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135 posts from April 2015

Conservation – Melanesia’s neglected community value

Forests-papua-new-guineaTANYA ZERIGA-ALONE

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

PAPUA New Guinea, like other countries with a rich variety of plant and animal life, has received a lot of money for biodiversity preservation and conservation.

A notable donor is the United Nations Global Environmental Facility (GEF). When PNG ratified the Rio Convention in 1993, GEF grants totalling nearly $US35 million that leveraged $US63 million in co-financing were given to PNG for nine national projects.

These included five projects in biodiversity, three in climate change and one multi-focal project. But how much conservation has PNG achieved with such large sums of money?

Continue reading "Conservation – Melanesia’s neglected community value" »

Captain Beverly Pakii achieves command

Beverly Pakii is handed her captain's insigniaPNG TODAY

A young, Papua New Guinean female pilot has made history by becoming the first woman to gain command on Dash 8 aircraft under Air Niugini’s pilot cadet program.

Captain Beverly Pakii’s achievement is the first for the airline since Air Niugini’s pilot cadet program started in the 1970s.

From mixed Enga and Morobe parentage, the 29 year old operated her first commercial flight from Port Moresby to Lihir in New Ireland and on to Tokua airport in East New Britain and back to Port Moresby.

Air Niugini CEO Simon Foo congratulated Captain Pakii saying the airline invests a lot of money and resources into training pilots and engineers every year.

“Captain Pakii has come through the system holding a very high standard throughout,” Mr Foo said. “Her dedication, commitment and humble demeanour to achieve command is demonstrated in her professional conducts in all facets.

Continue reading "Captain Beverly Pakii achieves command" »

Unexpected secret: two sisters; same boyfriend

Secret shared unexpectedlyJIMMY AWAGL

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Paga Hill Development Company
Award for Writing for Children

KERENGA, a secondary school student from the Waruo tribe around Parua village in Simbu Province, befriended two sisters.

He frequently spent weekends with his cousins at Ku Modern Village rather than walking over the Bismarck range to his own place.

He would walk across to Gera village only a kilometer away from his cousins’ house.

Gera is located on the site of the landslip fringing the Kuman and Tapare areas along the Okuk Highway.

Kerenga befriended the two sisters, Nancy and Betty, and admired both of them and went around with each without the knowledge of the other.

Betty knew that Kerenga was her boyfriend and kept the secret to herself. Likewise Nancy. 

Continue reading "Unexpected secret: two sisters; same boyfriend" »

Why does a person have to live without a family?

Child at Hohola marketFIDELIS SUKINA

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Paga Hill Development Company
Award for Writing for Children

“DADDY” said Denis, “I am hungry I want lamb flaps”. “No,” replied his dad Oscar, “we cannot afford them, you know that.”

“But I’m tired of eating scones and drinking from the tap,” said Denis, tears in his eyes. “I want to eat meat today. We always eat scone and I am getting skinny.”

“Sorry son,” Oscar said patting Denis on his back. “It’s not polite to complain when we cannot afford things. Be content with what you have.”

“Content? What’s that?” Denis replied.

“It is about being happy with what we have,” Oscar said as he hugged Denis.

Continue reading "Why does a person have to live without a family?" »

PNG’s sporting revolution – we never had it so good


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

THIS is the year Papua New Guinea embarks on its ‘sporting revolution’ – a time not seen in the country since independence.

The highlight is the coming Pacific Games, which PNG will host and for which it is building major sporting events including athletics fields, football pitches and stadiums.

The PNG people are seeing the national government fully back these developments with massive funding totalling billions of kina.

Continue reading "PNG’s sporting revolution – we never had it so good" »

Leonard Fong Roka: still silent; still determined; still writing


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

DRESSED in his usual blue jeans cut to the knee, his favourite blue, red and yellow tee-shirt and with Colorado boots poking out under his green graduation gown, Leonard Fong Roka sat patiently amongst the crowd of graduates waiting for his name to be called.

Roka was one of many Bougainvillean students who struggled to get to where they are now. Being selected into a higher institution and getting a degree is an achievement people dream of and he was one of them.

Leonard Fong Roka is from the Tumpusiong Valley in the Panguna District of Central Bougainville. He was born at Arawa General Hospital on 25 July 1979 and began his education in 1986, but it was soon interrupted by the Bougainville civil war.

Roka resumed his education in 1995 aged 16 and was selected into high school. In 2003 he secured a place at the University of Papua New Guinea. His experiences during the crisis years led to a fondness for politics and writing. But due to a lack of money he was forced to withdraw from studies after a year.

Continue reading "Leonard Fong Roka: still silent; still determined; still writing" »


Wendy Daniell with one-year-old son, pictured next to log she used to prop up her legs while giving birth


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

For my Mother

So young.
So strong.
Giving life & having it taken away.
Such pain yet so much strength.
Wisdom beyond your years,
Warmth in the cold.
A pillar through the times.
A constant force then, now and always.

Australia's 'beautiful prison' in Papua New Guinea

Beautiful prisonFARIBA SAHRAE | British Broadcasting Corporation

FOR more than a year Australia has sent asylum seekers arriving on Christmas Island to a holding camp in Papua New Guinea.

If their applications are upheld they can stay in Papua New Guinea, but will never return to Australia. A year ago there was bloodshed, and many in the camp are at breaking point.

"Imagine a large and real cage in the most isolated island, surrounded by ocean and jungle and tall coconut trees," says Omid, a 25-year-old Iranian.

"No doubt our prison is the most beautiful prison in the world."

Continue reading "Australia's 'beautiful prison' in Papua New Guinea" »

Keep off our turf: Momis warns PNG about buying control of BCL


BOUGAINVILLE President John Momis has called on PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill and global mining giant Rio Tinto to reveal any dealings in Rio Tinto’s shares in Bougainville Copper Ltd (BCL).

Rio Tinto is the majority shareholder in BCL, with 53% equity. In August 2014, Rio Tinto announced a review of its investment in BCL.

“For over a year now, prime minister O’Neill has expressed interest in the national government taking control of BCL,” Dr Momis said.

“He proposes that PNG operate the Panguna mine in Bougainville in the same way it operates the Ok Tedi mine.

“The prime minister expressed that view to me early in 2014, and to members of the Bougainville group known as the Me’ekamui Government of Unity.

Continue reading "Keep off our turf: Momis warns PNG about buying control of BCL" »

We were conned; so now some tips on avoiding con people

Fish of a different sizeCAROLINE EVARI

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

IT saddens me that while most of us are struggling every day to make ends meet by the sweat of our brows, there are a few people out there who are building their profession as conmen’ and ‘conwomen’.

I would like to share with you a devastating experience that my family and I experienced a few weeks before Easter.

A guy who claimed his name was Simon came looking for relatives of an old woman (his mother) by the name of Erika on a Friday in mid-March.

Continue reading "We were conned; so now some tips on avoiding con people" »

The bilum - traditional technology makes the shift to modernity


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Award for Tourism, Arts & Culture

IN olden days a bilum was important for many reasons: a baby’s traditional cot or a villager’s bag to carry loads of food and other belongings.

There were hardly any roads and cars so women would fill the bilum with food and much more and carry it by placing the string handle against their forehead. Men would carry a load by pushing a strong piece of wood through the handle and placing it on their shoulder.

Bilum weaving was part of being a woman. The women would set aside a specific day to go to the forest to collect the bark of certain trees. After returning from the forest, they would extract the threads either by drying first or dipping the bark in water depending on the type of tree the bark came from.

Continue reading "The bilum - traditional technology makes the shift to modernity" »

The lost generation


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

Beaches  I  walked on
Deep  blue  Lagoon  I  swam  in 
Coconut  Trees  I  climbed
Waves  I  spluttered  in
Sparkling  Beaches,  as kids  we  loved
Deep  blue  lagoon,  our  livelihood  depended  upon 
Taste  of  salt  on  our  lips  was  sweet  then
Deep  blue  of  the  sea  was  familiar  to  us

Continue reading "The lost generation" »

New strategy needed in face of PNG’s budget challenges

Forecast of LNG price (ANZ Bank)PAUL FLANAGAN & STEPHEN HOWES | Dev Policy Blog

PNG’s budget challenges have been highlighted in a recent ANZ bank analysis (graph right) of the impact of falling LNG (liquefied natural gas) prices.

While the ANZ’s headline is that the PNG LNG project still gives the PNG economy a positive outlook, the bank’s detailed analysis of LNG pricing in the region shows an expected 42% fall in prices in formula-based contracts, such as those used in the PNG LNG project, in the second (current April-June) quarter of 2015.

This is forecast to reduce government revenue by K1.1 billion in 2016 – around 9% of all domestic revenue.

Continue reading "New strategy needed in face of PNG’s budget challenges" »

Belden Namah accused of misconduct & referred to prosecutor

Belden Namah, Good Friday, 2014LIAM COCHRANE | Australian Broadcasting Corporation

PAPUA New Guinea's former opposition leader Belden Namah has been referred to the public prosecutor over allegations of misconduct.

Mr Namah is the member of parliament for Vanimo-Green in PNG's north-west, and led the opposition until December when he was successfully challenged by Don Polye.

The country's Ombudsman Commission has investigated allegations of misconduct in office and has referred Mr Namah's case to the public prosecutor for a possible Leadership Tribunal – an ad hoc legal body withthe power to suspend or dismiss leaders found guilty of abusing their powers.

Continue reading "Belden Namah accused of misconduct & referred to prosecutor" »

Avaia vui Tata…


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

NO one knows what it is like to be me. Confined by the rules of society, I am compelled to live in a world of solitude. And so no one will ever be able to comprehend the feeling that comes with wearing my shoes.

I am Vaira. Though I am but just a sixteen year old who should be relishing one’s youth, that is not the case. There was a time that I did love life with such a riveting passion. Yet now, I am but a whisper in the afternoon breeze that glides past the scowling cliffs at Nataura.

As the sun sets against the canvas of a pink hued sky, a lump comes to my throat. The night was catching up to me and I still hadn’t caught a fish. I decided to wait it out for just a little while longer. A few minutes couldn’t do me any harm. Besides, the sea was home – a place of refuge for me.

Continue reading "Avaia vui Tata…" »

Mi no spak lo mani blo yu

Martyn NamorongMARTYN NAMORONG | Namorong Report

I never understood what those coffee punch induced words spewed out by so-called lunatics meant until recently when I was broke for several months.

The moment I got paid, I went on an alcoholic spending spree, eventually passing out at Vision City and getting recused by my sister.

Mi no spak lo mani blo yu” [I’m not getting drunk on your money] is not a ‘fuck you’ statement but a cry for help.

I am almost 30, single and living with my parents. From the perspective of the male ego, that makes me a pathetic weasel.

Continue reading "Mi no spak lo mani blo yu" »

Torrens Island concentration camp had New Guinea connection

The Mail, Adelaide, 17 May 1919PETER KRANZ

AUSTRALIAN concentration camps present an interesting history with some fascinating Papua New Guinea connections.

I use the term 'concentration camp' advisedly, as this was the term freely used by the Australian government and media at the time.

The notorious Torrens Island camp in South Australia during World War I housed not only German prisoners of war taken from interned German ships and naval prizes (including some of the crew of the SMS Emden), but civilian planters and colonists from German New Guinea.

Along with them were many hundreds of Australian citizens of German ancestry whose families had been living in Australia for many years. This included some of my ancestors who migrated to Australia in the 1860's and '70s who were interned merely because their names were Germanic.

Continue reading "Torrens Island concentration camp had New Guinea connection" »

PNG newspaper advocates draconian social media laws


A Pacific regional media watchdog has condemned an editorial in Papua New Guinea's The National newspaper calling for strict control measures on social media users.

The newspaper, which is owned by Malaysian logging giant Rimbunan Hijau, has been widely criticised for the motive behind the editorial.

Jason Brown of the Pacific Freedom Forum says the newpaper's push suits the PNG government which has been calling for social media limits since 2012.

Continue reading "PNG newspaper advocates draconian social media laws" »

Manus - ugly Australian self-interest but not a concentration camp


CRITICS of the Australian government's policy on asylum seekers, led by the Greens Party, have condemned the Papua New Guinea government for being complicit in the operation of what they regard as a "concentration camp" on Manus Island.

The Australian government has been described as losing its moral authority in PNG as a consequence of its policy.

The description of detention centres as concentration camps is doubtless a reflection of the anger and contempt that some people feel about what they regard as an inhumane policy.

To me, using language plainly calculated to conjure up images of the ghastly crimes of the Nazis, Japanese Imperialists and various other appalling regimes during the last century, is not conducive to promoting a rational policy debate. The result usually is an unedifying shouting match.

Continue reading "Manus - ugly Australian self-interest but not a concentration camp" »

Rumbles from the jungle as Bougainville mine stirs

ROWAN CALLICK | The Australian

EVEN the long-suffering Bougainville Copper board, which has witnessed cargo cults, wars, and the closure of its own vast mine, was puzzled when its share price soared 50% a week ago.

For this sudden surge of confidence appeared, oddly, to have been triggered by troubling news for the company — the commencement of a new Mining Act passed by the Bougainville autonomous region’s parliament, which hands back control of all resources to landowners.

The future of the Bougainville mine, which still contains copper and gold worth about $50 billion, is tied up with its complex past, with the long geopolitical shadow cast by the 1989-2001 civil war on the island — and with cargo-­cultist hopes held out by local leaders allied to eccentric foreigners constantly seeking to seize control of the resources from BCL.

Continue reading "Rumbles from the jungle as Bougainville mine stirs" »

How poor I became because of you....

SunglassesPAUL FUZO

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

Four years ago he vanished into that brick and glass
Once in a while he spied out of his tinted windows
His house grew bigger and heavier
And all the while we waited

Four years he played in the field of thieves
He wore those brightly-fashioned garments
And all the while we suffered

Continue reading "How poor I became because of you...." »

PNG phones against corruption initiative has early success


THE United Nations Development Program says a texting scheme to expose corrupt government officials in Papua New Guinea has had a dramatic impact.

The agency says since the 'Phones Against Corruption' initiative was brought in last year two officials have been arrested on fund mismanagement charges.

Another five officials are waiting on court decisions, and more than 250 other cases are being investigated.

Under the scheme, workers in the Department of Finance are encouraged to send anonymous text messages detailing any concerns they have about the practices of colleagues.

Continue reading "PNG phones against corruption initiative has early success" »

Defining corruption where the state is weak: the case of PNG

Stop corruptionGRANT WALTON | Dev Policy Blog

IT is widely recognised that, to be effective, the fight against corruption needs to engage citizens. Donors, NGOs and others working to fight corruption recognise this by funding efforts to empower the grassroots.

But, as I (here) and others have shown, citizens in developing countries often have very different understandings about corruption to anti-corruption actors. Which raises the question: How can we start to theorise about the ways citizens think about corruption?

One way is to look at the way the term is defined. In an article published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Development Studies, I develop a framework that categorises the ways corruption can be defined; I apply this framework to findings from focus group discussions (see details here) and a nine-province household survey conducted in PNG (see details here).

Continue reading "Defining corruption where the state is weak: the case of PNG" »

John Momis says Bougainville ready to start talking mining


IF Bougainville's caretaker president John Momis is re-elected in next month's elections his government will immediately begin discussions on re-opening the Panguna mine.

The huge mine was the catalyst for the civil war that engulfed the Papua New Guinea autonomous region for much of the 1990s.

Dr Momis says a resumption of mining is the only way Bougainville can become economically viable and meet the conditions for a referendum on independence which must be held by 2020.

Continue reading "John Momis says Bougainville ready to start talking mining" »

Gajdusek's Fore genealogical studies & Kuru stories released

Carleton Gajdusek and Jack Baker, 1957JOHN REES | Circulating Now

A new archival collection, The D Carleton Gajdusek Papers, 1918–2000, is now available at the National Library of Medicine for those interested in virology and the ethnography and anthropology of Micronesia.

Gajdusek (pictured here with kiap Jack Baker) was a pediatrician, virologist and chemist whose research focused on growth, development, and disease in primitive and isolated populations and winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his discovery of Kuru in Papua New Guinea.

Daniel Carleton Gajdusek was born on 9 September 1923 in Yonkers, New York. In 1943, he graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Rochester with a BS in biophysics. Gajdusek received his MD from Harvard Medical School in 1946 and performed a postdoctoral fellowship (physical chemistry) at the California Institute of Technology in 1948 under the tutelage of Linus Pauling.

Continue reading "Gajdusek's Fore genealogical studies & Kuru stories released" »

The little ants


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

KINGI Mura woke up after noon. He remembered where he was, and he reached out to take his bottle of whisky.

He took one drop and the whisky warmed him and cleared the drowsiness from the hangover in his head.

He had ‘closed the bar’ at the Watering Hole in the early hours of morning, but he didn’t know how he managed to get home. That part still remained a mystery, even now.

Continue reading "The little ants" »

The Sepik lass’s story on the Island of No Return

On the Island of No ReturnJIMMY AWAGL

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

THE mystery of getting to the Island of No Return is a closely kept secret within the hearts and minds of both the Sepik lass and the Simbu man.

The Sepik lass cannot comprehend how nature works, but she knows it took six hours to reach Kaivailo from the delta of Sepik River. At Kaivailo she is happy to have accomplished her wish of following Simbu man.

“It just happened according to the directives of the Manam Kukurai, my distant uncle,” the Sepik lass recalls, her mind cloudy. 

Continue reading "The Sepik lass’s story on the Island of No Return" »

Haves & the have-nots contest for space as Moresby expands


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

A drive to 2 Mile in Port Moresby will expose one of the biggest problems facing urban development in Papua New Guinea’s capital.

Separated by a road under construction, the high class residences of this precinct overlook the squatter settlement dispersed across 2 Mile Hill.

The tail end of this settlement is connected to Gabutu Settlement which links up with Kaugere Settlement. On the other side is Badili, cluttered with combination of industrial warehouses, shops and houses.

Continue reading "Haves & the have-nots contest for space as Moresby expands" »

Knight music: Chess as more than a black & white proposition

Peter and Rose KranzPETER KRANZ

UNBEKNOWNST to me Rose had learned to play chess.

I used to play the great game 20 years ago and still had a chess set in a cupboard. We retrieved it and I set up the pieces.

"But this is different," Rose said. “I’m Papua New Guinean, you’re Australian, so you play black and I play white.”

I agreed to that, but there was more.

“And every time we lose a piece, there is a musical forfeit."

Musical chess? That was interesting. I had a large collections of CDs and MP3s so it was feasible.

Rose had done her research and opened with the King's Gambit. I replied with the Domiano Defence.

"I take your pawn!” Rose exclaimed, “now you must play me a forfeit."

I offered the Freedom Medley.

Continue reading "Knight music: Chess as more than a black & white proposition" »

Need for more focus on PNG’s dislocated younger generation

PNG's vulnerable and at risk youthVINZEALHAR AINJO NEN

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

PAPUA New Guinea is a developing nation. Over time, due to technological advances, its people’s lives have much changed.

Local cultures have evolved and continue to transform with the rapid pace of development.

While most adults have been able to cope with this change, however difficult it may be, and young children also become part of the lifestyle shift, our adolescents seem to suffer most from this dislocation of culture.

Continue reading "Need for more focus on PNG’s dislocated younger generation" »

Philippines to pass Australia as source of expat employees

Source of arrivals 2013CARMEN VOIGT-GRAF | Business Advantage PNG (edited)

PARTLY as a result of PNG’s resources boom, the number of foreign workers coming to Papua New Guinea has increased greatly in the last 20 years.

The largest net gain (arrivals minus departures) was in 2011 with nearly 35,000 people, while in 2013, the most recent year for which figures are available, the net gain was 20,000.

The bulk of arrivals are visitors or temporary entrants rather than returning residents. Since 2002, the total number of visitors has more than tripled to 168,000 while the number of returning visitors has only doubled to 77,000.

Continue reading "Philippines to pass Australia as source of expat employees" »

The weary traveller


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

OUTSIDE, the morning sky was covered with dark clouds and he knew the rain would continue for a long time. 

Joseph carefully wrapped the bride-price money in three plastic bags and put it in his rucksack, among the other things he had bought as presents for his beloved.  He slung the rucksack across his back, and walked out of the old house into the rain, towards his village, towards Anna.

The continuous rain did not make him gloomy; it only made him merry. He was drenched from head to toe but he continued walking. Well-wishers met him on the way and wished him luck in his marriage.  Many envied him. Others advised him to spend the night with them and continue once the rain stopped. A few looked at him critically but they did not matter. What mattered was that Anna would be his. He kept walking.

Continue reading "The weary traveller" »

So exactly what is the great Papua New Guinean dream?

Port Moresby houseFIDELIS SUKINA

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

WHAT is the great Papua New Guinean dream? Well, I decided to ask.

There were many answers. Some people said it was their dream to earn enough money to go into business.

Others said their dream was to be leaders, respected and looked upon in times of trouble by their kinsmen and others in the community.

Continue reading "So exactly what is the great Papua New Guinean dream?" »

Giving my darling’s hand away

Gene and Puau, Daru  1973DIDDIE KINAMUN JACKSON

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

I can’t believe
Today is the day
You have became a woman
As you walk down the aisle of forever
A proud moment
Every dad dreams to witness
Yet a very sad moment
As I give your hand away
As a father figure to give you away

I feel so vulnerable
Knowing I will never
Hold your hand as much as I want to
Like before

Continue reading "Giving my darling’s hand away" »

Cricket PNG gains global recognition after its best year ever

Makeshift cricket in HanuabadaBENNY GETENG

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

AS we pass through the streets of the Motuan fishing villages of Hanuabada and Elavala – surrounded by the urban spread of Port Moresby - there are chants of celebration.

Eager youngsters are at play in the hot blazing sun determined to showcase their amazing natural talent for cricket.

Cricket has huge support in these villages and has over the years produced men and women international cricketers like Rarua Dikana, Mahuru Dai, Lega Siaka and Tanya Ruma.

Continue reading "Cricket PNG gains global recognition after its best year ever" »

A problem with Maria: How I nursed Maria von Trapp in PNG

Maria Franziska von TrappNARELLE O'ROURKE | Daily Telegraph (Sydney)

IT was while nursing in Papua New Guinea in 1969-70 that I tended to one of the von Trapp daughters after being informed by another nurse that “Maria von Trapp is going to be admitted to your ward”.

As unlikely as it sounded, I was surprised to see a group of nuns in the garden. I expected them to burst into song, perhaps the chorus from How do you solve a problem like Maria?

Soon after, in came my patient, Maria von Trapp, the second eldest daughter of Georg von Trapp and his first wife, Agathe.

Continue reading "A problem with Maria: How I nursed Maria von Trapp in PNG" »

The old man's legacy

Old man and grandsonISO YAWI

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

A dedication to the oldest generation whose hair has turned grey and who are about to breathe their last. Let our generation find refuge in your experiences

Let me live one more day
So I can tell you a story, young man
Of old times, but still fresh in me
We fished and hunted in moon light
Our catch was great
Gardening was our daily chore
We planted and harvested in the valley
The rivers from the mountains refreshed us

Continue reading "The old man's legacy" »

Betel nut ban is promoting lawlessness in Port Moresby


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

TUESDAY’s front page Post-Courier headline, ‘Buai thrives’ would have had Governor Powes Parkop demanding answers from his police reservists.

But perhaps most importantly, the headline and its accompanying article raised skepticism amongst city residents about the effectiveness of the betel nut ban.

Since the day it was introduced, the buai ban has divided public opinion. Already it has claimed several lives and led to countless cases of harassment by the city rangers.

Furthermore, the public is well aware of betel nut bags by the truckload being smuggled into the city with the assistance of officers who have been entrusted with the responsibility of imposing the ban.

Continue reading "Betel nut ban is promoting lawlessness in Port Moresby" »

Is Papua New Guinea an unsustainable nation?


CHIGOZIE Obioma is a Nigerian writer. In his just published debut novel, The Fishermen, he makes the interesting observation that Nigeria is an unsustainable country.

Among other things, he bases this assessment on the fact that Nigeria is a colonial construct. Its composition and components were forged by geo-politics wielded by non-Africans for largely external economic reasons rather than internal social reasons.

Nigeria has a lot in common with Papua New Guinea, which is also a colonial construct.  Nigeria has over 300 tribes speaking distinct languages, for instance.

My doctor is a Nigerian who has worked in Papua New Guinea and he agrees on this point. He said he felt quite at home while he was in PNG. He chuckles when he says he identifies as a Hausa tribesman first and a Nigerian second.

Continue reading "Is Papua New Guinea an unsustainable nation?" »

What can Bougainville achieve as a political community?


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

BOUGAINVILLE is embarking on a great adventure. It is already an autonomous region with its own government. An impending referendum will determine the next step: either to accept or reject full independence.

What Bougainville can achieve as a political community is a question which Bougainvilleans have to explore now the referendum window is opening.

In the 2010 Bougainville and 2012 Papua New Guinea elections, the common slogan from almost every Bougainvillean candidate was that this was a ‘crucial moment’.

Continue reading "What can Bougainville achieve as a political community?" »

‘Shameful ignorance’: Momis sustains attack on Australian NGO


MIDSTREAM in recontesting the presidency of Bougainville against eight contenders, John Momis has found time to again take the fight up to Jubilee Australia, the organisation he alleges conducted biased and methodologically flawed research in Panguna last year.

After some confusion about whether or not Jubilee had responded to a number of complaints he made about its report based on the research, Dr Momis concludes that now he’s seen the replies he finds them “derisory” and is “appalled”.

The secretive Jubilee research project in Panguna was funded, at least in part, by the University of Melbourne and information that the university was dissatisfied with the research and the subsequent report has been dismissed as “gossip” by one of its authors, Dr Kristian Lasslett.

Continue reading "‘Shameful ignorance’: Momis sustains attack on Australian NGO" »

PNG Attitude’s most commented & liked pieces in March

PNG Attitude front pageKEITH JACKSON

AND so we report another interesting month’s activity in PNG Attitude. Lots of entries to the Crocodile Prize (the total crept up to nearly 400)

March proved quite a buzz for Crocodile Prize Organisation chairman Jimmy Drekore, who was voted Digicel PNG Man of Honour at a major event in Port Moresby.

Later in the month Jimmy was in the news again when he was selected to attend the Brisbane Writers Festival later this year as the first step in building a relationship between writers’ organisations in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "PNG Attitude’s most commented & liked pieces in March" »

Mama Salome


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

In Papua New Guinea, we call our aunts,‘mama’, and even people who are older and closer to us (not even related by blood) we call ‘mama’ and ‘papa’. I was inspired to write ‘Mama Salome’ because educated, working class women in PNG must respect their aunts. It is a traditional obligation. Mamas and aunts may not say it to our faces, but when they go out to neighbours they talk and say,‘Man, mi yia pikinini meri blo mi sa lukautim mi gut tru yia' (Man, my daughter looks after me really well). Mama Salome is a typical highlands mama – a strong highlands aunty who chews betel nut, smokes tobaccos, dresses to kill, gambles with the neighbours, there is a type….

MAMA Salome is large woman who floats around like a huge ship on a stormy sea. She carries two or three bags every time she leaves the house, heaving herself forward.

She stomps like an elephant and you have to make way for her to avoid being bumped or even crushed.

Mama Salome wears tight attire, always flowery and in bright colours.  She has short bleached hair and a big oval face, large nose, laughing mischievous eyes, full lips and teeth blackened by betel nut and tobacco. When she smiles, one fang like tooth protrudes above the left side of her mouth.

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Australia's dwindling moral authority in PNG

High Commissioner Deborah Stokes presents a sewing machine to a women's groupMARK EVENHUIS | Asylum Insight

PAPUA New Guineans often express disgust at the cheap, unhealthy cuts of meat dumped on the PNG market by Australia. 

While many relish lamb flaps (fatty sheep spare ribs) they know they are consuming unwanted offcuts that most Australians would only ever feed to their dogs.

Similarly, many of my friends in PNG feel that Australia is taking advantage of its closest and sometimes struggling neighbour by using it as a rubbish heap for its unwanted asylum seekers. 

In August 2013, after the PNG Government announced the reopening of the Manus island detention centre, thousands of university students marched in Port Moresby chanting "PNG is not your dumping ground." That sentiment has not abated.

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Please meet the reader, writer & mountain climber


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

THOSE who read a lot are more than likely to become good writers. In my case, captivated by the beauty of the English language, I have spent almost three decades trying to attain something akin to perfection.

Most of you will agree with me, I am sure, that those people who read will surely have the upper hand in many areas of life.

I am spellbound when I hear people like President Obama deliver a speech with so much flair and eloquence. There is beauty in the words of speechmakers, poets and song writers. There is beauty in the words of a writer.

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University of Goroka captures & shares Melanesian beauty

University of Goroka captures and shares Melanesian beautyBOMAI D WITNE

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

THE night of Monday 30 March was a special time at the University of Goroka, when students, parents and relatives converged for a graduation ceremony the next day.

Anne Marie Wanamp, Raphaela Sigamata and Turea Wickham worked tirelessly to give visitors, staff and students a Melanesian treat and make them happy and feel at home.

These selfless women hosted a fundraising night with the theme, ‘Melanesian Beauty: capture, celebrate and share’, to raise funds for victims of Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu and natural disasters in West New Britain.

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