BRISBANE - Some months ago, I observed with a heavy heart the online dissection of an issue concerning talented and accomplished Papua New Guinean women, Ngaiire Joseph and Florence Jaukae Kamel.
As screenshots flooded social media, the perspectives of the international vocal artist and the globally renowned bilum weaver, artist and entrepreneur became fodder for public commentary prosecuted by Papua New Guineans.
Most alarming were the allegations of bullying and threats of violence that surfaced.
And overshadowing this was the futile trope of what is a ‘real’ Papua New Guinean.
It is a point I’ve visited on several occasions in my writing, including in this personal reflection. Short on rational critique and big on anonymity, the tendency of many Papua New Guineans to pounce on this premise of being ‘real’ as rebuttal in argument lies somewhere between the four corners of inane, comic, bitter and aggressive.
Ngaiire’s credibility for inclusion in matters PNG was obliterated on the grounds of her being a member of the diaspora. Deemed as not being a ‘true’ Papua New Guinean, inflammatory chatter raged whilst little attention was given to the true circumstances. Ngaiire was met with unwarranted hostility and atrocious online ridicule from her PNG compatriots.