Marj Walker, respected Sogeri teacher, dies at 84

Marj Walker
Marj Walker and students pose outside the Sogeri High School Museum

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - Marjorie (Marj) Walker, a highly respected teacher at Sogeri national high school, died at Mount Waverley in Victoria on 31 December aged 84.

Marj was the head of expressive arts at Sogeri from 1972-85 and made a number of return visits to Papua New Guinea over the years including one in 2013 to meet former students.

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Covid, a Facebook dare & then - a new book

Baka bina
Baka Bina

BAKA BINA

Tales from Faif by Baka Barakove Bina with contributions from Emily Sakepe Bina, Amazon KDP Edition, December 2020, $5.00, link here to purchase

PORT MORESBY - Such is life for me that I have published my last three books (Antics of Alonaa, Volume One, Musings from Sogopex and Operesin Kisim Bek Lombo) just before the end of a year.

The result is that during the festive season announcements about them usually get pushed to the side and there are no fanfare.

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Toroama outlines challenges for 2021

Youths listen to President Toroama
Youths at Roreinang Catholic mission listen to President Toroama discuss the challenges ahead

ANTHONY KAYBING
| Office of the ABG President

BUKA - President Ishmael Toroama has urged Bougainvilleans to stand firm in the region’s aspirations for political independence as Bougainville begins the new year.

Speaking to youths from different Christian denominations throughout Bougainville gathered at Roreinang United Church Mission, the president asked: “Are we one of those patriotic Bougainvilleans willing to go the distance to achieve Bougainville’s aspirations for independence?

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PNG’s exclusive low quality club looms

PostgraduateMICHAEL.KABUNI
| Academia Nomad | Edited

PORT MORESBY - PNG’s tertiary institutions are becoming an exclusive club of the few, as the rest are pushed out of the system.

However, with dropping quality, the qualifications will not mean much if there’s no investment.

It’s the same as placing a quota on imported goods. Product prices go up not because of their quality but because of the limited supply.

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Our people must truly Take Back PNG

Take backSCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

Open letter to prime minister James Marape

Dear Prime Minister - Our government has to admit the fact that there is a glaring imbalance between Papua New Guinean and foreign ownership of businesses. We own very little in our country.

Retail, wholesale and real estate in our towns and cities are controlled by Chinese interests.

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Living in the slums

 

HeavyHAZEL KUTKUE
| Sipikriva Girl Blog

FINSCHHAFEN - After ending my career as a resident doctor at Angau Memorial Provincial Hospital, Lae, it was time to pack up my bags and move temporarily to the big city.

In Lae, I had lived in accommodation provided by the hospital for resident doctors. I had initially lived in a bedsitter inside the hospital, and then I moved to Eriku in flats rented by the hospital.

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China & Australia must agree to disagree

KangarooCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Thanks for the very balanced assessment in ‘Australia needs help with its China problem’.

It is important to put some perspective into a debate that tends to become fairly acrimonious at times.

So far as I can see, the only acceptable basis for a sensible relationship with China is one where we simply agree to disagree on some issues.

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Australia needs help with its China problem

Australia-and-China-Flag
The dilemma of how Australia can reach a reasonable accommodation with China, just as Papua New Guinea and New Zealand have managed to do

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – When Bernard Yegiora recently published an essay on China’s relations with Australia and Papua New Guinea, some PNG Attitude readers were quick to criticise his views. Perfectly acceptable.

One reader was quick to criticise Bernard personally. Not acceptable, and I made clear my displeasure.

Bernard was, after all, articulating his version of PNG’s current policy on how its relationship with China is conducted.

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A personal reflection on 2020 & Covid-19

Haus
A transit house provided by Catholic Mission on Iwon Island, East Sepik, for the sick and their caregivers (Mary Fairio)

MARY FAIRIO
| My Land, My Country

PORT MORESBY – 2020 is a year to remember, many will say.

It is a year that brought challenges to many people from the community to the national level in our beloved motherland, Papua New Guinea.

A tear falls for the unborn baby who died because there was no medical attendant.

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Stories from our new year: 2019

2019 Jack Emanuel GC
Jack Emanuel GC

COMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON

2 January 2019 - The killing of district commissioner Jack Emanuel (Andrew Phillips)

Errol John (Jack) Emanuel was a district commissioner in East New Britain when he was murdered on 19 August 1971. He was posthumously awarded the George Cross for gallantry displayed between 1969 and 1971. At the time of Emanuel’s death, Andrew Phillips, now of New York, was news director at Radio Rabaul.

I was posted to Rabaul following Keith Jackson’s transfer to Bougainville. The unrest Keith experienced continued, and it culminated in the stabbing murder of Jack Emanuel who had been sent on special assignment to negotiate with the Mataungun Association.

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Stories from our new year: 2018

Paul Flanagan
Paul Flanagan - "The O’Neill-Abel economic policies are the greatest barriers to private sector growth"

COMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON

2 January 2018 - O’Neill policies risk economic crisis (Paul Flanagan)

If you’re looking for a happy start to 2018, don’t read the depressing review of the Papua New Guinean economy just released by the International Monetary Fund. It shows that PNG is facing a great risk of a fiscal crisis.

The IMF projects that the 2018 economy will be K7 billion less than promised by the O’Neill-Abel government.

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Stories from our new year: 2017

Chris Overland
Chris Overland - "I entered world that was utterly different"

COMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON

2 January 2017 - The shock of the new (Chris Overland)

On New Year's Day, I sit before my computer contemplating the fact that it is now some 48 years since I first set foot in Papua New Guinea. It seems a very long time ago that I first walked down the stairs from an Ansett Airlines Boeing 727 and made my way across the shimmering tarmac towards a somewhat dilapidated terminal building at Jackson's Field.

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Stories from our new year: 2016

Francis Nii & the green hills of Simbu
Francis Nii and the green hills of Simbu

COMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON

1 January 2016 - Let us explain to the people that their vote is precious (Francis Nii)

Eighteen months from now Papua New Guineans will vote in the eleventh national parliamentary elections.

People from all walks and of all creeds will vie for a seat in the national parliament, re-elected every five years.

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Stories from our new year: 2015

Hayden
Bill Hayden - in 1988 told Australian cabinet there was "a likelihood of bloodshed" in PNG

COMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON

1 January 2015 - Australia feared PNG military coup in 1988 (Damien Murphy)

| Sydney Morning Herald | Cabinet documents from the Australian National Archives

Cabinet was warned that the triggers for a military coup in Papua New Guinea had been identified as Australia's position as a close friend and adviser was under challenge 13 years after the Melanesia nation gained independence.

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Stories from our new year: 2013-14

Kundiawa Town  October 2020 (Paul Waugla Wii)
Kundiawa Town,  October 2020 (Paul Waugla Wii)

COMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON

1 January 2013 - Sex enhancement products on Kundiawa streets (Bernard Yegiora)

A street seller in Kundiawa came up to me and offered me a packet of Viagra cream for K40. He touted the cream for K40, then K20 and finally K10. I politely told him that I didn't have any money.

I was told he also sells Viagra pills. Scary stuff if you do not know the side effects. So Kundiawa town is changing.

How did this street seller end up selling Viagra on the streets of Kundiawa? Is Viagra legal or illegal in PNG? I was told that his biggest customers are public servants. I presume this product has sparked a sexual revolution.

Word on the street is that the Viagra came via the Indonesia-PNG boarder, similar to the fireworks on the streets. Not only male sex products but also female sex products are sold on the streets of Kundiawa. Very interesting changes.

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Stories from our new year: 2012

Martyn & beers
Martyn Namorong and rewards for excellence in writing

COMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON

1 January 2012 - Mipela ino inap? What the f***? (Martyn Namorong)

Why do organisations run by expats generally do better than those run by Papua New Guineans? And why did Papua New Guinean civil servants and disciplinary forces perform better under the colonial administration than they do now?

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Stories from our new year: 2007-09

StreetsignCOMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON

1 January 2007 - Courses of study (Keith Jackson)

Happy new year to all my readers. And here's a question to test the ageing memory of former teaching students at the Australian School of Pacific Administration. Exactly how many of those ASOPA courses that you diligently studied (or wilfully disregarded) can you recall? And how many subjects were you examined in during the two year program?

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Sovereignty, China, PNG & Australia

FlagsBERNARD YEGIORA
| The Yegiora Files

MADANG – It’s well known that China has the largest population of any country and that its people have been mobilised as the driving force behind China’s rapid growth and transformation.

To ensure its population remains stable, content and healthy, the Chinese government needs to undertake massive development projects.

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Why are most aid posts non-operational

Haus sikBARBARA ANGORO
| My Land, My Country

AUCKLAND - Scott Waide’s article on Josephstaal got me thinking about access to medicines to aid posts, the primary level health facility throughout rural Papua New Guinea.

As a kid, during holidays at home, you knew you’d get help at the aid post if you fell ill with malaria or got scratches on your legs that became infected.

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A signature in the sand

Sir-mek
First graduates of the University of Papua New Guinea, 1970

ANDREW MOUTU
| Ples Singsing | Edited

PORT MORESBY - The boy grew up in the village of Kukipi, and at the right age he was enrolled at its small primary school.

There were no blackboards, no chalk and no desks where the children could sit, so the school and the village had to be innovative and work within the constraints.

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Vin Smith, one of the best, dies at 90

Vin & Rita Smith with Bob Cleland  Rabaul  October 2010
Vin and Rita Smith with Bob Cleland,  Rabaul,  October 2010

BILL BROWN MBE

SYDNEY - Ernest Vincent (Vin) Smith, who saw notable service in Papua New Guinea as a kiap before independence and a senior public servant after, has died on the Gold Coast aged 90.

In two separate stints totalling 39 years, Vin served PNG with distinction and was admired for his coolness under pressure and great good humour.

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China, Daru & the fisheries business

ClipBERNARD YEGIORA
| The Yegiora Files | Edited

MADANG - The island of Daru has become the centre of attention after a Chinese company announced its proposal to build a multi-functional fisheries industrial park on the island and received encouragement from the PNG government.

There have been both negative and positive reactions to the project based on the economic, political and security interests of various state actors.

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The scandal of PNG's massive cultural loss

TribesmenPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - The republishing of Bomai Witne’s 2014 article on how difficult it is for many Papua New Guineans to distinguish how much their cultural perceptions belong to tradition on the one hand and colonialism on the other prompts my further exploration.

It seems that the link with the past for many people, particularly children, in modern day Papua New Guinea is growing more and more tenuous as the years go by.

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The patrol that went wrong – Part 2

HelicopterNALAU BINGEDING

PORT MORESBY – As somebody called “The white men are going to steal us and take us to Australia,” every trooper fled from the helicopter in every direction into the thick jungle.

Although barefoot, we did not care about rattan spikes or any other mishap that may be in our way.

We had to flee as fast as we could to get away from the helicopter.

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The patrol that went wrong – Part 1

HelicopterNALAU BINGEDING

PORT MORESBY - As a kid, the Busoo River in the Bukawa area of Morobe Province was the best place in the world to be.

In Wagangluhu village, on the banks of the Busoo, the river was our swimming pool, fishing ground and playground. This and the surrounding lush tropical rainforests provided my friends and me with countless adventures.

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A tribute to the brilliant Sir Mek

Sir mek
Sir Mekere Morauta - Argued deficit financing is necessary for serious growth. The world caught up with him this year

SCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

LAE - In school, economics wasn’t really my thing. At the end of one semester, the girl who became my partner got the highest grade and I nailed the bottom of the list.

But years later, the great journalist John Eggins said I had to venture into the realm of business and economics, because I had “the flair for it.”

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Merry Christmas PNG, with love from Emma

Emma-Wakpi
Emma Wakpi - "There are kinks in the cultures and ways of my people and I continue to struggle against them. But for the most part I am at peace"

EMMA WAKPI
| Published in PNG Attitude, 25 December 2012

MY DEAREST MOTHERLAND - I am writing this letter on the eve of Christmas to let you know how much I love and appreciate you.

This time of the year reminds us of what we should be thankful for and of what love is really all about.

Often times we argue so much about what is wrong and right and how it’s supposed to be done nowadays.

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That Christmas Day, 1942

Carriers walked long distances
Carriers walked long distances carrying heavy loads of wounded troops supplies and equipment (Damien Parer,  1942)

EDITED BY KEITH JACKSON
| Compiled from Voices from the War *

PORT MORESBY -World War II meant that many young Papua New Guinean men had to leave their villages in the service of the Australian and American military forces.

They worked as carriers, medical orderlies, police, cooks and in other service jobs. Sometimes this service lasted until the war ended.

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The unwanted Christmas present

Phil on patrol  Star Mountains  early 1970s
Phil on patrol, Star Mountains, early 1970s

PHIL FITZPATRICK
| Published in PNG Attitude, 24 December 2019

TUMBY BAY - In 1970 I received a Christmas present I didn’t really want.

At the time I was the officer-in-charge of Olsobip Patrol Post on the southern slopes of the Star Mountains in the Western District.

Earlier in the month I had returned from a 31 day patrol into the rugged and remote Murray Valley.

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Christmas at Olsobip

OlsobipPP1969
Olsobip Patrol Post, 1969 (PNGAA)

GARRY LUHRS
| Published in PNG Attitude, 24 December 2016

OLSOBIP - Christmas, and the entire festive season, is always a contentious time at the Gentlemen’s Club.

It is the cause of more disharmony than a federal election or a debate on the return of conscription and compulsory national service, or climate change.

Goodwill and fellowship towards our fellow man, I don’t think so! What a load of humbug!

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The true meaning of Christmas

TreeFLORENCE CASTRO-SALLE
| Published in PNG Attitude, 25 December 2015

MADANG - As I lay in bed in the early hours of the morning, my mind drifted to the pictures I took of the Christmas tree in the office.

And then the theme from that Alvin and the Chipmunks movie played over and over in my head, “Christmas, Christmas time is near, time for joy and time for cheer”.

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Heritage, culture, Christianity & change

Bomai
Bomai Witne - "It is a challenging time to assess whether and how we want to keep a link with our tribal heritage. Some of us are struggling"

BOMAI D WITNE
| Published in PNG Attitude, 24 December 2014

GOROKA – What did I inherit from my tribal and national ancestors who migrated here some 50,000 years ago and what did I inherit from colonialism?

I have to find answers to these questions and the answers are hard to find.

I was born in Imil-Tomale, a remote hamlet, under the shade of pandanus trees and clothed with soft and tender leaves.

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Christmas for atheists

St nicholas
St Nicholas - definitely not an atheist but a rich man who used his wealth to alleviate suffering

PHIL FITZPATRICK
| Published in PNG Attitude, 25 December 2016

TUMBY BAY - I was about eight years old when I realised that organised religion was a giant confidence trick.

The thing that made me aware of this was my mother’s plan to send me to the local Catholic school.

We’d just moved out of the migrant hostel after arriving in Australia from England and I was bound to a new school.

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The worm catchers of Sialum

Reef off Sialum
Reef and atoll off Sialum typical of where 'Christmas' worm catchers ply their trade

PAUL OATES
| Published in PNG Attitude, 25 December 2011

CLEVELAND, QLD - Sialum patrol post was situated on the north-eastern tip of the Huon Peninsula about 60 miles north of Finschhafen, the sub district headquarters.

I say ‘about 60 miles’ because Rudi, the Lutheran missionary at Kalasa, and Hans, the Lutheran agricultural extension officer always argued about how far it was.

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President Toroama’s Christmas message

Toroama
Ishmael Toroama - "“We must maintain the spirit of independence that we have always known in our lives"

ANTHONY KAYBING
| Office of the President

BUKA - In his first Christmas message, Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama has urged Bougainvilleans to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and also to think about being ‘Independence Ready’ by taking responsibility.

“Whether it is at individual, family, clan, church, community, council of elders or other level, we all have a responsibility to be independence ready,” President Toroama said.

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Torres Strait islanders want to keep China out

Torres people
The Torres Strait people are skilled navigators with detailed knowledge of the sea, reefs and islands

SARI-ELLA THAIDAY

Sari-Ella Thaiday, just completing a law degree in Brisbane, has initiated a petition to Australia’s foreign affairs minister asking that the government protect the rights of Torres Strait Islands’ people against any Chinese incursion into Australian waters - KJ

BRISBANE - China has just signed a memorandum of understanding with Papua New Guinea to build a $200 million fishing facility on Daru Island.

It is imperative that Torres Strait Islands’ leaders discuss this issue with Australian foreign affairs minister Marise Payne to review the Torres Strait Treaty, which allows Papua New Guinean nationals to fish in Australian waters.

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Beyond 2020: A hazardous row to hoe

CovidPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - As 2020 draws to a close, confusion and trepidation seem to be the major emotions people the world over are feeling.

The confusion stems from uncertainty about how to interpret what appear to be existential threats in 2021 and beyond.

They include the coronavirus pandemic.

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