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« I don’t think the student is dumb, it may be the teacher | Main | Advocates work to revitalise Australia’s voice in the Pacific »

10 July 2018


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When I returned to the village the local AM broadcasting was dying out for want of relevant content and FM broadcasting was just starting out.

AM was becoming boring and it played boring music too. FM ran with the new music scenario but went for overkill when they repeatedly played the same songs over and over.

Then the news segment on the hour was like the news print, devoid of spiking a persons interest in the news.
Investigative reporting or talk fests were rare and if then the speakers were most times not articulate or could not speak with authority on a subject matter.

So one tended to listen to all the pinglish verbiage that poured from the one FM station with repetitive songs or on the other extreme listened to the boring AM station.

I flipped to ABC SW, BBC or VOA (which the reception was good from 9 pm PNG time).

I was trying to reintegrate back into the village as an educated village layabouts and I had to keep my sanity. I did that by taking a reading book and radio to the gardens.

Many a times, my father would have grinned at me in contempt at my attempt to be a village man. No villager went to the garden with a reading book and SW radio. He would laugh at the spade still stuck in the soil at the head of the unfinished work.

A village man worked the land according to the rain, he would say. The rain has no respect for the book or the radio.

Whatever it was, he would sit down and listen to the ABC with me trying to discern what he could understand with his limited English.
He rather had a good comprehension even though he had not gone to school. He mangi-masta-ed for a few years in his life and he said the white man always listened to the radio and he took a liking to that. but not only that he did have a good grasp of it and many a times I would hear him explain world events to his peers in the village, albeit with a few wrong misinterpretations.

It was no wonder that he was so stern with his radio when I was small. he had one that came in a leather bag and we could not touch it or he took out his belt, those huge military belt.

I spot a scar where the metal bit dug into my backside when I took it to school without asking his permission as the school radio was stolen one time.

The essence of this narrative is that even village man with as little English do listen to the ABC, BBC and VOA. It these stations are still broadcasting out there, be assured that we do listen in to you.

"Hopefully, common sense will prevail."

Similar sentiments were expressed in 1939.

In one decisive action Australia will undo the sacrifice of diggers on the Trail.


In today's world economics, trade and aid are tools of war, and war is the health of the state.

"The victorious warrior enters the battlefield only when he knows he has already won" - The Tao.

Chris - Keith can fine tune/flesh this out as I believe that he was personally involved in the following comment. One of the more important functions of the shortwave radio broadcasts in PNG was the delivery of educational content, lessons to T Schools back in the days of yore.

Certainly was, and a fine array of broadcasts too. Many hundreds were produced locally especially related to current affair, music and especially to learning English. At one stage there was even a publication, My School Broadcasts Paper, which I edited in two editions (one for teachers, one for students) distributed in vast quantities to every school in the Territory. Radios were distributed free of charge, aerials were supplied and strung to the nearest tree and good old shortwave, crackling a bit, did its job - KJ


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