramos-Horta atu rezolve maka kestaun ex-majór no ex-komandante Polísia Militár, Alfredo Reinado nian. Molok Prezidente Ramos-Horta simu ninia mandatu foun ne'e, ita hotu haree hanesan kestaun Alfredo nian nee atu hetan daudauk ona rezolusaun. Ex-ministru interior Sr. Rogerio Lobato hetan prizaun to'o tinan hitu tanba ninia envolvimentu iha atividade fahe-kilat iha tinan kotuk. Rona ida ne'e, Sr. Alfredo Reinado mós hatán katak nia sei tun mai Dili hodi hola parte iha justisa. Hafoin ISF sira ba ataka Sr. Alfredo ho ninia elementu sira iha Same, nune'e  mós iha nafatin sinál pozitivu katak Sr. Alfredo hakarak halo diálogu. Igreja Katólika tau nia an hanesan mediadór ne'ebé Sr. Prezidente Ramos-Horta ho Sr. Alfredo mós simu. Ita bele dehan mós katak maioria elite polítika Timor nian mós simu ho inisiativa ida ne'e. Durante kampaña eleitorál Prezidente Ramos-Horta halo mós promesa barak. Ninia promesa ida maka oinsá nia sei rezolve kazu petisionáriu ho kazu Sr. Alfredo Reinado nian.


Ikus-ikus ne'e parese Sr. Alfredo nega filafali ninia promesa dala ida tan. Mezmu ho mediasaun igreja Katólika nian. Foin daudauk Sr. Alfredo hatete katak nia sei la kumpre ho inisiativa ne'ebé maka hala'o ona ho igreja nia mediasaun ( haree iha ne'e). To'o pontu ida ne'e ita bele dehan katak ita la hatene loos Sr. Alfredo ninia hakarak loos ne'e saida?


Sr. Alfredo nia ezisténsia iha justisa nia liur aprezenta prigu boot ida ba estabilidade Timor-Leste nian hanesan nasaun independente ida. Se Sr. Alfredo kontinua halai nafatin hosi autoridade governu nian, nia sei kontinua hala'o ninia atividade ne'ebé undermine autoridade Estadu nian. Povu hateke ba Estadu hanesan garantór ba sira nia seguransa pesoál no garantór ba estabilidade sosiál ho polítika. Bainhira povu hetan persepsaun katak Estadu ne'e fraku no laiha ona kbiit atu fó protesaun ba sira, povu sei lakon sira nia konfiansa no buka alternativa seluk atu hetan protesaun ne'e. Estadu ne'e iha perigu atu lakon ninia lejitimidade iha povu nia matan se Estadu ne'e husik Sr. Alfredo halai hosi justisa no autoridade Estadu nian ne'ebé hetan lejitimidade hosi povu tuir eleisaun demokrátika. Sr. Alfredo laiha lejitimidade no nia laiha kbiik nein uitoan atu fó protesaun ho seguransa ne'ebé só Estadu ida maka bele fó. Estadu ho povu iha perigu ida nia laran atu monu ba situasaun vacuum power. Saida maka Sr. Prezidente Ramos-Horta tenke halo agora?


Problema Sr. Alfredo Reinado nian tuir loloos iha tiha ona ninia solusaun iha tinan kotuk karik polítiku balubalu la aproveita ho ninia dezersaun hodi halo polítika ba sira nia interese rasik. Bainhira Sr. Alfredo husik tiha ninia kadeia komandu militár, polítiku na'in sira hanesan Sr. Prezidente Ramos-Horta ho agora ex-prezidente Sr. Xanana Gusmão hatudu momoos hela sira nia apoiu polítiku ba asaun Sr. Alfredo nian. Envézde buka maneira hodi izola kedan Sr. Alfredo atu nune'e nia labele hetan tan apoiu hosi seksaun sosiál seluk, Sr. Horta ho Sr. Xanana sé fali liman ba Sr. Alfredo hodi fó fali lejitimidade ba asaun ne'ebé nia halo. Iha rai-seluk, asaun Sr. Alfredo nian ne'e ema konsidera hanesan grave tebetebes. Rai balun nia kastigu ba asaun sira hanesan Sr. Alfredo nian ne'e maka kastigu to'o mate.


Maibé ho lejitimidade ne'ebé maka Sr. Alfredo hetan liu hosi asaun Sr. Horta ho Sr. Xanana nian, ohin loron Sr. Alfredo konsege konsolida ninia ajenda iha povu ki'ik nia leet. Povu komesa haree daudauk ba Sr. Alfredo hanesan alternativa ba Estadu, Estadu ne'ebé soberanu ho podér hosi povu maibé laiha pozisaun firme ka bele impoin ninia autoridade hanesan estipula iha Constituição da República. Iha naran nasaun modernu no demokrátiku ida, Estadu mesak maka órgaun ida lejítimu liu hodi reprezenta povu. Bainhira povu lakon ona fiar ba Estadu ne'e, Estadu ne'e monu no sai Estadu falhadu. Iha rai barak, eventu ida hanesan ne'e sempre tuir kedan ho eventu sira seluk hanesan revolusaun, ditadura, gera sivíl, etc. Ninia konsekuénsia aat tebes. Ema rihun ba rihun maka sei mate. Rai barak iha Áfrika ho Sudueste Ázia nian maka sai ona exemplu ba mundu tomak haree. Sr. Horta ho Sr. Xanana tenke haree katak Sr. Alfredo ninia ajenda la'ós atu mantén Estadu ida iha ninia fatin, maibé atu hamonu Estadu ida. Timor-Leste oan sira hala'o rezisténsia hasoru Indonézia iha tinan 25 nia laran hodi harii Estadu ida la'ós atu hetan kaos ho anarkia, ne'ebé no podér polítiku só hetan de'it liu hosi forsa kilat nian.


Maibé, dalaruma ita bele argumenta katak Sr. Horta ho Sr. Xanana lakohi hola medidas ne'ebé drástiku tanba bele hamonu rai ne'e ba krize ida boot liután karik? Tan ne'e maka sira sente di'ak liu hamaus de'it Sr. Alfredo duké halo nia laran sai nakali liután no provoka krize ida boot liu fali. Keta ba Sr. Horta ho Sr. Xanana, di'ak liu ema na'in 30 resin de'it maka mate duké ema rihun resin? Talvés Sr. Xanana hakarak evita ema mate tan hanesan violénsia iha post-referendum 1999 nian? Bele hanesan ne'e mós agora oinsá? Se Sr. Alfredo lakohi submete nia an ba autoridade Estadu nian, oinsá maka Sr. Prezidente responde ba buat ida ne'e? Karik Sr. Prezidente Ramos-Horta sente katak Sr. Alfredo nia lejitimidade ho Estadu nia lejitimidade iha nivel ida hanesan? Se nune'e karik, ita hotu ba eleisaun hodi hili Sr. Prezidente Ramos-Horta hodi halo saida?


Hakerek na'in ida ne'e haree katak Prezidente Ramos-Horta tenke ezerse ninia autoridade tuir Constituição RDTL define. Nune'e Prezdente Ramos-Horta mós iha lejitimidade moral atu kontinua buka dalan hodi neutraliza lalais Sr. Alfredo nia influénsia iha rai-laran, liuliu iha parte loromonu. Povu Timor-Leste labele iha opsaun ida ne'ebé nia tenke hili entre Sr. Alfredo ho Sr. Prezidente RDTL nian. Karik to'o ona pontu ida ne'e, entaun Timor-Leste sei la fila ona ba kotuk. Dalan ba oin maka sei fase ho raan.
Lafahek Rai Maran

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Prime Minister Material?

Signs of endearment

The Australian
Jane Fraser
October 07, 2006

THERE seem to be so few rules left about public displays of affection and protection. Men, for example, no longer open car doors for women or give up their seats on buses and trains, and this is neither here nor there; we all have to stand on our own two feet when the cows and birds come home to roost, and whatever it is that cows do at home.

One particularly irksome ingrained habit, however, lurks in the male psyche and that is the primitive urge to walk on the roadside of a woman. Everywhere in the world, even as we speak, hundreds and thousands of men are doing little sewing machine-like movements around women so that they are gallantly saving them from being run over by the proverbial escaped horse or having mud splashed on their hooped skirts by a runaway landau.

But we still snort at overt physical gestures that we consider untoward. Snogging on the train station platform, for example.

In general, kissing is a bone of contention. Apparently Xanana Gusmao insists female reporters kiss him on the lips after an interview. Yuck; not that I have anything per se against the man; he's a revolution junkie's pin-up. It's the principle of the matter. Cheek-pecking is OK, and that's that.

Recently, the politics of the more anodyne hand-holding became the conjecture du jour after Margaret Whitlam was quoted as marvelling at John and Janette Howard's habit of holding hands in public. "For god's sake, they've been married for over 30 years!" she expostulated.

This casual sort of commentary was a bandwagon just waiting to be climbed upon, and an umbrage tree ready to be climbed. Broadcaster Neil Mitchell bought into the brouhaha, accusing Treasurer Peter Costello of lacing fingers with his wife, Tanya. "I did notice you with your wife the other day. I am afraid, disgracefully, you were holding hands," he thundered amiably. Costello's riposte was that he had been married only 25 years, so perhaps you are supposed to stop after the 26th.

Cherie and Tony Blair were photographed leaving the British Prime Minister's Labour conference farewell function holding hands and Bill and Hillary Clinton were often caught with hands linked, even after his brief excursions into infidelity were made public; after all, as she once memorably and forgivingly said, he's a hard dog to keep on the porch.

Funnily enough, grumpier though I become by the minute, I have nothing against hand-holding; some of my best friends do it, but I am, as a rule of thumb, a lot shorter than most men, which means I have to raise my arm to about the same position as I would were I executing an overhead smash. This means I am not in control of the situation and feel as though I am being led along like a wizened orang-utang by the zookeeper.

At the end of the day, it's just not me.

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