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Christmas for atheists

St nicholas
St Nicholas - definitely not an atheist but a rich man who used his wealth to alleviate suffering

PHIL FITZPATRICK
| Published in PNG Attitude, 25 December 2016

TUMBY BAY - I was about eight years old when I realised that organised religion was a giant confidence trick.

The thing that made me aware of this was my mother’s plan to send me to the local Catholic school.

We’d just moved out of the migrant hostel after arriving in Australia from England and I was bound to a new school.

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Beyond 2020: A hazardous row to hoe

CovidPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - As 2020 draws to a close, confusion and trepidation seem to be the major emotions people the world over are feeling.

The confusion stems from uncertainty about how to interpret what appear to be existential threats in 2021 and beyond.

They include the coronavirus pandemic.

Continue reading "Beyond 2020: A hazardous row to hoe" »


Reflections on a dismal year

2020 1CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - As 2020 staggers towards its dismal end, the trail of upheaval and disasters left in its wake will continue to reverberate around the world for many years to come.

When historians of the future are considering the impact of Covid-19 on the world, they will be presented with a smorgasbord of issues to contemplate.

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It’s not about politicians, it’s about the people

PigsPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - When did politicians start putting themselves first instead of us?

When did politicians start acting like rock stars and movie stars instead of acting like representatives of the people?

When did political spin take over from political reality?

Continue reading "It’s not about politicians, it’s about the people" »


Leaving a mess for the kids to clean up

MessPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Back in 1993 the pop group Aerosmith sang in the opening lines of Livin’ on the Edge, “There's something wrong with the world today. I don’t know what it is.”  

The idea that there is something wrong with the world, including the people in it and the way they behave, is a feeling that has probably been around ever since our forebears crawled out of the swamps and grew legs.

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PNG leaders, you have the clearest choice

CrisisSIMON DAVIDSON

SONOMA - The current saga about the opposition’s attempted hijacking of parliament and the subsequent legal battles portray a gloomy picture of the nation’s political landscape.

But behind the two forces battling in the corridors of power are the powerful economic ideologies that each group represents.

Continue reading "PNG leaders, you have the clearest choice" »


History beckons again for Papua New Guinea

Maritime cadets. Gary Juffa - "
Maritime cadets. "It is not a blunder to want better for your country and people. It is not wrong to want to have a fair share of our resources. It is not wrong to think of our children's tomorrows" - Gary Juffa

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - When the so-called baby boomers came of age in the late 1960s and early 1970s a revolution of liberating enlightenment began to sweep the world.

It began in California, swept through Britain and Europe and finally made its way to Australia.

From there it seeped into Papua New Guinea.

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The 12 reasons I prefer Marape to O’Neill

Marape Oneill
Are we about to see a second face-off between James Marape and Peter O'Neill?

TONY CHARLES WATTZ KEROWA
| PNG News | Edited

PORT MORESBY – Why are so many people supporting prime minister James Marape?

It’s because he has revolutionary ideas that will propel this country into economic independence in years to come.

Let me highlight some achievements so far.

Continue reading "The 12 reasons I prefer Marape to O’Neill" »


The dangers of complicity

Complicit-silencePHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Silence has always been recognised as complicity. Failing to speak out when something bad is happening is often interpreted as endorsement, especially by the people perpetuating the badness.

A cowed and silent population is the ultimate aim of despots who use the repression of its citizens’ right to a free voice as a political weapon.

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Marape’s resolute & patriotic stand

Corney 1CORNEY KOROKAN ALONE

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s prime minister, James Marape, consolidated his political capital with 52 MPs and urged calm to Papua New Guineans, the business community, international friends, supporters and political observers in a press conference on Friday.

He warned against corporate lobbyism by mineral resource developers peddling money bags as part of their questionable pursuits. You can link here to his full press conference.

I want to tell you what we, most Papua New Guineans, know and feel.

Continue reading "Marape’s resolute & patriotic stand" »


Our country is being taken away from us

ShopsSCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

LAE - How much of the economy do we own? All the prime shop spaces in our towns and cities are owned by foreigners.

Can we easily get financing for a business? No. If we do get it, are the terms PNG-customer friendly? No. And shop space rentals are unaffordable.

Continue reading "Our country is being taken away from us" »


Warning to Oz: Don’t underestimate PNG

Alone
Corney Alone tells Australia, "We're not going to sing a backward-leaning Kumbaya with you"

CORNEY ALONE

Australia’s ramped-up megaphone hostility to its biggest trading partner, China, has led to trade repercussions, pole-axed Australian diplomacy and raised eyebrows in the Pacific. Papua New Guinean business leader and national affairs commentator Corney Alone tells Australia it can play this game but shouldn’t expect the Pacific to fall into line - KJ

PORT MORESBY – Yes, Australia. You get exactly what you bargain for in your relations with China. For Papua New Guinea, though, on our turf we reject outdated, cold war era nonsense.

We are also acutely aware of the 54 years of neglect, double-standards and the arrogant complicity in genocide of Australia's policy towards Melanesian West Papua.

Continue reading "Warning to Oz: Don’t underestimate PNG" »


Beyond first contact & gun-bearing Baptists

Bible gunCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - It is pleasing to see that a new book by Daniel Kumbon, Victory Song of Pingeta’s Daughter, will soon be available.

It will join recent works by Sil Bolkin, Mathias Kin and the late Francis Nii as another step in preserving the history of Papua New Guinea, in this case of the Enga people in particular.

Continue reading "Beyond first contact & gun-bearing Baptists" »


A state of perpetual crisis

Perpetual crisis (The Guardian)PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - The world has always been in a state of perpetual crisis. We seem to seamlessly roll on from one crisis straight into another one.

We actually thrive on crises.

If there wasn’t a worldwide crisis at any given time, we would wonder what was happening. That we didn’t have a crisis would become a crisis in its own right.

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2020 signals major change for PNG & the world

NeobombCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Unfortunately the tides of history do not always move in a linear or predictable fashion. Take the Russian Revolution for example.

The first major convulsion within Tsarist Russia occurred in 1905. A combination of suppression and political concessions enable the old regime to remain in place but it was an ominous warning for the Tsarists that the status quo would not and could not last much longer.

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How’s PNG’s new foreign policy going?

FlagHENRY HERITAGE
| Pacific Fellow | Young Australians in International Affairs | Edited

SYDNEY - After securing the confidence of parliament in May 2019, Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape promptly announced a shift in the country’s foreign policy.

Marape declared that PNG would divert from its traditionally non-confrontational approach to international affairs and would assume a bold focus on forming new partnerships with regional neighbours and challenging historical dependencies.

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Innovation can make suckers of us all

Twitter
In the USA much presidential policy is dispensed using Twitter feed. Trump has 86 million followers (PNG Attitude has 7,000)

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - No matter how good an innovation is there will always be people who subvert it and spoil it for everyone else.

This axiom applies from something as simple as people taking undue advantage of a public welfare measure by ripping it off with false claims to the greater complexity of major frauds perpetuated by large corporations taking advantage of loopholes in tax laws.

Continue reading "Innovation can make suckers of us all" »


Just another convulsion in western civilisation

EndCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Those of us who went to Papua New Guinea, especially in the 30 years after World War II, were motivated by many things.

For me and many others who became kiaps or didimen or tisa or mastamak,* it was a sense of adventure combined with curiosity about what was then, and remains today, a culture quite unlike our own.

Continue reading "Just another convulsion in western civilisation" »


OK Pete, where did the money come from?

PonCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - I don’t know former prime minister Peter O'Neill's parliamentary salary but I'd guess it was not high enough to allow him or his wife to save the millions of kina required to even place a deposit on a house at Point Piper.

For the benefit of Papua New Guineans unfamiliar with Australia's absurdly over-priced property market, Point Piper is amongst the most exclusive and expensive addresses in Australia.

Continue reading "OK Pete, where did the money come from?" »


The shock of the new

Hughes
Robert Hughes

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Robert Hughes (1938-2012) was a famed Australian art critic and historian.

Perhaps his two greatest contributions to history were a book (and related television series) in 1991 on the history of art in the late 19th and 20th centuries (from which the title of this article is taken) and a history of Australia’s convict system, ‘The Fatal Shore’ (1987).

Continue reading "The shock of the new" »


PNG missing out on gold 'explosion'

Namah
Belden Namah - "The Marape government has totally failed the people at a time when they need their government the most"

BELDEN NAMAH MP
| Leader of the PNG Opposition

PORT MORESBY - The price of gold has taken off around the world as the Covid-19 pandemic pushes investors to turn away from currencies to buy gold but PNG is missing out because of the continued closure of Porgera gold mine.

The government of prime minister James Marape is fully responsible for this loss of revenue because of its decision to refuse an extension of the special mining lease to Canadian miner Barrick and the protracted court proceedings that have resulted.

Continue reading "PNG missing out on gold 'explosion'" »


Ethnicism - group survival; root of racism

Ethnicity
Ethnic diversity strengthens and enriches societies but can also be a source of conflict

ROBERT FORSTER

NORTHUMBRIA, UK – The continued aggressive suppression of black skinned former slaves in the United States has triggered fierce global outrage.

The wave of anger sparked by the murder of George Floyd implied that racism is directed exclusively against black skinned people and that the only perpetrators are white.

Continue reading "Ethnicism - group survival; root of racism" »


Covid-19 exposes gross failures

Phil
Phil Fitzpatrick: "The K70 million the World Bank gave PNG months ago to prepare for the pandemic has mysteriously disappeared"

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Covid-19 is having a remarkable impact all over the world as it exposes the ideological and structural shortcomings of government and corporate entities.

In the USA and Britain, the bumbling incompetence of their leaders is shown in the disastrous statistics related to rates of infection and deaths from the virus.

Continue reading "Covid-19 exposes gross failures" »


There’s no escape from our changing world

ChangeROBERT FORSTER

NORTHUMBRIA, UK - It does no good to pretend that late 19th and early 20th century Papua New Guinea with its stone based technology and scattered and perpetually warring tribes could have lain forever undisturbed by the relentless impetus of the world.

Any discussion of Australia’s presence in PNG should not begin with whether it had any right to be there, but with what might have happened if a potentially harsher Japanese or Indonesian administration had taken over the country before it became independent.

Continue reading "There’s no escape from our changing world" »


Black lives & stupid white supremacists

ProblackPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - As an old white man who has worked with and enjoyed long standing friendships with people of colour I’ve been following the development of the Black Lives Matter phenomenon for a while now and wondering what has brought it to what appears to be a crucial point in history.

It cannot be avoided acknowledging that the issue of race is incredibly complicated. Or at least appears to be so.

Continue reading "Black lives & stupid white supremacists" »


New mining act poses economic threat

HlineSTANLEY PUNDIYE

PORT MORESBY – A month ago, on Wednesday 17 June, the Papua New Guinea parliament passed a mining amendment bill suppressing the participation of landowners in the development of PNG mineral resources projects and promoting the participation of the State.

The bill provides a legal basis for the government and foreign investors to take their cut of the pie but the position of landowners’ equity is not very clear.

Continue reading "New mining act poses economic threat" »


Philistines have entered the gate

Morrison
Australian prime minister Scott Morrison came naturally to philistinism. It was easier than dealing with real world complexity and reason

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - A philistine is a person of narrow mind, populist morality, materialistic views and lack of interest in art and literature.

The term was coined by the 19th Century British poet, Matthew Arnold, adapting the word from the term ‘philister’ used by German university students to describe people who were unenlightened, uncultured and anti-intellectual.

Continue reading "Philistines have entered the gate" »


Colourful field for Bougainville presidency

Joseph Nobetau (2)
Joseph Nobetau - a large, mixed and colourful field of candidates are offering themselves for election as president of Bougainville -

JOSEPH NOBETAU

BUKA - With 25 candidates set to contest the upcoming election for president of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, the opportunity for renewed leadership in the fledgling autonomous region is greater than ever before.

Coming off the internationally applauded independence referendum at the end of last year, Bougainville is now at a crossroads.

Continue reading "Colourful field for Bougainville presidency" »


Our horrible history

WInston-ChurchillCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The study of history is not likely to inspire belief in the inherent virtues of humanity.

There are so many conspicuous examples of our species’ propensity for violence, venality and depravity that it sometimes takes a certain resolve to stare the facts directly in the face and recognise them for what they tell us about the human condition at a given point in time.

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Racism diminished but not dead

B&w Overland hline
Chris Overland - "Entrenched ideas about the world die very hard"

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Racism originates from one of the most deep seated aspects of all human cultures, which is an almost instinctive ‘fear of the other’.

I have written previously (see my comment on this article) about this phenomenon and why it made sense in the distant past and, in relation to Papua New Guinea, the not so recent past.

Continue reading "Racism diminished but not dead" »


Why neo-liberals can’t handle a crisis

NeosPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Many businesses all over the world have been caught out by Covid-19 through the disruption of supply lines. Goods are not coming into countries because of the closure of borders.

Australia has been particularly affected because home-grown manufacturing has declined significantly and just about everything except agricultural products come from overseas, and China in particular.

Continue reading "Why neo-liberals can’t handle a crisis" »


Masters & slaves, 21st century style

Black Lives Matter protest in front of the White House in Washington DC
Black Lives Matter protest in front of the White House in Washington DC

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - The United States of America was the largest and most successful economic nation in the world by the time World War II began.

There is compelling evidence to suggest that this success was built on the back of slavery.

During the middle of the 1800s, cotton became the world’s largest commodity. The cheapest and best cotton came from the southern United States.

Continue reading "Masters & slaves, 21st century style" »


Our systems worked, so what happened?

Rubber stationSCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

LAE - We have to get this right if we are to thrive in this country.

The quality of transport infrastructure – especially roads and bridges – determines the price of food.

Apart from consumption, this single factor influences the rate of supply and demand to a large extent.

Continue reading "Our systems worked, so what happened?" »


Can we remain free?

Chinese view
China's view of neoliberalism could well end up being close to the truth - not that China offers a more persuasive ideology

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The current coronavirus crisis has thrown into stark relief the inherent tension between individual freedom and social obligation.

This has perhaps been most evident in the United States, where there is now active resistance against demands that individuals sacrifice their personal liberty for the greater good in an effort to control the Covid-19 pandemic that had by yesterday killed 105,000 Americans.

Continue reading "Can we remain free?" »


I fight, therefore I am

Mock tribal skirmish
Mock tribal skirmish

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - One of the essential ingredients for tribal unity is an enemy. Fear of that enemy is important in keeping the tribe together and united.

A good tribal leader will spend much time explaining to the people the horrific motives of the enemy.

In traditional societies, rape, murder and cannibalism are effective fear narratives while in modern societies the memes centre round ideology and economics.

Continue reading "I fight, therefore I am" »


A solution to the Porgera impasse

Porgera mine
Porgera gold and silver mine (Barrick)

SIMON DAVIDSON

KOKOPO – The Porgera mine is a large gold and silver mining operation in Enga province, Papua New Guinea located at the head of the Porgera Valley at an altitude of about 2,500 meters. The region is noted for its high rainfall, landslides and frequent earthquakes.

The mine is operated by the Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) and began production in 1990. It is now owned by Barrick Gold Corporation of Canada and the Zijin Mining Group of China with local landowners having a small stake.

Continue reading "A solution to the Porgera impasse" »


Are we at an historic turning point?

EdgeCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - There are moments in history when its future course is altered by a single event.

These turning points, while seemingly innocuous or unremarkable at the time, may have profound consequences.

For example, the arrival of a handful of Spanish adventurers in Mexico in 1519 was, in itself, not especially remarkable. It initially attracted no great interest in Spain or anywhere else for that matter.

Continue reading "Are we at an historic turning point?" »


If in doubt, shoot it

GunsPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - If you watch any imported American police program on commercial television you’d be forgiven for assuming that the solution to any problem is a gun.

These programs, with their officious acronyms like NCIS, SVU and CSI, feature a never ending barrage of good guys ending the nefarious deeds of bad guys in a blaze of gunfire. Every situation seems to end in gun play.

Continue reading "If in doubt, shoot it" »


How we became trapped by capitalism

B&w Overland hlineCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Neo-liberal capitalism has taken over our lives by stealth.

I date its rise from the realisation that ordinary citizens could be offered easy access to credit, whereby the perceived actuarial risk involved was largely mitigated by the sheer numbers of people who used credit cards and similar facilities.

Continue reading "How we became trapped by capitalism" »