KELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN
An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Essay & Journalism Award
An argument started between a Tari man in a Chinese kaibar and the Chinese man on the other side of the counter. Moments later, a towering Chinese man came out and punched the 1.5 metre Tari man into submission.
He was beaten and bruised to the point of exhaustion and, as you might expect, two of his Tari wantoks came to the rescue and nearly punched and kicked the tall Chinese man to death.
The public who witnessed the incident were divided in their support. The pro-Chinese mob said the Chinese had created employment and paid taxes through their businesses. They said Papua New Guineans do not create employment but sit and gamble (bom or 7-leaf) or talk politics and wait for free handouts.
They added that Papua New Guineans finding themselves with some money become one-day-millionaires and go on a drinking spree and sing until dawn. They concluded that PNG men and women have no business acumen and should not talk about Chinese business aggression.
On the dissenting side, the pro-Taris said most of the Chinese come into the country through back door deals with politicians and immigration officials and corrupt every system in place. They said being citizens of a superpower doesn’t give Chinese the right to break the laws of a small country and trample on its citizens.
As the arguments went on, they almost erupted into another melee but police officers speedily arrived on the scene .. and this was most interesting.
Two police cars arrived containing high ranking officers. The Chinese called these senior police officers by name and chatted with them. It was evident they were friends. The policemen ignored the bruised Tari man.
I started taking photographs but an obese policeman demanded that I delete them on the spot. I deleted the shots while he watched. One of the policemen said, ‘You journalists write bullshit.’ I told him I was not a journalist and didn’t even know how to write.
No one could find out the reason for the argument because the Tari man could not speak good Pisin and the Chinese culprit could only speak Mandarin. People tried to ask the young women in the kaibar to explain what went wrong but the Chinese told them not to talk.
Anyhow, no arrests were made. The Taris were told to go home and refrain from being such nuisances and one of the Chinese came out of the kaibar and gave the police servings of rice and stew in takeaway cartons and some Coca Cola.
One of the policemen took the plastic bag without saying thank you and looked in the direction of the crowd, swore and told us to disperse. Maybe swearing at the public was an indirect way of saying ‘thank you’ to his Chinese friend for the free lunch.
When the police left, a veteran public servant said the Chinese keep a black book that contains the names of the 80% of PNG politicians and bureaucrats who are given Li Wu.
Li Wu in Chinese Mandarin is gift or present and Her Li is a congratulatory gift. Most politicians when they are elected and ministers when they are appointed receive Her Li, the public servant said.
He added that around 80% of top police officers are on the payroll of Chinese businesses. Occasionally you hear people on the streets of Port Moresby say, ‘Em ol polis bilong LGNA’ or ‘Em ol polis bilong RH’. LGNA and RH are, of course, Asian companies. PNG should have the one and only Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.
The incident at Taurama Shopping Centre seemed to confirm what the veteran civil servant had said about the black book and the various police officers in PNG in the pay of both government and Chinese and other Asians.
The Chinese are able to call top ranking police officers who within minutes will arrive to provide protection. The top officers release the Chinese and get junior police to assault Papua New Guineans.
Does the Li Wu to politicians and top bureaucrats make Chinese businessmen and women in PNG immune to the laws of the independent state of Papua New Guinea? What is PNG, anyway!