Previous month:
December 2016
Next month:
February 2017

95 posts from January 2017

Return of election fever – candidates line up for the riches

Kamasua_John KaupaJOHN K KAMASUA

THE hype is back! It’s an event that happens every five years to galvanise communities and regions in Papua New Guinea.

And also polarise them - along political party lines, traditional tribal lines or just plain convenience lines.

More than 4,000 candidates have filled Form 29 to indicate their intention to contest either the open or provincial seats.

However, with the likely increase of the nomination fees from K1,000 to K10,000, the actual numbers are likely to be drastically reduced.

Continue reading "Return of election fever – candidates line up for the riches" »

Kiaps & police – the great expendables of colonial politics

Geoff Smith on the cover of Bamahuta - Leaving PapuaPHIL FITZPATRICK

GEOFF Smith was in the shower when the business end of a Biami war arrow penetrated the thin saksak wall just above his head.

By the time Smith (pictured on the cover of my book Bamahuta) had wrapped a towel around his waist and buckled on his holster and revolver, several more of the exquisitely carved but decidedly nasty arrow heads were sticking through the wall.

Still covered in suds, he emerged to see his police scrambling for their rifles and retreating towards the house-come-office of Obeimi Base Camp.

One of the policemen had an arrow sticking out of his leg. Like all Biami arrows it would be a bugger to remove and help and an airstrip was two days walk away.

Smith fired three rapid shots into the air and the police followed with a volley from their .303 Lee Enfields.

Continue reading "Kiaps & police – the great expendables of colonial politics" »

On the Kukukuku trail - the blooding of a young kiap

Kukukuku tribesmen (PNGAA)CHRIS OVERLAND

MY first patrol, in late 1969, involved walking from Kerema to Kaintiba Patrol Post. Along the way, I was to join Catholic priest Father Alex Michelob who would teach me the art of surveying road routes through the mountainous jungle.

I was supposed to accompany Assistant District Officer John Mundell on this patrol but he had to return to Kerema within a week of setting out, so I carried on under the benign guidance of Alex.

The patrol route took us deep into the heart of the Kukukuku country, so I was issued with a Smith and Wesson .38 calibre revolver and a Lee Enfield .303 carbine.

Continue reading "On the Kukukuku trail - the blooding of a young kiap" »

IMF analysis shows PNG has overstated economic growth

PNG's overstated growth ratePAUL FLANAGAN | PNG Economics

Until last week, Papua New Guinea was the only country in the East Asia-Pacific region, and one of only a handful of countries worldwide, refusing to release its 2016 IMF Article IV report in which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) assesses each country’s economic health. The Bank of PNG (the reserve bank) offered six “critical issues” for refusing to release the IMF's review but recently changed its mind - KJ

A JUST released IMF report reveals the O'Neill government has overstated the growth rate of the PNG economy by 12.7% since its election in 2012.

There was a 5.9% overstatement in 2014 and a further 5.2% in 2015.

The IMF analysis indicates the PNG economy is K6.3 billion smaller in 2017 than claimed by the O’Neill government.

Continue reading "IMF analysis shows PNG has overstated economic growth" »

PNG in 2017: a year of redefining democracy?

ElectionsBAL KAMA

THE Papua New Guinea national elections, due in June this year, promise to be momentous.

Like many democracies, the people have always looked forward to the opportunity of choosing their political leaders through a process of free and fair elections.

But elections in PNG over the years have fallen short of this ideal standard.

Those who believe in this ideal demand an election based on policy-driven ideological contests, rather than material wealth and tribal allegiances that often create disharmony.

Yet these latter practices have increasingly been part of PNG’s political system, rendering the notion of trouble-free democratic elections a facade.

Continue reading "PNG in 2017: a year of redefining democracy?" »

Shout out to PNG women who want to make it in politics

Dame Carol Kidu was once the only woman member of parliamentKEITH JACKSON

THE United Nations Development Program (UNDP) will run a six-day workshop and practice parliament for Papua New Guinean women in Port Moresby from 6-11 March.

For some years, UNDP has been running practice parliaments for women across the Pacific to support more women’s participation in elections and to raise awareness of women in politics and leadership roles.

Despite this, Pacific women are still grossly under-represented in parliament. In PNG, only three women are members of the 111-member national parliament.

Continue reading "Shout out to PNG women who want to make it in politics" »

‘Be Bold For Change’ – PNG’s women writers are already there

Beboldforchange-iwd2017KEITH JACKSON

THE theme for International Women’s Day to be celebrated on Wednesday 8 March is for women to #BeBoldForChange – and, through contributions to the anthology, My Walk to Equality, nearly 50 Papua New Guinean women writers proved they already had taken this idea to heart.

And as the Oil Search Foundation, Allen’s Legal, Paga Hill Development Company, the Sir Brian Bell Foundation and other PNG organisations rally to the cause of this highly praised book, it’s clear that the call is understood and is gaining momentum.

My Walk to Equality will be launched in Port Moresby on International Women’s Day (IWD) and in Brisbane eight days later. The Moresby launch – by invitation only – will feature Dame Carol Kidu and Tanya Zeriga-Alone, two fighters for women’s rights in PNG. Rashmii Amoah Bell will be the star attraction in Brisbane. I will be at both events.

Continue reading "‘Be Bold For Change’ – PNG’s women writers are already there" »

UPNG staff association will start 5-day salary protest tomorrow

NASA leadership teamKEITH JACKSON | Sourced from EMTV & PNG Today

UNIVERSITY lecturers and staff will stop performing some work functions – including teaching - tomorrow to protest failure to pay a 7.5% salary increase owed to them since 2015.

University of Papua New Guinea National Academic Staff Association president, Emmanuel Gorea, said a long process of negotiation with university management and the PNG government has failed to deliver results.

Mr Gorea said the response was always that there was no money to pay the legal entitlements.

Continue reading "UPNG staff association will start 5-day salary protest tomorrow" »

Manus asylum seeker escapes - now seeks asylum in Fiji

Loghman Sawari with his identify card (Andrew Meares)MICHAEL GORDON | Fairfax Media

AFTER fleeing Manus Island, a young Iranian refugee has made a desperate plea for asylum on the grounds he fears persecution if he goes back to Papua New Guinea.

"This is the end for me," said Loghman Sawari, whose time in PNG has been punctuated by beatings, bullying, imprisonment, illness, suicide attempts and living on the street in Lae, one of the country's most dangerous cities.

The 21-year-old Ahwazi Arab managed to board a plane under a false name after he said he was threatened by a PNG immigration official and lost hope of being resettled in the United States under President Donald Trump.

Continue reading "Manus asylum seeker escapes - now seeks asylum in Fiji" »

The writers: Jeffrey Febi - bringing poetry to all his writing


BOMAI Witne’s article about the Yuri in yesterday’s PNG Attitude mentioned ‘white horses’ – the Yuri people who, without adequate roads, carried white coffee sacks on their backs and who, from a distance, looked like horses.

This evocative image reminded me of Jeff Febi’s winning short story in the first Crocodile Prize competition in 2011. 

Jeff is primarily a poet and was surprised to win the award.

You can see the poetic influence in his lyrical and humorous story, which shows that the crossover between the two forms can be quite narrow.

The story is still glorious and is worth reprising in 2017.

Continue reading "The writers: Jeffrey Febi - bringing poetry to all his writing" »

Oil Search indicates big boost to PNG gas reserves


OIL Search has lifted the lid on a likely significant increase in its gas resources, fuelling optimism about the case for expanding its liquefied natural gas (LNG) position in Papua New Guinea despite delays in talks on the project.

The PNG-focused player said early indications from an independent assessment of fields that supply the PNG LNG project was likely to result in higher reserves figures, to be revealed in February's annual reserves report.

Gas was also found in December at the Muruk-1 well, while the undeveloped P'nyang and Elk-Antelope fields add to the basket of resources available to feed an expansion.

Continue reading "Oil Search indicates big boost to PNG gas reserves" »

An Army patrol from Kerema to Wau via the Bulldog Track

John StringfellowJOHN STRINGFELLOW | NashosPNG

IN November and December 1967, I was instructed by my company commander, Major Greg Warland, to take my 11th platoon of D Coy, 1st Pacific Islands Regiment from Kerema on the south coast of Papua to Wau in New Guinea via the Bulldog Road.

I had three weeks to complete the patrol. My fellow D Company platoon commanders were to patrol the highlands west of Wau.

Bulldog was a pre-war goldmining centre at the junction of a river system from which it was navigable down the Lakekamu River to the Papuan Gulf.

The road from Bulldog to Wau had been constructed by Army engineers in 1942 as a supply route to Wau for a planned assault on the Japanese positions in Lae.

Continue reading "An Army patrol from Kerema to Wau via the Bulldog Track" »

Take back our country from the corrupt

Take Back PNGMARTYN NAMORONG | Namorong Report

TRANSPARENCY International announced on Wednesday that Papua New Guinea is rated “highly corrupt” in its 2016 Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

PNG, scoring 28 out of 100, was ranked 136 out of 176 countries surveyed. This means that PNG is perceived to be the 36th most corrupt nation on earth.

Last year I responded to the CPI rankings with the postLife in the 25th most corrupt nation on earth.’

This time I do not want to write about ‘Life in the 36th most corrupt nation on earth.’

This time I want to believe that things in PNG can improve. I want to believe that, like Ukraine and Georgia and other nations, governance in PNG can improve if we the people demand it.

Continue reading "Take back our country from the corrupt" »

Yuri tribe continues peace-building after a history of conflict

YAKA 2nd anniversaryBOMAI D WITNE

A TRIBE in Papua New Guinea is like a nation. The tribe shares common language, territory, history, myths and culture.

The people of the Yuri tribe of the Gumine District in Simbu Province, Papua New Guinea, speak Yuri, share the rivers Mon and Maril, walk across the plateaus of Pildimna, Dia and Yoya, and know all the gorges and gullies.

The people descend from a common ancestor, Alai’mbia, who with his sons were founders of the Yuri clans. The people learned and accumulated cultural dances, songs and traditional regalia.

The great mountain Digine watches over Yuri tribal territory. The walls of the ranges and river bays are filled with fine sand. The boulders of the river Mon are black as if painted so.

Continue reading "Yuri tribe continues peace-building after a history of conflict" »

High level agreement on Bougainville Referendum Commission

Referendum Commission agreement signedANTHONY KAYBING

THE Autonomous Bougainville Government continues to make headway in the lead up to the referendum on independence with the creation of the Bougainville Referendum Commission.

The signing of the agreement between the ABG and the PNG government took place in Port Moresby on Tuesday.

In this photo, you can see (left to right) ABG electoral commissioner George Manu and PNG electoral commissioner Patilias Gamato signing the agreement while ABG chief secretary Joseph Nobetau and PNG chief secretary Isaac Lupari look on.

The ABG delegation was led by Bouganville vice president and referendum minister Patrick Nisira and chief secretary Joseph Nobetau and all Bougainville’s national MPs were present except Louta Atoi.

Continue reading "High level agreement on Bougainville Referendum Commission" »

Rhetoric is not commitment: A walk of many steps & setbacks

Natasha Stott DespojaKEITH JACKSON

THE process of getting My Walk to Equality into the hands of the people of Papua New Guinea is proving to be long and arduous.

The anthology edited by Rashmii Amoah Bell and with contributions from 45 Papua New Guinean women - is a small but useful step in support of the complex goal of gender equality in PNG.

It is a collection of writing that is wise, gentle and inclusive - and it is a great credit to its authors.

We hope the book can provide some impetus in the journey of PNG women to stand alongside their men in the cause of building a great nation.

The other day, a hazy selfie I posted on Twitter (you can see it at the end of this piece) drew the attention of Natasha Stott-Despoja (pictured), a celebrated Australian politician who recently stepped down from the role of Australia’s ambassador at large for women and who is a member of the World Bank Advisory Council on Gender.

Continue reading "Rhetoric is not commitment: A walk of many steps & setbacks" »

Port Moresby property prices experience a severe correction

Rainbow Housing Estate @ Port MoresbyCHARLIE GILCHIBI

PROPERTY prices in Port Moresby have continued to plummet since the end of the construction phase of the PNG LNG project.

The Papua LNG (Total) project will enter its construction phase shortly with full production around 2021 but this is only expected to hold up prices temporarily.

The cycles relating to the PNG LNG and Papua LNG are like fads. They come and go.

The fundamental development that will change the property landscape is to open up roads in Port Moresby’s surrounding areas allowing a lot more development to flourish.

Continue reading "Port Moresby property prices experience a severe correction" »

HIV/AIDS stigma remains a challenge to PNG churches


A CHRISTIAN leader in Papua New Guinea says the country's churches need to overcome discrimination and stigma to make a real difference in combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

PNG has extremely high rates of the virus, with a prevalence rate of about 0.5%, according to a 2013 UN AIDS report.

Andrew Hama, from the PNG Christian Leaders Alliance on HIV/AIDS, is organising a summit in March with the country's churches, government and NGOs to try and coordinate their response.

Churches play a key role in healthcare and education in Papua New Guinea, and Mr Hama said they are key to helping combat the virus.

Continue reading "HIV/AIDS stigma remains a challenge to PNG churches" »

Referendum commission formed to oversee critical B'ville vote

Nisira_PatrickPATRICK NISIRA | Edited extracts

The Papua New Guinea and Autonomous Bougainville Government governments this week agreed to create a Bougainville Referendum Commission to oversee the 2019 vote on whether Bougainville should become an independent nation. Bougainville vice president Patrick Nisira issued this statement on the important milestone….

THE signing of this agreement signifies the progress of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville as we strive to find a lasting political solution that will be the ultimate political future of Bougainville.

The agreement on the administrative requirements for the conduct of the referendum on the political status of Bougainville was signed between the Government of Papua New Guinea, the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the Electoral Commission of Papua New Guinea and the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner.

Continue reading "Referendum commission formed to oversee critical B'ville vote" »

Researchers identify main obstacles facing small business


ITS high growth potential makes the small and medium sized enterprises (SME) sector of the Papua New Guinean economy of particular interest to the national government.

Last year, the government adopted a new SME policy and published a bold master plan to drive the development and growth of SMEs.

But before this objective can be realised, there are a number of constraining obstacles to SME business operations and expansion that need to be addressed.

The three main ones are the remote location of many businesses, the difficulty of leasing or buying land, and problems dealing with banks.

Continue reading "Researchers identify main obstacles facing small business" »

Govt department says newspaper’s allegations defamatory


JOHN Kali the head of PNG’s Department of Personnel Management has asked the PNG Post-Courier to retract what he terms “inaccurate and defamatory reporting” by an unnamed reporter.

Mr Kali said that two articles published in the newspaper concerned the appointment of an acting provincial administrator of Western Province.

The articles, on 18 and 20 January, were headlined ‘Corruption rates high in public offices’ andAwaiting acting provincial administrator’.

Continue reading "Govt department says newspaper’s allegations defamatory" »

What on earth was a Patrol Officer, some sort of security guard?


ONE of the hazards of being an old kiap is explaining what that actually means.

“Ah, you were in New Guinea?” (Notice they never mention Papua.) “What did you do up there?”

“I was a kiap.”

Puzzled expression. “A what?”

“A Patrol Officer.”

“Oh, so you worked for a security company or something?”

“Well, sort of, but it was a bit more complicated than that.”

“Really, how was that?”

“It’s a bit hard to explain.”

Continue reading "What on earth was a Patrol Officer, some sort of security guard?" »

Tales from the kiap times - A bit of a lift in Kuala Lumpur


THE lift door opened and I baulked. Just for a moment I considered the stairs.

But it would be a long climb.

I had to trust that my explanation of a lift had been understood. With my heart in my mouth I ushered in the others, stepped in, pushed button 26, and hoped everyone would stay calm.

This was the first time these men had ridden in a lift. In Tok Pisin I’d explained lifts to the group very carefully before we left for this meeting on the 26th floor.

Continue reading "Tales from the kiap times - A bit of a lift in Kuala Lumpur" »

Government green lights construction of Paga Hill City

Paga Hill 'Tourism City' - the visionFREDDY MOU | Loop PNG | Edited

The PNG government has given the green light to investors in Paga Hill Tourism City to start implementing the project.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Tobias Kulang said the PNG cabinet has approved an incentive framework for the Paga Hill Estate.

“This bold move is demonstrative of the government’s strategy to pursue foreign investment, create jobs and stimulate economy,” Mr Kulang said.

He said that the Paga Hill Estate is attracting foreign investment with a memorandum of understanding already agreed with the Shenzhen Construction and Development Group partnering with the China Harbour Engineering Company and Covec to fund and construct a five-star hotel.

Continue reading "Government green lights construction of Paga Hill City" »

Walk to Equality: refreshing in candour; informed in judgement


My Walk to Equality, edited by Rashmii Amoah Bell, Pukpuk Publications, 278 pages. Paperback $US10.53 or Kindle $US1.00. ISBN-10: 1542429242. ISBN-13: 978-1542429245. Available here from Amazon through Pukpuk Publications

MY Walk to Equality, a first ever collection of women’s writing from Papua New Guinea edited by Rashmii Amoah Bell, is outstanding. It is inspiring, engaging, groundbreaking and important.

Given an excerpt of 80 pages to review, accounting for 14 of the more than 80 pieces in the book, I am impressed.

Through these excerpts we can smell the village fires, be astonished at the intuitiveness of these women and gasp at the ease with which they can flit between western ideology and village traditions, comfortable in both societies - yet we can also feel their patriotism and need to be valued.

Continue reading "Walk to Equality: refreshing in candour; informed in judgement" »

Cliodynamics - when the pursuit of power becomes an end in itself


THE only profession for which I hold even the basic tertiary qualification is history.

A cynic might say that history is not even a profession, merely a distracting hobby through which deluded practitioners attempt to make sense of the past in the forlorn hope of understanding the present.

The idea that history offers any guidance as to what might happen in future is hotly contested, even amongst historians.

I belong to that group which believes it can offer useful guidance about the probable future, at least in some circumstances.

Continue reading "Cliodynamics - when the pursuit of power becomes an end in itself" »

Death of businessman & philanthropist Sir Henry Chow


SAD news has reached me of the death of Sir Henry Chow, 83, the patriarch of the Chow family - a long-established and respected line whose roots in Papua New Guinea go back to the latter part of the nineteenth century.

Sir Henry, a member of the fourth generation in PNG, was born in Rabaul in 1933 and educated in Rabaul and Australia, After World War II he served an apprenticeship and trained as a boat designer and builder in Australia.

The Chow family’s forefathers were peasant farmers of Guangdong Province in southern China.

In 1895, the colonial government of German New Guinea recruited a family member as a personal servant for one of its administration officers and the young man arrived in Rabaul to be soon followed by two younger brothers.

Continue reading "Death of businessman & philanthropist Sir Henry Chow " »

Get in early before the tourism dollar turns PNG into a theme park

Sepik SpiritJON HOLMES | The Australian

“DO you think it will rain tonight?” I ask Joseph, the man with the gun. He looks up, beyond the mist clinging to the valley, doing its damnedest to conceal the river-ridden jungle that is to be our home for the next few days.

He sniffs the air in the same casual manner with which he hangs the rifle on his shoulder. “Will it rain?” he replies. “It depends on the weather.”

To be honest, the weather is the least of our worries. “Expect the unexpected” is the given (and best) travel advice for anyone visiting Papua New Guinea. It’s a country that’s casual about a few things, from plane timetables to customs regulations to automatic weapons.

Continue reading "Get in early before the tourism dollar turns PNG into a theme park" »

An anthology for men? Nah, they couldn’t do it


HIDDEN between the many accolades and comments coming in the wake of the publication of Rasmii Bell’s anthology of women’s writing, My Walk to Equality, there has been a low level murmur about the possibilities for a men’s anthology.

On the face of it this seems like a good idea. One of the surprising things about the women’s anthology is the extension of the hand of friendship and cooperation by many of the writers to their men folk.

A men’s anthology picking up on this theme would make a great complementary volume.

What I’m not sure about is whether Papua New Guinean men would be up to it.

Continue reading "An anthology for men? Nah, they couldn’t do it" »

First in class: PNG student migration to Australia

Henry SherrellHENRY SHERRELL & STEPHEN HOWES | Dev Policy Blog | Extracts

MANY people have commented on the stubbornly low number of Pacific islanders coming to Australia.

The tiny number of Papua New Guineans is particularly egregious even by Pacific standards. There are more people of Samoan descent in Australia than there are of PNG descent.

But there are signs this may be changing, at least when it comes to students. A blog post last year documented international student commencements in Australia for the Pacific and PNG between 2002 and 2016.

Continue reading "First in class: PNG student migration to Australia" »

PNG’s economy in 2016: dodgy budgets & dubious statistics


THE year 2016 saw the Papua New Guinea government muddle down through a series of poor policy decisions.

This continued the negative trend set in 2015, when the country went from having the highest expected GDP growth rate in the world to crisis management mode.

In the political realm, PNG continued promoting its international profile by hosting the African Caribbean and Pacific Leaders Meeting, the FIFA Under 20 Women's World Cup and preparatory meetings for APEC in 2018.

Continue reading "PNG’s economy in 2016: dodgy budgets & dubious statistics" »

Taxpayers pick up bill for PNG LNG royalties & levies


IT’S a very good deal for PNG LNG and its associated companies.

For each K100 million of development levy they pay to the PNG government, they can claim K30 million as a tax deduction.

For each K100 million of royalty they can claim K100 million as a tax credit.

So let’s express this is the little kina amounts which most of us understand.

For every K10 paid to PNG by the resource companies, they get K7 stripped off their tax bill.

Continue reading "Taxpayers pick up bill for PNG LNG royalties & levies" »

Looking for an angel


HE sits on the couch. He knows he was lied to, knows he was taken for granted, knows he was humble, knows he lost everything, knows he could no longer smile one more time.

He knows he will cry as soon as the song reaches the chorus bai mi diriman tasol.

He knows he did everything to sustain it, knows he showed he cared.

As he listened to this Tarvine Toune song called Riah, he reminisces about all the girls who had broken his heart.

Every time he asked her out, every time he tried to be nice, every time he was sweet…. She would always come up with excuses.

Continue reading "Looking for an angel" »

Tour of Australia by PNG writers was more than literary exchange

Glen Elmes & Tony WellingtonFRANCIS NII

I READ somewhere that our brain can process images 60,000 times faster than it can process words - and that images can convey ideas which stick with us much longer than the words on a page.

I am sure this rings true the moment you see the images accompanying this story.

The two gentlemen you see in this first picture are Hon Glen Elmes MP, the local member for Noosa in the Queensland Parliament, and Tony Wellington, the mayor for Noosa Shire, proudly showing the gifts of sand paintings donated to them and the people of Noosa by Daniel Kumbon and his wife Julie.

During last year’s McKinnon-Paga Hill sponsored study tour of Australia, Daniel, Martyn Namorong and I didn’t discuss bringing PNG arts and crafts for our Aussie friends.

Continue reading "Tour of Australia by PNG writers was more than literary exchange" »

The political tide that is building into a tsunami

Hillbilly Elegy coverPHIL FITZPATRICK

THERE are some interesting books coming out in the USA about the tide which brought us the seismic shock of the American election which tomorrow delivers us President Donald Trump.

This tide is the same one that has given us Brexit and the rise of far right political parties in Western democracies.

It is possible, but highly unlikely, that the same tide will wash through Papua New Guinea in 2017.

The undertow that created this tide is a growing disenchantment with conventional politics and the growing inequalities between rich and poor.

In the wash of the tide are serious questions about the very nature of democracy.

Continue reading "The political tide that is building into a tsunami" »

Five reasons why people feel they should protest against APEC

Manila APEC protestACT NOW PNG | Edited extracts

IN NOVEMBER 2015, Manila in the Philippines hosted an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.

Civil society mobilised to protest against the meeting. There are cogent reasons why people were so angered by APEC and what it represents.

Here in Papua New Guinea we should be similarly outraged as the same reasoning applies.

Ahead the Manila summit, Philippines’ social movements, unions, indigenous groups, farmers’ organisations and international activists mobilised to protest against the two-day annual meeting.

Continue reading "Five reasons why people feel they should protest against APEC" »

My Walk to Equality – voices of wisdom, optimism and hope

My Walk to Equality CoverTRISH NICHOLSON

My Walk to Equality, edited by Rashmii Amoah Bell, Pukpuk Publications, 278 pages. Paperback $US10.53 or Kindle $US1.00. ISBN-10: 1542429242. ISBN-13: 978-1542429245. Available here from Amazon

MY Walk to Equality is a remarkable achievement. Not only as Papua New Guinea’s first anthology of women writers but also for its inclusiveness, breadth of vision and balance.

The 45 writers of these 81 stories, essays and poems originate from many different parts of PNG and its islands.

Their day-jobs include aircraft mechanic, nurse, educator, lawyer, home producer, student and administrator.

They write as mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, friends and neighbours as well as professionals in their respective fields.

Continue reading "My Walk to Equality – voices of wisdom, optimism and hope" »

Why organisations like DFAT and UNDP are so pathetic

Foreign_aid_chain_of_lossPHIL FITZPATRICK

I GOT my first lesson in lateral thinking and innovation from Ross Allen, the Assistant District Commissioner at Mount Hagen in 1967-68.

Ross was one of those people who was difficult to categorise. On the one hand he frowned on my habit of wearing suede, elastic sided, desert boots and rolled down walk socks instead of polished brogues, but on the other hand, especially where it mattered, he had decidedly liberal views.

The lesson came in his innovative use of district development funds. On his advice I applied for funds to build a road that I had already completed using free kalabus labour and help from the local villagers who would benefit from its construction. They had done the job with simple spades and shovels.

Continue reading "Why organisations like DFAT and UNDP are so pathetic" »

Government is so corrupt it neglects its own highlands highway

Highway problems 1PETER S KINJAP

THE O'Neill-Dion Government has secured a loan amounting to K6 billion from Exim Bank of China to fix the Okuk Highlands Highway.

This great highway is a lifeline for much of the economy of Papua New Guinea. It serves provinces that contribute massively to the country.

Just a few days ago, we learned that the Wandi section of the deteriorating highway in Simbu Province had been fixed by businessman Jacob Luke of Mapai Transport Ltd.

If he had not acted, the road would have become almost impassable, like in this photo of another section of the highlands highway.

Continue reading "Government is so corrupt it neglects its own highlands highway" »

From the desk of the editor of ‘My Walk to Equality’....

Composition (Rashmii Bell)RASHMII AMOAH BELL

10 January: My Walk to Equality, the first-ever collection of writing by Papua New Guinean women, is released on Amazon in Kindle edition.

13 January: My Walk to Equality, the first-ever collection of writing by Papua New Guinean women, is released on Amazon in paperback edition.

17 January: #LetUsWalk Twitter hashtag adopted to point to the need to get My Walk To Equality printed and distributed to as many readers as possible.

THE voluntary collaboration of Philip Fitzpatrick (Pukpuk Publications), Keith Jackson (PNG Attitude) and 45 PNG women writers has accomplished what no other has literary endeavour in Papua New Guinea has managed in 41 years of nationhood.

That the book publication was achieved in three months is remarkable in itself. But that the entire process was undertaken without a prominent benefactor is demonstration of the commitment of the writers and administration team of My Walk to Equality.

Continue reading "From the desk of the editor of ‘My Walk to Equality’...." »

Beautiful Manus – idyllic to ruinous in less than four years

Manus as seen from the tip of Los NegrosPHIL FITZPATRICK

VERY many years ago I came under the spell of James A Michener, Louis Becke, Frederick O’Brien, James Norman Hall, Robert Dean Frisbie, Beatrice Grimshaw and other wonderful sojourners in the South Pacific.

And I have been fortunate enough to indulge my passion for the delightful backwaters of those myriad islands scattered diagonally across the unending ocean east of Australia and Papua New Guinea.

I am, in short, a sucker for swaying palm trees, white sandy beaches, warm tropical breezes and languid lifestyles.

I have two favourite places in the South Pacific. The first is the Cook Islands, which are sprinkled north of the Tropic of Capricorn and the main island of Rarotonga.

Continue reading "Beautiful Manus – idyllic to ruinous in less than four years" »

Election interference by government will weaken democracy


PAPUA New Guinea’s deputy opposition leader Sam Basil has said he is “gravely concerned” at government action to delay and change conditions around this year’s national elections due in May.

Mr Basil has also questioned the role of electoral commissioner Patilus Gamato in independently overseeing the success of the elections.

“Mr Gamato must be able to explain his advice to the National Executive Council that provided the inspiration for these major proposed changes to election laws,” he said.

“The changes will have the effect of excluding many viable intending candidates interested in contesting the limited number of provincial and open seats in parliament.

Continue reading "Election interference by government will weaken democracy" »

We need to vote for politicians capable of building a nation


A MAJOR form of corruption in Papua New Guinea is the abuse or misuse of public funds for personal gain.

PNG will minimise corruption only when we have political leaders and officials in key positions who do not misdirect public money – the people’s money - for their own benefit.

The decision to say no to such abuse can be quite tough. It needs heart, character, vision and a passion to stand tall amongst other lesser people. Leaders who have these values live their beliefs and they can make a difference.

The great South African leader Nelson Mandela physically suffered to serve his people. Mahatma Gandhi made decisions of public interest that disadvantaged his personal life. Both men fought against heavy odds to serve their people.

Continue reading "We need to vote for politicians capable of building a nation" »

When “a great initiative” becomes a “can’t find a way” problem?

My Walk to Equality CoverKEITH JACKSON

I HAVE never met Bronte Moules who is our (that is Australia’s) deputy high commissioner in Papua New Guinea – an important post in the PNG-Australia relationship.

But if I ever do meet her – and I hope to on a forthcoming visit to PNG – I think I’ll like her. I’ve found Bronte positive, helpful and a person who clearly has Papua New Guinean interests at heart.

Last October, Bronte was also expressing encouragement about what was the forthcoming publication of Rashmii Amoah Bell’s landmark collection of PNG women’s writing, My Walk to Equality, much mentioned in these columns of late.

“This sounds like a great initiative,” Bronte wrote to me in an email. “It’s something that we’d be interested, in principle, in supporting in some way.”

We, in this case, being the Australian High Commission.

Continue reading "When “a great initiative” becomes a “can’t find a way” problem?" »

Election 2017 – get rid of the lot of them and start again


SEVERAL years ago a few of the pundits on PNG Attitude toyed with the idea of compiling a dossier of corrupt politicians in Papua New Guinea and invited readers to contribute.

The general idea was to provide information for voters in the elections that were then due.

Even though anonymity was offered the response was disappointing.

All those readers and commentators who had railed against the state of politics in Papua New Guinea suddenly went silent, even the anonymous and the vitriolic shut up.

Continue reading "Election 2017 – get rid of the lot of them and start again" »

Has the PNG national election been designed to fail?


I’VE been wondering about a few things that appear to be odd, and have reached the frightening conclusion that the 2017 national election is being deliberately set up to fail.

If I am right, then God save our Papua New Guinea.

Consider our present state of affairs. The PNG economy is on the brink of failure. The Central Bank has been printing money for some time now and public debt is around twice the national budget.

Critical information is being withheld, denying people truthful, accurate and much needed facts upon which to make reliable decisions.

Continue reading "Has the PNG national election been designed to fail?" »

A book to restore a proper balance between men & women


THE author of ‘Let the C word Run Free: Desperately Seeking Collaboration’ has now made the C word come to life.

Much collaboration has now culminated in this anthology – a first for all the women of Papua New Guinea.

Rashmii Amoah Bell, a well read and articulate essayist, is the esteemed editor of this new body of work. Copies of the essays she has written can be seen on the PNG Attitude blog.

In all of her well-articulated and sometimes satirical essays, the one thing that comes out most often is her patriotism and heart for her country – Papua New Guinea.

It was in 2015 that her essay on the C word was penned. One year later this book was born.

Continue reading "A book to restore a proper balance between men & women" »

Tales from the kiap times - Sewing up a DC3

Qantas DC3, PNG, 1950sBOB CLELAND

“JULIE, have you got a curved needle and some strong thread?” I asked.

“I think so, I’ll look. Why do you want it?”

“Because I want to sew up a DC3.”

“Oh…. You want to do what?”

While Julie rummaged in her sewing kit, I quickly told her the story.

“There. Will that do?” I wasn’t surprised that she found a needle, living on an outstation, Julie had just about everything associated with sewing.

It was 1959 and Julie and I lived in Balimo, a remote government post about 500 kilometres west of Port Moresby.

Continue reading "Tales from the kiap times - Sewing up a DC3" »

Two Melanesian films that come with high commendation


WELL Rose and I watched two most magnificent Melanesian films last year and both brought us to tears, so I reckon it's time for a short review.

The first was Mr Pip (yes, it came out three years ago but better late than never) starring Hugh Laurie and Bougainville actors Eka Darville, Xzannjah Matsi and Healesville Joel.

It is based on the novel by New Zealand writer Lloyd Jones and is set in Bougainville during the civil war in the 1990s. The film is marvellously shot and acted and the music is by Tim Finn of the band Crowded House.

Continue reading "Two Melanesian films that come with high commendation" »

Appalling treatment of women is not a cultural norm


The publication of My Walk to Equality – the first collection of women’s writing from Papua New Guinea – has been a landmark event. In planning the book, editor Rashmii Amoah Bell invited forewords from two Papua New Guinean women whose writing has impressed because of its candour, insight and intellectual honesty. To celebrate the anthology, today we publish Elvina Ogil’s contribution; tomorrow, Tanya Zeriga-Alone - KJ

IF PAPUA New Guinea is to claim its place among civilised nations, its women must walk with its men. Not behind, not beside but with.

When conceiving of a united nation of a thousand tribes and hundreds of languages, our forebears took the first steps in this walk, articulating the unequivocal role of women as equal partners in our development and progress in that magnificent document that is the Constitution of Papua New Guinea.

Our Constitution, richer than so many others in the sheer depth of rights it accords to its citizens, chief among them is its direction to equality.

Continue reading "Appalling treatment of women is not a cultural norm" »