Baka Bina with fellow award-winning writers author Daniel Kumbon and poet Jimmy Drekore on an excursion to Gembogl from a literary convention in Kundiawa in the PNG Highlands, 2016
BAKA BARAKOVE BINA
NOOSA – Yesterday Baka Bina was announced as one of five Pacific regional finalists in the prestigious Commonwealth short story prize, the first Papua New Guinean to be thus honoured and chosen from 6,730 entries before the international judging panel. The original story is in Tok Pisin and PNG Attitude is delighted to be able to present this English version, translated by Baka himself, for our readers - KJ
Continue reading "What must have happened to Ma?" »
Ishmael Toroama and James Marape sit at the top table as the PNG and Bougainville governments move a step closer to determining Bougainville independence
NOOSA – The Papua New Guinea and Bougainville governments endorsed the Era Kone Covenant at a special meeting of their joint supervisory body in Port Moresby on Friday.
And Bougainville president Ishmael Toroama has spoken of his “moral responsibility to the people of Bougainville to ensure political independence is granted to Bougainville”.
Continue reading "Covenant shows way forward for Bville" »
NOOSA – Baka Bina has become the first author from Papua New Guinea to be shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize.
The Prize is awarded annually for the best piece of unpublished short fiction from any of the Commonwealth’s 54 member states.
Baka’s story, ‘Wonem Samting Kamap Long Mama’ (‘What Happened To Ma?’) was written in Tok Pisin and translated into English by the author.
Continue reading "Baka Bina shortlisted for major literary prize" »
Dawn Service at McClaren Vale, 2014
ADELAIDE – With Anzac Day in Australia drawing to a close for another year, I want to make an observation on the public attitude towards it.
I attended the dawn service at McLaren Vale today, along with about 500 others. As many people did, I wore my father's medals with a sense of pride and gratitude.
Continue reading "The sacrifice required to safeguard freedom" »
John Guise - "The first Papuan to make a political mark and a true pioneer of nationhood"
| AAP Archive | 28 August 2012
SYDNEY - A little-known role of the most remarkable Papuan of his generation should be recalled during the commemorations marking the 70th anniversary of the battle of Milne Bay - Japan's first defeat on land in World War II.
John Guise, the first Papuan to make a political impact, didn't mind a bit of boasting, especially if it involved cricket and the unbeaten 253 he once smashed which was, and may still be, a record for Milne Bay first grade.
Continue reading "Remembering the remarkable John Guise" »
Japanese troops manhandle a field gun along the Kokoda Trail (Painting by U Ikara)
| Writer, Artist, Former Patrol Officer
MELBOURNE – For eons the 96 kilometre Port Moresby to Kokoda bush track was used by the superbly fit local people who, encountering difficult terrain obstacles, climbed right over them.
The patrol post at Kokoda was established by Captain CAW Monckton (1873-1936), the “tough, efficient, quick-witted and ruthless” magistrate and explorer.
Continue reading "My story of Kokoda – blood & guts aplenty" »
Markham Valley, New Guinea, 5 September 1943. Screened by dense smoke, paratroopers of 503 US Paratroop Infantry Regiment and gunners of 2/4th Australian Field Regiment with 25 pounder guns land unopposed at Nadzab during the advance on Lae by the 7th Australian Division
COLONEL ARTHUR BURKE
BRISBANE - ‘Jump, you bastards, jump!’ Ian George (Robbie) Robertson exited badly and plummeted head first downwards.
Then he heard a loud crack and was wrenched upright and upwards. His parachute snapped open and blossomed in the cool air.
For only the second time in his life, this young soldier experienced the exhilaration of floating above the earth.
Continue reading "Jumping into history with the 2/4th Light" »
Manasseh Sogavare, Kurt Campbell and Lieutenant General Stephen Sklenka, deputy commander of the US Indo-Pacific command
NOOSA - Following what he described as a friendly and productive meeting on Friday, Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare said his country and the US were committed to strengthen their relations by working together on issues of mutual concern.
Sogavare said he had warmly welcomed Kurt Campbell, the United States coordinator for Indo–Pacific affairs, and his delegation and welcomed the US decision to re-establish an embassy in Honiara.
Continue reading "Sogavare: Talks a success; US to 'do better'" »
Papua versus New Guinea c 1963 - in the 1960s the biggest event on the PNG sporting calendar
WARREN ‘WAZZA’ TURNER
PORT MACQUARIE – I came across ‘The hard men of the Papuan rugby league’, a brief memoir PNG Attitude ran in 2007 and it locked me into 20 minutes of going down memory lane reflecting on rugby league in Port Moresby in the 1960s.
I played for Kone Tigers in 1963, '64 and early '65 before the Education Department posted me to Kerema.
Continue reading "Hard men of Papuan rugby league (cont)" »
When grass roots Papua New Guineans were asked about Australia and China, the results were not too flash for PNG's former colonial master
NOOSA - On the back of Australia's disastrous drubbing by China in the Solomon Islands, new research from Papua New Guinea has delivered more bad news for the Morrison government.
In 2021, a coalition of Papua New Guinean researchers embarked on an unprecedented endeavour.
Continue reading "PNG research: Oz lacks respect; China praised" »
Stretcher bearers in the Owen Stanleys (William Dargie, oil on canvas, 1943). That their legacy is bogged down in bureaucracy dishonours them
| Kokoda Treks | Edited
SYDNEY – In 1990, on the 75th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign in World War I, Australian prime minister Bob Hawke allocated $10 million so a group of 52 veterans and their carers could visit Anzac Cove in Turkey to commemorate the occasion.
25 years later, prime minister Tony Abbott allocated $100 million to establish the Sir John Monash Centre at Villiers-Bretonneux to honour the centenary of the Anzacs landing on the shores of Gallipoli.
Continue reading "Kokoda: Angels & Diggers begat bureaucrats" »
Bush hails ‘sheriff Australia' (BBC News). Every day looking more like the Sheriff of Nothingham
| The Village Explainer
| Courtesy Asia Pacific Report
“If we can’t respect the equal standing of nations, we can’t protect their integrity” – Dan McGarry
VILA - If the coming election goes to Australia’s Labor Party, Senator Penny Wong is very likely to become foreign minister.
So when she speaks, people across the region prick up their ears.
Continue reading "Did Xi shoot the sheriff?" »
Indonesia is leaving no stone unturned in applying pressure on West Papua
| Radio New Zealand | Pacific Digital Journalist
AUCKLAND - West Papuan students are facing a difficult time in New Zealand after Indonesia terminated their scholarships and ordered them home.
Master of Communications student Laurens Ikinia told RNZ Pacific said he his dreams of a brighter future have been shattered by the Indonesian government.
Continue reading "West Papua students ordered home from NZ" »
Loudmouth tearaway Marise Payne has gone missing leaving commentary on the Solomons to shy, demure Penny Wong
MELBOURNE - The debacle of the now-formalised agreement between China and the government of the Solomon Islands has forced Morrison onto the defensive.
And this on what was supposed by the press gallery ahead of the campaign to be a source of unique and irrepressible strength: his tough-guy act on China.
Continue reading "Oz omnishambles over China & Solomons" »
Making his mark for the nation - a voter ponders his ballot paper at the 1997 national election - one of Dr Joe Ketan's two favourites (ABC)
NOOSA – Academic Dr Joe Ketan has stated that Papua New Guinea has had only two credible national elections since independence — in 1992 and 1997.
And he’s afraid that, in the election coming up in June, the government will not repeat this slender history of well conducted polls.
The reason: senior politicians have ‘hijacked’ the system, are not providing adequate funds and need to take steps now to ensure an election with integrity.
Continue reading "PNG’s political system ‘hijacked’, says Dr Joe" »
Cartoon - Fiona Katauskas
| Academia Nomad
PORT MORESBY - Despite visits past and planned to Honiara by Australian ministers and United States officials, Solomon Islands went ahead to sign a security deal with China.
Details remain sketchy, but a leaked draft says it will allow Chinese security forces to assist Solomons security forces when needed, including protecting Chinese businesses.
Continue reading "Australia is alone in the south-west Pacific" »
Kurt Campbell (AFP). China says the US is pushing Australia aside to intervene more directly in the Pacific Islands region
NOOSA – It seems Kurt Campbell, the United States Indo-Pacific coordinator, will still visit the Solomon Islands this week even after the country declared it had already entered into a security pact with China.
A last ditch effort by Australia failed to change the mind of the Solomons leadership as the Morrison government was strongly criticised for its ineffectual Pacific Islands policies that it is claimed, not altogether credibly, to have enabled China to gain a military foothold in the Solomons, just 2,000 km from mainland Australia.
Continue reading "Contesting views emerge in Solomons duel" »
| Campaign Manager | Act Now
PORT MORESBY – News that the bank accounts of 30 logging companies operating in Papua New Guinea have been closed have been welcomed by advocacy organisations Act Now and Jubilee Australia.
The PNG Forest Industry Association complained to The National newspaper that Bank South Pacific (BSP) had closed the commercial loggers’ bank accounts to comply with its anti-money laundering responsibilities.
Continue reading "BSP stops financing loggers. Will Kina?" »
ADELAIDE - History can be used to justify all sorts of things - if you select the bits of it you want to reference, that is.
Selective quotation is a tactic used by both the left and the right of politics to justify their positions on a range of issues.
Continue reading "How you & your bank create money" »
Hidden Hand: Exposing how the Chinese Communist Party is reshaping the world by Clive Hamilton & Mareike Ohlberg, Paperback, Hardie Grant Books, 2020, 448 pages. Kindle $8.42, Paperback $24.25. Available here from Amazon in Australia
CLEVELAND QLD - Chek Ling (Still the bell tolls: Brisbane’s Kristallnacht) raises an extremely relevant issue.
It’s an issue that Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands need to take an interest in and understand.
Continue reading "We’re really pawns in The Great Game" »
Simon Jackson - Productivity as a songwriter is vast. He also has quality of musicianship and writes lyrics of intense social substance
NOOSA – My eldest child Simon, now old enough to be my father, was born at Taurama Base Hospital (as it then was) in Port Moresby in the middle of the night in October 1967.
I well recall that midnight hour because I was a participant in a new scheme - the presence of fathers at childbirth - but had been shooed away because of some medical complication just as the tip of Simon's head appeared .
Continue reading "Musos war on tyranny: Sand Spiders rampant" »
Ding Chee's shop was attacked and looted by a racist mob, which rampaged for four hours. There was little hindrance from police
| Pearls & Irritations | Edited extracts
MELBOURNE - It happened 133 years ago. Yet the Chinese Question remains, having now mutated to the China Question.
Meanwhile the burden upon the Chinese as scapegoats, at the altar of racial purity in the first instance, cultural cohesion a century later and more recently the issue of national sovereignty continues unabated.
Continue reading "Still the bell tolls: Brisbane’s Kristallnacht " »
James Marape and Scott Morrison. By the end of June both may be out of a job
| Academia Nomad
PORT MORESBY - Australia and Papua New Guinea head to the polls - in May and June respectively - and Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and his PNG counterpart James Marape risk losing their grip on power.
If PNG appoints a new prime minister, it will be our fourth since 2002. If Australia gets a new PM, it will be it sixth over the same period.
Continue reading "Australia: More PMs than PNG but…." »
| Ples Singsing
TOK PISIN TRANSLATION FOLLOWS
One day when I opened my mouth to speak
I heard a language I did not understand
I went to the bathroom to take a peek
At my reflection in the sky-roofed mirror and
To my relief the face was my very own
So I said, "Oh it's you,
I thought for a moment you were gone"
And mirror-me smirked back through
The thin looking-glass veneer
"Yes, it's me, you know I'm no voice in your head"
Continue reading "The thin looking-glass veneer" »
My religion has no name
It’s just the very best in us
Compassion Fairness Courage Love
Honesty Reason Friendship Truth
Faithfulness Kindness Consistency
Candour Tolerance Generosity
(And here’s a space for the best in you)
No material construct ever captured these
Each of us can claim them as our own
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, April 2022 - the right man in the right place at the right time (Wikimedia Commons)
| Pearls & Irritations
CANBERRA - In the last two months we’ve seen hope, and extraordinary leadership, come literally out of left field in the person of the 44-year-old Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Talk about the right man in the right place at the right time, although the ‘place’ is the vicious attack on Ukraine by Putin’s Russians.
Continue reading "What Christ’s resurrection means in 2022" »
ADELAIDE - In trying to understand contemporary or near contemporary events in human history, a prudent historian will closely examine and reflect upon the sometimes very distant background of such events.
It is almost never the case that more modern history departs radically from long established patterns of human thinking and behaviour.
Continue reading "The Great Disruption continues to worsen" »
Missile cruiser Moskva (121) moored in Sevastopol, August 2018. Biter was bit by a couple of Ukrainian missiles and now graces the bottom of the Black Sea
“We are here to help each other through this thing, whatever it is” – Kurt Vonnegut
NOOSA – This memoir extracted from my 2011 scribblings, ‘Private Notes for Understanding Friends’ , covers places of contemporary interest such as Yalta, Sevastopol and Odessa, names from wars past which leap at us from headlines present.
These reminiscences of a cruise that circled the Black Sea take on a special flavour for me today as we mark the sinking by Ukrainian missiles of the cruiser Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet which ventured out of her home port of Sevastopol and came to grief.
Continue reading "Cruisin’, schmoozin’, boozin’ & bruisin’" »
| Ples Singsing
HASTINGS NZ - In the winning essay of the Tingting Bilong Mi 2020 essay competition, Illeana Dom brings her readers into her old school library.
As she walks us past the library shelves, she points out absence: the lack of new works by Papua New Guinean authors in the non-fiction section; and, in the fiction section, the difficulty in finding any works by PNG authors at all, such is the dominance of international writers.
Continue reading "Building blocks, library shelves & soul" »
PORT MORESBY - The act of writing is daring and magical as it summons inner courage, latent creativity and sparkling intelligence to form a universe of words.
It is a bold act to put words on a blank page, and then to share them.
It is unnerving especially for first-time writers due to the nagging questions that well up inside the mind.
Continue reading "No magic in writing; it's the spirit within" »
The aged care home - privatisation is privation
TUMBY BAY - When you crack the Bible’s ‘threescore years and ten’ something strange happens – you begin to fade from view.
If my elderly next door neighbour is anything to go by, when you progress to your eighties you are all but invisible.
I can see him but no one else seems to.
Continue reading "Getting old in Oz: The meaningless years" »
Manasseh Sogavare and Zed Seselja pose stiffly for a photo after what seemed like a waste of time and jet fuel. Zed appeared to drop into Honiara empty-handed to praise Manasseh for a statement he made a couple of weeks ago and to express concern anyway
NOOSA – Australia’s international development minister Zed Seselja flew to Honiara today to reiterate his government’s previously expressed ‘growing concerns’ about the Solomons’ warming ties with China and a mysterious naval facility the Solomons knows nothing about.
It's highly unusual for a minister to travel overseas during the caretaker period of a national election, so reasons portentous looked at hand.
But now Zed's back to Aus, the trip appears more as a bit of campaign fluff to try to show Morrison et Fils are on the ball when it comes to pushing back against China.
Continue reading "Did Zed go to Honiara to learn or to tell?" »
Men walk across land being cleared by ExxonMobil for Komo airstrip in 2010. The massive LNG project has been a major unsettling influence in the area (Jes Aznar, New York Times)
BRIAN HARDING & NICOLE COCHRAN
| United States Institute of Peace | Edited
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - In terms of geographical size and population, Papua New Guinea is by far the biggest country in the Pacific Islands, a region increasingly central to United States’ strategic interests.
Along with neighbouring Solomon Islands, PNG is at the centre of a growing geopolitical contest between the US and its allies and China.
Continue reading "US will work on PNG’s biggest problems" »
Woman resists police during the confrontation at Rorovana, 1969 (Sydney Sun)
BILL BROWN MBE
THE CHRONICLE CONTINUES - On 28 July 1969, Australia’s minister for external territories Charles CE (Ceb) Barnes approved the issue of CRA’s three new Bougainville leases.
The terminology that defined the locations of the areas required was particular.
They were “leases for mining purposes” and the area was “approximately 400 acres of Rorovana land for laydown areas, construction camp and general accommodation …. 194 acres south of Willys Knob for aggregate, and the first section—approximately eight miles—of the east coast road.”
Continue reading "A Kiap’s Chronicle: 32 - A prime ministerial intervention" »
Green shoots nurtured by a hand (Anna Gibert)
ANNA GIBERT | Edited
VILA - From the early 2000s, the established approaches of international aid programs with their externally-led technical solutions have been increasingly called into question by progressive development practitioners and think tanks.
Voices like the Overseas Development Institute, the Thinking and Working Politically Community of Practice, and the Centre for International Development at Harvard University have consistently underscored other approaches.
Continue reading "Understanding the role of developmental leaders" »
'My Grandfather is a Canoe' director Marisiale Tunoka (centre) with musicians (from left) Oliver Tafuna’i, Waisea McGoon, Lopeti Sumner and Siaosi Kei
DUNEDIN - A play of Pacific cultures, voyaging and love, My Grandfather is a Canoe, including the poetry of Michael Dom, has won the prestigious Dunedin Fringe Festival’s Touring Award.
The award means the play will be performed at Christchurch’s Little Andromeda theatre in July and at the Auckland Fringe Festival in September.
Continue reading "Dom’s poetry features in winning NZ play" »
Papuan Governor Lukas Enembe (centre) meets Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Lyudmila Vorobyeva in Jakarta (Tribun Manado)
BRISBANE - Russian president Vladimir Putin has been invited by Papuan governor Lukas Enembe to visit the Indonesian province later this year.
The invitation was extended when Enembe met Russian Ambassador to Indonesia, Lyudmila Vorobyeva, last week and has triggered heated debate in social media.
Speculation is also rife about whether Indonesia — as chair of the G20 group of nations — will invite President Putin to attend the global forum in Bali later this year.
Continue reading "Papuan hope is legacy of long dead Russian" »
Japanese troops parade after the fall of Rabaul, late January 1942. On 4 February 160 Australian Lark Force soldiers who escaped the invasion were captured and murdered in the vicinity of Tol and Waitavalo plantations
| Ples Singsing
TOL, NEW BRITAIN - The Lark Force Track is a little-known wartime walking trail with a big history.
Located in East New Britain Province, it runs from the Warongoi River in the north to Tol, Wide Bay, along the south coast.
The track is named after the 2/22 Lark Force Battalion, an Australian force sent to guard Rabaul and its important harbour.
Continue reading "Track’s horror story unites the present" »
Singirok had just been sacked and everyone was jumpy when his bodyguard, Corporal Allen, pulled a pistol on a soldier who arrived unexpectedly at Murray Barracks. He said he just wanted food (Andrew Meares)
RAE KATAHA SMART
A Matter of Conscience: Operation Rausim Kwik by Major-General Jerry Singirok, Partridge Publishing, Singapore, February 2022, 636 pages. Available from Amazon: hardcover $100, paperback $72.95 or email Rae Smart here for more information
TEWANTIN QLD – At last the book by Major-General Jerry Singirok on the Bougainville conflict and the Sandline Affair, ‘Operation Rausim Kwik’, has just been released.
Written from the unique perspective of former Army commander Singirok, the book is a no holds barred account of a mutiny.
Continue reading " Mutiny that saved PNG: Singirok’s new book" »
Ples Singsing - A PNG Writer's Blog
TOK PISIN VERSION FOLLOWS
My moral compass swings
On the freed finger tips
Of the monster I hide
The smiling fiend who haunts my dreams
Whose cold silhouette passes me
By the doorway in the mirror
Continue reading "Sonnet to morality (for Lindsay F Bond)" »
United Nations women candidates workshop, Port Moresby, 2012. If training does not pragmatically address the socio-cultural barriers facing women, it is likely to be a complete waste of time
| Academia Nomad
Disclaimer: If your goal is advocacy for women’s rights, please don’t read this article. It will offend you. If you get offended easily, don’t read. But if your goal is ‘winning’ an election as a women in Papua New Guinea read on - MK
PORT MORESBY - There is the idealistic, modern, Western way of doing things. And then there is the Papua New Guinean Way, the Melanesian Way.
In electoral terms, one of these is clearly much more effective than the other.
Continue reading "No shortcuts: How women can be elected in PNG" »
Final approach, Omkolai, 1960s (PNGAA)
NOOSA – This photograph and the one below emerged on Facebook not so long ago.
They brought back many memories of a time now long gone in a place dear to our hearts.
Omkolai airstrip is about 20 km south of Kundiawa. It doesn’t sound that far now. But the road from Kundiawa – precipitous and riven with landslides – always made it seem much, much further than that. Still does, I hear.
Continue reading "New Guinea, 1965: Machines, men & landing places" »
A graduation ceremony at Pacific Adventist University in Port Moresby
PORT MORESBY - It is 12 years since I attended Dr Carol Tasker’s class on Spiritual Formation at the Papua New Guinea Union Mission study centre in Lae.
Dr Tasker is an Australian who studied for her doctorate, with a special focus on Adventist pastors’ spirituality, at Andrews University in the United States.
Continue reading "The teacher who makes the angels dance" »
James Marape and Joko Widodo meet over tea in Jakarta
NOOSA – Papua New Guinean prime minister James Marape’s flying visit to Jakarta late last week drew much criticism on PNG social media because of the size of the accompanying delegation.
The cheap criticism obscured the mini-summit’s importance as an encounter where Marape and Indonesian president Joko Widodo were able to meet privately and face-to-face.
Continue reading "Brief encounter, big step: Nudging closer to Indonesia" »
ADELAIDE – In his thoughtful exposition, ‘What should we do with Bougainville’, Joe Ketan neatly outlines what is described as a 'wicked' policy problem, meaning one for which there is no good solution.
It is abundantly clear that, if Bougainville's demand for independence is not acceded to by the Papua New Guinean parliament, it is likely a unilateral declaration of independence will be declared by an angry and frustrated Autonomous Bougainville Government.
Continue reading "Bougainville: PNG’s very wicked policy problem" »
| Bougainville News
BUKA - It has been a year since my government launched the Bougainville Independence Ready Mission on 1 April 2021.
The mission takes a three-tiered strategic approach to the preparations for independence that must be implemented internally, domestically and internationally.
Continue reading "B'ville’s independence mission one year on" »
Hewago 'Ace' Paul Oea (left) in action for the Gold Coast Suns
DAVID BRIDIE & JARROD LANDELLS
| Wantok Almanac | Edited extracts
Link here to read the full article. Wantok Almanac is a collaboration between Wantok Musik’s David Bridie and The Footy Almanac’s Jarrod Landells. Both share an affinity with our Pacific neighbourhood and its stories
MELBOURNE - On the streets of Port Moresby, there is a fervour and life for rugby league that mimics any passion worldwide.
Think Rio Janeiro’s favelas bristling with Ronaldinho acolytes, or Delhi devotees playing cricket every day to become the new Sehwag in the hearts of a billion people.
Continue reading "PNG players make it big in Aussie footy" »
The ANU-UPNG Bougainville referendum observer team in Central Bougainville, November 2019
PORT MORESBY - In November 2019, the voters of Bougainville turned out and voted overwhelmingly for independence at a referendum expressly giving them the opportunity to have a say on their political future of their island.
I was in Bougainville for the referendum as a member of the Australian National University’s accredited international and domestic observer team.
Continue reading "What should we do with Bougainville?" »
KANDEP - I believe in books. In fact I’m planning to write a book called ‘Books Live Longer than Man’.
When people write a book, they speak to people through its pages. But sadly, many people don’t have the guts to put in the pages of a book the knowledge and wisdom they have gathered.
Continue reading "Write a book: It will live longer than you" »
Manasseh Sogavare and Xi Jinping - security deal caused an Australian meltdown
NOOSA – In late October 2010, then United States’ secretary of state Hillary Clinton was in Honolulu nearing the end of a comprehensive tour of the Asia-Pacific region.
In two weeks Clinton was to visit Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia, and high on her agenda were discussions about military cooperation and action “to respond to a more complex maritime environment”.
Continue reading "China & the Solomons: Just how smart is Australia?" »