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15 July 2018

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Phil - Looking out of my maisonette window I saw the end of an era this week. The disappearance of the phone-box just outside. Never to be replaced as the mobile takes over as preferred method of communication.

I was in Kavieng in 2007 when the mobile hit town. What an immense event that was. Really revolutionised life perhaps more than the arrival the first whitemen.

It meant no more waiting in the sun for perhaps hours for one of the five phones in the wired cage adjoining the post office. They were unavailable outside business hours Monday-Saturday and closed all day Sunday.

Then I thought back to April 1997 when Telikom installed a VHF mast on a mountain top in Lavongai Island. I recall Mani Rangai or may have been Bosap, both lapuns from the inland village of Baue, not being happy with this modern intrusion into their lives.

In Pidgin he told the crowd how having this invention would allow the government to pry into their lives. We sophisticated ones smiled condescendingly at the old man.

Our guest of honour was the late Paul Toihan then MP for Kavieng flanked by two of his successors - Ben Micah and Martin Aini. One of them attempted to pacify the old men with how secure the phone system was!

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