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22 August 2018


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An outstanding television program this week, Sean. Well done to you and Pauline.

Truly emotional and uplifting.

Apart from celebrating your family, your life and your professional career, the program provided a positive view of resilient Papua New Guinean people achieving good things in their remote villages.

The school teacher and his commitment to his students, the women ensuring a fresh food supply, the men keeping the village area in good order, the children displaying their culture and heritage. All done without huge amounts of foreign aid money.

Sean, this insight into life in the country today was very encouraging for folk like myself who have a passion for Papua New Guinea, but have been distressed by endless news of corruption, civil unrest, social ills, poor health outcomes and so on.

Sure, they all exist....and, in some places, in abundance. However, your program told us the other side of the story and led us to see the positive things being achieved by people in their home environment.

For that reminder, wantok, I am personally grateful.

I was fortunate, a life time experience really, to travel in the same vehicle as Sean Dorney driven by health minister Sir Peter Barter from Kundiawa to Gumine in November-December 1997 to observe the effects of the El Nino drought.

There was a convoy of vehicles, each carrying important people from the World Bank, the Australian and PNG government and NGO people.

Peter Barter talked of his flying days with Talair along the Wahgi river and once being shot at with an arrow by a tribesman from a point above the ridge near Dom on his return from Omkolai. The arrow was stuck in the under belly when they landed in Kundiawa.

I asked a few questions and Sean talked of his rugby league days as halfback for the PNG Kumuls in 1976.

That afternoon, as we were returning from Gumine, the first rains came after more than nine months, and it came in tank loads. It was a trip I shall never forget.

Thank you Sean for these memories.

I recall being introduced to you in the Chimbu Club around 1970.
By 1971 I had transferred to Popondetta.
And have followed your reporting through the years.
I commiserate with you and your family on this medical misfortune that has befallen you.
I wish you and yours all the very best.

Sean you raise a very sore point about the Australian curriculum having no mention of PNG and our shared history.

I personally wrote to the then PM Gillard when the offer of commenting on the proposed changes to the School curriculum were being touted. I offered a brief outline of what should be included about PNG, her people and that fact we are neighbours with a common border.

Not a word in return. Answer came there none.

I have also met total opposition to my suggestion of having Tok Pisin included in the school curriculum as a way of connecting Australian school students with their PNG counterparts. I have met with total obstruction and dismissal from both the Federal and the Queensland State Education Department's and their representatives at all levels.

Clearly Bahasa, Mandarin, Japanese, German, French, etc. rates so much higher then our next door neighbour.

Obviously the ABC along with all other Australian media are fixated in their own mind games and prepared to have our Australian people totally ignorant about PNG.

I spoke yesterday to someone who had just returned from a short tour by small ship of PNG, Alotau, Rabaul, Kiriwina, etc. When I asked what they had learnt about the country and what contact they had had with the PNG people the answer was; 'None at all'.

What use is that therefore in helping mutual understanding?

About a magic potion recalled by Alwyn Hicks 12/7/2018, A G Sitori playfully noted grounds for “list of mystic and mysticisms”. To a league exemplary, and memorably from Mysterton, came tread and thread of Sean whose manic mix of dance and dinkum reporting, invites "deeper engagement with PNG" populace.

Sean, no mention of your rugby league career?

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