Heritage & culture Feed

The time when we were innocent sorcerers

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

Capture

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" »


Our Pacific heritage is now available online

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

Chimbu

KATE ROSS
| 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" »


Our insane & violent love affair with sorcery

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" »


Tragedy: Tribal fighting claims 32 lives

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

Kiriwina
Kaibola dancers on Kiriwina island,

REBECCA KUKU
| 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" »


How PNG gave us bananas 7,000 years ago

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

Bananas An unusual type of banana showing white flesh with dark seeds
An unusual type of banana - similar to the species first domesticated in Papua New Guinea - showing white flesh with dark seeds

ELIZABETH PENNISI
| 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" »


Learning Tok Pisin: it's harder than it looks

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

Tok-pisin-in-germany

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" »


Today's tribes are not loyal to their own

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

Showing that ballot boxes are empty before voting
Poll workers demonstrate that ballot boxes are empty before voting commences

JAIVE SMARE

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" »


The real virtues of constitutional monarchy

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

Monarchy top
Death or Liberty! Cartoon by George Cruikshank, London, 1819

CHRIS OVERLAND

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" »


PNG's monarch, ‘Misis Kwin’, has passed away

"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

Qeii
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited PNG in October 1982

RAYMOND SIGIMET

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" »


The '90s PNG meri blaus at Auckland museum

Meri blouseBARBARA ANGORO
| 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!


PNG: Is the future capitalism or nothing?

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

Gun family

MICHAEL DOM

“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?" »


How to give women a say in PNG governance

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

A

STEPHEN CHARTERIS

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" »


Old Melanesia offers lessons to a grim future

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

Agric

EMMANUEL PENI
| 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" »


Heritage, bilums & cultural appropriation

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

Bilums

CHRIS OVERLAND

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 cruel & brazen theft of bilum designs

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 for sale (Florence Jaukae  Facebook)
Bilum designs on fabrics displayed for sale (Florence Jaukae,  Facebook)

RAYMOND SIGIMET

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" »


A Pacific of small island states is no fantasy

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

Canoe (Pinterest)

STEPHEN CHARTERIS

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" »


Sumatin magazine opens a box of delights

“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

Dom Magasin cover top

KEITH JACKSON

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" »


Joy & lamentation from a poet of real talent

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 and son (PNG Stock Image  Science Library)
Huli father teaches his son the intricacies of hunting (PNG Stock Image Science Library)

MICHAEL DOM

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" »


Fury, arson, chaos and death by parliament

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

Enga elections 2022
"Rambos appeared everywhere in the province. They stoned helicopters, blocked national highways, hijacked ballot boxes, set fire to property and triggered tribal wars"

DANIEL KUMBON

I

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" »


Indigenous treaties worth all the problems

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

Invasion
CHRIS OVERLAND

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 unvirtuous circle of SA's Blackfella affairs

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

Police engaging Aboriginal people,1838
New South Wales Mounted Police attack Aboriginal people, Waterloo Creek, 1838

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

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" »


Ensuring the literary embers still burn bright

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'

Dom mar
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

MICHAEL DOM

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" »


Solomons melting pot: The Honiara story

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
Honiara is a corruption of the Malaitan word, nahona`ara, meaning facing the place where the southeast winds meet the land (Jenny Scott)

CLIVE MOORE
| 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" »


Kokoda Trail fails when bureaucracy prevails

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

Kokoda trail

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" »


Revisiting Hahalis: Cult or flawed crusade?

'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'

Hahalis headline

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 multitudinous possibilities of being Huli

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

Huli men
Men of Huli (Trans NiuGini Tours)

MICHAEL MAIN
| 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" »


National Geographic’s long affair with PNG

The National Geographic, always a product of its time, remains an amazing pictorial record of Papua New Guinea over nearly 100 years

Kranz Miramar chilldren Gilliard Nat Geo 1955
E Thomas Gilliard's 'Miramar children' (or were they?) of 1955 (National Geographic)

PETER KRANZ

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" »


Out of Pandora’s box: the Panguna paradox

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

Pentanu pic
"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" »


‘Why you doing a man’s job?’ I was asked

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
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" »


Stolen designs: The fight to keep tapa Oro’s

Dorah Misirit  from Tufi
Dorah Misirit from Tufi in Oro shows the tapa face tattoos she got as a nine-year old (Godfree Kaptigau)

LEANNE JORARI
| 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" »


Truth redux: Australia (still) not a good friend

A nam bish
Martyn Namorong and Julie Bishop in Canberra, 2015,  before Bishop became Australia's foreign affairs minister

MARTYN NAMORONG

"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" »


Still the bell tolls: Brisbane’s Kristallnacht

Night of Broken Glass Brisbane
Ding Chee's shop was attacked and looted by a racist mob, which rampaged for four hours. There was little hindrance from police

CHEK LING
| 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 " »


Building blocks, library shelves & soul

Books topMAEBH LONG
| 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" »


No shortcuts: How women can be elected in PNG

A un candidate training
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

MICHAEL KABUNI
| 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" »


We know we must change, but are you helping?

maslow
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?" »


Ulli Beier: A personal recollection

Ulli Beier
Something of a metaphor. Ulli Beier with monkey idling in the shadows on his shoulder

ED BRUMBY

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" »


Some notes on the hauskrai

Hauskrai dwu
A hauskrai at Divine Word University in Madang

SARAH KUMAN
| 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" »


The precision killing of Oulaine Papaite

Tumai
Tumai Mumu - a warrior and clan leader of great acumen and, in time and when it suited, assistance to the colonial Administration 

ROBERT FORSTER

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" »


Yes friends, there is a Melanesian Way

Farewell
The late Grand Chief Michael Somare, who led PNG to independence, farewells his comrade Bernard Narokobi, who nurtured the flame of Melanesian identity, Wewak, March 2010

LISE DOBRIN

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" »


Tripping to Tabar & the mystery of Mahur

Mahur Island (Schneider Photography)
Beach scene on Mahur Island (Schneider Photography)

SUSAN R HEMER

Tracing the Melanesian Person: Emotions and Relationships in Lihir by Susan R Helmer, University of Adelaide Press, Adelaide, 2013, 329 pages. ISBN 978-1-922064-45-5. Free download here

KEITH JACKSON WRITES - Dr Susan Hemer lectures in development studies and medical and psychological anthropology at the University of Adelaide and her book, Tracing the Melanesian Person, resulted from a year spent in the Lihir group of islands in Papua New Guinea.

The incident it tells of occurred in May 1998 when Hemer was about halfway through her doctoral fieldwork in Mahur, the northernmost of Lihir.

Continue reading "Tripping to Tabar & the mystery of Mahur" »


Aboriginal English – what isn’t it?

Sharon Davis
Sharon Davis - "With our traditional languages stolen, along with our land, we took the way the gudiya talked and decolonised it"

SHARON DAVIS
| IndigenousX

“If you attack my language you attack me, because what I am and what I know and believe and feel are all mediated through language” – Jack Dwyer

CANBERRA - Self-proclaimed 'citizen journalist', social media 'personality', and convicted abuser of women, Avi Yemini, tweeted a video of Western Australian Premier, Mark McGowan sending a vaccination message to Western Australian Aboriginal communities that was also translated into Aboriginal English (AbE) by Aboriginal Interpreting WA.

Continue reading "Aboriginal English – what isn’t it?" »


Tok Pisin: A language on history's march

Pisin - imageCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - The article by Baka Bina, ‘The Taxing Art of Translation, has recently stimulated much comment and discussion in PNG Attitude.

Accomplished writers like Michael Dom, Daniel Kumbon, Phil Fitzpatrick and others have offered their own insights and perspectives on the problems inherent in translating Tok Pisin into English.

Continue reading "Tok Pisin: A language on history's march" »


Narokobi: The man who knew what might have been

Bernard Narokobi when Attorney-General  1991 (Pacific Islands Monthly)
Bernard Narokobi when Attorney-General in 1991. A political and jurisprudential philosopher of great seriousness and stature (Pacific Islands Monthly)

JEAN ZORN

NEW YORK - Bernard Narokobi, who died in March 2010 at the age of 72 after a short illness, was a political and jurisprudential philosopher of great seriousness and stature. That makes my memories of his irrepressible irreverence especially sweet.

One such memory: Bernard taking his afternoon nap on the wall to wall carpeting of the Law Reform Commission’s way too elegant offices.

Continue reading "Narokobi: The man who knew what might have been" »


Buy a sarif, there’s a heritage to protect

- heritage stamp
A postage stamp showing the spectacular Wawoi Falls in the Kikori River Basin which is on the tentative heritage list area. Unfortunately logging has now extended right up to the falls

JOHN GREENSHIELDS

ADELAIDE – I have to thank Chris Warrillow for correcting me as to the location of Sir Hubert Murray’s gravesite.

He saved me a frustrating visit to Bomana on my next trip to Papua New Guinea.

I’ll go to Badihagwa instead, bearing a K5 tradestore sarif to cut the grass.

Continue reading "Buy a sarif, there’s a heritage to protect" »


Capturing the mind: Anatomy of a Papuan genocide

Yamin Kogoya
Yamin Kogoya - "Papuans have been dislocated from the centre of their cultural worldview and placed on the fringes of the grand colonial narrative"

YAMIN KOGOYA

CANBERRA - The colonial notion of ‘civilising primitive Papuans’ has distorted Papuan perceptions of the world and themselves.

This distortion began with how New Guinea and its people were described in early colonial literature: unintelligent pygmies, cannibals and pagan savages –  people devoid of value.

Not only did this depiction foster a racist outlook but it misrepresented reality as it was experienced and understood by Papuans for thousands of years.

Continue reading "Capturing the mind: Anatomy of a Papuan genocide" »


PNG writing: Stop reminiscing. Start again

Michael Dom 2
Michael Dom - "The success of the Crocodile Prize helped to develop our country’s literature"

MICHAEL DOM
| Vernacular Traces in the Crocodile Prize:
| Part 1 of an essay in five parts

English translation by Ed Brumby | Tok Pisin original follows

LAE - In 2010, Keith Jackson AM and Philip Fitzpatrick came up with the idea of establishing a national literary competition in Papua New Guinea – the Crocodile Prize.

Writing on Keith’s website, PNG Attitude, some of us supported their idea. In recognition, I gave them the name, ‘Grand Pukpuk’.

By way of background, these two men lived a long while in PNG in pre-independence times: the time of the patrol officers.

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Pax Australiana: A most peaceful colonisation

Contact
First Contact

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Robert Forster’s recent article on the pacification of the Goilala region set me thinking about why the imposition of Pax Australiana in Papua New Guinea was so strikingly different to the colonial processes followed in South America, Africa and South East Asia.

By way of context, readers need to understand that European imperialism was almost invariably imposed by force, often with catastrophic results for the indigenous population involved.

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New book from Highlands holds nothing back

Johannes and Rose Kundal  30th wedding anniversary  2009
Johannes and Rose Kundal,  30th wedding anniversary,  2009

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

‘Legend of the Miok Egg: A True Enga Family Tale’ by Daniel Kumbon and Johannes Kulimbao Kundal, paperback, independently published, $26.24. Available here from Amazon Australia

FOREWORD - As an Australian who has enjoyed a long association with Papua New Guinea I tend to assume that I know a lot about the people and their cultures.

It is only when I read books like this one that I realise my knowledge is limited.

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Capitalism’s corruption of Christmas

B santaPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - I come from a generation born in austerity. ‘Make-do’ was the order of the day.

In those what seem now like ancient days, Christmas represented something that now seems irretrievably lost.

Unfortunately, it all seems to be the result of modern human beings having a remarkable ability to subvert good things into bad things.

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