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" »
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.
Continue reading "A state of perpetual crisis" »
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.
Continue reading "2020 signals major change for PNG & the world" »
TUMBY BAY - One would not expect there to be any apparent upsides to a devastating global pandemic, but strangely enough Covid-19 has provided one.
This has been in the form of revealing many of the structural, social and ideological shortcomings of our current systems of governance.
Continue reading "When crisis is not enough to beget change" »
| 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.
Continue reading "How’s PNG’s new foreign policy going?" »
| My Land, My Country
LAE - One of our biggest failures as a people is that we give our power to someone else and expect them to do use it for our good.
We vote in politicians and expect them to speak for us and solve every single problem when we have the solutions.
Continue reading "How we waste our power" »
TUMBY BAY - It is not possible to know everything. This is a truth that often dawns on people only in their older years.
The best we can hope for, and this is rare enough, is to be a polymath; a person of broad general knowledge.
Continue reading "It’s just not possible to know everything" »
In the USA much presidential policy is dispensed using Twitter feed. Trump has 86 million followers (PNG Attitude has 7,000)
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" »
| My Land, My Country
LAE - If you don't like the state of the country, commit yourself to changing it.
You don't have to be in politics to do it. If there is trash outside your fence, pick it up.
Continue reading "True independence starts in the mind" »
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" »
TUMBY BAY - Memorial Day is the American version of Anzac Day when military personnel who have died on duty are honoured and mourned.
In 2017 Donald Trump accompanied his then chief of staff, former General John Kelly, to the Arlington National Cemetery.
Continue reading "Donald Trump, the world’s greatest loser" »
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?" »
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" »
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'" »
ADELAIDE – It is a sad reality that Papua New Guinea's leaders have stolen, mismanaged or squandered much of its wealth, leaving its people vastly under serviced and resourced.
This is consistent with the all too familiar pattern in post-colonial societies.
Continue reading "Be assured change is on the way" »
Ethnic diversity strengthens and enriches societies but can also be a source of conflict
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" »
Phil Fitzpatrick: "The K70 million the World Bank gave PNG months ago to prepare for the pandemic has mysteriously disappeared"
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" »
TUMBY BAY - The United States of America, under its barking mad sociopath president, is in total disarray at possibly the worst historical moment in a hundred years.
Confusion reigns supreme and anything could happen, none of which will be nice for its people or the world at large.
Continue reading "Saving the US of A" »
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" »
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" »
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" »
Australian prime minister Scott Morrison came naturally to philistinism. It was easier than dealing with real world complexity and reason
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" »
Joseph Nobetau - a large, mixed and colourful field of candidates are offering themselves for election as president of Bougainville -
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" »
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.
Continue reading "Our horrible history" »
Chris Overland - "Entrenched ideas about the world die very hard"
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" »
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" »
Black Lives Matter protest in front of the White House in Washington DC
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" »
| 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?" »
China's view of neoliberalism could well end up being close to the truth - not that China offers a more persuasive ideology
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?" »
Mock tribal skirmish
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" »
Porgera gold and silver mine (Barrick)
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" »
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?" »
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" »
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" »
TUMBY BAY - One of the most significant impacts upon the Australians working in pre-independent Papua New Guinea was exposure to a totally different culture and lifestyle.
This was particularly true of people like kiaps, didimen and teachers working in rural areas.
Continue reading "Trapped by capitalism" »
Waile Creek, Porgera
ADELAIDE - Eric Schering has beautifully articulated the classic neo-liberal arguments about the defence of property rights and the necessity of the rule of law.
There is much of merit in these arguments but, in this case, there are major problems as well.
Continue reading "Porgera: Government has whip hand" »
The Barrick-Zijin joint venture gold and silver mine situated west of Porgera
KALAMAZOO, USA – In late April, on the advice of Papua New Guinea’s national executive council, prime minister James Marape declined the request of the Porgera Joint Venture to extend its mining lease by 20 years.
The government made it clear to the Barrick-Zijin syndicate that the PNG government would take control of the mine and it was time for the partners to come up with an exit plan.
Continue reading "Marape must negotiate on Porgera" »
Penny and Eric Schering and friends. The Scherings split their time working with Pacific Island Ministries in PNG and the USA
KALAMAZOO, USA - Last week was a biggie for the Porgera Joint Venture (PJV) in Papua New Guinea’s Enga Province, one of the largest gold mines in the world.
A stir has been brewing about whether prime minister James Marape is justified in refusing PJV’s request for a 20 year lease extension.
Continue reading "What next for Porgera's gold mine ?" »
Porgera gold and silver mine
| Business Advantage PNG
PORT MORESBY - There will be repercussions from the Papua New Guinea government’s decision not to renew the special mining lease on the Porgera gold mine.
The Porgera valley is a very complex place, with communities long vying for control. Anyone treading in it should do so lightly, with thorough consultation and knowledge of that situation and avoiding disruption.
Continue reading "More dialogue needed on Porgera" »
TUMBY BAY - When the governor general of Australia, Sir John Kerr, dismissed the Whitlam government in 1975 the conspiracy theorists had a field day.
Chief among the theories was that the USA’s Central Intelligence Agency, alarmed at Whitlam’s bold new social programs and loosening of its treaty ties, was the real culprit rather than opposition leader Malcolm Fraser
Continue reading "Which bully to choose?" »
TUMBY BAY - “Papua New Guinea’s brew of debt-laden government, poor health services and social fragmentation means it is uniquely placed to suffer at the hands of coronavirus.” So says ABC journalist Melissa Clark.
What she is referring to is the possibility of PNG becoming a failed state because of the coronavirus.
Continue reading "Does it really matter if PNG goes bust?" »
TUMBY BAY - As the nations of the world seal borders to ward off the coronavirus and questions begin to be asked about the future of globalisation, the concepts of nationalism and identity are moving to the fore.
Suddenly the progressive idea of being a citizen of the world seems to diminish in favour of national identity and loyalty.
Continue reading "Fortress Australia – or what?" »
TUMBY BAY - One of the most disturbing things the Covid-19 crisis had made abundantly clear is that neither of the two major world powers, the USA and China, have a moral base.
This fact is not just reflected in their respective leaders but in the very systems under which their countries operate.
Continue reading "Covid-19 & political reality" »
TUMBY BAY - Like a lot of people, I’ve got a list of favourite websites bookmarked and neatly arranged across the top of my Google search page.
They start with PNG Attitude and progress to the right through various news sites before arriving at the Tumby Bay weather forecast.
Continue reading "Colour me a fake president" »
TUMBY BAY - It feels like someone or something has taken the world by its bootstraps and thrown it up in the air.
Where it lands is anyone’s guess. We are all sitting in our bunkers with bated breath.
A real expectation is that a new world order will emerge after the Covid-19 crisis has passed.
Continue reading "Major world upheaval – or pitstop?" »
ADELAIDE – In the extract from his book, ‘You’ll Never Work Again – The Great Safety Charade’, Bernard Corden has given us a great example of where letting the market rip, unfettered by effective regulation, combined with blindingly obvious conflicts of interest, leads to disaster in the service of accumulating vast profits.
And, once again, "the weak suffer what they must".
Continue reading "The fallacies at the heart of neo-liberalism" »
Australian businessman Gerry Harvey - bragging about doing well out of coronavirus panic and exulting in other people's distress
TUMBY BAY - There is an interesting and still underlying debate going on about what will happen once the COVID-19 crisis abates.
On the one hand there is the expected conservative view that everything should return to normal.
This is promulgated by most politicians in Australia and elsewhere and seems to be the accepted view of businesses and the public at large.
Continue reading "After the crisis – more of the same?" »
TUMBY BAY - One thing is becoming abundantly clear as the coronavirus epidemic rapidly escalates.
And this is that any government based on an ideology of neo-liberalism is the worst possible model to deal with a crisis of this magnitude.
This is most apparent in the USA, the home of laissez faire capitalism, where confusion reigns supreme and the virus is uncontrollably rampant.
But it is also becoming evident in Australia.
At the moment there are huge queues of people outside Centrelink offices who have lost their jobs because of the lockdown of businesses.
Continue reading "Now we learn they can’t handle a crisis" »
Simon Jackson; Will coronavirus forge a new realisation of the world as it is, or reinforce the bastions of privilege?
AUCKLAND - Like many people who have lived deeply in developing countries and been exposed to crises people in 'developed' nations see only on TV or at the movies, an observation by Chris Overland in PNG Attitude yesterday hit home for me.
Amongst much else worth thinking about, Chris wrote in 'Coronavirus: A warning from history', that whatever else awaits us in the aftermath of this coronavirus epidemic, “we will not be able to sit here, fat, dumb and happy, while bad things happen to other people."
Continue reading "Coronavirus & the ignorance of privilege" »
Phil Fitzpatrick - "Fake government applying Band-Aids and painting over them with spin and empty rhetoric"
TUMBY BAY - When mounting evidence suggests that a government is corrupt and they fail to adequately address the evidence, what can be done about it?
The short answer, of course, is not to vote for them. But if they are electorally secure and their term of government has some time to run, well, other options are severely limited.
Continue reading "Bad governance & lots of tok gris" »