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99 posts from February 2014

Decision on re-opening Panguna mine still 3 years away


The Panguna mine today (Global Mail)A BOUGAINVILLE Copper Limited (BCL) operated mine at Panguna has the potential to revitalise Central Bougainville with upgrades to infrastructure and facilities.

But any decision on whether the mine will be redeveloped is at least three years away and depends on findings from environmental, social and pre-feasibility studies.

According to BCL’s 2013 Order of Magnitude (OOM) Study, a range of infrastructure upgrades are needed to service a workforce employed at Panguna, the wider community and the operations of the mine itself.

Continue reading "Decision on re-opening Panguna mine still 3 years away" »

On a Valentine’s Day, love is truly in the air


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Steamships Short Story Award

Love is in the airTHERE’S this saying that tells us ‘love is in the air’ and I’ll show you what that means.

It had to be perfect; I’ve been planning this for a month now. I knew the plan was not only insane and the first I’ve ever heard of in history but was also dangerous and risky. People’s lives and jobs were on the line so was mine and my lovely woman’s-Cherie Manieka.

But I’m an adventure freak, a daredevil and a dammed good one. When I plan things, they eventuate the way I wanted. I knew Cherie loved me with her life and she would give anything to be with me in this life and the next.

Continue reading "On a Valentine’s Day, love is truly in the air " »

New Ireland & New Britain on an Air Niugini Q400

BERNIE LEIGHTON | Airline Reporter

P2-PXS at Jacksons Airport (Bernie Leighton)WHILE Port Moresby may not be a holiday treat, it is certainly better than it has ever been since independence. But if you want a tropical holiday, you are going to have to leave the ravenous guard dogs and car jackings of Moresby behind.

Being a huge World War II nerd, I figured my best bet was to head out to either Kavieng (on New Ireland) or Kokopo/Rabaul on New Britain). Both these islands were invaded by the Japanese in 1942, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

But first I have to tell you about the fun one can have at the domestic terminal of Jacksons International Airport.

Continue reading "New Ireland & New Britain on an Air Niugini Q400" »

Women’s sport is ignored & I will fix it, says Oro governor


Netball tourneyTHE GOVERNOR of Oro Province, Gary Juffa, has supported a call by Women’s National Soccer League President Linda Wonuhali for recognition and support from the PNG national government.

Mr Juffa said that every provincial governor and member of parliament actively supported sports development but focused on sports dominated by men.

He admitted that Oro had also fallen into this trend and pledged to correct the efforts he was making to ensure fairness and equity in supporting and promoting women’s sports.

“Oro has embarked on using sport as a platform to engage with youth and discourage social negativities such as violence, drug and substance abuse,” Mr Juffa said.

Continue reading "Women’s sport is ignored & I will fix it, says Oro governor" »

Flight to Port Moresby - A review of Air Niugini

BERNIE LEIGHTON | Airline Reporter

An Air Niugini 767 at Brisbane Airport (Leighton)SO, YOU’RE dumb enough to decide you want to go to Port Moresby on holiday? Well, first off, you are pretty dumb. Do you know how dangerous Port Moresby is?

The American government clearly knows; they’re building a new fortress-embassy on the highway to the airport. This embassy construction site also houses all its workers behind three 20-foot high fences and a small contingent of Marines.

Having said that, it is still safer than Lae! So, if you have to pick between the two…

It’s not an organised sort of crime, or resistance. It’s something more like a zombie movie. One target sees an opportunity and then, almost like a wave, the rest follows. From what I’ve seen, cricket bats are a popular weapon of late.

Continue reading "Flight to Port Moresby - A review of Air Niugini" »

Michael Dom poetry collection is latest entry in Book of the Year


At Another CrossroadsAn entry in The Crocodile Prize
Ok Tedi Mining Book of the Year Award

At Another Crossroads: A Collection of Poems by Michael Dom, University of Papua New Guinea Press, paperback, 162 pages, ISBN 9980879211, available from UPNG Bookshop, K50, or from Amazon$18.01 ($28.48 incl postage)

MICHAEL DOM, one of Papua New Guinea’s most talented and prolific poets, is the latest writer to submit an entry in the newly-established Ok Tedi Mining Book of the Year award within the Crocodile Prize national literary contest.

At Another Crossroads is the first published collection of Michael’s poems and it joins books by Sil Bolkin, Leonard Roka (two) and Francis Nii in vying for PNG’s latest literary award.

Michael, who has has already won a Crocodile Prize for Poetry in 2012, is well known to PNG Attitude readers for his lucid, direct and honest approach to his craft whether he is writing poetry or commenting on the affairs of the day.

Continue reading "Michael Dom poetry collection is latest entry in Book of the Year" »

Sweet Tooth

'Sweet Tooth' by John John JesseGEORGE KUIAS

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Poetry Award

Sweet serenade from the sound of your voice,
the sweet - to - the - taste words that you say so well.
A sugary snack pours from your lips as you make your choice,
of what delicate story you will tell.

A frothing delight as you mix your emotions,
from the start of the tale to the end of it,
my mouth waters for more of your bodies emotion.
The beauty within thee sends me into a fit.

Continue reading "Sweet Tooth" »

PNG medical researcher says many drugs are substandard


PrimaquineA REPORT on medical drugs in Papua New Guinea says many anti-malarial drugs could be sub-standard.

Dr Inoni Betuela from the Institute of Medical Research said over 80% of drugs are sourced from uncertified companies.

He said more than half of the content of the sampled tablets of primaquine was made up of sugar and inactive ingredients.

He says while primaquine is not that widely used, other common drugs like quinine and amoxicillin also had significant levels of failure.

Continue reading "PNG medical researcher says many drugs are substandard" »

NGO rails against delays in cancelling illegal land leases


Hands off our futureCommunity advocacy group ACT NOW! has said that, while it welcomes prime minister Peter O’Neill's statement that illegal SABL (land) leases in Papua New Guinea need to be revoked, the delays in implementing this commitment are totally unacceptable.

Last Thursday Mr O’Neill announced he is appointing a ministerial committee to look into implementing the Commission of Inquiry recommendation that illegal leases be revoked.

"In September 2013 the prime minister accepted the Commission findings and said he had appointed a task force to look at the recommendations.

Continue reading "NGO rails against delays in cancelling illegal land leases" »

Simbu's disabled people come together to organise for their rights


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Essay & Journalism Award

Simbu disabled persons workshopTHERE was a powerful message communicated at a recent Simbu workshop on disabled people’s rights.

“Not many disabled persons in PNG know their rights under the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and therefore they cannot advocate for full realisation of their rights. When you know your rights then you can advocate appropriately to the relevant authorities for the full realisation of your rights”.

These words were delivered at a one-week AusAID-funded training program in late January run by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons. The training facilitator was Ross Tito of the Port Moresby based National Assembly of Disabled Persons and the venue was the Kundiawa Catholic Parish resource centre at Gon Hill.

Continue reading "Simbu's disabled people come together to organise for their rights" »

Navy to resume search for missing World War I submarine


Australian Submarine AE-1 missing since 1914THE AUSTRALIAN Navy will renew the search for a long-lost submarine a century after it vanished.

Defence Minister David Johnston announced on Friday that the Australian Navy will begin looking for the HMAS AE1 in September.

The British-built submarine was Australia's first and fought in World War I.

It disappeared in waters near Papua New Guinea in 1914, with the loss of 32 sailors and three officers.

"I'm optimistic, I don't want to build anybody's hopes up, but I think this is good," Mr Johnston said at the Sydney launch of 100 years of submarine history.

"So bear with us, I'm hoping we will have some success."

Continue reading "Navy to resume search for missing World War I submarine" »

Pork-barrelling Jeffery ‘Santu’ Nape - saviour, giver & Nimai ninja


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Essay & Journalism Award

Jeffery NapeI WAS GLAD when Kerenga Kua defeated the notorious Jeffery ‘Santu’ Nape in Papua New Guinea’s 2013 general election.

I thought to myself the Sinasina Yongomugl electorate of Simbu Province now has a very highly educated person as their representative, so he will bring development to the electorate.

The whole of PNG developed different kinds of feelings for Nape during his second term leading up to the 2012 general election. Many labelled him as a conniving Speaker of the House who played a fundamental role in overthrowing the Somare-led regime. They focussed on the bad aspects of his leadership and drew their own conclusions.

A good number of his own Nimai tribesmen in the Sinasina Yongomugl district saw him as their saviour and a giver. Some called him the Nimai ninja and many other names that made sense to them.

The image they had of Nape cannot be easily deleted from their minds. They will never forget Jeffery ‘Santu’ Nape, former Speaker of the National Parliament and Acting Governor General.

Continue reading "Pork-barrelling Jeffery ‘Santu’ Nape - saviour, giver & Nimai ninja" »

Taim blo kilim pik: The education of a butcher boy


Pig kill 1972An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism


The air was shattered by the agonizing squeal of the pig as I drove an arm’s-length thick iron bar, squaring the metal on the pig’s snout right between the eyes. Just one thrust and the 250 pounds beast slumped dead at my feet.

In case you’re wondering what the hell, that’s animal cruelty; well welcome to Papua New Guinea, we look after pigs for eating, not for pets.

I let the shuddering pig squirmed for a moment allowing the flowing blood to drain out, then my brothers grabbed his legs and heaved him onto the wire frame set over the blazing fire. We threw some tsi-tsu (dried coconut leaves) over the poor pig to burn its bristled fur to ensure a smooth carcass.

Continue reading "Taim blo kilim pik: The education of a butcher boy" »

Australia Pacific scholarships boost PNG’s health workforce


Stuart SchaeferAUSTRALIA is training 450 midwives, nurses and community health workers in 2014 to help Papua New Guinea address its health workforce shortage.

The Australian government has announced the young Papua New Guineans from across the nation receiving the Australia Awards Pacific Scholarships.

The head of development cooperation at the Australian High Commission, Stuart Schaefer (pictured), last week visited the Lutheran School of Nursing in Madang where 58 award recipients are starting or continuing studies.

Mr Schaefer said the students who are studying nursing and midwifery are part of a major initiative by PNG and Australia to save lives.

“Reducing maternal mortality is a top priority of Australia’s partnership for development with PNG,” Mr Schaefer said.

Continue reading "Australia Pacific scholarships boost PNG’s health workforce" »

Traditional awareness, culture & the myth of Nokondi


NokondiIN 2012 I instituted the Cleland Family Award for Heritage Literature in the Crocodile Prize because of my long-held belief that any society benefits from being aware of its social and cultural heritage.

Notice my phrase 'being aware of'. That doesn't mean believe it or not believe it. It doesn't mean accept it or ignore it. It doesn't mean be proud of it or ashamed of it.

It means, simply, to be aware of it.

I hope that today's Papua New Guinean writers accept that idea and record for posterity some of the beliefs and stories from their ancestors. It's up to each writer to judge for themselves what things to write about and what things to ignore.

Which brings me to Nokondi.

Continue reading "Traditional awareness, culture & the myth of Nokondi" »

Papua New Guinea my beloved country, where are we heading?


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Poetry Award

Papua-new-guinea-png-flagI see the kids waving
I see the flag flying
I see the people smiling
I see the country celebrating
Silent tears in my heart

The southern cross
Does it lead us to the cross?
The bird of paradise
Does it fly us to paradise?
Silent tears in my heart

Gold here gold there
Oil here oil there
Gas here gas there
Timber here timber there
Silent tears in my heart

Continue reading "Papua New Guinea my beloved country, where are we heading?" »

The Keravat school social & the story of Baby Blue


Tuum EstIN THE 1970s, one of the important events on the school calendar at Keravat High School in the Gazelle Peninsula was the school social, or dance.

These dances were held in the Mess on a Saturday night. Many of the huge tables were removed and the others placed around the walls. Huge bunches of fan palms and other attractive greenery was cut from the surrounding rainforest and draped in strategic places to give the huge mess a more festive atmosphere.

Although the floor was cement, at least it was smooth and shiny, and was not too bad for dancing. It was a great meeting place and, although the boys outnumbered the girls, that didn’t stop the boys from dancing. They just danced with each other.

Many of the younger teachers attended the dances and at times the locals from Keravat town or nearby villages were also made welcome.

The following article appeared in Wawarikai magazine in 1976 and it captures the essence of the school social. It may have been written by a student but I think it is more likely to have been written by an anonymous member of staff.

Continue reading "The Keravat school social & the story of Baby Blue" »

O’Neill’s Panguna visit: how the opportunists were thwarted


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism

Peter O'Neill in BougainvilleIN 2012, Central Bougainville politician Jimmy Miringtoro and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill were chatting in O’Neill’s office in Parliament House, Port Moresby, when the PM unexpectedly suggested he was interested in visiting Bougainville.

It wasn’t until late January 2014 that the proposal took form and the pair landed at Buka airport in a chartered jet, touring Bougainville for three days in a convoy of cars with three helicopters buzzing around in the skies above.

Late last year, as he was preparing the way for O’Neill’s visit, Miringtoro told the Panguna people that the trip would be a ‘family visit’. It was the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) administration that came up with the more far reaching idea of a ‘goodwill visit’.

Continue reading "O’Neill’s Panguna visit: how the opportunists were thwarted" »

To those destroyers of the Sandaun forests - eternal shame


David-Fedele-Big-DamageHAVING just watched the documentary Bikpela Bagarup, again I am disgusted with the logging operations taking place in Sandaun Province in the remote north-west of Papua New Guinea.

The Malaysian companies involved must be held accountable for their absolute abuse of the rights of traditional land owners’. They should also be prosecuted for their lack of attention to the rights of workers to be supplied with the necessary training and safety equipment.

All of the Papua New Guinea members of parliament, past and present, should be very ashamed at the lack of concern for the people of Sandaun Province and their previously pristine rainforest. Immediate action to rectify the wrongs of past and present should be a priority, even if it means selling the overseas investments to help out.

Continue reading "To those destroyers of the Sandaun forests - eternal shame" »

Nokondi's story - Once upon a leg


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Cleland Family Heritage Literature Award

NokondiONCE UPON a time, in the cold misty mountains of Masi village in Goroka, Eastern Highlands province lived a 13 year old albino boy named Megusa. Megusa lived with his dear old lapun (old) mama in their old kunai raunhaus.

Nobody liked to hang-out with Megusa because of his genetic condition. In the village people thought albinism brought bad luck from the gods; little did they know that albino people could see things that normal people couldn’t.

Lapun mama always prepared Megusa’s goive (kaukau) and masi (taro) with sweet carrots, cabbage, cauli flowers and, if available, a smoked piece of iza (pork) every morning and sent him off to labour in their coffee garden close by the hill.

Megusa would leave his kunai raunhaus and scuttle across the village, head bowed in shame, eyes averted from the whispering villagers, and hurry down the winding bush track, across the crystal creek then up the savannah slope to his coffee garden.

Continue reading "Nokondi's story - Once upon a leg" »

Trashing tradition: distracting from the real social evils

NokondiJOHN GIMISEVE | Nokondi Discussion Group

ON THE AGENDA of the next Eastern Highlands Provincial Assembly Gois formalisation of the announcement by Governor Julie Soso-Akeke to change the provincial emblem and icon, the Nokondi, to the Lahani (bird of paradise).

I am not in favour of this change as the evils of society in the Province have nothing to do with this spiritual being. And this happens to be the one of the main justifications for the proposed change.

It’s people who do these immoral things and it is wrong to blame an innocent spiritual being.

However I do not make decisions on the floor of the Assembly, so I am leaving it to our good elected leaders to debate the change. I hope common sense and logic will prevail and take precedence over emotions and impulse.

Continue reading "Trashing tradition: distracting from the real social evils" »

One year on, no justice for woman burned alive in sorcery attack


Innocent woman burned alive near Mt Hagen, February 2013THE FAILURE of the Papua New Guinea authorities to bring the killers of a woman who was burned alive to justice, underlines their complete failure to address sorcery attacks, Amnesty International said on the first anniversary of her death.

Twenty-year-old Kepari Leniata was stripped, tied up, doused in petrol and burned alive by relatives of a boy who had died following an illness in the city of Mount Hagen. The attackers claimed Kepari had caused the boy’s death through sorcery.

"One year since Kepari’s murder made international headlines, it is shocking that those responsible for her torture and killing have yet to be brought to justice," said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International's Pacific researcher.

Continue reading "One year on, no justice for woman burned alive in sorcery attack" »

Attacks on ABC have implications for information in PNG


ABC logo - big governmentON TUESDAY the publisher of PNG Attitude, Keith Jackson, had an article, Ranters against ABC underestimate its ability to fight back, published in the opinion pages of the Sydney Morning Herald.

It is an excellent piece, and from someone with a lot more experience than most (I didn't realise the extent of Keith’s past role in the ABC).

But I’d like to add a Papua New Guinea perspective as the ABC is a most trusted news source not just in Australia but across the Pacific, and particularly in PNG.

And the ABC is one of just two news organisations (the other is Radio New Zealand International) to retain a local presence in PNG.

Continue reading "Attacks on ABC have implications for information in PNG" »

Cure the PNG disease: take a stand on behalf of the people


“AUSTRALIA has produced and continues to produce the monsters and psychopaths that run Papua New Guinea.” So wrote Martyn Namarong in a recent blog.

I believe Martin’s statement encapsulates the real problem for PNG. It is, as Phil Fitzpatrick has pointed out, nothing new.

Australia itself went through a coming of age with our ‘mother’ country, Great Britain, and that took around 50 years to evolve. One hundred years ago Australians were looked on by the British government as the equivalent of colonial riff raff, whether our ancestors were free settlers or convicts.

Britain was quite happy to receive a large payment in return for protecting us with some naval ships - and resisted us having our own Navy. As a new nation, however, we stood up and demanded our own Navy, and the benefits were clearly seen when World War I commenced.

Continue reading "Cure the PNG disease: take a stand on behalf of the people" »

Of malaria, red bananas & small fish in the palm of the hand

Gary at the Eiwo RiverGARY JUFFA

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Cleland Family Award for Heritage Writing

THE DUSTY ROAD from my grandfather’s block to the Dame Mary Kekedo Memorial School always seemed shorter on the way back then when going there.

Kids happily sang and skipped on the way home anticipating waiting meals. The chatter was louder and games were played on the way home after school.

There were exceptions. For instance when one was sick the road seemed to go on forever and the tropical sun felt even hotter then usual.

Continue reading "Of malaria, red bananas & small fish in the palm of the hand" »

Battle over betel nut as 25,000 a year die from mouth cancer

IRIN | Jakarta Globe

A woman chews betel nut in GorokaHEALTH OFFICIALS in Papua New Guinea are concerned over rising levels of oral cancer in betel nut chewers amid a controversial ban on its usage in the capital, Port Moresby.

Upwards of 25,000 people die annually from mouth cancer, many more than the 15,000 just a few years earlier, according to the Department of Health.

“It’s a huge problem, and one that’s getting worse,” Sibauk Bieb, executive manager of public health in the Ministry of Health, told IRIN.

Mathias Sapuri, former chairman of the PNG Medical Society and head of the Pacific International Hospital, the country’s largest private hospital, agreed. “Betel nut chewing is a major public health concern. Our health system is struggling to cope.”

Continue reading "Battle over betel nut as 25,000 a year die from mouth cancer" »

A community with one foot in the past, but only for now

KEVIN RUSHBY | The Guardian (UK)

Okiufa-boy-in-PNGTHERE COMES a moment in certain types of conversation when someone always reaches for the stone age. It happens with debates on diet, frequently with childcare and diseases, occasionally with sex and reproduction.

"Of course," the person will say, with an air of putting an end to all discussion, "humans evolved in the palaeolithic era. Physiologically and psychologically, we are hunter-gatherers."

I was sitting in a hut in the highlands of Papua New Guinea and – can you believe it? – the old couple sitting by the fire reached for the stone age. The only difference was that this couple were speaking from personal experience: they were born in it.

Continue reading "A community with one foot in the past, but only for now" »

Turning perceived misfortune into profit – landowners as conmen


Ambua-lodge-guard( you reach an age when you start to recognise recycled ideas. Progressive innovation becomes an oxymoron; just as history repeats itself, so do ideas.  And of course we learn from neither.

With respect to recycled ideas, this is nowhere more evident than in human relations and management theory.

Once you work through the new jargon you suddenly become aware that you read the same ground breaking and radical innovation now taking the world by storm way back in the 1960s.  New name, new spin, same old ideas, same hackneyed motives.

And when it comes to motives, money and power tend to come to the fore in the idea-recycling business.

Continue reading "Turning perceived misfortune into profit – landowners as conmen" »

Doctors threaten action over drugs; mainstream media goes missing


Prof Glen MolaTHE COMMUNITY Coalition Against Corruption hosted a forum at Port Moresby’s School of Medicine and Health Science yesterday to discuss the awarding of a K71 million contract to Borneo Pacific Pharmaceutical despite the company not meeting international quality standards.

Professor Glen Mola (pictured) from the Papua New Guinea Medical Society talked about how the goal post was changed in the tendering process in order to allow Borneo Pharmaceuticals to qualify for the tender.

Initially, quality certification was a mandatory requirement however that was dropped during an extension of the time for bidding. ISO certification ensures that medical supplies are procured from reliable sources and supplied safely to health facilities.

Continue reading "Doctors threaten action over drugs; mainstream media goes missing" »

Outraged NGO backs for call for PM to revoke illegal land leases


Effrey DademoCOMMUNITY ADVOCACY group ACT NOW! is backing the call from the leader of the SABL Commission of Inquiry for the Prime Minister to immediately revoke illegal SABL leases.

The head of the Commission of Inquiry, John Numapo, says it is clear the leases should be revoked because they are illegal.

He says there can be no excuse for the government sitting on the Commission recommendations, which were presented to the Prime Minister 6 months ago.

Effrey Dademo (pictured), Program Manager for ACT NOW! agrees.

"The Commission of Inquiry conducted a thorough investigation and found the SABL leases were illegal,” she says.

Continue reading " Outraged NGO backs for call for PM to revoke illegal land leases" »

A few tough issues for Julie Bishop on first ministerial visit


Julie Bishop and Tony AbbottAUSTRALIA’S FOREIGN MINISTER Julie Bishop arrives in Papua New Guinea today for her first visit as minister.

She arrives at a somewhat uneasy time in relations between PNG and Australia but her previous contact with its leaders, assiduously built up when in Opposition, will serve her well.

But there are some issues.

The O’Neill government recently handed out a tit-for-tat riposte on visas.

Concerns are rising that the PNG courts will intervene to overturn the asylum seeker deal (Australia allegedly having encouraged PNG to effectively ignore its own laws).

Continue reading "A few tough issues for Julie Bishop on first ministerial visit" »

Land of the Blessed


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

Map of bird fluPeople call my country, PNG,
The land of the unexpected,
I shall not give my land that name
Instead I will call PNG
The Land of the Blessed
And here’s the reason why

When there was news
That there will be a drought
Causing shortage of food and water
An abundance of it rained down like manna
And people went on living because
PNG is the Land of the Blessed

Continue reading "Land of the Blessed" »

Innocent people are bargaining chips in Highlands land stand-off

Archbishop Douglas Young of Mount HagenHEALTH AND EDUCATION services provided by the Catholic Church in Western Highlands and Jiwaka Provinces are facing an unprecedented level of interference from traditional landowners, says Archbishop Douglas Young (pictured), head of Catholic Education and Health for the Archdiocese of Mount Hagen.

Archbishop Young said landowners are threatening obstruction of access to these services unless they are paid large amounts of money by the State.

“These groups feel their concerns are not being listened to by Lands Department authorities and the only way for them to attract attention is to disrupt the provision of services, with consequent threats to the safety of those who have a right to make use of these services,” he said.

Landowners of the Andapang Karerem tribe in Jiwaka threaten to block access to all services in Fatima - primary, secondary and vocational schools, the Good Shepherd Seminary, Callan Services for the Disabled, the health clinic and also the church.

Continue reading "Innocent people are bargaining chips in Highlands land stand-off" »

Most commented upon (& liked) writing in January's Attitude


ASOPA crestTHIS MONTH marks the eighth anniversary of PNG Attitude. It has travelled some distance since its tentative beginning on 26 February 2006 under the masthead, ASOPA People.

At that time, it was an internet version of a newsletter networking former students of the Australian School of Pacific Administration, which had trained kiaps, teachers and other professionals to work in the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

Two years later, by February 2008, the blog was beginning to spread its wings to cover issues beyond those affecting the ASOPA alumni, and by February 2009 it was well enmeshed in contemporary PNG affairs and the by-lines of Paul Oates and Barbara Short were featuring regularly in its columns.

Continue reading "Most commented upon (& liked) writing in January's Attitude" »

My beautiful Green land turns brown


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Poetry Award

Deforestation in PNGMy land is a land of Green and Beauty
Diversified with beautiful valleys, hills and mountains
Fresh and frozen brooks, pristine crystal waters and seas flow from north to south and from east to west
Under the friendly greenness of some untouched virgin forests and jungles

My land is a land of Green and Beauty
Its untouched virgin forests and jungles provide home for the tropical animals
In them the black inhabitants obtained food, water, shelter, and security
Peace and prosperity proliferated in this land of Beauty

Continue reading "My beautiful Green land turns brown" »

Fading images: the evocative legends of my Grandmother

Governor Gary JuffaGARY JUFFA

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Cleland Award for Heritage Writing

IT’S THAT TIME of the year we know as the rainy season. One of Papua New Guinea’s only two seasons. The other is the dry.

Both last about six months in this tropical nation, home of the world’s third largest rainforest area. From about November until April, it shall rain throughout Papua New Guinea. The downpours vary in frequency and intensity; often thick and heavy jungle rain.

I like the rainy season. Even now, it brings with it memories of growing up in Kokoda. Great memories. Nostalgia tends to be the melody of raindrops falling on the roof whenever I take a moment to listen on any afternoon of a day ending with rain.

Like today. As the daily afternoon rain fell, I made a cup of hot sweet tea and sat down to watch the day quietly bid farewell. In Kokoda, you can hear the rain coming long before it falls. The day becomes dark and sombre and the wind brushes across the treetops, whistling as it blows through the forest.

Continue reading "Fading images: the evocative legends of my Grandmother" »

Fireworks on a black canvas


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism

THIRTY MINUTES TO GO. I cautiously took the risk of clambering my way up the side of my house, each step causing the rusted metal roof to clink. I needed that perfect view of Lae City.

Some air lanterns were already making their way into the night sky, dotting the pitch black heavens with tints of amber. This New Year’s Eve felt very different. I could feel it. It was quite obvious as well, noting that a fireworks craze had been flooding the city months prior.  

Continue reading "Fireworks on a black canvas " »

Why didn’t the Pharaohs build pyramids in Papua New Guinea?


'King' of KiriwinaI ONCE GOT STUCK out in the middle of the Great Victoria Desert north of Maralinga in central Australia when a power grid, represented by the lines of standing stones that I had come to survey, overnight sucked the juice out of both batteries in my diesel Landcruiser.

According to thewriter and airline pilot Bruce Cathie the stones had been set up by Roman legionnaires transported to the site by aliens in flying saucers.

The police from Coober Pedy who rescued me (there was just enough juice in the batteries to raise them by radio) told me about other strange things they’d heard about in the desert, including ancient Dutch settlements and even more ancient Chinese ones.

There seems to be a plethora of this stuff in Australia.  I’ve heard about stone harbours in Queensland built by ancient Phoenician seafarers but I’ve never heard about similar things in Papua New Guinea.  At least not until I read Gordon Saville’s 1974 book, ‘King’ of Kiriwina (Leo Cooper Ltd, London).

Saville was a quixotic Englishman who spent nine months on Kiriwina in 1943 as the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit (ANGAU) kiap.

Continue reading "Why didn’t the Pharaohs build pyramids in Papua New Guinea?" »

i-5 - A strategic plan for the future of PNG’s industrial city


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism

LaeI PENNED THE ACRONYM “i-5” to stand for: Industrialization, Innovation, Infrastructure, Increase and Investment. My “i-5” intends to share my ideas and show how these five “I’s” could help give Lae a fresh perspective to grow into a lively and successful city.

These five “I’s” are what I believe could be significant to Lae’s growth and development and should be captured in a newly proposed Lae City Economic Strategic Plan and, yes, Lae needs a new plan urgently.

The strategic plan then can be translated into a number of action strategies which aim to support the core drivers of industry and new enterprise in Lae’s economy. Focus should encompass significant areas like development precinct, economic Infrastructure development, human resource empowerment and marketing & investment appeal.

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Wart a parasite! 2 - The mole’s reaction


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Steamships Short Story Award

MY LIFE HAS NOT BEEN EASY. I have been cross-examined, pulled, poked, measured, close to being ripped and plucked off from out of where I am nested. It has been a long tedious journey and now I am manifested to be extinguished by a dermatologist, Dr Florres.  Sad indeed!

Worse still, I am not a wart, as some people have labelled me to be. The difference between a wart and a mole is that a wart is a growth that is contagious and pink or white in colour and is caused by a virus.  I am not contagious, I am black in colour and I am more of skin pigmentation gone wrong.

But what can I say? Many humans get us mixed up because we happen to be parasites, yeah, no doubt about that. But, between you and me, warts are more disgusting as they multiply in unbelievable numbers. Look at toads, they have warts, eew!

I remember the times when I was loved and pampered. The extra hairs around me were plucked out, extra eyeliner was coloured over me and I was made to stand out. I was the distinguished black mole on the passport, identifying my host as a true citizen of Papua New Guinea.

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Cricketing Barramundis earn respect at World Cup qualifier


Barramundis - growing in cricket statusPAPUA NEW GUINEA has been the feel good story of the Cricket World Cup qualifying tournament and the side's coach believes they will continue to surprise in future.

When the 10-team event began in New Zealand just under three weeks ago, PNG were expected to find the going tough and jostle for the minor placings.

The Barramundis surprised even themselves, topping their group in pool play after winning three of their four games.

They were the top seed for the Super Six stage after carrying over two wins, but losses to the United Arab Emirates, Scotland and Hong Kong dented their World Cup aspirations.

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A refreshing recipe for tropical dining – pukpuk kebabs


Crocodile kebabsHERE'S SOMETHING a bit different from Darwin. And it’s delicious. Quick and easy pukpuk kebabs.

Take some lean chunks of crocodile tail meat, cut into chunks around a two inch square.

Mix some yogurt, tandoori paste, salt and pepper, chili, garlic, the juice of one lemon and shredded ginger. Add the croc pieces.

Refrigerate for an hour or two, preferably overnight.

Thread the croc meat pieces on skewers interspersed with sliced zucchini, okra, onion, tomato and green peppers.

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Determined attack on crime delivering results in Oro Province

Oro Governor Gary Juffa inspects a cache of illegal weaponsORO PROVINCE GOVERNOR Gary Juffa has commended police for their continued efforts to establish and maintain law and order in the province since he took office in August 2012.

A concerted intelligence driven effort combined with community policing involving police from Oro and Port Moresby, has seen the apprehension of escapees, many violent criminals and several individuals, including public servants, allegedly involved in fraud and corruption.

The effort has been boosted with funding from the Office of the Governor, the Provincial Administration and Members of Parliament from both Sohe and Ijivitari.

This year, the provincial government has committed K4 million to improving police infrastructure and logistics. Efforts are also being made to establish a highway patrol at Saiho to keep watch on the Kokoda Highway. There is also a Tourist Police Patrol to provide security to the small but significant tourism sector.

Mr Juffa said that as a result of improved policing and support from leaders and the community, the township of Popondetta had experienced its safest and quietest festive period and decreased levels of crime.

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Today’s PNG politicians are letting down the founders of this country


Members of the 1st House of AssemblyABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS absolutely, so I read somewhere. This adage is very relevant to Papua New Guinea post-1995.

In this year, to control the Chan-Okuk government ‘slush funds’ introduced in 1980 and the hundreds of millions of kina in provincial budgets, the national politicians enacted a self-serving law, the Organic Law on Provincial Government and Local Level Government (OLPGLLG).

During the colonial era and until 19 July 1995, service delivery at the local government and provincial levels were much better than today. Why?

This question can best be answered with two further questions: how involved is Local Level Government in decision making, planning and implementation of projects? And who or what constitutes the Provincial Government?

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