PNG is in need of a modern ‘philosopher king’

Emperor Marcus Aurelius
Emperor Marcus Aurelius


PORT MORESBY – The famous Greek’s political theorist, Plato, envisioned what he saw as the ideal political state.

In his tome on political philosophy, Republic, written around 375 BC, Plato said “the ideal state would be ruled over by a specially trained guardian class.”

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Concerns about plans for old ASOPA / ITI site

Middle Head Café
Middle Head Café


NOOSA – Sydney’s Harbour Trust has just released its draft master plan for the Middle Head site in Mosman that was once home to the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) and the International Training Institute (ITI).

Both establishments played a significant role in the development of Papua New Guinea – ASOPA, best known for training patrol officers (kiaps) and education officers, and ITI for its short (three month) courses for middle managers from developing countries.

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Goodbye, my little Jena, goodbye


SHORT STORY - I was 32 when my wife died. Little Jena was only four. My bookshop - in front of my house, separated by the yard - sustained our livelihood and paid the bills.

Each day, while my assistant and I worked in the shop fulfilling orders from clients, Jena played in the yard.

In the evening I would sometimes go out for a few drinks and Julie, the woman next door, would take care of Jena.

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The AUKUS mess & straight talk from Keating

Caricature portrait of Paul Keating c 1984 by John Spooner (National Library of Australia)


TUMBY BAY - Despite my increasing aversion to the 24 hour news cycle, and after the resultant negative pile-on by what passes for the media in Australia, I couldn’t help but be lured to view an interview with Paul Keating at the National Press Club on Wednesday.

Keating has an impressive intellect and an acerbic wit, which was fine-tuned even in his first days as a young Labor Party MP in the late 1960s and had become well-honed when he became Australia’s prime minister in 1991.

He also has always had his finger very firmly on the pulse of Australian and international politics.

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Listen stupid! Golden Sun is a Ponzi scheme


PORT MORESBY – A set-up calling itself Golden Sun is operating a Ponzi scheme in Papua New Guinea.

The scheme claims to be affiliated with big name Hollywood film production companies and sells the scam for fast easy money through bogus movie reviews.

The fake outfit claims to be working closely with Bank South Pacific. However the financial regulator Bank of Papua New Guinea recently released a public notice warning of unregulated entities operating within PNG.

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NZ pilot hostage drama remains an impasse

Philip Mehrtens
New Zealand pilot Philip Mehrtens flying for Susi Air held hostage by West Papua National Liberation Army on 7 February (Jubi TV screenshot)


BRISBANE - The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), the armed wing of the Free Papua Movement (OPM), released a video last Wednesday of the Susi Air pilot they have taken hostage.

The plane had landed in Paro village, Nduga Regency in Papua’s highlands men kidnapped Captain Philip Mehrtens, a New Zealander.

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Close call for Oscar after death adder bite

Chris Cooke and Oscar
Chris Cooke (Samaritan Aviation medical director) and Oscar recount the story of his rescue following Oscar’s recovery

| Samaritan Aviation

MT HAGEN - It was early morning, and Oscar was getting ready for his day as a high school teacher in Pagwi.

As he walked to the well for his morning shower, he was bitten by a death adder.

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Researching PNG war legacies: Can you help?


LONDON - Greetings from England. I am a PhD student at King's College, London, and currently researching a project on the legacies of World War II across Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.

I came across PNG Attitude a while ago when I wrote my MA thesis (‘Bougainville During the War’).

Keith Jackson's testimony about Sergeant Yauwiga (here and here) provided an invaluable source for me, for which I'm extremely grateful.

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People tuning out from bad news is a threat


TUMBY BAY - A lot of my friends, most of whom are elderly, tell me they’ve given up watching, listening to or reading the news.

So too have some of my younger acquaintances, including my son and daughter in their early forties.

The general consensus is that it’s all too depressing.

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Death of a giant: A tribute to James Arba MBE


KUNDIAWA - It was on the last day of January that Philip Kai got the news that his brother and tribesman, retired public servant James Arba (pictured), had just passed away at Sir Joseph Nombri Memorial Hospital in Kundiawa.

“I wasn’t prepared for that and was shocked. It was the saddest day of my life,” said Philip, “as I looked upon James as an elder brother who I turned to for prudent advice. Now he is gone forever.

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 Despite a downturn in Keith's health, further limiting his capacity to work, and technical problems earlier this year that resulted in the loss of pictorial content and external links, PNG Attitude will continue to remain online, but is likely to publish new material less frequently. 

PNG desperately needs a leader of vision


PORT MORESBY  - Great leaders have vision. They dream of a better future.

An Engan leader who had a great vision was the later Malipu Balakau. He has a grand vision to change Enga Province.

His vision of change was embedded in his captivating  political speeches. He is said to have uttered his spellbinding speeches during his numerous campaigns.

Poh mende ailyah lo epesamo ongo, namabame poh lo ono lo pena laro.” The wind that is blowing upwards, I will make the wind blow backwards.

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The Old Justice Is Dead

| Ples Singsing - A PNG Writers' Blog

The old justice is dead, and lost to time
Where once in the hausman it chanted at night
Amidst broken betel nut and waft of lime
Spoken in a chanted glow of embers’ light

Burnt and buried, the old justice of the past
Where balance and order were societal norm
Calling upon ancestors and act not in haste
To pass judgement from man’s earthly worm

Continue reading "The Old Justice Is Dead" »

Under This Cement Slab

| Ples Singsing - A PNG Writers' Blog

Under this decorated slab
A person with unused treasures lies
Treasures so huge for an entire country
Because our years are numbered
And life can be very short
Under the slab are untold treasures

Under this slab lies a wealthy man
Silent, closed eyes, a mind no more
A dead body in a small single room
With its wealth worth many millions
Sadly unused before his time was up
Under this slab also a person of worth

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Hostage pilot appears in new rebel video

New Zealand pilot Philip Mehrtens  flying for Susi Air  held hostage by West Papua National Liberation Army on 7 February (Jubi TV screenshot)
New Zealand pilot Philip Mehrtens flying for Susi Air held hostage by West Papua National Liberation Army on 7 February (Jubi TV screenshot)

| Sources: RNZ Pacific and Jubi TV

AUCKLAND - The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) has released a new video about New Zealand hostage pilot Philip Mehrtens and a Papuan news organisation, Jubi TV, has featured it on its website.

The Susi Air pilot was taken hostage on 7 February after landing in a remote region near Nduga in the Central Papuan highlands.

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Challenging the West’s view of its Pacific role

Pacific Islands nations are determined not to  concede sovereignty in the arm wrestle for regional control between China and the US (Gzero, Paige Fusco)

| DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - In ‘Sea of many flags’, Rory Medcalf, head of the National Security College at the Australian National University, argues why Pacific Island states should regard the deep regional involvement of a Western coalition (“quietly” led by Australia) as an effective and attractive “Pacific way to dilute China’s influence”.

Although presented as a new proposal, the increased regional engagement of this Western coalition is already well advanced, in the form of proposed new military bases and joint-use facilities, new security treaties, increased aid programs, new embassies, as well as a new regional institution, Partners in the Blue Pacific.

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Entertainment as we knew it in olden times

Cricket in Mt Hagen in the 1960s (Cliff Melvin Rok)
Cricket in Mt Hagen in the 1960s (Cliff Melvin Rok)


TUMBY BAY - Entertainment is a huge industry, especially in affluent countries like Australia.

In Australia, up-to-the-minute movies are streamed onto gigantic, ultra-high-definition television screens.

And music is downloaded from the web instantaneously, to be played on sound systems with a quality almost beyond reality.

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Croc victim had skipped church service

Victor is gently unloaded from the Samaritan Aviation aircraft
Victor is gently unloaded from the
Samaritan Aviation floatplane

| Samaritan Aviation

MT HAGEN - The skies were clear on a Sunday when we received a call requesting lifesaving transport after a crocodile attack on a young man.

Victor was one of two teenagers who had been fishing. While helping his friend retrieve a fish from the water, a crocodile clamped down on Victor’s leg.

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Chained in the abyss

Once proud
Pharaoh Ramses of Egypt.
His pride led to his downfall


Provide him with stale bread, I’ll give the crumbs.
Let us feed him from our banquet of emptiness,
Let him scavenge for the barest morsels;
For vanity, he forsook eternity for time.

Let him dwell in small dens, long vacated by mortals,
Or under the sediment left by crumbling ruins,
Of a once proud monarch now long obsolete. 
In dark days, when misery gathers like dung,

Continue reading "Chained in the abyss" »

The rules that guide us were created by us

Religion-ethics-morality-lPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Michael Dom and Paul Oates took issue with a comment I made about ethics and religion following an article by Chris Overland about the inexorable rise of stupidity in the 21st century, ‘The inexorable rise of the 21st century stupid.

In my comment I wrote that you don’t “necessarily need religions to decide on what is right and what is wrong. All you need is a functioning brain."

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Finance guru appointed to board of BCL

Maryanne Hasola (PNG Report)

| Bougainville Copper Limited | Edited

PORT MORESBY - Bougainville Copper Limited has confirmed the appointment of Maryanne Hasola to the company’s board as an independent non-executive director.

Ms Hasola, from Bana District in Bougainville, is a well-regarded women’s leader who brings to the role more than 23 years’ experience in accounting and auditing in the Internal Revenue Commission of Papua New Guinea.

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Foreign loggers said to be defying court bans

New Timber Barons coverMEDIA RELEASES
| Act Now PNG | Edited Extracts

PORT MORESBY - More than 30 large-scale logging projects in Papua New Guinea appear to be operating in defiance of a court ban issued by the deputy chief justice in June 2021.

Together the logging operations accounted for 40% of PNG’s total log exports in the 12 months to June 2022.

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Marketing required to bring fame to PNG art

Bas (Winston Kauage Jr)
Contemporary PNG artists have developed a distinctive style. 'Bas Bilong MTS Discoverer.  Em i save stap na raun long Madang provins' (Winston Kauage Jnr, PNG, 2006)


ADELAIDE – As Hazel Kutkue contended in PNG Attitude yesterday (‘Our art is glorious but not taken seriously’), Indigenous art is frequently undervalued, be it in Papua New Guinea or elsewhere.

Until the 1970s, Australia’s Indigenous artists were valued only if they could paint in the style of European art.

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Our art is glorious but not taken seriously

This Kauage painting is the first thing visitors see when they enter my house. PNG paintings have been sold for up to $US5,000 (K18,000), yet PNG does little to  promote art as an industry - KJ

| Sipikriva Girl

BRAUN, MOROBE – I have observed that many Papua New Guinean artists and artisans, hoping to sell their work, display photographs of their art in social media, at local fairs and at monthly craft markets.

Among these artists and artisans are people who are extraordinarily talented.

And these people share a common opinion: Why doesn't their own government, and even their own people, recognise that art is a goldmine?

Continue reading "Our art is glorious but not taken seriously" »

Can the internet give us better government?

Karl Marx and the title page from the first edition of Capital, 1867: "Capital is dead labour, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks"


ADELAIDE – As Phil Fitzpatrick has written (‘Has the internet brought out the worst in us?), the internet has indeed held up a mirror to us all.

It is hard to like much of what we see.

Greed, exploitation, lies and stupidity abound.

Neo-liberal capitalism is a system lurching into crisis.

Continue reading "Can the internet give us better government?" »

Great men die twice: Angel Pesevski's legacy

Gordon Peake
Gordon Peake (far left) and Angel Pesevski (bottom right) with colleagues, Bougainville, 2016 (Gordon Peake)

| DevPolicy Blog

ADELAIDE - Angel Pesevski, a former colleague of mine who became a good friend, passed away in Türkiye, one of the untold number of victims of the recent earthquake.

Angel and I met in Buka in 2016. He was working as a management adviser in the aid project I joined.

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Solwara Warriors want ban on seabed mining

Anthony Walep is a lawyer assisting the Alliance of Solwara Warriors and the Centre for Environmental Law and Human Rights (CELCOR)

| PNG Business News

MADANG - The Alliance of Solwara Warriors, a coalition of coastal communities, has appealed to the Papua New Guinea government to cancel seabed mining and exploration licenses in the country.

The Alliance also called for the termination of Nautilus Minerals’ mining license, which is still active even though the company went bankrupt in 2019.

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Has the internet brought out the worst in us?

Robin hood (Pinterest)
Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor. But of course that's fiction (Pinterest)


TUMBY BAY – When I check my emails in the morning about three-quarters of them are immediately despatched to the trash folder to join all the second and third offenders already there.

The volume of junk and scam emails I receive these days is such I’ve given up trying to unsubscribe them. (Those considerate enough to allow that passing pleasure.)

Also, in many cases, unsubscribing doesn’t work and the emails keep coming.

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Like a Wish

Image by Pinterest


This morning I dribbled toast crumbs on my feet;
I saw our driveway moping under a moody coat of mould,
while the pock-marked skin of our cul-de-sac needed pothole patching again,
and down on Gibson’s Road some vandal had overturned rubbish bins on the street.
Today two angry dog owners snarled at each other at my coffee stand,
on TV dark flooding rivers were drowning sad towns in the south,
while Putin killed Ukrainians with drone-dropped belts of heat.

The real world seemed to droop in its defeat.

Continue reading "Like a Wish" »

New PNG media plan ‘threatens a free press’

| Pacific Media Watch

AUCKLAND - The New Zealand-based media research and publishing group, Asia Pacific Media Network, has called for an “urgent rethink” on Papua New Guinea’s draft media development policy.

The Network said the PNG government’s proposed regulation plan for the country’s media council and journalists threatened a free press.

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Hard gig: Life & times of Pukpuk publishing


TUMBY BAY - Pukpuk Publications came into being in 2013 when I was looking for a cheaper alternative to the Port Moresby-based publisher we'd used for the 2011 and 2012 editions of what had become the annual Crocodile Prize Anthology.

Birdwing Books had done a good job on the first two anthologies but their prices were too high for our very limited budget.

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‘Do yourself a favour, free hostages,’ says PM

The Australian is speculating the hostages were seized in this geneal area
The Australian newspaper speculates that the hostages were seized in this general area


NOOSA - Papua New Guinea's prime minister James Marape says his government is "at work" trying to free five hostages seized by a 20-strong armed gang yesterday.

The captives are believed to include an Australian archaeology professor and three students.

Continue reading "‘Do yourself a favour, free hostages,’ says PM" »

Reg Yates to map Bougainville's battlefields

Reg Yates
Captain Reg Yates and the Australian Army History Unit want to locate and preserve the sites of World War II battles in Bougainville


NOOSA, QLD - Flights booked, visa in hand, logistics in place, retired Army Captain Reg Yates arrives in Bougainville late March to study the battlefields of one of the biggest campaigns the Australian Army fought during World War II.

A veteran expeditioner in Papua New Guinea, Reg has been wanting to trek the Numa Numa Trail ever since he read Karl James’ book, The Hard Slog - Bougainville 1944-45.

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Egianus Kogoya: Is he Papuan hero or villain?

Kogoya   Egianus Kogoya Papuan hero or villain
Egianus Kogoya sits on a wing strut of the captured aircraft. Pilot Phillip Mehrtens was taken hostage


You can read the unedited version of Yamin’s essay here

BRISBANE - After the West Papua National Liberation Army, the armed wing of OPM (Free Papua Movement), burned a small plane and kidnapped its New Zealand pilot Phillip Mehrtens on 7 February, the dark clouds that seal this frontier war opened to the outside world.

Across the globe, media outlets shared the story with two interpretations.

Continue reading "Egianus Kogoya: Is he Papuan hero or villain?" »

Malaysian investors are keen on PNG

Richard Maru and Melvin Aun (Richard Maru)
Richard Maru and Melvin Aun (Richard Maru)

| PNG Business News

PORT MORESBY - Outgoing Malaysian high commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Melvin Cheah Chee Aun, has left the country with one regret: Covid-19 had prevented him from assisting many more Malaysian investors keen to invest in PNG.

In his parting message to international trade and investment minister, Richard Maru, Aun requested him to travel to Malaysia to meet five major Malaysian investors who want to explore investment opportunities in PNG.

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