AusAID in PNG: simple-minded neglect
An education system on the brink of collapse

Readers nominate China as month’s big issue


NOVEMBER HAS provided another good month of reader commentary, with the question of China’s influence in the region - and the ramifications of this – being the major issue.

I have to note here, and with admiration, that the commentary that each day accompanies PNG Attitude in the right hand column, and which is entirely driven by readers, is often authoritative, frequently provocative and mostly entertaining.

It’s also great for contributors to be able to generate discussion, receive feedback or, as is increasingly the case, make useful connections with readers who can provide some assistance to them – whether through offering information or even more material help.

As for the November comments, here are the top ten articles that triggered readers into offering a riposte…..

88 - Ramu Nico threatened us say landowners (Malum Nalu). Malum’s piece on the Ramu nickel development moved strongly through its second month and has now received more than 220 comments from readers.

27 - Some tough questions about China's intent (Robert Palmer). This article began life as a comment which was so well framed and argued it got promoted to the main page. PNG Attitude occasionally converts commentary into articles, especially where they offer a new or substantial taken on things.

18 - Nationalism and Confucianism are China's keys (Fr John Koran). Fr John wrote this piece after a Bougainville delegation visited China. It presented a useful counterpoint to much of the critical commentary on China (some of it quite extreme) and attempted, not entirely convincingly, to present the Chinese experience in a way that was relevant to Melanesia.

18 - Great movie challenge: PNG filmography (Peter Kranz). You never know what PNG Attitude readers are likely to come up with next, nor how other readers are likely to respond. In this case it was movies involving PNG in some way – and readers responded with gusto to add many new titles to Peter’s impressive initial list.

17 - So what is the story that I should tell? (Scott Waide). Scott took his camera to some schools out of Madang and ended up with some great pictures and a great article about how tough the education system is doing it at present. The story certainly resonated with readers.

14 - Marriage PNG style: respecting the traditions (Peter Kranz). Peter is married to Rose Bemu from Simbu and their wedding brought them together in a ceremony that gave great emphasis to tradition. The resultant story proved popular with readers and also generated a lively exchange on the difficulties that such blended relationships can bring.

14 - Defence changes: budget considerations (Reginald Renagi). This was the final episode of Reg’s four-part series on how to revitalise the PNG Defence Force. More resources, and better use of resources by PNGDF heads, were the main themes.

12 - Corney steps up pressure in schools' debate (Keith Jackson). In its third month and after more than 170 comments from readers, the Outcome-Based Education debate has (for now) run out of steam. But then everything was said at least five times….

12 - Why is it so hard? Can it really be that hard? (Philip Fitzpatrick) Phil’s plea for better governance (both from the PNG government and within AusAID) articulated the feelings of frustration and disappointment widespread amongst readers.

11 - Commit to good governance, says Clinton (Keith Jackson). The US Secretary of State briefly visited Port Moresby as part of her and President Obama’s charm offensive in the south-west Pacific. We don’t know what happened behind closed doors but imagine that the word China came up and didn’t refer to the tea cups.


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Ian Robertson

Gloria - Supt Mike Thomas of the RPNGC (police force) was, I recall, a prominent Pidgin expert. I do recall him broadcasting on 9PA during the 60s and 70s.

The following link will take you to a rendition of 3 Little Pigs - taken from Supt Thomas' daily Learning Pidgin series on the ABC:


Gloria McLachlan

Dear Mr Jackson - Some years ago my family and I spent two years on Bougainville Island. I attended classes to learn Tok Pisin.

We were given sheets with nursery rhymes and fairy tales printed on them, which I really liked. Unfortunately I have lost them.

I looked on the net but was only able to learn that you were the one who translated the rhymes.

My daughter asked me about them recently as she wanted to say a few to the children in her son's class at school.

Could you please tell me if there is anywhere I could get more copies of your translations? Thank you for your time.

Yours in desperation.

Gloria - No, I never translated nursery rhymes. Would the person who did so, or anyone who may know something about this matter, contact PNG Attitude and help Gloria out of her dilemma - KJ

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