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86 posts from February 2017

Polye blasts O’Neill government for corruption, failing economy

Don Polye profileKEITH JACKSON

IN a nationally broadcast address as powerful as it was pointed, Papua New Guinea’s opposition leader Don Polye last night staked his claim for national leadership at only the second meeting of PNG’s press club in Port Moresby.

With just 21 members in the 111 seat parliament, Mr Polye has his work cut out in gleaning a win at June’s election but, as PNG election observers understand, the ability to form a government is won and lost more in the post-election bargaining and manoeuvring as it is at the polls themselves.

Commonly half the sitting members lose their seats at every national election and those that win are more often than not interested in the spoils of office rather than the responsibilities.

Mr Polye pulled no punches, attacking the O’Neill government for condoning corruption, wrecking the economy and underperforming on service delivery.

Continue reading "Polye blasts O’Neill government for corruption, failing economy" »

Projek Wantok – an idea for a PNG-Australia grassroots tie

Keith with Elizabeth & Willie KauageKEITH JACKSON

AN often remarked trait of Australians who have enjoyed an association with Papua New Guinea – especially we who were fortunate enough to spend time beyond the cities and towns – is that we forever carry with us an affection for those places and people with whom we found ourselves.

That is certainly my experience and it’s with great anticipation that tomorrow I make a return to Kundiawa, capital of the Simbu Province, a region where I spent three years of my life as a very young man and which I last visited exactly 50 years ago.

It does not seem nearly that long.

Those of us who knew the Simbu people, even in those very different colonial times, rapidly developed a respect for their enterprise, adaptability, ingenuity, hospitality and strong values.

Continue reading "Projek Wantok – an idea for a PNG-Australia grassroots tie" »

New memorial to George Tuckey consecrated in Kundiawa

George Tuckey at ASOPA 1944PETER TURNER

A NEW gravesite memorial for Patrol Officer George Charlton Tuckey (1913–46) was consecrated in Kundiawa yesterday.

George died in Kundiawa from tetanus which onset after he was gored by a cow on the then small government station.

When the Pacific War reached New Guinea in 1942, George was working at Wau with his wife and two young children.

He and his brother immediately joined the TPNG Volunteer Rifles and then the Australian Imperial Force and went into action against the Japanese. His brother, wounded on the Kokoda Track in 1942, returned to the front line only to be killed in action in Madang in 1944.

Continue reading "New memorial to George Tuckey consecrated in Kundiawa" »

The writers: Busa Wenogo - passionate, literate, balanced

Busa Jeremiah WenogoPHIL FITZPATRICK

PASSION is becoming a rare commodity in our new real world. And, where it is expressed, it often comes in a tempered, cheapened and commodified form.

We now have celebrities who are passionate about the latest whizz-bang technology or dietary fad. This new reality has flowed into journalism where a quest for the cheap magnetism of sensational banality has taken over.

These days you seldom read an essay or piece of journalism that could be described as impassioned. Passion seems to have abdicated to the world of social media but even there it is often clichéd, muddled and predictable.

And over the top. This is particularly so in Papua New Guinea. It is very rare, in both traditional and social media, to read anything that is passionate, literate and balanced at the same time.

Continue reading "The writers: Busa Wenogo - passionate, literate, balanced" »

Chief John has eyes firmly set on building a literary nation

Leilani & Keith at UPNGKEITH JACKSON

YESTERDAY, Sunday, the family and I headed out to the University of Papua New Guinea for a liklik lukluk.

I hadn’t been on campus since 1976, attending a small politics honours class with young men who went on to distinguished careers in politics or business or both.

They included Rabbie Namaliu, Ben Sabumei, the late Paula Pora and the late Utula Samana, all of whom I liked very much, and we were mentored by Professor Charles Rowley, a personal hero of mine for his scholarship and kindness, who had been principal of the Australian School of Pacific Administration during my two years there as a student.

Continue reading "Chief John has eyes firmly set on building a literary nation" »

There are silent tears at Papua New Guinea’s last page

Sunset at Rumginae HospitalKEVIN PONDIKOU

THE world is a book. And those who have not travelled have only read one page.

One day, if you're searching for a different perspective on life and an altruistic experience, I recommend spending some time in a little hospital far away from the concrete and the fast paced urban surrounds.

Turn the page with me as you leave the urban scenery, where everyone has a phone and the world happens only as it's updated on social media and the next moment only unfolds as you slide a finger over a touch screen.

Continue reading "There are silent tears at Papua New Guinea’s last page" »

University of Goroka welcomes students for 2017 academic year

University of GorokaBOMAI D WITNE

ORGANISATIONAL leaders play a major role in influencing the members and cultures of the institutions they lead.

Doing the same things in different ways is one of the hallmarks of creative and innovative minds. The management at the University of Goroka showed just that ability during the recent orientation week.

Corporate, private, civil and church organisations were invited to participate in the orientation program. These bodies showcased their products and services to university students and staff.

University council members led by Chancellor Joseph Sukianomb were on hand to meet and welcome students. They were accompanied by the national secretary of Justice and Attorney General Dr Lawrence Kalinoe and defence commander Colonel Walter Enuma.

Continue reading "University of Goroka welcomes students for 2017 academic year" »

Cr Ingrid supports female authors in Papua New Guinea

Cr Ingrid Jackson with a copy of My Walk to EqualityPETER GARDINER | Noosa News

COUNCILLOR Ingrid Jackson will strengthen Noosa's literary ties with Papua New Guinea.

She has travelled privately to Papua New Guinea for International Women's Day on Wednesday, 8 March, to launch My Walk to Equality, the first collection of writing by Papua New Guinean women.

The book’s editor, Rashmii Amoah Bell, asked Cr Jackson to represent her at the launch as she cannot attend.

"I was honoured to be invited to perform this function, as My Walk to Equality, a book of nearly 300 pages, is a landmark anthology in a country where the lot of women has been particularly difficult,” Cr Jackson said.

Continue reading "Cr Ingrid supports female authors in Papua New Guinea" »

PNG economy on the slide & media don’t seem to understand


MY third and final analysis of Papua New Guinea’s 2016 Article IV report from the International Monetary Fund focuses on fiscal and monetary policy.

The two previous explorations focused on PNG's growth rate being much lower than claimed by the O'Neill government and PNG's weak external position.

The IMF report estimated the 2016 budget deficit will be K628 million greater than estimated by the government (thus reaching 4.4% of GDP), which feeds into greater debt levels.

Government debt at the end of 2016 was estimated to be K967.3 million greater than stated by the government, and this did not include build-ups in off-budget debt such as the K3 billion in borrowings for Oil Search shares.

Continue reading "PNG economy on the slide & media don’t seem to understand" »

The writers: Iriani Wanma - the intricate skills of writing for children


THE Buk Bilong Pikinini sponsorship for writing for children instituted in 2014 was short-lived, exited without explanation and then graciously picked up by the Paga Hill Development Company each year since.

The 2014 award had pointed to a fertile area of literature unexplored by the Crocodile Prize and which has flourished since.

The underlying principle that children should be read to from a very early age, ideally beginning around the time they start to talk and comprehend words, underpinned the rationale for this award.

When they are able, children should also be encouraged to read for themselves so they develop reading as a lifetime habit. Ideally, amongst their reading, will be books with familiar themes preferably derived from their own society and culture.

Continue reading "The writers: Iriani Wanma - the intricate skills of writing for children" »

Return to Mosbi – a place once known so well, now hardly at all

Mosbi sunset from Royal Papua Yacht ClubKEITH JACKSON

BACK in the 1960s – I know I’m showing my age – you could not live in Port Moresby and live your life in a bubble.

The town, as it was then, was utilitarian, confronting, pragmatic and, culturally, barely part of Papua New Guinea at all.

It was a transit stop between somewhere else and adventure. More Cairns than Kandep. And many of us colonials had little taste for it. We preferred the outstations and the bush.

All that’s changed. Now expats can live a life transiting between secure apartment compound, secure office block and secure yacht club all in a secure alarm-buttoned, back-to-base connected SUV.

Continue reading "Return to Mosbi – a place once known so well, now hardly at all" »

The writers: Hazel Kutkue - deft & funny treatment of tough issues


BY 2015 we were getting used to Papua New Guinean women dominating the Crocodile Prize awards but were still puzzled why this should be so.

Our initial assumptions that female writers would need a helping hand, special treatment, had been thoroughly unproven.

It took us a while to realise that what we had done was provide women in Papua New Guinea with a means of self-expression, something hard to achieve in a male-dominated society.

This realisation was brought home recently by Rashmii Amoah Bell’s editing of the anthology of Papua New Guinean women writers, My Walk to Equality.

Continue reading "The writers: Hazel Kutkue - deft & funny treatment of tough issues" »

Preserving our old languages through today’s children

LanguagesGLORIA BAUAI | Loop PNG

MINORITY languages in the world today are dying out. And the future of their existence lies with the children of this generation.

April Hope, a language surveyor with the Summer Institute of Linguistics PNG says teaching children tokples (mother tongue) will go a long way towards preserving this country's diverse languages and cultures.

“Children are amazing language-learners, and it will be much easier for them to learn to speak their tokples fluently if that's the language their parents speak to them every day in their homes,” April said.

Continue reading "Preserving our old languages through today’s children" »

Irritated Don Polye says rivals use him as a ‘political commodity’

Don Polye profilePNG TODAY

OPPOSITION Leader Don Polye has warned his political opponents to stop using him as a “political commodity for their personal gain”.

Mr Polye issued the warning on Wednesday at a ceremony where supporters of his rival candidates at Upper Marient in Kandep defected vowed to support him in this year’s election.

“Our governor Peter Ipatas does not get the projects for his Irelya village in Enga Province on merit,” Mr Polye said.

“Ipatas uses me as a political commodity to gain them. He usually tells prime ministers including the current one that he will distract Polye from concentrating on toppling them.

Continue reading "Irritated Don Polye says rivals use him as a ‘political commodity’" »

The writers: Daniel Kumbon – master of the art of travel writing


THE Tourism, Arts and Culture award was a new category in the Crocodile Prize national literary competition in 2015, its inclusion coming after an offer by the Tourism Minister at the 2014 awards.

The award was intended to highlight writing related to travel and tourism.

Travel writing is a real art and some of the great travel writers became legends in their own right. What they do is present their subject in an entertaining, reflective and informative narrative.

An essential part of such writing is the 'back story’, linking the writer’s own experience to the travel narrative in a coherent and readable way that piques the reader’s curiosity. If not done well, the travel piece can read just like an advertisement.

Continue reading "The writers: Daniel Kumbon – master of the art of travel writing" »

Special ‘lease’ exploitation leads Malmal without land & bereft


THE Special Agriculture Business Lease (SABL) practice is having a direct impact on the environment and cultural values, says customary landowner Anna Sipona.

Anna comes from Malmal village in East New Britain Province where logging has exploited the environment.

She explained that their forest has disappeared under SABL and the people in her village live as if they don’t own land.

The land in Malmal is under a 99-year lease agreement and the people have been told by the developers that their land is now state land.

Continue reading "Special ‘lease’ exploitation leads Malmal without land & bereft" »

Simbu Administration to advance dialogue on Wantok project

SWA team with Jack Kupa in yellow shirtFRANCIS NII

SIMBU provincial administrator Joe Kunda Naur MBE has assigned Simbu provincial events coordinator Jack Kupa to work with the Simbu Writers Association to open dialogue on Kundiawa-Noosa relationship during Keith Jackson’s imminent visit to Simbu Province.

On Tuesday Jimmy Awagl and I representing SWA met with Mr Kunda in his office at Kondom Agaundo House in Kundiawa.

After firing some missiles at us on past matters he wasn’t happy about, the Administrator acknowledged the work that SWA and Simbu Children Foundation have being doing for Simbu and said great things can be achieved through partnership, the right ethics, diplomacy and following proper protocols.

Continue reading "Simbu Administration to advance dialogue on Wantok project" »

Sir Michael Ogio: 'We have lost a peacemaker & a great statesman'

The late Sir Michael Ogio and President John MomisJOHN MOMIS

IT IS with the greatest of sadness that I mourn with the rest of Bougainville the passing of one of this nation’s finest statesmen, the late Governor-General His Excellency Sir Michael Ogio.

The late Sir Michael Ogio served this nation and the people of Bougainville with commitment and great distinction.

His long career began as an educator, politician and peacemaker and finally he held the highest office in the land as Governor-General.

Sir Michael was a staunch Catholic and family man; he was a man amongst men, a leader with a heart for his people. His selflessness and Christian values were the hallmark of his jovial attitude to life, which he lived to the full.

Continue reading "Sir Michael Ogio: 'We have lost a peacemaker & a great statesman'" »

The writers: Diddie Jackson - words to take your breath away

Jackson_Diddie Kinamun Jackson in her award dressPHIL FITZPATRICK

DIDDIE Kinuman Jackson was late to arrive at the 2014 Crocodile Awards at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby. We had already presented the awards and assumed she was unable to attend.

However, as we stood around nibbling the finger food and sipping drinks, Diddie arrived accompanied by her parents. All three wore colour-coordinated clothes - beautifully blue, brown and white patterned dresses and shirt.

Diddie had clearly been anticipating the award night but something had made her late. So we held a small post-ceremony in a corner of the room under the amused and watchful eye of Sir Paulias Matane, that evening himself a recipient of an award for his long contribution to Papua New Guinean literature.

Continue reading "The writers: Diddie Jackson - words to take your breath away" »

Back home & elections due, Peter O’Neill spends up on education


PAPUA New Guinea’s prime minister Peter O’Neill has expressed confidence that he will return to power and form a new government after this year’s national elections.

Speaking at a ceremony committing a further K500,000 in funding to the new Apenda Provincial High School in his Ialibu-Pangia electorate, Mr O’Neill said his government will continue its free education and health care policies – even as the policies are creaking at the seams.

“The People’s National Congress Party-led government is fully committed to our tuition fee free education policy and to building education from the grass-roots up,” he said.

Continue reading "Back home & elections due, Peter O’Neill spends up on education" »

How a social mapping could help you win the 2017 elections

Martyn NamorongMARTYN NAMORONG | Medium

I RECENTLY attended a lecture on social mapping by Dr Andrew Moutu, an eminent scholar of Papua New Guinea’s identity narratives.

Dr Moutu’s lecture centred around the rules that set the boundaries of “insiders” and “outsiders” in terms of how tribal people present themselves to companies and the government.

Whilst Dr Moutu’s dialectic focused on the corporatisation of tribal groups to attain legal visibility, I was fascinated by how his discourse could be applied in the context of PNG’s 2017 general elections.

Just as in the context of resource extractions, divisions are created in the boundaries of social groupings; there is disaggregation of social groups into “supporters” of candidates.

Continue reading "How a social mapping could help you win the 2017 elections" »

The writers: Agnes Maineke – a gentle woman of great resilience


I HAVE a very nice fibre bag woven and coloured in island style given to me by Agnes Maineke at the 2014 Crocodile Prize awards in Port Moresby. It is a reminder of the diminutive and gentle woman who won that year’s short story award.

Meeting people like Agnes, who have experienced great trauma in their lives, is a humbling experience. At first sight it is hard to imagine the strength and determination that resides within her.

The Bougainville civil war of the 1990s brought to the surface a well of strength and resilience, and she needed every drop of it.

Agnes is not alone of course. Many ordinary people have had similar experiences and have survived as different and sturdier people.

Continue reading "The writers: Agnes Maineke – a gentle woman of great resilience" »

Writing showing pride in nation without naivety or sentimentality


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 Pukpuk Publications. The book will be launched in Port Moresby on 8 March and in Brisbane on 16 March

IN a country that boasts over 800 languages and has a strong tradition of oral history and storytelling, it is unsurprising that My Walk to Equality is thoroughly engaging, entertaining and thought provoking.

That it is written entirely by Papua New Guinean women adds another layer of depth and complexity.

PNG women are an amazing breed; they carry a burden of family and community responsibility that encompasses wage-earning, fruit and vegetable farming, animal husbandry, childcare, aged care and home maintenance.

Continue reading "Writing showing pride in nation without naivety or sentimentality" »

A fit John Momis urges Bougainville to get ready for referendum

John Momis media conferenceANTHONY KAYBING

BOUGAINVILLE president John Momis, just back from hospitalisation in the Philippines, says the people of the autonomous province have a dream to create a new socio-economic political and moral order as they stand on the threshold of a referendum on independence.

An energised Dr Momis said the dream is within the reach of the Bougainville people but they first have a responsibility to implement the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

“Undeniably, we have problems on Bougainville but we have also achieved a lot since the inception of the Autonomous Bougainville Government,” Dr Momis said. “We now have the power to develop our own education and health policies and others such as finance and mining.”

Continue reading "A fit John Momis urges Bougainville to get ready for referendum" »

The writers: Sil Bolkin – an essayist of substance & significance

Charles Lepani & Sil BolkinPHIL FITZPATRICK

KELA Kapkora Sil Bolkin has been a consistent and popular writer for many years and his work submitted to the Crocodile Prize began has consistently been of high quality.

He has also authored a significant book, launched in Canberra in 2013, The Flight of Galkope, a magical combination of Simbu history and myth brought to modern times with a thoughtful discussion about the prodigious Simbu diaspora.

Sil never ceases to surprise with the range of topics he addresses in his essays. Stylistically, he walks in the footsteps of the great essayists.

His work is informative, topical, funny or quirky and, very importantly, offers a personal touch. He writes in a style we are beginning to recognise as from the ‘Simbu School’ of writing. He has no respect for stultifying political correctness.

Continue reading "The writers: Sil Bolkin – an essayist of substance & significance" »

It’s Friday night, & Port Moresby General has no bandages


THERE was something of a crisis at the Port Moresby General Hospital early last Friday night.

The weekend had arrived – not to mention the onset of the usual Friday night procession of smashes, clashes and crashes – and Dr Sam Yockopua, the hospital’s chief of emergency medicine and 18-year public health veteran – was alarmed.

So alarmed, in fact, that he took to Facebook with a public appeal for help.

“SOS call for kind donations,” he wrote. “As at 6:35pm, after supervision of the pm shift work, at POM Gen Emergency Department; we have none of the following….”

Continue reading "It’s Friday night, & Port Moresby General has no bandages" »

Australia’s media begin to focus on PNG’s corruption & waste

Piers AkermanPIERS AKERMAN | The Sunday Telegraph

Published under the headline ‘PNG waste stretches neighbourly concern’

GLOBE-trotting fashionista foreign minister Julie Bishop needs to explain why Australian taxpayers are bankrolling Papua New Guinea’s vanity projects when that nation is economically febrile — if it has not already fallen into the pit — and our own economy is ­wallowing.

Numerous companies doing business with the PNG government have not been paid monies owed, the government itself has not met bills for its own instrumentalities, and we are picking up the cheque.

Last week both the PNG Parliament House and the Governor-General’s residency had their electricity cut off ­because of more than $320,000 in unpaid bills.

Continue reading "Australia’s media begin to focus on PNG’s corruption & waste" »

The writers: Leonard Roka – Our esteemed ‘Captain Bougainville’

Leonard Roka's favourite photoPHIL FITZPATRICK

IN early 2013, the Crocodile Prize for Literature entered its initial year under the administration of the just-formed Papua New Guinea Society of Writers, Editors and Publishers.

Unfortunately things did not run smoothly in the new organisation and one result was that the number of entries fell far below that of previous years.

The Society was also unable to secure sponsors for a number of award categories, nor could it secure funding for the annual writers’ workshop.

As it became apparent that the project was failing, emergency measures were taken and a small group – which came to be known as the Crocodile Prize Organising Group, or COG – seized control.

Continue reading "The writers: Leonard Roka – Our esteemed ‘Captain Bougainville’" »

Electoral desire, ignorance & enlightenment: The view from Lufa

Lufa Lekena warrior from Hella villageJEFFREY FEBI

PAPUA New Guinea is only four months away from the 2017 national election with voting starting on 24 June and ending on 8 July.

The next crop of legislators are somewhere in those thousands of men and women of all persuasions who are campaigning hard and hoping to be elected.

Whether the next parliament will be any better than the 2012-17 parliament is easy to predict.

Highly unlikely.

In the Lufa Open Electorate of the Eastern Highlands we are anticipating a long-awaited change of the guard which could set solid foundations for our journey further into the 21st century.

Continue reading "Electoral desire, ignorance & enlightenment: The view from Lufa" »

A Kiap’s Chronicle: 13 – Dreikikir

Map_Dreikikir regionBILL BROWN MBE

I HAD only been six weeks at Vanimo Patrol Post when I was transferred to Aitape in October 1955 to take over the Sub-District.

In those days, the huge Sepik District had six sub-districts (Aitape, Angoram, Lumi, Maprik, Telefomin and Wewak), each under the control of an Assistant District Officer, who was a power in the land.

ADO’s told people what to do and they did things themselves. They were the peacemakers and the peacekeepers, the law enforcers, the senior police officers, the District Court magistrates, the gaolers, the arbitrators, the counsellors and the mentors.

I was five months as acting ADO at Aitape before I reverted back to Patrol Officer, making way for ADO Arthur (AT) Carey, who had been moved to Aitape to make way for Fred (FPC) Kaad to take over at Maprik.

Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 13 – Dreikikir" »

The writers: Arnold Mundua – forester who keeps traditions alive


IN 2014 the Cleland Family Award for Heritage Writing in the Crocodile Prize received a record number of entries.

This was a breakthrough. When Bob Cleland first proposed the award we wondered whether it would spark interest amongst writers who seemed to prefer contemporary themes.

It did and the judges were delighted – eventually whittling the entries down to six which were presented to Bob for the final determination of a winner.

In choosing the six finalists the judges were mindful of Bob’s original intention that this award contribute to recording cultural practises and beliefs that are now rarely practised and fading in people’s memories.

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Elections coming: We need our own version of Brexit & Trumpism


IN a mature democracy what has transpired under the reign of the current government would trigger dissent among the citizens.

This would be especially the case in its handling of major corruption cases, massive land grabbing orchestrated by foreigners and government officials, the financing of infrastructure projects and the struggling economy itself.

The students strike at UPNG last year led for a time looked like setting off a chain reaction that could potentially cause the downfall of the government. It did not and is now just another chapter in our nation’s tumultuous history.

Continue reading "Elections coming: We need our own version of Brexit & Trumpism" »

PNG has lost the power to pay its bills as cash runs out

LinesmanROWAN CALLICK | The Australian

ELECTRICITY supplies to Papua New Guinea’s parliament house, the national police headquarters, and government house have been disconnected for non-payment of bills.

PNG Power Ltd — the country’s monopoly, state-owned company responsible for the generation, transmission, distribution and retail of electricity — said these institutions owe it about $450,000.

The bills have not been paid since last November.

The institutions have been closed since they were disconnected on Tuesday, leaving them without lighting, air-conditioning and telecommunications.

Continue reading "PNG has lost the power to pay its bills as cash runs out" »

Is Papua New Guinea outgrowing Australia’s backyard?

China_Papua_New_GuineaGRANT WYETH | The Diplomat

AUSTRALIA’S once secure sphere of influence in the South Pacific is coming under increasing threat from expanding Chinese activity in the region.

In particular China is showing a strong desire to engage in a number of projects and partnerships within Papua New Guinea, a country that Australia has maintained a dominant influence over since it granted it independence in 1975.

Despite Australia’s belief that PNG is a strategic part of its “backyard,” it is only natural that as PNG develops greater economic capabilities it will undoubtedly seek a wider range of strategic partners of its own.

Continue reading "Is Papua New Guinea outgrowing Australia’s backyard?" »

Sister town is doable, so why can’t Simbu government embrace it?


Keith Jackson AM and Cr Ingrid Jackson are ready to advance discussions on a Kundiawa-Noosa sister town relationship, but do Simbu Administrator Joe Kunda Naur MBE and Governor Hon Noah Kool have the wisdom to embrace the concept for the benefit of the Simbu people?

This is particularly relevant as the whole concept falls within the provincial government’s own Tourism, Arts and Culture Policy launched in Kundiawa just a few months ago.

Last Tuesday, while Simbu Writers Association delegates were waiting in the corridor of Kondom Agaundo House in Kundiawa to have an audience with the Simbu Provincial Administrator, a follow up to the letter that we had delivered the week before, the email signal on my mobile phone triggered.

The email was from Keith and I was surprised and at the same time excited when I read it.

Continue reading "Sister town is doable, so why can’t Simbu government embrace it?" »

At home with my Melanesian values; no matter where I am


AS we do in today’s dynamic employment environment, I recently updated my professional profile or curriculum vitae (CV).

Having gone through this exercise, I realised that I’d omitted a major part of my life.

Like with most people, my CV emphasised the educational institutions I’d attended, the positions I’d held, my career successes and influential people I’d crossed paths with.

It focused on the learning, skills and qualifications an employer might be interested in. It captured what I can do and how I do it.

But it was void on the matters of who I am and why I do the things I do.

Continue reading "At home with my Melanesian values; no matter where I am" »

Using imagination, seizing opportunity, creating something better


WINSTON Churchill’s aphorism “the empires of the future are the empires of the mind” brings into view possibilities yet to be realised.

He uttered those words when space exploration was a dim possibility, the digital revolution an impossible dream and the scope of advances in modern technology unknown.

But through sheer power of the imagination, people were able to dream of possibilities and create things that had previously not existed.

Humans were bold thinkers who could imagine new horizons with unlimited opportunities.

Continue reading "Using imagination, seizing opportunity, creating something better" »

Paga Hill back in the news as Minister accused of baseless attack

Justin Tkatchenko Gummi FridrikssonKEITH JACKSON

THE Paga Hill Development Company is contemplating legal action against government minister Justin Tkatchenko after he attacked the treatment of squatters who were removed from Paga Hill to enable a major urban development in Port Moresby.

Tkatchenko (far right) is a local parliamentarian in Port Moresby and is believed to be seeking re-election at national elections in June this year.

The company accused Tkatchenko of diverting attention from his own inaction and “stirring the political pot for [his] own selfish purposes.”

In a letter released to the media, CEO Gudmundur (Gummi) Fridriksson (above) and director Stanley Kuli Liria demand that Tkatchenko immediately retract what they refer to as “defamatory and baseless statements in relation to our squatter resettlement initiative and title acquisition” by the end of today.

Continue reading "Paga Hill back in the news as Minister accused of baseless attack" »

Seeking the long lost relatives of Tom Low (or Lowe) of Liot

Tom Low[e] of the Manus Western  IslandsKEITH JACKSON

NOW here’s a challenge our readers may be able to solve. It concerns a man named Tom Low (or Lowe), his long dead father and his search for relatives.

Reader Dr Mark Schubert of Brisbane was recently at Riuriu Village on Liot (also known as Boudeuse) Island in the remote Western islands of Manus Province.

While there, Mark was approached by Tom (pictured right) who was born in 1932 to a mother from the Western Islands  and an Australian father from Brisbane - a man called Low (or Lowe).

Tom’s father was managing Mal Plantation in the Western Islands at the time and it was pretty idyllic, if remote, life until 1942 when Japanese troops invaded.

Tom's father, along with a group of other Australians, fled south from the Western Islands to Wewak, only to be captured and killed there by the Japanese.

Continue reading "Seeking the long lost relatives of Tom Low (or Lowe) of Liot" »

The writers: Lapieh Landu – a poet of elegance & strength


LAPIEH Landu won the inaugural prize for women’s writing in the first Crocodile Prize in 2011.

In 2013 the category was retired because the women writers of Papua New Guinea had clearly demonstrated that they did not need any special consideration.

The women had shown this in overwhelming style by taking out the majority of the prizes in the 2012 contest.

Winning the poetry prize in 2013 against formidable writers like Michael Dom, Jeff Febi and “the bush poet” Jimmy Drekore was a considerable achievement.

Continue reading "The writers: Lapieh Landu – a poet of elegance & strength" »

New Zealand says it’s partnering Bougainville “for the long haul”

Minister McCully and Buka Town Mayor John AngamataANTHONY KAYBING

THE launch of the new Buka urban council office complex this week will ensure the continuing progress of the town’s facelift.

The building, costing K600,000, was co-funded by the New Zealand and Australian governments - and New Zealand's foreign minister, Murray McCully says his nation is assisting Bougainville "for the long haul".

Buka town mayor John Angamata thanked the governments for funding the building which would go a long way in the drive to develop Buka town.

“Our partners have always been an integral part of the development on Bougainville and we are very appreciative of this,” Mr Angamata said.

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Dual PNG citizenship kicks in next month: Australians can apply


PAPUA New Guinea’s foreign affairs and immigration minister Rimbink Pato has announced administrative arrangements are being finalised for dual citizenship to become a reality in March.

"Dual citizenship is a new concept for PNG and creates great opportunities for our people at home and around the world,” Mr Pato said.

"Through dual citizenship our best and brightest can retain their connection with their homeland and not be hampered by bureaucracy.

"With dual citizenship we are better able to attract skilled workers who will be able to stay and build a home in PNG but still be able to return with ease to their place of birth to see family.

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As elections loom, PNG's weak economy needs urgent attention


PAPUA New Guinea’s international economic situation is much more frail than the picture presented by the O'Neill government, a recent International Monetary Fund report indicates.

Calling PNG’s foreign reserves position 'weak', the IMF said the country has less than one-third the recommended level in its international bank account.

And this is despite the current foreign exchange rationing that is hurting business, investment and jobs.

PNG claims it has foreign reserves to cover 13 months of imports but the independent umpire, the IMF, says the figure is only 3.2 months. The suggested level for a country like PNG is around 10 months.

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Is Australia's detention regime a crime against humanity?

Manus detention centreBEN DOHERTY | The Guardian | Extract

AUSTRALIA’S offshore immigration detention regime could constitute a crime against humanity, a petition before the International Criminal Court from a coalition of legal experts has alleged.

On Monday morning, a 108-page legal submission from the Global Legal Action Network (Glan) and the Stanford International Human Rights Clinic was submitted to the court, detailing what the network describes as the “harrowing practices of the Australian state and corporations towards asylum seekers”.

The petition submits the office of the prosecutor of the ICC should open an investigation into possible “crimes against humanity committed by individuals and corporate actors”.

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Simbu to receive KJ and Cr Ingrid - & what about a sister town?


THE publisher of PNG Attitude and friend of Simbu and Papua New Guinea, Keith Jackson AM, and his family, are making a special trip to Kundiawa in early March.

Keith will be accompanied by his wife, Councillor Ingrid Jackson, son Ben Jackson, his partner Becky Finzel and their three-year old daughter Leilani.

Members of the Simbu Writers Association are well prepared for this visit and are urging the Simbu Provincial Government to officially receive them.

Keith and Ingrid will be travelling from Brisbane to Port Moresby where they will meet members of the PNG Attitude family.

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Was the Manus Island gulag Peter O’Neill’s idea?

The concentration campPHIL FITZPATRICK

IN early 2013, when Australia’s incumbent Labor government was busily self-destructing and it looked certain the Liberals would win the upcoming election, Papua New Guinea’s prime minister, Peter O’Neill, was anxiously trying to contact opposition leader Tony Abbott to arrange a meeting in Port Moresby.

Abbott was happy to travel to PNG to talk to O’Neill but was firmly under the thumb of his micro-managing chief of staff, Peta Credlin, and she forbade it.

The opposition leader had been hammering the Australian public with simplistic slogans, including his moronic ‘Stop the Boats’. Apparently this is what O’Neill wanted to talk to him about.

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Itching for money, gold digger parents compromise their daughters


IN this modern era, most parents discharge their parental duties with diligence and aspire that their children complete school and craft a career in life.

But conversely, some mothers chew tons of betel nut, smoke like highlands fires and gamble the family’s savings to deficit.

And some fathers fall for the lure of sex workers, fleecing their mates, drink their heads off and leave nothing behind in the trough of life.

In fact, it does seem that most parents sit on their backsides and care little about giving their children a decent formal education.

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