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" »
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" »
| Prisilla’s Notes
GOROKA - In the remote and rugged highlands of Papua New Guinea, traditional Indigenous communities have practiced sustainable farming techniques for centuries.
Kuk in Western Highlands Province is one of the first places on earth where people started farming.
Continue reading "PNG's 6,000 years of sustainable agriculture" »
| Prisilla’s Notes*
GOROKA - My father’s father lived in a complete agrarian society. What that means is that everything they ate they grew; everything they needed they made.
All labour and life revolved around both the harvest and ceremonies celebrating the harvest.
For my people, these practices happened up until the mid-21st century in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Fragments of them still happen today.
Continue reading "I’m an Indigenous female entrepreneur: Let me introduce myself" »
MORRISET – ‘Aus dem Leben der Kate auf Deutsch-Neuguinea’ (‘From the life of the Kate in German New Guinea’ may well be the first moving film made in what is now Papua New Guinea.
It was the creation of Professor Richard Neuhauss (1855-1915), an ethnologist from Berlin on an expedition to German New Guinea in 1909.
I was very excited to find this 114 year old 16mm film about Kate’s life in German New Guinea.
Continue reading "Was this 1909 Morobe film PNG’s first movie?" »
This awan was collected by John Greenshields and gifted to the South Australian Museum. It is pictured here with Sophie Parker of ArtLab in Adelaide (Image: Alice Beale)
| Journal of the Oceanic Art Society
ADELAIDE - This large body-mask, called a tumbuan in Tok Pisin, comes from the Iatmul people of the Middle Sepik River in Papua New Guinea, and played an important role in traditional ritual life.
Initially it was thought to pertain to the naven ceremony of the Iatmul people, when pairs of mwai masks were attached to the backs of the tumbuans and groups of dancers performed each afternoon in front of the men’s house for several months.
Secret ritual names for a multitude of objects, plants and animals were passed down to the young men and a recitation of all the previous Iatmul generations was incantated to the audience.
Continue reading "Tracing provenance enhances cultural understanding" »
PHILIP KAI MORRE
KUNDIAWA - Youth in Papua New Guinea is a time bomb that our country is adding in its drift towards anarchy.
Even as far back as the 2011 national census, 60% of PNG’s estimated population of 7.3 million was aged under 25.
It is clear that if the PNG government does not focus on the youth population now, the future prospects of the whole country will be saturated by failure.
Continue reading "PNG youth is trapped in the web of modernity" »
GOROKA - Election season in Papua New Guinea is usually a very tumultuous time for all involved.
Since independence elections have evolved as a kind of modern day warfare fought between various tribes across a nation of more than 800 language groups.
Over the course of time, this Western process of appointing leaders has been modified to align with elements of Melanesian culture.
Continue reading "Election PNG: Far from founding fathers vision" »
TUMBY BAY - As I write this, we’ve well and truly entered the dead zone of the Christmas-New Year holidays.
The world’s problems haven’t gone away but this is a time of maximum ignorance and indulgence.
A time of the year when we ignore our dire existence on the planet and revel in the inane commercialism that annually accompanies this holiday break.
Continue reading "Reflections on Christmas's past & present" »
TUMBY BAY - In the late 4th or early 5th century AD, in the dying days of the Roman Empire, some Irish raiders captured a young bloke called Patrick from his home in Britain and took him to Ireland as a slave.
It turned out to be a big mistake.
After six years as a slave, Patrick escaped and returned to Britain where he trained to be a Christian cleric.
Continue reading "The unfortunate lesson of St Patrick the slave" »
"Those who cling to perceptions and views wander the world offending people" - Siddhartha Gautama, The Buddha (c 563-483 BCE)
"These ideals include the belief that security derives from respect for universal human rights, that wealth means well-being, that individual health corresponds to a healthy environment, that mental health is affected by experience of citizen interdependence and solidarity. Democracy depends on security derived from human rights-based policies to promote equality" – Stuart Rees in John Menadue Pearls & Irritations, quoted by Philip Fitzpatrick
LAE - Nope. Poor ideals to me.
Regardless of democracy I don't think life works that way in reality, and it's likely that Costa Rica would not work without the CIA and Uncle Sam up north.
Continue reading "Share where you can & fight when you must" »
The potion we received had five warheads: to make the person dumb, have the person drop dead at work, kill his wife, cause a car accident resulting in death and to have termites destroy his home
LEONARD FONG ROKA
PANGUNA - Sorcery is a belief system that is as old as Bougainville itself. It’s an integral part of the Bougainville people.
People believe in it, talk about it, kill each other over it and our society periodically dissolves into conflict because of it.
Continue reading "The time when we were innocent sorcerers" »
It’s one thing for Pacific people to know they had their culture taken from them. It’s another thing entirely to not know the artefacts and records of that culture still exist
| Trove Partnerships, National Library of Australia
CANBERRA – The Pacific Virtual Museum at the National Library of New Zealand is a remarkable project that brings together Pacific heritage collections from around the world under the masthead of Digital Pasifik.
Digital Pasifik is a website that allows people to discover digitised Pacific collections that are held around the world. You can link to it here.
Continue reading "Our Pacific heritage is now available online" »
Why should an elected member of the government accuse someone of sorcery? Why should a pastor or padre come home after church and blame someone of sorcery?
LEONARD FONG ROKA
PANGUNA – First I’ve got some people to thank for their effort against this insane Melanesian belief in sorcery and sorcerers that is now blighting Bougainville as well as mainland Papua New Guinea.
I’ll particularly mention Anton Lutz, Gary Bustin, the Tribal Foundation and the PNG Post-Courier newspaper.
Continue reading "Our insane & violent love affair with sorcery" »
An all-out tribal warfare with spears and bush knives broke out between the two parties that led to 26 people killed from the Kuboma side and six people killed from the Kulumata side
Kaibola dancers on Kiriwina island,
| The National
PORT MORESBY - At least 32 people have been killed in an all-out war between Kulumata and Kuboma tribes in Milne Bay’s Kiriwina Islands.
Internal Security Minister Peter Tsiamalili Jr confirmed the killings that erupted early last month after yam gardens were destroyed.
Continue reading "Tragedy: Tribal fighting claims 32 lives" »
Researchers have gone bananas over this fruit’s complex ancestry. Most agree that Papua New Guinea is where domesticated bananas as we know them first appeared
An unusual type of banana - similar to the species first domesticated in Papua New Guinea - showing white flesh with dark seeds
| Science | Edited extracts
WASHINGTON - People like to know where their food comes from, but even experts are throwing up their hands when it comes to the origins of the modern banana.
An extensive genetic analysis of more than 100 varieties of wild and cultivated bananas has revealed the existence of three previously unknown—and possibly still living—ancestors.
Continue reading "How PNG gave us bananas 7,000 years ago" »
At first as I began to learn Pidgin, I thought, ‘This is easy. It’s a form of baby talk and there’s nothing to it'. I could not have been more mistaken
DORIAN (DUSTY) NICOL
| Unravel | Edited
CALIFORNIA - I arrived in Papua New Guinea in September 1980, a young geologist on the adventure of his life.
Esso Eastern, a subsidiary of Exxon Minerals, had hired me to open their copper and gold exploration office and I was living my dream, setting off on a major career step toward the life of physical and intellectual adventure I wanted.
Continue reading "Learning Tok Pisin: it's harder than it looks" »
The invigilators didn’t care who won the election, as long as the sitting member’s henchmen were not able to push false votes or influence the counting
Poll workers demonstrate that ballot boxes are empty before voting commences
PORT MORESBY – ‘Bigmanship’, in Simon Davidson’s, 'Bigmanship: the deliverer of corrupt leaders', is such a strange and new term.
If you look at it in the construct of Simon’s article, it’s like watching the vomit of over-analysis give life to something that is a post-colonial media construct.
Continue reading "Today's tribes are not loyal to their own" »
Britannia defends Law, Monarchy and Religion against Violation from the Great Political Libertine. Despite its many flaws, inequities and inequalities, a constitutional monarchy remains the least easily manipulated governance system humans have devised
Death or Liberty! Cartoon by George Cruikshank, London, 1819
ADELAIDE - Raymond Sigimet's perfectly competent and informative article about the death of the Queen triggered a remarkable outpouring of venom about the monarchy from those who want to replace it with a republic.
There is no denying that the monarchy is an archaic and elitist institution. Also, there are plenty of examples of royals behaving badly.
Continue reading "The real virtues of constitutional monarchy" »
"I know how honoured Her Majesty is to be your Queen, a title borne by her with immense pride and renewed by the people of this great country upon independence in 1975" - King Charles III, speaking as the Prince of Wales, in 2012
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited PNG in October 1982
DAGUA - Papua New Guinea, as a member of the Commonwealth, is mourning the passing of its head of state, Queen Elizabeth II.
Elizabeth II, called Misis Kwin in PNG Tok Pisin, died aged 96 one week ago, Thursday 8 September.
Continue reading "PNG's monarch, ‘Misis Kwin’, has passed away" »
| Duresi’s Odyssey
AUCKLAND - On Sunday my daughter and I went to the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
As usual, we ended up spending time looking at the Pacific section and its artefacts. I had to photograph this meri blaus.
I remember the style well from growing up in the 1990s. My elder sister had a few. I think I may have owned one. Meri blaus styles change over time and I don’t think this style is still made.
“It’s probably because of the arms,” my daughter observed. “They’re very constricted, unlike the styles of today.”
Perhaps she’s got a point.
Happy Friday to you all!
The current fighting in the Highlands has less to do with political leadership and everything thing to do with lost hope. The men who are fighting, harming people and destroying property, those men own nothing
“The only comfort that may be drawn is from the fact that the subsistence lifestyle, that has sustained Papua New Guineans for thousands of years, will probably insulate them from the worst impacts of what is and remains a grossly inequitable, unjust and frequently corrupt system” – Chris Overland in ‘The tragic legacy of Australian colonialism’.”
LAE - No. Subsistence farming may not save Papua New Guinea in the future.
There is too much to unpack in that assumption and I will most likely be dead and gone before my country realises the inevitable endpoint that I only spy through a poet’s lens.
Continue reading "PNG: Is the future capitalism or nothing?" »
Traditionally women exercised power on matters such as food security, children’s health and education. In matrilineal settings, they can exercise total authority over the distribution and use of land
CAIRNS - I believe Terence Wood (‘What went wrong with the 2022 elections’) has made some pertinent observations.
He has picked out a number of factors that are increasingly impacting the safe and orderly conduct of elections.
I would add a couple more to the mix.
Continue reading "How to give women a say in PNG governance" »
When they say ‘gold is a resource’, then anything in and around it is useless. The people living on the land above the gold, anything else in the ground and down the rivers are seen as a nuisance
| Presentation at the Lowy Institute
SYDNEY - Papua New Guineans are proud and resilient people. We come from a bloodline of some of the most ingenious and innovative people.
Our ancestors sailed the oceans before others did. Our ancestors invented agriculture! Let that sink in.
Continue reading "Old Melanesia offers lessons to a grim future" »
The truth is that imitation and exchange have long been integral in the development of human societies. Begging, borrowing or stealing other people’s ideas drives socio-cultural and economic change around the globe
ADELAIDE - Raymond Sigimet’s article, ‘The cruel and brazen theft of bilum designs’, has raised a significant issue and in so doing exposes a veritable witches brew of tricky problems.
Rightly, he regards the use of traditional bilum designs for other purposes as an example of what is commonly called 'cultural appropriation' – which occurs when cultural features or artefacts of a group are adopted by other groups or individuals in an exploitative or disrespectful way.
Continue reading "Heritage, bilums & cultural appropriation" »
The sale of these splendid (and strong) string bags and other products based on bilum design is putting money into the hands of many creative and hard-working women who sustain this national art
Bilum designs on fabrics displayed for sale (Florence Jaukae, Facebook)
DAGUA - The bilum is no ordinary string bag. It is part of the Papua New Guinea persona.
It is part of our identity. It is a national symbol. It is a shared experience in our diversity.
Papua New Guinea bilum designs are unique to our country.
Continue reading "The cruel & brazen theft of bilum designs" »
Very few Pacific islands would opt for their current status if offered a choice to return to their pre-colonial lives. This could be more than a post-modern fantasy
CAIRNS - If you look at history through a Bougainvillean lens, independence is obvious and non-negotiable.
But the same sentiment applies to practically every other island group in the Pacific region.
Continue reading "A Pacific of small island states is no fantasy" »
“There are many writers wondering where PNG is heading and when the vicious cycles of political corruption, poor economic development and social decay will end. Papua New Guinea is a nation in denial” - Sumatin
NOOSA – Sumatin magazine, published by Michael Dom and his energetic team at Ples Singsing, is billed as the ‘space for Papua New Guinean creativity’ and is a wonderful initiative that has revived the fading literary flame lit by the Crocodile Prize.
Sumatin magazine issue 2 of July 2022, which you can access here, is a free, online production featuring both original content and relevant writing drawn largely from Ples Singsing, PNG Attitude and DevPolicy Blog.
Continue reading "Sumatin magazine opens a box of delights" »
Challenges to popular and cherished notions are features of poetry that often bring poets into conflict with the champions of modern-day philosophies (or fads). In my view, that’s exactly the right position for a poet to take: truth-telling to the wise
Huli father teaches his son the intricacies of hunting (PNG Stock Image Science Library)
Cry My Beloved Country, Collection of Poems and Prose, 1998–2018 by Telly Orekavala, JDT Publishing, Port Moresby, February 2019, 76 pp. ISBN-10: 1797082752. Paperback $3.60 available here from Amazon
LAE - THERE are many different ways to interpret collections of poems and prose.
For me, writing about a collection of poetry is an attempt to make sure that what I take away from it is more than only what I have read into it myself.
Continue reading "Joy & lamentation from a poet of real talent" »
Remember the good times, laughter and fun, the Grand Chief said. We united PNG into one nation of diversity and cultural heritage. Make me proud of what you will become
"Rambos appeared everywhere in the province. They stoned helicopters, blocked national highways, hijacked ballot boxes, set fire to property and triggered tribal wars"
WABAG - This year’s national election has been a disaster in Enga, and for Enga. It is one of the worst since independence. Perhaps the worst.
For the first time in my life – and in the lives of many town residents, educated elites and senior citizens in this country – we did not cast our votes on that gloomy Friday 8th of July.
Continue reading "Fury, arson, chaos and death by parliament" »
Legislation will need to spell out the terms of Indigenous Treaties to ensure consistency with Australia's constitution and laws relating to land and access rights. This is not impossible but is bound to be complex and contentious
ADELAIDE - The history of Australian governments in dealing with Australia’s Indigenous peoples is very dismal indeed.
The now departed and unlamented Liberal-National Party government continued this tradition whereby weasel words were deemed an adequate substitute for meaningful action.
Continue reading "Indigenous treaties worth all the problems" »
The ‘designed to fail’ policies that glisten with promises come to nought in delivery because the Whitefella wants to be able to control, constrain and interfere with the Blackfella’s interests
New South Wales Mounted Police attack Aboriginal people, Waterloo Creek, 1838
TUMBY BAY – I’m currently writing a history of the South Australian Aboriginal Heritage Branch, based in Adelaide, where I was employed between 1974 and 1994.
It’s tentatively called ‘Full Circle’ – the title describing a 20-year trajectory in which the Branch went from virtually nothing to journey through a period of high productivity and public recognition before finally looping back to irrelevance and obscurity, buried in a high rise city building.
Continue reading "The unvirtuous circle of SA's Blackfella affairs" »
Despite the setbacks and difficulties, sparkling embers still burn in the fireplace of Papua New Guinean literature. Rait ples, rait papagraun, rait pipol. Right place, right heritage, right people. In Tok Pisin rait is also 'write'
Earlier this year, prime minister Marape learned of the existence of a struggling but rich literature in PNG. He was impressed - and said he would offer a helping hand
LAE – Around the middle of June, Ples Singsing Writers & Associates held its first writers kivung, Kirapim Paia Long Ples Singsing - Create the Passion of Ples Singsing.
Ples Singsing is, of course, the Papua New Guinea writers’ blog, the spirited lovechild of me and a number of colleagues whose turn it was to seize the waning fire of PNG literature.
Continue reading "Ensuring the literary embers still burn bright" »
The Solomons both lost and found its way politically and economically. Part of its journey were mismanagement and corruption, and the ‘tension years’, when the nation came to the brink of anarchy
Honiara is a corruption of the Malaitan word, nahona`ara, meaning facing the place where the southeast winds meet the land (Jenny Scott)
| DevPolicy Blog
Honiara: Village-City of Solomon Islands by Clive Moore, ANU Press, May 2022. More information here. ISBN 9781760465070 (online). Download or read the book free online here
BRISBANE - Like most cities, Honiara is bound by its geography, history and culture. In my new book, I explore these relationships and how they have created the city we see today.
Military bases in the Solomon Islands are in the news, although most people seem to have forgotten that Honiara began as a World War II battle ground and military base, initially Japanese and then American.
Continue reading "Solomons melting pot: The Honiara story" »
The legislation smacks of colonialism and will result in PNG becoming the only country in the world to manage its most popular tourism destination as an environmental resource
HON CHARLIE LYNN OL
Adventure Kokoda | The National
SYDNEY - The proposed Kokoda Track Management Authority Bill is based on a false premise.
It is not a Papua New Guinea bill. It was developed in secret by an Australian aid official from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Canberra.
Continue reading "Kokoda Trail fails when bureaucracy prevails" »
'John Teosin was a complex personality and an enormously deep thinker. He was ahead of his time in many ways. Among the living dead, John Teosin shan’t be forgotten'
COMPILED & EDITED BY KEITH JACKSON
| With some useful references from Dr Robin Hide
NOOSA - The John Teosin Highway (aka the Buka ring road) connects villages along the east coast of Buka Island with Bougainville’s commercial and administrative centre, Buka Town.
The ring road plays a vital role in people’s lives as well as moving them from one place to another.
Continue reading "Revisiting Hahalis: Cult or flawed crusade?" »
The identity of the remarkable Huli people of the PNG Highlands is expressed in a bewildering multitude of ways as they adapt to the pressures of change
Men of Huli (Trans NiuGini Tours)
| Extract from ‘Until Hela Becomes a City: The Western Encounter with Huli Modernity’
CANBERRA - Although the practice of wearing the everyday Huli wig has long since passed, and what is recognised as traditional Huli clothing has become a ceremonial uniform, the subtle and individual expressions of Huliness are a widespread feature of contemporary Huli life.
The existence of a self-consciously Huli ceremonial uniform was a feature of pre- contact Huli life, especially as worn by members of the haroli bachelor cult when they returned to social view after an extended period in isolation.
Continue reading "The multitudinous possibilities of being Huli" »
The National Geographic, always a product of its time, remains an amazing pictorial record of Papua New Guinea over nearly 100 years
E Thomas Gilliard's 'Miramar children' (or were they?) of 1955 (National Geographic)
MORISSET – The photograph above was taken during E Thomas Gilliard's bird hunting expedition to the Papua New Guinea Highlands in 1955.
The story of the expedition, together with many spectacular photographs, was published in National Geographic magazine in the same year under the headline, 'To the Land of the Headhunters'.
Continue reading "National Geographic’s long affair with PNG" »
When Bougainville people sense a threat, or get the notion they might be dispossessed of land, they will fight and protect it with their lives if they have to
"Let us ensure our agreements hold because if we do the same thing over and over and expect a different result, our hopes will collapse like the benches around the mine pit"
SIMON PENTANU MP
| Bougainville News
KIETA - The benches that wound around the Panguna mine were a conspicuous feature of the humungous pit are still visible but either collapsing because of erosion by slow-seeping water or perhaps just tired of lying around with no purpose.
The pit is a massive ‘dingkung’ (hole) on Bougainville’s landscape; it is also a massive statement that people are capable of gutting the Earth’s resources and leaving the land wasted and torn when the riches have been extracted and shipped away.
Continue reading "Out of Pandora’s box: the Panguna paradox" »
As women make their mark across Papua New Guinea’s public service, the country is still shamed by its total lack of female national MPs
Emily Kelton has just retired from one of the most senior electoral positions in Papua New Guinea, but she sees not one woman holding a seat in the 111-member national parliament. Perhaps this will change with the election of a new 117-member parliament in July
MY LAND, MY COUNTRY
LAE – According to many candidates who stand for election in Papua New Guinea, politics and parliament is a “man’s place”.
So where do the half of the PNG population who are women fit in?
It is an uncomfortable question, an irritating rhetorical question - one to which we already know the answer. Too often it’s the wrong answer.
Continue reading "‘Why you doing a man’s job?’ I was asked" »
Dorah Misirit from Tufi in Oro shows the tapa face tattoos she got as a nine-year old (Godfree Kaptigau)
| Ples Singsing | The Guardian
“I remember the pain when my mother used the siporo thorn to tattoo my face”
PORT MORESBY - Tapa, a tattooed fabric, has been worn in Papua New Guinea for centuries but there are concerns it has been commercialised.
When Papua New Guinean fashion designer Yaku Ninich wanted to use tapa designs in her work that were inspired by those of her grandmother, she first had to ask her mother for permission.
Continue reading "Stolen designs: The fight to keep tapa Oro’s" »
Martyn Namorong and Julie Bishop in Canberra, 2015, before Bishop became Australia's foreign affairs minister
"You were once our coloniser. You created institutions. All on our behalf. And yours too, let's be honest" - Martyn Namorong
In 2015, under the auspices of PNG Attitude (and, of course, our generous readers), the young Martyn Namorong – one of the most perceptive critics Papua New Guinea has produced - made his first visit to Australia.
Continue reading "Truth redux: Australia (still) not a good friend" »
Ding Chee's shop was attacked and looted by a racist mob, which rampaged for four hours. There was little hindrance from police
| Pearls & Irritations | Edited extracts
MELBOURNE - It happened 133 years ago. Yet the Chinese Question remains, having now mutated to the China Question.
Meanwhile the burden upon the Chinese as scapegoats, at the altar of racial purity in the first instance, cultural cohesion a century later and more recently the issue of national sovereignty continues unabated.
Continue reading "Still the bell tolls: Brisbane’s Kristallnacht " »
| Ples Singsing
HASTINGS NZ - In the winning essay of the Tingting Bilong Mi 2020 essay competition, Illeana Dom brings her readers into her old school library.
As she walks us past the library shelves, she points out absence: the lack of new works by Papua New Guinean authors in the non-fiction section; and, in the fiction section, the difficulty in finding any works by PNG authors at all, such is the dominance of international writers.
Continue reading "Building blocks, library shelves & soul" »
United Nations women candidates workshop, Port Moresby, 2012. If training does not pragmatically address the socio-cultural barriers facing women, it is likely to be a complete waste of time
| Academia Nomad
Disclaimer: If your goal is advocacy for women’s rights, please don’t read this article. It will offend you. If you get offended easily, don’t read. But if your goal is ‘winning’ an election as a women in Papua New Guinea read on - MK
PORT MORESBY - There is the idealistic, modern, Western way of doing things. And then there is the Papua New Guinean Way, the Melanesian Way.
In electoral terms, one of these is clearly much more effective than the other.
Continue reading "No shortcuts: How women can be elected in PNG" »
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - if you haven't made this journey, can you really help us?
PHILIP KAI MORRE
KUNDIAWA – Papua New Guinea needs to reform its outlook on development by changing our behaviour so as to transform our society.
But so much of the planning for us - planning that uses foreign concepts and ideologies - does not work.
A planning matrix needs to be home grown and an integral part of our holistic development.
Continue reading "We know we must change, but are you helping?" »
Something of a metaphor. Ulli Beier with monkey idling in the shadows on his shoulder
MELBOURNE - It is 52 years since I attended Ulli Beier’s classes in African literature at the University of Papua New Guinea.
Now as then, and like many others, my view of him remains conflicted.
Maebh Long has laid bare, eloquently, his hypocrisy and deceit which, back then, was a matter of considerable gossip, on and off campus.
Continue reading "Ulli Beier: A personal recollection" »
A hauskrai at Divine Word University in Madang
| Twitter @KumanSarah | Edited
PORT MORESBY - At customary events like a hauskrai [mourning] everyone knows their place.
There are the aunts who married and returned, and who lead the crying and the tokples [vernacular] funeral chanting.
They even chew buai [betel nut] and smoke while the pastor is praying. No one would dare challenge them.
Continue reading "Some notes on the hauskrai" »
Tumai Mumu - a warrior and clan leader of great acumen and, in time and when it suited, assistance to the colonial Administration
NORTHUMBRIA - Tumai Mumu, who featured in PNG Attitude a month ago (‘Pax Australiana: Techniques of Pacification’), was a contradictory character and perhaps an extraordinary opportunist.
He was headman of an important group of the Goilala people and lived in a village immediately behind Tapini government station.
This is where I was when, in 1974 he volunteered to me that in his youth, during an ambush, he had killed 24 men and possibly a greater number of women, he could not sure.
Continue reading "The precision killing of Oulaine Papaite" »
CHARLOTTESVILLE - I got to know Bernard Narokobi while doing research for my dissertation in linguistics in his home village of Wautogik in the late 1990s.
While the old people there taught me about the language, Bernard taught me that I was participating in a knowledge exchange.
Just as his son Vergil had gone to study at Cambridge University, I had come to study at the University of Melanesia.
Continue reading "Yes friends, there is a Melanesian Way" »