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97 posts from September 2019

PNG in 'economic hole' says new treasurer

Ian Ling-Stuckey
 Ian Ling-Stuckey - "The PNG  economy has been struggling and bleeding. Budget prospects for 2019 are extremely difficult. There is bad news coming"

NEWS DESK | Radio New Zealand | Edited

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea is in an "increasingly fragile fiscal position" and an "economic hole", according to PNG's new Treasury Minister Ian Ling-Stuckey.

The precarious situation was revealed by a check of the government's finances by treasury and economic officials.

Continue reading "PNG in 'economic hole' says new treasurer" »

O’Neill continues to deceive on district funding

Peter O'Neill
Peter O'Neill has been been exaggerating the value of funding he provided for district development


MICHIGAN, USA - Former prime minister Peter O’Neill seems slow to understand the implications of the reality that he is no longer the leader of Papua New Guinea.

He thinks that when new prime minister James Marape attempts to pass legislation that he disagrees with, that he can tell the untruths he was able to get away with during his seven years in power.

Continue reading "O’Neill continues to deceive on district funding" »

Bride Price

Bride priceSAMUEL MORI

My mother was bought,
With items traditional dearly sought,
Big fat pigs, their tusks and other shells,
Many an item from far coastal lands,
For these were things of value,
To the fathers of me and you

My wife was bought,
With items less traditionally sought,
Money and beer,
Many an item of modern-times dear,
For these are things of value,
To people like me and you

Continue reading "Bride Price" »

Did 'presource curse' just deliver a pile of dung?

Continue reading "Did 'presource curse' just deliver a pile of dung?" »

New blog design has benefits for mobile readers

PNG Attitude as it now appears on mobile devices


NOOSA – I’m guessing that PNG Attitude’s first design change in six years will bring with it a ‘shock of the new’ feeling for many readers, but it also has some really tangible advantages.

Perhaps the most important of these is that the design change manifests itself as a particular improvement for the hugely increased number of readers (and especially the 6,200 followers on Twitter) who since 2013 have begun to access the blog on their mobile phones.

Previously, the mobile blog screen appearance was a miniature version of the larger scale PC presentation, and pretty difficult to read and to add comments to. Now it’s in a much more friendly format.

Continue reading "New blog design has benefits for mobile readers" »

Aita’s memorial for civil war dead brings closure

Maika Somi
Chief Maika Somi - "“We were caught off guard,” he recalls, “people did not have time to take cover"

NEWS DESK | International Committee of the Red Cross

GENEVA - Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the rugged ranges of Wakunai, the people of the village of Aita were forced to abandon their subsistence way of life and flee into the mountains.

It was during the Bougainville civil war of the 1990s and Aita’s 3,000 people had to escape the deadly bullets of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.

They had lived safely in the tropical jungle until the fateful afternoon of 17 May 1992, when a band of rowdy soldiers attacked their camp while the villagers were celebrating the region's self-proclaimed independence day.

Continue reading "Aita’s memorial for civil war dead brings closure" »

Simbu school debating contest is more than hot air

Audience 1
Audience members enjoy the debates and quizzes at a competition that started because of the unfriendly Simbu topography


KUNDIAWA - What started as a debating and quiz competition at Wandi Primary School due to lack of sporting facilities has developed into a successful annual event in the Kundiawa-Gembogl District of Simbu Province.

When teacher Fred Tovili, originally from West New Britain, was appointed as the school's sports coordinator, he could not organise sporting activities for the students because of the lack of suitable land.

Continue reading "Simbu school debating contest is more than hot air" »

Lady in mourning captivates me at the Enga show

Kumbon - Engan woman in mourning
"The mourning woman brought back vivid memories of my own mother dressed exactly the same when my baby brother, Nuamb, died nearly 60 years ago"


WABAG – It’s too easy to forget and slowly lose some of Papua New Guinea’s authentic traditional practices.

This realisation came to me at the recent 25th Enga Cultural Show as I stood intrigued by a lady covered from head to foot in white clay who was sitting with four other women in a booth at the far end of the showground.

She was wearing many white necklaces made with ripe seeds - or Jobs Tears - harvested from a plant called waku that grows wild in old abandoned gardens.

Continue reading "Lady in mourning captivates me at the Enga show" »

Stark images of Bougainville’s ‘blood generation’

Gori standing in Buka passage (Taloi Havini & Stuart Miller)
Gori standing in Buka passage (Taloi Havini & Stuart Miller)

| National Gallery of Victoria

MELBOURNE - The National Gallery of Victoria recently acquired three powerful and disarming photographs from the series Blood Generation, 2009–11, by Bougainville-born artist Taloi Havini and Australian photographer Stuart Miller.

This important series is dedicated to the ‘blood generation’ of young men and women born during the bitter and prolonged war between Papua New Guinea and the people of Bougainville (1989–98).

Continue reading "Stark images of Bougainville’s ‘blood generation’" »

Remarkable ‘Melanesians’ found in Malaysia jungle

Batek Melanesian people of Malaysia (Dr Patrick Pikacha)
The Batek people of the Malaysian hinterland  who bear a striking resemblance to the people of Melanesia (Dr Patrick Pikacha)


DUBLIN, IRELAND - Earlier this year, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation published an article by Caroline Tiriman in Tok Pisin entitled, ‘Ol Melanesian Pipal blong Asia ['The Melanesian People of Asia'].

I was struck by the resemblance of the Batek people of Malaysia pictured in the article to the Melanesian people we know in Papua New Guinea and nearby countries in the Pacific.

Continue reading "Remarkable ‘Melanesians’ found in Malaysia jungle" »

Bougainville’s referendum: Part 3 – The future

Marape Momis
James Marape and John Momis - "Both governments must be prepared to negotiate in good faith whatever the outcome. They must be ready to negotiate hard with the aim of getting an outcome that is acceptable to both sides" (John Momis)

JOHN MOMIS | Bougainville President

This is the last of three edited extracts of Dr Momis’s recent speech to the Papua New Guinea parliament in which he addressed the history, current state and what processes will follow upon November’s referendum on Bougainville’s political future

PORT MORESBY - The provisions of the referendum on Bougainville’s political future leave the outcome to be negotiated between the Papua New Guinea and Bougainville governments, with the national parliament having the final say on what happens.

This means that some time will be needed after the referendum to negotiate and decide what happens next.

Continue reading "Bougainville’s referendum: Part 3 – The future" »

Truth will set free the people of West Papua

Parkop - Juffa Parkop lead march
Governors Gary Juffa and Powes Parkop lead the West Papua freedom march on Monday


PORT MORESBY - The right to self-determination is not just a universal declaration provided in Article 1 of the United Nation Charter, it’s also a right promulgated by God when he got Moses to tell Pharaoh, ‘Let my people go!’

Thank you Governor  Gary Juffa for your continuous support for our people of West Papua. You have never withered and I salute you. You are a champion of our people.

I thank prime minister James Marape for the brave stand he has taken. We are a manifestation of that stand that we won’t stand by and allow our people to be killed and oppressed.

Continue reading "Truth will set free the people of West Papua" »

Mountain of allegations about MRDC scandal

Mekere Morauta (2)
Sir Mekere Morauta - New revelations affirm prime minister Marape’s decision to hold an inquiry into MRDC


PORT MORESBY - New information about the scandal-plagued Mineral Resources Development Corporation has become available, reinforcing the urgent need for an inquiry into its operations and the status of the hundreds of millions of kina it manages on behalf of landowner companies.

There is now a mountain of allegations about MRDC and its landowner subsidiaries. I expect that in the coming weeks more will be revealed about their dubious activities and the real value of the investments they have made, purportedly in the interest of landowners.

Continue reading "Mountain of allegations about MRDC scandal" »

Bougainville’s referendum: Part 2 – The status quo

Bougainville 2016JOHN MOMIS | Address to the Papua New Guinea Parliament

PNG Attitude is publishing edited extracts of Dr Momis’s address in three parts representing the history, the present and the future of November’s referendum on Bougainville’s political future

PORT MORESBY - The referendum on independence for Bougainville is the third pillar of the peace agreement between the PNG government and Bougainville leaders signed on 30 August 2001.

The referendum is being held in accordance with the agreement from late November to early December.

Continue reading "Bougainville’s referendum: Part 2 – The status quo" »

Malaysian companies exploit oil palm workers

Children on oil palm estate
Children on an oil palm estate - life in camps with no schools and their birthright disappearing

NEWS DESK | Sarawak Report | Edited extract

SARAWAK, MALAYSIA - Dayak landowners of Sarawak will take no pleasure, but experience little surprise, in hearing how the people of Papua New Guinea have been ill-treated by logging and oil palm plantation conglomerates based in East Malaysia.

These are companies who first robbed Sarawakians of their land rights before extending operations into virtually all the remaining timber reserves on the planet.

Continue reading "Malaysian companies exploit oil palm workers" »

Bougainville’s referendum: Part 1 – The history

John Momis - "The Bougainville peace process has been remarkably successful and is recognised around the world as one of the best in the last 25 years"

JOHN MOMIS | Bougainville President

PNG Attitude is presenting edited extracts of Dr Momis’s recent address to the Papua New Guinea parliament in three parts representing the history, the present and the future of November’s referendum on Bougainville’s political future

PORT MORESBY - You may ask why there is such a strong interest in independence on the part of so many Bougainvilleans.

The origins of that go back at least as far as the early years after World War II, and probably began with resentment of the colonial administration’s neglect of development of Bougainville.

Continue reading "Bougainville’s referendum: Part 1 – The history" »

Something wrong when PNG’s wealth benefits others


CARDIFF, WALES - I’m a simple person who lived in Papua New Guinea for over 30 years and who feels there is something very wrong with the political system when a very large island nation with a small population and blessed with a super abundance of resources has experts talking about its fragile state.

Indeed why has the former Australian territory of PNG with such an abundance of wealth has depended for over 44 years since independence on Australia for many billions of dollars in grants and other forms of aid.

I would love someone to research how many massive billions have been earned by the various extractive companies over those 44 years plus the billions earned in cash crops such as coffee, cocoa, copra, oil palm in addition to the many billions transferred from tropical logs and the wealth derived from PNG’s huge marine zone fisheries.

Continue reading "Something wrong when PNG’s wealth benefits others" »

Oro Province moves to protect the world's biggest butterfly

Queen Alexandra Birdwing Butterfly
Leaders in Oro Province are taking steps to protect the endangered Queen Alexandra Birdwing butterfly

NEWS DESK | NBC News / PNG Today

PORT MORESBY - Concern has been raised in Papua New Guinea and overseas about the disappearance of the Queen Alexandra Birdwing butterfly species in Oro Province.

The Birdwing is the world's largest butterfly and it is found only in PNG and can be found only on the Managalas plateau in Oro.

A proposal presented to the Ijivitari District Development Authority by local MP Richard Masere said there are plans to establish a foundation to protect the endangered butterfly.

"I want to be the patron of this foundation,” Masere said.

“To kick start the foundation's work I'm putting K10,000 to campaign to save the Queen Alexandra butterfly.

Continue reading "Oro Province moves to protect the world's biggest butterfly" »

Can PNG become the 'richest black Christian nation on earth'?

Black Christian Countries (Source Devpolicy Blog)
Black Christian Countries (Source: Devpolicy Blog)

ANDREW KORYBKO | Eurasia Future

MOSCOW - The new prime minister of Papua New Guinea only entered office a few months ago after a long-running political scandal led to the resignation of his predecessor, Peter O'Neill.

But he’s already making waves with his ambitious vision of turning this resource-rich but poverty-stricken island country into “the richest black Christian nation on earth”.

James Marape made his Trump-like nationalist proclamation in late July during his visit to Australia, which was his first foreign trip since assuming his position.

Here he also spoke about his plan of one day “participating with Australia looking after smaller island nations”.

Continue reading "Can PNG become the 'richest black Christian nation on earth'?" »

A Crabby Old Man

Crabby old manPORAP GAI

This very old man, aged 104 years when the photograph was taken, came from Rabaul and had lived through two world wars. He shared much knowledge with me and taught me to live longer on earth. He complained that too few young men would learn from the old men

What do you see in me young man,
When you’re looking at me?
A crabby old man, not very wise
Uncertain of habit and slow to respond
Seeming not to see the things that you do

Is that all that you see?
Then open your eyes, look at me
What do you expect from a crabby old man?
Forever losing the shoes on his legs
I'm a very old man and nature is cruel

What now do I hope for?
Dark times with me and wife now dead
I think of the good old days
And the love I knew now lost
I look at the future and shudder with dread

Continue reading "A Crabby Old Man" »

Beijing uni will offer Tok Pisin & 6 other Pacific language courses


MELBOURNE - China is pushing for more university students
to study Pacific Island languages in a bid to bolster the
appeal of its trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative across
the region.

Seven Pacific Island languages will soon be available for study in
bachelors-level programs at the Beijing Foreign Studies University
(BFSU) including Tok Pisin, one of Papua New Guinea's official languages, as well as Samoan, Tongan, and Fijian.

The move comes as China continues to try and grow its diplomatic influence in the region, amid renewed efforts from Australia to "step up" its own engagement in the Pacific.

China's foreign ministry accuses Australia of acting like "a condescending master" in its relations with Pacific Island countries.

Continue reading "Beijing uni will offer Tok Pisin & 6 other Pacific language courses" »

Marape election faces challenge in PNG supreme court this month

Patrick Pruaitch will go to PNG supreme court - apparently still sore at the failure of his tactics to deny James Marape's election as prime minister

SONALI PAUL | Reuters | Edited

MELBOURNE - Papua New Guinea’s supreme court will hear a challenge to the election of prime minister James Marape, a lawyer for opposition leader Patrick Pruaitch, who has taken the matter to court, said on Friday.

The case, set for Friday 20 September, adds to political turmoil that has delayed progress on two important resources projects in PNG this year: a K30 billion plan to double its gas exports, led by Exxon Mobil Corp and Total SA, and plans to build a major new gold mine, Wafi-Golpu, led by Newcrest Mining.

The PNG parliament elected Marape as prime minister in May, when his predecessor Peter O’Neill quit after losing support from his own party over a range of grievances, including a gas deal with France’s Total.

Continue reading "Marape election faces challenge in PNG supreme court this month" »

In Papua New Guinea, reality will dim any nationalist dreams

Marape Morrison
James Marape and Scott Morrison - Australia will respond to PNG's calls but will not make the kind of sweeping overhauls to the relationship that Marape has called for

ASSESSMENTS WRITER | Stratfor Worldview | Edited

AUSTIN, USA - Papua New Guinea's new prime minister, James Marape, is touting a more nationalist push on resources for his energy- and mineral-rich country and hinting at a rebalance in great power relations, vexing both foreign companies and regional heavyweight Australia.

Since taking office in late May, Marape has launched a formal review into a multibillion dollar liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, threatened to seek Chinese help in refinancing the country's K27 billion debt and mulled an overhaul of the country's natural resource laws to increase PNG’s share of revenue.

But despite his ambitious intentions, the eager new leader will find it difficult to take any of these efforts too far, because there's only so much the small resource- and aid-dependent Pacific country can push the envelope without jeopardizing its political stability and primary income streams.

Continue reading "In Papua New Guinea, reality will dim any nationalist dreams" »

PNG’s K700 million tourism industry looks set for more growth

Photo Credit - David Kirkland
Photo Credit - David Kirkland

LISA SMYTH | Paradise, in-flight magazine of Air Niugini | Edited

PORT MORESBY - In May, Intrepid Travel released its 2019 Adventure Travel Index and Papua New Guinea topped its list of most ‘under-touristed’ countries, with a tourism density ratio of only 2.75%.

This means that in 2017, PNG had fewer than three visitors for every 100 people.

PNG’s vast natural, cultural and historical resources need to be protected, but this ranking shows that, if done responsibly, PNG’s tourism sector has a lot  of opportunity for positive growth.

Continue reading "PNG’s K700 million tourism industry looks set for more growth" »

Kramer explains reasons for Tokura-Manning RPNGC switch

David Manning
David Manning, whose replacement of Francis Tokura as acting police commissioner has created a few waves

BRYAN KRAMER MP | Minister for Police | Edited extracts

PORT MORESBY – This week the National Executive Council (NEC) revoked the appointment of Acting Police Commissioner Francis Tokura and appointed Acting Deputy Commissioner (Operations) David Manning in his place.

The reason behind this decision was twofold.

Firstly, to reinstate Mr Tokura to his substantive position as Deputy Police Commissioner for Bougainville to oversee the preparation and conduct of the Bougainville referendum in November.

Last week, member for South Bougainville Timothy Masiu raised an issue on the floor of Parliament over the decision to remove Mr Tokura as the head of Police on Bougainville, placing him as the Acting Commissioner for Police.

Continue reading "Kramer explains reasons for Tokura-Manning RPNGC switch" »

A Voice for West Papua


Hey, l bet you look to the West
Beyond that mountain crest
And see far beyond that ridge
Do you see across that valley?
Smoke and flames rising?
Raging upon the western skies?

Hey, I bet you stop by and think
About what lies far beyond
Our shared mountain ridges,
Reflect upon the bond we share
And you shall feel yet for sure
They pain they cannot bear

Continue reading "A Voice for West Papua" »

Australia must ‘lead through kindness’ on refugees & climate

Giorgio Licini
Fr Giorgio Licini - "“Arrogance and a refusal to listen will isolate the big south island, leaving the smaller ones in the vast ocean with no choice but to turn to Asia"


NOOSA – A prominent Catholic priest in Papua New Guinea says Australia, as the region’s richest and biggest nation, should “lead through kindness” in the south-west Pacific and show “solidarity and inclusiveness”.

Writing in the PNG Catholic Reporter, Fr Giorgio Licini said the PNG government and civil society also have a responsibility because of their “central position among the family of nations in the Pacific [to] raise their voice regarding the current most pressing issues”.

Fr Giorgio enumerated these as Australia’s attitudes to offshore detention, refusing to acknowledge the negative environmental impact of coal burning and making “access and work difficult for other members of the Pacific family”.

Continue reading "Australia must ‘lead through kindness’ on refugees & climate" »

PNG detective story offers great insights into Australia’s neighbour

Fitz - Metau coverPHIL FITZPATRICK

The Unusual and Unexpected Case of the Rise and Rise of Inspector Hari Metau as told by his good friend Sergeant Kasari Aru, by Philip Fitzpatrick. Independently published, September 2019, 338 pages. ISBN-10: 1690061901. Available from Amazon. Paperback US$12.27. Kindle US$1. Or, especially for PNG Attitude readers, a free download here [note: the first page is blank]

TUMBY BAY - In the ancient Hiri Motu trading language of the Papuan coast the word metau means ‘difficult’.

Inspector Hari Metau isn’t so much difficult as he is stubborn and tenacious.

He is also disconcertingly honest and ethical.

When those sorts of qualities are combined in a policeman who works in a supposedly corrupt Pacific nation is it any wonder that certain people would regard him as difficult?

If you have followed some of his more notable cases, you might also be wondering how he turned out that way.

Continue reading "PNG detective story offers great insights into Australia’s neighbour" »

How Inspector Hari Metau began climbing the career ladder

Inspector Hari Metau
Inspector Hari Metau later in his career


An extract from ‘The Unusual and Unexpected Case of the Rise and Rise of Inspector Hari Metau as told by his good friend Sergeant Kasari Aru’, a novel by Philip Fitzpatrick. Available from Amazon. Paperback US$12.27. Kindle US$1. Or, especially for PNG Attitude readers, a free download here

THE NEXT time I saw Hari was in Daru, the main town and administrative centre of the Western District.

Daru had a police station with a European in charge but it was a hot place on a wet, flat and muddy island not far from the wide mouth of the Fly River and was not a posting many expatriates cherished.

As a consequence the people posted there tended not to be, shall we say, at the top of their game.

This didn’t seem to bother Hari. He was in view of his beloved sea, albeit a dirty brown one, and could indulge one of his passions, that of fishing.

I’d been there a few times before and never stopped wondering how the narrow river on which I had been born had become an island studded monster nearly 100 kilometres wide where it spilled into the Gulf of Papua.

Continue reading "How Inspector Hari Metau began climbing the career ladder" »

Momis challenged on spending as Bougainville politics hots up

President Momis
President Momis - now under fire for excessive spending as division wracks the Bougainville government


BUKA - The political struggle in Bougainville is heating up as the people of Buin District in the south of the autonomous province demand that President John Momis explain the use of K30,000 allegedly spent on refurbishing his private home in the district.

It is understood the funds were expedited by the Department of Finance through the Office of the President to upgrade Dr Momis’ private home in Morou village before prime minister James Marape stays there for a joint PNG-Bougainville meeting on Friday next week.

The petitioners said Dr Momis has on numerous occasion gone on record to condemn the misuse of public funds by Bougainville government officials and politicians.

“Procuring these funds to refurbish his private home is contradictory to his principles on good governance and the anti-corruption drive that is currently being instituted in the Bougainville Administration,” the petition said.

Continue reading "Momis challenged on spending as Bougainville politics hots up" »

Marape must not take the O’Neill road on illegal land grabs


PORT MORESBY - The stain of the SABL land grab is hanging over the head of the new Marape government.

It is now six years since a commission of inquiry reported to parliament revealing that over five million hectares of land had been stolen from local communities.

The commissioners recommended the leases be cancelled, yet six years later the nation is still in the dark as to how much land has been handed back to its rightful community owners.

Act Now! is calling on new Lands minister John Rosso to publish a full list of all the special agriculture leases detailing their current status so everyone can see which leases have been surrendered, which have been cancelled and which still remain in effect.

Continue reading "Marape must not take the O’Neill road on illegal land grabs" »

Date set for UBS loan inquiry; Australian judge will assist

John Gilmour
John Gilmour - Scottish-born Australian former judge and expert in commercial law will join Sir Salamo Injia in UBS-Oil Search inquiry


SYDNEY - Papua New Guinea will start preliminary hearings on Thursday 19 September into the terms of a K2.8 billion loan from Swiss bank UBS used for an ill-fated government investment in the gas sector, the inquiry’s chairman said on Monday.

The timetable and terms of reference, released for the first time, also include a focus on how the UBS loan used to buy a government stake in PNG-focused energy firm Oil Search was obtained, whether it resembled previous loans, and whether the government broke its own rules in taking out the loan.

Chairman Salamo Injia, a former chief justice, said in a statement that retired Australian judge John Gilmour would also join the inquiry as a second commissioner.

“The appointments of [an] overseas commissioner and counsel were necessary given the international dimensions of the UBS transactions,” Salamo said.

Continue reading "Date set for UBS loan inquiry; Australian judge will assist" »

Increasingly hysterical Australia is bad news for PNG & the region

Illustration by Dionne Gain (Sydney Morning Herald)
Illustration by Dionne Gain (Sydney Morning Herald)


TUMBY BAY - Australia watchers in places like Papua New Guinea and the Pacific islands will have noticed that in the last few years a profound cultural change in their southern neighbour is in progress.

The main driving force of this change is a kind of paranoia driven by a largely politically orchestrated national fear.

One of the effects of this hysteria is that we Australian people seem to be sacrificing our basic liberties and, more profoundly, our humanity.

This is well illustrated by our treatment of refugees and asylum seekers but is also manifest in our trampling of the sovereignty of some of our neighbours and the moves to shut down the freedom of our own press and media.

Continue reading "Increasingly hysterical Australia is bad news for PNG & the region" »

High level governance in B'ville destabilised by Nobetau affair

John Momis and Joseph Nobetau
President John Momis and Joseph Nobetau - serious dispute at a high level of government destabilises province as independence referendum nears


BUKA - President John Momis has blamed the Bougainville senior appointments committee (BSAC) for mishandling the disciplinary case against chief secretary to the Autonomous Bougainville Government, Joseph Nobetau.

Dr Momis has accused BSAC of foul play by not adhering to cabinet’s decision for the removal of Mr Nobetau.

BSAC was petitioned by public service minister Robert Hamal Sawa on 13 March when Mr Nobetau was accused of undermining the ABG and issuing instructions that bypassed compliance processes.

A supplementary petition was raised against Mr Nobetau by finance minister Robin Wilson on 8 April alleging that he failed to support a cabinet decision.

BSAC deliberated on the matters and found the petitioners had no grounds for a board of inquiry to be set up, adding that the petitioners could not provide additional evidence or facts to support their call for the immediate convening of the board of inquiry.

Continue reading "High level governance in B'ville destabilised by Nobetau affair" »

Corruption, maladministration; & students who can be cleansers

Joe Kaowai and Albert Schram
Ex SRC president Joe Kaowai and vice-chancellor Dr Albert Schram - they tried to make UNITECH fly


Link here to read the complete version of the latest chapter of Dr Schram's memoir

VERONA - If we cannot root out the old mindset associated with corruption, whisper campaigns, tribal fights, political witch hunts and chief killings in Papua New Guinea’s universities, they will fail to produce active citizens and democratic leaders who respect the rule of law.

It had been a combination of a corrupt government and greedy and selfish staff that led to my hasty separation from the University of Technology (UNITECH) in Lae.

Corruption in PNG is systemic and enters into almost every transaction. Students understand that they are the only group in civil society able to force the government to clean up its act and prevent it from completely destroying state institutions by appointing political cronies and ignoring constitutional rights and the rule of law.

Continue reading "Corruption, maladministration; & students who can be cleansers" »

Dr Schram moves on - & pays tribute to one of his finest students

Mairen Manub
Mairen Manub

ALBERT SCHRAM | Life Is a Journey of Learning | Extract

Link here to read the complete version of the latest chapter of Dr Schram's memoir

“Our lives are a battlefield on which is fought a continuous war between the forces that are pledged to confirm our humanity and those determined to dismantle it; those who strive to build a protective wall around it, and those who wish to pull it down; those who seek to mould it and those committed to breaking it up; those who aim to open our eyes, to make us see the light and look to tomorrow [...] and those who wish to lull us into closing our eyes” - Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

In Memoriam - Mairen Manub, UNITECH student, 2012-2015

These words are dedicated to Mairen Manub who passed away on 8 August 2019 after a short battle with cancer in Port Moresby General hospital, which did not carry the principal medicines he needed. From 2012, he was one of the legendary 'little helpers', fighting tirelessly from for access to better education, and accountable and transparent university governance. There are so many stories about him, which we keep telling. We will never forget his wonderful personality, energy and intelligence but most of all his ability to bridge old and new, non-western and western worlds, based on shared humanity. We must find a way together to keep his memory alive.

VERONA - My start as a Papua New Guinea vice-chancellor in 2012 was far from auspicious. Due to political conflict in 2013 and my ban on re-entering the country, I spent a year in exile in Australia.

A few UNITECH Council member perceived their personal interests would be affected by my leadership and started a politically motivated persecution, apparently not concerned with the long-term reputation of the university and the country, and with total disregard for logic or their own dignity.

Continue reading "Dr Schram moves on - & pays tribute to one of his finest students" »

Joseph Nobetau responds to his surprise dismissal by John Momis

Joseph Nobetau
Joseph Nobetau - “I believe in adhering to due process. That is all that I ask"


BUKA - Ousted chief secretary to the Bougainville government, Joseph Nobetau, has remained firm in the belief that the law will be on his side to acquit him of charges brought against him by the Bougainville cabinet that saw his dismissal.

“Whilst I accept that, in this case, some members have issues with my performance and conduct, it is a fact that constitutionally the final decision regarding termination must rest with the Bougainville senior appointments committee,” Mr Nobetau said.

“This is a process that I have always fully respected and this is evidenced by the fact that to date I have petitioned a number of department heads for misconduct.

“I believe in adhering to due process. That is all that I ask in relation to the matters now being raised.”

Mr Nobetau explained he has always acted consistently with the mandated powers and functions of the office of chief secretary as prescribed by law.

Continue reading "Joseph Nobetau responds to his surprise dismissal by John Momis" »

I support a referendum for West Papua. Will the world join me?

Raymond Sigimet
Raymond Sigimet - "West Papuans are not Indonesians. West Papuans are not Asians. They are Melanesians"


DAGUA - When I was doing my third year at teachers’ college, during a course in post-colonial literature our lecturer gave an assignment on the topic of nationalism.

The task was to select two nations in our immediate region that were once colonised. The assignment was to look into their history and literature in the forms of poems, stories or quotes expressing nationalist or anti-colonial sentiments.

I decided to read about Indonesia and East Timor (a new nation at the time). Indonesia a former Dutch colony and East Timor a former Portuguese colony.

I decided on Indonesia because of its occupation of East Timor (as it was before independence in 1999) and the ongoing Papua Merdeka [freedom] movement in West Papua.

So I set out on my quest to read and discover the post-colonial and nationalist literature of these countries.

I searched the bookshelves and catalogues in the library and found little existing literature that would provide the information I needed. At that time, there was no internet and the books were irrelevant to my assigned task.

Continue reading "I support a referendum for West Papua. Will the world join me?" »

The Fall of the Great Warrior

Vengeance is Ours (The New Yorker)SAMUEL MORI

The warrior great in his battle gear,
An axe, a bow, a mighty spear
He stood proud and bloody and tall,
For at his feet did many fall

The hausman fire burned bright that night
And they sang of the warrior’s courage and might
A beast in battle, oh that could be
That the enemy clans could clearly see

The next day dawned bright and pure,
And on the field they readied for war
The earth shook at his fierce war cry
And the enemy trembled, their end drew nigh

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National Book Week should stimulate tangible benefits


KUNDIAWA - It is high time the meaningless and vain annual National Book Week was changed to make it become the vehicle for stimulating tangible benefits to writers and readers.

Every August features National Book Week. In Papua New Guinea gaudy banners of all sizes rustle in the dusty wind. Written on them is an ostensibly witty theme that nobody cares about.

Empty-minded school children in colourful uniforms fill the city arena for the annual event.

For them, it is one of those playtimes. Their predecessors have celebrated it and so will those who come after them.

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Remains of US soldier killed in PNG identified & to be laid to rest

John E Bainbridge
John E Bainbridge - killed in PNG during World War II, his body remained unidentified for 75 years

KEITH JACKSON | Source: WMTV, Madison, Wisconsin

WASHINGTON DC - In 1942, John E Bainbridge from Sheboygan, Wisconsin in the United States was just 23 when he was killed in a World War II battle in Papua New Guinea.

According to the US government, efforts to find Bainbridge’s body failed but, in 1943, remains of an unidentified American soldier had been interred at a US Armed Forces Cemetery in PNG, where they were designated ‘Unknown X-135’.

After the war, the remains were moved to the Philippines and re- interred at the American Cemetery there.

In 2017, the remains were disinterred and sent to a laboratory for analysis.

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Acknowledging the Traditional Tales


| An entry in the Crocodile Prize Poetry Award

Mum, when night falls I don’t just want to sleep only,
But hear tales. 
Dad, when night falls I don’t just want to sleep only, 
But hear tales. 
Big brother and sister, when night falls I don’t just want to sleep only,
But hear tales. 
Uncle and aunty, when night falls I don’t just want to sleep only, 
But hear tales.

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