Fall of a family man
University governance & academic freedom

In case of emergency, break keyboard

My screwed right foot
I had two screws surgically inserted in my foot during a previous hospitalisation. Fortunately they did not much hamper my typing


NOOSA – I have left  Noosa’s verdant fields and sparkling shores and driven south along the desolation of the Bruce Highway for a spell in Brisbane, a city I enjoy but rarely get to visit these days.

Brucebane (why not?) is just two hours down the bitumen from Noosa but the reason I’ve become an infrequent visitor is that my back’s not been backward in holding me back.

Which is why Brucebane and Wesley Hospital loom.

Until a couple of years ago, I walked 10 or 12 kilometres a day. And wherever I travelled that’s what I did between glasses of Margaret River chardonnay.

Walking was my therapy and a glass of wine my reward.

On my last visit to Papua New Guinea in 2017, my back newly repaired, I trekked in the outback of Simbu, stepped gingerly through the mud at Goroka market and strutted around the big smoke at Vision City, all fortified by an occasional SP Export.

Not these days. Confined to barracks for the best part of a couple of years.

Even coronavirus came as welcome relief because everyone was similarly constrained.

Anyway I’ve now once more transited the Bruce (three acceleration lanes, tailgating optional, interesting hand signals) for that appointment at the Wesley and a sixth – and hopefully last – work of art on my spine. This time the full eight hour version.

Not one to over-inflate expectations, I think of it as the last roll of the dice before wheelchairs.

I'm by now very familiar with this stuff and could ramble on interminably about fusions, laminectomies, decompressions, intubations, rebores, regrinds and other highly technical medical terminology you wouldn’t understand.

No, you just wouldn’t.

To cut to the chase, this enforced spell in hospital and rehab will ground me with consequences unknown.

So here’s the book of rules to cover us in PNG Attitude for the next little while.

Re: Your carefully nuanced articles

My computer will be bedside and when I can use it, I shall. So keep emailing the usual prose, poetry, parables and pontifications to the customary address.

As I resume capability, this material will be edited and published in the usual way.

Unfortunately, I cannot effectively edit from my iPhone. But I can read what you write and think about it, if that’s any comfort.

Meanwhile, I've been in receipt of some good stuff recently and that'll keep us going for a few days.

But if I miss a beat or two, you know why.

Re: Your killer comments

Yep, you’ll send comments; who can stop that?  I can authorise but not edit them on my iPhone for technical reasons.

And edit your comments before publication I must. For control freak reasons.

So if you defame some poor wretch, blast me to pieces with SHOUTY CAPITALISATION, fail to use a dictionary to correct abysmal spelling or commit some other crime against law or language, I will not let your precious words escape until I'm able to edit them.

And, as I've just been explaining, I can do that only on my computer.

Of course, those elegant thrusts that pass muster and require no intervention, will get through unscathed to an eager readership.

Please bear with me for the next while. It may be some days.

The bruce
The Bruce - also known as "the highway of shame". This example of puzzling lane marking north of Noosa

And take solace in the thought that it’ll probably hurt me more than you.

There may be other rules you ought to be aware of, but I’ve forgotten them.

Keep writing.


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Arthur Williams

A heartfelt best wishes for you, Keith. Your PNG Attitude has been a excellent venue for ageing ones like me. Hope all goes well.

On things medical - our surgery normally has 25 minutes of my ringing just to make an appointment. Today I was second in line. Anyway if possible Doc rings back.

I waited 40 minutes when nature called and of course I was just on the throne when Doc called. I knew Murphy would tell her where I was.

I told her of my exact location and said, "Thank goodness it is not a video consultation!"

Allan Kidston ex DIES

Best wishes Keith.

Simon Davidson

Hi Keith. Wish you the best of health and God's watch care as you journey through life's unpredictable journey. I will be praying for you. Blessings!

Daniel Kumbon

KJ, Take that 'Highlands Cap' I gave you when we last met at the Grand Papua Hotel in Port Moresby.

Remember, what you said to me?

You said you had cancelled our meeting but I arrived there without seeing the text . After a while you said you were feeling fine because I had come and you had a cold one and mi dring wara. We talked on and later you met Wera Mori.

Take the cap with you to Wesley for me. Put it beside the computer just so a part of me stands vigil.

Mi no bilip long ol pasin tubuna tasol mi tok tasol.

Mi, Julie na family tok olsem bai yu orait na draiv go bek long ples Noosa.

Tenkyu tru wantok. Olgeta peles mi go - antap long maunten or ananit long hausik - bel blo yupela istap wantaim mi na strongim mi - KJ

Peter Salmon

Keith - Re the puzzling line marking, the idea is to force separation between oncoming vehicles, great idea and it has been implemented on many other roads around the state.

I'll stop trying to squeeze into it then - KJ

Baka Bina

Sorre O, noken tok. Tru tru bai kibod bruk.
Em bikpela belpen bai kamap.
Mipela tingim yu long dispela taim
Best wishes O.

Tenkyu tru wantok lo tingting blo yu. Bai mi kamap sitrong - KJ

Philip Kai Morre

I am praying a decade of rosary for you for a quick recovery.

Ed Brumby

May you recover well, Keith....

Paul Oates

Best wishes Keith and a speedy recovery. Where would we be without 'The Attitude'?

Chris Overland

By our age we have mostly endured rather more encounters with the medical profession than we could have possibly imagined in our youth.

I too am the proud owner of a couple of titanium screws in my right foot, as well as the scars of several encounters with scalpels. Worse still, I am all too familiar with colonoscopes, gastroscopes and cardiac catheters.

In fairness to the medical profession, it is pretty clear that but for their interventions I would long since have been across the Rainbow Bridge and reunited with my now departed Cocker Spaniels.

So, Keith, I wish you well on your next surgical adventure and sincerely hope that all works out well.

Chips Mackellar

Best wishes, Keith.

William Dunlop

Commiserations from my back. It's still hanging in - just - after a go-kart prang or two back in my 17 years old invincible years. Slantie.

Michael Dom

Godspeed on the Bruce and back.

Lindsay F Bond

It took a lesson or two to learn to spit out those lower leg pins at episodes of foot-in-mouth, then it was only a matter of taste at foot-in-mouth. Or so it may have seemed figuratively during my teen-hoof years.
By the (Bruce) way, Keith, the centre lane is neither right nor left, but you might let that pass.

Bernard Corden

This reminds me of that old OJ Simpson joke with his favourite keys on the keyboard::

//\Esc (Slash Slash Backslash, Escape)

Garry Roche

Keith, I hope that you get 'back' to normal very soon.

Raymond Sigimet

Keith, my family and I wish you a safe trip down south. Lukautim yu yet long hap. Will stay tuned to your adventures in Brucebane and Wesley.

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