| Twitter @KumanSarah | Edited
PORT MORESBY - At customary events like a hauskrai [mourning] everyone knows their place.
There are the aunts who married and returned, and who lead the crying and the tokples [vernacular] funeral chanting.
They even chew buai [betel nut] and smoke while the pastor is praying. No one would dare challenge them.
There are the men and women who sing and welcome new arrivals with singing and chanting.
They are not the chief mourners - they are there for support.
There are various nieces and nephews, fixing and distributing food and sharp-eyed tambu meris [female in-laws] keeping the food and drink going.
There are always ‘leaders’ -almost without exception men - who are responsible for the talking.
They make the welcoming speeches, expressions of sorrow and condolence, responses, reassurances, consoling and placating.
At the hauskrai a one-hour speech is prefaced with ‘mi nogat planti tok lo mekim’ [I don’t have a lot to say].