Tough issues for PNG education still unresolved
Bougainville Manifesto 1 - People, culture & history

A Papuan answer to the Bougainvillean

John Fowke - JOCJOHN FOWKE

IT IS EASY TO AGREE with every comment made about Leonard Roka's poem, A Bougainvillean song to the Papuan

And, as most of us have a fairly good understanding that the Bougainville crisis and what follows is the result of Australia's second of two great mistakes as caretaker of TP&NG, we can only empathise with what, in the circumstances, is actually a fairly restrained expression even if it highlights something that Papua's Motu-Koita are both frustrated and angry about in a way which may offend some.

As has been observed, this sort of pressure is felt in a number of places around the nation, especially in Lae, Goroka Mount Hagen and Madang. Much more may be said on this subject.

Perhaps our globetrotting guru, KJ, applied his delicate cuticle-cutters to comments here and there. Not important.

Bougainville and its progress toward an unclear future begs our understanding even when a certain forcefulness is embodied within evocative statements by writers like Leonard.

What we need now, in this instance, is to have some comments from Attituders of the identifiably Papuan kind. I note that, long-absent from these pages, my former comrade-in-PNG Attitude, Reg.Renagi has made one or two comments recently.

Tadigu, lau moale badabada ladamu lau itaia lou. Lau be mai lalolalo danu emu mauri noho edana bamona? Namona do emel torea siaia lau dekegu; tauna JP ia noho Motukea dekenai adresi do hadibaimu.

Oh Papua land, who will sing Motu songs?

Lau do ane abigu mai koudu honu danu; mai moale badabada danu!..

Who will dance Motu dances?

Lau buruka dikadika lalolasi lau do mavarumavaru elabona daba e kinia!

Who will pray the Koitabu prayers?

Koitabu edia gado diba lasi dainai lau do kamonai mai matagu kohua danu!

Who will build the lakatoi?

Lau Purari Koriki tauna dainai au namona besele hamorua lalonai siria gau namona do karaia mai ena bara momo mai ena kibi boiboilaia badabada gauna danu!

Who will mould the pottery of your legends?

Lau do kamonai negana lau do heau mai tano kakakakana geia haboua, miri namona danu, ranu mailaia danu, vadaeni sinagu vavagu dibamoma taudia lau henidia do Papua ena uru badadia sene gaudia namodia idia do karaia ma do gabua gwauraia!

Who will record the myths of your past?

Laloa lasi, kamonai taunimanima idoinai; inai be gaukara metauna lasi;aiemei Papua senesivarai ibounai ai dogoatao auka masemase. Ai laloboio lasi, sene sivarai, sene anena, inai be aimai sene rara momokani! Kamonai!! Ai Papua be mai goada sene sivarai sene karana lalotau dainai!!

Oh Papua land, I am sad to watch your beauty fading away!

Ai be davara taudia! Ai be gwarume badadia veria taudia! Ai be haoda taudia,kimai negea taudia, kwalaha alaia ania taudia! Ai be Papua!

Ai be vanagiai hiri loaloa taudia! Ai Papua gare diba lasi davarai. Lai, guba, dahakadahaka ai be ai laloa lasi..

Ai vanagi badadia lakatoi taria taudia! Ai diba loaloa Kerema, Vailala, Purari, Era sinavai, Urama, Goaribari ai loaloa. Aroma, Abau, Mailu, Suau, Samarai ai loaloa hanaihanai. Ai be laurabada ena isena itaia negana ai kiri, ai hevasea, ai be gare lasi; ai varovaro turiana haukaia, ai taria namonamo gubabadana goada masemase ai diba dadabaia! Ai heaudaia! Ai be Papua!

The land has given us some very valuable and accomplished Papuan leaders. Today the trading and inter-tribal communicatory language of Papua is not as much used, and sadly not as widely understood as once it was.

Let us make the trading version of the Motu language the centre of our memory of the times when it was in wide, even in Governor Murray’s day, universal use.

The widely-known trading version of the Motu language is worthy of elevation to a cultural icon quite as much as the fast-evolving Tok Pisin of PNG, which bids fair to become a full creole language at any moment.

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