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Musing on the death of Prince Philip

Brittania in Kieta Harbour  Prince Philip on board   April 1971 (Terence Spencer)
Brittania in Kieta Harbour with Prince Philip on board,   April 1971. It is anchored behind a freighter waiting to dock at Kieta wharf (right) (Terence Spencer)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Early on the morning of Wednesday 17 March 1971, the black-hulled royal yacht HMY Brittania slipped slowly into Kieta harbour through the narrow main channel abeam of Pok Pok Island.

On board was Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, visiting for a two night stay on Bougainville after a voyage through the Panama Canal and the Pacific islands and on to the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

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The dogs of Manus

Dogs of Manus (Stefan Armbruster  SBS News)
Dogs of Manus (Stefan Armbruster,  SBS News)

BEHROUZ BOOCHANI
| Newsroom | Translated by Mohsen Kafi

AUCKLAND - This is a topic that has rarely been written about, simply because few people care about how dogs live.

The story dates to the time I was imprisoned on Manus Island. In 2013, the Australian government exiled me and almost 1,000 other refugees to Manus in the north of Papua New Guinea.

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Remembered: Michael Somare’s escape from Rabaul

Double outigger canoe (Mariners Museum  Virginia  USA)
A Philippines double outrigger canoe (Mariners Museum, Virginia, USA)

CAPTAIN STEVEN JOLLY

ALI ISLAND - I want to share with you all a special tribute to our late great Great Grand Chief Sir Michael T Somare with a short story from my home, Ali Island in the Aitape District of Sandaun Province.

During the childhood years of our Great Grand Chief at Rabaul during World War II, a late gentleman by the name of Makarius Menik from Jaltaleouw village on Ali Island, with some of his fellow comrades, sailed out of Rabaul to Murik in a traditional double outrigger canoe.

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Kerenga Kua & lip ti no swit

Kerenga_Kua
Kerenga Kua - spoke about an embarrassing experience with a cup of tea during his high school days

DUNCAN GABI

LAE - Kerenga Kua, Papua New Guinea’s petroleum and energy minister, has occupied senior political positions since he was first elected as the member for Sinasina-Yongamugl in Simbu Province in 2012.

My story, though, is about his student days at Aiyura National High School as told by the man himself in 2014.

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How a janitor helped me become a soldier

PNGDF personnelBERLDON TIMAH
Graun Blong Mi - My Land | Edited

LAE – Many years ago, I was working as a cleaner at a power plant at Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea’s Western Province when I saw an advertisement for PNG Defence Force recruitment.

I’d wanted to join the Army since childhood, so I submitted a form and was called for an entry test at Murray Barracks in Port Moresby. I would need travel there by sea.

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The dog that took over my abode

Nebula and family
Nebula and her new family members. Nebula found an inconvenient place to give birth

SCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My People

LAE - Two years ago, my son’s dog-daughter, Nebula, ‘adopted’ me as her human parent.

She seemed to claim me even more after he left to join the army last year and I became full-time parent, or Nebula adopted me as full time parent, whatever.

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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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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.

Continue reading "The patrol that went wrong – Part 2" »


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.

Continue reading "The patrol that went wrong – Part 1" »


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 gift of literacy & the story of Tony

Tony Heffernan
Tony Heffernan - "My father was terribly upset over the accident and never stopped blaming himself. My sister told me it was the only time she had ever seen Dad cry"

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Our first grandson was born while we were living in Hervey Bay in Queensland. His other grandparents, who belong to a small Lutheran congregation nearby in Maryborough, organised his christening there.

The Lutheran pastor was an American who had been a missionary in Papua New Guinea. I was still scooting back and forth from Australia to PNG doing social mapping, so we had a common interest.

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Bougainville's conman 'king' still on the run

Liam Fox meets Noah Musingku in 2010 (ABC News)
Liam Fox meets Noah Musingku in 2010 (ABC News)

LIAM FOX
| Australian Broadcasting Corporation

SYDNEY - Noah Musingku turns to an ancient PC that looks like it stopped working years ago, taps away on the keyboard seriously for a few seconds, then looks up and says: "You're a millionaire, Gorethy!"

"Your account has $2 million in it. Just send me your bank account details and we'll send the money to you," Musingku says.

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The Rabaul stickybeak incident

British square at Waterloo
British Square at the Battle Waterloo, 1815. A formation adopted in late 1969 by military strategists in Rabaul

CHIPS MACKELLAR

WARWICK - At the end of the 1969 academic year at Queensland University I was ordered to return to TPNG* on posting to Bougainville. 

But when my flight landed at Rabaul en route to Kieta I was ordered off the plane and told I had been seconded to the Supreme Court as interpreter for the forthcoming trial of several Mataungan leaders.

The trial never eventuated while I was in Rabaul because of a rumour that the Tolais were going to besiege the courthouse.

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Conspiracy theories are in bloom

An-old-conspiracy-theory-known-as-agenda-21PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Did you know that Donald Trump was created in a top-secret biotech laboratory by the enemies of the USA with the goal of wreaking havoc on the nation?

Theorist Harland Dorrinson has conclusive evidence gleaned through an exhaustive search of secret government documents and is 100% certain that Trump was grown in a recombinant-DNA laboratory.

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Philistines have entered the gate

Morrison
Australian prime minister Scott Morrison came naturally to philistinism. It was easier than dealing with real world complexity and reason

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - A philistine is a person of narrow mind, populist morality, materialistic views and lack of interest in art and literature.

The term was coined by the 19th Century British poet, Matthew Arnold, adapting the word from the term ‘philister’ used by German university students to describe people who were unenlightened, uncultured and anti-intellectual.

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The strange sea lights of Madang

Foo fighters
Foo Fighter photographs are very rare. Two are seen here following RAF Lysander aircraft during World War II in Europe. There were reports from both sides of sighting these mysterious orbs

RAYMOND SIGIMET

DAGUA – You may know the Tok Pisin term, ‘lait toktok’. Well, if you don’t, it’s used in Madang to describe a phenomenon similar to the ‘foo fighters’ aerial phenomenon observed in Europe and the Pacific during the World War II.

‘Lait toktok’ describes moving lights over the water; luminous objects or lights dancing over the horizon and appearing to move back and forth or remain stationary while emitting their strange glow.

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The real lords of the flies

Lords of the flies
The Tongan youths who remained united after being stranded for over a year on a desert island in 1966

ROBERT FORSTER

NORTHUMBRIA UK - William Golding’s deeply pessimistic book ‘Lord of the Flies’ was thrust upon me in 1966 during a course in English Literature.

It was compulsory reading but I almost immediately rejected it.

After scanning reviews and flicking through its contents, I pushed it away unfinished because its bleakness about our human condition was too much to accept.

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The demise of regional broadcasting

Justin Kili 1972
Justin Kili as a young announcer in 1972 - "Who is the Queen of Papua New Guinea?"

GRAHAM KING

YUNGABURRA - “And now let’s spin another disc from the Beatle boys” – those were the words I heard from NBC announcer Cathy Garoa when I first tuned in my new radio-cassette player in early 1980.

Where I lived in Papua New Guinea, there was no FM radio, no television, no Australian newspapers and the internet was not yet a thing.

So how did Papua New Guineans obtain their information?

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Lessons I have learned

Justin Kundalin
Justin Kundain - five lessons to share with friends

JUSTIN KUNDALIN

PORT MORESBY – It was the greatest moment for me. Last November I graduated with a diploma in pastoral ministry.

Having been brought up in a dysfunctional home where my parents eventually divorced, I had grown up without a moral anchor. To me the words ‘dad’ and ‘mammy’ were strange.

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Saga of the Olsobip lawnmower

Mowing the grass at Olsobip
Turning jungle into lawn at Olsobip

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - When I arrived to take over the remote and tiny Olsobip Patrol Post in 1970 the place was a mess. Patrolling had obviously taken precedence over maintenance.

The government store, on its dangerously rotted stumps, leaked like a sieve. The aid post was in a similar condition and the sacsac roof on the school was slowly being carried away by cockroaches.

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The soldiers that never were

Newspaper advertisement for kiaps  circa 1966
Newspaper advertisement for kiaps, 1966

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - How often have you heard the admonition to always read the fine print before signing anything?

And how often have you had some sneaky little paragraph in the fine print pointed out that you never read excusing a manufacturer or insurer from honouring what you thought should have been an obligation on their part?

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The last hockey game

Graham King
Graham King in action on the hockey pitch

GRAHAM KING

YUNGABURRA - I remember the date of my last hockey game as it was the same day as the more famous Live Aid concert - 13 July 1985.

My wife had gone to her village, Tubusereia, for the weekend and I was to play hockey and then go to a friend’s place to watch the concert live.

I also remember the date as it also relates to my favourite memory of Dr Jim Jacobi.  Recently there have been some photos and memories of Dr Jacobi on Facebook and I have my own story to tell.

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An unnecessary shot in the leg

Erico found himself looking down the barrel of a .38 pistol
Erico found himself looking down the barrel of a .38 pistol

ROBERT FORSTER

NORTHUMBRIA - Back in 1972, Erico Aufe, a former government interpreter on Bereina station in the Kairuku Sub-District, refused to pay his local government tax.

This triggered a chain of events, some farcical, which highlighted the difference between the consensual approach to village administration favoured by the majority of kiaps and the less flexible tactics employed by most Australian police officers of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.

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Taim bilong masta i spak

Keith&DiSiune
With my long-suffering manki masta Di Siune, Goroka, January 1964

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – This confinement to barracks, lock down, home isolation or whatever the authorities term it, occasions plenty of opportunity for reflection on past adventures.

The early 1960s was another era, Papua and New Guinea (as it was called) another place and, for a young man, the highlands a new frontier.

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Remote business never easy in PNG

Sepik
Map of the Sepik region by Bill Brown

ROB PARER

BRISBANE - In 1970 we sold our Vanimo stores and bulk fuel depot to Steamships Trading Company.

Mr Lee, the manager of Steamships Madang, had approached us to negotiate the transaction. He was such a fine person to deal with.

Then, 36 years later, Steamships, by now owned by the British multinational Swire Group of Hong Kong, also purchased our stores at Aitape.

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The hell of a mess we created

Dying-Planet-EarthPHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - As we lapuns drift gently into old age, the thoughts of many of us inevitably circle around concepts of mortality and the state of the world.

Such ponderings are part of an age old process that has been going on since humans first inhabited the planet.

As a species we tend to be naturally optimistic no matter what dire circumstances exist at the time.

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Students fleeing China refused passage

Marooned
"We wait at Shanghai International airport without any hope"

AS TOLD TO SCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

SHANGHAI - After a long day waiting for our flight to Manila to transit to Port Moresby, we were removed from the flight to Manila.

A total of 12 students were not allowed to board the flight.

Manila immigration could not give us access to at least transit to Papua New Guinea, our home country.

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Addressing racism’s toxicity

Giselle Wakatama and Archie
Giselle Wakatama and Archie - abused by some ugly Australians. Unfortunately we have too many of them amongst us

PETER KRANZ

MORISSET - I was shocked to see a recent story on ABC Television about the racism experienced by one of their presenters in Lake Macquarie and Newcastle.

This was particularly disturbing as it is our neck of the woods. Hey that can’t be happening here!

To their credit, the local council took some action. You can find the story here, ‘Why I will never forget the day I was racially abused in front of my young son’.

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Best of 2019: Foreigners divided our island

Terrified Papuan tortured with a machete by an Indonesian soldier
Terrified Papuan tortured with a machete by an Indonesian soldier

DANIEL KUMBON

WABAG - Just log into any Free West Papua website and you can view graphic videos, pictures and articles on the genocidal military operations against the Melanesian people who inhabit the western half of the island of New Guinea.

The images and stories are intimidating, cruel and chilling. You almost want to scream.

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Best of 2019: Curse of territoriality

WarfareCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - As an enthusiastic amateur historian, I spend far too much time puzzling over why human history has worked out the way it has. Usually, the facts are not in dispute: it is their interpretation and meaning that creates problems.

Many historic events seem to defy an agreed explanation amongst historians because so many personal, cultural, social, economic, geographic and other factors have interacted to shape and drive those events in particular directions.

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Best of 2019: Living at ground level

Stan GallaherSTAN GALLAHER

After Stan – a wild man of Papua New Guinea – died in Port Moresby in 2016, his son Luke unearthed one of his letters written to his family in Australia in December 2002. “My father made friends and enemies of prime ministers and was famously know in PNG as a man who would give the shirt off his back to anyone,” Luke says - KJ

POPONDETTA - Its 0630 hours Sunday here and we have overcast skies just starting to lift, the sun burning the mist off the ground and birds have been at it in the mango tree for the past three hours.

PNG music playing in all the houses up and down the street, each trying to play their stereos higher than their neighbours, kids starting to give mums heaps waiting for breakfast, the normal shit that goes on every morning with the exception that its Sunday.

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Best of 2019: Cpl Kasari & the red bicycle

Corporal Kasari inspecting police with kiap John McGregor at Olsobip  1968
Corporal Kasari inspecting police with kiap John McGregor, Olsobip,  1968

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Lance Corporal Kasari RN1297 RPNGC was something of a legend in the Western District in the late 1960s.

If you had some rough patrolling to do in the rugged mountains or tumbling rivers in the northern part of the district Corporal Kasari was the man to have at your side.

If it was a routine patrol and you needed someone to run the patrol post while you were away Corporal Kasari was always your first choice.

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Best of 2019: The sleeping giant

The tropical turquoise water of PNG (Ben Jackson)
The tropical turquoise water of PNG (Ben Jackson)

BEN JACKSON

PORT MORESBY - The proclamation of Papua New Guinea as the “last paradise on earth” by the country’s prime minister had the ring of an early 20th century adventure novel and it is a tagline that perhaps appropriately reflects the country’s place as a frontier travel destination.

There are good reasons that the nation of just over eight million people has been long touted as having great potential for tourism. It has all the natural ingredients for an idyllic tropical beach getaway and much more.

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Best of 2019: Polygamy a destructive force

PolygamyPHILIP KAI MORRE

KUNDIAWA - Polygamy was relevant to traditional societies in Papua New Guinea, especially in the highlands, as part of a patrilineal tradition passed from generation to generation as a means of gaining wealth, prestige and social mobility.

It was also recognised that marrying multiple wives would also increase the labour force to ensure enough pigs were raised and enough gardens were established to maintain the status of the husband and the clan.

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Best of 2019: Travelling with donkeys

DonkeysPAUL OATES

GOLD COAST – As a kiap [patrol officer] in the 1970s, I assisted the Lutheran Mission with one of the first herds of cattle introduced into the Menyamya Sub District.

The cattle drive started at the Bulolo roadhead, traversed the mountains between the Bulolo valley and Aseki Patrol Post before continuing along the Aseki-Menyamya ‘kiap road’.

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An old man’s dreaming

Mintabie
Mintabie will soon be without its opal miners - "a timely vindication of a great wrong perpetrated by greedy and ignorant people"

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - In 1976 I was working for the South Australian Museum travelling in the far northwest visiting and recording sacred sites with Aboriginal elders.

On one such trip I was out with an old man called Mungatja Mick Wintinna. He was an Antakarinja man in his mid-nineties.

Earlier in the week I had piggy-backed him across some sand hills to the place where he had been born in the late 1880s.

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Laiagam’s descent into HIV hell

Gai - election colleagues 2012
My colleagues involved in the 2012 national election - ambitious candidates made it an easy way to earn money

PORAP GAI

LAIAGAM – It was seven years ago, during the 2012 national election, that I first witnessed that a larger number of young people living in my community in Enga Province were HIV victims.

My home village is Niunk in the Lagaip-Porgera district. Nearby villages include Kanak, Wanepap, Komaip, Waiyap and Lakris.

My friends in those villages left high schools at that time in 2012 to get involved in the election. I was going to do the same but withdrew since in those days I was a drunkard and chasing women.

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The unique experience of a nation born

Brown MBE and Kaad OBE
Former district commissioners Bill Brown MBE and Fred Kaad OBE. Said Kaad to the wavering young kiap Fitzpatrick: "You’ll never have the chance to be part of something like that ever again"

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - My father came from Waterford in the warm southeast of Ireland. He had three brothers and two sisters. His eldest brother John carried on the family tradition of being politically active.

It was from an insistent Uncle John that I learned very early on about the colonisation of Ireland by the British.

That experience left me with a repressed but abiding suspicion about the whole enterprise of empire.

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180 steps down to the beach

180 steps a
The footpath reconnected the present to the past by catering to children, women and the elderly who had not visited the beach for a very long time

DION TULO *

BUKA - In many rural parts of Bougainville youth plays a vital part in communities through sports, cultural organisations, church groups and small development projects funded by non-government organisations.

This is a story of a small group of youths from Kohea village, in the Haku constituency of Buka Island, who succeeded through sheer hard work and dedication to complete a small development project in their community.

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My dear brother, Sam Gawi Rake

Sam Gawi Rake
Sam Gawi Rake. The SMS read: “Pass the message around that Sam is dead….he was beheaded by cult worshipers…."

PAWA KENNY

PORT MORESBY - Monday 2 April 2018 was a gruesome day for me. Early that morning the news of the death of my brother and best friend, Sam Gawi Rake, reached me.

I was in the students’ computer lab preparing my work when the message came in an SMS on my mobile phone from an unknown person.

“Pass the message around that Sam Gawi Rake is dead….he was beheaded by cult worshipers….his head is missing while his body is in morgue at the Modillion Hospital in Madang.”

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The best I could have done at the time

P2-WKD at Siwea 1977
GOF's Cessna 182 P2-WKD at Siwea airstrip, Morobe Province, 1977

GOF *
| The Bucket Blog

TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND - Reflecting upon one’s own life from the vantage point of older age is sometimes rather like reading a tattered autobiographical account of someone else’s life.

Mine contains many examples of gross stupidity and incompetence, but it also, in an early chapter documents one single decision which would continue to shape my life to this day.

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Warning: You’re being dumbed down

AutotootPHIL FITZPATRICK

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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Remembering the boy on the postage stamp

Papua stampGRAHAM KING

IPSWICH - On arrival in Papua New Guinea in January 1980, I was posted to Laloki Plant Quarantine and Horticultural Research Station as horticulturalist with the then Department of Primary Industry.

It was about 20km from Tabari Place in Boroko which at that time was the main shopping centre for Port Moresby residents. Burns Philp, Steamships and Carpenters all had supermarkets there. 

Recently, on a recent business trip to Port Moresby, I decided to drive to Laloki to see if my old house was still there. It was and a few of my old workers were there to greet me.

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