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41 posts from February 2023

Our art is glorious but not taken seriously

This Kauage painting is the first thing visitors see when they enter my house. PNG paintings have been sold for up to $US5,000 (K18,000), yet PNG does little to  promote art as an industry - KJ

| Sipikriva Girl

BRAUN, MOROBE – I have observed that many Papua New Guinean artists and artisans, hoping to sell their work, display photographs of their art in social media, at local fairs and at monthly craft markets.

Among these artists and artisans are people who are extraordinarily talented.

And these people share a common opinion: Why doesn't their own government, and even their own people, recognise that art is a goldmine?

Continue reading "Our art is glorious but not taken seriously" »

Can the internet give us better government?

Karl Marx and the title page from the first edition of Capital, 1867: "Capital is dead labour, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks"


ADELAIDE – As Phil Fitzpatrick has written (‘Has the internet brought out the worst in us?), the internet has indeed held up a mirror to us all.

It is hard to like much of what we see.

Greed, exploitation, lies and stupidity abound.

Neo-liberal capitalism is a system lurching into crisis.

Continue reading "Can the internet give us better government?" »

Great men die twice: Angel Pesevski's legacy

Gordon Peake
Gordon Peake (far left) and Angel Pesevski (bottom right) with colleagues, Bougainville, 2016 (Gordon Peake)

| DevPolicy Blog

ADELAIDE - Angel Pesevski, a former colleague of mine who became a good friend, passed away in Türkiye, one of the untold number of victims of the recent earthquake.

Angel and I met in Buka in 2016. He was working as a management adviser in the aid project I joined.

Continue reading "Great men die twice: Angel Pesevski's legacy" »

Solwara Warriors want ban on seabed mining

Anthony Walep is a lawyer assisting the Alliance of Solwara Warriors and the Centre for Environmental Law and Human Rights (CELCOR)

| PNG Business News

MADANG - The Alliance of Solwara Warriors, a coalition of coastal communities, has appealed to the Papua New Guinea government to cancel seabed mining and exploration licenses in the country.

The Alliance also called for the termination of Nautilus Minerals’ mining license, which is still active even though the company went bankrupt in 2019.

Continue reading "Solwara Warriors want ban on seabed mining" »

Has the internet brought out the worst in us?

Robin hood (Pinterest)
Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor. But of course that's fiction (Pinterest)


TUMBY BAY – When I check my emails in the morning about three-quarters of them are immediately despatched to the trash folder to join all the second and third offenders already there.

The volume of junk and scam emails I receive these days is such I’ve given up trying to unsubscribe them. (Those considerate enough to allow that passing pleasure.)

Also, in many cases, unsubscribing doesn’t work and the emails keep coming.

Continue reading "Has the internet brought out the worst in us?" »

Like a Wish

Image by Pinterest


This morning I dribbled toast crumbs on my feet;
I saw our driveway moping under a moody coat of mould,
while the pock-marked skin of our cul-de-sac needed pothole patching again,
and down on Gibson’s Road some vandal had overturned rubbish bins on the street.
Today two angry dog owners snarled at each other at my coffee stand,
on TV dark flooding rivers were drowning sad towns in the south,
while Putin killed Ukrainians with drone-dropped belts of heat.

The real world seemed to droop in its defeat.

Continue reading "Like a Wish" »

New PNG media plan ‘threatens a free press’

| Pacific Media Watch

AUCKLAND - The New Zealand-based media research and publishing group, Asia Pacific Media Network, has called for an “urgent rethink” on Papua New Guinea’s draft media development policy.

The Network said the PNG government’s proposed regulation plan for the country’s media council and journalists threatened a free press.

Continue reading "New PNG media plan ‘threatens a free press’" »

Hard gig: Life & times of Pukpuk publishing


TUMBY BAY - Pukpuk Publications came into being in 2013 when I was looking for a cheaper alternative to the Port Moresby-based publisher we'd used for the 2011 and 2012 editions of what had become the annual Crocodile Prize Anthology.

Birdwing Books had done a good job on the first two anthologies but their prices were too high for our very limited budget.

Continue reading "Hard gig: Life & times of Pukpuk publishing" »

‘Do yourself a favour, free hostages,’ says PM

The Australian is speculating the hostages were seized in this geneal area
The Australian newspaper speculates that the hostages were seized in this general area


NOOSA - Papua New Guinea's prime minister James Marape says his government is "at work" trying to free five hostages seized by a 20-strong armed gang yesterday.

The captives are believed to include an Australian archaeology professor and three students.

Continue reading "‘Do yourself a favour, free hostages,’ says PM" »

Reg Yates to map Bougainville's battlefields

Reg Yates
Captain Reg Yates and the Australian Army History Unit want to locate and preserve the sites of World War II battles in Bougainville


NOOSA, QLD - Flights booked, visa in hand, logistics in place, retired Army Captain Reg Yates arrives in Bougainville late March to study the battlefields of one of the biggest campaigns the Australian Army fought during World War II.

A veteran expeditioner in Papua New Guinea, Reg has been wanting to trek the Numa Numa Trail ever since he read Karl James’ book, The Hard Slog - Bougainville 1944-45.

Continue reading "Reg Yates to map Bougainville's battlefields" »

Egianus Kogoya: Is he Papuan hero or villain?

Kogoya   Egianus Kogoya Papuan hero or villain
Egianus Kogoya sits on a wing strut of the captured aircraft. Pilot Phillip Mehrtens was taken hostage


You can read the unedited version of Yamin’s essay here

BRISBANE - After the West Papua National Liberation Army, the armed wing of OPM (Free Papua Movement), burned a small plane and kidnapped its New Zealand pilot Phillip Mehrtens on 7 February, the dark clouds that seal this frontier war opened to the outside world.

Across the globe, media outlets shared the story with two interpretations.

Continue reading "Egianus Kogoya: Is he Papuan hero or villain?" »

Malaysian investors are keen on PNG

Richard Maru and Melvin Aun (Richard Maru)
Richard Maru and Melvin Aun (Richard Maru)

| PNG Business News

PORT MORESBY - Outgoing Malaysian high commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Melvin Cheah Chee Aun, has left the country with one regret: Covid-19 had prevented him from assisting many more Malaysian investors keen to invest in PNG.

In his parting message to international trade and investment minister, Richard Maru, Aun requested him to travel to Malaysia to meet five major Malaysian investors who want to explore investment opportunities in PNG.

Continue reading "Malaysian investors are keen on PNG" »

Bougainville's energetic economic program

Bougainville chief secretary Shadrach Himata (Roselyn Ellison, Nationalpic)

| Sources: Bougainville News & New Dawn FM

BUKA – In a comprehensive statement on the Bougainville economy, chief secretary, Shadrach Himata, has stated that the province’s internal revenue of K20 million could increase to as much as K55 million this year.

Himata said there are many economic projects in the pipeline including a gold refinery in Arawa, due for completion in the second quarter of this year, a limestone project at Manetai, powered by the Panguna hydro, and a water bottling plant in Toniva scheduled to begin operations mid-year.

Continue reading "Bougainville's energetic economic program" »

PNG Australia forum 2023
Ministers who participated in yesterday's 29th Australia-Papua New Guinea ministerial forum


FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND - The 29th Australia-Papua New Guinea ministerial forum in Canberra yesterday, co-chaired by Justin Tkatchenko and Senator Penny Wong, featured a stellar line-up of ministers from both countries.

The official communique, which you can read here, details the outcomes of the five key issues discussed at the forum it which 16 Papua New Guinean and 12 Australian ministers took part.

Continue reading "" »

The fools & avaricious may be the end of us

God's gift to climate change deniers, Tony Abbott (The New Daily)


ADELAIDE -I recently read an interesting article in The Australian written by Greg Sheridan, with whom I frequently disagree.

In the article Sheridan asserted that achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 will be impossible unless some new forms of technology emerge.

Continue reading "The fools & avaricious may be the end of us" »

Is Golden Sun a scam? Sure looks like it

| Academia Nomad | Edited

PORT MORESBY – It seems that Golden Sun is the next hot thing in Papua New Guinea - an unbelievably easy way to make money through ‘investment’.

But it has all the features of a scam.

Just below is a Facebook post by someone named Gabriel, who has been engaged in e-commerce (including online payments).

Continue reading "Is Golden Sun a scam? Sure looks like it" »

Eventful morning on the shores of Tumby Bay

Fitz   Second Creek with Tumby Island
Second Creek with a distant Tumby Island


TUMBY BAY - They drive to the end of the track and park their cars. Then they walk down to the beach across the white sand, and stand on the rocks staring at the ocean.

Just visible on the horizon is Reevesby Island, the largest of the 20 or so islands and islets of the Sir Joseph Banks Group that lie about 20 twenty kilometres southeast of Tumby Bay.

Continue reading "Eventful morning on the shores of Tumby Bay" »

Colonial truth: Seldom pure & never simple


ADELAIDE - I am sure Phil Fitzpatrick is correct when he writes that Australia could have been a better coloniser.

That said though, I am sure that Australia was very far from the worst colonial power in history.

In my estimation, Australia's colonial model was perhaps the most fundamentally benign version devised during the European imperial era.

Continue reading "Colonial truth: Seldom pure & never simple" »

Kurai writing awards: A bit late but on track

| Ples Singsing

LAE – I have held off this message to Kurai Memorial Awards entrants for much too long, and I’m extremely apologetic to all the entrants.

The Ples Singsing team, which is entirely voluntary, has been preoccupied with the business of life - work and career, family, future, etcetera – making it difficult for us to pull through in our usual collective strength.

Continue reading "Kurai writing awards: A bit late but on track" »

The inexorable rise of the 21st century stupid

Basic-laws-stupidityCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - In 1976, Professor Carlo M Cipolla wrote a 60-page paper in which he outlined the fundamental Laws of Stupidity.

Various synopses of Professor Cipolla’s paper can be readily accessed online and I strongly recommend that people read either the paper itself or at least an abbreviated version.

Continue reading "The inexorable rise of the 21st century stupid" »

What they say is true, old age ain’t for sissies


...and so we take our leave
And so they take their leave. Close mates Keith Jackson and Greg St John assist the late Phil Charley

 TUMBY BAY - I like walking but just lately my right knee has started playing up. Every so often the bits kind of grind together and it aches like hell.

Goes away if I grit my teeth and keep hobbling along. I reckon it’s probably a case of one mountain too many. Way back in another life in the Star Mountains.

My left knee is a bit painful too, but I know exactly what’s going on there.

Continue reading "What they say is true, old age ain’t for sissies" »

New book explores the fragility of nations


State Fragility: Case Studies and Comparisons by Nematullah Bizhan (ed), Routledge, London, 2022. ISBN 9781003297697. eBook can be downloaded free here

CANBERRA – ‘State Fragility: Case Studies and Comparisons, edited by Dr Nematullah Bizhan, presents seven case studies that both address key questions on state fragility and examine the policies adopted to mitigate such brittleness in states.

Dr Bizhan is a visiting fellow and lecturer in public policy at the Australian National University and a senior research associate at Oxford University.

Continue reading "New book explores the fragility of nations" »

Covid gaslighting is dangerous for democracy

Gaslight-1166404-1669629650JASON HANNAN
| The Conversation | Extract

Link here to read the complete article

WINNIPEG, CANADA - After two years of acknowledging the dangers of Covid-19, something happened with public health policy across the western world.

Federal and municipal governments in North America, Europe and Australia began lifting basic protections like vaccine and mask mandates, winding down public testing, ending contact tracing and withholding critical public health data, like case counts, hospitalisation numbers, wastewater results and even the size of local outbreaks.

Continue reading "Covid gaslighting is dangerous for democracy" »

Lino is well equipped to run her pre-school

UNDP equips
Lino Eaki (Seru Kepa, UNDP PNG)

| United Nations Development Program

PORT MORESBY - An entrepreneurship acceleration program has helped an aspiring school administrator and business owner establish a pre-school in the Port Moresby suburb of Hohola.

Lino Eaki is on a journey to expand her business as well as providing a vital service for many working-class parents.

Continue reading "Lino is well equipped to run her pre-school" »

Australia could have been a better coloniser

Britain did not resist Germany colonising north-east New Guinea in 1884 because it sought German support on more urgent matters (Deutsche Welle)
Britain did not resist Germany colonising north-east New Guinea in 1884 because it sought German support on more urgent matters. Australia seized the colony early in World War I (Deutsche Welle)


TUMBY BAY - During my short career as a kiap, I often pondered my presence in Papua New Guinea. What was I doing there and why was I doing it?

Kiap, didiman, tisa, kuskus, dokta, ansini, kamda* - I suppose we were all missionaries with the same message to sell.

Continue reading "Australia could have been a better coloniser" »

The kidnapping of Papuan Governor Enembe

Happier times before his disappearance - Papua Governor Lukas Enembe with his people (Papua Government Facebook)

| Asia Pacific Report

BRISBANE - Today is exactly one month since the Governor of Indonesian Papua, Lukas Enembe was 'kidnapped' at a local restaurant during his lunch hour.

The officials involved were from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and Indonesian security forces.

Continue reading "The kidnapping of Papuan Governor Enembe" »

Massive jump in MPs funds is a bad move

James Marape delivers a speech in Enga Province,  January 2023 (Department of Prime Minister NEC Facebook)

| DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape announced during the 2022 festive season that the annual allocation of electoral funding to each member of parliament (MP) will double in 2023.

It has largely gone unnoticed that the 2023 budget brought down in late November included this doubling.

Continue reading "Massive jump in MPs funds is a bad move" »

Somehow our timid democracy trundles on

Asian Cup football final at Stadium Australia, 2015 - sport is a great comforter for Australians who feel the world has gone awry (Austadiums)


ADELAIDE - Even though any objective survey of modern Australian politics leads to despondency, we should bear in mind that the two biggest spending political parties performed rather badly at the last election.

Also, perhaps we should bear in mind that spending by our political parties is dwarfed by the colossal sums spent in the USA, where money doesn't just talk, it positively shrieks.

Continue reading "Somehow our timid democracy trundles on" »

LNG project generates K16.5 billion for PNG

Spirit of Hela LNG tanker (Santos)
LNG tanker 'Spirit of Hela' (Santos)

| PNG Business News

MAKATI, PHILIPPINES - The PNG LNG project generated K16.5 billion for Papua New Guinea over the eight years of production from 2014 to 2022.

This includes K7.5 billion paid to Kumul (PNG’s national petroleum company) from the state's 19.4% equity, K1.3 billion to the Mineral Resources Development Corporation, K800 million in royalty payments, K700 million in development levy payments and K6.2 billion in tax payments.

Continue reading "LNG project generates K16.5 billion for PNG" »

Adventure amongst the eels of New Ireland


The Maliau Caves Adventure by Peter Comerford, Austin Macauley Publishers, London, 2023, 86 pages. Available here from Amazon Books Australia, paperback $17.12, ebook $6.37

TUMBY BAY - Limestone sinkholes and caverns are common in Papua New Guinea and feature in many legends and myths.

The foundation mythology of the Faiwolmin people of the Star Mountains features travels underground by their female creation hero, Afek.

Continue reading "Adventure amongst the eels of New Ireland" »

Saina, Amerika, Australia: husat i wantok laka

Dancing musicians (Dreamtime)PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Australia’s sudden spurt of interest in Papua New Guinea has got nothing to do with concerns over corruption.

Rather, it is a reaction to the USA’s paranoia about China’s influence in the region and how that influence might impact on its desire for global economic and military superiority.

Continue reading "Saina, Amerika, Australia: husat i wantok laka" »

Australia’s public service is not fit for purpose


In 2016 the Australian government implemented a scheme where an algorithm instead of a human would identify and pursue outstanding welfare debts. The system, dubbed ‘robodebt’, led to 373,000 Australians being forced to pay outstanding debts. The scheme was later found to be unlawful and was scrapped in 2020 resulting in the government agreeing to a settlement of $1.8 billion covering repaying debts paid, erasing outstanding debts and legal costs - KJ

ADELAIDE - I have followed the activities of the Royal Commission into the Robodebt scheme since it commenced.

As a retired former senior executive in the South Australia public service, I have some insight into the sometimes quite complex relationships between senior public servants and their political masters.

Continue reading "Australia’s public service is not fit for purpose" »

The commander gives us a wake-up call

Kuri pic
One of the world's top military officers, Admiral John C Aquilino, inspects a PNGDF guard of honour


PORT MORESBY - On Sunday 29 January, Admiral John C Aquilino, Commander of the United States’ Indo-Pacific Command, came to Papua New Guinea.

There was not much fanfare and the guard of honour of the PNG Defence Force left a lot to be desired.

But that’s not the point of this article. It's really about what it means for us that one of the most powerful men in the world’s military comes to PNG’s shores.

Continue reading "The commander gives us a wake-up call" »

The desperate need to challenge the Covid lie

Professor Richard Murphy (University of Sheffield)

| Twitter @RichardJMurphy

ELY, CAMBRIDGESHIRE, UK - It’s hard to believe that three years ago few people had heard of Covid.

Fewer still thought it would disrupt life as we knew it for the following 18 months. And that millions would die, many in the UK.

Now we are in denial again, which is just as dangerous.

Continue reading "The desperate need to challenge the Covid lie" »

Working to tackle gender & other violence

Centre, Jerry Ubase (Secretary, Community Development & Religion Department); right, Wesley Serber (Aramba Development Foundation); with  members of organisations working to prevent family and gender violence   (Lydia Kaia,  UNDP PNG)

| United Nations Development Program PNG

PORT MORESBY - Wesley Serber is a man on a mission, determined to end the cruelty and abuse caused by sorcery accusation-related violence (SARV) in the remote communities of the South Fly region of Papua New Guinea.

A large number of sorcery accusation-related violence cases use glasman or glasmeri (akin to witchdoctors) to falsely and maliciously accuse men and women of sorcery for financial gain.

Continue reading "Working to tackle gender & other violence" »

A town like Alice deserves a chance at peace

Youths throw rocks at vehicles in Alice Springs (Northern Territory Police)


TUMBY BAY - The Central Australian town of Alice Springs is currently in turmoil - racked with alcohol fuelled crime largely involving the Aboriginal community.

Aboriginal children roam the town centre at night vandalising shops and Aboriginal men and women are fighting in the streets and parks.

Continue reading "A town like Alice deserves a chance at peace" »

WHO: Covid will continue to surprise & kill

CNN | Extract

WHO Director-General
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus - “My message is clear: Do not underestimate this virus. It has and will continue to surprise us, and it will continue to kill”. To be regularly updated about the disease, link here to CNN’s free coronavirus newsletter

ATLANTA - It’s time to start thinking about our future with Covid-19, which has killed more than 6.8 million people around the world since the first case was identified three years ago.

While the virus remains a global health emergency, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday the pandemic is at a “transition point.”

Continue reading "WHO: Covid will continue to surprise & kill" »

The PNG diaspora spreads around the world

Roche  John Kewa from Hagen in Wollongong
John Kewa from Mt Hagen lives in Wollongong, NSW. He works with seafarers, and is seen here carrying a box of goodies for them


MAYNOOTH, IRELAND - Since I left Papua New Guinea in 2017, I’ve been living in Maynooth, not far from Dublin city. 

Dublin has many parks and other green areas. I came across an interesting revealing that Dublin’s inner city has more than 10,000 trees, about 2,500 of these have been surveyed and registered.

Continue reading "The PNG diaspora spreads around the world" »

Robodebt inquiry exposes putrid behaviour

The royal commission was established and is now in session
The royal commission was established and is being streamed live here:

| Schwartz Media

From time to time, when there’s something important to say, I give space in PNG Attitude for Australian politics. Each morning, Schwartz Media sends me a heads-up on the big stories of the day. This morning’s email brought with it sickening information about how a powerful segment of Australia’s public service, apparently working at the behest of senior politicians, had engaged in what would best be described as criminal behaviour. The passages underlined for emphasis are mine - KJ

Continue reading "Robodebt inquiry exposes putrid behaviour" »