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110 posts from November 2015

We want you to tell us: Have you read any good books lately?

E Sigimet I Rivers awardsPHIL FITZPATRICK

A short while ago I wrote an article about the differences between so-called ‘literary fiction’ and ‘popular fiction’ and pointed out that much of what is being written with Papua New Guinean themes tends to fall into the former category.

I wondered whether Papua New Guinean readers would be happy with books that tended to be ‘deep and meaningful’ or whether they sometimes preferred to be simply entertained.

I pondered, for instance, how many Papua New Guinean readers had read Drusilla Modjeska’s critically acclaimed book, The Mountain, compared with, say, books by Papua New Guinean writers like Francis Nii, Baka Bina, Emmanuel Peni or, indeed, my own Inspector Metau books.

Continue reading "We want you to tell us: Have you read any good books lately?" »

somewhere by the sea


 on a seashore









skittering fiddler crabs perform a ballet dance 



among bursting bubbles


as the ocean retreats 











thin salt tinged scars 





tear tracks




on tan brown cheeks



Is this wartime Keravat graveyard still to be found?

Keravat graveyard 1936KEITH JACKSON

MARTIN Hadlow has been in touch wondering if any of our readers know if this graveyard is still in existence.

The photo is said to have been taken in 1936 at Kerevat on the Gazelle Peninsula.

It is believed that it shows the graves of the Australian soldiers killed in 1914 when the Australian Expeditionary Force fought and defeated the German garrison at Bita Paka which was guarding the strategically important wireless station.

If you know more about this graveyard, write a few words and send them to us through the Comment link below.

Continue reading "Is this wartime Keravat graveyard still to be found?" »

The heart can kill, or it can liberate me & my Bougainville society


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

AT the peak of the Bougainville Crisis my father was gunned to death while my mother struggled to save his life as she confronted blood-hungry Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) men from our own Kieta society in Central Bougainville.

So it was that great inhumanity murdered my dad, John Roka (pictured), who so loved Bougainville and his Bougainvillean family. Inhumanity was perpetrated in the name of Bougainville freedom.

This was an irony so grim, exterminating a man in betrayal of Bougainville and of the peace and harmony the BRA was fighting for.

The BRA had a gun to kill my dad; and a gun is not a living thing that can react to every stimulus with assertiveness to restore or destroy.

Continue reading "The heart can kill, or it can liberate me & my Bougainville society" »

Pacific moves to suppress the media while Australia rests supine

The National, Post-CourierRUSSELL HUNTER

IN 2010 a serving Papua New Guinean minister accompanied by a female associate appeared in Samoa and began buying much of the urban real estate that was on the market, even making offers for some that wasn’t available.

Samoa is a small place and this activity soon came to the attention of The Samoa Observer, the nation’s determinedly independent daily newspaper. It was a big story.

The PNG minister responded with a routine threat to sue (for what was never explained) and answered questions as to where the money came from with the claim that he was a “successful leader” and could be expected to be wealthy from, among other activities, timber exports.

Continue reading "Pacific moves to suppress the media while Australia rests supine" »

Cape Town's dichotomy: one part splendour; four parts despond


BY the time your typical white resident of Cape Town has moved into the third sentence, some variation of the word ‘safety’ has already arisen in the conversation.

The same applies most everywhere else in South Africa.

Stern warnings are offered about the danger of wandering about after dusk, or displaying items of value at any time. Advice is proffered.

It needs to be, as some overseas visitors are their own worst enemy. Like giving their debit card to a friendly soul offering to help manipulate a local ATM machine and who absconds swiftly with both card and currency.

Continue reading "Cape Town's dichotomy: one part splendour; four parts despond" »

Musings: A languid Sunday ramble around Pisamoni village


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

PEACE and quiet hang over the closely spaced bush material houses in the Melanesian village. The coconut trees stand sentinel, moving slightly each time the breeze touches their fronds.

It is Sunday morning in Pisamoni village. Population, around 300. The village prides itself on its size in that part of the world. It has enough people to host whatever government service trickles down.

Continue reading "Musings: A languid Sunday ramble around Pisamoni village" »

Kiaps in Papua New Guinea: When boots on the ground mattered

From 'Kiap - Stories Behind the Medal' (Australian Archives)PHIL FITZPATRICK

FOR much of the time I was a kiap our department was called the Department of District Administration (DDA), a succinct and self-explanatory title.

Prior to that it had been called the Department of Native Affairs (DNA) and before 1956 the Department of District Services and Native Affairs (DDSNA), both also succinct but a tad politically incorrect if you were inclined to view it that way.

After 1972 the nomenclature started to change on a regular basis, a sure sign that the paper pushers and bean counters were in the ascendancy. It was about then that headquarters staff numbers began to swell at an alarming rate.

Continue reading "Kiaps in Papua New Guinea: When boots on the ground mattered" »

Tanka at the sportsmen’s bar

Keith at the Sportsmen's Bar, Cape Town, November 2015MICHAEL DOM

coloured bottles bob
to my eyes these are gemstones
light explodes in spumes
a sour flood warms my belly
in the wave of each fresh draught

drinking rainbows
I am resting the dragon
on wet glass
ice rocks crackle
day blends into night

first or last dog watch?
sitting at this bar – my pew
far away at sea
ship ahoy! Nubile sirens
eight bells ringing between decks


Inspired by the adventures of Keith Jackson AM and other friends, 27/11/2015

Can anyone shed light on this Papua prospecting medallion?

Stephens' Medallion ObverseKEITH JACKSON

I have received a note from reader Bill Stephens including two interesting photographs.

They are the obverse and reverse of an unusual medallion given to his late father Arthur (Bluy) Stephens in 1972.

Arthur was the Port Moresby-based Mining Warden in the Department of Land, Surveys and Mines in Papua New Guinea in the 1960s and 1970s.

The medallion was presented to him by an outfit called the ‘Cape Vogel Anuki Prospecting Society’.

It bears the names of the society president Abihud Sinokua as well as the secretary, treasurer, chief prospector and cook (good to see the poor bloody cook recognised).

Continue reading "Can anyone shed light on this Papua prospecting medallion?" »

Be strong always, I was told


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

Over my son’s nine years, a urologist repaired the male defect with which he was born – and I have kept my vow that I made on that labour bed 10 years ago. These days, I don’t think of the hurt I went through, I only feel overwhelming joy at the sight of my handsome 10-year old son, who is also a very close friend. The end result of being strong brought peace and when peace dwelt, harmony came gliding in too…..

AT 4 am it happened.

I heaved myself from the flat mattress, in that bleak little room that I had lived in for four months.  It was sudden and I was shocked and scared, as I was going to be a first time mum too and I heard my heart strings doing wobbly tunes. I quickly grabbed my cell phone from the little night table and called the ambulance.

When the ambulance arrived, I briskly walked out the door with the baby bag in one hand and my overnight duffel bag in the other.  The ambulance attendee helped me and told me to sit on a hard metal chair. He asked me how my labour pains were going and to his surprise, I told him that I did not feel any pain at all. He looked at me in a funny way and I started to panic.

Continue reading "Be strong always, I was told" »

The improbable geometry of you & me


Darling, you are my missing ampersand.
Our togetherness is hand-in-hand
& when we travel places far & wide
Those long distances too are side-by-side.

Even on some remote, outstretched beach,
There in your heart keep me just within reach.

You & me, we, are always parallel
We are: near & far, at infinity…
There is no geometry to dispel
This improbability – you & me.

Juffa calls on government to revive PNG’s immigration task force


THE Papua New Guinea government has been called on to consider reviving the once vibrant Immigration Task Force - Rausim Alien - to clamp down on illegal foreigners and their illegal activities around the country.

Oro province governor, Gary Juffa, said this in light of the recent uprising in Lae and the arrival of the illegal boat people in Wewak, East Sepik Province.

It was established to control the movement of foreigners in the country and it exposed and uncovered many illegal activities.

It also led to the deportation of notorious foreigners with connections to prominent Papua New Guineans, resulting in millions of kina being recouped.

Continue reading "Juffa calls on government to revive PNG’s immigration task force" »

I dream corruption


I live in a little pond                                                                                                                                                                   I seat by and ponder                                                                                                                                                with a stare into the air and wonder                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         the suspicious scent is in the air,                                                                                                                                                      I see it in the media

Another home of laughter and care shatters,                                                                                              a deceitful father emerges                                                                                                                                                                                                                       The ones entrusted, keep becoming traitors,                                                                                                                             The ones who oath to protect, keep becoming breakers,

The ones ordained to preach, keep breaching,                                                                                                               The ones empowered to lead, keep misleading                                                                                                                                                                                                I seat by and dream in tears,

Continue reading "I dream corruption" »

What I was told – the continuing search for internal peace

Dahlia Jade BireDAHLIA BIRE

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

THE fear was all he felt. He cringed from the sting of the slap and the whiff of alcohol.

Only half awake in the morning’s early hours he perhaps wondered why someone would do this to him.

It was his community and he was a respected leader.

Earlier this year, my beloved uncle was murdered in his village. He was a cheerful, loving and humble young man. His short life was taken by heartless and cruel people.

Continue reading "What I was told – the continuing search for internal peace" »

The out-of-control problem of drug & alcohol abuse in PNG

Drugs  Their Dangers in PNGPHIL FITZPATRICK

Drugs and Their Dangers in Papua New Guinea by Philip Kai Morre, Simbu Writer’s Association, 2015, 142 pp, ISBN: 978-1519479792. Available from Amazon books for US$4.49 plus postage (Kindle US$1.00).

DRUG and alcohol abuse in Papua New Guinea is a huge problem. From that abuse stems so many other issues that are endemic in the nation.

These include out-of-control law and order, the abuse of women and children, serious medical problems like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis and a raft of socio-economic problems.

Continue reading "The out-of-control problem of drug & alcohol abuse in PNG" »

In uncertain minds


Just like naughty kids
With uncertain minds
And evergreen rhinorrhea
With scruffy looks
And poppy diapers
Worst of all
The verbal diarrhoea
Stinks up the place
Even a cyclone can't dispose
Scent of ages hence
Marks a journey downhill
As I live on perched up
High in uncertain minds

The long struggle: PNG musos fight for copyright & remuneration

Vagi Onnevagi, Ralph Diweni and the author, Oala Moi, in BrisbaneOALA MOI

I am a Papua New Guinean songwriter and copyright advocate living in Port Moresby, and this is a story about a struggle to properly remunerate PNG composers, lyricists, record companies and recording artists in accordance with copyright law.

We have won a few battles but the war is yet to be won and we still need support.

From independence in 1975 until 2002, copyright law did not exist in PNG. The situation changed in 2000 when Parliament enacted the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act which became law in July 2002.

Continue reading "The long struggle: PNG musos fight for copyright & remuneration" »

Momis warns Bougainville budget cuts threaten peace agreement


BOUGAINVILLE’S President John Momis has described Papua New Guinea’s recent budget allocation to the autonomous province as a killer to the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

The warning from Dr Momis follows a huge cut in the PNG government 2016 budget for the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG).

Dr Momis also said the national government owed the ABG K635 million in restoration and development grants.

The national government had for too long breached the Bougainville Peace Agreement by not honouring its commitment, he said.

Continue reading "Momis warns Bougainville budget cuts threaten peace agreement" »

The slow, sad death of my wonderful PNG memories

Phil on patrol in the Star Mountains, early 1970sPHIL FITZPATRICK

I first went to Papua New Guinea in 1967 when I was 19, a real babe in the woods. I’ve been going back ever since. Sometimes for work but often just to catch up with old friends.

I’m now close to 68, still a babe in the woods compared to some of the living fossils who went there long before me. Some were there before I was born and are still going strong.

I’ve reached a stage in life when one tends to become reflective. That is, I think about the past a lot, what I’ve done and most importantly why and what it all might mean.

Having a memory that now has no trouble recalling what I did when I was 10 years old but cannot remember what I did half an hour ago powers this change of mental direction.

At least I think I can recollect what I was doing so long ago. I may, in fact, simply be having memories of memories, if you know what I mean. That means that while I can recall what happened back then I can’t really vouchsafe for its authenticity.

Continue reading "The slow, sad death of my wonderful PNG memories" »

The mysterious Purailing of West New Britain’s ‘undiscovered city’

Cultures of SecrecyGEORGE KUIAS

THERE was no one to be seen as the mobile clinic team from Kaliai health centre approached shore although, on the black sand slope of a nearby mountain, there were a few houses.

Hillary, the skipper from Taveliai, anchored the boat and waded to the beach, signaling us to follow.

“Where are the people?” my colleague asked.

“We served them the notice a week ago,” said the skipper. “They know there will be a clinic today. They’re in hiding but will come out.”

His words surprised us. Where and why were they hiding?

Continue reading "The mysterious Purailing of West New Britain’s ‘undiscovered city’" »

AFP whistleblower claims murder, rape & corruption by PNG police

Two men shot at point blank range by PNG police ‘for no good reason'MEGAN PALIN | | Edited extracts

IF your tax dollars were being used to bulldoze entire villages and prop up a regime of murder, rape and corruption, would you want to know about it?

What if it was happening right on Australia’s doorstep and being kept quiet by our own police so that we could maintain our “stop the boats” immigration policy by sending asylum seekers offshore?

These are just some of the astonishing claims levelled by an Australian federal agent turned Australian Federal Police (AFP) whistle blower, in an exclusive interview with

The source — who spoke on the condition of anonymity — claims to have witnessed atrocities committed against Papua New Guinea nationals while he was deployed in Lae between December 2013 and July 2014.

Continue reading "AFP whistleblower claims murder, rape & corruption by PNG police" »

An epic tale from PNG: Baby Peter and the return to Tingwon

Marian Comerford with 4 month old Peter Tolingling, Tingwon, December 1973PETER COMERFORD 

THE story really began at Kavieng one September afternoon in 1973. A patrol boat, HMAS Aitape, had made its way from Manus to Tingwon Island after receiving a radio call for assistance to transfer a woman in premature labour to Kavieng Hospital.

The patrol boat made the difficult entrance through the reef to the Tingwon beach where a signal fire blazed to attract attention.

Marian was on duty at Kavieng Hospital’s outpatients unit when the animated activity of patients and villagers attracted her attention.

The outpatients unit was located just metres from a beach where canoes from the offshore islands came ashore and patients could wander into the warm waters to wash.

It was here that the patrol boat with its patient and a village woman accompanying her arrived.

Continue reading "An epic tale from PNG: Baby Peter and the return to Tingwon" »

PNG needs a capable media unafraid to offend those in power


“THE pen is mightier than the sword” is a saying writers are familiar with.  However in today’s media age it is the media corporations who seem to truly appreciate the power of those words.

Governments, politicians, international organisations, multi-national corporations and pressure groups all understand the reality that they have to master the art of pursuing their strategic interests through the media.

Media corporations, advertisers and prominent writers and commentators know they can manipulate and influence the opinions of the masses by controlling the information they release and get a desired reaction by playing around with words to create certain images in people’s minds.

Continue reading "PNG needs a capable media unafraid to offend those in power" »

Conflict resolution in PNG: A friend to all and an enemy to none


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

IN 2003, there were serious clashes at the University of Papua New Guinea between former students of Port Moresby National High School and Bugandi Secondary School.

The resultant chaos caused many injuries to students and much damage to property. It also created a hostile environment at the university especially for people living on campus.

At the time I was completing Grade 12 studies at Port Moresby National High School and, the following year, received an offer to study at UPNG and reside on campus.

Continue reading "Conflict resolution in PNG: A friend to all and an enemy to none" »

South Africa: In a land of hope, dashed expectations erode the joy

A marine pilot being transferred to a cruise ship by helicopter off DurbanKEITH JACKSON

AS I write these notes, Nautica is edging its way a mile or so off the hilly South African coast between Durban and Port Elizabeth.

The sea is officially described as ‘very rough’, and the swell soars along at more than 20 feet.

The constant pitching and periodic sudden shudders have been enough to subdue most passengers. But at seven o’clock in the morning, with the sun still quite low, the scene is one of spectacular beauty.

We motor along under an almost cloudless sky, close enough to shore to observe the continuous string of towns and villages in a landscape that is green and treeless. Regular bursts of spray arc away from the ship’s bow, each shower offering a transient rainbow.

Makes it bloody hard to type, though; fingers bouncing off keys.

Coming into Durban's narrow channel two days ago, in seas almost as hostile as those this morning, the pilot was helicoptered to the ship and rappelled to the upper deck in a remarkable act of flying and seamanship.

Continue reading "South Africa: In a land of hope, dashed expectations erode the joy" »

PNG memoir by Trish Nicholson tells tales of the unexpected

Women from the Middle Fly regionKEITH JACKSON & PHIL FITZPATRICK
| The Australian

Inside the Crocodile: The Papua New Guinea Journals by Trish Nicholson, Matador, 288 pp, $27.99

IN the decades following independence in 1975, Papua New Guinea was awash with foreign advisers and consultants. Even the most remote provinces attracted them like sharks to a dive-cage.

These latter-day ­colonialists carried minds and briefcases bulging with the latest management theories and acronyms to foist on their unsuspecting hosts.

Australia might have departed PNG in a hurry but it left the government of Michael Somare with a straightforward, functional and efficient administrative system. This had proven itself, especially in the rush to independence, and the new nation’s public servants felt comfortable with it.

Continue reading "PNG memoir by Trish Nicholson tells tales of the unexpected" »

The tale of Jackie & James – the price of ignorance is high


“JACKIE, where have you been?” James questioned his wife. “You were supposed to be working but you weren’t there. I checked with your boss.”

“Excuse me, James, are you OK? You refused my suggestion so I made it my responsibility to seek medical advice,” Jackie replied.

“The doctor said I had no problem and can conceive a child. The doctor thinks the problem is with you. So make it your responsibility to see him.”

Jackie explained what she was told by the doctor. James swore and walked away. He showed no interest. He did what he did every Friday, got drunk and ignored Jackie.

Continue reading "The tale of Jackie & James – the price of ignorance is high" »

Women march against homebrew: we will not suffer silently

Agnes Rita Maineke celebrating her birthday with a meal of chicken & chipsAGNES RITA MAINEKE

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

AFTER a Sunday service in October, the board of management of the local Haisi school in south Bougainville called for a public forum.

To the surprise and dismay of parents, the head teacher announced that classes at the mission school were to be suspended.

There was uproar and people demanded an explanation, especially since Grade 8 examinations were imminent.

The head teacher said the previous night, while the Grade 8 students were at study, a group of drunken men from nearby villages entered school premises.

Continue reading "Women march against homebrew: we will not suffer silently" »

Funding cuts to Bougainville stir secession fears


BOUGAINVILLE president John Momis says the Papua New Guinea government's decision to reduce funding to the autonomous region's government could compel Bougainvilleans to push for secession from PNG.

Dr Momis said the government's 2016 budget makes savage cuts to almost every aspect of funding for Bougainville.

He told the Post Courier newspaper that the autonomous government's budget has been reduced by $US10 million and several other grants for development and the Bougainville Peace Agreement have also been cut.

Bougainville is due to hold a referendum on possible independence from PNG within the next five years and Dr Momis says the cuts could push Bougainvilleans to vote for independence.


Living in peace and harmony in Papua New Guinea


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

LIVING in peace and harmony in society is life in fullness for a human because it enables individuals to achieve their full potential.

People have the basic right to live in peace. It is utterly important that every member of the community, church and government ensure that peace and harmony prevail.

The significance of this is emphasised clearly in the national goals which form the basis of the Papua New Guinea Constitution.

In the traditional era, my people had strict laws which guided them. They had the ‘hausman’ and ‘hausmeri’ system where boys and girls were drilled on how to conduct themselves as men and women because the future of society depended on them.

Continue reading "Living in peace and harmony in Papua New Guinea" »

Some reflections of an expat returned to PNG after 8 years


WELL Port Moresby has gone ahead in leaps and bounds. New motorways, settlements razed, housing estates, modern shopping malls, new buildings everywhere.

There is a ring-road highway being built from Nine Mile north beyond Morata through to Gerehu and which will extend to Hanuabada.

There's a rising middle class with money to spend. Consumerism is rife and modern appurtenances abound. I even saw a Ferrari.

Brand new hotels (with rooms for K1,000 a night), pubs and clubs, sports venues and even traffic lights which give you a countdown to when your lane will get the green. Three-two-one-floor it!

Continue reading "Some reflections of an expat returned to PNG after 8 years" »

Feel the thickness.... Good reads I have & have not known


LIKE Phil Fitzpatrick, I have quite a few of those ‘must read' books that I have never been able to finish.

They include 'War and Peace' and the Koran – both of which have sold millions but which bored me out of my mind.

Before the onset of television in Papua New Guinea, I was in Baimuru and irregularly would have a few videos chosen for me by a staffer working in Steamships Trading Company.

My predecessor at Baimuru, John Bird, had sent memo in the mid-1980s asking for “more violence and sex” and got plenty of the former.

Continue reading "Feel the thickness.... Good reads I have & have not known" »

The vexed issue of infertility – is someone really at fault?


JACKIE was employed by the Papindo Group of Companies as stock controller. She had been with the company for five years after leaving her home province to seek better job opportunities.

Jackie married a policeman, James, and they had no children. She admired her colleagues’ children and wished she could have her own. She didn’t know what the problem might be but remained patient.

James wasn’t so easy-going and started blaming Jackie for not conceiving a child. Jackie admitted that she didn’t know what was wrong and eventually suggested they seek medical advice at the family planning clinic.

Continue reading "The vexed issue of infertility – is someone really at fault?" »

‘Lunch money’, gambling & drink tabs subvert PNG journalists


Michael Passingan says he has used personal sources as well as information from the public domain to compile a dossier on Papua New Guinea’s prime minister, ‘A comprehensive analysis of Peter Paire O’Neill - fraudster or leader’. Much of the document is potentially defamatory but we publish here an extract on disturbing developments in PNG’s mass media and civil society. A link to the entire document is included at the end of this extract

THE media play a very important role in shaping public opinion and the political discourse of any country. It is one of the pillars upon which the strength of democracy is measured. All democracies respect media freedom.

Peter O’Neill has considerable control over the content of the two daily papers, the Post-Courier and The National.

In television, as if owning Kundu 2 is not enough, the government, through Telikom, is organising to purchase EMTV.

All adverse news is being either watered down or blotted out before publication across the media spectrum because of pressure from the prime ministerial spin doctors, or because of the corruption of journalists.

Continue reading "‘Lunch money’, gambling & drink tabs subvert PNG journalists" »

Has PNG become the Zimbabwe of the South Pacific?


PAPUA New Guinea is an exceptionally depressing place at the moment. It seems to have become the Zimbabwe of the South Pacific.

While we in Australia who know the country have always been able to make excuses for what is happening there - incompatible cultural, social and political systems and so on – these rationalisations are starting to wear a bit thin.

We've even been happy with the old anti-colonial rhetoric and taken the blame for not setting up adequate foundations for growth and development.

Even if that were true, which it isn't, it's now 40-odd years since independence. Even if we had left the place in a shambles, Papua New Guinean leaders, given the country's bountiful resources, have had ample time to fix it and turn it around.

Continue reading "Has PNG become the Zimbabwe of the South Pacific?" »

A child can soften a hardened heart

Raymond Sigimet’s daughter in  2012RAYMOND SIGIMET

I had once read of a tale
In a crowded saloon of burly males
Who tough it out every day in a mine
Who know not women nor child, but grime

The saloon was full to the brim
Most of them could do with a trim
And against the din for the night was wild
A baby’s cry penetrated the hall

The coarse laughter and cursing evaporated
All heads turned to this novel racket
A sound forlorn and alien to these beasts
A baby crying on her mother’s breast

Continue reading "A child can soften a hardened heart" »

How I benefited from the wisdom of my mother


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

MY mother said to me, and I’m not sure I was ready to listen.

“My son, you must work. Let your back bend. Hold a spade in your hand, till the soil, make a garden and plant seeds.

“You must learn to sweat and earn the bread you eat. You must not be lazy. You must not live and eat on the sweat of others.

“You must work and play. You must work and eat. You must work and sleep. You must work and marry. If you don’t work, don’t play. If you don’t work, don’t eat. If you don’t work, don’t sleep. If you don’t work, don’t marry. How will you feed your wife? How will you care for your family?

Continue reading "How I benefited from the wisdom of my mother" »

Riot shows gaps in PNG’s informal economy law & policy


LAST week Lae, Papua New Guinea’s second biggest city and the country’s industrial hub, came to a standstill as indigenous youths went on a rampage to rid the city of its street vendors.

The exact cause of the riot is still unclear was but media reports suggest the vendors’ aggressive behaviour may have led to a confrontation which snowballed into the citywide riot.

Some six vendors were critically injured while stones hurled by rioters damaged shops. At the end of the tumult, aggrieved youths presented a petition to Hon Kelly Naru, Governor of Morobe Province, in which they demanded the removal of illegal squatter settlements and a fair business environment for native Morobeans.

Continue reading "Riot shows gaps in PNG’s informal economy law & policy" »

Paris, West Papua: Trying to right every wrong is a task beyond


THE awful events in Paris have underlined the cruelty and irrationality of the criminals who the Arab world call Daesh.

Dreadful as this outrage was, I agree with Gary Juffa that other criminals, freed from both official restraint and media scrutiny, continue their evil work in West Papua.

It says a lot about human nature that our responses to similar events in different places can be so different.

We see those harmed in Paris as being like "us" and so their suffering and death resonates powerfully.

Continue reading "Paris, West Papua: Trying to right every wrong is a task beyond" »

PNG forest minister puts foreign logging companies above the law


PAPUA New Guinean laws do not apply to foreign owned logging companies according to the country’s Forest Minister Douglas Tomuriesa

Mr Tomuriesa says that, although logging companies may have illegally acquired logging rights through unlawfully issued leases and fraudulent forest clearance authorities, the government is not going to take action against them.

According to the minister, the logging companies can continue to operate illegally without fear of sanction.

Speaking on ABC news earlier this month, Mr Tomuriesa said that, as the logging companies have invested in their operations, the government won’t take action against them as that would mean the money had been wasted.

Continue reading "PNG forest minister puts foreign logging companies above the law" »

We all matter - A remarkable response to some forthright words


GOVERNOR Gary Juffa, an eminent Papua New Guinean provincial and national politician, is well-known to regular readers of PNG Attitude for his occasional essays on integrity in public life, his compassion and his sensitivity to humanity.

Gary Juffa is not a reserved man gently tending the garden of civilisation. He is bold, often uncompromising and he always tells things as they are.

Now he has had a remarkable response to a short, angry Facebook message about the situation in West Papua.

His post followed the Paris massacres and was shared by more than 7,500 people and received more than 4,000 likes.

Continue reading "We all matter - A remarkable response to some forthright words" »

To Hell-Ville and back - rhum, revolution & launderettes

Arman_Manookian_-_'Men_in_an_Outrigger_Canoe_Headed_for_Shore',_oil_on_canvas,_c._1929KEITH JACKSON

JUST as well they don’t allow guns on this ship otherwise the launderette on Deck 7 would be a war zone.

There are two critical governors that human society (that is you and me and any number which is more than us) finds particularly beneficial even when we bridle against them.

At the top is authority. And, in support, providing authority with some structure, there are rules.

There are some places on earth where these totems of civilisation are not present. And one is is the Nautica launderette where there is no authority and no rules.

Continue reading "To Hell-Ville and back - rhum, revolution & launderettes" »

Jimmy Awagl keeps up the pressure & knocks out another book


My Journey by Jimmy Awagl, Simbu Writer’s Association, 2015, 168 pages, ISBN: 978-1519119070. Paperback US$4.77 plus postage, Kindle edition US$1.00 from Amazon Books

THOSE fans of Jimmy Awagl’s quixotic writing will be pleased to know he has just published a second volume of collected short stories, poems and essays.

The first volume was called My Struggle and this new one is My Journey.

It includes, among other stories, the trials and tribulations of the famed Sepik Crocodile.

The book is also another product of Kundiawa-based editor Francis Nii and is published under the imprint of the Simbu Writer’s Association, which is fast developing into a small powerhouse of Papua New Guinean literature.

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Australia’s evil black economy catches PNGns in its web


THE discredited sub-contractor labour scam is still rife in Australia and, despite numerous whistleblowers, little to correct its excesses seems to have been done.

My wife Rose was subject to its predations when working as a contractor picking grapes in Mildura, Victoria, and afterwards when employed as a cleaner at our local RSL club on the NSW central coast. (See PNG Attitude passim here and here)

It seems black people, students and overseas workers on temporary visas – in other words, those who are vulnerable - are easy pickings for the scammers and conmen.

While it is reassuring that television current affairs programs are to some extent covering this issue, the true nature of the enormity of the scams has not been exposed.

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Drowning not waving: an update from PNG’s Taskforce Sweep

GRANT WALTON | Dev Policy Blog

ON Friday 13 November, Papua New Guinea’s Investigation Taskforce Sweep launched a ‘progressive update’ report which provides a summary of the anti-corruption agency’s achievements since its formation in August 2011.

The report states that Taskforce Sweep has registered more than 350 cases of corruption over the past four years. It notes that, thanks to its investigations, K25 million of missing funds have been paid back to the Internal Revenue Commission.

The report claims Taskforce Sweep has identified a further K200 million for recovery. Having initiated 93 criminal cases, the report lists Taskforce Sweep’s 12 successful prosecutions, which include MPs, businessmen and public servants.

It’s heartening to see the report noting that Australian authorities have been freezing bank accounts on the back of Taskforce Sweep investigations. Australia may yet lose its title as the ‘Cayman Islands of the Pacific’.

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