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Last of the Bloodsports

Ted McDonnell | East Timor

IT’S dusk on a Wednesday afternoon in Dili, East Timor . An hour ago, rain was pouring from the heavy set clouds, all but, flooding the streets, but that was an hour ago. Now it’s just hot and sweaty…

The Dili streets are crammed with humanity, cars and motor scooters weaving amongst the unruly traffic. People are doing last minute shopping for dinner .

But hundreds of men and their sons are scrambling along the pot-holed streets of suburban Culuhun, 10 minutes from the centre of Dili with their prized roosters on strings rushing to East Timor’s National Sport ‘Cock Fighting’ – a sport that seems as old as the country itself.

A match may take anything from a few seconds to several minutes... the 3 inch razor sharp blades tied to the cock’s legs ensure fights are decisive and death assured… there is only ever one winner and the loser is dispatched unceremoniously to the dinner table.

It’s a sad sport.

But as Hemingway said: "People say it's cruel, but what the hell does a fighting cock like to do?"





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