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Further adventures in Tok Pisin


NOOSA - My romp through Tok Pisin the other day brought some amusing embellishments from readers.

I've packaged these into this brief piece, along with other information about how you might pursue an interest in this most eloquent language.

When Phil Fitzpatrick returned to Papua New Guinea in 1997, more than 20 years after he had finished his service as a kiap (patrol officer), he worked in oil and gas exploration and, later, in social mapping.

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What might have been could yet be


ADELAIDE - I agree with Phil Fitzpatrick who observed yesterday that Papua New Guinea should have become a state of Australia.

If this had been done, several predictable things would have happened.

First, there would have been a steady inflow of migrants from the Australian mainland lured by PNG’s almost limitless opportunities in agriculture, mining, energy, tourism and so forth.

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China. First Daru. Then Queensland?


WARWICK - The expansion of China’s influence into the Solomons, Vanuatu, Samoa and Kiribati is of increasing concern to us in Australia.

But it is as nothing compared to the mischief to happen if the Chinese move into Daru.

This is because Daru - together with its mud and mangrove neighbour, Bristow - is the only island in the Torres Strait which is part of Papua New Guinea.

Every other island is Australian territory.

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Maybe all we can do is apologise


TUMBY BAY - Do we older folk need to apologise to our children and grandchildren for the sorry state of the world we are bequeathing to them?

I guess the answer to that question depends on how culpable we feel and how complicit we think we have been in bringing the world to the edge of the catastrophe so many scientists believe it faces.

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On winning whatever the price

World War II Japanese gun on Kangu Beach  south Bougainville
World War II Japanese artillery piece on Kangu Beach, near Buin south Bougainville

|  Edited

‘Only the dead have seen the end of war’ – Plato

KIETA - These are my thoughts from looking around Buin in south Bougainville every time I travel there. It is a great place, like other regions on the island.

It is also where I first saw, in 1964, the menace of war in the relics that all wars leave behind. The relics of Buin are from World War II, when Bougainville came under Japanese control.

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Words that mean more than they say


TUMBY BAY - The articles featured in the Anzac Day edition of PNG Attitude had a common theme related to the corrupted mythology of Australia’s leading commemorative event and its emergence as a caricature of reality.

The comments by various authors reflected on the inconvenient truths revealed in the articles or sought to defend some of the mythologies thought to be questionable.

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A true musical treat this Easter


NOOSA – Well here’s a pleasant something for Easter. You can read about it just below or listen to it first by linking to it here.

I recommend you listen first.

This 'pleasant something' is a choral collaboration under the guiding hand of my son, Simon, in Auckland, New Zealand.

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What to do about a big & ugly Amazon

Elon Musk has just edged ahead of Jeff Bezos to become the richest man in the world.  Each man is worth nearly $200  billion (K700 billion). PNG's total wealth is K80 billion 


TUMBY BAY - It seems that slavery is alive and well in the USA and is being perpetuated by one of the richest men in the world. He is Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon.

What began as Bezos’s innovative online bookstore in July 1995, which later assisted writers publish and distribute books, has morphed into a monstrous retail operation that is trampling all in its path, including its own workers.

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Danger! Fake news & conspiracy theories

John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations

MELBOURNE - History has demonstrated that when people are fearful, believe they are powerless and can’t cope with threatening events they very often resort to conspiracy theories to explain their situation.

Equally often they look for scapegoats who are believed to be at the heart of the conspiracies – in the Christian world Jews and heretics; in the Muslim world heretics and Christians; and in the plague-ridden medieval times sins and sinners.

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Should Hanuabada be capital of Peengee?

From HMS Basilisk (left), the three-masted paddle steamer from which Captain John Moresby named many topographical features of southern PNG during an important voyage of discovery in 1874


TUMBY BAY - When you look at a map of Australia the precedence of its European colonial history is very apparent. If you run an eye around the coast, all the names of state capital cities echo that history.

Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Hobart all owe their names to significant British places or personages.

It is only with the federal capital that any acknowledgement of the previous inhabitants occurs.

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The mysteriously blank face of DFAT


TUMBY BAY - It has always been a commonly held belief that politicians don’t run the country. That prerogative is exclusively the domain of the public service.

Anyone who has ever studied human relations theory will also know that managers always appoint people in their own image. This is particularly so among senior bureaucrats.

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Finding Mac: Search brought us together

Search party
One of the many search parties looking for Maclarence

| Academia Nomad

A student from the University of Papua New Guinea is reported missing. A week goes by and he is not found. Students conduct one of the biggest searches the city has seen. Mary Terriette Aseari is a third year student at the university.

PORT MORESBY - Maclarence Akua - a 22-year old third-year student, a good friend and a course mate of mine at the University of Papua New Guinea - had been missing for almost a week.

Mac is of mixed East Sepik and Bougainville parentage but grew up in Kimbe.

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The world today is encircled by distraction


PORT MORESBY - I believe distraction is the greatest hindrance to impede human potential to accomplish great things in life.

The world today is encircled by distraction. And no person is immune.

The clever inventions developed to help humanity in some cases take us captive as we become fully absorbed in them.

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Yeah, I know I’m getting on, but….

Phil Fitzpatrick recentPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - We’ve only got one pharmacy in Tumby Bay. I believe it’s been in the same family since it began.

The grandfather passed it on to the father and now the father has just passed it on to the daughter.

I was in there the other day collecting some diabetic gear: a box of needles for my disposable syringes; a couple of packets of test strips for my glucose testing gizmo; and my blood pressure tablets.

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The village as a social battleground

Chiaromonte - once a dog eat dog nightmare, now a pleasant Italian township


TUMBY BAY - Edward Banfield was an American political scientist who studied a poverty struck Southern Italian village, Chiaromonte, in 1955.

There he discovered a self-interested society that put the needs of the family ahead of the public good.

He postulated that the backwardness of Chiaromonte could be explained in large part by the inability of the villagers to act in unison for their common benefit or for any other end not immediately related to their family interests.

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Old fogey cognitive deficit disorder


TUMBY BAY - You may have heard more than once persons of senior years proclaiming that the older they get the less they know.

That proclamation doesn’t mean a shrinking knowledge. What these aged folk mean is that the older they get the more they discover the vastness of human knowledge and the small part of it that they know or understand.

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I’m human first; not tribe

Keith Jackson -  You ever wonder about that point signifying where old age takes over from personal empowerment? It's when the world stops listening


NOOSA – Having just spent three weeks hovering between the drug-induced world of surreal images and the body-induced pain those images sought to drive away, it was with some pleasure that I edged into my emails.

Edged into them because my focus and cognition are not quite stable just yet, weaving and wavering between some sort of comprehension of what you have written and what combination of words and voices I am able to understand.

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Telling a kiap apart from the crowd

Papuan kiap Geoff Smith
Papuan kiap, Geoff Smith


TUMBY BAY - I served as a kiap in both New Guinea and Papua. In New Guinea the kiap rig generally consisted of a khaki shirt and shorts, shiny RM Williams boots and a slouch hat.

In Papua, especially on the remoter stations, kiaps tended to get around in whatever took their fancy or whatever they deemed suitable for the climate and circumstances.

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Fit and healthy

TPNG Police Warrant Card
Phil Fitzpatrick - then. And now? Wouldn't be dead for quids


TUMBY BAY - Patrolling in the spiky top end of the old Western District in the late 1960s, particularly in the Star Mountains, made me so fit that I had to be chained up under the office for several days whenever I returned from the bush.

I was so fit I was dangerous.

Being young and fit and full of fizz is now an indistinct and fading memory shrouded in the mists of overindulgence in habits I should have known better than to even contemplate.

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On War


Yesterday, on Anzac Day, like many of my neighbours, my wife and I stood at the end of our driveway at 6.00 am to remember those who fell in order to preserve the way of life we enjoy today.

As if on cue, the Last Post rang out across the neighbourhood, followed by a minute’s silence and then Reveille. I assume that the bugler was playing at our local War Memorial, which is about 500 metres away.

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Don’t forget World Frog Day


TUMBY BAY - On Monday my elderly neighbour dropped by to report that he had just been to the Tumby Bay local council offices to pay his quarterly rates instalment and had discovered they were closed.

Mystified, he went to the local supermarket, which was open, and asked the people at the checkout whether they knew why the council offices were not open.

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Money talks in the US of A

Bernie (Nate Beeler  The Columbus Dispatch  USA)
Bernie Sanders (Nate Beeler,  The Columbus Dispatch,  USA)


TUMBY BAY - I wonder whether people in Papua New Guinea are following the run up to the election in the United States.

They go to the polls in November but are now enmeshed in the Democratic Party state ‘primaries’ that will eventually decide which leader will contest the presidency, probably against Donald Trump.

There is a hope among ‘progressives’ in the USA (and worldwide) that whoever wins will be able to oust Trump.

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The changing of the (mud)guard

New Isuzu before the driver got drunk and rolled it
Our wonderful new Isuzu truck  which promised great service before the driver got drunk and rolled it. Like our driver, it was great while upright


TUMBY BAY - When I arrived at my first posting in Papua New Guinea’s Western Highlands in 1967, the Australian administration was well into transitioning its largely British made vehicle fleet into a Japanese one.

The tough Series 1 and 2 LandRovers that had been stalwarts for field work were rapidly being replaced by BJ40 Toyota LandCruisers.

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Between two cultures

David Gulpilil - "A man caught between two cultures and two different Australia’s, the old one and the new one"


TUMBY BAY - I’ve got a bird feeder in my backyard. I built it out of scrap wood. It’s got a platform where I put bowls of seed, fruit and other stuff for the birds and a roof over it to keep off the rain.

It looks quite picturesque but the only customers seem to be sparrows, starlings and the odd blackbird.

An occasional galah drops by and a few New Holland honeyeaters go past on their way to the blossoms in my flower beds.

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Land ownership & disharmony

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) 
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) - "....the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short"


TUMBY BAY - Scientists tell us that the first humans were hunters and gatherers who lived in roving bands. They cooperated with each other in their pursuit of game and bush tucker.

Through experience they learned where game was to be found and where and when certain native foods were available.

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Why are all these people so happy?

Brenda Samson and Lilly Be'Soer of Voice for Change (Gemma Carr)
Brenda Samson and Lilly Be'Soer of Voice for Change (Gemma Carr)


TUMBY BAY - One of the most striking things about Papua New Guinea is the profusion of happiness and laughter.

I noticed this when I first went to the then Australian colony in 1967 and the picture hasn’t diminished over the years.

Whenever I arrive at Jackson’s Airport in Port Moresby I am greeted by happy, smiling faces.

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The great unwashed take charge


TUMBY BAY - I was very interested in art when I was at high school and in my final year visited an advertising agency as part of a school careers program.

It wasn’t a work experience program, just visits to places where people worked in careers that interested us. I was intent on talking to the commercial artists in the company.

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The world is teeming with cyber crooks


TUMBY BAY - My next door neighbour and his wife are in their eighties. He’s a tough old cereal farmer and she’s a retired hospital matron. They are trying to live out their twilight years as happily as possible.

Not a week goes by, however, that they don’t come over to ask me about a concerning telephone call they’ve had or a strange email they’ve received.

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The complexity of stupidity

Phil reading
Phil Fitzpatrick


TUMBY BAY - Stupidity is a complicated subject. Context is everything.

Just as common sense can be nonsensical; cleverness can be stupid.

Stupidity comes in myriad forms. There is imbecility, idiocy, dullness, obtuseness, thickheadedness, foolishness, irrationality, illogicality, fatuity, silliness, lunacy, folly, senselessness, recklessness, and absurdity. To name a few.

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The power of persistence

David Johns and Justin Kundalin
David Johns and Justin Kundalin - brothers in arms and partners in persistence


SONOMA - He and I had many things in common and were best buddies in our secondary school days. That’s my brother, David Johns.

Doing Grade 12 in Kopen Secondary School, we both loved reading, church activities, leading students in ministry and working with peers and older folks.

We worked hard for the Grade 12 examination and, when the time came to fill the school leaver’s form, we both marked our choices as Sonoma Adventist College and Pacific Adventist University to take theology.

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I don’t listen to opinion traders

"Those poor dumb bastards haven’t the faintest idea about what life is all about, so why should I listen to them?"


TUMBY BAY - Over the years I’ve learned that the opinions of certain people are best left ignored.

These include the opinions of shock-jocks, celebrities, reality and lifestyle television hosts and most politicians. They all carry biases that are subjective, value-ridden and sometimes positively dangerous.

Just lately I’ve started to include people from the so-called professions, including doctors and medical specialists, and people in certain trades, like motor mechanics. Many of these people now seem driven solely by a profit motive.

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Real leaders should be good readers

Many American presidents have been hungry readers. But as for President  Donald Trump, we'll just have to take his word that the hunger is not just for Big Macs....


SONOMA - I’ve heard it said that leaders are readers and, traversing back in history, I’ve discovered that certainly many past American presidents were avid readers.

No country’s history seems to have had so many leader-readers as the United States. Despite differing education, upbringing and politics, they all met at the junction of reading. They all had that same insatiable craving.

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PIR on parade at Oz exhibition

Sgts Lodi ReniWilly Kana
Back in the day - Pacific Islands Regiment Sergeants Lodi Reni and Willy Kana relax in the mess


BRISBANE - A display featuring part of the history of the Pacific Islands Regiment was unveiled at the Australian Army Infantry Museum on 16 October.

The display was curated at Lone Pine Barracks in Singleton, NSW, with the assistance of the Australian Army History Unit.

It was opened in the presence of senior military and government officials and former PIR national servicemen in the main from the Royal Australian Army Educational Corps (RAAEC). Interested members of the public were also in attendance.

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Secular or religious, ethics remain key


TUMBY BAY - Social evolution, just like biological evolution, doesn’t proceed in straight lines, there are stops and starts, divergences, reversals, regressions, regional differences and sometimes dead ends.

Just as we are not on a path of natural evolutionary improvement neither are we on a natural path of constant social improvement.

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Warning: You’re being dumbed down


DUMBY (er, TUMBY) BAY - It’s easy to imagine that one day in the not too distant future everything will be digitised and automated.

Here is a blurb about the latest trend in toilets:

“It's a germophobes dream come true: Never having to touch a toilet handle again. With the latest Numi toilet from Kohler, you can simply ask it to ‘flush’ and it will comply. If you forget, it will flush itself anyway.

“The toilet also lets you choose the colour of ambient lighting and the music from its speakers. At night, the lid automatically opens as you approach and the seat warmer activates. It flushes and closes the lid as you leave.”

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The afterlife as a political promise. Are you sure you want it?

Phil 2015
Phil Fitzpatrick - "I suspect this afterlife is another political fable"


TUMBY BAY - One of the important strategies politicians use is to identify the concerns and fears of society and then to exploit them to their advantage.

This strategy informs much of the divisiveness that plagues our daily lives.

Things like racism, gender inequality, domestic violence, immigration and homophobia are used by politicians to artificially create situations they can exploit.

About 2,000 years ago a very clever politician in Palestine called Jesus Christ used the same tactics to create opposition to the occupying Romans.

Monty Python reckons his outfit was called the Palestine Liberation Front, or was it the Liberation Front of Palestine…..

Anyway, whatever it was called, it quickly morphed into what we now call Christianity. Like all such movements, Christianity uses the concerns and fears of its followers to its advantage.

One of the things it created to this end was the concept of an afterlife and a set of rules governing progress to that elevated state.

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