Minister, I must say there are no dropouts

ClassroomMICHAEL DOM

“The FODE (Flexible Open Distance Education) students will study the same contents and they will sit for the same exams. So no one should be left behind. All students should be educated equally” - Education Minister Jimmy Uguro, Fee free option for dropouts, The National, 12 January 2021

“Dropout(s), noun: a person who has abandoned a course of study or who has rejected conventional society to pursue an alternative lifestyle, e.g. "a college dropout" (Oxford Languages)

LAE – Some people like to use the synonym ‘hippy’ or ‘free spirit’ instead of ‘dropout’ or, more disapprovingly, ‘rebel’ or ‘misfit’. And, with even less appreciation, ’loafer’, ‘deadbeat’, ‘bum’ or ‘bad boy’ (na ‘bad girl’ tu o?).

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Morauta’s masterclass in economic reform

Mek
Sir Mekere Morauta - brought Papua New Guinea back from the brink of economic disaster

MATTHEW MORRIS
| DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - Following independence, the Papua New Guinea economy fared relatively well. From 1980 to 1994 it grew at an average of 4% a year.

It was a bumpy ride though, with peaks and troughs in growth, notably the closure of the Panguna mine in 1989 and the start of the Kutubu oil project in 1992.

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Settlement dwellers smell Covid corruption

Biomed dr bomai kerenga
Biomed chairman Dr Bomai Kerenga. The company has been mysteriously silent since receiving a K10.2 million from the Marape government to find a cure for Covid-19

HERVEY FORSYTHE

WAIGANI - Many residents of Port Moresby’s settlements believe Covid-19 is a hoax used by opportunistic government officials to embezzle public funds.

The PNG National Research Institute (NRI) surveyed perceptions of residents of 10 settlements and found more than three-quarters of respondents thought the pandemic was dubious and an excuse for corruption.

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The importance of language in culture

Culture-LanguagePHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY – In his essay, Tok Pisin, Tok Motu na Tok Ples, Michael Dom starts with the question, “If Tok Pisin is the language expression of our lifestyle and our intermingled cultures” then what does this language say about us as a people?”

Later in the essay, he writes: "We are educating the native languages out of our societies and along with them entire visualisations and expressions of the human experience.

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Tok Pisin, Tok Motu na Tok Ples

Tok-pisin-rootsMICHAEL DOM
| Full references at end of essay

LAE - If Tok Pisin is the language expression of our lifestyle and our intermingled cultures” (1) then what does this language say about us as a people?

As first-language English-speaking Papua Niuginians, my siblings and I were introduced to Tok Pisin during our late primary and secondary school years.

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Your resources: a warning for poor nations

Total lng freighterAMIT JAIN
| My Land, My Country

SINGAPORE - French oil major Total is at the final stages of settling the terms for Papua New Guinea’s second major natural gas development, the proposed $13 billion (K45 billion) Papua liquefied natural gas project that will double the country’s gas export capacity.

Days before its executives were to arrive in the capital Port Moresby to seal the deal, prime minister James Marape’s government was shaken by a political crisis.

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Crucial Bougainville independence talks begin

Marape Toroama
James Marape and Ishmael Toroama exchange the agreement that will guide the joint consultation on Bougainville's political future

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – The Papua New Guinea and Bougainville leaders have announced the immediate start of joint consultations on the outcome of Bougainville’s 2019 referendum in which 98% of voters opted for the autonomous province to become independent.

PNG prime minister James Marape and Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama reaffirmed that their governments are committed to the process of consultations on the referendum result.

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The special place of poetry in PNG

Words of Paradise  Poetry of PNG (Jacket2  Anthony Madrid)
Words of Paradise:  Poetry of PNG (Jacket2 Anthony Madrid)

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - I read quite a bit of modern Australian poetry, as it turns up in the newspapers and journals that I read, but quite frankly most of it doesn't do much for me.

On the other hand, Papua New Guinean poetry and prose continues to be a joy and fascination.

Even some of Australia's much lauded poets, like Les Murray or Clive James, both of whom died in 2019, don't appeal to me.

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Where are those old Sogeri books?

Powesiu Lawes on the beach at Loniu Village  Manus
Doctor and artist Powesiu Lawes on the beach at Loniu Village,  Manus

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - Hazel Kutkue, a doctor at Braun District Hospital west of Finschhafen in Morobe Province (and a fine writer), has asked whether the three Sogeri books mentioned in Marj Walker's obituary are still in print.

It so happens that this was a matter I looked into when I was writing the obituary.

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Poetry and the masses

Orwell
George Orwell broadcasting from the BBC

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Long holiday breaks like those we have been experiencing over Christmas and New Year bring a kind of stasis to most media and it is necessary to seek intellectual stimulation elsewhere.

To that end I’ve been re-reading some of George Orwell’s essays, particularly those written during World War II.

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Eulogy in honour of the late Sir Mek

Mekere Morauta & James Marape
The late Sir Mekere Morauta and prime minister James Marape

JAMES MARAPE MP
| Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea | Edited

I delivered this short eulogy in honour of Rt Hon Sir Mekere Morauta at his funeral service on Friday. It is short and succinct. No amount of words can adequately describe this huge persona - JM

WAIGANI - I stand today sadly to offer tribute to this great man who selflessly gave his life in service to Papua New Guinea.

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Rose Kekedo’s string of firsts

Rose kekedo
Dame Rose Kekedo

CATHY KEIMELO
| Ples Singsing | Edited

Dame Rose Kekedo by Eric Johns, pamphlet, Famous People of PNG series, 27 pages. Pearson & Longman Publisher, South Melbourne, Australia, 1 January 2002, ISBN-10: 0733933300. Available on Amazon for US$39.99 at this link

WAIGANI – This is a short biography of Dame Rose Violet Kekedo (1942-2005), the first Papua New Guinean first woman to venture into fields and roles that had been traditionally reserved for men.

Like her mother, Dame Mary Kekedo, she was knighted for her services to the government and people of PNG before and after independence.

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Malnutrition: What you need to know and do

Highlands child (Scott Waide)BARBARA ANGORO
| My Land, My Country

AUCKLAND - Couple of things but I’d like to talk about. First, the kind of food we are giving our babies and, second, the implications of being an underweight baby.

We all can be advocates for our future generation. If you have a family member who is under five, be that child’s advocate.

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The dog that took over my abode

Nebula and family
Nebula and her new family members. Nebula found an inconvenient place to give birth

SCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My People

LAE - Two years ago, my son’s dog-daughter, Nebula, ‘adopted’ me as her human parent.

She seemed to claim me even more after he left to join the army last year and I became full-time parent, or Nebula adopted me as full time parent, whatever.

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Dominica Are & her Prized Possessions

Dominica’s book 'Prized Possessions'HAZEL KUTKUE
| Sipikriva Girl Blog | Photographs by Dominica Are

'Prized Possessions: A Collection of Poetry’by Dominica Are, paperback, 132 pages. Independently published, March 2020. ISBN-13 979-8622956454. Available here from Amazon for $US8.73

BRAUN - Poetry makes for beautiful literature.

Sipikriva Girl, despite not entirely embracing poetry, had the opportunity to speak to 34-year old writer, poet and accountant, Dominica Are, who recently published her first collection of poetry, Prized Possessions.

Hailing from the highlands of Papua New Guinea, Dominica works full time as an accountant with PNG Coffee Exports Ltd in Goroka.

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Marj Walker, respected Sogeri teacher, dies at 84

Marj Walker
Marj Walker and students pose outside the Sogeri High School Museum

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - Marjorie (Marj) Walker, a highly respected teacher at Sogeri national high school, died at Mount Waverley in Victoria on 31 December aged 84.

Marj was the head of expressive arts at Sogeri from 1972-85 and made a number of return visits to Papua New Guinea over the years including one in 2013 to meet former students.

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Covid, a Facebook dare & then - a new book

Baka bina
Baka Bina

BAKA BINA

Tales from Faif by Baka Barakove Bina with contributions from Emily Sakepe Bina, Amazon KDP Edition, December 2020, $5.00, link here to purchase

PORT MORESBY - Such is life for me that I have published my last three books (Antics of Alonaa, Volume One, Musings from Sogopex and Operesin Kisim Bek Lombo) just before the end of a year.

The result is that during the festive season announcements about them usually get pushed to the side and there are no fanfare.

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Toroama outlines challenges for 2021

Youths listen to President Toroama
Youths at Roreinang Catholic mission listen to President Toroama discuss the challenges ahead

ANTHONY KAYBING
| Office of the ABG President

BUKA - President Ishmael Toroama has urged Bougainvilleans to stand firm in the region’s aspirations for political independence as Bougainville begins the new year.

Speaking to youths from different Christian denominations throughout Bougainville gathered at Roreinang United Church Mission, the president asked: “Are we one of those patriotic Bougainvilleans willing to go the distance to achieve Bougainville’s aspirations for independence?

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PNG’s exclusive low quality club looms

PostgraduateMICHAEL.KABUNI
| Academia Nomad | Edited

PORT MORESBY - PNG’s tertiary institutions are becoming an exclusive club of the few, as the rest are pushed out of the system.

However, with dropping quality, the qualifications will not mean much if there’s no investment.

It’s the same as placing a quota on imported goods. Product prices go up not because of their quality but because of the limited supply.

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Our people must truly Take Back PNG

Take backSCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

Open letter to prime minister James Marape

Dear Prime Minister - Our government has to admit the fact that there is a glaring imbalance between Papua New Guinean and foreign ownership of businesses. We own very little in our country.

Retail, wholesale and real estate in our towns and cities are controlled by Chinese interests.

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Living in the slums

 

HeavyHAZEL KUTKUE
| Sipikriva Girl Blog

FINSCHHAFEN - After ending my career as a resident doctor at Angau Memorial Provincial Hospital, Lae, it was time to pack up my bags and move temporarily to the big city.

In Lae, I had lived in accommodation provided by the hospital for resident doctors. I had initially lived in a bedsitter inside the hospital, and then I moved to Eriku in flats rented by the hospital.

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China & Australia must agree to disagree

KangarooCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Thanks for the very balanced assessment in ‘Australia needs help with its China problem’.

It is important to put some perspective into a debate that tends to become fairly acrimonious at times.

So far as I can see, the only acceptable basis for a sensible relationship with China is one where we simply agree to disagree on some issues.

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Australia needs help with its China problem

Australia-and-China-Flag
The dilemma of how Australia can reach a reasonable accommodation with China, just as Papua New Guinea and New Zealand have managed to do

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – When Bernard Yegiora recently published an essay on China’s relations with Australia and Papua New Guinea, some PNG Attitude readers were quick to criticise his views. Perfectly acceptable.

One reader was quick to criticise Bernard personally. Not acceptable, and I made clear my displeasure.

Bernard was, after all, articulating his version of PNG’s current policy on how its relationship with China is conducted.

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A personal reflection on 2020 & Covid-19

Haus
A transit house provided by Catholic Mission on Iwon Island, East Sepik, for the sick and their caregivers (Mary Fairio)

MARY FAIRIO
| My Land, My Country

PORT MORESBY – 2020 is a year to remember, many will say.

It is a year that brought challenges to many people from the community to the national level in our beloved motherland, Papua New Guinea.

A tear falls for the unborn baby who died because there was no medical attendant.

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Stories from our new year: 2019

2019 Jack Emanuel GC
Jack Emanuel GC

COMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON

2 January 2019 - The killing of district commissioner Jack Emanuel (Andrew Phillips)

Errol John (Jack) Emanuel was a district commissioner in East New Britain when he was murdered on 19 August 1971. He was posthumously awarded the George Cross for gallantry displayed between 1969 and 1971. At the time of Emanuel’s death, Andrew Phillips, now of New York, was news director at Radio Rabaul.

I was posted to Rabaul following Keith Jackson’s transfer to Bougainville. The unrest Keith experienced continued, and it culminated in the stabbing murder of Jack Emanuel who had been sent on special assignment to negotiate with the Mataungun Association.

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Stories from our new year: 2018

Paul Flanagan
Paul Flanagan - "The O’Neill-Abel economic policies are the greatest barriers to private sector growth"

COMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON

2 January 2018 - O’Neill policies risk economic crisis (Paul Flanagan)

If you’re looking for a happy start to 2018, don’t read the depressing review of the Papua New Guinean economy just released by the International Monetary Fund. It shows that PNG is facing a great risk of a fiscal crisis.

The IMF projects that the 2018 economy will be K7 billion less than promised by the O’Neill-Abel government.

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Stories from our new year: 2017

Chris Overland
Chris Overland - "I entered world that was utterly different"

COMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON

2 January 2017 - The shock of the new (Chris Overland)

On New Year's Day, I sit before my computer contemplating the fact that it is now some 48 years since I first set foot in Papua New Guinea. It seems a very long time ago that I first walked down the stairs from an Ansett Airlines Boeing 727 and made my way across the shimmering tarmac towards a somewhat dilapidated terminal building at Jackson's Field.

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Stories from our new year: 2016

Francis Nii & the green hills of Simbu
Francis Nii and the green hills of Simbu

COMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON

1 January 2016 - Let us explain to the people that their vote is precious (Francis Nii)

Eighteen months from now Papua New Guineans will vote in the eleventh national parliamentary elections.

People from all walks and of all creeds will vie for a seat in the national parliament, re-elected every five years.

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Stories from our new year: 2015

Hayden
Bill Hayden - in 1988 told Australian cabinet there was "a likelihood of bloodshed" in PNG

COMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON

1 January 2015 - Australia feared PNG military coup in 1988 (Damien Murphy)

| Sydney Morning Herald | Cabinet documents from the Australian National Archives

Cabinet was warned that the triggers for a military coup in Papua New Guinea had been identified as Australia's position as a close friend and adviser was under challenge 13 years after the Melanesia nation gained independence.

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Stories from our new year: 2013-14

Kundiawa Town  October 2020 (Paul Waugla Wii)
Kundiawa Town,  October 2020 (Paul Waugla Wii)

COMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON

1 January 2013 - Sex enhancement products on Kundiawa streets (Bernard Yegiora)

A street seller in Kundiawa came up to me and offered me a packet of Viagra cream for K40. He touted the cream for K40, then K20 and finally K10. I politely told him that I didn't have any money.

I was told he also sells Viagra pills. Scary stuff if you do not know the side effects. So Kundiawa town is changing.

How did this street seller end up selling Viagra on the streets of Kundiawa? Is Viagra legal or illegal in PNG? I was told that his biggest customers are public servants. I presume this product has sparked a sexual revolution.

Word on the street is that the Viagra came via the Indonesia-PNG boarder, similar to the fireworks on the streets. Not only male sex products but also female sex products are sold on the streets of Kundiawa. Very interesting changes.

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Stories from our new year: 2012

Martyn & beers
Martyn Namorong and rewards for excellence in writing

COMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON

1 January 2012 - Mipela ino inap? What the f***? (Martyn Namorong)

Why do organisations run by expats generally do better than those run by Papua New Guineans? And why did Papua New Guinean civil servants and disciplinary forces perform better under the colonial administration than they do now?

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Stories from our new year: 2007-09

StreetsignCOMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON

1 January 2007 - Courses of study (Keith Jackson)

Happy new year to all my readers. And here's a question to test the ageing memory of former teaching students at the Australian School of Pacific Administration. Exactly how many of those ASOPA courses that you diligently studied (or wilfully disregarded) can you recall? And how many subjects were you examined in during the two year program?

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Sovereignty, China, PNG & Australia

FlagsBERNARD YEGIORA
| The Yegiora Files

MADANG – It’s well known that China has the largest population of any country and that its people have been mobilised as the driving force behind China’s rapid growth and transformation.

To ensure its population remains stable, content and healthy, the Chinese government needs to undertake massive development projects.

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Why are most aid posts non-operational

Haus sikBARBARA ANGORO
| My Land, My Country

AUCKLAND - Scott Waide’s article on Josephstaal got me thinking about access to medicines to aid posts, the primary level health facility throughout rural Papua New Guinea.

As a kid, during holidays at home, you knew you’d get help at the aid post if you fell ill with malaria or got scratches on your legs that became infected.

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