Resuscitating our economy – the Papua New Guinean dream
Election that secured O’Neill’s second term was chaotic

Featuring the work of the gutsy PNG author, Mr Baka Bina

Baka Bina  Sogeri 2014KEITH JACKSON

WE were nearing the end of the event (graciously funded by Paga Hill Estate) that marked the launch of the book, My Walk to Equality, in Port Moresby early in March.

A group of us were standing around having a last drink and finalising a robust discussion on the prospects of establishing a viable indigenous literature in Papua New Guinea.

“Anyway,” I remarked to Baka Bina,” if ever you need a hand just give me a yell.”

Whereupon Baka emitted an ear-shattering and protracted Eastern Highlands whoop that rattled the high ceilings of the elegant Stanley Hotel, toppled glasses off tables and had colleagues ducking for cover.

It was quite a yell.

Baka, one of PNG’s most prolific contemporary authors and as proud a man as you would ever meet, has not directly sought help but the other day – while checking my emails in the Belgian city of Antwerp – I came across a list of some of his books and thought, “Now these guys need some publicity.”

So here goes (if you wish to buy any of the books there is a link to Amazon and the author at the end of each description).

Antics of AlonaAntics of Alonaa Vol 1 by Baka Barakove Bina, illustrated by Eddie Kanaupa, 178 pages, ISBN-10 149975213X, anthology of stories with bonus lyrics of the traditional ballad Ghulo Sipaki from the Tokano area of Iufi-Iufa in the Eastern Highlands

An old man recounts the heydays of his warrior life including an episode where he fires an arrow at a, what he thought was a huge bumble bee which turned out to be a Japanese Zero fighter plane.

When you go to a foreign school, you mention simple things. Like, your parents know a pit latrine is toilet but at the American mission school they don't have toilets, they have bathrooms and they look nothing like pit latrines.

Your sister’s share of the booty from the hunt is the round head of a bird. Can she get a morsel of that capable of being eaten? Boys can be mean. And you tease an old man who you think is past it and nearly get an arrow in the head for your trouble.

This is a collection of six stories of what children, especially young boys, do in a Papua New Guinean rural village. They have to initiate their own fun in and around the grasslands, river banks and villages. Good days. Memorable days.

Purchase  from Amazon here or email Baka here

Man of CalibreMan of Calibre by Baka Barakove Bina, 274 pages, ISBN-10 1499751842, novella

A story set in the highlands of Papua New Guinea where people are coming to terms with new technology, concepts and language. Two men exchange harsh words and punches after a drinking binge and an innocent man's reputation is brought into disrepute.

The people from a neighbouring village make a fire for the two drunks to kill off and repair the reputation of the innocent man. The two men don't have the money to kill off the fire and it is the women who have to pool their money to kill do it and placate the neighbouring villagers.

Later the village proceeds with its own dispute settlement issues and a 'het pei' ceremony is arranged by the wife of one of the drunks who feels bad her husband was the one who brought the reputation of the innocent man into disrepute.

One of the drunks would call himself a man of calibre but perhaps the innocent person was the real man of calibre.

Purchase from Amazon here or email Baka here

Sweet Garaiina ApoSweet Garaiina Apo by Baka Barakove Bina, 238 pages, ISBN-10 1499752105, novella

A contemporary story based on the ever changing scene in a rapidly developing Papua New Guinea. It is based on a family tragedy where a mother contracts HIV/AIDS and her dying concern is about a child she gave away immediately after birth to hide her infidelity. She had a relationship with a European but the baby was jet black.

On her deathbed, she tasks another mixed race daughter, now grown up, to find the black one. It can cause trouble for her in the milieu of urban Port Moresby. But she has to find that girl with only a name to go by.

Purchase from Amazon here or email Baka here

Curse of the LamisiThe curse of the Lamisi by Baka Barakove Bina, cover artwork by Eddie Kanaupa, 90 pages, ISBN-10 1499741766, short story

Know why children are girls only. You could be living under the curse of the Lamisi. The author interweaves a local legend and to explain why an older man is still a bachelor boy. The twist to this story is to explain why a growing number of families have a large number of girl children.

Lamisi is an evergreen shrubby tree that bears red flowers, however the young shoots of the flower start out being pinkish.  Birdwing butterflies deposit their eggs on the leaves which have a bitter taste, so butterfly larvae and pupa grow without too much disturbance from birds. When the flowers bloom, it is a sight to see.

A great number of girls in the Goroka valley are named Lamiso or a girl is termed a Lamisi flower to note she is the beautiful one.

Purchase from Amazon here or email Baka here

Haffies Are MadeHaffies are made. They are not born by Baka Barakove Bina, illustrations by Eddie Kanaupa, 38 pages, ISBN-10 1499732988, short story

This is a story on the effects of smoking marijuana and consuming other drugs in Papua New Guinea. In the tropics, the land is lush. Marijuana plants grow profusely wherever the seeds are scattered, so they are readily available.

What the smokers don't have is knowledge on the harm that smoking marijuana. Children are vulnerable as they copy from the adults. In rural areas of PNG, they have little choice of role models.

I hope this book can be used in schools to stop young children from smoking cigarettes and marijuana.

Purchase from Amazon here or email Baka here


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

`Daniel Kumbon

I chuckled a bit when I visualised you selling your books at the market like a bag of kaukau (sweet potatoes).

Compare these few lines from my new book ‘Survivor: Alive In Mum’s Loving Arms.’ It is the description of women selling their produce at the Wabag town market in the early 90s.

‘Some women who came to sell their produce here still wore grass skirts. They squatted on the dirt behind the rows of healthy well-formed carrots, cabbages, lettuce, sweet potatoes, sugarcane and other produce and waited for buyers to come along - sometimes in vain.
There were no proper shelters to protect the women and their precious produce. When it rained the women stood up and protected their produce with their umbrellas. They stood motionless like cranes in a swamp waiting for fish - gradually growing numb, their bodies beginning to shake from cold and long hours of waiting in the rain.
If the women did not make any sales, they gathered their heaps of sweet potatoes or vegetables and took them home. Other vendors gave their stuff to relatives living in town hoping to receive some form of payment at a later date.
The Wabag town market presented a total picture of decay - of how government structures and systems had started to disintegrate all over the province and in fact the whole country immediately after attaining independence. The absence of the rule of law and order was evident in the stinking, rotting garbage heaps at the market gate.’

Baka, how about this for a PNG author trying to sell his or her books?

Baka Bina

Gee weez, Daniel and Lindsay, naispela long yutupela nating tru.

KJ thanks for the assist in publicity. I had wanted Phil to post them on the growing Pukpuk Publication (PP) list as as appended to Pukpuk Publication making mention that there are others of us who self publish and PP will add us to their list. I hope it will benefit in more self publishing and we ride on the tail of PP to get a mention. You have added another dimension to it.

Marketing and Networking are something not on my mind at the moment. I have promised myself to have 10 titles before I turn my attention to it. It is not a difficult target as I have 2 new titles (Novellas) around the corner and 1 more anthology and 2 short stories on the horizon. it is my yarn that if i go to the market with one bag of kaukau, I will sit there all day to sell the one item only and perhaps not make any money at the end of the day but if I go with one bag of a mixture of kaukau, banana, tomatoes and broccoli, there is a probability that I will have sold something and would return home with some money in the pocket. Archaic reasoning but that sounds good for me, someone else will come up with a best seller, they will have no need for this type of reasoning.

I make mention that I am doing an edit of Sweet Garaiina Apo and will re-publish that as a 2nd edition soon.

Learnt last Friday the World Vision (PNG) has a thought about settling up libraries in Elementary Schools with a target 500 books to start with. They will need PNG authored books targeted for that level. Watch out for their call and might I suggest that authors start thinking about that level of reading audience. We'll keep all posted on this.

We call the whoop 'Ganine' which is a tribal or clan mojo and the main word is a word that places emphasis on your origins. It can be a name of a place or thing that is unique or revered. Only certain people who feel they are up to it will make their duty to do the 'ganine' whoop. They are done to herald an end of a transaction. When visiting another place, it is obligatory to call out their ganine first and then your own follows after (protocol that is most times not followed and Sorry that I did not inquire if Rashmii or you had one when I did my Mitega Ghoiha Kupi. perhaps next time!).

Similar whoops in general jubilation by one or more persons is called a Ghamakilise and everyone can join in for the fun of it,yelling nothings.

Once again Seghane-ve.

Ed Brumby

My Apo, Baka's literary energy has not subsided. I hope that he wont mind me advising that more stories of Alonaa and two more novels are in the offing. Something to look forward to ....

Lindsay F Bond

Daniel, Buka and friends, never short on enthusiasm, always tall in intention, not only up-reaching in aspiration of your selves but heightening imagination of people worldwide.

Daniel Kumbon

Keith, you coming across a list of some of Baka's books as you looked at your email in Belgium reminds me of a Papua New Guinean who went into a bar in Germany where top PNG muscian George Telek's songs were playing.

I went into a bar in Mexico City where I saw a stunning photo of a Mendi man in traditional dress. My people also dress like that and I immediately felt homesick.

I noticed Sepik carvings in one of the episodes of 'Lie to Me' starring Tim Roth and felt proud.

When you see, hear or greet other PNGeans in distant lands it gives you that patriotic feeling.

Baka Bina and the rest of us PNG writers and artists will continue to need that exposure to international markets.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)