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29 December 2012


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Ah Tony, mi sori tru! Whilst cross-cultural relationships can be a challenge, they can also be very fruitful.

How else can you understand the beauty of seeing your wife weaving a bilum and twistim rope on her lek while you do your best to make a mumu in lieu of a BBQ?

It's been ten years now, but with some effort on both our parts things are looking good. And our best friends in Sydney (Simbu/Australian) have seen 30 happy years together.

“There are some things you don’t have to know how it works – only that it works. While some people are studying the roots, others are picking the fruit. It just depends on which end of this you want to get in on." -- Jim Rohn, The Art of Exceptional Living”

I married a girl from Asaro. Thirty years difference in our ages. We were fine till we came back to the UK and then things started to go bad.

She had a job and I retired. She complained that she was keeping me and was my 'slave'. It got very tense she complained all the time. But when I tried to discuss things with her she refused. So it got worse.

Then she became violent to our 15 year old daughter and the authorities got involved. Eventually my two children, a 24 year old son and the daughter, begged me to divorce her.
This set off suicide attempts and the police were involved.

She moved out and the divorce became final. She is alone and I feel sorry for her. But she continues to say it was all my fault.

I find now she had sent huge amounts of money back to PNG that I didn't know about as she had her own account and I don't know what to think.

Did she marry me as a plan to get money home and have a good life in PNG with it? Or could she not cope with being the breadwinner and the stress of life in the West?

Possibly she was disappointed in me, as our life didn't meet her expectations? So sad as I loved PNG a lot and she could be so sweet. We were together for 23 years.

Similarly the Australian government made no attempt to understand the Melanesian culture that existed in PNG in the 1970's; blindly changing the politics and justice systems to unsuitable Australian systems.

Papua New Guineans also have problems when they inter-marry a partner from another province. The culture of someone from the West Sepik is completely different to that of someone from the Chimbu.

Closer to home the amazing culture of the Chimbu is again completely different to that of the intriquing Bena Bena.

This is what makes PNG so unique and interesting.

David - Na Rose embawan mockwa. Wagai wei!

Rose - like most things in life, mutual respect is required. In my case I had a curiosity about my wife's tok-ples & learned it. Made all the difference in my life, our relationship & my understanding how kastam works. Also probably turned me into a lateral thinker which allows me to probably fit in better to the wider community. Halpim man bilong yu long lainim tokples. Have 'tok-ples days' between you occasionally. When he asks for a cuppa tea on that day it's gotta be in tokples! Good luck to you both!

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