Mt Lamington: Remembering the 4,000

Mt Lamington in eruption
At the time heavily forested. Mt Lamington was not believed to be a volcano until shortly before it exploded

SCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

POPONDETTA - It’s early morning at Hohorita village, a few kilometers outside Popondetta town.

Organisers of the 70th anniversary commemoration of the Mt Lamington eruption on 21 January 1951 are putting the final touches to preparations as they wait for the guests to arrive.

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Australia, not China, initiated trade conflict

Global Times
The Global Times depicts Australia as a United States puppet in its conflict with China

PERCY ALLAN
| Pearls and Irritations

SYDNEY - Post Covid, it will be hard for Australia to grow quickly without China’s market, capital, people exchange and know-how.  Finding a détente is essential.

However, Australia targeted China before it targeted us. After signing a free trade and investment agreement with China in 2015, we:

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Buying medicine off the street can kill you

Street medicine
You may buy something that looks like real medicine on the street. It might look genuine but there is no way you can really know

BEE DURESI
| Duresi's Odyssey

AUCKLAND - There’s no other ways to put it but bluntly – buying medicines off the street can kill you.

Here are important reasons why people should not buy medicines off the street, or from unlicensed shops.

The source of the medicine is unknown. It’s anyone’s guess where the medicines were obtained and it’s anyone’s guess how they were manufactured.

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Huawei’s vital role in digital rise

PNG DataCo launches Kumul submarine cable in Vanimo
Under the watchful eye of Huawei, PNG DataCo lays the Kumul submarine cable off Vanimo

BERNARD YEGIORA
| The Yegiora Files | Edited

MADANG - Technology is increasingly becoming an important part of human life and most of what we do today is influenced by our use of technology.

As a developing country, Papua New Guinea is seeing technological changes unfold with the help of China.

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The indispensable manki masta

Kure Whan at Balimo in 1972
Manki masta Kure Whan at Balimo, 1972

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - When writing about their experiences in Papua New Guinea, many old kiaps mention the special relationship they enjoyed with members of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.

Very often they highlight the sense of teamwork enjoyed with the policemen under their command – those wise old sergeant majors and sergeants get special praise.

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Young poet astounds at US inauguration

Amanda Gorman
Amanda Gorman - "I want my words to be a point of unity...."

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Papua New Guinea is not only a nation of mountains and minerals, it's a place of music and poetry.

Those of PNG’s many poets, young and old, who got to see young American poet Amanda Gorman, 22, perform yesterday would have been astonished.

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Kerenga Kua & lip ti no swit

Kerenga_Kua
Kerenga Kua - spoke about an embarrassing experience with a cup of tea during his high school days

DUNCAN GABI

LAE - Kerenga Kua, Papua New Guinea’s petroleum and energy minister, has occupied senior political positions since he was first elected as the member for Sinasina-Yongamugl in Simbu Province in 2012.

My story, though, is about his student days at Aiyura National High School as told by the man himself in 2014.

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Mi tu Kumul blong Morobe

Lae (Thor May)
Lae back in Henry's youth - a safe and pleasant town, unlike today

HENRY MOKONO
Graun Blong Mi (My Land)

PORT MORESBY - I am originally a highlander from Simbu who, like many others from the New Guinea Islands, Sepik, Papua and a few from the upper highlands provinces, migrated to Lae back then and call Lae home. I grew up in Lae from the 1970s to 1990s.

My greatest memories in life come from growing up in Lae City. Later in life I called myself ‘Simbu blo Morobe’, because Lae will always be closer to my heart.

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Toroama takes government to the people

Kaybing - Toroama speaks at mic
President Toroama speaking at the first Bougainville cabinet meeting held in a rural area

ANTHONY KAYBING
| Office of the ABG President

TONSU – In a first-time initiative yesterday, the Bougainville Executive Council convened for the first time outside the capital, Buka.

The full cabinet met in the Tonsu constituency on Petatz Island as part of president Ishmael Toroama’s policy of bringing governance structures to the people.

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How a janitor helped me become a soldier

PNGDF personnelBERLDON TIMAH
Graun Blong Mi - My Land | Edited

LAE – Many years ago, I was working as a cleaner at a power plant at Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea’s Western Province when I saw an advertisement for PNG Defence Force recruitment.

I’d wanted to join the Army since childhood, so I submitted a form and was called for an entry test at Murray Barracks in Port Moresby. I would need travel there by sea.

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Essay competition: 10 days to go

PNG-authorMICHAEL DOM
| The National Weekender | Edited

PORT MORESBY - Engan author Daniel Kumbon launched Victory Song of Pingeta’s Daughter, a 400-page book which attempts to trace the history of the Wabag district and Enga, without fanfare.

It is a culturally valuable and epic work and it is unlikely the author will ever make a toea from it. But that’s normal in Papua New Guinea.

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Donating medicines? What you should know

DrugsBARBARA ANGORO
| Duresi's Odyssey | Edited

AUCKLAND - We all know that Papua New Guinea, with its diverse environment, is prone to disasters, both natural and manmade.

At times of disaster, we as a nation have joined forces to help as best as we can – many times through donations of whatever we can spare.

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My focus: meeting the demands of the future

James Marape_Haus_Lotu
James Marape

JAMES MARAPE MP
| Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea

PORT MORESBY – In the future the world will look for these five products: food (organic food from the land and fresh marine and river food); clean water; fresh air; new plant based medicines; and cleaner and cheaper energy.

These are everyday needs that everybody needs. And we have them all in total abundance here in Papua New Guinea.

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Woman charged over huge Daru heist

David Manning
David Manning (centre) took personal control of the investigation into the huge misappropriation

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Papua New Guinea’s police commissioner David Manning has disclosed that a woman has been arrested after the discovery of a K268 million theft in Western Province.

The defendant, Edna Oai, 45, was flown to Port Moresby from Daru last Monday and formally charged with 15 counts of false pretence, conspiracy and misappropriation.

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1997 – That turbulent and defining year

(Waide) PNG was witnessing a law and order breakdown
1997 was a dangerous year in PNG, but it ended  more positively with Sir Mekere Morauta  at the helm

SCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

LAE - In the first quarter of 1997, word came out that the government of Sir Julius Chan was in talks with a British security contractor, Tim Spicer, to bring in South African mercenaries to end the Bougainville civil war that had been running for eight years.

The protracted conflict had seen the PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) withdraw from Bougainville, depleted, demoralised and badly in need of rebuilding.

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The day the crocodile god walked

Korogu haus tambaran
The Korogu haus tambaran

DUNCAN GABI
| My Land, My Country | Edited

MADANG - On Wednesday 16 December, 2020, the Save the Sepik team of volunteers departed Wewak to begin a one-week patrol to the upper Sepik river to talk to the people about Frieda mine.

We arrived at Pagwi waterfront at about 3pm and from there took a 20 meter dugout motor canoe and headed down river towards Korogu, a village built on the banks of the Sepik.

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Tough issues explored with pinpoint accuracy

Forster Coastwatcher topROBERT FORSTER

Death of a Coast Watcher by Anthony English, Monsoon Books, Burrough on the Hill, UK, 2020, paperback. ISBN 9781912049707. Video trailer here. Available from the publisher here.

NORTHUMBRIA, UK - One of the books in my slim pre-1975 Papua New Guinean library is Bilong Boi, written by Keith Pickard.

It was published in 1969, concentrates on miscegenation - sexual activity between humans with different skin colours -  and in literary terms is a featherweight.

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Abt to deploy Covid vaccine in PNG

Abt - GaviNEWS DESK
| Abt Associates

ROCKVILLE, USA - Gavi, the global vaccine alliance, has awarded Abt Associates a contract to help roll out Covid-19 vaccines in up to 24 countries including Papua New Guinea.

The contract is part of a global strategy to reduce Covid-19 transmission and loss of life and prevent a protracted global health and humanitarian crisis.

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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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