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92 posts from December 2015

The socio-political status of PNG: no painless pathway ahead


PHIL Fitzpatrick's recent article, The apathy and ennui of the Papua New Guinean people, resonated very strongly with me for a number of reasons.

I have come to believe that liberal democracy as we know it is not an end point in the development of human societies. Its recent triumphs over fascism and communism are not evidence of the end of history.

Rather, liberal democracy is yet another stage in a range of complex social, political and economic processes that have been happening for several millennia.

These have been characterised by the ebb and flow of "civilisation" (being the urge to establish an orderly, highly structured society governed by known laws) and "barbarism" (being the explicit rejection of such a society in preference for an essentially anarchical and highly fragmented collection of loosely affiliated communities of interest).

Continue reading "The socio-political status of PNG: no painless pathway ahead" »

Minister Tomscoll accused of ignoring corruption allegations

Tommy Tomscoll (PNG Loop)PNG TODAY

PAPUA New Guinea’s opposition leader Don Polye has accused Agriculture and Livestock Minister Tommy Tomscoll of turning ‘deaf ears’ into allegations of corrupt practice within an agency which reports directly to him.

Mr Polye said allegations against the National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority’s managing director Joel Alu had thrown the agency into disarray.

He said Mr Alu had cast fear into several employees within the agency with his crusade on sacking those who have reported his alleged corruption to police and the Ombudsman Commission.

He urged the Mr Alu to clear his name in the courts and refrain from intimidating his employees.

Continue reading "Minister Tomscoll accused of ignoring corruption allegations" »

Bougainville threatens PNG with legal action over $240m debt


BOUGAINVILLE president Dr John Momis has told the autonomous region's parliament that his government will take the Papua New Guinea government to court if it continues to fail to meet its financial obligations.

Dr Momis said many millions of dollars is due to Bougainville according to the terms of the peace agreement that formally ended the civil war and which was concluded with PNG in 2001.

In a lengthy statement, Dr Momis said his government estimate that PNG had underpaid Bougainville for the recurrent unconditional grant and owes at least US$33 million dollars, which must be paid immediately.

Continue reading "Bougainville threatens PNG with legal action over $240m debt" »

Is Panguna in play? PNG officials’ secret mission to Bougainville

Kumul at Aropa airstripKEITH JACKSON

BOUGAINVILLE police are reported to be baffled by the unannounced visit to central Bougainville of the Papua New Guinea government jet, Kumul (still not sold despite a four-year old election promise).

The small passenger aircraft was seen at Aropa airport on Christmas Day soon after Bougainville president John Momis expressed fears the PNG government might be seeking to initiate backdoor talks with Panguna landowners as part of its plan to try to take over the gold and copper mine.

Aropa is the closest airport to the mine.

Continue reading "Is Panguna in play? PNG officials’ secret mission to Bougainville" »

Solved: The long-standing puzzle of Dal Chambers & Paul Pora


THE late Paul Pora, three times Member of Parliament and founding chairman of Air Niugini, was the son of Australian patrol officer Dal (Dalkeith) Chambers.

Dal Chambers, who was officer-in-charge in Mt Hagen in the Western Highlands, had befriended a local Yamka (Yamuga) woman, Rok, a daughter of a Yamka Pepka man, Marai. Rok became pregnant.

In 1942, because of World War II, the Australian patrol officers including Dal Chambers (and his wife Joan) were ordered to leave Hagen.

According to accounts, the young pregnant Rok and three of her male cousins accompanied Paul Pora’s father on the journey to Goroka, but later turned back. Sometime later, Rok gave birth to a male child.

Continue reading "Solved: The long-standing puzzle of Dal Chambers & Paul Pora" »

On basketball, classic guitar & the Public Service Commission


PLAYING basketball had been the central feature of my high school days.

While neither tall nor particularly fleet of foot, I possessed good hand-eye coordination and peripheral vision.

Countless hours of practice gave me half-decent jump and long shots and constant membership of high school, city and regional representative teams as a playmaker-guard.

By 1966 I was in Papua New Guinea and, with the aid of some cases of SP as gris, a few fellow basketball enthusiasts and I persuaded the Public Works Department to lay some tarmac.

Then Elcom, through their largely Manus Island apprentices, installed the hoops on their pylons and provided suitable lighting in the Wewak local officer compound.

Continue reading "On basketball, classic guitar & the Public Service Commission" »

This ‘pasim maus na harim’ parliament is letting down PNG

Gov Gary JuffaGARY JUFFA

RAYMOND Sigimet writes a great article for PNG Attitude (‘I want to know what happened to all the firebrands’).

I sit in parliament during sessions and wonder the same thing myself. What has happened to my colleagues?

I have concluded the same as Raymond: that they are now part of the pasim maus na harim [close your mouth & listen] brigade.

Most of them entered parliament on a claim of being leaders but have since found themselves to be followers.

Fear not though, some of us still speak as we should on issues affecting our nation.

Continue reading "This ‘pasim maus na harim’ parliament is letting down PNG" »

The realities of voting in PNG: it’s lamb flap and beer time

Women-voting-PNG-Tarami-LegeiGRACE WAIDE

WE continue to ask whether a people educated in elections and voting rights is the way to go to change the tide come 2017?

And what exactly does educating the masses to be responsible voters entail?

All that most people in Papua New Guinea see in their lives in terms of services is on the eve of elections when the cargo comes to the village to supplement the kaukau.

Cartons of lamb flaps and beer arrive and, like starved vultures, we swoop down and tear as much off the carcass as we can get our hands on.

Continue reading "The realities of voting in PNG: it’s lamb flap and beer time" »

PNG government found wanting in response to El Nino drought

No funds for drought affected SimbuMATHIAS KIN

OVER the last month there has been some rain in Simbu, one of the worst affected provinces by the El Nino driven drought in Papua New Guinea.

In the high altitude Simbu (1,500 to 2,500 metres above sea level), kaukau tubers take six to nine months to form.

While some newer varieties now can yield in three to four months, as was seen in the 1997 drought, tubers don't usually form early. So the shortage in food in Simbu will continue for a long while yet.

To make matters worse, the government has not carried out reliable assessments of the extent of the drought in the provinces, especially here in the central highlands.

The responsiveness, coordination and management by authorities in terms of provision of relief food to affected communities have been very disappointing. This has been evidenced time and again in Simbu.

Continue reading "PNG government found wanting in response to El Nino drought" »

PNG politics: Parsing Peter O'Neill’s Christmas attack on Don Polye

Oneill & PolyeKEITH JACKSON explains and annotates Peter O’Neill (quotes from PNG Today)

THE Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, has expressed disgust and disappointment at the way in which the Opposition has sought to drag politics to a new low over Christmas.

I have a desperate need to project perceptions of my own flaws on to others.

“I had hoped that in 2016 the nation would have a mature and responsible Opposition, but with the way Mr Polye has sought to manage his affairs in this last week of the year I expect we will be disappointed.”

Polye's landing some body blows on me which I hope you don't notice.

Continue reading "PNG politics: Parsing Peter O'Neill’s Christmas attack on Don Polye" »

The apathy and ennui of the Papua New Guinean people


PAPUA New Guineans are an elemental people.

As a largely agrarian society they have long recognised their helplessness in the face of the overwhelming natural and spiritual forces of the world.

This acceptance of their lack of power against forces beyond their control has rendered them stoic, apathetic and ripe for exploitation.

We in the west, on the other hand, have weathered almost two hundred years of industrialisation and rampant capitalism and all the inequities that entails.

Prior to that we bore the brunt of rabid monarchists and theocrats.

Continue reading "The apathy and ennui of the Papua New Guinean people" »

An old dog not ready for his pit: With gratitude, more Attitude


MY early December statement, PNG Attitude – A long journey & a short goodbye, had proven painful to write.

But your consequent comments were even more painful to read. To paraphrase the Song of Solomon, “They captured my heart / They held it hostage.”

I was moved by the kind and generous words. There were many of them; some written with an anguish that greatly discomfited me.

Raymond Sigimet - Thank you Keith, with your family, for selflessly giving and sharing 10 years of your life in fostering people to people dialogue through the PNG Attitude. Your blog inspired me to put pen to paper and I believe many others as well. Yu stap long longpela resis na yu win tru / na nau yu kamap long mak bilong yu / yu strongpela man stret / stori bilong yu bai stap longpela taim yet. 

Continue reading "An old dog not ready for his pit: With gratitude, more Attitude" »

I will not go down like a coward, and I hope you won’t either

Gary JuffaGARY JUFFA | PNG Exposed

TODAY we are besieged. The so called elites in power who do the bidding of the pirates who control our resources are fast selling off Papua New Guinea, neither protecting nor promoting our interests.

Just walk into any business and ask yourself how is PNG protected here? A few genuine businesses and investors struggle while many are here as vultures to take what they can while they can.

Just reflect on decisions made regarding resource development and ask yourself, how has PNG been protected or promoted here?

Not a single decision has been made with the people of PNG’s interests at heart. Zero, zilch, none.

Continue reading "I will not go down like a coward, and I hope you won’t either" »

Immoral deterrence & my Manus Island nightmare

Michael GordonMICHAEL GORDON | The Age

TWO images, a few days apart, are proving hard for me to shake. The first came the day I flew to Port Moresby in September to cover what turned out to be Tony Abbott's last international engagement as prime minister, the South Pacific Forum.

After catching a taxi from our heavily fortified hotel to the opening ceremony that evening, I shared a lift back with colleagues who made a wrong turn and stumbled into an ambush.

There is a view that the situation on Manus, like that on Nauru, is unsustainable, and that eventually the penny will drop that the end does not justify the means.

The image is the moment we realise 44-gallon drums are blocking the road in front of us and an armed mob is running towards us and pelting us with rocks, prompting Mick, photographer and driver, to reverse at high speed.

Continue reading "Immoral deterrence & my Manus Island nightmare" »

Why don't we all roll over and go back to sleep


I’VE been thinking about the future of literature in Papua New Guinea for a while now.

It’s a frustrating thing to contemplate. As Ed Brumby has pointed out, there is a lack of inertia and an all-pervading ennui in Papua New Guinea that seems to permeate and frustrate not just literature but most worthwhile endeavours.

Continue reading "Why don't we all roll over and go back to sleep" »

PNG Attitude & the Croc Prize: An opportunity and an obligation


I’VE refrained from commenting on the demise of PNG Attitude and Pukpuk Publishing until now for two reasons: to come to terms with how my daily routine will change and to observe the responses from PNG Attitude readers, Papua New Guinean readers especially.

I’ve been getting my PNG Attitude fix straight after breakfast for so long now it has become embedded in my early morning routine.

It was nostalgia that drove my early engagement with Attitude (and I suspect was a key factor in Keith’s decision to establish it in the first place).

In its infancy, Attitude provided me and other expats who served in PNG with a vicarious reconnection with friends and former colleagues. It was a forum for shared experiences and reflections on what happened back then and what might have been.

Continue reading "PNG Attitude & the Croc Prize: An opportunity and an obligation" »

European Union doubles aid to drought-hit PNG

PNG droughtAAP

THE El Nino-related drought and frost that has triggered severe food and water shortages in Papua New Guinea's highlands has prompted the European Commission to more than double its aid there.

The warming of the Pacific Ocean due to the El Nino weather system is causing drought and other extreme weather, affecting millions of people across parts of the world.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill in August said El Nino may bring on the worst drought in 20 years in Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "European Union doubles aid to drought-hit PNG" »

Lagging PNG tourism looks at changing international perceptions

American tourist videos a singsingRADIO NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL

THE head of Papua New Guinea Tourism, Peter Vincent, says the country can do a lot more to realise the potential of its tourism industry.

Figures released this month by the World Travel and Tourism Council show PNG is ranked last of 184 countries surveyed in terms of the economic benefits from tourism.

PNG holds only 10% of the Pacific regional tourism market share by contrast to Fiji which holds an impressive 41%.

Continue reading "Lagging PNG tourism looks at changing international perceptions" »

Christmas at Olsobip

OlsobipGARRY LUHRS | Ex Kiap Website

CHRISTMAS, and the entire festive season, is always a contentious time at the Gentlemen’s Club.

It is the cause of more disharmony than a federal election or a debate on the return of conscription and compulsory national service, or climate change. Goodwill and fellowship towards our fellow man, I don’t think so! What a load of humbug!

All of these problems started some years ago when the club’s committee, in its infinite wisdom, decided to invite member’s submissions for the club’s Christmas celebrations to cover such items as suitable dress codes for the festive season, Christmas luncheon menus, after luncheon entertainment and the like.

Continue reading "Christmas at Olsobip" »

The true meaning of Christmas


AS I lay in bed in the early hours of the morning, my mind drifted off to the pictures I took of the Christmas tree in the office and the theme from the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie played over and over in my head, “Christmas Christmas time is near, time for joy and time for cheer”.

I thought of what I should do for my children and their father this Christmas and was taken back to my own childhood years, where there were presents under the tree every Christmas and where we were made to believe Santa Claus truly existed.

We would leave cakes or biscuits and milk for Santa. Someone, probably dad, would eat them but we were convinced it was Santa who, with his helpers, had left the presents.

Sometimes dad would wake us in the middle of the night and tell us to come quickly or we’d miss seeing Santa. We would rush outside and see footprints and be told we’d missed the sleigh just by seconds.

Continue reading "The true meaning of Christmas" »

At Holmes for the last Christmas

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas GoosePETER KRANZ

"MISTER 'olmes, I'm all tits over arse with this Christmas dinner!"

"Missus Okuk, please modify your depraved tok ples. Now what is the problem?"

"Well, I got me chestnuts, garlic and parsley for the stuffing, and the vegies with sago and taro liked you arsed for the accomplishments.

“And a great Christmas pud from Missus Beeton, but for the life o’ mi, I can’t find a suitable goose! I've tried everywhere!"

Continue reading "At Holmes for the last Christmas" »

Jubilee Australia, Dr Lasslett & questions of good faith

Hon Dr Chief John MomisJOHN MOMIS

THE Bougainville Mining Act was enacted by the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) in March 2015.

It was the subject of a report launched in Australia in November by NGO, Jubilee Australia.

I question the good faith of Jubilee Australia and its CEO, Ms Brynnie Goodwill.

In 2014 the ABG criticised an earlier Jubilee report about landowner views on mining in Bougainville as biased, misleading, ill-informed and based on deeply flawed research.

Continue reading "Jubilee Australia, Dr Lasslett & questions of good faith" »

Marching to a different drummer is not a good career move


I HAVE frequently written about the innate conservatism of the kiaps, both when they were serving in Papua New Guinea and later when they were back in Australia.

This predilection was brought home to me by their bid to secure a medal for their service and the way in which their argument was couched. They were, after all, public servants, not soldiers.

I’ve got nothing against conservatism; it is something that adds colour to everyday life and can often be highly entertaining; watching clowns like Tony Abbott was most enjoyable and terrifying at the same time.

And the truth be known we’ve all got bits of conservatism and liberalism and something in between in us anyway.

So when the kiaps got their medal I wished them well and applauded the tireless efforts that went into it. I just couldn’t see my short time as a kiap as deserving of a medal and didn’t apply for one.

Continue reading "Marching to a different drummer is not a good career move" »

Christmas cigarettes on Shaggy Ridge, December 1943

Troops bring ammunition to Shaggy Ridge, 22 January 1944. Ramu Valley is in the background [AWM]HAL HOLMAN

Shaggy Ridge was named for Australian soldier Captain Robert (Shaggy Bob) Clampett, whose company first reconnoitred the area. It was the site of several battles during the Finisterre Range campaign of 1943–44 as Allied forces attacked Japanese defensive positions blocking access to the north coast of New Guinea. In December 1943, the Australian 7th Division attacked….

WITHIN minutes shells began lobbing much closer to us, until we suspected that we had been mistaken for the enemy—or was it because the Japs were that close?

Now that we were fully provisioned, our burden weighed us down and slowed progress.  We managed to reach the river unscathed and crossed without drowning; the rest was smooth sailing but it took us two days to rejoin our forces.

We were there during the Shaggy Ridge battle; in fact we enjoyed Christmas Day on the slopes of Shaggy Ridge with traditional Christmas fare as supplied by the Army and Air Force, and generous contributions from the Americans.

The Yanks donated tobacco as a special request from us.  The average Australian, especially in wartime, preferred to roll his own cigarettes from fine-cut tobacco which he placed in the palm of his hand and rubbed to the right consistency.

Continue reading "Christmas cigarettes on Shaggy Ridge, December 1943" »

PNG Hunters establish relationship with Brisbane Broncos

Timothy Lomai - QRL Intrust Super Cup -  Norths Devils V PNG Hunters at Bishop Park, NundahPACIFIC BEAT | Radio Australia

PAPUA New Guinea rugby league team, the Hunters, has forged a partnership with leading NRL team, the Brisbane Broncos, as they continue their build-up to the 2016 season.

As part of the deal, Hunters' coach Michael Marum will spend a week in January being mentored by NRL premiership coach Wayne Bennett.

Former PNG Kumuls coach, Bob Bennett, told Radio Australia that his brother was happy to host the PNG Hunters coach.

"It will just be Wayne's normal training week and Michael will hang around with him and see how it's done and the professionalism that Michael's got in place [in PNG]," Bennett said.

"He's going to come down to the Broncos and see what they do, the facilities, giving him some ideas, and just see where they go from there.

Continue reading "PNG Hunters establish relationship with Brisbane Broncos" »

O'Neill puts squeeze on B'ville as he seeks to buy Panguna mine


IN a letter seen by PNG Attitude, Bougainville president John Momis has told the managing director of Rio Tinto he is concerned the Papua New Guinea government is positioning to buy Rio's 53.83% equity in Bougainville Copper (BCL).

Dr Momis advised Sam Walsh this information was conveyed to him early in December by two PNG government ministers.

One of them, Ben Micah, let Dr Momis know that, following a series of meetings with Rio Tinto, PNG wished to purchase Rio’s equity and is seeking the agreement of the Autonomous Bougainville Government for the deal.

Dr Momis wrote to Mr Walsh that, in earlier meetings with Rio Tinto in July, he had been assured “in the clearest terms” that the company had not yet finalised a review of its stake in BCL and that there was no agreement between Rio Tinto and the PNG government about a sale of equity.

Continue reading "O'Neill puts squeeze on B'ville as he seeks to buy Panguna mine" »

The spying game: My short & undistinguished career as a spook

Kiap Phil on the trusty HondaPHIL FITZPATRICK

IN 1970 I was seconded to the Security and Intelligence Branch of the Papua New Guinea Administration.

Kiaps [patrol officers] in the border districts of Western District and West Sepik District were rotated as cypher clerks through the branch in three month cycles.

It was also an attempt, I think, to make us aware of how the spooks worked so we could apply the learned principles to our dealings with West Papuan refugees and Indonesians.

Most of us saw it as an opportunity to play up bigtaim in the big smoke of Port Moresby.

The head of the Security and Intelligence Branch was an aloof, upper-class type, who had difficulty concealing his racism.

He seemed to be suppressing other things too but I could only wonder at these because he deigned only to speak to his second-in-command.

Any communications to the likes of me came down the line.

The second-in-command seemed to have stepped straight out of the pages of a Biggles novel and was very smart in an obscure sort of way.

Continue reading "The spying game: My short & undistinguished career as a spook" »

Preferences out: PNG reverts to first-past-the-post voting

Election-postersJACK PALME JOHNSON | PNG Blogs | Edited extracts

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill and has abolished limited preferential voting and revert to the ‘first past the post’ system.

We do not know the reasoning behind this regressive Christmas gift to PNG by the O’Neill government but well-placed sources confirm the Cabinet decision.

This decision does not come as a surprise to PNG, the land of bountiful tolerance and willful ignorance because the O’Neill government has lost its popularity on all fronts: economic mismanagement, grand scale corruption, evasion, deception, lies, and manipulation are among its hallmarks.

O’Neill himself has the National provident Fund case, the Paraka affair, the UBS leadership tribunal and the PNG Power Generators case still hanging over him and yet continues to run down this country with the assistance of conniving MPs.

Continue reading "Preferences out: PNG reverts to first-past-the-post voting" »

Concern as illegal booze in Bougainville triggers violence


A BOUGAINVILLE women's agency says there has been a surge in illicit alcohol use as Christmas approaches and more gender violence as a result.

Helen Hakena, who runs the Leitana Nehan Women's group in the autonomous province, says the illegal manufacture of homebrew seems worse than in previous years.

She says she is particularly worried by the numbers of young people consuming the drink and the threat it poses to the peace process.

"Living in the village and I see so many women, families are brewing homebrew alcohol and that is easily accessible by young people,” Ms Hakena said.

Continue reading "Concern as illegal booze in Bougainville triggers violence" »

PNG women can (and should) do anything. Let us be loud and bold

Bell_Rashmii AmoahRASHMII BELL

THROUGHOUT the past nine months, PNG Attitude has been both a sanctuary and platform where I’ve sloughed away at topics about which I’ve felt, in equal measure, opinion and passion.

Given Keith Jackson’s recent announcement that his blog site is to come to an end in February, I am somewhat inconsolable.

There goes the history lessons, the poetry, the debates, the giggle. But above all, I hate goodbyes.

That aside, I’ve been the beneficiary, in response to my writing, of often insightful commentary. On this I have two observations.

One: it’s been predominantly males who’ve engaged in discussion to agree, object, educate or muse. With many thanks to Phil Fitzpatrick whose responses have often had me immersed in critical thinking.

Continue reading "PNG women can (and should) do anything. Let us be loud and bold" »

The house is divided in half

Settlement house in HoholaRAYMOND SIGIMET

THE muffled laughter and voices from mother Gertrude’s end streamed effortlessly into the living room.

She was on the chair beside the table while he on the floor, cross legged, probing the food on his plate while putting little pieces into his mouth.

Steamed kaukau with aibika cooked in coconut milk and Besta tinned fish.

“The little one?” he asked to get the conversation started.

“She’s asleep,” she replied.

Haus luk kiln, yu klinim haus ah?” he made a gesture to the part of the small living room where they keep household stuff and other keepsakes.

Continue reading "The house is divided in half" »

When we met!

Pregnant-womanVAGI SAMUEL

An evening appeal wove us together
Business as usual about you, me and them
Hours varnish before our arms held each other
As tears from the dimmed sky crashed our plan

For nights, we didn’t harass the mango tree abide the dark
Subdued light from our phones’ attended to our communion
Each meeting had the company of mosquito tone in union
Once more eves-dropping teens would sigh at the dog’s bark

Eight months emerged from the encoring
The shape of a basketball redefined your waist
Everyone pointed fingers at me for point scoring
That got me engaged in traditional bling at least

Continue reading "When we met!" »

Pukpuk Publications to join PNG Attitude in a last farewell

Inspector Hari Metau 2PHIL FITZPATRICK

Includes the complete list of all 33 Pukpuk titles

PUKPUK Publications was one of the unforeseen spin-offs of the Crocodile Prize.

In 2011 and 2012, in line with our desire to make the competition a Papua New Guinean affair, we organised a local publisher in Port Moresby to print the Crocodile Prize Anthology.

This turned out to be extremely expensive and the end product, especially the 2011 anthology, turned out to be below par. On top of that, and on both occasions, the publisher only just managed to get copies delivered in time for the awards night.

Clearly, the expense, uncertainty of delivery and lack of control over the quality of the end product was not sustainable, especially given that we had limited funds and absolutely no help from the Papua New Guinean government.

Around that time I had begun experimenting with Amazon’s relatively new self-publishing program called Createspace. I used it to publish the first Inspector Metau book.

Continue reading "Pukpuk Publications to join PNG Attitude in a last farewell" »

‘Pacific Eden’ will open up PNG cruising grounds from Cairns

Pacific Eden at dawn in Sydney NarbourNICK DALTON | The Cairns Post

CAIRNS’ proximity to untouched beaches and pristine areas of Papua New Guinea has been a deciding factor in P&O Cruises basing their Pacific Eden in the port next year.

The 1,300-passenger ship makes its maiden voyage under P&O’s flag on Tuesday at 7am and will be based in Cairns from September to November next year and 2017, bringing a $16 million economic boost.

Six of Eden’s nine itineraries from Cairns next year feature Papua New Guinea while, in 2017, nine out of 10 visit PNG ports including the first international short break, a four-night cruise from Cairns to Alotau.

Continue reading "‘Pacific Eden’ will open up PNG cruising grounds from Cairns" »

Violets are blue

E Sigimet I Teacher unfriendly policies - led into slaveryWARDLEY BARRY

From zeal to zest to zephyr,
Defeat seizing dreams and desire;
Our stories are fuel to the fire.

Dreams decaying into dust,
Flames devouring fortunes fast;
The echoes of our songs don't last.

Wealth weathers into want and woe,
Affectionate friends today, avowed foes tomorrow;
Serenity is a byword for sorrow.

E Sigimet I Malabags dilemma - free health careFriends fighting and foes fondling,
Flowers flourish only to be fading;
Sweet talks are theatrics for the dying.

Violets are blue and roses are red,
But we're all colourless instead;
Soon every soul will be dead.

Illustrations: Raymond Sigimet

A great idea is born


I CAN’T remember when I first started reading PNG Attitude.

I recall dipping into its predecessor, the ASOPA Files, occasionally but not too often because it seemed to be mainly run by old chalkies who were drinking mates and was of limited interest.

How it transmogrified into PNG Attitude I’m not quite sure.

Much of what has happened with PNG Attitude seems to have been serendipitous; that is unplanned, although upon reflection some it it has been anticipated and guided. Most good things develop that way for some reason.

From my own perspective there have been some significant events along the way.

Continue reading "A great idea is born" »

I am my father’s child

Daniel WASWAS, Multi culturalismJANICE ISU

Dear matrilineal society, Please excuse my bold claim, But I am my father’s child!
You say I am an outsider, That I belong to my mother, Coz she is not a local girl, But I have this to say:
My mother is her father’s daughter, His blood runs in her veins,
His DNA is her makeup, She carry’s his name.
She is her father’s child!

How can I be my mother’s? And carry her father’s name! If I belong to my mother?
Who then belongs to my father?

Even Jacob belonged to his father Isaac, Who belonged to his father Abraham.
God himself established this bloodline, He cut covenant with this lineage,
And honoured His covenant.

Continue reading "I am my father’s child" »

The cancer diaries: Preparing for Christmas

Peter Kranz & Rose BemuPETER KRANZ

WELL it's an onerous task; joyful though. The boxes and bags of decorations past make a magical appearance from where Rose has hidden them all year. They are dusted off and the ritual begins.

"Does this garland go here on the front door?"

"How about these bells?"

"Can we put the tree in the window?"

"Let's put tinsel around these PNG carvings."

"We need more lights - look at the neighbours!"

At least this year we have Ellis - an enthusiastic helper who is thoroughly into the spirit of Christmas decorating - to help arrange things.

I become a supernumerary; the women have taken over.

So I become the disc jockey and start with tradition - Handel, Bach, Berlioz, Russian blockbusters, the Nine Lessons.  But I meet with some push-back. 

Continue reading "The cancer diaries: Preparing for Christmas" »

Kanu Oredae

Tuata canoe races on TakuuVAGI SAMUEL

A poem in Tok Pisin and English

Solwara I karim nek bilong kanu oredae
Tok bokis bihainim singaut bilong bubu
Ol man I kandis lo em sing-sing na danis
Olsem olgeta kanu ron long baksait kilia tru

Win ino bin giving sans long ol arapela lain
Em I maretim sel bilong oredae na pilai
Tupela krew I skelim pikinini kanu long sait
Na man I lukautim pull I banisim ron nogat skindai

Continue reading "Kanu Oredae" »

PNG forests made him a millionaire; now tax man wants his cut

The Brisbane home owned by Sir Yii Ann HiiVANDA CARSON | The Courier-Mail

A MILLIONAIRE businessman faces bankruptcy after losing a $60 million battle with the Australian Taxation Office.

Sir Yii Ann Hii, 55, from Hamilton in Brisbane’s inner east, lost his bid in the Supreme Court yesterday to “stay” enforcement of a court order that he pay the massive tax bill.

Sir Yii Ann, who was knighted by the Queen in 2007 for his services to the timber industry in Papua New Guinea, could now lose “everything that (he has) worked for over the past 30 or so years”. He had asked Justice John Bond to force the ATO to wait until he tries to overturn a ruling that he “evaded” tax.

The case is set down for hearing in April in the Federal Court in Brisbane. Justice Bond on Thursday ruled that Sir Yii Ann had failed to provide solid evidence that the ATO should wait to make a claim for his assets.

“Before we were ten men, now we are one hundred!”

The white man accused us of stealing.... (First Contact)GARRY ROCHE

“BEFORE we were ten men, now we are one hundred!” Thus spoke Titip the son of Kanapi in 1973.

Forty years before 1973, Titip was a young married man when the Taylor and Leahy expedition entered Western Highlands in 1933.

Titip, from the Mokei  Nampakaetribe, later featured in the documentary First Contact in which he relates how, back in 1933, he got shot in the elbow by the newcomers.

Titip spoke: “The whiteman accused us of stealing a laplap, so they came to fight us. Our people said ‘the spirits are coming’ but we men stood our ground. The rifle fired I saw nothing, - then the blood spurted out and I was really amazed. Two other men were shot dead” - First Contact

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Mal Meninga caught in legal fight over PNG coaching role

'Big' Mal Meninga - PNG legendTYSON OTTO | | Extract

RUGBY league legend Mal Meninga has been swept up into a bizarre legal stoush that’s broken out between feuding officials in Papua New Guinean rugby league.

Meninga amicably parted company with the PNG Rugby League last week to take up a new role as Australian coach, and does not suggest he has acted improperly.

However, the 55-year-old looks set to be named first defendant in a legal stoush, with the CEO of a Papua New Guinea league taking issue with the PNGRL’s management of the game in that country.

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Pastor Movo, leader for peace after civil war, dies in Bougainville

Pastor Steven speaking at the funeral in KaabakuISHMAEL PALIPAL | Bougainville 24

ON the last Sunday of November, Pastor Uzzaiah Movo was laid to rest in Arawa, Central Bougainville.

Pastor Movo was an important figure in the development of Bougainville. As a church leader before and after the Bougainville civil war, he was a role model and part of the Bougainville peace building and government process.

According to Pastor Francis Munau, it was Pastor Movo who dedicated the Bougainville Constitution and affirmed Bougainville as a Christian region in God’s hands.

Pastor Movo was also a council member of the Arawa Urban Council committee. He exercised positive influence over people’s lives as a church and community leader.

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Australian man of letters & PNG soldier Peter Ryan MM dies at 92

Peter Ryan at his home in Balwyn, Melbourne (News Ltd)GINA RUSHTON & EAN HIGGINS | The Australian

MELBOURNE columnist, author and World War II veteran Peter Ryan died on Sunday aged 92 after a long battle with illness.

He was most famous for the controversy created by his scathing attack on Manning Clarke’s History of Australia, when in the September 1993 edition of conservative magazine Quadrant, for which he was a columnist, he called Clarke’s work “an imposition on Australian credulity — more plainly, a fraud”.

Subsequently, he came under relentless fire from academics.

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El Niño cuts its ugly swathe & PNG bears the brunt

Frost burnt food gardens in Tambul villageOXFAM

EARLY action must be taken to halt the widespread hunger, thirst and disease taking place in New Zealand’s neighbourhood due to a super-charged El Niño, says Oxfam.

The aid agency said that New Zealand must immediately act on promises made under the new global climate agreement, as evidence suggested climate change may increase the frequency of extreme El Niño occurring.

Around 4.7 million people face hunger, poverty and disease across the Pacific alone due to El Niño-related droughts, erratic rains and frosts. Globally, 18 million people are already in need of assistance.

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PNG Attitude - let’s celebrate a fine achievement


AS I’ve gotten older and my short-term memory weakens I find it increasingly difficult to multitask, that is, do more than one thing at a time.

To combat this inevitable development I somewhat reluctantly adopted the need for a routine to manage it.

Routine doesn’t come easily because until recently I operated on the principle of spontaneity. I do things based on my gut feeling rather than logic. When I write I don’t worry about grammar, for instance. If it looks right and sounds right I’m happy. This attitude, I think, adds spice to life.

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Gary Juffa is the real hero stopping illegal logging

Gary Juffa in parliamentPNG EXPOSED

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill may have been making a song and dance in the media about getting tough on illegal logging - but the real hero is Oro Governor Gary Juffa

Despite O'Neill's promises, he has done nothing to stop the illegal logging operations ripping through PNG forests and has done nothing to cancel the unlawful SABL leases.

That record stands in stark contrast to the proactive stance taken by Gary Juffa.

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Homegrown PNG children’s storybook launches

Sepik-spirit-emmanuel-landu1GUMMI FRIDRIKSSON

STORYTELLING is a wonderful gift for both the creator and the listener. Whether it’s telling tales passed down or conceptualising imaginative fictions, stories are to be enjoyed by young and old.

Papua New Guinea has a rich storytelling culture and The Crocodile Prize has increased the hunger for more homegrown literature.

The national writing contest encourages creative writing and also provides Papua New Guineans with an opportunity to have their stories recognised and published.

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