Mambae, the spoken language in various dialects in five districts: Aile'u, Ainaru, Ermera, partly Manufahe and partly Lukisa, is the largest local language in Timor-Leste. While Tetun, one of the official languages in this new country, in fact, is only a small clump that used by the residents of Dili (North Tetun), the population of district of Vikeke (Eastern Tetun) and most of the population in Kovalima district (South Tetum). But because of Tetun was to be used as a lingua franca, either by the government of Timor-Portuguese as the language of politics and the Catholic Church as a Liturgical language, the majority of the population of Timor-Leste pre-independence, at least once to know and use Tetun. Although it has been recorded in numerous books on linguistics that, there are about 32 languages and dialects in Timor-Leste, which are still in active spoken by the natives. When Timor-Leste became a sovereign state, members of Parliament of Timor-Leste at the time, unanimously decided to include Tetun as one of the National languages into the Constitution of the Republic Democratic of Timor-Leste (RDTL).
Mambae language that I just knew in December 2011, has also two special expressions for the personal pronouns, beside the major ones. Types of the special pronouns referring to what I meant, is used as subtle greetings to sex-based categories: Mau (for men) and Bui (for women). Roughly, these two Mambae’s special expressions are equivalent to same expressions in the languages of Flores people, such as in Larantuka: No and Oa, in Maumere: Mo'at and Du'a, in Manggarai, Kraeng and Enu, and in Dawan, Timor-Indonesia: Ni' and Bi. But these two phrases of the Mambae’s, Mau and Bui, seemed to me, refer also to the nuances of patriotism. In a “fighting” for human rights for example, a Mambae man will called himself: Maubere, and a Mambae women: Buibere. Because they believed, Bere was the archaic name of their original ancestor. In fact, the shade of meaning has spread to all of the people of Timor-Leste. In my own opinion, the new shade of the meaning, due to the long history of the great struggle for freedom that can only be achieved after hundreds of years. At the official forums of humanity struggle, the Timorese often refer to themselves as Povo Maubere (People of Maubere), which almost means: "The people of Timor-Leste". Several official organizations, whether political or non-political organizations, use the word, Maubere, as a typical name. Security Maubere example, with an antique logo of alligator-timor, or Radio Maubere, and so forth. During the election campaigns of Parliament members or the President of Timor-Leste, Maubere and Buibere become the "key" word which was shouted everywhere by the candidates, who want to win the sympathy of the people. Especially when the candidates were campaigning in the areas of the Mambaes.
As a missionary who is now working in Timor-Leste, I will never forget the nuances of the meaning of Maubere and Buibere, in order to win the Church of Christ for those whom I serve: "Kolegas Maubere ho Buibere sira, mai ita hotu luta hamutuk, atu Igreja Jesus Kristu, bele hamrik ho di'ak no hakmatek ba nafatin, iha ita nia rai doben Timor-Leste." (All friends of Maubere and Buibere, let us struggle together, so the Church of Jesus Christ would remain upright, secure and peaceful forever, in our beloved homeland, Timor-Leste) Why? The Catholic Church in Timor-Leste during the pre-independence time, was the only spiritual institution that supported people's struggle to achieve the independence. But as a collection of ordinary people, the Catholic Church of Timor-Leste, until this day, can not escape from the attack of the "lion" trials, which could have come to pounce at any time. What else, mundu sempre nakfilak-an kada Loron. Meaning the earth is always changing from day to day. *** (Prisco Virgo)