ADELAIDE - The article by Baka Bina, ‘The Taxing Art of Translation’, has recently stimulated much comment and discussion in PNG Attitude.
Accomplished writers like Michael Dom, Daniel Kumbon, Phil Fitzpatrick and others have offered their own insights and perspectives on the problems inherent in translating Tok Pisin into English.
Continue reading "Tok Pisin: A language on history's march" »
Bernard Narokobi when Attorney-General in 1991. A political and jurisprudential philosopher of great seriousness and stature (Pacific Islands Monthly)
NEW YORK - Bernard Narokobi, who died in March 2010 at the age of 72 after a short illness, was a political and jurisprudential philosopher of great seriousness and stature. That makes my memories of his irrepressible irreverence especially sweet.
One such memory: Bernard taking his afternoon nap on the wall to wall carpeting of the Law Reform Commission’s way too elegant offices.
Continue reading "Narokobi: The man who knew what might have been" »
Dr John Gerrard's extraordinary words - "Not only is the spread of this virus inevitable, it is necessary”
NOOSA – This week Queensland recorded its deadliest two days of the Covid pandemic so far
Nine deaths and 38,500 new cases of the virus. Nearly 600 diseased people, 40 of them in intensive care, straining the hospital system to its limit.
Chief health officer Dr John Gerrard says all the dead had “significant underlying medical conditions”. It sounded like an excuse. I’ll come back to that in a moment.
Continue reading "How Queensland surrendered its people to Covid" »
BUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO
PORT MORESBY - As the nation gears up for national elections in April, pundits and analysts are beginning to argue about the outcome.
However, the historical trend seems to tell us that the winners and losers have already been decided.
Just think about it, when was the last time Papua New Guinea experienced a truly fair and free election?
It was probably during the formative years after independence. Maybe not even then.
Continue reading "Different kind of election? I’m not holding my breath" »
Miranda Forsyth - "We do better to view police in a clear-eyed fashion for both their strengths and their weaknesses"
| DevPolicy Blog
CANBERRA - Police in Papua New Guinea generally cop a fair share of criticism.
This is particularly true in my area of research, sorcery accusation related violence (SARV), where police are often unwilling or unable to intervene – and sometimes even the instigators of violence.
Continue reading "Let’s be more objective about our police" »
Michael Dom - Papua New Guinea's unofficial poet laureate writes on the topsy-turvy ride that is indigenous literature
| Ples Singsing - A Space for Papua Niuginian Creativity
| Vernacular Traces in the Crocodile Prize: Part 2 of an essay in five parts
English translation by Ed Brumby | Tok Pisin original follows
LAE - When the Crocodile Prize began in 2011, the first poet to write in his mother tongue was Jimmy Drekore, who provided an English translation for his Dinga poem, ‘Advice from a Warrior’.
Wana elge pikra / Son don’t go too far
bi panamia, kanre pa / there’ll be ambush, careful you don’t push
Nenma unawa kanre, Kuman meklanna / When your fathers are here, you’ll step closer
Nene hone pikra / Never go alone
Continue reading "A pity so few of our poems come in translation" »
The truth does not belong to you, my dear,
It lives and breathes inside us all. And what
You say is yours to speak, for which you dare
Force us to share, when a fraction of it
Does not compute the sum of nor compare
To the fullness of life, where each remits
The pain of being. If truth exists, we bear
The weight, we each, so if each one is fit
Be wary of your words, your vice declares
Itself in the nature of being. Know that.
But say the wise, just speak your truth, no fear,
We shall force the mathematics to fit.
God is dead. Truth is whatever you care,
The truth we speak need not care about that.
A postage stamp showing the spectacular Wawoi Falls in the Kikori River Basin which is on the tentative heritage list area. Unfortunately logging has now extended right up to the falls
ADELAIDE – I have to thank Chris Warrillow for correcting me as to the location of Sir Hubert Murray’s gravesite.
He saved me a frustrating visit to Bomana on my next trip to Papua New Guinea.
I’ll go to Badihagwa instead, bearing a K5 tradestore sarif to cut the grass.
Continue reading "Buy a sarif, there’s a heritage to protect" »
| The Asia and the Pacific Society
PORT MORESBY - Policymakers in the Pacific Islands face multifaceted security issues, a fact that is not lost on the region’s leaders.
This was demonstrated in the 2018 Boe Declaration on Regional Security, which expanded the definition of security beyond geostrategic concerns to human security.
Continue reading "Many threats surround PNG’s coming election" »
Yamin Kogoya - "Papuans have been dislocated from the centre of their cultural worldview and placed on the fringes of the grand colonial narrative"
CANBERRA - The colonial notion of ‘civilising primitive Papuans’ has distorted Papuan perceptions of the world and themselves.
This distortion began with how New Guinea and its people were described in early colonial literature: unintelligent pygmies, cannibals and pagan savages – people devoid of value.
Not only did this depiction foster a racist outlook but it misrepresented reality as it was experienced and understood by Papuans for thousands of years.
Continue reading "Capturing the mind: Anatomy of a Papuan genocide" »
Sir Hubert Murray's headstone at Badihagwa Cemetery - a great administrator who preferred to be on patrol rather than in Port Moresby
This is an edited version of a story published in Una Voce (now PNG Kundu), the journal of the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia, on 16 September 2015
MELBOURNE - My first interest in the old ‘European Cemetery’ at Badihagwa dates back to the late 1980s.
At that time, with my friend and fellow former kiap, Dave Henton, I decided to find the grave of Papua’s former Lieutenant Governor, Sir John Hubert Plunkett (‘Judge’) Murray (1861-1940).
Continue reading "The saga of Judge Murray's grave" »
Baka Bina - "Translation is really hard work, very taxing on the mind"
PORT MORESBY - I recently submitted a short story of mine to the Commonwealth Writers competition. It was written in Tok Pisin and I had translated it into English.
Ino long taim igo pinis, mi salim wanpela hap stori igo long Komonwelt Raitin Resis long ples bilong Misis Kwin. Mi raitim dispela stori long Tok Pisin na bihain mi mekim wok tanim tok na putim dispela stori ken long Tok Ingis.
I wrote it in Tok Pisin first then, paragraph by paragraph, rewrote it in English, trying to stick to the meaning as best I could.
Continue reading "The taxing art of translation" »
A Hela gang - law enforcement lacks integrity and capability (Michael Main)
PORT MORESBY - In 2020 and 2021, Papua New Guinea faced serious security challenges on many fronts, including Covid-19, cyberattacks and tribal fights.
Many people in PNG do not see Covid as a security risk, as evidenced in the high level of vaccines hesitancy in the country.
Continue reading "A place of high threat & ineffective response" »
Covid Ward, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
| You can link to the OzSAGE website here
NOOSA – OzSAGE is an independent network of Australian health experts formed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Independent’ in this context means that OzSAGE is beyond the grip of politicians, health bureaucrats and others who have demonstrated great incompetence in managing the pandemic and also repeatedly failed to tell the Australian people the full truth about Covid and its effects.
Continue reading "Pandemic: The truths they won’t tell you" »
Michael Dom - "The success of the Crocodile Prize helped to develop our country’s literature"
| Vernacular Traces in the Crocodile Prize:
| Part 1 of an essay in five parts
English translation by Ed Brumby | Tok Pisin original follows
LAE - In 2010, Keith Jackson AM and Philip Fitzpatrick came up with the idea of establishing a national literary competition in Papua New Guinea – the Crocodile Prize.
Writing on Keith’s website, PNG Attitude, some of us supported their idea. In recognition, I gave them the name, ‘Grand Pukpuk’.
By way of background, these two men lived a long while in PNG in pre-independence times: the time of the patrol officers.
Continue reading "PNG writing: Stop reminiscing. Start again" »
During the year Big Pat turned right instead of left and ended up at Fatima Secondary School in Banz
PATRICK (BIG PAT) LEVO
| Papua New Guinea Post-Courier
PORT MORESBY - In all of the meandering years in the life of Papua New Guinea, 2021 had to be the big meander.
The colours were there, the love and laughter were there, the sadness, emotion, losses, highs and lows, the bleakness of our long-suffering population and blackness of ethereal poor governance were all intertwined to make 2021 stand out.
Continue reading "Bleak & black year shook Land of the Respected" »
ADELAIDE - Robert Forster’s recent article on the pacification of the Goilala region set me thinking about why the imposition of Pax Australiana in Papua New Guinea was so strikingly different to the colonial processes followed in South America, Africa and South East Asia.
By way of context, readers need to understand that European imperialism was almost invariably imposed by force, often with catastrophic results for the indigenous population involved.
Continue reading "Pax Australiana: A most peaceful colonisation" »
TUMBY BAY - I noticed Keith recently removed from the blog and put under review a caption on a photograph the accuracy of which had been challenged by a reader.
Keith engaged with the author of the story, asking whether he could confirm the veracity of his information.
Continue reading "The difficult art of bad writing" »
Dr John Gerrard - "We are not going to stop the Omicron virus. Not only is the spread of this virus inevitable, it is necessary”
NOOSA – Dr John Gerrard is the chief health officer of Queensland and there are two unusual and important things about this.
One is that, under Queensland law, it is the chief health officer, not the premier, who has absolute power to give public health directions.
Professor Evelyne de Leeuw of the University of NSW says the role has more clout than any other CHO in Australia and “even internationally [as the] final decision-maker on public health.”
Continue reading "Covid: The disease pollies want you to get " »
Ok Tedi is the only government-owned mine in PNG, which has toughened its dealings with resources companies in recent years
PORT MORESBY - As we begin 2022, I want to take a look at the defining issues that will shape Papua New Guinea’s social, political and economic outlook.
It’s not possible to cover everything in one article, but consider this an introduction to issues I’ll expand on throughout the year.
In this piece, I look at PNG’s political and economic outlook, and in a companion article I’ll consider security and governance issues.
Continue reading "PNG '22: Politics same; economy uncertain" »
Scott Morrison feels vulnerable - a national election is due and a majority of Australia's population of 17 million is unhappy. Greater power accrues to the people when politicians become exposed
ADELAIDE - The many and obvious failings of various Western democracies have been on vivid display over the last two years.
Whilst it is fair to criticise our political elites for their incompetence, misjudgement and venality, we who vote for them might take pause to consider the extent to which we are also culpable.
Continue reading "Does power truly reside in the people?" »
Martyn Namorong - With elections due in June, police commanders are concerned at the lack of preparation
| Linked In
PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea goes to a national election in June with many people pinning their hopes on the outcome of the polls.
The election is pivotal, not just in terms of bread and butter socio-economic issues but also in dealing with a final political settlement for Bougainville, which in a 2019 referendum opted overwhelmingly for independence from PNG.
Continue reading "The season for beer, lamb flaps & clan loyalty" »
Bernard Collaery - object of a scandalous prosecution by the Australian government (Lukas Coch, AAP)
| Pearls & Irritations | Edited extracts
This article by barrister Bernard Collaery presumes some prior knowledge by readers of his scandalous prosecution by the Commonwealth government. Wikipedia has a thorough profile here of Collaery and the shocking Witness K Trial. The story from SBS here brings the affair up to the moment. In this stunning piece Collaery provides a compelling first-hand account of the damage to Australia’s international reputation and to the standing of some prominent Australian lawyers and politicians - KJ
CANBERRA - Canberra’s conduct towards the Timorese was so grave that Australia continues to be regarded within international legal circles as a cheat.
Our legal team returned to Cambridge, England, in early 2014 from the International Court of Justice at The Hague in the Netherlands.
Continue reading "Timor: Our lingering, damaging bad-faith legacy" »
Johannes and Rose Kundal, 30th wedding anniversary, 2009
‘Legend of the Miok Egg: A True Enga Family Tale’ by Daniel Kumbon and Johannes Kulimbao Kundal, paperback, independently published, $26.24. Available here from Amazon Australia
FOREWORD - As an Australian who has enjoyed a long association with Papua New Guinea I tend to assume that I know a lot about the people and their cultures.
It is only when I read books like this one that I realise my knowledge is limited.
Continue reading "New book from Highlands holds nothing back" »
FBI assistant commissioner Hodges Ette poses with a RPNGC officer at the financial crimes and corruption training program [USA Embassy]
NOOSA – “Who wears sunglasses on a rainy day looking like they’re going to the concert in a suit?” the joke goes.
The answer is a G-man, the American slang term for agents of the United States government, usually from the FBI.
The famed Federal Bureau of Investigation is the domestic intelligence and security service of the USA, the government’s principal federal law enforcement agency.
Continue reading "FBI & RPNGC join forces to fight corruption" »
Joe Herman - a childhood of secure simplicity and positive affirmation of what we were
SEATTLE, USA - The modern mirror had not yet arrived in Enga.
Indeed, it never occurred to us that such things even existed.
We relied on each other to remove unwanted specks and smudges from our face.
Continue reading "The mirrorless society" »
Phil Fitzpatrick - like all rational people, looking forward with apprehension
TUMBY BAY - Like just about everyone else, the two major things that occupied my mind during 2021 were the Covid-19 pandemic and the rapidly developing catastrophes of climate change.
As the year comes to an end, both are spiralling out of control. At best we are helpless spectators with an undetermined fate.
Continue reading "A new year dawns: Is it the Abyss?" »
Woody Guthrie - The work of one of the most significant figures in American folk music focused on themes of American socialism and anti-fascism. His music has inspired several generations politically and musically
FROM THE READER’S CATALOGUE
| New York Review of Books
NEW YORK - Woody Guthrie wrote the heartfelt and playful resolutions below on New Year’s Day, 1943.
From 29 December 1942 until 1 January 1943, Woody filled a 72-page composition book with a letter to his love, Marjorie.
This little gem, in the middle of the book, provides insight into his daily concerns at the time — the large and the small.
Continue reading "Woody Guthrie’s New Year resolutions" »
This poem is dedicated to my stepdaughter who,
against her will, was taken away from me
That faraway mountain in the east
Lazy clouds drift by it slowly
Amongst the white lime rocks
There, in a little old grey hut
My dearest little girl plays in mud
Daddy longs for you with throbbing heart
Daddy misses everything of you
Misses you waiting at the gate
Misses your hugs and little kisses
Misses waving arms of greeting and goodbye
Misses your sweet, persistent call of ‘Daddy’
Daddy misses you, his heart in shreds
Continue reading "Father Daughter Bond" »
Gough Whitlam on the day of his government's dismissal on 11 November 1975. He died in October 2014 aged 98
NOOSA – I am, after a short stay in hospital, back home, still feeling a bit poorly – but that is my normal state.
You should also know I’m in something of an intemperate mood.
However, I’m feeling well and agreeable enough to manage this short compilation for readers too young or too senile to recall.
Continue reading "What did Whitlam ever do for us?" »
BILL BROWN MBE
THE CHRONICLE CONTINUES - The Bougainville operations of Conzinc Rio Tinto Australia (CRA) had dominated Australian government and Territory Administration thinking from 1964, but that all changed in September 1968.
The trigger was a report by the Australian Broadcasting Commission that broadcast details of a meeting hosted in Port Moresby by two Bougainville members of the House of Assembly, Paul Lapun and Donatus Mola.
Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 31 - Propaganda & confrontation" »
Governor Gary Juffa - "Public servants have acted negligently, incompetently and possibly corruptly"
NOOSA – Oro Governor Gary Juffa has blasted companies that have abused medical contracts and continued these practices probably conspiring with corrupt public servants to do so.
Speaking in his capacity as chairman of Papua New Guinea’s Special Parliamentary Committee on Public Sector Reforms, Juffa said he was dismayed that the government had renewed a health department contract with a private company that was providing sub-standard medical equipment and drugs.
Continue reading "Despite exposure, health corruption continues" »
Patrol Officer Roy Edwards and police with a group of manacled villagers, Kunimaipa section, Goilala Sub-District, late 1940s (photo previously unpublished)
NORTHUMBRIA, UK – Roy Edwards was an uncompromising kiap (patrol officer), not fond of paperwork and with his own way of bringing pacification to the warring tribes of Papua New Guinea.
He patrolled the Kunimaipa section of the Goilala region for months on end and was ultimately successful in erasing a traditional payback murder spiral that led to dozens of deaths each year.
The perpetuation of payback was an insurmountable obstacle to securing the wellbeing and progress of the villages.
Continue reading "Pax Australiana & techniques of pacification" »
Sam Akoitai - "A peacemaker serving all parties, political persuasions and interests"
KIETA – Sam Akoitai was a man true to his convictions as a national leader representing the interests of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville as a national parliamentarian.
He was a national, regional and community leader of unwavering courage and a peacemaker serving all parties, political persuasions and interests.
Continue reading "Death of Sam Akoitai: MP for all occasions" »
Joseph Watawi - ‘Bruk lus, bruk gut, bruk steret na bruk olgeta’
| Sydney Morning Herald
SYDNEY - The autonomous region of Bougainville has lost a champion of independence and the father of the 2018 independence referendum.
Joseph Watawi, 61, who died in November, away last month, was born in January 1960 in Gohi village in north Bougainville.
Continue reading "Joseph Watawi, Bougainville leader, dies at 61" »
TUMBY BAY - I come from a generation born in austerity. ‘Make-do’ was the order of the day.
In those what seem now like ancient days, Christmas represented something that now seems irretrievably lost.
Unfortunately, it all seems to be the result of modern human beings having a remarkable ability to subvert good things into bad things.
Continue reading "Capitalism’s corruption of Christmas" »
Mr Knight throws lollies for the schoolchildren (P Meehan)
SEATTLE, USA - Laiagam , now in Papua New Guinea’s Enga Province, saw many kiaps come and go.
They took on incredible projects - building roads, bridges and other infrastructure – as well as constant patrols to keep in touch with the people.
Continue reading "Highlands expats forever remembered" »
ADELAIDE - The tide of history is sweeping us all along and, as usual, our predictions about where we will all end up will be mostly wrong.
In an Australian context, what used to be the Liberal Party is no longer speaking to or for what was once its base, being middle class Australians.
Instead, it is now a party composed of the more reactionary and extreme neo-liberal elements of our community.
Continue reading "Tide’s turned, & nobody’s steering" »
NOOSA - I guess there are other people like me who no longer accept at face value the day’s official download of Covid information.
Too many of these ‘officials’ are Covid brokers – they have skin in the game.
Politicians whose ideology attracts them to prioritise commerce over health.
Continue reading "Keeping up with Covid (& its bad brokers)" »
MY COMPUTER HAS COVID
If you are eagled-eyed, you vill spot something unusual about this message, to vit, the letter ‘w’ seems to have disappeared. It has been joined by the number [tvo], the rather useful [at] vhich is used in emails and the high performing general of the keyboard, the delete key. For this brief message I have replaced the [double-you] vith its one-legged first cousin, the v, because it vas too much trouble cut and pasting double-you each time it demanded inclusion. Vith my computer is dying one key at a time there as a resultant need to replace, upgrade, learn, transfer and generally stuff around vith a nev technology (once to hand). This is clearly going to affect productivity here at Attitude Central especially as the ME/CFS monkey has decided to have a Christmas party in my brain. I'll do my best to keep things moving - KJ
Australia will cut its foreign aid next year even though the impacts of the Covid pandemic are still hurting Pacific Island nations (Development Policy Centre)
| DevPolicy Blog
CANBERRA - When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the Australian government reversed its earlier policy of cutting aid, and started to increase it.
Aid increased from $4.29 billion in 2019-20, before the pandemic, to $4.56 billion in 2020-21, the first year of the pandemic (amounts adjusted for inflation and expressed in 2021 prices.)
Continue reading "Miserly Australia cuts Pacific aid again" »
Former New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian. According to documents obtained by The Australian newspaper Berejiklian had direct involvement in the administration of a controversial $252m (K625m) grants program branded as a ‘slush fund’
ADELAIDE -The politicisation of the Public Service – designed to operate in service of the public - has been an ongoing project for neo-liberal politicians all over the world.
This process is presented to the public as a means of ensuring that the public sector is 'responsive' to the government of the day.
What it actually means is that the public sector remains servile and compliant to whatever the government wishes, irrespective of the merits or even legality of the demand.
Continue reading "Slush funds corrupt, not politics as usual" »
Michael Kabuni reveals the PNG government wasted half a billion kina over five years on just some of its ‘ghost employees’
| Academia Nomad
PORT MORESBY - A few years back, it was revealed that a teacher at Oro Province’s rural Bareji High School had no qualifications for the job.
This year, the tireless efforts of Sunday Bulletin journalist Simon Eroro exposed that a consultant hired by the Oro Provincial Government possessed no qualifications for the job he was doing.
Continue reading "We need practical leaders who get things right" »
Ishmael Toroama (right) has told James Marape that PNG has not honoured commitments under the 20-year old Bougainville Peace Agreement
NOOSA – Bougainville’s president Ishmael Toroama has told Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape “in no uncertain terms” that it is the resolve of the Bougainville people for an independent Bougainville.”
In a statement to the Bougainville parliament on Tuesday, Toroama said he had “made it clear that it was time to let our people go to be free as an independent sovereign nation.
Continue reading "'Let our people go,' Toroama tells Marape" »
TIPNG founding director Richard Kassman OBE speaks at the relaunch of the Community Coalition Against Corruption on International Anti-Corruption Day last week
| Transparency International PNG
PORT MORESBY - Ahead of next year’s national elections and amid Papua New Guinea citizens’ concerns about governance and corruption, Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) has relaunched the Community Coalition Against Corruption.
Initially co-founded by TIPNG and the Media Council of PNG in 2002 with the support of churches, chambers of commerce, the Ombudsman Commission and the office of the Public Solicitor, the Coalition is a collective community network committed to standing together against the evil of corruption.
Continue reading "Coalition against corruption regroups" »
Handover of first Guardian Class patrol boat by Australia to PNG, 2019 (DFAT)
| Asia & The Pacific Policy Society
CANBERRA - Policymakers in the Pacific Island region face multifaceted security issues.
That fact is not lost on the region’s leaders, as demonstrated by the 2018 Boe Declaration on Regional Security, which expands the definition of security beyond the geostrategic concerns to human security.
Continue reading "PNG security ahead of the 2022 election" »
When PNG became a nation in 1975, it had high hopes of building a better society and Michael Somare seemed to be the right leader to do it
KELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN
PORT MORESBY – I want to talk about the kind of people who aspire to be national leaders and what might make them good leaders or not.
Leaders shape our local level governments, districts, provinces and ultimately our entire nation.
But the poor results on the ground are evidence that many of them, perhaps most of them, have not served our people well.
Continue reading "Election ‘22: Voter guide to how bad will oust good" »
Traditional upland gardens near Wapenamanda
TUMBY BAY - Like many liklik kiaps (cadet patrol officers), my first couple of patrols in the Papua New Guinea Highlands involved the construction and maintenance of roads.
The idea was to get the young men out amongst the local people so they could quickly learn Tok Pisin and also find out if they could cope with roughing it in the bush.
Continue reading "Can be darn cold up in those mountains" »
| Burnet Institute | The Age | Edited extracts
MELBOURNE - In South Africa, only one in four people are vaccinated against Covid-19, a key factor behind the spread of the Omicron variant.
But just four kilometres north of Australia, the situation is far more dire. In Papua New Guinea, our closest neighbour, fewer than one in 20 people have had the jab.
Continue reading "Could PNG produce the next Covid variant?" »
NOOSA - Simon Jackson was born in Papua New Guinea and spent the first 10 years of his life there before returning to Australia to complete his education.
As a project manager with Microsoft, he crossed the ditch to New Zealand around 2010 and, apart from a short stint in the PNG highlands in 2011, has been there since, managing Cloud IT projects for Microsoft’s large customers in the Asia-Pacific region.
Continue reading "Journoganda: Hardcore message for softcock hacks" »