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16 January 2017


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Thank you Joe and Daniel for your insight into Engan culture. My husband (mendokane ultange) can be my harshest critique but also my staunchest supporter.

I see what you mean. His father was schooled in the hausman and my husband sat under the tutelage of this wise old man.

It is a struggle with our boys now. Times have changed and the laws of engagement have changed. Rearing children was once a job for the extended kin, but now the nuclear family is not strong enough to do it alone.

Without the extended kin, the children are accountable to no other persons and are becoming big heads.

In one of my essays in the anthology, I talk about bringing back the hausman for the boys. If the hausman is too hard for this day and time, there are other suitable programs like the boys brigade, boys scout etc.

I am glad that this book is making us talk... only then can we find a solution for this challenge.

Excellent work, Tanya! The intensity and the type of violence against women experienced today is alarming than the period leading up to the independence (of course no one should minimize any form of violence).

At least in the Enga, the hausman was the social glue that held our community together. When it came to instances of adultery, men were ruthless. Otherwise the elders taught the young men mana pii, among other things, not to assault their wives.

If provoked, they were encouraged to go outside to cool off.

The men had to have good relations with their sisters. When they died, the sisters were the ones who wore lindi waku tenge (mourning beads and clay) and shed real tears.

The tragedy is that we have young people who are culturally illiterate and no one to pass down the mana pii at the haus man.

To help deal with this, one starting point is for fathers to show their sons how to love their sisters.

Good one tambu. I applaud both Elvina Ogil’s essay and this piece you elegantly present here.

Please know that women were never always suppressed or looked down upon in traditional Enga society.

Some were respected for their intelligence, resourcefulness, understanding and public oratory skills on issues confronting families, villages and the clan.

It is possible to detect such traits among educated, high class woman today who I believe are beginning to make a difference.

Hubbies must never feel jealous or try to hurt and suppress such gifted women unless they cheat on you of course.

I was told in the ‘hausman’ to "respect your wife as you would want your own female siblings to be treated. Your wife will say all sorts of things to upset you but deep down she will still love and respect you as a man. But beware of the woman who cheats on you, such woman must be got rid of."

They also told male youths never to fool around with a woman in secret for adverse signs will show on your children and your wife.

"Bring a woman home openly as your second or third wife and pay bride price for each of them. Never cheat on your first wife, she is like the centre post supporting your household or like the fireplace which always burns and provides warmth in the house."

More ‘C’ words to consider to enable PNG to face the next 41 years as men and women begin to collaborate - coordination, continuity, consideration, consciousness, contribution, consultation, cooperation, etc.

I am inspired, proud of you all. Tanya, most eloquent and intelligent writing. Yupela ol strong na lida meri bilong yumi olgeta, manmeri wantaim!

Thank you all for you kind words. Martyn, appreciate your prose. I am touched.

Thank you Rashmii for the opportunity to write. I have learnt so much thru this exercise.

Indeed, life is about this C word and so many other C words - including Confidence and Complementary. I have asked elsewhere, if you don't know how I feel, how can you help me?

Please do get a copy of the book and let the women tell you their story. I am predicting a shift in consciousness.

This book is a great gift idea - especially for a young man. His trigger for change may be in her story.

At last count, Tanya's essay had attained almost 200 'likes', attesting to its resonance with readers - KJ

Tanya, this Foreword resembles the spirit in you. Since I first met you at ANU in Canberra in 2006, I knew you were one of a kind.

Keep up the good work.

And regarding the 'C' word, yes, Collaboration is the answer to many of the livelihood situations facing our rural populace.

And another C word is the word Confidence. It is wonderful to see and hear PNG women being confident and willing to speak out about the situation they find themselves in today.

Only women really understand women and the feelings they experience, the pressures they face, the emotions they often keep hidden, the disappointments they try to hide. So we need good women writers.

Thank you Tanya for your wise words.As a fellow Christian I'm sure you know the way the Bible can be twisted to denigrate women. But I believe we are all equal in the sight of God.

Sadly the modern liberated women writers in the Western world have created a new world where relationships between men and women have deteriorated and divorce has risen to a very high level.

This is a sad problem that has still to be solved in the Western world.

And this doesn't negate the need for change in PNG where there is so much domestic violence and lack of women in leadership roles.

Tanya, hi, nice to meet with you this way. I am really blessed to read this. It evokes strong emotions and not a day goes by when I see the difference in the life back in the village and the one in town and yet the struggles for a woman remain. The stories of women are there deep inside of them. Each raised voice will help them open up and telling stories about them is empowering. Let's keep up the conversations...Best regards...Alu

Powerful, eloquent, evocative and an erudite introduction, Tanya.

Thumbs up to you, Rashmii and everyone who has contributed in one way or the other to this highly successful project.

I have been so moved by this great Foreword that I've stitched and edited some quotes from it into this poem below:

I am the culmination of all women before me
I am the last keeper of my father's ways
My struggles, my fears, my candid realities
Are articulated in my sisters' essays

She speaks in the language of Keith Jackson
And like her, I am just a spokesperson
In a world pushing for gender neutrality
We emerge from toxic masculinity
It is our duty to tell our story
To be active influencers of history
And find solutions to inequalities
Faced by women in our communities

Tanya, a wonderful and perfect Foreword. Keep writing and inspiring up and coming writers. God bless.

Yes indeed! Let the C word run free!

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