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Famous Kone Tigers oval is now a sex workers den


The badly deteriorated Kone Tigers OvalTHE KONE TIGERS CLUB and its oval was made famous by players like Clarrie Burke, John Kaputin, Bill O’Brien, Sean Dorney, Hugh Davis, Dadi Mahuru Toka and many other tough rugby league players.

John Kaputin played for the famous club in the days when rugby league was just starting to emerge as a national sport in Papua New Guinea and was still mostly played by white men.

Kaputin helped win the 1960’s grand final between the Kone Tigers and DCA played at the Papuan Rugby League ground near Boroko.

In the years that followed, the Kone Tigers Oval evolved into a modern rugby league ground with a club house, high wall fencing and polished green grass in the paddock.  It was on an equal footing with the Boroko ground.

The Kone Tigers club was the glamour team and proud owner of the oval. In later years international and semi-professional inter-city cup matches were played there.

Then, on the threshold of the 21st century, the famous oval started to fall into disrepair. Wreckers were appointed to run the club and its assets. Gradually all the corrugated iron fencing was ripped down, the club house fell apart and scrub crept into the paddock.

The kleptomaniacs who managed the club saw fit to sell the oval to some Asians.

The legality of the sale has been contested in court but no one has any idea about the outcome.

Right now the once famous Kone Tigers Oval is a sex workers’ and drug addicts’ den.

It is also a public toilet used by street vendors and others who do petty business at the Waigani market. Every Tom, Dick and Harry now goes to the paddock and squats anywhere in the scrub to answer the call of nature.

Public watch a couple have sexThe rain tree at the western end of the oval has been taken over by drug addicts. They congregate to smoke marijuana, drink ‘coffee punch’ (cheap liquor), watch pornography on mobile phones and intermittently walk to the eastern end of the oval to watch sex workers and their clients copulating (see photo).

Outside the western end of the oval is the large Waigani Market. The area between the oval and the market is used by 3,000 people every day for petty business.

While the market caters for people who sell garden produce the intervening area is used by the people who sell cordial, scones, hot dogs, Asian junk, betel nut and cigarettes.

There they do business under the scorching sun with the stench of the Waigani sewer in their nostrils.

When nature calls, they wander off to the Kone Tigers Oval. Likewise when lust calls they communicate through their mobile phones and meet up at the eastern end of the oval.

Relationships have developed while vending in this locality. Joking and gossip give birth to new extra marital relationships as well as other forms of relationship. The sellers are familiar with each other since they mostly come from the same province.

Last year a middle aged woman and an old man agreed to walk over to the eastern end of the oval. When the elderly man had finished he quickly zipped up his trousers and got up to leave.

The unsatisfied woman beseeched the old man to remain but when he walked off she chased him with a dagger and almost stabbed him to death before the drug addicts came to his rescue.

The woman angrily said in her vernacular that she had left her betel nut stall untended for some fun only to be denied it.

Just before Christmas, after a hard day’s work selling their goods another couple agreed to go for a quickie.

Instead of walking to the eastern end of the oval they decided to crawl into a patch of small scrub in front of the Waigani Stop and Shop supermarket at the southern end of the PNG Bible Translation Association building.

While they were busy a large crowd of street vendors and the public decided to circle the place for a better view. Some cheered them on while others threw sticks and stones at them.

A drug addict came along, struck a match and lit the surrounding shrubbery. It was a nightmare for the poor couple and they fled in disarray.

All very unsavoury you might say. I would respond by pointing out that if we don’t raise the matter in forums like this such social ills will continue to occur and sprout wherever people congregate and mingle.

The plight of women without restrooms and the openly visible sex industry are still major concerns in Port Moresby.

We beseech the National Capital District Commission to seriously look at public toilets, especially for women as well as discreet licensed brothels for those who engage in sex work.

The National Capital District Commission also needs to step in and renovate the Kone Tigers Oval and give it back to the stakeholders under a newly constituted Kone Tigers Club Board.

At the moment the Kone Tigers Club still participates in the Port Moresby Rugby League competition operating out of the mess described above.

The bulk of the current team and management are from one particular province and they communicate in the vernacular during training and playing and that alone keeps players from other parts of Papua New Guinea away.

It would be much better if the players and officials came from all parts of Papua New Guinea to play and manage the club.

Ah, PNG! A land of paradox!


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Denis McCulloch

I coached the Kone Tigers in 1972 and 1973 and it breaks my heart to see what has become of a great club.

Fenama Gampi

Thanks Sil. Keep up the good work.

Seriously someone like me can't even put a story together with ink & paper.

You have a great talent, so please cover far & wide on untapped social issues in PNG.

Ed Brumby

On first reading of this sorry tale, I too was dismayed and disgusted by what I read.

As a former member and longtime supporter of the league club and a player and official with the Kone Tigers basketball club, I was especially saddened.

John Fowke's questions then caused me to reflect a little more deeply and I recalled that, as a patron of the club back in the late '60s and early '70s, I frequently observed drunkenness, drug ingestion (albeit limited to nicotine and marijuana) and lustful and near-licentious behaviour by members and patrons - both expats and Papua New

I can admit, with rightful shame, that I also exhibited such behaviours on occasion.

One also needs to bear in mind that such behaviours are on display most nights of the week In King Street in Melbourne. All that's missing is the public copulation ....

The differences between then and now at the footy club and environs are those of degree, discretion and the acceptable bounds of behaviour which have now moved beyond the limits that we would tolerate in a civilised society.

It is all terribly sad .....

Henry Ume

Want to know what happened to the Kone Tigers oval, ask Stanley "Chiko" Haru. I believe he is on Facebook.

Diane Bohlen

What a sad state of affairs. John asks an interesting question: "Was it us that triggered these values?"

Colin Huggins

This is disgusting. What hope do the PNGians have if this is blatantly permitted and not stopped.

Not sure if I should say thanks for the truth, Sil, but thanks anyhow.

Robin Suang

I believe this piece of writing should also be published in our daily newpapers The National and the Post-Courier.

Many people have become too rigid and now everywhere is a sex dan... Even sporting fields are now becoming sex dans with pimps...

I fully agree with Mr Yaegiora... very impressive piece.

John Fowke

Nicely-written indeed. An excellent picture of the opposite end of the social scale in PNG's cities today.

Opposite to that vantage-point occupied by an apparently exploitative and exclusive politically-empowered, wealthy elite.

In an aged dimdim it precipitates thoughts such as - is one to feel despair? resignation? hope? anger?

Those who really can do something about raising this land to a state of comparitive balance and prosperity within 21st century society engage themselves on a war principally of words, and in campaigns such as that to proscribe and prevent chewing of betel-nut in public places.

Was it us dimdim colonials who imparted this scale of values upon PNG? And are these values immutable?

Bernard Yegiora

Nicely written piece. Reminds me of my days at UPNG.

The market is a mecca for drug dealers who sell Goilala stuff or marijuana from that part of the country.

Once or twice an addict gets fresh stuff from the Highlands, especially from the Kafe region in Eastern Highlands. Considered the best in the land!

Which is better than the dry Goilala stuff. Dry in the sense that when you smoke a joint it will dry up all the saliva in your mouth and the high feeling is not that great.

With the current economic situation where there is great inequality in wealth distribution, selling sex is a great economic venture.

From my point of view, religious arguments against the legalisation of brothels or rather prostitution will slowly lose its foundation as the country evolves.

Capitalism used religion to establish itself but over time religion has become more of a burden.

As people become more educated and as the environment changes they will view religion as a constraint to their economic potential.

Sil, I hope your next piece will be about the big girls at Boroko Post Office and their little pimps.

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