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5 posts from May 2007

Brisbane antics: the trial crawl

Brisramble_6 The Brisbane reunion organisers yesterday staged a successful trial run of the ‘CityCat Crawl’ to check out route and restaurants for the main October event in which over 100 former Asopians could take part. Bill Welbourne reports that Crawl Captain Colin Huggins [photo: bottom right] “looked a little anxious until key team member Henry Bodman arrived”, adding that neither man “believes in mobile phones”. The Crawl involved a gentle stroll through the city and a pleasant downriver ferry trip to Brett’s Wharf eventually landing at South Bank with its picturesque parkland and countless restaurants. The 14 people who participated in the trial [seen here departing by rapid escalator] agreed that visitors will experience a memorable weekend in October with plenty to see and do in springtime BrisVegas.

Fred Kaad

Kaad In 1964 Fred Kaad OBE was District Commissioner in Madang when the light aircraft in which he was flying crashed, fatally injuring the pilot and leaving Fred a paraplegic with third degree burns to both legs, continuing neuropathic pain and rotator cuff problems. He was, as the result of that tragic event, confined to a wheelchair. But it didn’t stop him embarking on a second and equally distinguished career.

Following a long period in hospital and in convalescence, Fred spent a year at Robb College in the University of New England completing a Masters Degree in Educational Administration. He subsequently became a course director and lecturer at the Australian School of Pacific Administration and stayed on there when it transformed into the International Training Institute, where I first met him.

After retirement Fred worked as a consultant but has spent an increasing amount of time on honorary work in the area of spinal injuries. He remains Deputy Chairman and Honorary Director of Spinal Cure Australia and as a Patron, along with the Governor-General, of the PNG Association of Australia.

Brisbane reunion logo unveiled

Asopa_logo_19 John Ilian, an ad man regarded as one of Perth advertising’s living industry treasures, has designed this spectacular logo for October's Brisbane ASOPA Reunion. John – former creative director of a number of top Perth ad agencies – has run his own Sharper Pencil partnership from offices in West Perth for eight years.

Yokomo nominated for PNG award

Jackmetta Jack Metta is a columnist and feature writer with The National in Papua New Guinea.  More than that, he's one of the best English-language stylists writing in PNG today: acute in choice of subject; definitive in story execution; easy of prose. In his columns, Jack has recently covered a debate that has been raging in PNG about whether some  schoolday literary icons should be honoured with PNG's highest honour, the Order of Logohu. Front and centre in this debate are Yokomo and his dog Omokoy.

Now you may recall Yokomo as the fictitious hero of comic stories published in the PNG School Papers during the 1960s. I dropped a note to tell Jack that Yokomo was created by ex-Asopian [1957-58] Frank Hiob with John Lucas drawing the pictures. When transferred from my school in the bush to Konedobu in 1966 to edit the School Papers, I inherited Yokomo and, for a reason lost in obscurity, decided he needed a dog. So was created Omokoy. "I have often wondered where the origins of this duo lay," wrote Jack politely, "and now I know. There is practically nothing in the archives these days to follow up the past."


By Jack Metta

If Yokomo was to be awarded the highest Order of Logohu, would he be known through our history as Grand Chief Yokomo in honour of his contributions to the human resource development of PNG?

Perhaps, but then his trusty dog, Omokoy would be as equally qualified to be recognised as Grand Chief Omokoy, in honour of its canine antics which brought fun and joy to thousands of young Papua New Guineans.

By the same token, similar recognition would then have to accorded to such characters as Raka, Ranu, Malot, Tabu, Kinobo and the rest of the cast, who, during a phase of our life times, reigned supreme in the classrooms and our imaginations, and, continue to do so today.

That was the argument Iariva posed during a heated debate on how to acknowledge the contributions of these imaginary characters, who had figured prominently in shaping the personalities and the characters of hundreds of thousands of us today.

The fact that this column is writing about them; their names continue to ride our airwaves in school broadcasts; and, the language that we are now communicating in, English, attests to the reality that these imaginary figments of some expatriate officer in the educational system of the pre and post independence days, had never departed or erased from our memories.

[Source The National, Papua New Guinea]


Milan, Italy. While this blog has been an irregular event since I flew out of Sydney a month ago, I've been kept in touch with the increasingly energised developments leading to October's ASOPA education officers' reunion in Brisbane. It can be said - without cavil - that the 220 booking so far make this event  the biggest ever gathering of people who once were termed CEOs and who spent varying amounts of time at Middle Head. The Brisbane organising committee has left no stone unturned and no words of persuasion unsaid in a relentless search for old Asopians. With six months still to go, the Queenslanders have already put in a fine organisational effort. There are, however, still a few reunion places left. Now seems a good time to finalise those arrangements to get there