James Marape - "“For the first 10 or 15 years we want overseas commissioners and not Papua New Guineans"
NOOSA - There had been indications from Papua New Guinea’s prime minister last year of this stunning change of heart, but now the idea has expanded and shared with Australia.
In a recent meeting with Australian High Commissioner Jon Philp, James Marape disclosed that he favoured a foreign official heading the much-awaited Independent Commission Against Corruption.
Continue reading "Marape’s big call: I want expats in key jobs" »
Daniel Kumbon and grandson Clinton. Kundiawa, 2021
The reviews will come but this is not one of them. Daniel Kumbon’s first novel, The Old Man’s Dilemma, was published this week and here I offer the Foreword I wrote accompanied by Daniel’s Preface. The book is now on sale.
The Old Man's Dilemma by Daniel Kumbon, Love, Grief, Happiness & Rebellion: A Modern Day Novel From Papua New Guinea. Independently published, June 2021. Paperback, 188 pages. ISBN-13: 979-8526508247. Link here to purchase from Amazon. Paper $11.39. Kindle $1
NOOSA – Daniel Kumbon is one of Papua New Guinea’s most prominent modern day authors and he has accumulated a substantial collection of non-fiction writing – all of it offering a Melanesian worldview.
Continue reading "Landmark novel from a distinguished writer" »
Bruce Haigh - "DFAT has overseen the biggest Australian foreign policy disaster in 70 years"
| Pearls & Irritations | Edited extracts
MELBOURNE - Despite the line spun by Frances Adamson AC, recently retired head of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the department appears to be in the process of being scuttled by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).
Speaking as a guest on ABC Insiders, Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne gave an unenlightening tour of the foreign policy issues facing Australia, from ‘all the way with the USA’ to ‘it is all China’s fault’.
Continue reading "Sinking DFAT cedes influence to ASPI" »
Peter Bridger - "Lived a positive and full life, and contributed a great deal to his spiritual home of Papua New Guinea"
YUNGABURRA, QLD - My mate Peter Bridger (3 March 1951 – 26 June 2021) has sadly passed on to that classroom in the sky.
He had retired to Deal in Kent in the United Kingdom in November after 42 years in Papua New Guinea.
In 1978 Peter John Bridger responded to an advertisement in an English newspaper calling for people to teach in Papua New Guinea.
Continue reading "Peter Bridger, PNG educator for 42 years, dies at 70" »
Recovering in a Singapore hospital, Papuan governor Lukas Enembe urges his people to remain calm, united and not be easily provoked by political gamesmanship
CANBERRA - Indonesia's most troubled province, Papua, is on the brink of more mass demonstrations and provincial government buildings and offices are being barricaded.
This is in response to the likelihood of civil strife following the controversial appointment of Papua’s provincial government secretary, Dance Yulian Flassy, as acting governor.
Continue reading "Papua tense as elected governor replaced" »
“The Australian National Flag should not, therefore, be displayed with the Union Jack down on any occasion except as a signal of distress” (anzacday.org.au)
ADELAIDE - I think the tone of John Menadue's recent piece in PNG Attitude, ‘General Alarm: Militarism is Australia’s New Norm’, is slightly overwrought.
But I do think he has a point, at least as it relates to the government's dismal performance in relation to the vaccine roll-out.
As the Delta variant of Covid-19 spreads in Sydney, we may be about to reap the reward for the Australian federal government's apparent inability to organise an effective national quarantine and vaccination program.
Continue reading "Government unfit for purpose; Army required" »
I've been everywhere man. James Rice on one of his many trips through PNG
| My Land, My Country
LAE -The motorbike-riding Paradise Foods CEO, James Rich, has ridden his machine from Lae to Gembogl, travelled a portion of the mighty Sepik River, set foot on the banks of Lake Sirunki and admired the salt ponds in Enga.
His approach to living and working in Papua New Guinea has been refreshing for many of us who have grown weary of the negative attention of the media.
Continue reading "‘Buy local like me,’ says the ice cream man" »
Mr Ukuma in the classroom at East Ambogo - "I continue to teach because my desire is to serve my community, my province and my country"
| Mim’s Diary
POPONDETTA - Teachers are the backbone of a nation. They are the foundation of every other profession - tough people who raise their hands to educate a nation.
In Papua New Guinea, we have heard news over the years about teachers going on strike for not being paid or not being paid well. But not all teachers raise their concerns openly.
Continue reading "Ignored & unpaid: The commitment of a teacher" »
Coastal hamlet on Teop, Bougainville. "Panguna was an environmental protest. We must take heed of the many lessons"
SIMON PENTANU MP
KIETA - I like mangroves. As coastal kids we spent a lot of time playing in the open and grew up around mangroves.
It was fun playing hide and seek and swimming and fishing in the groves, and jumping into the water from he tall trees.
Mangroves are prolific growers and don’t need tending. But they can be uprooted and cleared in a matter of only hours and days.
Continue reading "Let's respect & protect what we have" »
Daru. "Australian commentators on the issue of Chinese manoeuvring in PNG are invariably slanted," writes Binoy Kampmark (Photo - Natalie Whiting ABC)
| International Policy Digest
MELBOURNE - Clever diplomacy rarely involves total commitment or unqualified fidelity to any one state.
Treacherous waters require careful navigation, an understanding of shifty and shifting allegiances.
The goal for the prudent statesperson is the pursuit of self-interest without alienation.
Continue reading "China, PNG & Australia’s backyard blues" »
| Monash University
MELBOURNE - In late 2015, I arrived for the second time at Orokolo Bay on Papua New Guinea’s south coast.
The bay is a long grey-black beach, densely forested with hibiscus and coconut trees. As we approached by dinghy from the east, clusters of houses could be glimpsed fleetingly among the bush.
Continue reading "Science meets oral history at Orokolo Bay" »
Lieutenant General John Frewen was recently appointed as Coordinator General of the newly announced 'Operation Covid Shield'
| Pearls & Irritations
SYDNEY - What a reflection this is on the standing of the Australian Public Service and the Morrison governments lack of interest in a robust and well- functioning civil society. We invariably turn to the military.
The Morrison government passed the buck to the states for Covid quarantine despite the fact that quarantine is a clear Commonwealth responsibility and has been so since Federation.
Continue reading "General alarm: Militarism is Australia’s new norm" »
District Commissioner Bill Brown signs the Arawa land lease documents in 1970 accompanied by Tavora of Arawa, Director of Agriculture Bill Conroy, Conzinc Rio Tinto's Colin Bishop, Narug of Arawa (Department of Information and Extension Services)
| DevPolicy Blog
CANBERRA - Much has been written about the patrol officers, or kiaps, in colonial Papua New Guinea.
That material includes many books by kiaps recording their time in PNG, and by historians and others trying to understand the colonial experience and its impacts on contemporary PNG.
Continue reading "Lessons from a kiap in old Bougainville" »
ADELAIDE - I am sorry that my comments on the pre-independence speculation that Papua New Guinea might become a state of Australia has been interpreted as reflecting a white supremacist outlook, or one of white privilege.
Although I freely admit to being both white and privileged, I certainly don't assume that this confers upon me some special intelligence, wisdom or insight.
Continue reading "White privilege era over; but it’s dying hard" »
FR GARRETT ROCHE
DUBLIN – Some people who read the article on Fr Clement Papa and his family may be wondering how it happens that six brothers came to have six different surnames.
Anthony Kunump, Thomas Webster, Paulus Ripa, Joseph Palimi, Jeffrey Pup, Clement Papa - all with different surnames and all sons of the same father, Pius Pi Kumbamung.
Continue reading "There’s a lot in a name in highlands Melpa" »
Jenelyn Kennedy. "Tell me, Jenelyn, why must love grieve today? / Is there no mercy to grant us reprieve today?
Jenelyn Kennedy. Born, 18 March 2001. Gagged, chained, beaten & tortured by her husband for six days, 18-23 June 2020. Died of head injuries & bruised internal organs caused by blunt force, 23 June 2020, aged 19.
LAE - This is a poem I did not want to share. I am doing so because Jenelyn's story haunts me.
Just nineteen when she died, she was the same age as my baby girl. She was the mother of two infant children.
Continue reading "This cannot be what God conceived" »
Finance minister Don Polye was sacked because he refused to sign documents to facilitate the enormous loan agreement
PORT MORESBY – Senior politicians and others who engineered a K3 billion loan to the Papua New Guinea government in 2014 must be held accountable, says former Treasurer Don Polye
In that year the O'Neill government decided to borrow the money, which represented 75% of the PNG budget, from the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS).
Continue reading "Polye attacks men behind K3b UBS loan" »
Dr David Robie - "I have never experienced something as blatant, destructive and lacking in transparency as this"
| Café Pacific | Edited extract
Link here to read the complete illustrated chronicle of the Pacific Media Centre by its founding director Dr Robie
AUCKLAND - It really is bizarre. After 26 months of wrangling, stakeholder representations and appeals by Pacific Media Centre (PMC) to Auckland University of Technology, in the end the innovative unit remains in limbo.
In fact, sadly, it seems like a dead end.
Continue reading "Savage assassination of Pacific media jewel" »
Papuans in Jayapura mourn the death of Pastor Allan Nafuki, one of the staunchest leaders of the movement to make West Papua part of the Melanesian Spearhead Group
CANBERRA - Whenever I ring home to West Papua, my village people ask about rumours they have heard of an upcoming Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) meeting.
What they want to know is whether West Papua will be accepted as a full member.
I tell them I do not know, and, dispirited, they say to me they will continue to pray for it.
Continue reading "Melanesia's tragic rejection of W Papua" »
Governor Gary Juffa - "I am beginning to truly understand my grandfather’s deep joy for working the land"
GOVERNOR GARY JUFFA
| Asia-Pacific Anticorruption & Human Rights Advocate Group
KOKODA - Finally my cocoa trees are growing and bearing fruit. Kokoda Block 168 is slowly coming back to life.
As a child I used to wander this small portion of land so treasured by Victor Juffa, my grandfather and adoptive father.
Continue reading "Precious land & the good life on Block 168" »
"Narratives evoking a sense of chaos in PNG, particularly by Australians, are not new"
KYLIE MCKENNA, SENALA MORONA & COONIEBHERT SAMGAY
| Divine Word University | DevPolicy Blog
MADANG - Covid-19 appears the latest instalment in outsider narratives of Papua New Guinea as a ‘failed’, ‘weak’ or ‘fragile’ state.
In April 2020, for example, with only eight cases of Covid-19 in the country, Australian journalists capitalised on the opportunity to put PNG on the failed-state precipice.
Continue reading "Colonial echoes in PNG 'failed state' smears" »
Clement Papa - priest, rector and now PhD from the Divinity University in Australia: the youngest brother in a remarkable family
| Asia-Pacific Anticorruption & Human Rights Advocate Group
MOUNT HAGEN - Fr Dr Clement Papa is the youngest son of Pius Pii - popularly known as Kopi Kund Pii - a pioneer PNG Catholic missionary.
In 1947, Pius Pii, among the first students of pioneer American missionary Fr William Ross, upon completion of his training at Rebiamul, Mount Hagen, was sent to Anglimp-South Wahgi to establish the Kuli Parish.
Continue reading "Fr Dr Clement Papa - chip off the old block" »
Crew of the Chinese training ship Qi Jiguang on a visit Dili (Li Mingyu, China Military Online)
WARRADALE, SA - In September 1999, I went to East Timor (Timor-Leste) to work with an aid agency in the aftermath of the 25-year civil war and the savage lead-up to the independence referendum.
It is almost impossible to imagine the devastation that was visited on this former province of Indonesia that became an independent but desperately poor nation.
Continue reading "China & Australia hold perils for PNG" »
Zhao Lijian - "Not the first time the Australian media has hyped up the so-called China-threat theory"
| Global Times
BEIJING – China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian has said that any attempt to attack or smear China - Papua New Guinea relations or drive a wedge between the two countries is futile.
Zhao made the remarks in response to a misleading Australian media report claiming the upgrading of PNG's main naval base helps to counter China's challenge in the region.
Continue reading "Don’t smear our ties with PNG, says China" »
| The Lowy Interpreter | Edited extracts
CANBERRA - The second constitutionally-mandated post-referendum consultation between Papua New Guinea and Bougainville leaders to discuss independence for Bougainville is planned for later this month.
At the first consultation meeting in May, Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama had stated a goal of independence and full United Nations membership by the end of 2025.
Continue reading "Pressure for Bougainville independence grows" »
ADELAIDE - I agree with Phil Fitzpatrick who observed yesterday that Papua New Guinea should have become a state of Australia.
If this had been done, several predictable things would have happened.
First, there would have been a steady inflow of migrants from the Australian mainland lured by PNG’s almost limitless opportunities in agriculture, mining, energy, tourism and so forth.
Continue reading "What might have been could yet be" »
FICTION - The Old Man was anxious to see his newly born twin sons and Delisa as well as his sons Charles and Felix and their families in Brisbane before travelling to Perth to see his daughter Ruth and her husband Mitchel.
He realised how fortunate he had been that the rebellion triggered by the Old Dairy Farm saga had ended peacefully. Anything could have happened to him if it got out of control. He could have been killed or badly hurt.
Continue reading "One in spirit with the Red Rock" »
Papua New Guineans in Australia - always welcome because they fit in well and understand the Australian ethos
TUMBY BAY - In the years leading to self-government and independence in Papua New Guinea, a range of options were discussed about its future political status.
One of the least discussed was about Papua becoming the seventh state of Australia.
And until it was revealed recently, it seemed no one had taken this proposal seriously.
Continue reading "Would it have been better? PNG as a state of Australia" »
Privatising PNG Power will open up consumers to exploitation by price gouging. The better option may be to split PNG Power Ltd into several parts
ADELAIDE - While National Capital District governor Powes Parkop may be right in his analysis of the problem of Port Moresby's unreliable electricity supply, the solution he is proposing is not necessarily the best.
If by privatisation Parkop means selling the power assets lock, stock and barrel to a private company, then I believe he is advocating the wrong solution.
Continue reading "PNG Power: Privatisation would mean exploitation " »
Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne with PNG counterpart Soroi Eoe who enjoys better access to China than Australia (ABC)
| In Queensland
BRISBANE - For Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne, her Beijing counterpart Wang Yi is the guy who puts her on hold.
Papua New Guinea’s foreign affairs and international trade minister Soroi Eoe has no such problem.
He’s got his Chinese elbow bumping buddy on speed dial.
Continue reading "Beijing answers this man's calls; not hers" »
The Kundal family in happy times
PORT MORESBY - When his daughter-in-law Annie ran away from her family for the fourth time, Johannes Kundal felt that was enough.
He just wanted Annie to be free. He did not know that Archie, his grandson, had also urged his mother to go and not return.
Continue reading "Johannes’ dilemma: how to restore a family" »
Ishmael Toroama - "Outrageous acts of violence threaten to shake the foundations of our shared commitment to peace and unity"
NOOSA - Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama has issues a dramatic statement saying a spate of violent acts and the deterioration of law and order in the autonomous province can no longer be ignored.
Toroama condemned recent senseless acts of murder and arson related to sorcery and payback killings throughout Bougainville.
Continue reading "Toroama on warpath against high crime" »
Will Tharnicaa be bundled onto a plane and ejected from the country of her birth?
ADELAIDE - The Biloela family have now become icons for both the left and right of Australian politics.
For those on the right they represent some sort of existential threat from hordes of people of colour who want to flee to Australia to escape from repressive regimes in their countries of origin.
Continue reading "A government with a truly wicked dilemma" »
Port Moresby blackout (PNG Loop)
| Academia Nomad
WAIGANI - For three consecutive weeks, electricity in Papua New Guinea’s capital has blacked out in the evenings.
But this is not unusual for Port Moresby, a city dubbed ‘one of the least livable cities in the world’ by The Economist intelligence unit’s Global Liveability Index in the same week.
Continue reading "Powes Parkop is right: privatise PNG Power" »
Isaac from Kongara-Kerei; Patrick my island clansman; and Bariona from Darutue who prepared a dozen old fern tree posts (kusinai) with his volleyball team boys
SIMON PENTANU MP
KIETA - After spending most of Sunday at sea, the drive to South Nasioi on Monday was a welcome change, travelling past Marai as far as Darutue on the road to Kongara in the foothills of Mt Takuang, the second highest mountain on Bougainville.
The dirt road was rough, in parts atrociously so but still trafficable. Never mind, however, the scenery at slow pace more than made up for the bumpy ride.
Continue reading "A very pleasant Monday’s drive indeed" »
NOOSA - Papua New Guineans are not alone. More than half of Australians think corruption is commonplace amongst their politicians.
This has been revealed in an Australia Talks national survey commissioned by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in which 60,000 Australians were asked about their lives and what keeps them up at night.
Continue reading "Our politicians are corrupt, say Australians" »
NOOSA - The Australian government has been in real disarray recently as it struggles with the case of asylum seekers Priya and Nades Murugappan and their two Australian-born daughters, Kopika and Tharnicaa, whose plight again became a matter of great public concern.
The latest drama involving this family occurred when four-year old Tharnicaa became seriously ill and, accompanied by her mother, was flown to Perth after pneumonia turned into sepsis and there were fears she might otherwise die.
Continue reading "Biloela 4: immorality, cruelty, racism, scams" »
Annie at Vision City - “Archie was only 12 and still needed me, but he gave me the courage to escape from my abusive husband”
PORT MORESBY – Archie Iso Kundal loves his mother very much but, as a small child, was frequently distressed to see his abusive father, Ismael, habitually beat her.
The two small boys would often see their mother lock herself in a room and cry while nursing her wounds.
So one day Archie told his mother to escape, return to her people at Kerema and not come back to Wabag until he and his brother Victor were old enough to defend her.
Continue reading "Annie’s story: Escape from abuse" »
John Kuri (Kamnguru Nem) and daughters. A novel that takes the reader into the complex world of Melanesians before the arrival of Western influence
Porugl: Son of the Underworld by Kamnguru Nem, Independently published, 183 pages. ISBN: 9798520442332. Available from Amazon Australia, ebook $25.94, paperback $42.83
TUMBY BAY - A gigl ambu is a female spirit who lives in the underworld and travels at night into the outerworld, where humans live, to secretly forage for food.
The underworld is ruled by an ancient serpent, Kerwanba. Among her subjects are spirits, dwarfs and the mysterious smoking makan nem who act as landlords.
Continue reading "A most readable novel connects two worlds" »
Mutiny on the 37th - an illustration from 'Cannibals, Conflict and First Contact' by Rob Barclay
BLACKBURN, VIC - Cannibals, Conflict and First Contact is my illustrated adventure memoir of a New Guinea patrol officer spanning 21 years from 1958 to 1979.
From the early 1900s to Independence in 1975, New Guinea was Australia’s only colonial experience.
Australia was determined to ‘do it right’, evolving initiatives that were widely copied by other colonial powers as a textbook study of how to bring primitive peoples into the modern world with a minimum of trauma.
Continue reading "A beautiful book, long in the making" »
ADELAIDE - Religion, by its very nature, requires that the faithful accept supernatural explanations for events in the material world in which we all live.
Consequently, religion frequently is irrational, anti-intellectual and anti-scientific.
In its more extreme forms it offers sociological and political ideas - like those of the Pentecostal movement - that are disguised as religious insights, hence the notion that becoming wealthy is a sign of God's favour.
Continue reading "We need rationality in our leaders" »
Pastor Alfred Kranz (1900-93) was a respected church leader who in World War II persuaded the Australian government to recognise the legitimacy of his students
MORRISET - It is true, as Phil Fitzpatrick has written, that that Seventh Day Adventists are socially and politically conservative.
It should be recognised, though, that much moderation of their worldview has taken place since the 1970s, when several theological disputes rocked the church.
They generally do not get involved in politics believing in the separation of church and state.
Continue reading "State, church & the Adventists" »
Prime minister Scott Morrison's Pentecostalism worries many Australians because of its extreme theology
TUMBY BAY - Both the Australian and Papua New Guinean constitutions contain sections related to the separation of the state and religion.
Section 116 of the Australian constitution is very explicit. It says:
“The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.”
Continue reading "The religious nutters who govern us" »
Chandran Nair - "Instead of being captive to an idealised vision of the West, the rest of the world is waking up to Western narratives, fallacies and weaknesses"
| South China Morning Post
HONG KONG - The West’s disingenuous position on Israel and its coordinated attacks on China have blown the cover of the liberal narratives it uses to hide a postcolonial, imperialist agenda.
Its hypocrisy has been further exposed by its hoarding of coronavirus vaccines and the systemic racism that prompted the Black Lives Matter protests and fuelled attacks on people of Asian descent.
Continue reading "Western posturing & global white privilege" »
TUMBY BAY - I was lucky in high school because I had a succession of very good English teachers.
Their presence made the experience bearable as I grappled with all the other banal subjects on offer.
I can’t remember the name of my first year English teacher. He was a younger man and I later ran into him outside Steamies in Port Moresby.
Continue reading "The meaning of life" »
Dr Michael Dom - "I like to meet poems one by one. Carefully. Because each one is extracted from someone else's meaning. And everyone has a shadow of madness seeping through them"
LAE - It's considered axiomatic that ‘words have meaning’, by that I think it is meant that words are used to express real emotion, and not just that words have definitions.
Words here also infer partial and whole sentences, phrases and dialogue.
But I don't think that's the case at all.
Continue reading "‘What words dear God / Dear God, what words’" »
| Lowy Interpreter
WAIGANI - Papua New Guinea will conduct its tenth national election in 2022. A by-election last week for the Port Moresby North West electorate provides a preview of what to expect next year.
In PNG, a by-election is required when a vacancy occurs more than a year before the issue of writs for the next election.
Continue reading "What you can expect in the 2022 elections" »
FICTION - Ambassador Akali Wakane – The Old Man – had long been a respected figure in Papua New Guinea but now he had become an instant hero, a household name in every settlement in Port Moresby and throughout the country.
Talk of his Supreme Court victory in the Old Dairy Farm land appeal had travelled fast, and around the streets and villages he had become known as ‘Rabinhat’- the man who took from the rich man and gave to the poor man.
Continue reading "The times they are a’changin'" »
The late Sir Buri Kidu, with his wife Dame Carol Kidu, is considered to have exemplified the Melanesian gentleman - ""Quiet, but confident with his profession / An honest expression and eyes that don’t lie"
LAE – It is my observation that true Papua New Guinean gentlemen respond with quiet confidence, not in brash retaliation.
In 2016, writing to encourage creative and intellectual contributions to the theme of 'The Perfect PNG Gentleman', I wrote:
The article was inspired by the prose poem 'Perfect Gentleman' by Dolorose Atai Wo'otong, which is good to reflect upon in the current situation relating to the University of Papua New Guinea.
Continue reading "Regarding the perfect Melanesian gentleman" »
| First published in PNG Attitude, March 2011
PORT MORESBY - Apart from the ‘f’ word, what is the most common explicit used by Papua New Guineans? It is the Pidgin ‘k’ word that refers to the vagina.
Heterosexual intercourse is described in Pidgin as kilim pik [kill a pig] or pasim sua [dress a wound].
It is an everyday experience to hear these descriptive terms on the streets of this nation.
Continue reading "Violence: Driven by men with fragile egos" »