Speer MBE is inaugural life member of MvM group
History’s analogy: understanding PNG resentment


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Anthony Seeto

Thank you. A very informative and interesting newsletter.

John McRobert, Managing Director, CopyRight Publishing

I like your Attitude.

To date, Bernard Oberleuter has kept me informed on some excellent stories.

I am particularly interested in the Carbon Credit Certificates being issued. Carbon trading is the greatest scam in history, and the sooner this bubble is pricked, the fewer people will be hurt in the fallout.

Can you please add me to your email address list.

Paul Oates

I have viewed the film 'Carbon Cowboy' on line and can recommend it to everyone who wants to gain an excellent insight into PNG issues today. Juliana goes where many who either work or report on PNG do not. Her documentary ranges from the swank, wine swilling restaurants of Moresby to the actual kunai roots where PNG villagers are being conned by people who appear to be only in it for personal gain. It's the best expose on contemporary PNG I've seen in many years. My comments on Emmanuel Narakobi's blog titled 'Kabon Kauboi oa Dinki Dai Diwai Dingo' sum up my thoughts.

Well done Juliana, Max Uechtritz and Al Jazeera!

Paul Oates

The Post Courier reports that the PNG climate change effort is now at the whim of the Prime Minister and the his team of National Executive Conspirators sorry ... Council. Why go the Copenhagen to discuss climate changes when it is alive and well, and already happening in Waigani?

K5 million for overseas climate change consultants, chosen without using approved selection guidelines. No mention on who these people are or their qualifications.

K2 -3 million for a 30-member PNG climate change delegation at Copenhagen - two days late.

K3.2 million to be paid out for redundancies for the staff of the Office of Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability.

K7.5 million to re establish OCC&ES functions within the Department of Environment and Conservation.

And a law suit over the sacking of the previous CEO of the now defunct Office.

Is there any wonder there is a constant stream of missing millions of government kina are? Its called ad hoc management or 'make it up as you go' on a grand scale.

Will the current PNG next be advertising worldwide consultancies on 'tips about how to mismanage your government without really trying'?

Robin Lillicrap

Hi Keith, Congratulations on your new appointment. What a great way of sharing and utilising your long experience and journalistic wisdom. Thank you for the newsletter. As always, a most informative and wide-ranging read.

I can't help but think, as I recall the pattern of observations emerging from present and past issues of The Attitude, that your correspondents paint a pessimistic picture of PNG's future.

It has probably been a perplexing ride along history's road for the present crop of leaders in PNG.

I remember the late 60's influx of lecturers in the various colleges from foreign and "communistic" regimes. Now, the tide has turned. Communism, as such, is gone; the fires of capitalism challenged and overtaken by free-market economics and eco-politics advocating communitarian paradigms smacking of fascism.

As the global march toward fulfilment of (among other things) Cecil Rhodes' vision of a world government ---- the Lisbon treaty forging a unified power-bloc from the EU.---- the expected merger of Canada, Mexico, and the USA in another expression of free-market economics in 2010 with all the accompanying threats of currency fluctuation undermining and destabilising markets... what dismal prospects confront the national aspirations of PNG'ns.

If national leaders are hamstrung by constraints upon them to conform to over-arching global political restraints and mandates hardly understood by them, and confined within the ward of a welfare state mentality occasioned by dependence upon overseas aid.... little wonder that the trickle-down effect upon ordinary citizens is further hamstringing by a marginalising of personal, family, tribal and national identity issues.

The end result is predictable: anarchy and lawlessness that, too often, is countered by brute-force and belligerence from rampant authurity seeking to restore law and order.

Your articles point out the increasing trend toward PNG courting the prospects of Chinese and other influences in the eco-spere. Such diversity offers little comfort to prospects of regaining the stability once achieved under the "kiap" era. In fact, reflections upon the relative tranquility of that era are often viewed today as paternalistic, and politically incorrect: hence; the fight you and your colleagues have endured in pursuit of formal recognition of the work of those nation-builders.

In times of despair and pessimism, when all hope seems lost, aid is often experienced from the consoling influences of family and friends as they band together to fellowship and relive the memories of better times.

I think humanity operates best when overriding personal ambition for power and control is surrendered to gentler notions of meeting the needs of others.

The Christmas message is just such an illustration of that. The component elements merge to reveal signposts of optimism and comfort in the midst of life's storms, Future unknowns become bearable realities. The fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man become reconcilable experience amidst the irreconcilable turmoil of human conflict.

Keith; may your Christmas experience, and that of your readers in this 2009 season become a joyous and blessed one. Thank you for your labours toward keeping us informed over the past months.

Juliana Ruhfus

Max Uechtritz, my boss at Al Jazeera, keeps forwarding me your newsletter and it's been a great source of information.

I've recently shot a film in Papua New Guinea for Al Jazeera's current affairs strand 'People & Power'.

We had great access with 'carbon cowboy' Kirk Roberts and I think you may enjoy the film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCzGIsKEw48

Nancy Johnston

The Kiaps Honour Roll [see Fragments of Attitude] is a contributing factor towards why Kiaps ought to be considered for official recognition by the Australian Government.

Can any other ex PNG Administration Department, prior to Independence, produce such a list?

Chris Viner-Smith has been working on his initiative to the Government for a formal Australian Government Recognition for more than six years.

A copy of his 28 page submission can be found on the PNGAA website.

If others feel they are worthy of recognition, someone needs to take the initiative, like Chris Viner-Smith, on their behalf.

I am proud to be the wife of an ex-Career Kiap, serving alongside him 1946-1975 and therefore knowing the dangers the Kiaps faced during their long 'first contact' exploratory patrols, bringing areas under control and making them safe before members from other departments moved in.

Perhaps Mr. Wilson might like to read the Kiaps' Compendium in the library section on the PNGAA website.

Bill Wilson

Congratulations on a great issue of Attitude and on your recent Qld Uni Appointment - an honour well deserved.

I am concerned that that it appears that only kiaps are to be recognised for TPNG service. This is a direct insult to the many other field/outstation officers who also made major contributions to PNG and faced many of the risks faced by kiaps.

I myself was lucky to escape death or serious injury in two patrol and river crossing incidents.

I still remember riots in the Goilala, when 2 young women were killed in a garden accident and a crowd of locals came up to the station to kill two men thought responsible.

It just happened that the ADO and the kiaps were in Moresby on a training course and I was left with unarmed police (no bolts or bullets). I moved them to the station end of the airstrip and told them to hold up their (usless) 303's and look tough, while I moved down the strip with my elderly .22 (also with no bullets) and attempted to calm down things.

I was lucky because of good relationships with the locals, but it was scary being faced with 40+ screaming locals.

The ADO and kiaps came back by plane some two hours later, when all the fun was over.

I am sure many other field staff have similiar stories. It would be great if you could use your influence to make sure that recognition is given to all field staff.

All the best to you and yours for Christmas and 2010.

Newman Ewada

Thank you very much for the December edition. I enjoy reading these. Have a very Merry Christmas.

Patrick Lindsay

Congratulations on another outstanding PNG Attitude.

I'm gobsmacked at the disappearance of the Oro Recovery funding. It's beyond comprehension that that amount of money could disappear without trace.

Any decent forensic accountant could track it down within a week. Surely the PNG National Government must institute an independent inquiry immediately and, more importantly, replace the funding and begin the infrastructure rebuilding now.

The Foundation has just sent $5000 up there to help buy emergency food and water following this week's new flooding which has ruined vast numbers of food gardens.

Our partnership with the local people to create and develop the Northern Province Food Restoration Program following Cyclone Guba has been an outstanding success. It's now in full swing, with more than 40,000 plant varieties distributed to communities throughout the province.

The original three mother nurseries have spawned 29 satellite nurseries at last count and almost 500 people have received training on planting and maintaining gardens, with the help of NARI and DAL.

The local communities have managed the nurseries and handled the distribution. We have provided the funding.

Maybe we need to make some serious noise down here and up there about the inequity of this situation and the inaction of the national government.

The people of the Northern Province have been abandoned.

To hear that someone has stolen the money set aside to rebuild the bridges, the schools and the villages destroyed by Cyclone Guba is heartbreaking.

The people of Oro's lives and livelihoods depend on the access provided by the bridges and the futures of their children are being compromised every day they are left without schools.

No self-respecting government should sit idle in the face of such injustice.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)