Looking Beyond: An Academic Stance Within A Local Perspective (A Case Study of Reading the Timorese Name)

Gregor Neonbasu (Universitas Katolik Widya Mandira Kupang)


In this paper, the writer would like to go deeply within habitual of local Timorese when uttering all the names: both names of people and places. The data collection of name groups gave me the way to find the fact, in which my understanding was shaped to keeping in touch with the local knowledge about the atmosphere as well as the paradigm of life of the Bibokinese (the people of Timor, Eastern Indonesia). It looks like their everyday lives just lean on how they account all the place name groups and they further pave it in a real local context of life. Local people have a kind of awareness feeling which comes into being when they keep mentioning the name groups regularly.

Local knowledge in articulating a name flows from the physical understanding to a psychological aspect of a name. Name links to the existence of a person as well as a society. Local term “haek’ka” not only brings to mind that someone is standing in a certain precinct, but more than that, it also tells about the presence of an individual in a context of life. Moreover, such term declared a person’s life in the frame of the footsteps of the ancestors’ good behaviors. There is a strong belief concerning the habit of mentioning the name among the ordinary people that it has its meaning for the daily affairs of the local inhabitants, and also linking to the ancestors’ time. According to this account, a name is believed to be a tool for people in looking after their current life. In the meantime, uttering or articulating a name is not merely an act of talking about a personal name, but more than that, a name can be apparently used to indicate and thus identify the character of both, a person and a society in the frame of the ecological principle.

Keywords: Looking beyond, names of people and place, the origins, ancestors and local wisdom.