Bits & pieces Feed

Miss Pacific Pageant is skewed to PNG

| Academia Nomad

Miss Pacific Islands contestants turn up at lotu
Miss Pacific Islands contestants turn up at lotu. With one million social media users, PNG should be a shoo-in for the People's Choice

PORT MORESBY - The Miss Pacific Islands Pageant is underway.  But the dynamics, particularly the People’s Choice Award, appear to be lopsided.

That is, despite the title, the People’s Choice seems to favour Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "Miss Pacific Pageant is skewed to PNG" »

A year of good stuff on Academia Nomad

Michael Kabuni
Michael Kabuni


NOOSA – Academic and writer Michael Kabuni says 2023 was a good year for his always interesting blog, Academia Nomad, from which PNG Attitude occasionally plunders an especially insightful piece.

Michael’s now taken advantage of year’s end to review which of his posts were particularly enjoyed by readers. His yardstick was how many times readers shared a post with others, a good metric – after all you don’t usually share a piece if it’s absolute rubbish.

Continue reading "A year of good stuff on Academia Nomad" »

What for this curse of PNG paperwork?

| DevPolicyBlog


BOMANA - After saying morning mass one day, I was preparing my breakfast when a couple from Laloki Village dropped by. The man, in his forties, told me his problem.

He is a member of Nasfund, the national superannuation fund, and eligible to withdraw money. So he needs to fill in a form and it is required that I, as his parish priest, confirm the information with my signature and parish seal.

Continue reading "What for this curse of PNG paperwork?" »

Cellphone, notebook & a bottle of facial

Dr Hazel Kutkue
Dr Hazel Kutkue

| Sipikriva Girl

LAE - What are three objects you couldn't live without? I’m a doctor, and a blogger. I've moved towns three times, looking for greener pastures in work.

And each time I move, I have to decide what to bring with me, as moving heavy stuff in Papua New Guinea is quite costly. Very costly.

I try to prioritise what I would bring along for my move, but it doesn't always fall into my categories of most useful or not.

Continue reading "Cellphone, notebook & a bottle of facial" »

The fascinations & pleasures of growing old



TUMBY BAY - One of the great indulgences granted to those of us of advanced age is the ability to regress to our native state and simply watch the world go by.

To wander aimlessly along a deserted beach, pad through the soft undergrowth of a forest or simply sit in the sun.

Or perhaps just laze at a pavement café, drinking coffee with a good friend while watching the hustle and bustle pass by.

Continue reading "The fascinations & pleasures of growing old" »

Is Golden Sun a scam? Sure looks like it

| Academia Nomad | Edited

PORT MORESBY – It seems that Golden Sun is the next hot thing in Papua New Guinea - an unbelievably easy way to make money through ‘investment’.

But it has all the features of a scam.

Just below is a Facebook post by someone named Gabriel, who has been engaged in e-commerce (including online payments).

Continue reading "Is Golden Sun a scam? Sure looks like it" »

How we got water to flow uphill in Panguna

Roka RAM
Augustine and Fitzkeith with cellphone and repurposed fire extinguisher


PANGUNA - In late 2017 my father-in-law, after seeing what I did in Panguna, asked me to help built a toilet and shower facility.

I was lost. How could I help in a place where there were no hills to provide gravity feed to get water for the facility.

Continue reading "How we got water to flow uphill in Panguna" »

Let's be friends to all & enemies to everybody


TUMBY BAY - Whether it is at the clan level or the national level, human society seems to be most comfortable when it has a clearly defined enemy.

During World War II, Australia had Japan to hate and Europe had Germany. In the post war years we  feared the communists in Russia, and then in China.

Everyone was happy. Community solidarity was in force on both sides of the fence.

Continue reading "Let's be friends to all & enemies to everybody" »

There are hidden traps in helping others


TUMBY BAY - There are vast numbers of volunteers out there in the community. They are all doing good work and most will derive a lot of personal satisfaction from this.

Very few of them expect monetary recompense for what they do. Or even recognition.

These factors distinguish them from what we normally regard as the impulse that drives philanthropy.

Continue reading "There are hidden traps in helping others" »

Did Whitlam say this? And were you there?

‘Whitlam would have meant no offence. He probably used the term to emphasise the treatment of the people as second class or something like that’

Somare whitlam

CANBERRA - I have a memory of a published photograph and caption which I cannot find on the internet or after extensive searching on the National Library’s Trove and other archives.

I wonder if any of the editor’s connections on PNG Attitude can place it.

Continue reading "Did Whitlam say this? And were you there?" »

Bite-size platform more than pulls its weight

Pearls & Irritations is particularly noteworthy for gathering together a ‘stable’ of former senior public servants who bring great weight and understanding to their observations


NOOSA - John Menadue’s began publication of his daily newsletter, Pearls & Irritations, at about the same time as Ingrid and I made Noosa our retirement destination.

Now in its tenth year, Menadue started the blog as a platform for independent policy discussion in the face of the general failure of Australia’s mainstream to cover issues with calm and authoritative analysis.

Continue reading "Bite-size platform more than pulls its weight" »

The curse of motorcars & their insane drivers

Drivers compete with each other for a few metres of advantage and swap insults with hand signals to assert their rights of domination

Cars top
Traffic in Port Moresby


TUMBY BAY - Dervla Murphy, the Irish travel writer who died aged 90 last month, had two particular dislikes. The first was capitalism and the second was motorcars.

In the early 1960s she rode an old fashioned gearless pushbike from Waterford in Ireland to India. She subsequently undertook many more similar adventures on her trusty wiliwil.

Continue reading "The curse of motorcars & their insane drivers" »

Your time is so precious, don’t waste it....

Time is scarce. So is the energy of youth. Don’t waste a moment.

Scott Waide
Scott Waide. Journalist and Thinker.

| My Land, My Country

LAE - Time is the most precious commodity every person is given. It is a gift we all receive.

You can never get back the seconds you waste. Seconds that turn into minutes, hours, days, months and years.

Some people learn quickly. They turn their youth into the most productive years of their lives and, when in their prime, they continue to build on those earlier years.

But most don’t. Time just slips away.

Continue reading "Your time is so precious, don’t waste it...." »

Dividing not blending: multi-culturalism in Oz

Google 'typical Aussies' and this is what you get - a representation of the Anglo-Celtic constituency


TUMBY BAY - Australia certainly has a multicultural society with a wide range of different cultural and ethnic groups among its population – 278 in all.

However Australia has an unsuccessful multicultural society mainly because of the power imbalance between 277 of those groups and the old Anglo-Celtic establishment.

Continue reading "Dividing not blending: multi-culturalism in Oz" »

Bongbong wins on a myth as history wanes

A bongbong
Philippines new president Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr was an indulged youth whose excesses came at the expense of the ordinary people of the Philippines who suffered under his father's ruthless rule


SAMFORD VALLEY, QLD -The result of this week's presidential election in the Philippines are a reminder of the adage that ‘those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it’.

With the son of the former dictator and looter of the nation’s resources, Ferdinand Marcos Sr, winning the presidency in a landslide this week, the wheel of history turns and brings to mind the worst excesses of the past.

Continue reading "Bongbong wins on a myth as history wanes" »

The very best in us


My religion has no name

It’s just the very best in us

Compassion Fairness Courage Love

Honesty Reason Friendship Truth

Faithfulness Kindness Consistency

AaaCandour Tolerance Generosity

(And here’s a space for the best in you)

No material construct ever captured these

Each of us can claim them as our own

Getting old in Oz: The meaningless years

In the aged care home - privatisation is privation
The aged care home - privatisation is privation


TUMBY BAY - When you crack the Bible’s ‘threescore years and ten’ something strange happens – you begin to fade from view.

If my elderly next door neighbour is anything to go by, when you progress to your eighties you are all but invisible.

I can see him but no one else seems to.

Continue reading "Getting old in Oz: The meaningless years" »

You can improve the way your brain works

Darwin's sandwalk
The 'sandwalk' where the great scientist. Charles Darwin, did much of his thinking


SONOMA - A fertile brain bubbling with game changing ideas is the by-product of habits consistently practiced.

A fertile brain does not emerge by accident, nor is it given on a golden plate.

It needs to be shaped and transformed through consistent good thinking and good practice over time.

Continue reading "You can improve the way your brain works" »

The generation that’s ceasing to care


TUMBY BAY - Historians tell us we should not make comparisons with the geopolitical situation in the world today with what prevailed just prior to World War II.

This is despite the similarities creating a great sense of déjà vu among many people.

Chief among these is the emergence of a leader with imperialistic ambitions and scant regard for the human cost; a man who is prepared to risk everything to right what he perceives as historical wrongs.

Continue reading "The generation that’s ceasing to care" »

Praise the Lord & pass the ammunition


NOOSA – The American offer to evacuate Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky from Kyiv was not one he wanted, like throwing a no-fly zone across Ukraine air space or blockading the Bosphorus to prevent Russian passage to the Black Sea.

But it did yield the best quote of the Ukraine War so far, Zelensky earning the admiration of most of the world outside the Kremlin with his spirited response, “The fight is here. I need ammunition, not a ride.”

Continue reading "Praise the Lord & pass the ammunition" »

What my inbox is saying about Ukraine

Ukraine - Putin-web-(New Statesman)
Putin-web (New Statesman)


NOOSA – I always have more reading around me than I’m able to accomplish in the course of one typical lifespan. But I’d rather have too much than have too little.

So today I thought I’d dip into a range of some publications I subscribe to, and get a feel for their first take on Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine.

Continue reading "What my inbox is saying about Ukraine" »

Making a dictionary for your own language

Noken Simuk (Robert Eklund)
'Noken Simuk - Smoking forbidden. Leave the matchbox and inflammable matches inside the box' (Robert Eklund)

| Edited & updated

First published in The National, February 2018

PORT MORESBY – All of us probably remember dictionaries from when we were at school.

They had a long list of English words and explained them in English. This is a monolingual dictionary. Words and explanations in the same language.

Continue reading "Making a dictionary for your own language" »

Sick, crippled & besieged by con artists

Illustration by Kal (The Economist)


TUMBY BAY - Hang on, what’s up? The world wasn’t supposed to turn into custard until my generation was safely six foot under.

As Stan Grant eloquently put it, “We are miserable, getting poorer, afflicted with disease, on the verge of blowing ourselves to smithereens and facing a climate catastrophe”.

Continue reading "Sick, crippled & besieged by con artists" »

Bleak & black year shook Land of the Respected

Big Pat  Fatima Secondary School  Banz
During the year Big Pat turned right instead of left and ended up at Fatima Secondary School in Banz

| Papua New Guinea Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY - In all of the meandering years in the life of Papua New Guinea, 2021 had to be the big meander.

The colours were there, the love and laughter were there, the sadness, emotion, losses, highs and lows, the bleakness of our long-suffering population and blackness of ethereal poor governance were all intertwined to make 2021 stand out.

Continue reading "Bleak & black year shook Land of the Respected" »

Woody Guthrie’s New Year resolutions

Woody Guthrie (Michael Ochs Archives)
Woody Guthrie - The work of one of the most significant figures in American folk music focused on themes of American socialism and anti-fascism. His music has inspired several generations politically and musically

| New York Review of Books

NEW YORK - Woody Guthrie wrote the heartfelt and playful resolutions below on New Year’s Day, 1943.

From 29 December 1942 until 1 January 1943, Woody filled a 72-page composition book with a letter to his love, Marjorie.

This little gem, in the middle of the book, provides insight into his daily concerns at the time — the large and the small.

Continue reading "Woody Guthrie’s New Year resolutions" »

The wreckage they left behind

Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park
Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park in South Australia. Phil Fitzpatrick found this country more to his liking than a city teeming with consultants


TUMBY BAY - After leaving Papua New Guinea I went to work for the South Australian Museum in a new unit responsible for Aboriginal heritage legislation.

There were less than a dozen of us and shortly after I arrived we were shifted from the museum to a warehouse with attached offices out in the suburbs.

It was a decidedly casual arrangement and on most days when I wasn’t doing fieldwork I turned up at the office in shorts and tee shirt.

Continue reading "The wreckage they left behind" »

Perspectives on building a successful society

Bougainville seascape (Simon Pentanu)


KIETA – It is said that some of the best personal and political successes in life have followed great adversity and disappointment.

How many of us have come to the best of times when the worst of times has taken us to the brink?

I have some personal perspectives on this from the Bougainville contest, where we have individuals, businessmen, political leaders, church leaders and women and youth leaders who have the opportunity to change things for the better.

Continue reading "Perspectives on building a successful society" »

Some useful advice to a young person

Gary Juffa (left) shares a joke with two constituents


ORO - My dear young person, I have some thoughts formed from not a few experiences gained along the way in my last 49 years.

I decided to share them to mark the 46th Independence Day of our great young nation, Papua New Guinea.

I offer them to you in the hope that perhaps they will be of some use.

Continue reading "Some useful advice to a young person" »

Can you trust a politician with high BMI?

“The Bosses of the Senate”
'The Bosses of the Senate', 1889 lithograph from the collection of the United States Senate


TUMBY BAY - For Australians, and other people with a close interest and involvement in Papua New Guinea, there is a curious dilemma that revolves around trust.

This is the result of the rampant corruption and lawlessness that seems to permeate everything that happens in our near neighbour and good friend.

Continue reading "Can you trust a politician with high BMI?" »

It's that ingrained Calvinistic stoicism


NORTHUMBRIA – Keith Jackson writes and I too have begun to worry that many people under the age of 40 have lost resilience, stoicism replaced with almost permanent protestations of victimhood.

Or who exhibit grievances with so much of what is said to them or by being exposed to unavoidable circumstances like the Covid pandemic.

Continue reading "It's that ingrained Calvinistic stoicism" »

The difficult road to modernity


ADELAIDE – In an insightful piece, ‘A Place, A Time & Lessons Learned, Jim Moore writes that “we humans share so many common traits and characteristics that transcend time and place [and] we need to recognise that we don't know it all... that we’re not members of an exceptional tribe”.

We humans do indeed share many common characteristics, and simultaneously our different cultures create endless opportunities for misunderstanding and conflict.

Continue reading "The difficult road to modernity" »

Lessons we might have missed

Ol narapela kain man
Ol narapela kain man. Young kiaps, 1960s


TUMBY BAY – Culture shock. It was one of the things expatriates were warned about at the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) before departing to take up positions in the then colonial Administration of the Australian Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

Culture shock describes those feelings of excitement, anxiety, confusion and uncertainty when you find yourself in a new and unfamiliar environment.

Continue reading "Lessons we might have missed" »

PNG people unlikely to reclaim birthright

Democracy will have to do better than this
Democracy will have to do better than this... Panicked Afghans storm an aircraft as they try to leave Kabul after its seizure by the Taliban


ADELAIDE - While I endorse Governor Gary Juffa's sentiments in ‘The world is ours, let’s act that way', I am afraid 'ordinary people' will not retake possession of their particular worlds any time soon.

In places like China, theocratic Iran and newly Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, the world will belong to armed minorities who will impose their world view upon the great majority.

Continue reading "PNG people unlikely to reclaim birthright" »

The world is ours, let’s act that way

Gary Juffa and friends
Governor Gary Juffa and friends relax after a meeting of the People's Movement for Change


ORO - I say this often, but it cannot be said enough, although I’m confident that eventually many people will understand, and act upon their understanding, in due time.

I pity those who do not wish to understand and cannot see this reality, so let us focus on helping them understand.

Continue reading "The world is ours, let’s act that way" »

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.

Continue reading "Further adventures in Tok Pisin" »

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.

Continue reading "What might have been could yet be" »

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.

Continue reading "China. First Daru. Then Queensland?" »

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.

Continue reading "Maybe all we can do is apologise" »

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.

Continue reading "On winning whatever the price" »

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.

Continue reading "Words that mean more than they say" »

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.

Continue reading "A true musical treat this Easter" »

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.

Continue reading "What to do about a big & ugly Amazon" »

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.

Continue reading "Danger! Fake news & conspiracy theories" »

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.

Continue reading "Should Hanuabada be capital of Peengee?" »

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.

Continue reading "The mysteriously blank face of DFAT" »

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.

Continue reading "Finding Mac: Search brought us together" »