Moris Mai : to be born
Loh, Jing Ting
Toh, Yan Wei
Date of Issue2012
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
Moris Mai, meaning “to be born” in Tetum, the indigenous language of Timor-Leste, is a 20-minute documentary on the pressing child and maternity issue in the young nation, its root causes, practical implications and the hopes of the locals towards an improved healthcare system. The documentary is produced by a group of final year students, specializing in Broadcast and Cinema Studies, from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University. Production of the documentary took place from July 2011 to March 2012, spanning across different districts in Timor-Leste, from the capital, Dili to Oecussi, a coastal enclave separated from Timor-Leste by West Timor. This serves to provide a more accurate portrayal of the maternal healthcare situation across the country, both in its capital and remote regions. Commonly known as East Timor, Timor-Leste achieved its independence in 2002, making it the youngest nation in Southeast Asia. Centuries of civil war hindered its social and economical development, with one of the imperative concerns being the high Child and Maternal Mortality Rates. Persistent traditional beliefs and practices, lack of adequate medical facilities and skilled birth attendants, poor basic infrastructure and low educational level are contributing factors towards the stark mortality rates. The documentary highlights the main causes of the high death rates from childbirth through the voices of our interviewees, which include a Timorese man who had to deal with the painful decision of sending his wife to the hospital, despite resistance from his family, as the traditional birth attendants were unable to handle the emergency situation. Thereafter, his wife and the baby died on the operation table. Views from the authorities such as Non Governmental Organizations, foreign doctors in the country, and even the President of Timor-Leste are similarly included for their expert opinions and to provide a different perspective on this solemn topic. While the state of healthcare system in Timor-Leste requires much attention by the international community, Moris Mai – To Be Born is the first documentary to be made on the maternal healthcare issues in the nation. Through the documentary, we hope to break new grounds and bring about emphasis and awareness on its current child and maternal situation. Overall, the production team overcame tremendous obstacles in terms of language barriers, lack of basic infrastructure such as availability of electricity, clean water and transportation, and most importantly, the sensitivity of this topic itself, with regards to women and children‟s death. As such, this report serves to detail the objectives and treatment of our documentary, pre-production, production and post-production process, the challenges we have faced and our team‟s learning journey.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University