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107 posts from September 2015

The story of a disastrous PNG educational 'reform'

Pius Imolket tutors his class at the Tavolo community schoolRAYMOND SIGIMET

THE 'outcome-based education' structural reform of 1993 saw the elevation of selected community schools to primary schools and promotion of high schools to secondary schools in those provinces selected to trial the education reform.

With much reassurance, the national department of education under its secretary, the late Dr Joseph Pagelio, outlined the benefits of the reform.

Children could start school at an earlier age, they would learn their local language and culture, they would undertake two years of high school education at community school level and more students would complete Grade 12 for selection into universities and colleges, teachers would upgrade their qualifications, retention statistics would improve, the list went on.

Continue reading "The story of a disastrous PNG educational 'reform'" »

Through time & space – books going places authors only dream of

Herman-tambagleBOMAI D WITNE

On 18 and 19 September, a group of Papua New Guineans and individuals with strong connections to Papua New Guinea gathered in Kundiawa for the annual national literary awards event.

Most of these people had never met, however when we introduced ourselves we smiled and shook hands or hugged in the Simbu way.

These people were teachers, students and private and public sector employees who love the art of writing. There were also a few who had resigned from formal work to engage in community-oriented activities.

They write essays, short stories, poems and draw cartoons. They contribute their writing to PNG Attitude where most articles enter the annual Crocodile Prize contest, truly Papua New Guinea’s biggest literary event.

Continue reading "Through time & space – books going places authors only dream of" »

Enough of this. Enough disunity, corruption and greed


An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

PAPUA New Guinea is a country of spectacular beauty cultural diversity – more than 800 distinct cultures.

There is something of a price to pay for this diversity, though, and it comes in the form of a people still divided along tribal lines.

Tribal conflicts in the highlands are common, people killed, houses destroyed, families suffer. Innocent women, children and the aged are often the victims of such immoral acts.

Continue reading "Enough of this. Enough disunity, corruption and greed" »

The wheels of justice


Our team was disbanded, we went to court.
Our officers were terminated, we went to court.
Our funding was withheld, and still is to this day.
Our lawyers were not paid, and still to this day.

In court, they legitimised their positioning,
on both sides of the bar table and singing the same tune.
We were denied at first, we made it through later.
Yet, instead of fighting the real issues, they still want us out.

Continue reading "The wheels of justice" »

Time for men to give up on peace; that’s women’s role

Agnes works with the Kup Women for PeaceBUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO

An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

WHEN it comes to matters of gender, many people will agree that women are gentler and more careful when dealing with the matters of life.

From basic household chores to managing family finances, women seem to be on a par above men.

And findings from research like the INA/BPNG financial capability survey and the PFIP financial diaries survey reinforces these observations.

Although men are generally regarded as the superior sex in most facets of life, this is fast becoming a thing of the past.

Continue reading "Time for men to give up on peace; that’s women’s role" »

PNG’s new HIV infection law: misunderstood & rarely enforced

Female HIV AIDS patient in PNG (Torsten Blackwood, AFP)DANIEL KUMBON

A couple of years ago the women of Konoagil in New Ireland decided enough was enough and openly expressed outrage that rape, incest, wife bashing and under-age pregnancy was rampant in their area.

At the same time a local non-government organisation, Root of Change, reported that community leaders treated rape and other serious sex related crimes as family affairs and turned a blind eye to them.

It’s a serious situation and the Konoagil women are not alone in their agony.

Hundreds of other women across PNG suffer all forms of violence and abuse. Even male students – educated to a level where they should know better - are involved in abusing fellow students.

Continue reading "PNG’s new HIV infection law: misunderstood & rarely enforced" »

A beginner’s guide to understanding expatriates in PNG

Papua-New-Guinea-arrow-shooting-asaroPHIL FITZPATRICK

ONE of the big things the industrial revolution and the development of capitalism changed was how wealth was created and distributed and how people related to each other.

These changes are important to understanding the difference between western expatriates and most of the people in Papua New Guinea.

In their home countries, expatriates live in a society divided by class: upper, middle and working class. Sometimes countries like Australia and America claim to be classless but when subjected to close analysis you will see class determined by wealth.

Membership of a particular class is now defined primarily by wealth and grandness of lifestyle, not by birth.

Continue reading "A beginner’s guide to understanding expatriates in PNG" »

A thought at this time

University_of_GorokaBOMAI D WITNE

A personal reflection on the current impasse at the University of Goroka.
TMT is the ‘top management team’, a term used by the vice chancellor
and pro chancellors at the university

I came here myself
You came here yourself
You came before me
I came after you
Schooled at different times
You went up, saw the sign ‘TMT’
I was your hand
I may be stupid but I have a family

Continue reading "A thought at this time" »

Another stunning PNG writer hits the ground running


Sibona by Emmanuel Peni, Pukpuk Publications, 2015, 230 pages, ISBN: 978-1517450908, available from Amazon, paperback US$6.17 ( ̴ K17.20) plus postage or Kindle eBook US$1

MANUSCRIPTS are arriving at Pukpuk Publications with increasing regularity, usually about one every two weeks.

As they are received they get placed in a queue with a promise of later assessment and possible selection for publication somewhere down the track.

As I’ve written before, some of the material submitted is of poor quality; some of it is good but requires extensive editing and some involves subject matter that doesn’t fit into the Pukpuk Publications genre field.

This latter group mostly consists of religious or political diatribes or quasi-scientific stuff that I would be crazy to publish.

With the volume of material arriving, laborious editing is a task I’m less inclined to undertake.  It’s time authors seeking publication abandoned the expectation that someone will fix their work for them.

Continue reading "Another stunning PNG writer hits the ground running" »

We are worth a lot. Do not sell ourselves cheaply


An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

AS a woman, should you sell yourself cheaply to the age-old trade of prostitution?

The economic boom in Papua New Guinea has seen prostitution twirl out of proportion. Women and girls wanting to share the good times and becoming susceptible to prostitution.

The result is not only apprehensive parents, there is also a feeding of the fiasco of violence against women and girls in our country.

There is so much noise on the airwaves, in the daily newspapers, and on social networks about the deteriorating social paradigm and our law and order farce.

Continue reading "We are worth a lot. Do not sell ourselves cheaply" »

Rugby league is an important educational tool in PNG

Adam Reynolds and David Nofoaluma (Daniel Potuku)TOM DECENT | Sydney Morning Herald

JOHNATHAN Thurston and Greg Inglis are helping educate schoolchildren in Papua New Guinea, even though they might not know it.

The popularity of rugby league is being used as a vehicle to teach PNG schoolchildren the importance of education and respect.

PNG is the only country in the world where rugby league is its national sport. The game plays such a big part in the lives of PNG children, who are not afforded the same benefits as kids the same age in Australia.

Continue reading "Rugby league is an important educational tool in PNG" »

Out-of-sorts PNG Hunters led themselves to league slaughter

Hunters in actionJOHN KAMASUA

THE game was a week ago – and I’m still hurting.

In a must-win match in the Intrust Super Cup – the Queensland-based rugby league competition in which they’d performed so well – the PNG Hunters failed to play their trademark winning brand of football.

Commenting on the loss, coach Michael Marum said the Hunters will learn from this experience and be better next year.

But on the day there was ample time for the Hunters to learn from the first half and resurrect their game in the second. They did not, and went down 12-28.

A grand final berth between the Hunters and the Townsville Blackhawks would have been a fitting 40th Independence gift for Papua New Guinea.

However in both semi-final games the Hunters led themselves to the slaughter.

Continue reading "Out-of-sorts PNG Hunters led themselves to league slaughter" »

Silent victory


An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

This poem is dedicated to victims of domestic violence.
You may feel weak, but within you is the strength to overcome,
achieve what you deserve and live a peaceful life

Blink! Blink!
Love at first sight;
She found the right one.

Time flew by;
The love faded;
She was hurt.

He hit her so hard;
She fell on the floor;
Her face drenched in blood.

Continue reading "Silent victory" »



An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

Don’t let those bitter words be the last thing we hear
Don’t let that anger make you a monster
Don’t walk away when your feet shouldn’t move
Don’t let pride and ignorance cost your happiness

Don’t harbour ill feelings, nothing good will come of it
Don’t listen to other people, theirs isn’t the life we have
Don’t yap so much you push him away, he’s trying too
Don’t be dogmatic, be rational; it works both ways

Continue reading "Don’t" »

On coming to terms with violence in this world

Fruits of violencePAUL WAUGLA WII

An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

VIOLENCE abounds in this world. Four in five Londoners afraid to walk the streets after dark. New York amongst the most troubled American cities for street crime.

In Papua New Guinea we’re all familiar with the law and order situation in urban areas. People talk and express the same sentiments. The same gut feeling.

Sometimes the people are bored by the ‘same old tale’. Don’t you have anything good to say, is the plea, as denial seems easier.

Continue reading "On coming to terms with violence in this world" »

True peace & harmony, things my yaye & babu taught me

Manus outriggerBESSELIAH DAVID

An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

HONESTLY, when reading about the Rivers Award, I couldn’t seem to put anything on paper. My brain froze and refused to emit. Too many stories and experiences. Where to begin?

Anyway, this is how my grandparents imparted their wisdom when I was young. Their words rang with truth about peace and harmony. I will never forget.

It seems like only yesterday that I was told to “study hard and be somebody when you grow up”. Just five years old. “Bubu, mi laik go long skul! (I want to go to school!)” I’d exclaim. “No bubu, krismas blong yu ino inap yet (no child, you’re not old enough),” grandma would reply.

Continue reading "True peace & harmony, things my yaye & babu taught me" »

Australian aid in PNG is enabling corruption says academic


AUSTRALIA'S aid program in Papua New Guinea has been described as having enabled rather than remedied state fraud and market distortions in PNG

The damning indictment came in a submission by the International State Crime Initiative at an Australian senate inquiry into the aid program in PNG.

ISCI’s Kristian Lasslett says Canberra's approach to aid in PNG centres on the idea that the best way to foster development is through making the country more business-friendly.

But he says that this approach is incongruent with the reality on the ground, where business has too much liberty.

Continue reading "Australian aid in PNG is enabling corruption says academic" »

Caught somewhere between mansplaining & neo-colonialism


UNBEKNOWN to her, ABC writer and broadcaster Annabel Crabb has sparked a momentous epiphany for me.

The trigger was a word in a splendid article, ‘A crying shame’, which spawned justification for the rage I’ve (barely) contained in my hot little head as jets of steam have cascaded from the cavity between my ears.

And the word? Mansplaining.

When a man explains to a woman something she already knows while the woman works out how best to respond.

So I am enlightened. There is a word for it!

Yes, there is a label for the ubiquitous behaviour I first encountered at university and which followed me into the workplace. But it didn’t end there. It’s stalked me into other aspects of my life. It became an everyday ritual, most notably in Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "Caught somewhere between mansplaining & neo-colonialism" »

The art of John Bom – a long neglected PNG great

Pisin lon Paradis - John BomPETER KRANZ

ON our last day in Papua New Guinea, Rose and I wandered down to the ad-hoc market outside the Holiday Inn.

The offerings were mostly tourist trinkets and holiday kitsch, but then Rose saw someone she recognised. He was wearing a leather cowboy hat and sporting a magnificent beard. It was Uncle John.

Now Rose is inclined to call any PNG man who looks a bit older than her 'uncle'. But in this case he was related. His welcome was warm and fluent Kuman flowed freely.

Uncle John was an artist and he was selling his paintings. We were in a hurry to get to the airport, so grabbed a couple for a hundred kina or so. Then we rolled them up to be stuffed in a cardboard tube and bid him a fond farewell.

I had forgotten about this until last week when we were cleaning house. "Look at these!" I exclaimed.

"They’re by Uncle John - remember, we saw one of his paintings in Darwin," replied Rose.

And so I rediscovered the two sketches we had bought some years previously. They are amazing, full of colour and light, with skillfully etched outlines and infill.

Continue reading "The art of John Bom – a long neglected PNG great" »

Manus says it’s been 'failed' by detention centre economic benefits

Proposed police station on Manus (Stefan Armbruster, SBS)STEFAN ARMBRUSTER | SBS

THE governor of Manus Island says the Papua New Guinea province has been failed by the promise of economic benefits from Australia's asylum seeker detention centre.

Manusians say they have missed out on many of the subcontracts for building tens-of-millions of dollars in infrastructure for the facility.

Detention-centre spending has seen inflation boom in Manus, more than tripling some food prices and raising concerns about the dietary impacts.

Australia in 2013 put almost a billion dollars on the table for PNG aid and immigration infrastructure upgrades in exchange for hosting the detention centre.

Continue reading "Manus says it’s been 'failed' by detention centre economic benefits" »

Gary Juffa blasts PNG journalists for being “on the take”

Gary JuffaONE PNG

ORO Governor Gary Juffa has blamed Papua New Guinean media organisations for not being impartial in their work and deliberately avoiding reporting on sensitive issues affecting the country.

Mr Juffa said, of all the journalists who are currently reporters, less than five would be reliably doing the right thing.

He said a greater majority of reporters appear to be on the take of some government or corporate entity.

Continue reading "Gary Juffa blasts PNG journalists for being “on the take”" »

After 25 years, an emotional return to Bougainville & Panguna

The old Panguna churchPETER COMERFORD

MARIAN and the kids and I left Panguna and the island of Bougainville in January 1990.

The crisis weighed almost as heavily upon us expatriates who worked there as it did on the Bougainvilleans themselves.

Nobody knew it then, but worse was to come with a terrible war, a 10-year blockade and loss of life estimated at 20,000 people.

I had been principal of the International Primary School at Panguna for six years from 1984 and Marian was sister-in-charge of the Panguna Medical Clinic from 1987.

Continue reading "After 25 years, an emotional return to Bougainville & Panguna" »

Myth & Magic: a grand exhibition of the art of the Sepik River

Paki guardian figure, early 20th century (National Gallery of Australia)SASHA GRISHIN | Sydney Morning Herald

Myth + Magic: Art of the Sepik River. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. Until 1 November

IN 1929 the Surrealist Map of the World was published in Brussels which redrew the world, not according to centres of political power, colonial empires or geographic land masses, but according to cultural and artistic significance.

For the Surrealists, with possibly Paul Eluard at the helm, the largest and most significant country in the southern hemisphere was Nouvelle-Guinee or New Guinea.

Continue reading "Myth & Magic: a grand exhibition of the art of the Sepik River" »

Madang once the Pearl, now the Town Rats reign supreme

Madang_complaintOBED IKUPU

An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

MADANG is becoming a haven for crime and violence. The once hotspot for tourism in Papua New Guinea is rotting to the core.

The loss of stability and security has left many locals, especially the Madang people, anxious about their once beautiful town.

I have been living in here since I began my studies at Divine Word University back in 2011. In my days, months and years here, I have come to observe the province as an underdog.

Continue reading "Madang once the Pearl, now the Town Rats reign supreme" »

Crocodile Prize must have a permanent home in PNG


LOOKING back at the recent Simbu Writers’ Association’s successful hosting of the 2015 Crocodile Prize awards in Kundiawa and the previous unsuccessful Society of Writers, Editors and Publishers experience of 2012, I strongly feel that the Crocodile Prize should have a permanent home where it can generate its own revenue to sustain itself in the long run.

Author and publisher Phil Fitzpatrick in a comment on my earlier article, remarked that the SWA made history by not only hosting the awards but for the first time paying the return air fares and hotel accommodation of the winners.

Well done Arnold Mundua, Jimmy Awagl, Mathias Kin, Jimmy Drekore, Roslyn Tony, family members and stakeholders.

Continue reading "Crocodile Prize must have a permanent home in PNG" »

Could a child hold the key to peace?


An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

WHEN we were children we craved only love, peace and joy.

Such was our exuberance of spirit that, when we slept in the night, we ached for the new day to come quickly.

To a child, every new day is enveloped in the warmth of the sun and the loving arms of parents.

Being a child is universal. Every one of us was once a child.

When you see children standing in a circle holding to each other’s arms, it is out of love for each other.

Their friendship is oblivious to distance, colour, creed and race.

Outside this circle, the rumbling and grumbling sound of the world’s troubles makes no sense.

The guns and tanks bombing from a distance with thunderous sounds are like toy soldiers at war.  Such is the naivety of childhood.

Continue reading "Could a child hold the key to peace?" »

A discourse on marriage, sex & the population problem

Highlands womenDANIEL KUMBON

MY African-American friend from Cleveland was fascinated to hear about the practise of polygamy in Papua New Guinea and how a man was able to keep all his wives under the one roof and expect them to remain faithful to him.

He was blown away when I told him I had two wives.

“How do you know they will be faithful to you, all this time you will be here in the States?” he asked. “How do you fulfil their needs and wants? I mean, you know, are they not jealous? I am sorry if I offend you but these are immediate questions that come to mind.”

Continue reading "A discourse on marriage, sex & the population problem" »

A movie, the Rabaul catastrophe & some thoughts on the past

The 1994 eruptionRAYMOND SIGIMET

I have just watched the Hollywood action movie San Andreas starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson who happens to play a character named Ray, my name.

The movie brought back memories of the Rabaul volcanic eruption that occurred on the morning of 19 September 1994, an event I witnessed first-hand.

The eruption resulted in the devastation and destruction of the once picturesque Pacific town, Rabaul, the only town in the world built in a volcanic caldera.

Prior to the eruption, a number of strong earthquakes and tremors were felt in and around Rabaul. The volcanological observatory issued a warning of imminent threat of eruption resulting in the early evacuation of people and minimal casualties.

Continue reading "A movie, the Rabaul catastrophe & some thoughts on the past" »

Misunderstanding - a road block to peace & harmony

Misunderstanding- a road block to peace & harmonyAMANDA YEOU

An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

This is dedicated to all the young women. Be cautious when a man tries to sweep you off your feet, for you never know what he might be trying to hide. I was told by a man from my village that, to live a peaceful and harmonious life free of violence, you need to get to know a person well. Before you act on a situation in any form of relationship, always come up with a theory to solve it peacefully.

SHE lay on the ground, her face drenched in blood. Yowo dropped the knife and ran for help. He realised he had done something terrible. Would his wife survive?

Yowo and Lasumo had been married for six years. They fell in love during a village singsing and got married six months later. Lasumo left her village to live with Yowo and his parents Yali and Magi.

At first life was good. They would do their daily chores together. But at the dawn of their fourth year of marriage, Yowo’s behaviour started to change. He would let Lasumo do the chores while he went out to enjoy himself with his friends.

Continue reading "Misunderstanding - a road block to peace & harmony" »

Gay kiaps I have known

A kiap negotiating (ANU)PHIL FITZPATRICK

IN that ultra-homophobic period between the end of World War II and Papua New Guinea’s independence in 1975, the last place you would expect to find a gay man was among the hairy-chested kiap fraternity.

However, just like in any other strata of society, the gay kiaps were there quietly getting on with the job and going out of their way not to draw attention to themselves.

In those repressed times, third world countries like PNG had a certain attraction for the gay community, men and women alike.

Continue reading "Gay kiaps I have known" »

The Bougainville crisis & peace & harmony in PNG

BougainvilleKEITH ANGEN

An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

UNITY in diversity speaks volumes about who we are and what we are: a peace-loving and distinct collection of tribal people harmoniously mingled with each other to form this awe-inspiring nation of Papua New Guinea.

Collectively we number more than seven million people organised into 22 provinces. Having more than 800 different languages yet united under one national parliament, we are unique.

We have tribal conflicts in the highlands but tend to be confined to two or three local tribes. And it happens sporadically. It does not affect the overall peace and harmony of the nation.

Continue reading "The Bougainville crisis & peace & harmony in PNG" »

Keeping the fire of unity alive: An enduring legacy


An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

PAPUA New Guinea‘s road to independence, although often said to be offered on a golden platter, was actually achieved after overcoming many internal challenges.

We have been told of the mixed reactions among our people when news of PNG’s imminent independence began to spread throughout the land.

Many people were not sure what independence was or what it would bring to them. In such a fragile environment, where anxiety, confusion and hope reigned, the idea of independence disturbed the populous.

Continue reading "Keeping the fire of unity alive: An enduring legacy" »

Simbu’s Crocodile Prize: From wild dream to reality

_Simbu Writers AssociationFRANCIS NII

THE first day of the two-day 2015 Crocodile Prize award ceremony in Kundiawa, Simbu Province, kicked off at 9 o’clock on Friday under the organisation of the Simbu Writers Association (SWA).

The scene was the Riverside Resort at Wara (River) Simbu; celebrations continued to the foot of PNG’s highest peak, Mt Wilhelm; and they concluded with the literary awards presentation at Mt Wilhelm Tourist Hotel last night.

A decent number of people turned up at Friday’s writers’ workshop chaired by Mathias Kin, mostly young writers and students.

Established writers Bob Cleland, Baka Bina, Arnold Mundua, Daniel Kombon and Joycelyn Leahy gave motivational talks which were very well received.

Among the high school teachers at the workshop were Ware Mukale of Kariweri High School, a strong supporter of SWA.

Continue reading "Simbu’s Crocodile Prize: From wild dream to reality" »

Like my mum and dad did


An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

Like a small boy I prance about the yard,
My heart filled with joy, my son is born.

I was told never to lie, cheat or steal,
But I did, I did it all, the lies, the deceit,
The drinking, the fighting, I wish I had not.

My parents’ strong Christians, the virtues of
Humankind, my son I wish the same for you,
I wish and pray a hope, be it a glimmer, a light as the end of a tunnel.

Continue reading "Like my mum and dad did" »

The smoke from the house

Ambunum Village HutBAKA BINA

An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

IF you come home in the afternoon and if you see no smoke coming from the roof of the house, you must feel sorry for your stomach.

As a little boy at Kotiyufa Village, Iufi-Iufa, that was my father’s rant every time I failed to do my household duties.

It was written in the wall somewhere that my duty as a kid was to ensure there were two things in the house at all times.

There must firewood and water for the house in the house, never mind if the sun shined or the clouds rained.  When these two things were present, it was guaranteed there would be smoke in the house and everyone would be happy.  My father would be happy, Ma would be happy, I would be happy.

Continue reading "The smoke from the house" »

PNG & Ipswich entertainers meet in Intrust preliminary final


THE PNG Hunters and Ipswich Jets face off this afternoon for the right to face the Blackhawks in this year’s Intrust Super Cup rugby league grand final.

Townsville continued their impressive debut season when they secured a place in the grand final following a strong 26-12 win over the Hunters last weekend.

Today sees a battle of the entertainers with the trademark contact football style of play from the Jets going head-to-head with the equally exciting Hunters.

While some people question the ability of the Jets to win finals football with their high-risk, high-reward style – they have made it this far.

Continue reading "PNG & Ipswich entertainers meet in Intrust preliminary final" »

O’Neill’s back flip with pike: PNG won't expel Australian staff

Peter O'NeillAAP

PRIME minister Peter O’Neill has softened his tough talk of expelling Australian consultants and advisers from Papua New Guinea by the end of the year.

Mr O'Neill announced the intention in parliament two months ago saying he would turf out foreign advisers, raising concerns they were spying on his government and their presence was making local public servants lazy.

He now says he does not want consultants and middlemen eating up aid budget allocations but prefers a change to contract officers who can be accountable to his government.

Continue reading "O’Neill’s back flip with pike: PNG won't expel Australian staff" »

The often difficult pathway to peace & harmony


An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

I was so absorbed in counting the dates in my notebook calendar that I had deaf ears when the lecturer calling my name.

Suddenly the lecture room was as quiet as grave. It was the quietness that caught my attention.

When I looked up, Mr Ume was glaring at me furiously. “Miss Rigeret, would you like to repeat my question?” he asked politely but displeased.

“Pardon me, sir!” I apologised. “I lost track half-way through.” I felt my ears go hot.

It was 1993 and I was at Holy Trinity Teachers College, Mt Hagen.

Continue reading "The often difficult pathway to peace & harmony" »

PNG still feeling the effects of Australian colonialism

Nicholas FernsNICHOLAS FERNS | The Conversation

SEPTEMBER 16 was the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the sovereign nation of Papua New Guinea. Celebrations were held throughout the country.

Australia was the country that granted independence to Papua New Guinea. For almost 70 years, Australia had maintained colonial rule over the eastern half of New Guinea. Unfortunately, this fact is largely absent in contemporary discussions of relations between the countries.

When Australia’s ‘colonial’ history is mentioned, it almost always refers to the period 1788-1901. Little attention is given to Australia’s 20th-century empire of Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

Continue reading "PNG still feeling the effects of Australian colonialism" »

Anger in Bougainville over PM's no independence remarks


A Bougainvillean politician has condemned a statement by Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O'Neill that a yes vote in the referendum on Bougainville independence doesn't necessarily mean the island will actually get independence.

Mr O'Neill was reported in The Australian newspaper as saying independence for Bougainville the responsibility of the national parliament.

Bougainville President John Momis told Pacific Beat that in the 2019 referendum he expects 70% of the people will vote to break away from PNG.

Deputy speaker of the Bougainville parliament and MP for Bougainville North, Francesca Semoso, says Peter O'Neill's statement flies in the face of the right of Bougainvilleans to determine their own future, as laid out in the peace agreement which formally ended the civil war.

40 years in the wilderness; let’s head towards the promised land


OUR beautiful country Papua New Guinea has reached 40 years of political independence and its citizens have every reason to celebrate.

In this mood of festivity someone approached me with a green label bottle of SP and punched the air declaring, "If you burn your kunai thatched house knowing you can afford roofing iron, why not!”

He pointed at the onlookers and added: “It’s 40 years of independence and you lot need to live in a high covenant house."

I just stood there and smiled while he preached and he turned and confronted me: "Hey bro, you should celebrate. It is 40th Independence celebration! It's time to rejoice our Independence. Stop standing helplessly as though I am a politician who came here to feed you.”

Continue reading "40 years in the wilderness; let’s head towards the promised land" »

White man dreaming – the romance of the South Seas


SEVERAL years ago, my wife and I pottered down to Trader Jacks on the seashore in Avarua on Rarotonga in the Cook Islands to get some calamari and a coffee for lunch.

Trader Jacks is one of those places where the cook is likely to sit down with you to eat if business is slow and then forget to charge you when you leave.

Our mode of transport was one of those ubiquitous scooters that hold sway on the roads of the Pacific islands. No helmets, a leisurely speed, never over 40 kph, and usually ridden abreast to enable conversation.

On this occasion, sated by the best calamari we’d ever tasted and chuckling over the cook’s anecdotes we were trying to figure out how to spring the seat on the scooter to get to the stuff we’d put in the compartment below.

While we were puzzling over the devilish Asian mechanism an elderly and barefooted gentleman stopped to help and solve our quandary. The trick was to push down on the seat while simultaneously pressing on the catch.

Continue reading "White man dreaming – the romance of the South Seas" »

The dividends of the SRA kit have been lost to PNG


WHAT I was told as a student in Grade 2 such a long time ago was that “if you are looking for work to do, consult the SRA reading kit in the corner.  It will pay dividends.”

Dividends, my teacher said. It was an awesome word for us bush kanakas back then.

The SRA contains many reading cards with stories on the front and questions on the back. You answer the questions then look up an answer sheet and correct and score your own performance.

Once you have done this, you show your work to the teacher and then plot the result on your personal chart and an SRA wall chart.  The reading kit was intended to imbed comprehension skills in readers.

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Fishing with Joe

Joe Nombri, Kiunga 1969PHIL FITZPATRICK

THE late, great Joe Nombri and I used to share a house at Kiunga on the Fly River in the late 1960s.

Joe was a founding member of the dangerously subversive PANGU Pati and the Poohbahs in Port Moresby thought it wise to keep him as far away from there as possible.

In those days Kiunga was a quiet little backwater. Kennecott had a laydown area and a small camp on the river just downstream from the station but it was early days and nobody knew that the mineral deposit they had sniffed out at Ok Tedi would one day be a huge mine.

Nothing much happened at Kiunga. Between patrols Joe and I used to hunt crocodiles to feed the kalabus and to make a few bucks on the side from the skins.

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Although inadequately prepared, a resilient people built a nation

John Momis as a young MP - a founding father of PNGJOHN MOMIS | Extracts

WHEN Michael Somare and Gough Whitlam decided that Papua New Guinea would be given independence in the near future, the 15 members of the House of Representatives who formed the constitutional planning committee (CPC) were given the important task of making the independence constitution.

Because we wanted a home grown constitution, tailored to the specific needs and aspirations of our people we decided to conduct in my opinion the most comprehensive political engagement that any government had with its people in PNG.

Our constitution was not based on any one constitution of a foreign country. We did not send study groups overseas. When we needed to consider foreign model for adaptation, we brought in foreign experts to advise us and we picked and chose what we considered to be relevant.

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Vision 2050 grossly misrepresents PNG’s national goals: study

Respect the ConstitutionEDDIE TANAGO | Act Now

THE Papua New Guinea government's long-term strategic plan, Vision 2050, grossly misinterprets the national goals and development principles in the Constitution.

This is the major finding of a new study conducted by Patrick Kaiku from the University of Papua New Guinea and commissioned by community advocacy group Act Now.

"Vision 2050 ignores the visionary work of the Constitutional Planning Committee and does not embrace the five National Goals and Directive Principles enshrined in the Constitution," said Mr Kaiku.

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We Australians pay tribute to our friends in Papua New Guinea on the attainment of your fortieth anniversary of Independence. We share the pride of your achievement....

How PNG independence happened – 16 September 1975

Part of the crowd at Independence Hill on 16 September 1975.In 2009 former long-serving PNG district commissioner, DAVID MARSH, who died recently, reflected upon how that first Independence Day in 1975 took place.

WHEN in 1975 Gough Whitlam asked Michael Somare to provide a date for PNG Independence, Somare set the date and gave me the job of organising the events. We had 2½ months to do it.

Getting people to join me to get the job done was difficult. It had to be a PNG show, yet there was no expertise amongst the indigenous people, or the government for that matter, and government departments were reluctant to release their senior staff.

There were some early concerns over micro-nationalistic movements and cults that had sprung up, also emotional talk from University students.

But when I had a general picture in my mind of the ceremonies that were required, the people to invite, the security, transport, accommodation, and so on, I gathered a few staunch souls together and started on the detail.

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