The chief justice's sacrifice is a sad day for PNG
He broke the egg

Struggling between two cultures


Young, wild and free
I grew to believe that the tapa and grass-skirt is for the villager
I chose to wear jeans and shirts
Accusations and assault appalled me

Aren’t I a Papua New Guinean growing up between two cultures?
I disposed the thought to relieve myself of shame
For not knowing my peoples’ ways
Bored and bothered, I bungled the bridge of my cultural identity

Logic started whispering tormenting scads of loss
From what?
Haughty hugged me tight
And gave me sobriquet

On a fast lane, fast food and falling frenzy
I heard voices chanting
Goon… Goon… Goon… Goon
Have you forgotten?

That being a Papua New Guinean
You have cultural roots
Your ancestors wore tapa and grass-skirt
Simplicity was the order in the village

And oh, yes there is a place called village
Where the father and brother of your father live
Where your father’s brother can also be called dad
Where your grandmother cooks food in a clay pot

Where dinner is served in wooden bowls
Where you sit on a sago leaf woven mat and eat
Where you sleep in a bush material house
This is shelter and home to your people

I blush yet baffled
What has become of me?
To live that life is difficult
To adapt is unthinkable

Pride rests in the deepest part of my inner being
To know who I really am
The comfort of what I am experiencing now
Inhibits me from confronting the truth

I hear an unpleasant continuous music
Beckoning me to sing
I choose instead to listen
Intently will I listen

The dark cloud hovering over me will be diffused
Then I will embrace reality
And be liberated
To accept growing up between two distinct cultures

Patricia Martin (42) was born in Port Moresby and now lives in Lae.  She is a teacher and enjoys teaching poetry and story writing.  She is hoping to one day have her poems published


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Elizabeth Wrakonei

Ms Martin - What you have written is something to all of us, yes we are struggling between two cultures.

Some us think that people in the village only eat village food and wear grass-skirts.

I think its time for Papua New Guineans to use their heads.

Elizabeth Marie Wrakonei

Ms Martin. I really like your poem. It's so cool. And yes we are struggling between two cultures. I really like your poem.

Mrs Barbara Short

Thanks Patricia for this great poem.

Many writers have tried to express this conundrum.
But we are all a blend of cultures.

Down here is Sydney, where every household may be from a different culture, there is much blending going on.

I know the people next door eat a blend of Italian and Egyptian food! Their Nanas, Memmes, Nonnas, etc are dying. Their kids are Aussies.

But there is great love between the generations and they have lots of family gatherings. Life is not easy but they all work hard to make it a good life.

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