Previous month:
October 2014
Next month:
December 2014

135 posts from November 2014

Speaker Zurenuoc still defending heritage vandalism

Ready for destruction - a carved pole in parliamentKEITH JACKSON

ONE year after he ordered the destruction of a precious part of Papua New Guinea’s heritage, PNG parliamentary Speaker Theo Zurenouc has embarked on a public relations campaign designed to justify his actions, which were widely condemned at the time.

Last week Speaker Zurenouc entertained Fr Victor Roche, general secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference, and six other PNG church leaders to a five-hour meeting which included lunch.

“He explained to us why the existing totem pole with the carvings was partly removed,” said Fr Roche.

“The totem is still standing there. Part of it was cut and removed. The reason was, according to him, that the carvings did not represent most of the cultures of PNG nor did it have any meaning.

Continue reading "Speaker Zurenuoc still defending heritage vandalism" »

Holy Spirit missionary sisters to celebrate 115 years in PNG

PNG leadership team -Sr Valsi Kurian, India; Sr Agnes Teresa Lisban, PNG; Sr Anna Damas, Germany (Provincial Leader ); Sr Davida Strojek, Poland and Sr Rosita Thomas, ChileSR MARY ANTHIDA KUECKMANN SSpS

ON Monday 8 December, Foundation Day, the six missionary Sisters of the Holy Spirit (SSpS) on the staff of Divine Word University (DWU) in Madang will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Congregation, 115 years in Papua New Guinea and 45 years of service at DWU.

The campus family will join them in thanksgiving. Two of the early teaching sisters, Sr Inez Strobl (now at Alexishafen) and Sr Edith Thies (Malala) will be special guests of honour, along with Sr Heline Senft, who has been guiding and caring for the student religious sisters for many years.

Historical pictures are being prepared to show a timeline paying tribute to all the sisters who have been teaching or serving on the staff of DWU.

The Holy Mass will be presided by Fr Jan Czuba, SVD, President of DWU, and co-celebrated by other Divine Word missionaries and priests. The SVD priests and the Holy Spirit sisters have St Arnold Janssen, a German priest from the nineteenth century, as their common founder.

Continue reading "Holy Spirit missionary sisters to celebrate 115 years in PNG" »

Those concert parties of wartime PNG

Milne Bay concert party, 1942 (Roy Hodgkinson)
Milne Bay concert party, 1942, by Roy Hodgkinson (carbon pencil and crayons with watercolour). The members portrayed are listed below


THE armed forces of Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom have a great tradition of entertaining the troops in wartime through concert parties which bring popular entertainers to the frontline.

The tradition dates back to World War I when the generals decided to bring some light entertainment and comedy to the troops to keep their minds off more bloodthirsty matters.

The concert parties continued post-war in Malaysia (It aint' half hot mum, the popular television series used this as context), Vietnam and in other wars. As the Australian War Memorial recorded:

Continue reading "Those concert parties of wartime PNG" »

The climate change homeless


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

Yu bilong we?
Yu bilong we?
… Mi bilong ples…
Ples bilong yu we?

Ples bilong yu we?
…. Nau em nogat…
From where do you come?
From where do you come?

…. We come from earth…
To whom do you pray?
To whom do you pray
... For ever lasting life?

Forests Minister needs to back up words with action on logging

Land is our lifeEDDIE PAINE | Campaign Coordinator, Act Now PNG!

FORESTS Minister Douglas Tomuriesa needs to ensure all logging in SABL (special agriculture and business lease) areas is stopped immediately.

The Minister has given assurances that 74 special agriculture and business leases that were illegally obtained have been revoked and customary landowners would retain their land.

The Minister is claiming the leases have been revoked, but logging still continues in many of the areas. He needs to ensure the logging is immediately stopped as it is illegal.

The Minister’s statement, as reported in The National newspaper owned by Malaysian logging company Rimbunan Hijau, was contradicted by Lands Secretary Romilly Kila Pat who says only 27 SABLs have been revoked.

Continue reading "Forests Minister needs to back up words with action on logging" »

LLINs: The mosquito nets that both protect & destroy

Kainantu child (Hetzel)MANUEL HETZEL

IN 1899, the famous German microbiologist Robert Koch led a malaria expedition to what was then Kaiser-Wilhelm’s-Land, what we now know as New Guinea.

Koch wanted to investigate the tropical scourge that cost the lives of many foreign labourers and weakened the locals. Near present-day Madang, he had no trouble identifying people who carried malaria parasites in their blood.

In the perfectly warm and humid climate, Anopheles mosquitoes were found in abundance. At night, the female Anopheles would look for blood meals and transmit the malaria parasites to anyone exposing too much skin.

In the Sepik, there were so many mosquitoes that people hid at night in woven mosquito baskets or bags. This was not to prevent the transmission of malaria, but to protect themselves against the nuisance of biting mosquitoes.

Continue reading "LLINs: The mosquito nets that both protect & destroy" »

Archbishop hits health funding delays: 'Unacceptable to church'


HEALTH services in Papua New Guinea are suffering because the Government is not releasing funds promptly.

Chairman of Catholic Church Health Services, Archbishop Stephen Reichert, expressed his disappointment that the release of salary and operational funds to the churches is frequently delayed.

“We welcome the government’s commitment to health care in the latest budget.

“However, we urge the government to release funds on time to churches who run health facilities in partnership with the government Department of Health, Archbishop Reichert said.

Continue reading "Archbishop hits health funding delays: 'Unacceptable to church'" »

Improving children’s justice in Papua New Guinea

Improving children's justiceAUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION 

PAPUA New Guinea police and legal professionals will be better prepared to investigate and prosecute crimes against children following a workshop in Port Moresby this week.

The workshop shared international best practices for the collection of evidence from children in a sensitive manner.

It will help to improve investigators’ and prosecutors’ interviewing and examining skills to gather high quality evidence from children and others vulnerable to family and sexual violence.

Continue reading "Improving children’s justice in Papua New Guinea" »

Peter O'Neill faces leadership tribunal over Oil Search loan

Peter O'NeillLIAM COCHRANE | Australian Broadcasting Corporation

PAPUA New Guinea's prime minister, Peter O'Neill, has been referred to a leadership tribunal over allegations of misconduct in office relating to a $1.3 billion loan.

The tribunal will consist of three judges and will have the power to dismiss, suspend or fine Mr O'Neill. The first sitting is scheduled for January 26.

Former New Zealand Supreme Court judge Sir Peter Blanchard will chair the tribunal, which will also include Australian John von Doussa QC and Papua New Guinean judge Salatiel Lenalia.

The allegations against Mr O'Neill relate to a loan the PNG government took from the Australian branch of UBS investment bank in order to purchase shares in the petroleum company Oil Search.

Continue reading "Peter O'Neill faces leadership tribunal over Oil Search loan" »

Is going all the way with China such a good idea after all?

Peter O’Neill with Xi JinpingPHIL FITZPATRICK

QUITE often in the pages of PNG Attitude there are articles extolling Papua New Guinea’s burgeoning links to China.

The articles are often written by people who have benefitted from scholarships that have enabled them to study in China. 

Sometimes their enthusiasm is such that the churlish among us might wonder whether they have been effectively brainwashed.

Underlying the promotion of China is an often unspoken criticism of its greatest rival, the USA, and by extension its faithful little acolyte Australia.

In reality there is little difference between these two superpowers.  They both represent free-market capitalism and globalisation.

Continue reading "Is going all the way with China such a good idea after all?" »

China & India’s growing business links with PNG & the Pacific

Frank Bainimarama welcomes Xi Jinping to Fiji (ABC)BUSINESS ADVANTAGE PNG

PACIFIC leaders have been the recipients of largesse from India’s prime minister and China’s president, who visited Fiji last week.

Meanwhile, a new ANZ Bank report details the increasingly close links between China’s aid and its investment in the Pacific.

China’s president Xi Jinping met with the leaders of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Micronesia, Cook Islands and Niue on the first state visit to Fiji by a Chinese leader. It followed the G20 summit in Brisbane.

Xi invited Pacific leaders to take a ride on the Chinese ‘express train’ of development, and confirmed a series of aid measures agreed to last year.

That ‘express train’ is impressive, as China is now the second largest economy in the world, producing over US$10 trillion in output a year.

Continue reading "China & India’s growing business links with PNG & the Pacific" »

PNG leaders need to be sensitive to China’s opportunism


POSITIVE engagement between Papua New Guinea and China is necessary and inevitable, as indeed it is for Australia.

However, President Xi's references to "a natural sense of amity" and "a long history of friendship", reported in PNG Attitude, ought to be viewed within the context of relations between nation states as distinct from personal relations.

Lord Palmerston (1784-1865, pictured), a former prime minister of Great Britain, famously observed that: "Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests".

This very pertinent observation has been proved true time and time again and it is folly to imagine that China, a vast and growing power, will not demand "favours" as a quid pro quo for the beneficence it shows towards the South Pacific's small, poor and very inexperienced nations.

Continue reading "PNG leaders need to be sensitive to China’s opportunism" »

Regionalism mentality is belittling the learned big-men big time


IN Melanesian societies it is usually the aspiration of men to ascend the social scale in a quest to attain ‘big-man’ status and its strong influence.

Since the dawn of Melanesia, accumulation of traditional wealth, knowledge and wisdom, and the later reapplication of knowledge and wisdom coupled with the masterful redistribution of wealth, have been the means of gaining recognition and influence as a ‘big-men’.

It is the same in today’s PNG society where the learned are increasingly earning advantageous positions that easily allow access to modern wealth and ‘big-man’ status.

I am an eager student of our ways, especially the Melanesian Way and its applications to contemporary PNG society.

I am not against the honest attainment of wealth, knowledge and ‘big-man’ status as these have been the cultural norms which have kept our isolated societies functioning in the business of life for thousands of years.

Continue reading "Regionalism mentality is belittling the learned big-men big time" »

Where to for Bougainville? A polemic, a plea & a plan

Bougainville Manifesto coverCHRIS OVERLAND

Bougainville Manifesto by Leonard Fong Roka, Pukpuk Publishing, 88pp, ISBN-10:1502917459. Available from Amazon: hard copy $US6.00; Kindle $US2.98

LEONARD Fong Roka comes from Panguna on Bougainville. Between 2013 and 2014 he wrote a series of articles about Bougainville that first appeared on the PNG Attitude website.

The essays outline the history of Bougainville, including the civil war in the 1980-90s, and suggest a way forward towards eventual independence from Papua New Guinea.

Bougainville Manifesto is many things: a history, a polemic, a plea and a plan of sorts. In it, Roka writes with considerable passion about his island home.

He asserts that, prior to the colonial era, Bougainville was part of a Solomon Islands nation state that had been in existence for at least 30,000 years. There is, in his judgement, compelling historic, socio-cultural and linguistic evidence to support this claim.

Continue reading "Where to for Bougainville? A polemic, a plea & a plan" »

Papua New Guinea spirit


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

This poem was written to commemorate the opening of the
Sixth PNG Games held in Lae from 16-29 November 2014

I look around me and I see
A multitude of people converge
Tall, short, fat and thin
Various shades of brown skin
That’s the PNG spirit

I look around me and I hear
Many languages being spoken
The sound of lovely voices beat
A steady tempo in the heat
That’s the PNG spirit

Continue reading "Papua New Guinea spirit" »

Oli kam, oli bagarap, oli go - thoughts on intolerance


I occasionally like to regress into my Irish half and observe the world from there.  The perspective is not, I suspect, much dissimilar to a Papua New Guinean one.

The Irish have the habit of doing things brilliantly and then screwing them up at the last minute.  Remember the Celtic Tiger and how it crashed so spectacularly?

I sometimes think they do this so they can philosophise about it later.  The way Australia perversely celebrates its wartime stuff-ups is probably because of its significant Irish heritage.

The Irish make great whiskey and fine black stout, not so much because they can make money out of it but because they like drinking it. 

Continue reading "Oli kam, oli bagarap, oli go - thoughts on intolerance" »

Hungry for development


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

From the land - our roots grow deep

Our values told - die with the old

Promises of wealth - transaction stealth

Status and gold - prosperity sold

We lose our soil - our mothers weep

Hunger decays our bones - leaves only stones. 

Shining the spotlight of analysis on corruption in PNG

Sam KoimSAM KOIM | PNG Blogs | Extracts

CORRUPTION flourishes in secrecy and in the ignorance of the people. Shedding light on corruption trends is therefore an integral part of curtailing the spread of this pernicious social disease.

Investigation Task-Force Sweep (ITFS) initially commenced its investigation into the expenditure of development budget at the National Planning Department.

The investigation uncovered instances, amongst others, where shell companies (sometimes called “K2 companies”) were used as fronts to squander public funds.

Funds were expended with either no project undertaken or project left incomplete. Detecting the fraud in such simple trend of corruption is easy.

Continue reading "Shining the spotlight of analysis on corruption in PNG" »

How can we address the ethnic tensions in our nation?

New-guinea-warfareBUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO

PAPUA New Guinea is well known for its tribal fights that have left a trail of blood and destruction through its hinterland over many years.

It was not until the missionaries penetrated the highlands 90 to 100 years ago that the number of tribal fights significantly subsided.

In some parts of the highlands such as Enga and Tari in the new Hela Province, tribal fights are still common. In fact right now the districts of Komo Magarima and Tari Pori in the Hela Province are in the middle of major warfare involving several tribes.

Already lives have been lost while many more people are reported wounded. By the time the fighting comes to an end, the scale of destruction could be enormous.

Continue reading "How can we address the ethnic tensions in our nation?" »

Fonde the kaspar

Playing cards in YanderaJOHN KAUPA KAMASUA

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
PNG Government Award for Short Stories

SATURDAYS are usually full of activities in my village. But this morning it is unusually deserted, except for a handful of noisy children playing a marble game. The day is still young.

I am carting water in plastic containers from the creek to our house on the hill. My father was going to take the fermented coffee beans to the creek but I convinced him otherwise.

I am doing this for a promise that I can go to town. Father is a proud owner of many coffee trees. He needs water to wash the beans that come out of the coffee pulping machine then put them in the sun to dry.

Mondul, who is somewhat of a houseboy to the family, will keep watch in case of rain. My parents are going to Kundiawa town today to sell bags of the coffee.

Continue reading "Fonde the kaspar" »

PNG's No 1 detective rides again: Hari Metau & the hand-gun

Inspector Hari MetauPHIL FITZPATRICK

An extract from Phil Fitzpatrick's forthcoming Inspector Metau novel

THERE was nothing urgent that needed doing that day. There were no messages from headquarters and no cases requiring Hari’s urgent attention.

A few years ago this might have bothered him but now that he was drifting towards retirement it didn’t seem to matter much.

“The sea looks nice,” he remarked to Constable Bokasi as they pottered along Champion Parade and then out along Boe Vagi Road towards the new industrial estates behind Napa Napa. “Maybe we should see what the fish are doing.”

Constable Bokasi had got used to Hari’s variable work ethic, he was the sole survivor of a series of young constables who had been assigned to Inspector Metau over the years to learn from him and, he suspected, keep an eye on him.

Continue reading "PNG's No 1 detective rides again: Hari Metau & the hand-gun" »

Crocodile Prize books feel at home in DWU’s Friendship Library

Bernard presents Anthology to Jartis Dedingi & Library staffBERNARD SINGU YEGIORA

DIVINE Word University’s Friendship Library was officially opened on 29 April 2004, named so to recognise the special bond that exists between the people of PNG and the people of Australia, which provided the funding.

The library collection is much older – dating back to the 1960s and the days of the earlier SVD high school.

By 1979 the collection was augmented to support the new Divine Word Institute curriculum. And when Divine Word University was established in 1996, the collection developed further.

The Friendship Library offers resources in all media formats complemented by broadband internet, online databases and journals, facilities for electronic document transmission and data storage.

The main objective of the library is to work with the academic community to offer maximum support for the university’s mission and its teaching and research programs. It has become a vibrant centre for students, researchers and staff.

Continue reading "Crocodile Prize books feel at home in DWU’s Friendship Library" »

How to succeed in the Crocodile Prize: tips from the top

Crocodile Prize websiteKEITH JACKSON

THE Crocodile Prize writing season – which lasts until Tuesday 30 June next year – began yesterday.

There are six different writing contests – covering stories, poetry and essays - and one contest for illustration.

The other award is for a lifetime contribution to PNG literature.

If you enjoy writing, then there’s certainly something for you in Papua New Guinea’s literary awards.

Continue reading "How to succeed in the Crocodile Prize: tips from the top" »

Amanda’s story: growing up in an educated PNG family


MULTI Media Room 1 at Divine Word University was filled with participants from all over Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands on Tuesday morning.

They came to attend a two-week PNG Pastoral and Social Operators Basic Media Course at the university. Father Giorgio Licini opened the program and made formal introductions. Everyone had something to say.

The first day’s media training on Church and Media was interesting and captivating. The day flew past and Lillian Matbob and her girls had the dining room set up with a variety of dishes for dinner.

I ate my share and went to work on a few things in the spacious open air at the front of the girl’s dormitory where I was accommodated.

Continue reading "Amanda’s story: growing up in an educated PNG family" »

Death penalty for crimes against women may threaten women

Dr Fiona HukulaFIONA HUKULA | National Research Institute

ON 6 February 2013, Papua New Guinea woke up to graphic pictures of Kepari Leniata, a 20 year old woman, being burned in Mt Hagen by a mob of angry people who felt an accusation of sorcery warranted such inhumane punishment.

In April 2013, Helen Rumbali, a teacher and women’s leader from Nagovisi, South Bougainville, was abducted, tortured and subsequently killed because it was believed that she was responsible for the death of a man.

These two horrific events, and the continuous violence that women in Papua New Guinea endure, led to a nationwide protest (the National Haus Krai) on the 14 and 15 May 2013.  The National Haus Krai drew support from Papua New Guineas and friends of PNG living in other parts of the world.

Continue reading "Death penalty for crimes against women may threaten women" »

China & Pacific island countries announce strategic partnership

Chinese President Xi JinpingXINHUA NEWS AGENCY

CHINA and eight Pacific island countries agreed in Fiji on Saturday to establish a strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development.

The agreement was announced at a meeting between visiting Chinese president Xi Jinping and the leaders of the eight countries, namely prime minister Bainimarama (Fiji), president Emanuel Mori (Micronesia), prime minister Malielegaoi (Samoa), prime minister O' Neill (PNG), prime minister Natuman (Vanuatu), prime minister Puna (Cook Islands), prime minister Tu'ivakano (Tonga) and prime minister Talagi (Niue).

All the eight island countries have established diplomatic ties with China since the 1970s.

In a keynote speech delivered at the meeting, Xi expounded China's policy and measures to enhance relations with the island countries in a new era, stressing that China is a sincere friend and partner of those countries.

Continue reading "China & Pacific island countries announce strategic partnership" »

Once a place of wonder, now a level of anarchy prevails


AT the moment, it seems that a certain level of anarchy prevails in Hela Province.

I spent an all too short time as a kiap at Koroba in 1971 and was able to see Hela society in pretty much its traditional form. What a wonderful place it was for a young kiap.

The administration had imposed the rule of law (sometimes by force majeure) and the previous endemic level of tribal fighting had subsided to the odd sporadic outbreak.

When it came to fighting, the use of arrows (some dipped in dog faeces) and the Koroba Pick resulted in some nasty wounds for a small number but, generally speaking, things were pretty peaceful.

Continue reading "Once a place of wonder, now a level of anarchy prevails" »

It's on again as Crocodile Prize announces 5th year of awards

Www.sambrady.comKEITH JACKSON

THE Crocodile Prize is once again open for business.

From today, Papua New Guinea’s writers – and, for the first time, artists – can enter a national contest that culminates in September each year with recognition of the very best in creative endeavour.

In launching the 2015 contest, chairman of the Crocodile Prize Organisation, COG, Jimmy Drekore, said the organisation was proud to introduce an award for artists, the SP Brewery Award for Illustration.

He also said the Prize still needs more sponsors (see following story).

Crocodile Prize entrants can select from a range of creative categories. There is no limit on the entries that can be made although Prize organisers emphasise that “quality will always triumph over quantity”.

Continue reading "It's on again as Crocodile Prize announces 5th year of awards" »

Croc roars: Jimmy Drekore announces sponsors & new art prize


THE Crocodile Prize Organisation today announced the sponsors of the fifth year of Papua New Guinea’s national writing awards.

Chairman Jimmy Drekore (pictured) also has confirmed that next year’s awards event will be held in Kundiawa on 18 and 19 September, the first time it has been celebrated outside Port Moresby.

Mr Drekore said the sponsors’ roster for 2015 includes the PNG Government, SP Brewery, Ok Tedi Mining, Kina Securities, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, and the family of former colonial Administrator Sir Donald Cleland and his wife Dame Rachel Cleland.

The PNGAA Publishing Program is also renewed for a second year, which ensures that at least 500 copies of the Crocodile Prize Anthology will be distributed free of charge to PNG libraries and schools.

Continue reading "Croc roars: Jimmy Drekore announces sponsors & new art prize" »

Now it’s Dr Jane Awi – but the community service continues

Jane Awi and Keith JacksonKEITH JACKSON

JANE Awi told me she’d “been quite busy lately” organising a three-day river festival in her Kerowagi village starting tomorrow.

And now the University of Goroka lecturer is organising something else – a trip to Brisbane with her mother and father to receive her doctorate at a graduation ceremony next month.

Jane will receive her PhD from Queensland University of Technology, where she was studying in the Creative Industries Faculty.

Her thesis, in the manner of such things, was a bit of a mouthful - Creating New Folk Opera Forms of Applied Theatre for HIV and AIDS Education in Papua New Guinea.

But don’t be fooled by that into thinking that Jane inhabits the upper realms of academic abstraction.

Continue reading "Now it’s Dr Jane Awi – but the community service continues" »

M16s & no rules of engagement: Hela in grip of tribal warfare

Nicholas Yambu OFM CapFR NICHOLAS YAMBU | Parish Priest, Tari, Hela Province

THERE are three or four tribal fights going on now in Hela Province. Just last week I heard that two new fights started in the Koroba Kopiago electorates.

Two weeks ago the fighting zones involved only the electorates of Tari Pori and Komo Margarima, both now declared fighting zones by the government.

Tribal fights in Hela are a common thing. The recent fights have been different though, as traditional rules of fighting and engagement are not observed.

In the past, rival enemies were not allowed to burn houses when their enemies were inside. It was also a taboo to kill women and children or to hunt and kill an enemy in other people’s territory. Only people who are directly related to the fight were considered enemies.

Continue reading "M16s & no rules of engagement: Hela in grip of tribal warfare" »

A consummate storyteller brings to life the tale of a tree

Elep Returns coverPHIL FITZPATRICK

Elep Returns: The Story of a Tree and its Conversion into Paper by Arnold Mundua.  Published (reprint) by Medtec, ISBN: 9789384007096, 160 pages.  Available from the author here

IT’S not often that you get to read a book that is narrated by a tree – or is it the spirit of a tree?

When we first meet Elep he is a blossom on a Galip tree. We then follow him as he turns into a fruit, falls to the forest floor, gets swallowed by a wandering muruk, is discharged out of its rear end and then grows into a mighty giant destined to watch over his beloved Amumsong rainforest in West New Britain.

Enter Rimbunan Hijau and Elep quickly finds himself cut down and turned into a log in a stockpile on the coast waiting to be shipped overseas to Japan where he is turned into a massive roll of paper.

Continue reading "A consummate storyteller brings to life the tale of a tree" »

Seeking patrol officers who were based at Nomad in PNG

Village in Western ProvincePETER DWYER | The University of Melbourne

SINCE 1986, my partner and colleague Monica Minnegal and I have been doing anthropological research with Kubo and Febi people who live in foothills and lower mountains north of Nomad in the Western Province.

The Febi live in the heartland of the LNG project’s Juha well-heads and our recent research, since 2011, is looking at the impact of the project on their lives.

We are currently writing a book that deals with this research and, to understand the history of contact in the area, we have been reading old Patrol Reports from Nomad. They are, as you might expect, fascinating.

Continue reading "Seeking patrol officers who were based at Nomad in PNG" »

In which the writer has adventures on the way to media training

Bomai Witne & his familyBOMAI D WITNE

I came to know Father Giorgio Licini over a few emails we exchanged with each other in August of this year.

In one of the emails, he has asked me to attend a Pastoral Media Training he had arranged at Divine Word University for 17-30 November. It’s running now.

Another email came flying saying weeks are turning into days and participants were asked to make travel arrangements and a list of things to bring.

While going through the list I realised I needed a better camera than my phone camera to take to the workshop.

I knew I did not have the money to buy one in the space of a couple of days before I departed. The, while I was sitting in my office, a colleague turned up and said, “Bro, when are you going to Madang? You may need a camera; I’ll lend you my small one.”

Continue reading "In which the writer has adventures on the way to media training" »

After 62 years, a book of spiritual uplift without too much religion


Moments of truth: A missionary in PNG for 62 years by Br Barry Louisson, Moore Printing Kokopo 2014, 250 pp, K20. Email [email protected]

HERE’S a new book recommended for both personal reflection and a place in community libraries. The theme is after the Blessed Edmund Rice, “providence is our inheritance”.

It is an autobiographical work by Br Barry Louisson (pictured), written as an investment in the people of Papua New Guinea with whom he has lived and worked since 1952.

The book's style and content are particularly suited to Papua New Guineans, a 'story' people, but it would have appeal for other readers who have some familiarity with the writer, the people or the subject.

Continue reading "After 62 years, a book of spiritual uplift without too much religion" »

China and PNG in the era of Pacific Rim instability


CHINA’S rise from being the “sick man of Asia” to an emerging super power in the world economy has been phenomenal.

The world over has been intrigued by China’s rise to a point where it is widely accepted that the 21st Century is the Asian Century.

China’s rise has spawned a ripple effect across the Asia Pacific Region where a host of countries are now lining up to take advantage of China’s roaring economic growth and bulging appetite for raw materials.

Papua New Guinea’s own decade of uninterrupted growth can be attributed to its closer trade ties with China where Chinese investment in the country has rocketed to a record level.

Continue reading "China and PNG in the era of Pacific Rim instability" »

The challenges facing Islam in Papua New Guinea

Photo by Vlad SokhinFR FRANCO ZOCCA SVD | Extracts
Fr Zocca’s complete paper, Islam in PNG, here

THE first Muslims to arrive in Papua New Guinea came as labourers in the early 1900s. They worked in plantations run by German and British colonists.

Their presence was again recorded much later in 1972. Three years later, when PNG gained its independence, the Muslim population of approximately 120 was exclusively expatriate, mostly diplomats from Malaysia and Indonesia…..

In 2012, Scott Flower estimated the number of indigenous converts to Islam at 5,000. During my visit to the Islamic Centre of Port Moresby in February 2013 I was given an estimate of 4,000 Muslims, three-quarters of whom were PNG citizens.

Continue reading "The challenges facing Islam in Papua New Guinea" »

Survival against the odds: the story of the Keppel Islanders

Woppaburra People, Keppel Island c1898PHIL FITZPATRICK

IN August last year, I wrote an article suggesting that the attempt by the Queensland government to annex British New Guinea in 1883 could have been disastrous given Queensland’s incredibly brutal and bloodthirsty history of dispossessing its indigenous inhabitants.

Just recently I’ve been working with the Butchulla people, the traditional owners of Fraser Island, just a hop, skip and jump from my front door in Hervey Bay.  They have only just gained native title to the island.

Native title isn’t as good as it sounds.  It doesn’t give them exclusive rights to the land or anything else on the island.  At best it gives them some rights about how the island is managed in the future.

One of the things we’ve managed to do, using modern, non-invasive ground penetrating radar technology, is locate several old cemeteries at the site of the island’s infamous Bogimbah Mission.

Continue reading "Survival against the odds: the story of the Keppel Islanders" »

Songs of life


Chants from the great, great Tumbuna
Echoes through the ages a ghostly mantra,
Rousing the hungry hosts of the grave below;
Evoking deep fear when crows begin to crow;
Cutting through his deepest when dusk comes around;
Posing questions that drive him to the ground:
“Come tomorrow, will I be free from fear?
Will there be no more sorrow, and no more tear?”

Continue reading "Songs of life" »

Collingwood tribes fight to defend their land from destruction


THE tribes of Collingwood Bay, Papua New Guinea, are calling on the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to take action to support us in defending our land from destruction by the palm oil giant KLK (Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd).

Our villages are spread across a pristine stretch of isolated coastline backed by vast mountains and valleys and covered by some of the most lush and bio-diverse rainforest on earth.

Our people practice a subsistence-based lifestyle, living close to the land on which we hunt and gather within our rich customary territory. We mean to maintain this existence and keep control our own destiny at all costs.

Continue reading "Collingwood tribes fight to defend their land from destruction" »

Dr Anastasia Sai, the great literary mentor of Divine Word Uni

Bernard Yegiora, Croc Anthology & Dr Anastasi SaiBERNARD SINGU YEGIORA

THE Crocodile Prize Anthology 2014 has so reached the Department of PNG Studies and International Relations, the Department of Communication Arts and Divine Word University’s Friendship library.

The Department of PNG Studies and International Relations houses the Bachelor’s degree that writer Leonard Fong Roka and his comrades qualified for as they completed their university studies this year.

The PNG Studies and International Relations program offers a unique degree merging social science disciplines like community development, anthropology, gender studies, literature, history, politics and international relations.

The cross cutting nature of the program ensures that students are empowered with a variety of knowledge and skills tailored to the PNG experience.

Continue reading "Dr Anastasia Sai, the great literary mentor of Divine Word Uni" »

Ku High School anthology brings happiness to young writers

Ware Mukale with the Ku anthologyJIMMY AWAGL

THE Ku High School anthology is the first book of its kind in Papua New Guinea. The compilation of stories is by students who entered the literary competition promoted by the Simbu Writers Association earlier this year.

The entries are in the form of short stories, essays and poems and it was a struggle for Grade 9 and 10 students to write quality material as they had not been taught to systematically structure stories and essays. And the construction of poetry proved complex for Grade 9.

Those students who did not contribute entries regretted this later when the published anthology was displayed right in front of their eyes during the school assembly.

Continue reading "Ku High School anthology brings happiness to young writers" »

From the Kundiawa News 50 years ago today


Kundiawa News, Number 23, 20 November 1964


For 24 hours this week I was ‘lost’ inside the Queen’s Cave in the Yonggamugl, north of Kundiawa, when a torch failed. And I’m not afraid to admit I was scared. Even the normally placid Bob Orreill was worried. I suppose I should have taken notice of my desk calendar for last weekend which blandly warned, ‘Solitude at length grows tiresome’.

A queer mixture of coincidence and chance let us miss the main party of cavers as they return to the entrance. I remember Bob saying he was “accident prone”. We made a couple of attempts to get out on Sunday afternoon but they were unsuccessful. Clambering over rocks in pitch darkness is not my idea of fun.

At one point, we came upon a large hole in the cave floor. We could hear the sound of a river below. Next day we were told by a member of the rescue party that it was at elast 60 feet deep. I felt rather sick.

Continue reading "From the Kundiawa News 50 years ago today" »

Australian High Commission withdraws Crocodile Prize funding

The rough draftKEITH JACKSON

THERE would have been no Crocodile Prize national literary awards in Papua New Guinea if it wasn’t for the steady hand of Australian High Commissioner Ian Kemish in 2010.

Mr Kemish settled down some nervous nellies at the High Commission who counselled against involvement in a project that was not the brainchild of a team of consultants or an Australian bureaucrat trying to get some runs on the board.

The then High Commissioner provided a stable platform from which an idea could grow.

So yesterday, when I received the briefest of emails from Andrew Gavin, First Secretary (Public Diplomacy) at the High Commission in Port Moresby, advising that the previous sponsorship of $3,000 would not be renewed in 2015, I felt disappointed that a relationship had been severed that was so instrumental in getting the Prize established.

Continue reading "Australian High Commission withdraws Crocodile Prize funding" »

PNG butterfly farmer seeks help getting product to market

Joe Minghai (Palipal)ISHMAEL PALIPAL

JOE Minghai is a keen farmer from Pihanawa Village in Bougainville’s Siwai District. He is a butterfly farmer and he is looking for a market.

Joe came up with the initiative in early 2012, deciding to farm different butterfly species. He started by planting about 200 flowering plants on his one and half hectare farm.

Six months later, he planted another 200 Evodia hortensis as host plants to enable the butterflies to breed.

Continue reading "PNG butterfly farmer seeks help getting product to market" »

Alice Kauba – making a big difference in HIV/AIDS education


THIS uncompromising Engan woman has a build inherited from her Engan forebears and her heart is bigger than the valleys of Wapenamanda. She doesn’t run out of smiles and lives like a heavenly being.

Alice Kauba is widely known for her courageous and tireless efforts in running the HIV/AIDS course at the University of Goroka and she often talks with me about her plan to improve the way HIV/AIDS education is run.

This course attracts more than 300 students each semester. I assist her wherever I can and suggest help from other people including the senior management of the university.

Alice Kauba has always believed in taking a holistic approach to dealing with HIV/AIDS and her heart is evident in the way she runs the course.

Continue reading "Alice Kauba – making a big difference in HIV/AIDS education" »

Respect for one another: the basis of a good society


An entry in the Rivers Prize for
Writing on Peace & Harmony

A good living relationship in communities can be achieved by having respect for fellow members, their property and territory.

This has been our way of life in the past and is useful now as it will be for the future. The reasons why community members respected one another in the past were based on maintaining friendship, the need to be treated equally and the spiritual status of another person.

In the past people lived in an era where fighting, sorcery and witchcraft were the norm. There was fear that, if disrespected, a person may be provoked to retaliate aggressively.

Continue reading "Respect for one another: the basis of a good society" »

The challenges of a modern traditional wife

Tanya-zeriga-aloneTANYA ZERIGA-ALONE

An entry in the Rivers Prize for
Writing on Peace & Harmony

“SO ladies and gentlemen, peace and harmony are not necessarily hallmarks of a good life, rather, peace and harmony is your state of mind.

“One can find peace in time of conflict likewise harmony in chaos. You can choose your state of mind just as easily as you can choose your clothes.”

“In the face of challenge, it is so easy to romanticize the past, to reminisce about life and how easy and uncomplicated life was.

“Each human, each generation, each era has its own challenges.   Our call in life is to survive and even enjoy the challenges life throws at us by choosing our state of mind.”

As if on cue, the applause erupted, drowning out the ending of my talk. But it did not matter, all I had left was to thank the audience for its attention.

Continue reading "The challenges of a modern traditional wife" »