PATRICK (BIG PAT) LEVO | PNG Post-Courier
PORT MORESBY – Down memory lane can only be a nostalgic yet lonesome place.
And the pages of time, soiled by the minutes of a bygone era, hold their own abundant place. And the space afforded in the liberty of the black and white typeface of a bold bygone era.
As these two oldies discovered when scrutinising the first issue of the PNG Post-Courier, time does dispense eternal friendships.
After many years of separation, with wizened bald patches and diminishing waistlines, the two old mates got together again to search for their bylines in the first ever Post-Courier edition of 1969.
They were young, daring and sparing of thought, but in their sprightly nuances, they forgot that the hot metal typesetting of yesteryear spared no-one, not even the brightest ink toasting spark.
Their impromptu meet and greet in the Post-Courier newsroom foyer created a mini sensation in Sela Haus, drawing curious stares from today’s generation of PC workers and editorial staff.
On the right is the aging but nonetheless effervescent Biga Lebasi of Suau in Milne Bay Province, and on the left is the equally ageless Sinclaire Solomon of Mengar village, Wewak, East Sepik.
A youngish Solomon rolled into the typewriter strewn and smoke filled newsroom at Lawes Road as a cadet in 1976, a year after PNG gained its Independence from Australia.
Lebasi was chief of staff of the Post-Courier, the first Papua New Guinean to hold that post and seemed generously aghast at the youthful exuberance of Solomon.
It became an affectionate friendship crafted out of crossword clues and the endless travails of the comical Bluey & Curley, the Les Dixon strip in the PC back then.
Over the seamless march of time, both have written their own eloquent chapters in their life stories as journalists and their endless anecdotes keep popping up on fresh pages almost as eternal as the sand on Wom Beach near Mengar or the waves that batter Suau.
Surprisingly in the historic 1969 copy is a black and white picture of Lebasi on a farm admiring a rather bemused ‘bulumakau’ (cow).
It’s his attire – short trousers with long white socks and shoes – that elicited giggles of guilt and uproarious laughter of disbelief to enlighten a rare reunion.
No wonder – 50 years on – that poor old quarantined cow was and remains rampantly bewildered, buried in history with bigger than bubbly Biga!