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The lure of the ‘kaikaiman’ – and the courage to speak & write truth

Animals hunting in packs – in villages as well as in towns

Baka Bina
Baka Bina


PORT MORESBY - Emily Bina would travel from her school at Kila Kila to get to university three times a week using three lots of buses: from Kila Kila to Manu Autoport; from Manu Autoport to Gordons; and from Gordons to the University of PNG.

Commuters jostling to get on the buses are a constant challenge at each bus stop, especially, when schoolchildren are out schools in the afternoons. These times are a bonanza for pickpockets.

Ten years ago Emily wrote about this in a poem, reproduced below, which has just been published in our joint collection of short stories and poetry, 'Musings from Sogopex', available from Amazon.

'Lo, the Pick Pocket' is Emily’s message to both criminals and to the rest of humankind. We ordinary folk must not give these thugs the opportunity to prey on us. If we use public spaces, we must be vigilant.

The problem amongst males is growing alarmingly. Males from as young as 10 to as old as 50 smoke marijuana (spak brus) in broad daylight. In the cities and towns, we have many zombies, men and boys who act like animals and hunt in packs.

We feel sorry for our women and girls in public but often we can do very little as these animals do anything to look after their own, unless there are courageous men nearby.

In the villages, it is not any better. I have been collecting anecdotes for my next book and women from my village have related to me that they are scared to even go to their own gardens alone. 

If they do they are in danger of being raped by red-eyed boys whose brains have been parked elsewhere.

In days gone by, these same young men would have shown the utmost respect to all women and girls.

In her well-received PNG Attitude essay, ‘Hey men, let’s make our streets and buses safe’, Betty Wakia raised an issue that will get out of hand soon if it hasn't already.

Like Emily says in her poem, sometimes you wish these louts would have to pick their teeth off the ground.

Anyway, here’s the poem:

Lo! the Pick Pocket


You pick on the weak and the flustered,
You pick on the old and the unwary,
You pick on the dimdims, the dumdums,
You pick at Koki, you pick at Gordons.

You pick mobile phones and wallets,
You pick two kina and school books,
You pick the students and the workers,
You pick at the major minor bus stop.

You pick bilums and school bags,
You pick shirt pockets and six pockets,
You pick the front and the back,
You pick for anything,
You pick for your life.

You pick with the fingers,
You pick with the razor,
You pick with a pack,
You pick for your bread and for your butter.

You pick for the Nambis and you smile ‘em up,
You pick the Mamose and you glee ‘em up,
You pick the NGI and you look ‘em up,
You pick for the Papuans and you shout ‘em up,
You pick the unwary Highlander n you skin ‘em up,
You pick the wary Highlander and Low!
You pick your ego;
You pick your teeth on the ground.


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Daniel Kumbon

Women lived in much fear in Port Moresby in the 1980s. In 1985 the Army was deployed on the streets to maintain a curfew to curb the lawlessness. Countless women were raped in their homes.

I took my wife to the city for the first time amidst all these problems. I mention all this in my book ‘I Can See My Country Clearly Now’ which can be accessed freely above.

I expressed my anger at the attacks on innocent women in a poem which I published itin the UPNG Enga Students Association Yearbook.

I also recently republished it in my book, 'Can’t Sleep’ which is a compilation of poems, essays and satire written by Engans and non Engans living in the province. Its available on Amazon and other book dealers.

The Poem....

I had flown before with childish glee
This time in the company of a loved one
in fear
Sipping orange juice
was like a short lived
Dendrobium Engae in full blossom
Flying to the place where PIR men
walk the streets
the smile from the hostess
on Air Niugini’s flight 155 comforts
But is that smile a silhouette from a lady
trained to smile?
Concealing peril lived by women in Moresby?

Ah.. to Australia where dingoes attack in packs
To Egypt where locusts destroy in swarms
To South America where piranha infest brown rivers
To Africa where hyenas hunt in packs
And to Port Moresby where
Vicious packs force animal desire
on defenceless women

Think then
At the base of a hill digging kaukau
in a canoe catching fish
strolling along the beach
collecting shells
in a house chewing buai
Live freely a rapist’s own
Sister, mother or wife
Do not enslave other women
Behind locked doors
Set them free
Let the be
To roam free

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