TUMBY BAY - It’s ironic that in his death Michael Somare seems to have united Papua New Guinea in a way that he could never achieve while he was alive.
Some of this is owed to the cult of the haus krai but more is owed to the nation’s overwhelming need for a universal hero who can be celebrated across all language and tribal groups.
Continue reading "The mythologising of Michael Somare" »
Michael Somare and Gough Whitlam in 1973 - 'Conservative leaders spoke out against a fast transfer of power but were overtaken by these two unstoppable forces'
CLEVELAND, QLD - If one was to bequeath a view of history as it happened, Chips Mackellar’s recollection is accurate and reflects the general view of most Papua New Guinean people in the early 1970’s.
That’s what kiaps in the bush heard from the Papua New Guinean people they met and worked with.
There was a general view that more time was needed to effectively transfer power from a Western government to a people who had never experienced anything like it in the past.
Continue reading "Views against early independence 'were correct'" »
Brian Cooper at Mascor after his release from prison
"[Brian] Cooper wasn't the only one espousing such messages in Papua New Guinea before independence, especially after the UPNG was established. In most cases the local kiap or the district commissioner would have a quiet word with them and tell them to tone it down and that would be the end of the matter" – Phil Fitzpatrick
ADELAIDE - I think that Phil is right. At worst, Mr Cooper was guilty of tokim mauswara tasol or, as my children would have said, ‘dribbling shit’.
Why then Australian prime minister Robert Menzies decided to single him out as an 'enemy of the people' is hard to fathom.
Continue reading "Brian Cooper’s conviction was a fit-up" »
TUMBY BAY - Life on our planet is made up of complex synergies and symbiotic relationships built up over countless millennia.
Removing particular species or environmental elements from an ecological base can be catastrophic, as can adding new species or environmental elements.
Continue reading "Relax – the normal insanity will soon resume" »
‘Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past’ - George Orwell
BRISBANE – ‘Boys from the Blackstuff’ was a acclaimed British television drama series written by the Liverpool, UK, playwright Alan Bleasdale.
It was initially screened during the Autumn of 1982 following a period of fomenting civil unrest that culminated in the notorious inner city riots within Liverpool’s Toxteth district.
Continue reading "Covid-1984: face masks, vaccine & the big lie" »
ROBERT IKI LESO
| North-West By-Election 2021 | Edited
From Thomson Honga's Facebook page, which he describes as a “media platform designed to provide critical North-West by-election information and discuss development issues for the people of the North-West Electorate”, the seat formerly occupied by the late and greatly admired leader, Sir Mekere Morauta
ENGA - You can have lots of titles and positions but if you do not raise young leaders to take over, you could be something else and not the leader you claim.
Such people are puffed up with ego and pride. They are always insecure, sensitive and uncomfortable to share experiences, skills, talents and knowledge with the novices and younger generation.
Continue reading "Old leaders must encourage young leaders" »
| Sipikriva Girl Blog
BRAUN - One of the last frontiers unconquered. Even the attitudes and the ‘bad’ cultures are unconquered.
We have out here, a culture of time-wasting, bad, almost disrespectful attitudes among the whole population.
Continue reading "A cultural setback" »
CANBERRA - The original sovereign nation of tribes, clans and families across Oceania are at a crossroads.
Many old people are dying without transferring their languages and knowledge of the ancient spiritual world to the younger generations.
Continue reading "Oceania’s past & future depends on us now" »
| Published in PNG Attitude, 22 December 2017
TUMBY BAY - With Christmas nearly upon us, I have a couple of questions.
But let’s start with some suppositions.
If you are a believer, the true meaning of Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ. Sent here by God to save mankind from itself.
Continue reading "The ‘tru’ meaning of Christmas" »
St Nicholas - definitely not an atheist but a rich man who used his wealth to alleviate suffering
| 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.
Continue reading "Christmas for atheists" »
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" »
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.
Continue reading "Reflections on a dismal year" »
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" »
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.
Continue reading "Leaving a mess for the kids to clean up" »
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" »
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
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.
Continue reading "History beckons again for Papua New Guinea" »
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" »
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.
Continue reading "The dangers of complicity" »
CORNEY 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" »
| 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" »
Corney Alone tells Australia, "We're not going to sing a backward-leaning Kumbaya with you"
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" »
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?" »