COMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON
1 January 2010 - The year just gone, and a challenging one ahead (Reginald Renagi)
The Papua New Guinea government remains in power until an election in 2012 and economic forecasts until then look favourable.
But 2009 posed many challenges: discouraging social indicators.
Government performance not up to expectations; PNG already forecast to fall short of United Nations goals for 2015; the opposition denied a voice in parliament; laws passed without proper debate; key appointments not made on merit; political patronage biased towards special interests; and the government failing to investigate corruption allegations and misconduct.
Overall, PNG is underdeveloped due to poor planning, inadequate service delivery and ineffective resource management. Political reform is long overdue.
2010 brings more challenges. Prime minister Somare may well try to give the National Alliance party leadership to his son, Arthur, before the next election. Offsetting this there may be splinter groups within the NA that will challenge Somare’s leadership.
Whatever the outcome, PNG needs a new political order.
1 January 2011 - Sinister curiosities of the medical museum (Peter Kranz)
The University of has a respected medical school which has been training doctors, health scientists and allied professionals since 1962 (then called the Papuan Medical College). It has been part of UPNG for some time.
The School of Medicine has a museum - little known and infrequently visited. It’s just a small room at the Taurama campus. You ask the receptionist for the key, which I did one day when I had an hour to spare. The museum is more a collection of medical curiosities from the 19th century than what you’d expect of a typical museum.
Its specimens are dusty and ancient, with peeling Latin labels. Thousands of jars and specimens collected over many years are arranged on ceiling-high shelves. Some date back to early missionary clinics, medical researchers, and even kiaps with an interest in medicine.
The museum is not for the fainthearted. There are human parasites, deformities and curiosities in abundance. I was looking at a pickled two-headed foetus when I heard a scratching noise above me. I was alone, the lighting was poor and it is a pretty spooky place.
I craned my head and looked up to the corner of the ceiling and saw two red pin-point eyes staring at me. For a short while my imagination ran riot. How many disturbed masalais might be haunting this place?
Then the eyes disappeared and the scratching noise began again. What dark ancient spirits might I have awakened from the past by my ignorant intrusion amongst the preserved remains of so much human suffering and misery?
Then the lights went out (one of the many power black-outs endemic in Moresby). I made a bolt for the door, managed to scramble it open; getting there at the same time as a large rat, who took one look at me and raced outside - more scared than I was.
Moral - don't visit the Taurama medical museum on your own.