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22 December 2017


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Meri Krismas na Hepi Nu Yia igo lo ol PNG na poroman wantok blo mi.

Christmas has always brought expectations...we must have what the others are having, even if these items are of not real essential value or use. Papua New Guineans regardless of which scale on the ladder, want to have and be, and feel.

Even the raskols and petty thieves must have something. I had two young men in Erima, NCD putting their hands right into my car and went for my mobile phone, while the mad rush for shopping, stocking the drinks, and food was going on around me this afternoon.

My quick reflexes saved my phone and also some of my most valuable and important contacts!!

It is too commercialized to the extent that business and big retail houses use all manner of trickery to empty the pockets of those who have been affected by the disease of materialism...Port Moresby puts on a different character around Christmas. It attracts the best, and hardworking and genuine people, but also the worst, and those who prey on others.

Sapos yu ino inap bilipim toktok bilong me, yu yet kam na lukim!!

Dear Peter, This rekindles some memories.

Roger McGough is a wantok and was born near Bootle in Liverpool. He teamed up with Mike McGear (Paul McCartney's step brother) and John Gorman from Birkenhead to form The Scaffold in the 1960s.

I read recently that one of the reasons Christianity became so widespread after Roman Emperor Constantine converted (so I heard) on his death bed, perhaps to make sure he got the best of both worlds, was that many other societies virtually put down women as second class citizens who had nothing but childbearing and death to look forward to.

Apparently, even though some would have us believe otherwise, early Christians could still cope with the concept that women too could go to whatever awaited them after death.

In the case of the Vikings, for example, women didn't have much to look forward to as Valhalla seemed pretty much a boys club. In case of another medieval religion, perhaps 72 virgins might not be such a great expectation to look forward to if they happened to be of the same sex? Whoops... Don't go there.

The real essence of Christmas (Christ Mass) when I was a kid was to concentrate on the intangible and spiritual benefits of giving something to another person and thereby making them happy. We didn't have much in those days and what we did have had to be cherished and looked after.

The fact that the concept of giving without any expectation of receiving has now been thoroughly commercialised has almost destroyed that aspect. If one can detach materialism from the process of reciprocity, maybe that's a good start point.

"You name it, PNG had it all. False idols, sorcery, tribal warfare, nudity etcetera. A few of the people were eating each other for goodness sake!"

When I was a teenager we sat through many hours of sermons, presentations and missionary slide shows, listened breathless to stories of cannibalism, and saw photos of topless women.

We called it Missionary Porn. It was our equivalent of watching "Cannibal Holocaust"

Good one Phil. Reminds of a poem by that old raskol Roger McGough.

Alternative Christmas

I’m fed up looking like Father Christmas,’
Muttered Father Christmas one year
‘I need a new outfit, I must move with the times
So for a start, it’s goodbye reindeer’

He googled Alternative Santas
And was amazed at the stuff that appeared
He got rid of the holly-red costume
Had a haircut, and shaved off his beard

Spent his days in front of a computer
In a cave hollowed out of the ice
Wearing a tee shirt emblazoned Merry Xmas
And jeans (Amazon, Armani, half price)

Couldn’t wait to straddle his snow-ped
(The bargain he’d bought on eBay)
A rocket-powered silver toboggan
His supersonic sleigh

Then one morning he thought, ‘Oh why bother
Delivering presents by hand
When it could all be done online
Busy parents will understand

We are lucky to live in a digital age
Where the aim is access and speed
SantaNet I’ll call the system
‘Santafaction guaranteed’

And that was years and years ago
Times that children barely know
Midnight mass and mistletoe
Christmas carols and candle glow

Sleigh bells ringing across the snow
And Santa singing Yo ho ho
For that was years and years ago
And that was years and years ago.

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