Musing on the death of Prince Philip

Brittania in Kieta Harbour  Prince Philip on board   April 1971 (Terence Spencer)
Brittania in Kieta Harbour with Prince Philip on board,   April 1971. It is anchored behind a freighter waiting to dock at Kieta wharf (right) (Terence Spencer)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Early on the morning of Wednesday 17 March 1971, the black-hulled royal yacht HMY Brittania slipped slowly into Kieta harbour through the narrow main channel abeam of Pok Pok Island.

On board was Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, visiting for a two night stay on Bougainville after a voyage through the Panama Canal and the Pacific islands and on to the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea.

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Review: Sean Dorney’s book is full of insight

Pauline and Sean Dorney
Pauline and Sean Dorney. "This book, even though written by an Australian, is the PNG voice speaking to Australia"

TANYA ZERIGA-ALONE
| Academia Nomad

The death of Michael Somare on 26 February renewed interest in the Papua New Guinea about its own history. To advance this mood, Academia Nomad invited reviews of books about PNG – KJ

Sean Dorney: The Embarrassed Colonialist
Link here to details of how you can buy the book

PORT MORESBY – This 140- page book was published in 2016 by Penguin Books for the Lowy Institute in Australia.

The book is short and easy reading but its eight chapters are packed with much insight about the Australia-Papua New Guinea relationship.

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The colony Australia tries to forget

Hoisting the British flag at Port Moresby
Hoisting the British flag at Port Moresby, 1888

ALLAN PATIENCE
| Pearls & Irritations

MELBOURNE - Australia’s ham-handed history of colonialism, in what today is the independent state of Papua New Guinea, began in 1883 when Queensland pre-emptively annexed the southeastern corner (Papua) of the great island of New Guinea in the name of the British Crown. (The British were not amused).

Late in the nineteenth century, the Australian colonies were fearful that Germany (Britain’s rival) was about to colonise the entirety of eastern New Guinea, posing (so they imagined) a threat to Queensland’s northern reaches.

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Women in politics: Dare to challenge

Ingrid Jackson
Ingrid Jackson on women in politics: "Stay true to your values. Be accessible to the community. Muster your courage. Remain gracious and empathetic"

INGRID JACKSON

NOOSA - At an International Women’s Day luncheon in Noosa last month, I spoke along with seven other women on the topic of ‘Dare to Challenge’, drawing on my recent experiences as the only woman councillor on the Noosa Council in south-east Queensland.

Newly elected in 2016 after a long career as a manager and consultant, I had expectations of a pleasant experience in local government and felt well prepared for the role.

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Second book blues, but after that it’s easy

Book-bluesPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Writing the first book is hard but believe me it’s the second one that is really challenging, especially if the first has been a success.

In that second book you have to live up to the expectations you created with the first one.

You can’t write the same book again but there have to be faint echoes of the first one to please your readers.

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Review: The diaries of Mikloucho-Maclay

Miklouho–Maclay
Nikolai Nikolaevich Mikloucho-Maclay

BRADLEY GEWA
| Academia Nomad | Edited

Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare’s death on 26 February created renewed interest in a neglected subject – the history of Papua New Guinea. Many people called for this to be taught at all levels of education.

To advance this idea, Academia Nomad invited readers to submit reviews of books about PNG in nominated categories. This review by Bradley Gewa was submitted in the category ‘Racism and Colonialism’ – KJ

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April fool cruelty in a time of Covid

Kumbon - Michael Yahu in front of his village house in Manus
Michael Yahu in front of his village house in Manus

DANIEL KUMBON

PORT MORESBY – For a while I did not realise that Good Friday was April Fool’s Day and joined my family to cry when I received news that a long-time friend, a retired public servant, had died on Manus Island.

Whoever fabricated the story was senseless to circulate such a joke on social media. He lacked all understanding of human relations and etiquette.

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Australia & PNG’s unfolding Covid disaster

Capture
PNG's Rainbo Paita welcomed China’s offer of Sinovac vaccine earlier this year (“a friend in need is a friend indeed”) but later backed away. Did someone in Australia have some words?

PROF JOHN DWYER
| Pearls & Irritations | Edited

SYDNEY - Helping Papua New Guinea with its disastrous Covid outbreak is not pure altruism on our part.

The unbridled, indeed raging, pandemic, known to have infected 100,000 already and likely to have infected a million more within a week or so, provides a perfect ‘incubator’ for wild type more infectious variants of the Covid to develop.

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Marape promises but corruption continues

Rita Flynn Isolation Centre
Rita Flynn Isolation Centre in Port Moresby - scene of the latest rip-off by public servants raises questions about Marape's willingness to rein in corruption

EDDIE TANAGO
| Act Now!

PORT MORESBY - The latest scandal over catering services at the Rita Flynn Isolation Centre highlights the Marape government’s broken promises to break the cycle of impunity enjoyed by senior bureaucrats.

The tsunami of corruption that is drowning our nation can only be addressed through greater transparency and public accountability.

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Forget political parity, put women in charge

PNG Parliament House
The PNG parliament - 111 seats and exactly zero women

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Those men in Australia’s ruling Liberal-National coalition are currently recoiling at the idea of introducing quotas that would equalise the number of elected women with elected men.

It is reminiscent of the reaction of male politicians in the Papua New Guinea parliament to the same idea a couple of times in the past: full of warm words and frozen action.

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Looking back at a look back & a look forward

WonemANDREW CONNELLY
| Oceania vol 85 no 1, March 2015

Australians in Papua New Guinea:1960–1975. Edited by Ceridwen Spark, Seumas Spark and Christina Twomey, University of Queensland Press, 2014.

CANBERRA - This volume is a collection of invited essays by, and interviews with, 17 people, Australian and Papua New Guinean, with firsthand experience of the final decade and a half of Australian rule leading up to national independence in 1975.

This period saw Papua New Guinea move with dizzying speed from a late-colonial society, with all the paradoxes of humanism, racism, and paternalism that appellation suggests, to an independent nation full of promise and hope.

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A true musical treat this Easter

All togetherKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Well here’s a pleasant something for Easter. You can read about it just below or listen to it first by linking to it here.

I recommend you listen first.

https://soundcloud.com/si_jackson/all-together?fbclid=IwAR1wWjWm0Mss_be5CBxN8cGqLeowXCkUsJ_pKzJeW_3XjM7X9ffO8sLEMKU

This 'pleasant something' is a choral collaboration under the guiding hand of my son, Simon, in Auckland, New Zealand.

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Danger closes in from Covid mutations

Vaccine equityJAKE JOHNSON
| Common Dreams | Edited

In early March, just before Papua New Guinea experienced a shocking spike in Covid-19 cases, PNG Attitude reported that Australia had joined other Western countries in rejecting a proposal to lift vaccine-related patent protections, which would have made it possible to produce more vaccine.

Now US president Joe Biden is considering whether to throw US support behind the proposal and so allow for a massive acceleration of vaccine production and distribution around the world. As the following article reveals, it could be disastrous for the world if this does not happen soon - KJ

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A message from the Covid ward

PNG & Australian medical specialists work alongside each other in the Covid response (DFAT)
PNG and Australian medical specialists work alongside each other in the Covid response (DFAT)

BEENA DAGAM KULAU
| The Kramer Report

Dr Beena Dagam Kulau is a surgeon at Port Moresby General Hospital

PORT MORESBY - After I fell ill with Covid it came to a point where I could not walk without support and needed to be hospitalised.

What a difficult period it was for my family and I as, at the same time I was admitted, a loved one was also admitted, but to the general ward.

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Leaving Covid behind with brush strokes

Paintings
Simon Pentanu's 'first three goers' - therapeutic to paint and relaxing to look at

SIMON PENTANU

Hon Simon Pentanu MP is Speaker of the Bougainville Parliament.
He is recovering from Covid.

BUKA - Stress and distress can be managed without popping pills or smelling Epsom Salts.

Or looking for the nearest pub to drown your worries or sorrows. Or worse, thinking about a noose.

A pandemic of any sort cannot be downplayed. And there is always help nearer than you think.

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The Old Man ponders his lonely life

Sunset
As the sun set over the low hills of Port Moresby, the Old Man would go to the veranda to read

DANIEL KUMBON
| Edited extracts

FICTION - While the Old Man embraced the notion that he was like the Albatross, committed to one partner for life, he was finding it hard to cope with the agony of acute depression.

He had been so dependent on Rosemary. She had provided him with all the love a man could ever need. He felt her loss immensely. It was a burden too heavy to bear on his own. Perhaps he shouldn’t have loved her too much.

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PNG failing to meet human rights obligations

Gender-based-violenceKEITH JACKSON

Link here to the full submission from Human Rights Watch to the Universal Periodic Review of Papua New Guinea

NOOSA - The Papua New Guinea government has failed to live up to commitments on women’s rights, children’s rights, and police accountability.

This is the headline statement in a recent submission Human Rights Watch has made to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

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Oz diplomacy tested as Covid slams PNG

New covid cases
The steep rise in new Covid cases in PNG that has alarmed authorities on both sides of the Torres Strait

MITCH RYAN
| Nikkei Asia

SYDNEY -- Papua New Guinea long appeared to have escaped the worst of the coronavirus crisis. But a surge in cases since February has brought the country’s largest hospital to the brink of collapse.

For the nation's much larger neighbour, Australia, the outbreak is considered a serious threat as well as a critical moment in a broader ‘vaccine diplomacy’ campaign.

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Dobasi Wandkii

DOBASIKOIVI REX BIWA

Beauty is the word for you, no other can do
I found you somewhere, now I don’t know how,
Your smile, it just made that moment explode
I failed in my choice of the right words for you
Doo dobasi wandkii, oh!

Long lasting nights, full with fragrant dreams
Your countenance lighting my imagination
Your voice feels as gentle as the sweetest of petals
I goose bump all over at the sense of your touch
Ape do dobasi wandkii maa!

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What to do about a big & ugly Amazon

Elon-Musk-and-Jeff-Bezos
Elon Musk has just edged ahead of Jeff Bezos to become the richest man in the world.  Each man is worth nearly $200  billion (K700 billion). PNG's total wealth is K80 billion 

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - It seems that slavery is alive and well in the USA and is being perpetuated by one of the richest men in the world. He is Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon.

What began as Bezos’s innovative online bookstore in July 1995, which later assisted writers publish and distribute books, has morphed into a monstrous retail operation that is trampling all in its path, including its own workers.

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The dogs of Manus

Dogs of Manus (Stefan Armbruster  SBS News)
Dogs of Manus (Stefan Armbruster,  SBS News)

BEHROUZ BOOCHANI
| Newsroom | Translated by Mohsen Kafi

AUCKLAND - This is a topic that has rarely been written about, simply because few people care about how dogs live.

The story dates to the time I was imprisoned on Manus Island. In 2013, the Australian government exiled me and almost 1,000 other refugees to Manus in the north of Papua New Guinea.

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Pacific Media Centre still in limbo

Del Abcede  David Robie
Del Abcede and David Robie at the Pacific Media Centre

TEUILA FUATAI
| The Spinoff | Edited extracts

AUCKLAND - Since 2007, the Pacific Media Centre at Auckland University of Technology has built a solid reputation for its research and reporting on issues throughout the Asia Pacific region.

It has also been a productive training facility for Pasifika journalists and academics.

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Ples Singsing gets a valuable helping hand

Benefactors Daniel Kumbon and Paul Kurai in their beloved mountains
Literary benefactors Daniel Kumbon and Paul Kurai in their beloved mountains of Enga

CAROLINE EVARI
| Ples Singsing

PORT MORESBY - With only two weeks to go before the awards ceremony for the first Tingting Bilong Mi essay competition, we received a pleasant surprise.

It came by way of a comment on the PNG Attitude story by Pat Levo and Keith Jackson, ‘Women Triumph in First Essay Contest.

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Siba–Kramer Covid debate continues

Prof Peter Siba and Bryan Kramer MP
Prof Peter Siba and  Justice Minister Bryan Kramer  - is their disagreement about vaccine safety or just a wounded ego?

HON BRYAN KRAMER MP
| Kramer Report

PORT MORESBY - Last week Professor Peter Siba challenged Dr Glen Mola and me to a public debate on the use of Covid-19 vaccines in Papua New Guinea.

Professor Siba is a virologist, former member of the Institute of Medical Research and current director of Divine Word University’s Madang-based Centre for Health Research and Diagnostics.

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You will not colonise my children’s names

Simbu children (Simbu Children Foundation)
Sil Bolkin - "The names I chose for my children are saintly names from Simbu" (Simbu Children Foundation)

KELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN

PORT MORESBY - Duncan Gabi must be thanked for raising the issue of 'decolonising the mind'.

I am a practicing Roman Catholic but all my eight children have traditional Simbu and Aroma Coast names.

When I took my first two children to the priest to enrol for baptism, the priest asked for their names.

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Love, grief & the Old Man’s dilemma

SurvivorDANIEL KUMBON

Derived from the short story, ‘The Old Man, His Wife and the Young Girl’, adapted from Daniel Kumbon’s book, ‘Survivor: Alive in Mum’s Loving Arms’ available here from Amazon

FICTION - Rosemary and the Old Man had come across the girl a couple of years before when she sent a random text message to his mobile phone pleading for financial assistance.

The girl claimed to be thirteen and wanting to complete her primary education.

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Mud Woman

Mud Woman (Karen K Redding)STEPHANIE ALOIS

She smells of Goroka coffee
in the perfume she wears each morning
What a beautiful way to start a day
Made of strawberry and honey
It’s difficult to resist her charms
Hooked on her explosive personality

A taste of wine in her presence
Spending more time with her
Leads to loving her even more
It’s difficult not to laugh at her jokes
Or her wicked sense of humour
She’ll get you thinking, she never cries

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Cash-craving relatives shun death traditions

The life and death of Imbakey Okuk
Segment of screenprint, 'The life and death of Imbakey Okuk' by Mathias Kauage (1987)

KELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN

PORT MORESBY - At the dawn of time, all humans were born to toil the earth for sustenance until they grew grey hairs and died of old age.

But this is not always the case.

Some few dudes and lasses are born into a dome of privilege and have never have sweat on their brows before old age strikes and they dutifully depart.

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School leavers: Containing the blast

John Kuri and family
John Kuri and daughters. "It still amazes me when each year politicians and bureaucrats announce that more than half of school leavers will have to fend for themselves"

JOHN KURI

PORT MORESBY - The newspaper headline late last year said that only 9,000 out of 27,000 Grade 12 leavers would get a place in a tertiary institution.

We’ve all seen headlines like this previously in Papua New Guinea. They happen each year.

Along with a story about the imminent disaster waiting to happen if the government doesn’t do more.

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Misinformation fuels Covid surge in PNG

Covid testing in Port Moresby (Matt Cannon  St John's Ambulance PNG)
Covid testing in Port Moresby (Matt Cannon St John's Ambulance PNG)

NEWS DESK
| CoronaCheck | RMIT ABC Fact Check

MELBOURNE - As a wave of coronavirus cases in PNG threatens to spill over into Australia, experts are sounding a warning about online misinformation in the Pacific nation.

Amnesty International has lambasted Australia and New Zealand for what the group's Pacific researcher, Kate Schuetze, called a "woefully inadequate" response to the pandemic.

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Decolonisation & the changing of our names

TribesmenDUNCAN GABI
| Aunamelo | Edited

PORT MORESBY - While many people think decolonisation means just breaking away from colonisers and getting political independence, there’s more to it than the average mind can ever comprehend.

I am not going to write on political or economic decolonisation but on cultural decolonisation which I believe is the first step to take in the decolonisation process.

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Covid vaccines & social media disinformation

Covid-19-vaccinationBARBARA ANGORO
| Duresi’s Odyssey | Edited

AUCKLAND - Last week I saw much social media commentary by fellow Papua New Guineans following a newspaper article on the supply of Covid-19 vaccines to PNG and other countries by GAVI.

GAVI is an international organisation that was established to improve access to vaccines for countries like PNG that are considered to be low income.

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The Perpetual Tears of Hela

Tears of HelaKOIVI R BIWA

Once no cries were heard nor bitter tears shed,
This time when ancients and babes mingled calm,
Love and respect were their constant companions,
When no one stood bewildered by enmity or anger

But it happened that the tuneful war cries sounded,
Heard, known, accepted by all far and near,
Wigmen danced fluidly to the beat of the kundu,
Warrior elegance betrayed the combat ahead

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Canberra’s approach to PNG seems hapless

ShotCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - There are two observations I wish to make about Keith Jackson’s story on Australia’s response to the Covid crisis in Papua New Guinea.

The first is that the Australian government has yet to grasp the scale of the disaster unfolding in PNG and, consequently, has yet to realise that only a truly massive intervention by Australia (perhaps with the help of New Zealand) will ensure a timely and comprehensive implementation of a national vaccination program.

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Zero for months; now PNG overwhelmed

Vaccine doses donated by Australia arrived in Port Moresby  Papua New Guinea  on Tuesday (Andrew Kutan  Agence France-Presse)LIVIA ALBECK-RIPKA
| New York Times | Extract

Link here for the full story in the New York Times

PORT MORESBY - The emergency rooms are heaving, health care workers are falling sick, and misinformation about the coronavirus is running rife.

It has all left Papua New Guinea, an island nation just north of Australia, in the grip of a deadly crisis, as a tripling of infections over the past month has swamped an already fragile health care system.

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Senate reveals Oz neglect of PNG Covid crisis

Images
The Australian government got enormous media coverage for what was little more than this public relations exercise. Its real response to PNG's Covid crisis is woeful

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Some of the most important windows into the operations of the federal government in Australia government are provided by Senate Estimates Committees.

The title may sound unexciting, but these committees – established to enable Senators twice a year to quiz government departments on how they are spending public money – provide a unique opportunity to allow Senators to determine how the government is operating.

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Junking our way to extinction

Smokestacks and garbage  Bangladesh (MR Hassan)PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Papua New Guinea kiaps who ventured into new areas, or areas that had only recently been contacted, became acutely aware of the value villagers placed on items that otherwise would have been thrown away.

These included tin cans, glass jars, bottles and cardboard boxes with brightly coloured exteriors.

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