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40 posts from June 2023

The very risky business of investing in PNG


Degen    plantation homestead before

Degen      plantation homestead after
The plantation homestead before and its demolition by villagers angry at the PNG government's land use practices

MADANG – I’m an investor in the Papua New Guinean agricultural and livestock industry and purchased a state agricultural lease on the north coast near Madang.

By August last year, I had paid all the required fees and charges like stamp duty and assured myself that the title was clear.

Continue reading "The very risky business of investing in PNG" »

Photo Mission 49: Friends, food & Japs

| With gratitude to Graham King

Fred with villagers from Nantabu
Fred Hargesheimer with some of the villagers from Nantabu who found him in the New Britain jungle, nurtured him and protected him from the Japanese military


SOMEWHERE IN NEW BRITAIN, 1943 - The sixth of July was a day very much like all the rest; a swim in the morning, a hike in the bush to look for some dry wood, roasted snails for lunch, an afternoon nap. 

Just before sunset I went to the edge of the river to gather in some bamboo shoots for supper.  I had always been vitamin conscious and knew that vegetable greens were healthful.

Continue reading "Photo Mission 49: Friends, food & Japs" »

The night the crocodile walked unseen


Bina     OBKL cover picture

PORT MORESBY - What the heck is a crocodile walk? Commenting on the First Nations Writers Festival, I blurted out the words originally said in passing during my short stint in the Army.

I had used them in my book, ‘Operesin Kisim Bek Lombo’, published in 2020 by Amazon KDP.  I have since been asked what it means one time too many.

Continue reading "The night the crocodile walked unseen" »

US gazumps Australia for control of region


Microsoft Bing Image Creator


PORT MORESBY – As an officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs in the Papua New Guinea government, I have to write anonymously to secure my safety.

I am writing to reveal interference by the United States in PNG’s internal affairs which is undermining the bilateral relationship between Australia and PNG.

Continue reading "US gazumps Australia for control of region" »

Fred Hargesheimer & Photo Mission 49


King   Fred
Fred Hargesheimer and a model of his Lockheed P4 Lightning


YUNGABURRA, FNQ - On my appointment as general manager of Hargy Oil Palms Ltd in 2008, part of the induction process was to call Fred Hargesheimer at his home in California and introduce myself.

Fred by then was 91 but still very alert and wanted me to assure him that I would continue to support the work of the Airmen’s Memorial Foundation which he had established to support education in West New Britain.

Continue reading "Fred Hargesheimer & Photo Mission 49" »

New Bank of China has big plans for PNG

| PNG Business News | Edited

Oeka     Bank of China pic
Bank of China Chairman Ge Haijiao, Chinese Ambassador to PNG HE Zeng Fanhua,
James Marape and Bank of China PNG Representative Audrey Zheng

PORT MORESBY – The relationship between China and Papua New Guinea has been expanded with the opening of a representative office of China's most global financial institution, the Bank of China

Prime Minister James Marape was guest speaker at the launch hosted by the bank's chairman Ge Haijiao and the Chinese ambassador to PNG, Zeng Fanhua, along with other dignitaries from PNG and China.

Continue reading "New Bank of China has big plans for PNG" »

Minimising the curse of gun violence in PNG



SYDNEY – A program to minimise the impacts of gun violence and spread of illicit weapons in Papua New Guinea has been established by Macquarie University in conjunction with Armed Incident Management (AIM).

We are reaching out in hopes that people will want to work with us on this issue and aid us in tackling the injustice which gun violence and illicit arms causes in PNG.

Continue reading "Minimising the curse of gun violence in PNG" »

It’s a very long way from Canberra to Moresby


"Halligan had neither the knowledge, skills nor inclination to provide effective advice about Papua New Guinea - a land largely incomprehensible to him in far away Canberra"


ADELAIDE - Poor JK Murray. He fell victim to one of the most common problems experienced within any large bureaucracy.

And this is the serious disconnect that can occur between executive decision makers and those they are charged with leading and supporting.

The military, a famously bureaucratic organisation, understands this very well.

Continue reading "It’s a very long way from Canberra to Moresby" »

New website will monitor MP 'slush funds'


PORT MORESBY – The independent community watchdog ACT NOW has launched a new website to increase transparency and promote community participation in monitoring public spending.

For the first time, communities across PNG can observe the use of ‘slush funds’ by local members of parliament.

Continue reading "New website will monitor MP 'slush funds'" »

The making of PNG: JK Murray v Bureaucracy


Evelyn and JK Murray
Evelyn and JK Murray in Port Moresby, 1951

Introduction by Keith Jackson

NOOSA - Within the space of a couple of weeks early this year, Loch Blatchford and I experienced coincidental but catastrophic computer failures.

Mine cost PNG Attitude the bulk of its images and links but fortunately retained most of the textual content. Loch’s resulted in him losing most of The Blatchford Collection, his valuable, impeccably assembled historical compilation of the development of Papua New Guinea’s education system after World War II.

Continue reading "The making of PNG: JK Murray v Bureaucracy" »

How Belden learned the lesson of kindness

| Facebook

Belden Namah (second from left)
Captain Belden Namah (second from left) as a junior PNGDF officer with special forces comrades

PORT MORESBY – “Pack your cargo and go to the carpark, the school bus will drop you off at the airport,” these words of the principal of Sogeri National High School were directed at the young Belden Namah.

Speechless and in despair, Namah left the principal’s office and, silently sobbing, walked down the path to the male dormitory.

Continue reading "How Belden learned the lesson of kindness" »

England cricketer's ugly outburst a racist slur

| Come the Revolution

Authr and journalist Akex Mkychell O(Scott Powick)
Author, journalist and acclaimed political observer, Alex Mitchell (Scott Powick)

Prologue by Keith Jackson

NOOSA - Was the recent on-field cricket incident involving England fast bowler Ollie Robinson, just a display of extraordinarily bad manners or the product of barely disguised racism?

Alex Mitchell certainly brought to life my own thoughts about the matter in constructing a fine narrative that builds a case for the latter.

I'd believe our Papua New Guinean readers would have something to say about this.

Continue reading "England cricketer's ugly outburst a racist slur" »

PNG is our country. We must not give it away


Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii
Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii (1840-2017) was against the Reciprocity Treaty, believing it heralded an American takeover of her kingdom. She was correct

PARI - What kind of danger does a nation face when the United States wants to establish a military base on its sovereign territory? Let me first review the history of how the Hawaiian kingdom died.

Some 3,200 kilometers away from the US mainland, Hawaii’s central Pacific location has long been of strategic military importance.

Continue reading "PNG is our country. We must not give it away" »

Samaritan gives Junior a second chance

| CEO & Co-Founder |Samaritan Aviation

Semi-conscious snakebite victim, Junior, safely on the way to Wewak Hospital aboard one of Samaritan Aviation's float planes. The aircraft provide an aerial ambulance service that has brought a new dimension to PNG health services

CALIFORNIA - Our floatplanes can turn a three-day trip to the hospital into a one hour flight. On a recent trip to Papua New Guinea, Jim Mott and I experienced a flight just like this.

We were on our way to deliver medicine to a remote village, when an urgent message came: 'Snake Bite - Chambri Lakes - 10 year old'.

Continue reading "Samaritan gives Junior a second chance" »

Mr Speaker, we are not your enemies….

| PNG Post-Courier *

A Post-Courier newsboy on the streets of Port Moresby - a reminder
that parliament belongs to the people whose voice must be heard

PORT MORESBY - Mister Speaker, our collective question without notice is to you mister Speaker. We want the Prime Minister and his deputy to take note Sir.

Our question from the Media Gallery is specifically directed to you, Mr Speaker, because of events that have transpired in the last 48 hours in which the freedom of the media in the people’s House has been once again curtailed.

Continue reading "Mr Speaker, we are not your enemies…." »

Is Marape more autocratic since the US deal


PARI - From the time the US-PNG Defence Cooperation Agreement was signed last week, there have been indications that prime minister Marape is behaving more autocratically.

I have the feeling that PNG democracy is heading down the death highway under Marape's rule.

When the news was reported that Biden was going to visited PNG, Marape appealed to Papua New Guineans and the media to be cautious in making comments about the visit.

Continue reading "Is Marape more autocratic since the US deal" »

Papua New Guinea King’s Birthday Honours

'A King's Birthday' (Image created by Microsoft Bing)


Knight Commander (KCMG)

The Honourable Christopher Sevese Haiveta. For services to Political and Public Service.

Companion (CMG)

The Honourable Kerenga Kua MP. For services to the Legal Sector.

David Ruma Wereh. For public service in Road Construction and Rehabilitation.

Continue reading "Papua New Guinea King’s Birthday Honours" »

PNG’s defence deal with USA is ‘sensible’



“It’ll be fascinating to watch how PNG squares away the deal with China. (I guess the Yanks will offer a few tips)” – Keith Jackson

“Presumably PNG’s policy of ‘friend to all, enemy to none’ means the same rights will be extended to China. I think the US has now decided where it’s going to fight its war with China” - Philip Fitzpatrick

“If anyone says there is a crisis between China and the US, that is hushuobada [nonsense]. It's like a siheyuan [traditional Beijing family]. Sometimes you get into fights, you have disagreements, you have no alternative but to work it out, and I think you can” - Kevin Rudd, Australian Ambassador to the USA

“Sino-US cooperation will achieve things that are beneficial to both countries and the world, while confrontation will be disastrous” – Xi Jinping

“The thing we see across all the wargames is that there are major losses on all sides. And the impact of that on our [USA] society is quite devastating” - Becca Wasser, head of gaming lab at Center for a New American Security

ADELAIDE - We don’t know the details of the US-PNG Defence Cooperation Agreement, but it does not really matter.

The plain fact is that the war with the forces of totalitarianism has already commenced. The Russo-Ukraine War is a proxy war between the Western democratic powers and Russia.

Continue reading "PNG’s defence deal with USA is ‘sensible’" »

Rippling journey brought 400 books to Kelkei

| Melanesian Women Today

Teacher Regina Manga shows the new books to her students at Kelkei Elementary School

BAINBRIDGE, USA - The impact of one book on a community is incalculable. But what about 400 books?

Over a two-year period, the group Melanesian Women Today has diligently worked to provide an essential resource to a small, remote school at Kelkei near Kendeng village in Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "Rippling journey brought 400 books to Kelkei" »

Lazarus Towa: a man of humility & sacrifice

| Academia Nomad

Lazarus press

PORT MORESBY - This is a difficult article for me to write. On Tuesday of this week I lost a good friend in Lazarus Towa.

Lazarus Towa was known for many traits. To those who he assisted to find jobs or help develop their curriculum vitae (CVs), Lazarus was a real professional who loved his job, his country, and his people.

Continue reading "Lazarus Towa: a man of humility & sacrifice" »

‘JT Must Go’: Tik-Tok claims first PNG scalp

| Australian Outlook

We are not primitives
University students in Port Moresby protest on 12 May against foreign affairs minister Justin Tkatchenko, who called social media critics of his daughter “primitive animals”  (Michael Tamty Pais, BenarNews)

HOBART - Papua New Guinea’s foreign minister Justin Tkatchenko has stepped down from his role for now.

But elite politics and money in PNG ensure that when attention shifts once more, he will be back.

PNG is probably the most important country in the Pacific backyard for Australia.

Continue reading "‘JT Must Go’: Tik-Tok claims first PNG scalp" »

Lazarus Towa, the Job Vacancy Man, passes on

| Academia Nomad

Lazarus Towa and Michael Kabuni Feb 2021
The late Lazarus Towa meets Michael Kabuni at Vision City in February 2021 (Lyn Yana)

PORT MORESBY – Lazarus Towa, a most unusual man, has died. He was a man of great community spirit and pride in his country.

On 14 February 2021, I had a long chat with Lazarus. I blogged about it the next day and my article was republished in PNG Attitude.

Lazarus Towa ran the popular ‘Current Job Vacancy Repost with LT’ group on Facebook, which had 202,000 followers.

Continue reading "Lazarus Towa, the Job Vacancy Man, passes on" »

We're your hope, we're not primitive animals


"Papua New Guinea needs brave men and women with clever minds and loud voices to rise
against the few who are corrupting our government and sucking our people’s money"


PARI - Shamefully, the US-PNG Defence Cooperation Agreement was signed by PNG defence minister Win Bakri Daki and US secretary of state Anthony Blinken at APEC Haus on 22 May.

This was despite nationwide protests urging prime minister PM Marape to both sack former foreign minister Justin Tkatchenko and not sign the security pact.

The Marape government never respects the people of PNG.

Continue reading "We're your hope, we're not primitive animals" »

Traditional language catastrophe faces PNG


Baka Bina
Baka Bina - "Our Tok Ples are going to die. To lose 860 plus languages,some with many dialects, is going to be catastrophic"


PORT MORESBY - It’s been quite a while since I tendered a story to PNG Attitude. I’ve been busy and haven’t really had time to write.

However I was able to submit an entry to the 2023 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, as I did in 2022, when I became the first author from Papua New Guinea to be shortlisted.

Continue reading "Traditional language catastrophe faces PNG" »

Academic explains students words of 'treason'

|  Republished by Café Pacific with permission from Jubi News 

Capture jaya
Expert witness Dr Robert Masreng (back to camera) testifies during the treason trial of three Papuan students at Jayapura District Court last week (Theo Kelen, Jubi)

JAYAPURA - The trial of three Papuan “free speech” students accused of treason resumed at the Jayapura District Court last week.

The defendants — Yoseph Ernesto Matuan, Devio Tekege, and Ambrosius Fransiskus Elopere — have been charged with treason for organising a free speech rally where they were accused of raising the banned Morning Star flags of West Papuan independence at the Jayapura University of Science and Technology (USTJ) on 10 November 2022.

Continue reading "Academic explains students words of 'treason'" »

Wrong turn at Swagap


A story from Papuan Vagabond, a collection of short stories by Duncan Gabi, Independently Published, June 2023, 80 pages. ISBN 13: 979-8396667426. Available here from Amazon Books. Hardcover $32.54. Kindle $4.45

Gabi cover

KAINDI - In late November 2020, I ventured to the East Sepik Province to join a courageous group dedicated to protecting the Sepik River from the proposed Frieda River gold and copper mine.

Our mission took us on a patrol to the headwaters of the Sepik River in December, where we aimed to raise awareness and reinforce the community's opposition to the destructive mining activities.

From Pagwi, we embarked on a day-long journey upstream to Iniok village, situated at the mouth of the Frieda River.

Continue reading "Wrong turn at Swagap" »

Corruption response is ‘wholly inadequate’


Walton corruption

Papua New Guinea: Government, Economy and Society’ by Stephen Howes & Lekshmi N Pillai (eds), ANU Press, 2022. Link here to all content in the book including chapters, contributors, citations and figures and tables. This extract is from Chapter 4 ‘Crime and Corruption’ by Grant W Walton and Sinclair Dinnen

CANBERRA - Many people consider that corruption in Papua New Guinea is a key threat to social and economic development.

Continue reading "Corruption response is ‘wholly inadequate’" »

Law, order, crime & moral panic in PNG


Walton Crime PNG-unsafe-for-women

Papua New Guinea: Government, Economy and Society’ by Stephen Howes & Lekshmi N Pillai (eds), ANU Press, 2022. Link here to all content in the book including chapters, contributors, citations and figures and tables. This extract is from Chapter 4 ‘Crime and Corruption by Grant W Walton and Sinclair Dinnen

CANBERRA - For outsiders as well as many citizens, crime and corruption are viewed as significantly curtailing the fulfilment of Papua New Guinea’s development goals.

Continue reading "Law, order, crime & moral panic in PNG" »

How I joined the Army without uniform or gun


Nara     Yours Truly
Alexander Nara - "Attached to my Grade 10 certificate (failed) was a prestigious award from the school’s disciplinary committee. It came in the form of six months experience digging out tree roots in front of the administration building"

PORT MORESBY - Let me tell you about a time I first wanted to enlist in the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF).

I was in Bialla, a small laid-back town towards eastern end of the Nakanai coast in West New Britain.

It was 1996 and I’d just passed out from the formal education system after failing my Grade 10 exams at the then Bialla High School.

Continue reading "How I joined the Army without uniform or gun" »

Bakhmut: Russia loses 100,000 casualties


Battlefield scene from the Battle of Bakhmut 2023 (Bing image creator)
Battlefield scene from the Battle of Bakhmut, 2023 (Bing image creator)

ADELAIDE – Much has changed since I last wrote about the Russo-Ukraine War.

The supposedly undefeatable hypersonic Russian missiles turn out to be very defeatable, much to the chagrin and consternation, not to mention shame, of Vladimir Putin and his Russian officials.

The Ukrainians have once again demonstrated the ability to harness Western technologies to achieve quite startling outcomes in the war Russia expected to win in a weekend.

Continue reading "Bakhmut: Russia loses 100,000 casualties" »

The good & bad of ChatGPT: An assessment


Screen shot from ChatGPT
Screen shot from ChatGPT - frill-free,  fast and functional. But can be error prone and demands attention to detail

NOOSA – A couple of months ago, as a consumer and producer of information, I decided I must try to understand something about artificial intelligence and ChatGPT.

By ‘understand’ I meant to find out ChatGPT’s application to journalism and creative writing (it has many other capabilities) and to determine its grasp of human behaviour.

The latter is imperative because if it can’t distinguish between good and bad, truth and lie or fact and opinion it’s use is problematic in the absence of ethical human intervention.

Continue reading "The good & bad of ChatGPT: An assessment" »

A novel about war, colonialism, racism & love


Cover pic

A Dangerous Land by Marisa Jones, Trade Paperback ‘Jonesing for Books’, 349 pages. ASIN B0C57YPF3C. Paper $25.30. Kindle $2.99. Available here from Amazon

LAE - I’m nearly at a loss for words (nearly) and can hardly believe that after all these years, my debut novel is being published.

A Dangerous Land, to be launched later this month but already available, is a work of historical fiction-; a novel about love and acceptance set in Papua New Guinea in World War II.

Continue reading "A novel about war, colonialism, racism & love" »

Shiprider agreement must go beyond fisheries


Gabi    US PNG agreement
Despite calls for more public consultation, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and PNG defence minister Win Bakri Daki ink the defence cooperation and shiprider agreements at APEC House in Port Moresby (Radio New Zealand | Samuel Rillstone)

WEWAK - The defence cooperation agreement between the United States and Papua New Guinea signed late last month, and its associated shiprider agreement offer potential benefits for our fisheries industry.

But in addition to helping PNG protect its sovereignty, it’s crucial to consider the agreements broader implications and to explore other avenues for economic growth and development.

Continue reading "Shiprider agreement must go beyond fisheries" »

Bilas – an exhibition of PNG body adornment


Bilas    Red feather headdress  Telofomin  (Belinda Christie)
Red feather headdress from Telofomin in Sandaun Province  (Belinda Christie)


NOOSA – Papua New Guinea, in all of its many modes, is an exciting place – and you don’t necessarily have to go there to get a taste of some of its exuberance and beauty.

The Australian Museum, in Sydney established as Australia’s first public museum in 1827 to procure ‘many rare and curious specimens of Natural History’, has an association of over 150 years with Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "Bilas – an exhibition of PNG body adornment" »

The fascinations & pleasures of growing old



TUMBY BAY - One of the great indulgences granted to those of us of advanced age is the ability to regress to our native state and simply watch the world go by.

To wander aimlessly along a deserted beach, pad through the soft undergrowth of a forest or simply sit in the sun.

Or perhaps just laze at a pavement café, drinking coffee with a good friend while watching the hustle and bustle pass by.

Continue reading "The fascinations & pleasures of growing old" »

Connecting the dots on West Papua, Part 3


A protest
PORT MORESBY – On 1 May 1963, the United Nations transferred the administration of West New Guinea to the Republic of Indonesia. The capital Hollandia was immediately renamed Kota Baru.

West Papuan nationalism and desire for self-determination that had consolidated in the wake of the long deadlock between Indonesia and the Netherlands after Indonesia declared its independence at the end of World War II had not borne fruit.

Continue reading "Connecting the dots on West Papua, Part 3" »

The shame of becoming a US military base

How to lose our sovereignty
Are they here to help, or to control?


PARI - There’s one word that best describes the United States-Papua New Guinea Defence Cooperation Agreement signed in Port Moresby on 22 May by our defence minister Win Bakri Daki and US secretary of state Anthony Blinken.

And that word is ‘shameful’.

It came into being at APEC Haus amidst the rare sight of nationwide protests urging prime minister James Marape not to sign the security pact.

Continue reading "The shame of becoming a US military base" »