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99 posts from December 2016

Kicks & cuts; punch in the guts: the language of corruption


THERE are many good politicians, public servants and private citizens who want a corruption free and prosperous Papua New Guinea.

But there are many others who are rotten within the system of government and in the public service.

While last week’s news about a public servant sentenced to nine years gaol for defrauding the state of K5 million sends a signal, there is much more corruption; very much more.

What is exposed is the result of the fine work of the anti-corruption team, which works hard to expose such abuse.

Continue reading "Kicks & cuts; punch in the guts: the language of corruption" »

As 2016 ends, government seeks to hide economic shame

Leo-Dion Peter oneillPAUL FLANAGAN | Edited extracts

Read the complete article at the PNG Economics website

IN an extraordinary step, and for the first time in Papua New Guinea’s 41 years of independence, its government has refused to release the International Monetary Fund’s assessment of the economy.

An IMF mission visited PNG mid-2016 and the O'Neill-Dion government is clearly embarrassed by its economic performance over the year.

Its reticence moves PNG to the bottom two percent of world governments which are unwilling to be transparent about the state of their economy.

Continue reading "As 2016 ends, government seeks to hide economic shame" »

How the men of Baiyer went to Lae to buy a Toyota Stout

Toyota Stout 1GARRY ROCHE

IN the 1970s the coffee industry was booming in the Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea. 

Expatriates managed many plantations but the local people also cultivated relatively large coffee gardens.

The harvested coffee beans were transported by open backed jeeps or utilities; the tray on the back referred to as the ‘coffee tray’.

Toyota Stouts and LandCruisers and various Nissan and Subaru vehicles were in demand as carriers. The Stout, while not a four-wheel drive, could carry a big load along roads which, while not sealed, in those days were kept in relatively good condition.

Continue reading "How the men of Baiyer went to Lae to buy a Toyota Stout" »

Will 2017 be the year PNG subverts its social media?


ON THE eve of the new year – which is 2017 not 1984 – Papua New Guinea’s cumbersomely named ‘National Information and Communications Technology Authority’, NICTA – continued its surreptitious assault on the nation’s freedom of speech.

According to its own propaganda, NICTA is “taking steps towards addressing the gross misuse and abuse of social media in Papua New Guinea”.

While there are undoubtedly reckless cowboys using PNG’s social media, one would have thought that the existing body of law related to defamation, privacy and related issues might be sufficient to deal with the slanderers, recalcitrants and other low life that unfortunately frequent every aspect of human existence – including the internet.

But no, the social media apparently require special oppression.

Continue reading "Will 2017 be the year PNG subverts its social media?" »

16 powerful & inspirational Papua New Guinean women


DESPITE domestic violence, gender inequality and other challenging issues, Papua New Guinea has produced many powerful and inspirational women of real accomplishment.

The next International Women’s Day on 8 March will be a wonderful opportunity to honour these heroes and, with the assistance of PNG Attitude and Pukpuk Publications, the collection of women’s writing, My Walk to Equality, edited by Rashmii Amoah Bell, will do just this.

Traditionally, Papua New Guinean society views women as playing a role that is second fiddle to men. As a result, PNG women who journey along the path of equality and independence find it a road less travelled.

Continue reading "16 powerful & inspirational Papua New Guinean women" »

A Good Poem

Wardley Barry at workWARDLEY D BARRY-IGIVISA

A good poem is the one that makes you think;
When it makes you see everyday things in new light;
When it ferries your soul beyond the ink,
And moves your hand to pick up your own pen and write.

A good poem is the one that tells you
One thing but means something totally different.
The meaning hides in a picture or two.
You have to read many times to get the intent.

Continue reading "A Good Poem" »

Trump - Rolling Stone

If 2016 was just a bumpy entree, let's pull those seat belts extra tight for 2017.
Good luck & happy landings to readers for what appears to be an exciting new year.

Juffa’s plea to the people to elect ‘genuine leaders’ in 2017

Gary Juffa with tribesmenGARY JUFFA

MY fellow Papua New Guineans, leading up to the 2017 elections I urge you to take to the villages settlements and rural areas and help create awareness on the need for genuine leadership.

Our people lack vital information. They are very much unaware of the state of our nation.

They do not realise that their resources and future are being sold under their very feet without their consent by a conspiracy of evil and selfish politicians, conmen and transnational criminals posing as investors.

They must be informed and prepared to resist this evil cancer that is spreading nationwide.

But who will do it?

Continue reading "Juffa’s plea to the people to elect ‘genuine leaders’ in 2017" »

Temlett Conibeer returns to a kind of civilisation

Melancholy ChroniclePHIL FITZPATRICK

The Melancholy Chronicle of a Reluctant Librarian by ACT Marke, Frogmouth Press, 2016, ISBN: 978-0646958057, 375 pages, AU$30, including postage, from the author,

TEMLETT Conibeer is a much misunderstood character.

And, I suspect, so too is his faithful chronicler, Andrew Marke.

Andrew likes to read 19th century Victorian novels. I think he might have read them all. And, as he has observed, people in those days knew how to write.

Essentially, what he has done in the five Temlett Conibeer novels is take a 19th century character, with all his repressed and conservative views and mannerisms, and dropped him into the 20th century - in particular the liberated 1960s and 70s.

Continue reading "Temlett Conibeer returns to a kind of civilisation" »

Women can always match the stride

In memory of Justice DavaniWENDY JEROME

This poem is dedicated to the memory of late Hon Justice Davani, the first female Papua New Guinean judge and a role model to many, who died too young in 2016

On the Bench, I sat
In confidence, holding time in suspense
My head held high, shoulders square, eyes flared
Fighting back tears, laughing at my fears
Looking back, at the chapters of my lifestory
Being the first female Judge, would go down in this country’s history
An additional, exciting sequel
The struggles and sacrifices, made me soar like an eagle
I have conquered, have accomplished, and am now proud,
To be called ‘equal’.

Continue reading "Women can always match the stride" »

A modern woman in what is very much a man’s world

Exercising my freedom to be a woman and wear a bikini without harassment by men (Esteem Imagery, Cairns)GEN HOBDEN

GENDER equality has been an issue for decades.

In earlier centuries, laws were written by men and women were largely kept out of decision making, voting, and owning property.

Women were to bear children, take care of them and perform chores like cooking and cleaning leaving the important decisions to men.

Over time, women became involved – or forced their involvement - in various activities, including paid work, holding higher office, exercising the right to vote and engagement in other areas. Women began to emerge in society with equal rights and opportunities as men.

I grew up up in the 1980s, mostly in remote places of Milne Bay in Papua New Guinea. Dad was a primary school teacher and mum a housewife. We moved every year and life in these small and remote places was tough - friends were left behind, new environments had to be adjusted to, there was no electricity, few shops, sometimes no roads and mostly no resources in the schools.

Continue reading "A modern woman in what is very much a man’s world" »

In remembrance of Elly - rest easy my best friend


I THOUGHT of you in the early hours of this morning. I do not know why but I remembered when and how we first met and how we became the best of friends.

Although our friendship was short-lived due to circumstances beyond our control, I know in my heart that we are turanas, sisters and best friends still.

As my contemplation drifts to the good times we had - crazy moments of laughter, tears, arguments and pain - I smile as I picture your lopsided grin and your thoughtful face.

I remember how we sang Christmas carols whatever time of year it was because we wanted Christmas to come sooner.

Continue reading "In remembrance of Elly - rest easy my best friend" »

Are you moving to PNG from the USA?

Rabaul is one of the most compelling tourist destinations in PNG (Timothy Thurman, Pinterest)


THE prospect of moving to a new country can be exciting and daunting all at the same time. That’s why it is important to be sure that you are properly prepared.

Papua New Guinea is an excellent destination for a United States resident, but there are some things you should know before you decide to make the move.

Continue reading "Are you moving to PNG from the USA?" »

It was a challenge: First woman on the clan committee


IN MY early childhood, I lived in the village with my grandparents and often heard them discuss the common talk of villagers that sending girls to school to get an education was a waste of time.

Some people said girls sent away to be educated would bring home a husband, fall pregnant or run away with an outsider and never be seen again. 

Even though the village had a mission school for lower primary and a government school for upper primary to Grade 6, many parents stuck with that attitude that girls should be kept at home.

Beyond Grade 6, all students who qualified for secondary education would be sent to boarding school and many parents did not want to commit their daughters to that.

Continue reading "It was a challenge: First woman on the clan committee" »

Run hard - & don’t look back until you achieve your goal


DAD resigned as workshop manager with NCDC Parts & Services in 1997 to contest the national elections that year and we moved to Sakai village near Musa in Oro Province.

We vacated our nice big house and sold the car and other belongings we did not want to not take with us. I was only nine and had completed Elementary 1 the previous year.

There were limited schools in Musa. One, about 16 km away from where we lived, had Grades 1-6. To get there I would have to wake up at around two in the morning and walk. Being new to village life, I was not prepared for that.

The nearest school only had a Grade 5 class but I was supposed to be in Grade 2.  My dad was hesitant to enroll me in Grade 5 but saw the teacher and I started going to school.

Continue reading "Run hard - & don’t look back until you achieve your goal" »

How to get published in 2017


Andrew Marke is author of the Temlett Conibeer series about the adventures of a colonial PNG malaria control officer. I’ll do a review of his latest book when I’ve finished reading it. I think a lot of people don’t understand his writing and don’t realise he is taking the micky. Marke is an avid fan of 19th century Victorian literature with all its terrible repression and conservatism and he plays on that in his main characters. He worked for the Papua New Guinean malaria eradication service for around 15 years until 1975 and was a friend of our late PNG Attitude colleague, David Wall - PF

YOU HAVE written your novel and now need to get it commercially published: Why? Because it is impossible for an individual to obtain other than limited local distribution.

It also means the publisher pays for editing, proof reading, typesetting, printing and advertising, all of which are expensive.

I have written five novels and only attempted to approach publishers for the first and last.

Continue reading "How to get published in 2017" »

Through the camera lens


MY FATHER was a hobbyist photographer. When he wasn’t taking photos of the varieties of hibiscus he grew in our backyard at Waigani, he turned his lens to a somewhat reluctant subject – me.  

Sanap pastaim” he would say. “Wait…wait”, as he peered through the camera viewfinder, adjusting the focus while I decided whether to run or oblige him.

Then I would hear the familiar click of the shutter, and I would hurry off to avoid getting roped into more awkward posing.

I showed more interest in being behind the lens, but seeing as I was too young to handle a real camera, I insisted he buy me one of those wind up Kodak disposable cameras. 

Continue reading "Through the camera lens" »

Tania's vivid imagery complements 'My Walk to Equality'

Woman with bilum (Tania Basiou)RASHMII BELL

WITH submissions to the historic My Walk to Equality anthology about to close on 31 December, the project team is in the final stages of cataloguing and editing what we have received.

Phil Fitzpatrick of Pukpuk Publications has commenced the process of compiling the master copy of the first collection of Papua New Guinean women’s writing in preparation for publication in early February.

In addition to the writing, one of the important decisions that had to be made concerned the book’s design – and especially its cover.

Tania Basiou’s evocative, black-print image of a woman bearing a bilum will feature on the cover of the anthology. As a first-of-its-kind book publication for Papua New Guinea – to be launched on International Women’s Day, 8 March - we needed something special and Tania certainly provided it.

Tania, a full-time nursing student, was introduced to photography in childhood by her father. During weekend and university semester breaks, she now offers freelance photography services across the Brisbane and  Toowoomba regions of Queensland.

Continue reading "Tania's vivid imagery complements 'My Walk to Equality'" »

Is there an honest politician? The emergence of Espe Lamplap

Inspector Hari MetauPHIL FITZPATRICK

We offer a preview of Phil Fitzpatrick’s forthcoming Inspector Metau novel, ‘The Case of the Good Politician’, available soon as a free New Year’s present on PNG Attitude. “Hopefully it will be a reminder to people to consider their vote more carefully in 2017,” says Phil. Here's an extract from Chapter 8….

WHEN the Ex-Member had won his seat in the previous term of parliament he thought all his Christmases had come at once. He had mortgaged everything he owned on the outcome and had pulled in favours and clan obligations where he could and taken out a big loan from his new friend, Mr Han.

If he had lost he didn’t know what he would do. He would be penniless and the shame would be unbearable. But that was all behind him. He had paid out all of his accumulated dinau and come to an amicable agreement with Mr Han to repay him in unspecified kind rather than money.

Continue reading "Is there an honest politician? The emergence of Espe Lamplap" »

Death of Oseah (OP) Philemon, PNG’s finest newspaper editor

Oseah Philemon, Buka 2003BOB HOWARTH

THE dreadful Christmas Day news of the death of Papua New Guinea’s most-loved newspaper editor, Oseah Philemon, has caused what we now call a viral outpouring of grief and tributes on Facebook - the booming social media that corrupt politicians seek to censor.

I have two vivid memories of OP, as he was known.

One is of the hijack of his company vehicle after a gun was stuck in his mouth.

The other is about how he saved my life in Goroka’s Bird of Paradise Hotel when I nearly died from eating under-cooked mumu pork; a story which made me a popular speaker at a Muslim women’s group on a Java university campus.

The hijack. OP rang me one afternoon in 2004 when I was running the Post-Courier to tell me that some raskols had stuck a gun in his mouth and hijacked the company Kijang car outside the National Library in Waigani.

Continue reading "Death of Oseah (OP) Philemon, PNG’s finest newspaper editor " »

Christmas in PNG – a time to reflect, rejoice & recommit

PNG Santa Claus (Bomai Witne)BOMAI D WITNE

CHRISTMAS in Papua New Guinea is a time when homes, streets, stores and churches are gaily decorated and Christmas carols dominate music on radio stations and in the shops.

Like in countries around the world, kids anticipate that Santa Claus will bring goodies.  My son, seeing someone dressed in red in one of the shops, reminded me of Father Christmas and asked what the great man would bring him this year.

It was an expectation strengthened by my son’s kindergarten. The school asked parents to dress their children like Father Christmas and buy gifts for the school’s version of Santa Claus to distribute. Some churches do the same.

While the culture of Santa Claus originated in Europe, many Papua New Guineans enthusiastically inherit the tradition and adopt it in their own family and community celebrations.

Continue reading "Christmas in PNG – a time to reflect, rejoice & recommit" »

Tales from the kiap times – An expatriate Christmas

Chiristmas with the Clelands, Balimo. 1959BOB CLELAND

THE first Christmas I spent in Papua New Guinea, as an unmarried Cadet Patrol Officer, was wild and best forgotten.

But I did learn about one of the common Christmas practises amongst the Australian expatriate population.

In 1953, Goroka was a small outstation with an expatriate population of 100 or so. Perhaps half of that number consisted of married couples with a few children. There were two single women. And the rest of us were single men.

Six other single men and I – kiaps, didimen and a kuskus – were invited to share a family Christmas with Syd and Beth Nielsen and their two children. Syd was District Education Officer. It was a fabulous day, much of it, as I said, best forgotten.

Continue reading "Tales from the kiap times – An expatriate Christmas" »

Christmas for atheists


I WAS about eight years old when I realised that organised religion was a giant confidence trick.

The thing that made me aware of this was my mother’s plan to send me to the local Catholic school. We’d just moved out of the migrant hostel after arriving in Australia from England and I was bound to a new school.

Although my father was an atheist he was a nominal Catholic, and had succumbed to family pressure to marry in the church.

My mother, abiding by church rules, had converted from Methodism to Catholicism. That marriage and conversion carried a mandatory commitment to raise children as Catholics. Such was the power of the church in those days.

Continue reading "Christmas for atheists" »

Christmas message from the prime minister


PLEASE allow me to extend our best wishes to you for a happy and a safe Christmas.

This is a time for families and friends, and to give thanks for all the good that we have in our lives.

Christmas is also an important time when we can put aside our differences, and share in the goodwill of our communities.

Ours is a Christian nation, built on Christian values and governed through care and compassion for our fellow men, women and children.

The Christian Churches in our country remain strong, and continue to play a vital role in the lives of our people.

Continue reading "Christmas message from the prime minister" »

Paint your World


If the sky is grey
Would you blow it white?
If the grass is brown
Would you water it green?

If Santa arrives in red
Would you wear her blue?
But should the streets bleed red
Blame it on Santa, only Santa

Didn't he allow all watering holes open?
Hang on, just saw green-yellow, grey-blue
Oh and red-orange dancing, dancing
And I'll dance with them and paint my world

Ye paint my world yellow!

Seasons greetings from us here at 14 Mile

A new kiap’s first Christmas

Kiap Phil on the trusty HondaPHIL FITZPATRICK

AT ABOUT this time nearly 50 years ago I arrived in Mount Hagen as a callow 19 year old cadet patrol officer. It would be my first Christmas away from home.

My father was Irish but my mother was English and we lived near her family in Suffolk before coming to Australia.

They were farmers and they celebrated a traditional English Christmas. They fattened a goose for dinner and they began making the Christmas cake and pudding months before the event.

When we came to Australia, my mother brought all these English traditions with her and, despite the usually blistering heat on Christmas Day, insisted on serving lashes of hot, stodgy English Christmas fare.

My sisters and I revelled in the bounty of that day, which ranged from opening our stockings on Christmas morning and discovering sixpenny pieces in the Christmas cake and pudding.

Continue reading "A new kiap’s first Christmas" »

Christmas at Olsobip

No 1 Neighbour (Simon Gende)GARRY LUHRS

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" »

Dear friends, colleagues, countrymen and women….


ON BEHALF of my family I would like to take this time to extend our seasons’ greetings to you all. We earnestly pray for a wonderful and safe festive seasons.

Regardless of creed, colour, ethnicity, religious affiliation, socio-economic status or nationality, we have all witnessed another history-making year.

For some people 2016 was memorable while for others it was a year to forget.

Whatever your feelings towards the year we should all be thankful that, by the grace of God and our heavenly parents, we have journeyed towards the end and are now preparing to enter another new year.

Continue reading "Dear friends, colleagues, countrymen and women…." »

A year of multitude blessings for Simbu Children Foundation

Digicel Foundation representative presenting vehicle to SCFFRANCIS NII

PATIENCE and perseverance are truly the keys to success in whatever we want to achieve.

This proved true for the Simbu Children Foundation this year when it was smothered with an unprecedented level of support in its charity work serving the sick and disadvantaged children of Simbu.

During its ninth annual fundraising ball last Saturday at the Mt Wilhelm Tourist Hotel, SCF was presented with no less than two motor vehicles.

The first is a brand new Toyota Land Cruiser station wagon fully kitted out with mobile medical facilities worth at K190, 000 by Digicel Foundation.

The second is a Land Rover which was donated by Kennedy Wemin, CEO of Melanesian Trustee Services Limited and long-serving SCF patron.

Continue reading "A year of multitude blessings for Simbu Children Foundation" »

A well written & illustrated PNG children’s book


The Legend of Timbaloo the Clever Cockatoo by Rebecca Duckworth, CreateSpace, 2016, ISBN: 978-1539774792, 30 pages, US$15.00 (AU$20.40/K47.60) plus postage. Available from Amazon here

THE largest template of the online self-publishing company CreateSpace is about A4 size and this is what Rebecca Duckworth has used for her new book about a sulphur-crested cockatoo called Timbaloo.

Rebecca has simply dropped her illustrations into each page with the words underneath. With a bit of effort the illustrations and text in such a format could be merged for a more interesting effect.

This is intended to be the first in a series of children’s books and I expect the design will be refined as Rebecca masters the CreateSpace medium.

Continue reading "A well written & illustrated PNG children’s book" »

The most perfect meal ever - Simbu Christmas turkey


WELL first you need some Simbu sausages.

These are made from chicken guts, thoroughly washed and cleaned and filled with a mixture of chicken mince, breadcrumbs, herbs, garlic, onions, spices, chilli and ginger. And maybe some pork belly grease - fried and poured off.

Add salt and pepper and whatsoever spice you think necessary (chopped green chilli is good if you like hot stuff).

Mash it all up and force it into the chook's backside.

Continue reading "The most perfect meal ever - Simbu Christmas turkey" »

Printing money to fund PNG deficit is a road to disaster


SOME 18 months ago, in an article for the Development Policy Centre, I congratulated the Bank of Papua New Guinea (PNG’s central bank) for its constructive stance in stopping the effective printing of money to fund the government's budget deficit.

I noted how this reflected positively on the independence of the bank, an independence built into its charter by former prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta and then central bank governor Sir Wilson Kamit in response to PNG’s last major economic crisis in the late 1990s.

Unfortunately, from the start of 2016, this independent role appears to have been reversed.

Based on the bank’s latest Quarterly Economic Bulletin, PNG appears to have returned to the slippery slope of effectively printing money by back-stopping auctions in government securities.

Continue reading "Printing money to fund PNG deficit is a road to disaster" »

Blood shed for the corporates? Didn’t we learn in Bougainville?

Gary Juffa at micGARY JUFFA

THE recent deployment of troops to Hela Province is reminiscent of the tragic events that unfolded nearly 30 years ago that sparked off a crisis and left more than 20,000 Papua New Guineans dead.

When Bougainvilleans decried unfair treatment of landowners, pollution and lack of government concern for the people’s future, the PNG government reacted by sending in police and then troops.

This brutal retaliation triggered one of the bloodiest periods in Papua New Guinea’s short history as an independent nation.

The so-called Bougainville crisis could have been avoided, saving many lives and preventing massive destruction had the government exercised restraint.

Continue reading "Blood shed for the corporates? Didn’t we learn in Bougainville?" »

It’s not often easy but we girls find a way of getting there


AS THE daylight diminished and the cacophony of evening insects began, the slim figure of a man emerged in the small Sikau Range village of Sinengu.

To my dismay, it was the familiar figure of a malicious man of my departed mother’s generation who was paying a visit to my father’s house.

Here he would relay a message that sent its roots deep into my heart, stirring an unconcealed hatred towards him.

As he hurried to the house, I moved silently across to listen on what he said.

Continue reading "It’s not often easy but we girls find a way of getting there" »

Sonnet 22: Of dog, friend and god

True friendMICHAEL DOM

Some wise folk may like to imagine god
By deep or towering philosophy
Whose good faith remits, though fear has begot
Prophets who promote inhumanity.

This earth was subdued by science, our rod.
Old gods we beat and by reason defeat,
Mystic with logic, grand knowledge replete.
Yet our vacuums beg for meaning, poor sods!

But it was my fate to befriend a dog,
A dumb beast taught me faith and loyalty.
So at the end, when I buried that cog,
I thought about my own mortality.

I learned then the truth of dog, friend and god:
A dog’s death was his god’s epiphany.

Community groups must reject corrupted election funding


PAPUA New Guinea’s politicians have a tendency to dish out cash from the provincial and district improvement funds to their favoured civil society organisations, community associations, schools, aid posts and churches.

These ‘political gifts’ are legally protected from misuse by Public Finance Management Act. So long as it is designated ‘public money’, it cannot be labelled as a bribe.

Since this money is disposed at their discretion, politicians find ways to direct it for their personal benefit or to gain voter support in elections.

One of the avenues politicians use is through the organisations I mentioned previously.

Continue reading "Community groups must reject corrupted election funding" »

When in PNG do as the Papua New Guineans


ONE OF the pleasures of living in a tropical climate is to walk in the evening when the sun has gone down and the moon is out. It is doubly pleasant if there is a cool breeze coming off the sea or down the mountains.

In most of the places I’ve lived and worked in Papua New Guinea it is a sort of ritual for the locals and many expatriates.

On those walks you occasionally stop to chat to friends and even complete strangers. Otherwise you just exchange greetings with fellow strollers.

In Papua New Guinea that evening greeting is usually ‘goodnight’. Or perhaps I should say, ‘gutnait’.

Continue reading "When in PNG do as the Papua New Guineans" »

My journey: Parents who shaped me & how I view life


“MUM, this is not fair!” I hissed angrily. I was 10 and had been relegated to the kitchen to do the dishes, while my older brothers laughed and played.

I was vocal in my fight for cleaning equality in the household. I didn’t win that day, but fought a good fight. I also wrote furiously and angrily into my diary, my escape as a 10 year old.

In Kairuku, Central Province the head of the family is the oldest male. In Milne Bay, the head of the family is the female. I am the youngest out of my parent’s children. I am boss meri when I am in Milne Bay and in Kairuku I take a backseat.

Continue reading "My journey: Parents who shaped me & how I view life" »

The sad story of Investigation Task Force Sweep


A LETTER to prime minister Peter O’Neill on the morning of 16 June 2014 started off what would become the most controversial anti-corruption story in the history of Papua New Guinea.

Then police commissioner Tom Kulunga requested that O’Neill attend a police interview on allegations of fraud regarding payments of an estimated K71 million by the State to a national law firm, Paul Paraka Lawyers. But the scheduled interview never happened.

For many years, PNG has faced allegations of corruption and often ranked unfavourably in corruption indexes.

In 2012, O’Neill promised to address the issue and, to his credit, established the Investigation Task Force Sweep (ITFS). ITFS was an inter-organisation agency that included the Police Fraud Squad. Little did the prime minister know that he himself would become a person of interest, engulfing a considerable amount of ITFS work.

Continue reading "The sad story of Investigation Task Force Sweep" »

Understanding youth: a PNG novel with an engaging narrative


An Uncertain Future by James Thomas, Pukpuk Publications, 2016, ISBN: 978-1541143739, 124 pages, available from Amazon Books US$6.03 plus postage.

A LONG time ago Sir Paulias Matane suggested that the best books for Papua New Guinea “should be small, simple and cheap”.

Sir Paulias stuck to that formula in the many books that he wrote after his first one, My Childhood in New Guinea, which had big type, simple language and was only 112 pages long.

I’m not sure whether Papua New Guineans would agree with that formula nowadays. Many read long and complex books and quite a few Papua New Guinean writers produce long and complex books.

Continue reading "Understanding youth: a PNG novel with an engaging narrative" »

Sonnet VIII: My Ancestors

My ancestorsJORDAN DEAN

Long ago, my ancestors roamed this place
These mountains, jungles and mighty rivers
With bow and arrows and mud on their face
They were cannibals that fed on livers

From open savannahs to coastal plain
Rich with a vast range of animal life
They could make storm clouds and bring rain
My ancestors lived free and without strife

Missionaries came and said they’re unholy
You should never judge their tattooed cover
Why say their black magic was ungodly
When your fabled Jesus walked on water?

Never look at my people with distaste
And never draw such conclusions in haste

The lost creative writing generation of Papua New Guinea


IMAGINE a country with a talented pool of writers but no commercial publishers and virtually no bookshops. Add to that an indifferent government offering no support to those writers and even seeking to suppress what they write.

And if you are thinking about some tiny tin pot dictatorship in the nether regions of Eastern Europe, Asia or Africa, think again.

Because the situation I describe is just to our north in Papua New Guinea, a country that, before the advent of the Manus Island detention centre, hardly registered on most Australians’ radar.

Papua New Guinea has a rich tradition of oral literature which continues to exist. But it wasn’t until 1970 that the first novel by a Papua New Guinean writer was published, The Crocodile by Vincent Eri.

Continue reading "The lost creative writing generation of Papua New Guinea" »

Bougainville youth have historic role in building its future

Young women's leadership training program at Chabai, south BougainvilleANTHONY KAYBING

BOUGAINVILLE’S future depends on the ability of its young generation as it will increasingly engage with the global community, says chief secretary Joseph Nobetau, who is encouraging young Bougainvilleans to play a bigger role in the province’s future.

“You are not tarnished by history or prejudice – your journey is just beginning,” Mr Nobetau told a recent graduation ceremony. “As young people you each have a role in writing part of our future.

“You have the opportunity to take on leadership roles and help build a stronger, united and more prosperous future for us all.

Continue reading "Bougainville youth have historic role in building its future" »

Hearing ourselves in the clutter & calamity of trying times


Voice of Senemai: A Collection of Poems and Prose by Vagi Samuel Jnr, JDT Desktop Publishing, 2016, ISBN 978-1540761132, 146 pages, US$5.00 plus postage from Amazon

VAGI Samuel Jnr has been a regular contributor to PNG Attitude for a couple of years. Most of his contributions have been poetry but he has also published the occasional piece of prose.

In October this year, I was particularly taken by his short story, Kings of the Fish, Servants of the Sea - A Senemai Tradition, an entry in the Crocodile Prize.

Vagi has now published a book of his poetry and prose with the help of Jordan Dean, who has mastered the CreateSpace system and is rapidly catching up with Pukpuk Publications in output.  Jordan will publish another new book by Julie Mota soon.

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Bougainville public service gears up for a challenging future


WITH Bougainville’s referendum on independence now less than three years away, the Autonomous Bougainville Government is working diligently to secure a successful outcome of this important political decision.

ABG chief secretary Joseph Nobetau said his priority is to build the capacity of the public service so that it can deliver on the expectations of the government and the people.

“My aim is to show leadership in reforming our institutions and structures so we can make Bougainville stronger and lay the foundation for our future, whatever state that may end up being,” Mr Nobetau said.

“Since taking on this important role, I have been meeting with department heads to discuss some of the key challenges we face.”

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My Walk to Equality

Two young girls from Papua New GuineaJOYCE DINBI ONGUGLO

The door ajar, my feet move towards the entry
My thoughts run wild of adventures unknown
And so I dream of a life eternal,
You only live once they say
Life is too short they say

Time has its limits, I cannot wait -
I want to climb mountains, I want to ride the waves,
Chase the sun and rest beneath the stars
But your place is inside the home, I hear them say
Your hands are made to cook, to clean and to feed

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Forgotten – the vulnerable populations of Papua New Guinea

ForgottenESTHER LAVU & CHRIS BANGA | National Research Institute | Edited extracts

EVERY year on 11 July is World Population Day. This year it marked the recognition of vulnerable populations in an emergency context.

A population affected by emergencies - wars, natural disasters or social problems - faces higher risks of disease, violence, hunger and homelessness, the devastating effects of which lead to a shift from normal lives to challenging conditions.

Vulnerability can also come about as a natural and unavoidable part of life or it can be created and sustained by social arrangements.

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My difficult, wonderful choice to become a teacher


I COME from a patrilineal society that elevates men and degrades women.

In traditional Engan folklore, men were the subjects of many stories told at bed time. They owned the land, fought tribal wars, made decisions, married many wives, made Moka rituals and were always in the limelight.

The women’s place was at home: feeding the pigs, tending the garden and looking after the children. Women had no place in the public arena. They were never regarded as dispensers of wisdom; hence they were never allowed to talk in public.

The coming of civilisation and modernity hardly changed the traditional Engan mentality of male superiority.

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Rispetto: Black Beauty


Fifty years ago, I roamed naked
Flaunted my black booty with grace
Dimdim’s said my customs were crooked
Said my naked black butt was a disgrace
Now, on runways, my beauty is on display
I’m confused with their dishonourable ways
I’m asked to wear skimpy pants and bikini
Not the future I envisioned for my pikinini!