JANUARY WAS A STRANGE month for me personally – no soon had I become mobile from the last operation than I was plonked into hospital for the next. Which has left me temporarily without the use of one leg. Fortunately mobility, or the lack of it, is no restraint on the production of PNG Attitude.
January was a very good month for edgy articles, as you’ll see from the catalogue below. The top stories, as judged from your comments, have real substance and bite to them and they’re worth reading again – or for the first time if you haven’t caught up yet.
Good to see four Papua New Guinean names in the top five writers. (And we could probably add Peter Kranz to that as an honorary Melanesian.) Also, unusually, a poem features in your top selection of pieces this month. We often get comments on poetry, but rarely in enough quantity to make the bells ring.
And so to our most commented upon pieces for last month….
18 comments - Melanesian fruit pickers in Australia: the true grim story (Peter Kranz) After talking with a group of Papua New Guinean fruitpickers working in north-west Victoria under an official Australian assistance scheme, Peter produced this expose of the unconscionable conditions in which they were induced to work.
14 - On police brutality & police theft in Papua New Guinea (Ganjiki D Wayne). The PNG police can be a law unto themselves, and innocent citizens too often bear the brunt of their excesses. Ganjiki blows the whistle.
14 - Instead of banning betel nut, let’s try other ideas (Francis Nii). Banning buai may seem like a good idea for a range of health and environmental reasons but, as Francis points out, the decision is set to cost hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people their livelihoods.
14 - Fijians: Melanesians like PNGns but a class above (David Kitchnoge). “Fijians are Melanesians like us but they definitely are a class above. They are a nation of well groomed, calm and very organised individuals.” This comparison triggered an energetic debate amongst readers.
12 - Expats: Saving themselves more than serving us? (Ganjiki D Wayne). A tricky question – do expats serve in PNG to help others, help themselves or run away from something? “It's possible (they) are here because it gives them some sense of meaning and significance.”
8 - Citizens more scared of police than crims: what’s the answer? (Keith Jackson). A summary of the fascinating discussion provoked by Ganjiki Wayne’s article on police corruption and brutality. We also offered a solution.
8 - If you don’t know where you’ve come from…. (Phil Fitzpatrick). “Late last year I visited a village at the northern end of the Yuat Gorge. asked them how they came to be so far away from Wabag and living in East Sepik Province. None of them really knew.”
7 - Getting ready for Chinese money on the Okuk Highway (Terry Shelley). Will the application of billions of borrowed kina to improve PNG’s main trunk highway prove a bounty for looters, saboteurs and pirates?
7 - Haikai no renga - memories of Mosbi (Michael Dom). It’s rare for a poem to make the ’10 most commented’. Michael’s distant and wistful look at Moresby from a foreign land proved to be an exception – “Awoken at night / Stray winds bring dirty smells that / rain washes away”.
7 - Women advocates confuse gender equality & feminism (Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin). Sil let rip against ‘pedestal’ women leaders who “espouse demagogical rhetoric and make discriminatory speeches about the opposite sex… Their actions and speeches are usually and indelibly feminist and not about gender equality at all.”
7 - Death of pioneering PNG patrol officer Jack Karukuru (Allan Tarua) One of the first Papua New Guinean patrol officers, who was to become a departmental head, Jack Karukuru, died on New Year’s eve. “Jack Karukuru was a humble man who had a big heart for this nation.”
7 - Famous Kone Tigers oval is now a sex workers den (Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin). The ground that boasted great PNG rugby league names like Clarrie Burke, John Kaputin, Sean Dorne and Dadi Mahuru Toka has become a sleazy venue for public sex and drug consumption.