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103 posts from December 2020

At curtainfall, Marape took the applause

James Marape and Sam Basil
James Marape and Sam Basil. "It is a bold and a confident man who will put a limit to the strange by-oaths into which the human spirit may wander" (Arthur Conan Doyle)


NOOSA – Even as late as yesterday morning, before the Papua New Guinea parliament had re-assembled, it seemed prime minister James Marape would struggle to hold on to his job.

Not that the numbers weren’t tight; they were very close Just a couple of votes in it.

But the Namah-O’Neill-Basil-Pruaitch group spearheading the opposition seemed to have the edge.

Continue reading "At curtainfall, Marape took the applause" »

Toroama’s first 80 days: return to Arawa begins

Arawa pre
Bougainville's former - and future - capital Arawa. Before the civil war, a large and well established town


NOOSA – In its first 80 days, the Autonomous Bougainville Government under president Ishmael Toroama has secured a number of benchmarks.

Since September’s swearing-in of Ishmael Toroama as the fourth president of Bougainville, he has been focused on realigning the government’s priorities for developing the region and making it ready for independence.

Continue reading "Toroama’s first 80 days: return to Arawa begins" »

Piku-Piku and Asukena – Part 2

Piku-Piku (black grasshopper)


LEGEND - Nana-Muni held the bottle out to the three girls and Sukare took it carefully between two fingers, took a quick look and passed it to Teniso.

Teniso was a tomboy and she turned the bottle upside down and let the asukena (mole grasshopper) scramble onto Sukare’s hands.

Sukare gave a scream and a wince and dropped the bottle. The asukena scurried off into the kaukau vines.

Continue reading "Piku-Piku and Asukena – Part 2" »

Marape fights back on eve of vote to topple him

James Marape flagJAMES MARAPE MP

BREAKING - The ABC’s Natalie Whiting has just reported from Port Moresby that it looks very much like James Marape will prevail as PNG prime minister as numerous defectors return to government ranks pending a vote of no confidence - KJ

PORT MORESBY - This fight is not just for 2020 or 2021 or 2022, but for the next generation of Papua New Guineans to believe in themselves so they can be better off in their own land - not just a few who belong to the ruling class and status quo of Waigani.

Today, driving out from Lloata and seeing Central Province people coming out in support of us at Bautama all the way to Six Mile, where residents turned up along the road with fliers and banners, is an experience that makes you want to fight more for your country’s inheritance.

Continue reading "Marape fights back on eve of vote to topple him" »

It’s not about politicians, it’s about the people


TUMBY BAY - When did politicians start putting themselves first instead of us?

When did politicians start acting like rock stars and movie stars instead of acting like representatives of the people?

When did political spin take over from political reality?

Continue reading "It’s not about politicians, it’s about the people" »

Can PNG take advantage of trade liberalisation?

Small freighter docked at Port Moresby
Small freighter docked at Port Moresby


WAIGANI - The World Trade Organisation (WTO) was established to enforce rules governing trade activities amongst member countries.

Essentially trade liberalisation is the idea that there should be less government intervention in international trade, allowing for the free flow of commodities and services across national boundaries.

Continue reading "Can PNG take advantage of trade liberalisation?" »

Piku-Piku and Asukena – Part 1

Asukena (mole cricket)
Asukena (mole cricket)


Baka Bina’s ninth book, Tales From Faif, is due for release before the end of December. It includes for extracts from the popular Cry Me a River series, two from the Pineapple series, four legends and three contemporary stories - KJ

A LEGEND - Alonaa was bored. He did not like the idea of babysitting the terror cousins –the three girls, Teniso, Sukare, Panikame, and two boys, Nana-Muni and Metty-Mahn, who were smaller than him.

The girls were terrors - more like terriers - who were too troublesome to look after.

Continue reading "Piku-Piku and Asukena – Part 1" »

PNG swings in breeze; tight election for PM

Bari Palma
Bari Palma MP - late yesterday court discharged him from bankruptcy. Now he gets to vote for Pruaitch


NOOSA – The question of who will govern Papua New Guinea until the next election in 2022 lies in the balance this morning as the numbers in both political grouping show a paper thin margin.

When parliament met yesterday there were 109 of the 111 members present and it seemed they were split 55-54 in favour of the opposition.

Continue reading "PNG swings in breeze; tight election for PM" »

Leaving a mess for the kids to clean up


TUMBY BAY - Back in 1993 the pop group Aerosmith sang in the opening lines of Livin’ on the Edge, “There's something wrong with the world today. I don’t know what it is.”  

The idea that there is something wrong with the world, including the people in it and the way they behave, is a feeling that has probably been around ever since our forebears crawled out of the swamps and grew legs.

Continue reading "Leaving a mess for the kids to clean up" »

Marape calls for community restraint

James Marape, Ian Ling-Stuckey, Bryan Kramer & other key supporters - "Let us not attack fundamental institutions of our democracy"


NOOSA – Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape has pleaded on Facebook for people not believe toxic rumours circulating in the community as the fight for the leadership of PNG continues.

“Facebook or public conversation forums are no place for allegations of crime or wrong doings,” Marape said, referring to unsubstantiated text messages purporting to be communications between some lawyers and politicians.

Continue reading "Marape calls for community restraint" »

Now a video record of an historic moment

Alfred Max Parkinson Uechtritz shows his delight at receiving the first English translation of Dreissig Jahre in Der Südsee (Thirty Years in the South Seas) in 1999


SYDNEY - "Without Richard and Phebe Parkinson, we would be strangers in our own land."

These words were spoken by the wonderful Papua New Guinean historian Gideon Kakabin in our first conversation and formed the basis for our enduring friendship and shared passion for history.

My Danish great grandfather Richard Parkinson published his famed tome Thirty Years in the South Seas in 1907.

Continue reading "Now a video record of an historic moment" »

Toroama announces creation of economic zone

Toroama and Robert Hamal Sawa. Minister for Lands and Physical Planning
President Ishmael Toroama receives a report on the new economic zone project from Robert Hamal Sawa. Minister for Lands and Physical Planning

| Office of the President

BUKA – Bougainville’s president Ishmael Toroama has vowed to continue to protect landowner rights as the region embarks on an energetic program of economic development.

President Toroama was announcing the Bana Special Economic Zone at Mamarego Primary School in the Bana District of South Bougainville.

The Bana people have taken the first step to establishing the economic zone along Augusta Bay.

Continue reading "Toroama announces creation of economic zone" »

Covid days: the poetry of the pandemic


TUMBY BAY – Early in the year, as the coronavirus was beginning to spread, I thought it might be interesting to make a collection of poetry published on PNG Attitude over the ensuing months.

My expectation was that the virus would have a large impact on Papua New Guinea and that would be reflected in the poetry.

As it turned out the impact of the virus has apparently and thankfully not been as bad as many people expected.

Continue reading "Covid days: the poetry of the pandemic" »

Ambulances under threat as money runs out

Paramedics attend to a patient on an air ambulance flight (St John Ambulance)
Paramedics attend to a patient on an air ambulance flight (St John Ambulance)

| The Guardian | Judith Nielson Institute | Extract

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea’s main ambulance service – St John Ambulance – was allocated no money in the Marape government’s budget for 2021.

St John Ambulance runs a fleet in Port Moresby and across provincial centres. For much of the country it is the only ambulance service.

Continue reading "Ambulances under threat as money runs out" »

Wayne & the power of friendship

Gary  Wayne and friends
Gary, Wayne and friends - "We are all fortunate to know good people and have great friendships. They are precious gifts. Until we no longer have them"


ORO - Some years ago - in the mid-eighties, I was this skinny kid growing up in Arawa on Bougainville.

I had a great friend at school, Wayne Grieshaber. I met him the day I entered Bovo Primary School.

I’d just transferred from Kokoda, where I spent three years schooling and living with my grandmother on our small cocoa plantation. No electricity and a hefty dose of challenge and difficulty.

Continue reading "Wayne & the power of friendship" »

Viewing life with love, courage & hope

Evah and sarah
Evah and Sarah


Hi olgeta, this is an excerpt from my unpublished book. I am seeking sponsors to help me publish the book and spread the message about children with special needs. If you or know anyone who can assist me, please let me know - EK

I’m trying to find Evah’s email. If you can help, let me know in the Comment section - KJ

MADANG - When everything is going well and then suddenly life decides to take its toll on you, you lose your footing, your mind and all hell breaks loose.

The worst is the pain a mother feels seeing her own child succumb to illness and suffer.

Continue reading "Viewing life with love, courage & hope" »

Nenge - small publisher with big prospects

Mike Jelliffe on the Aramia River near Balimo, 2018


NOOSA - Nenge Books is a small Australian business based in Coramba near Coffs Harbour, NSW, which publishes independent authors and is the brainchild of a man with strong roots in Papua New Guinea.

The company was established by author Mike Jelliffe to publish his own writing and has expanded to include other works and provide advice to authors seeking low-cost publishing.

Continue reading "Nenge - small publisher with big prospects" »

PNG leaders, you have the clearest choice


SONOMA - The current saga about the opposition’s attempted hijacking of parliament and the subsequent legal battles portray a gloomy picture of the nation’s political landscape.

But behind the two forces battling in the corridors of power are the powerful economic ideologies that each group represents.

Continue reading "PNG leaders, you have the clearest choice" »

History beckons again for Papua New Guinea

Maritime cadets. Gary Juffa - "
Maritime cadets. "It is not a blunder to want better for your country and people. It is not wrong to want to have a fair share of our resources. It is not wrong to think of our children's tomorrows" - Gary Juffa


TUMBY BAY - When the so-called baby boomers came of age in the late 1960s and early 1970s a revolution of liberating enlightenment began to sweep the world.

It began in California, swept through Britain and Europe and finally made its way to Australia.

From there it seeped into Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "History beckons again for Papua New Guinea" »

Families separated by Covid border closures

Nagoi Jimmy & family
The last photo Nagoi Jimmy took with his family before borders closed in March 2020 (Supplied to ABC)

| ABC Asia Pacific Newsroom

CAIRNS – Nagoi Jimmy hasn't seen his partner and four kids in a year, but they live just six kilometres apart.

From the shore of his village in Papua New Guinea, Mr Jimmy can spot their island on the horizon.

Between them is a stretch of sparkling blue ocean and Australia's international border, which closed in March when the country went into lockdown.

Continue reading "Families separated by Covid border closures" »

I won’t resign; bring on challenge: Marape

PNG prime minister James Marape - "I am not going to resign. There are no grounds for that."


PORT MORESBY - Good day Papua New Guineans and all who have interest in what is happening in Papua New Guinea.

Today our supreme court made its ruling on the matter filed by Hon Peter O’Neill and I appeal to our citizens to respect the ruling of our country’s highest court.

Continue reading "I won’t resign; bring on challenge: Marape " »

Should Hanuabada be capital of Peengee?

From HMS Basilisk (left), the three-masted paddle steamer from which Captain John Moresby named many topographical features of southern PNG during an important voyage of discovery in 1874


TUMBY BAY - When you look at a map of Australia the precedence of its European colonial history is very apparent. If you run an eye around the coast, all the names of state capital cities echo that history.

Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Hobart all owe their names to significant British places or personages.

It is only with the federal capital that any acknowledgement of the previous inhabitants occurs.

Continue reading "Should Hanuabada be capital of Peengee?" »

The inevitable growth of global Sinophobia


When he wrote this prescient, and still relevant, article 10 years ago, Bernard was studying for a master’s degree in international relations at the Institute of International Studies at China's Jilin University in Changchun. He had graduated with an honours degree in political science from the University of Papua New Guinea in 2009. Bernard now lectures at Divine Word University in Madang - KJ

MADANG - Anti-Chinese sentiment, or Sinophobia, is a deadly trend becoming more common as China continues to rise. It is defined as the dislike of or fear of China, its people or its culture.

Xenophobia, fear of foreigners, is widespread in all societies.

Continue reading "The inevitable growth of global Sinophobia" »

A farewell to eminent communicators

David Robie
Prof David Robie - a Pacific islands communications icon and innovator

| Croz Walsh’s Blog | Edited

WHITBY, NEW ZEALAND – The highlights of a symposium at the Pacific Media Centre of the Auckland University of Technology last week were the numerous accolades paid to PMC director Professor David Robie and Del Abcede, who are retiring at the end of the year.

David has lived in the Pacific, been involved in Pacific human rights and media freedom issues and taught journalism to Pacific Islanders and others for 40 years. He will be a hard man to replace.

Continue reading "A farewell to eminent communicators" »

Toroama 'alarmed' by former adviser's claims

Headline, byline and deck  of the article in the Lowy Interpreter that angered the Bougainville president


NOOSA – Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama has expressed “alarm” at an article by former Bougainville government advisor Gordon Peake alleging he had “call[ed] into question the integrity of the Autonomous Bougainville Government and our commitment to the peace process”.

The article appeared last week in The Interpreter, a website published by the Sydney-based Lowy Institute.

Continue reading "Toroama 'alarmed' by former adviser's claims" »

Unsnarling West Papua’s Gordian knot

Papuan protest
West Papuan youths carry a mock coffin during a demonstration in Jakarta. Indonesia won sovereignty over the former Dutch colony in 1969 after a referendum widely seen as a sham (Ahmad Zamroni, AFP)


ADELAIDE - While I don't endorse Geoffrey Luck's comments on Yamin Kagoya’s article, I do have concerns about what was written.

I think that any reasonable person would agree that the systematic oppression of West Papua's Melanesian population is shameful.

It reflects badly on Indonesia and a largely indifferent world generally.

Continue reading "Unsnarling West Papua’s Gordian knot" »

Two dead after Rabaul airport hold-up

Tokua airport  Rabaul (John C Cannon  Mongabay)
Tokua airport near Rabaul (John C Cannon, Mongabay)

| Guard Dog Security Service | Edited

KOKOPO – There was an unfortunate incident this morning at Tokua airport, the aviation gateway to Rabaul and the Gazelle Peninsula.

At about 4am, three busloads of Vudal University students were at Tokua Airport terminal waiting for it to open for check in. They were booked on the early bird flight to Port Moresby.

Continue reading "Two dead after Rabaul airport hold-up" »

Kumbon magnum opus rolls off the press

Daniel Kumbon & Paul Kiap
Author Daniel Kumbon with Engan leader Paul Kiap Kurai, a prominent figure in his new book, 


Victory Song of Pingeta’s Daughter by Daniel Kumbon, Independently Published, 2020, 400 pages, colour illustrations, ISBN: 9798562831323, available here from Amazon Australia, AU$74.65 plus AU$3.90 postage

TUMBY BAY - By Papua New Guinea standards this is a big book. It runs to 400 pages, 85,700 words and 332 illustrations, mostly in colour.

In an article announcing its publication I referred to it as a blockbuster. That’s an aphorism often used to describe books that are not only physically big but wide in scope and ambition.

Continue reading "Kumbon magnum opus rolls off the press" »

Sam Basil referred to leadership tribunal

Sam Basil
Former deputy prime minister Sam Basil claims without evidence that prime minister James Marape conspired with the ombudsman commission to have him investigated.

| Kramer Report

PORT MORESBY - Last Tuesday, Papua New Guinea’s ombudsman commission issued a press statement that it had referred former deputy prime minister and national planning minister Sam Basil to the public prosecutor for alleged misconduct in office.

The leadership watchdog said it had conducted an investigation from a complaint lodged in 2016 and, based on the findings of the investigation, gave Basil the opportunity to respond.

Continue reading "Sam Basil referred to leadership tribunal" »

Garo Matana, the blue-eyed child – Part 1

Blue-eyesISO YAWI
| A fictional story in three parts

Outside the small brown vavine numana (Papuan women’s house), just beyond the civilised world, it was a cold rainy evening.

Standing 20 metres high on the plateau of Rako, the vavine numana was set some way from the village of Babaka. Within, a young pregnant woman, Tarubo, laboured in the pangs of childbirth.

Continue reading "Garo Matana, the blue-eyed child – Part 1" »

Political strife stalls Bougainville talks

Marape Toroama
PNG prime minister James Marape and Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama


NOOSA – Despite Papua New Guinea’s failure to convene a Joint Supervisory Body (JSB) meeting last week Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama has accepted reassurances from prime minister James Marape of his continuing support for the Bougainville peace process and post-referendum consultations.

JSB is the superior assembly established to facilitate effective policy-making and communications between the autonomous region of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea, its importance heightened by last year’s overwhelming pro-independence referendum vote in Bougainville.

Continue reading "Political strife stalls Bougainville talks" »

Attenborough’s grim vision of our future

David Attenborough  Papua New Guinea  1971
David Attenborough in Papua New Guinea, 1971


CLEVELAND, QLD - David Attenborough’s latest book ‘A Life on Our Planet’ sounds an ominous warning of what will happen in the future of Planet Earth based on what has happened in the recent past.

Attenborough suggests that the Holocene period that started with the end of the last Ice Age may well now be over.

Continue reading "Attenborough’s grim vision of our future" »

Our soldiers need uniforms, food & more

PNG's shaggy soldiers - and it's all the fault of the politicians

| My Land, My Country

LAE - I write this on behalf of the many soldiers who can’t openly discuss the problems they face in the field as members of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF).

I also write this as a Papua New Guinean who holds the PNGDF in high regard despite the many problems it faces.

Continue reading "Our soldiers need uniforms, food & more" »

Powerful debut from an accomplished poet

Thyatira Kaupa
Thyatira Kaupa - a first rate debut collection of poetry


‘Listen’ by Thyatira Kaupa, Hibiscus Three, 2020, 82 pages. ISBN B08KBGMG77, e-book, AU$5 from Amazon Australia

TUMBY BAY - One of the disconcerting elements of Papua New Guinea literature is that there is generally no fanfare when a new book appears.

Interested readers have no source to check out what’s on offer. At best, publicity and reviews of new works are confined to social media and require some diligence to locate.

Continue reading "Powerful debut from an accomplished poet" »

‘Tingting Bilong Mi’ 2020 essay contest

| Ples Singsing

“Literature provides growth and strengthens people’s minds giving them the ability to think outside the box” - Daniel Kumbon

LAE - At times when I need to think deeply about something that is important to me, it is with profound gratitude that I find the wisdom I need from others.

From those who are with me or who have gone before me and left their mark in the world through their writing.

Continue reading "‘Tingting Bilong Mi’ 2020 essay contest" »

Why I took the ABG to court


PORT MORESBY - In his judgement on Monday, Justice Nicholas Miviri of the national court held that my termination as chief secretary of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) failed to adhere to the process prescribed in the Bougainville Constitution.

In doing so, His Honour provided a damning assessment of the actions of the defendant, in this case the Bougainville Executive Council, in failing to abide by the very laws they were elected to uphold.

Continue reading "Why I took the ABG to court" »

A remarkable journo calls it a day

Mungo MacCallum  1979 (Sydney Morning Herald)
Mungo MacCallum, 1979 (Sydney Morning Herald)


NOOSA - Under the headline ‘That’s all she wrote’, one of my favourite journalists, Mungo MacCallum, announced today his inability to keep writing for the press. Very sad news.

“I never thought I’d say it,” Mungo wrote, “but I can no longer go on working. It takes all my effort to breathe and I’m not managing that too well. And now my mind is getting wobbly – hard to think, let alone concentrate.

Continue reading "A remarkable journo calls it a day" »

In the warriors’ code, there is no surrender

Rumginae arrival
Rumginae's twin arrival


RUGHAZ, WESTERN PROVINCE – Yesterday was my day off from Rumginae rural hospital but I had determined not to sleep in, which is my norm.

I had administrative issues to attend to with my resident Dr Polycarp. That being the case we planned to get the ward work done early and then travel to Kiunga to attend to these.

Continue reading "In the warriors’ code, there is no surrender" »

Realising the promise of the swamps

Anthony Uechtritz and Augustine Mano, managing director of the Mineral Resources Development Corporation


CAIRNS - I've read the book, ‘Too Close to Ignore: Australia’s Borderland with PNG and Indonesia, by Mark Moran and Jodie Curth-Bibb, and while I agree with its general drift I can't help thinking that the authors are being a little optimistic with their possible solutions.

I worked in the neighbouring Gulf Province in 2015-16. My younger brother Anthony has worked in Gulf (upper Purari) for nine years.

Continue reading "Realising the promise of the swamps" »