Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Doctrine of Necessity


'that which is otherwise not lawful is made lawful by necessity', Henry de Bracton


Wikipedia defines the term Doctrine of Necessity as the basis of extra legal actions taken by state actors, which are designed to restore order and are found to be constitutional. Wikipedia states further that the doctrine originates from the writings of Henry de Bracton, a medieval jurist.

Clearly, the definition excludes non state actors. It does however empower arms of the state to restore order out of the chaos a country is in.

The most recent application of the Doctrine of Necessity, according to Wikipedia, was in February 2010 where the Nigerian National Assembly passed a resolution making the Vice President Acting President and Commander in Chief of the Armed forces. It was also used in 1985 by the Supreme Court of Granada to legitimize the existence of a lower court established when the Constitution had been suspended. The first time it was applied in modern times was in 1954, when the Governor General of Pakistan dissolved the Constituent Assembly and appointed a Council of Ministers because in he’s opinion the former did not represent the wishes of the people.

Why is it necessary to toss around this potent doctrine?

I believe the nation is currently in such disarray at the moment that some saner state actor(s) need(s) to restore order.

Goodbye Basamuk Bay


Dedicated to the Warriors of WS NO 1192 of 2010



BYE Basamuk Bay


Snaking your way on a long journey

Filled with venom so deadly

Headed to Basamuk Bay

Crushing me as I pray

You foul filthy foreign offal

Packaged in the word local


Lord Denning thinks you’re disgusting

He said you kill that which is existing

He said that you are a nuisance

But he numbed my every sense

And surely as the sun rises in the Bay

Approaches that dreadful day


O the earth screams as her deep valley

Is raped by caustic slurry

Look at that helpless woman

Damn it! Help her young men

Your Mom’s gonna have a bastard

And It’ll kill your Dad

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cannings gives Green light for Environmental Disaster



Above: Lawyer for the Plaintiffs, Tiffany Nongorr (far left) addresses the media and the plaintiffs regarding the decision

His Honour Mr. Justice David Cannings in handing down his decision regarding a permanent injunction to prevent a Deep Sea Tailings Program (DSTP) in the Bismarck Sea held that;

“(1) The Environment Act does not exclude common law actions for nuisance. Though difficult to predict with exactitude there is a high likelihood that serious environmental harm over and above that predicted and authorized by the environment permit granted to the first defendant will be caused by operation of the DSTP. The defence of statutory authorization failed. The plaintiffs established a cause of action in private nuisance and in public nuisance.”


“(5) Despite the plaintiffs having established a cause of action in private and public nuisance and that the proposed activity is contrary to National Goal No 4, the court declined to grant the injunction sought...”

In other words, the judge recognised that the grievances brought to the court by the plaintiffs were genuine and that much of the evidence presented by the plaintiffs’ lawyer was satisfactory. He concurred with the plaintiffs arguments that the Deep Sea Tailings Program (DSTP) would cause “serious environmental harm...”

The court however declined to grant a permanent injunction. It reasoned that (a) there had been some delay by the plaintiffs in commencing proceedings, (b) Ramu Nico Management (MCC) had been led to believe by the State (Second Defendant) and Dr Wari Iamo (Third Defendant) that it had approval to operate a Deep Sea Tailings Program (DSTP) without the prospect of disruptions (c) the interests of MCC and livelihoods of people who depend on imminent commencement of the mine would be adversely affected (d) all defendants were making genuine efforts to place effective monitoring protocols (e) if any environmental harm of the type described by the plaintiffs should occur they may seek relief in the courts.

There was a somber tone in the Court House at Madang and as people emerged after the decision was handed down. A few landowners from the mine site were visibly relieved along with representatives from the developer MCC. The plaintiffs were distraught and made their way out quickly. No one was available for immediate comments and reactions.

Parties to the case are plaintiffs from various coastal communities in the Madang Province up against MCC, The State and Dr Wari Iamo (Third Defendant). The plaintiffs have directed their lawyer Tiffany Nonggor (Twivey) to appeal their case at the Supreme Court in Waigani.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Journey to the heartland

dad 028


For every red blooded Melanesian male the issue of identity is about the connections one has to an oral history, a people and the land of ancestors. Today however with mixed marriages of people from different nations and tribes, many find themselves caught up in an identity crisis.

I was born in Baimuru in the Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea. My dad was a Forest Officer and my mum a primary school teacher. My dad is from Madang Province and my mum from Western Province. Naturally, everyone therefore said I was from my dad’s side – Madang.

Growing up, the only connection I had with Madang or Rai Coast to be more specific, was my dad and the stories he’d tell of his childhood. Primary school and Secondary school passed and Madang was just a name on the registration paper – I had never been to the province.

At university, I decided that I would register as a student from Western Province. It made sense to me as I pretty much grew up in the Western Province. In fact, my connections in the Western Province are very proud of the achievements of my siblings and I.

My journey home, a journey to a land of belonging, began on the streets of Port Moresby. Tossed out of Medical School I just floated on the sea of good will of my family, friends, and neighbours. I spent a year hoping to get employed or at least return to medical school. Time passed as it does so unconsciously and the next moment I had the heartache of not returning to studies.

Most times the best things in life are unplanned like having great time of spontaneous, unprotected sex. For me, it would be a response to an email that triggered off the writing that I have been associated with.

I am writing this from the wonderful resort of Jais Aben in Madang with a track from Pavarotti playing in the background. Its a dull overcast afternoon and I can hear waves lapping up the shoreline. In a sense it has taken 25 years to come home. No hero’s welcome or traditional singsing or a pig being killed in my honour, I did not expect that anyway.

I just had lemon lime and bitters and a cheese burger with Ati an Israeli academic, at the resort grill area. He is a specialist in performing arts at the University of Haifa in Israel. He is a world authority on Medical clowning. It is not a joke. Medical clowns are useful in maintaining well being of patients and were originally associated with putting a smile on paediatric patients (kids in hospital).

Ati and I had very interesting conversations on Public Health and alternative medicine. Ati’s fascination with Papua New Guinea stems from he’s interest in performances and rituals associated with healing. However I kept pressing him about the Medical clowns and of course the Yom Kippur War, which he fought in.

Yes I’ve arrived home!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011




An anonymous person who claimed to be a year 12 student asked me to if I had written on neglect and human psychology as seen through the eyes of teenagers. Those are very complex subjects that I am not an expert on. However I wish to share some of my experiences which may or may not apply to present times.

When I went to secondary school I studied geography, English, mathematics A, physics and chemistry. I guess I was an average student with a loud mouth and a little bit cocky as well.

My teachers were great. Mathematics was my Achilles Heel. My English teacher and I had disagreements on how essays should be structured. Anyway, in the end she told me to stick with her plan for the exams, which I did. According to my year 12 Physics teacher, I wasn’t doing enough thinking on matters concerning Physics.

Anyway, as the exams approached my heart approached my throat as well. When the principal started giving career guidance advice, I knew I couldn’t make the cut for a space in University (sic). Yep, I didn’t have flattering grades. I mean, what chance has a student in Papua New Guinea got if that student scores C grades in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry in internal assessment.

And so while I contemplated that dreadful decision of filling up the School Leaver Form for tertiary studies, I heard a broadcast on sports psychology on the BBC World Service. In one of the parts of the series, the program featured the mental preparations of boxing legend, Mohammed Ali. Ali always kept announcing to anyone who’d bother to listen, “I am the Greatest!” He’d then go on a tirade against his opponent, obviously intimidating the guy.

This was gold for me. For weeks I’d kept reminding myself that I was the greatest. I didn’t study by the way, that’s something I wouldn’t recommend. It was a week before the exams that I took off from school and went through all my notes from year 11 to year 12. I summarized every topic from each subject and stapled the notes together. That was from Monday to Thursday and on Friday I went to school to set up my desk for the exams the following week. Obviously, my teachers weren’t impressed.

During the exam week, I now had summarized notes that I could read the night before each paper. I must say I didn’t just read my notes or study them; I meditated upon them based on the meditation techniques taught by the school chaplain.

Also, every morning before each exam I ate chocolate, which is a stimulant. (Drink Milo or coffee if you don’t have chocolate. Buai is a better stimulant but don’t try it in case you get kicked out of the exams. Never take alcohol or other drugs, they’ll fail you). The stimulant helps keep your mind alert throughout the exam. It doesn’t make you clever but it prevents you from going to sleep on a paper or having a mental block.

I passed my exams and got a grade point average of 3.6 out of 4, which qualified me to enter university.

I am still amazed by how well I did but it does reflect on how much information the brain can absorb even without us consciously making an effort. That is what happened during years 11 and 12. All I had to do in lead up to and during the exams was to prepare the mind to unleash its wonderful power.

To all you year 12 students out there; you have to first understand and reflect on the fact that you’re not a dumb student. I mean if you were a cretin, you wouldn’t have passed your grade 10 exams. You’re in year 12 because you deserve that space in the classroom and you are capable of doing extremely well.

You should aim for an A grade because even if you don’t get it you might get a B or C grade. Don’t aim for anything less than an A. Once you set your target on getting an A, you will realize how much work you need to do to get there. And by working to fill your knowledge gap, you will increase your chances to getting better grades. (Knowledge gap = things I don’t know that well)

Ask for help from your peers. If you have mobile internet, don’t just surf for porn, look for information online. And always have a positive attitude towards school and the upcoming exams. I am living proof that students who get C grades in Physics and Chemistry, internally, are capable of getting A grades on their final Year 12 certificates.

The flip side of not having motivation is that you end up like my current state of affairs, after Four Years at Medical School.

Finally, there’s no such thing as luck, you have to create your own opportunities. What people call luck are actually opportunities that other people/circumstances create for them. So you as a student can only do your very best. The final result is a product of how well your teachers taught you, how much support you got from family and friends and how well or badly other students performed. I would therefore encourage year twelve classes around the country to all make a “class pact” to ensure that every member of the class is supported (where their knowledge gap is) so that everybody gets somewhere.


Minority Rights: Getting it straight


The diversity of Papua New Guinea is reflected in its varied natural environment, its many tribes and tongues, and its culture and society. Duh! YOU all know that so what’s my point? Well there s diversity of sexual orientation as well.

This piece backs Dame Carol’s moves to decriminalize homosexuality.

“Excuse me but our rural people don’t know about gays”

That’s one lame EXCUSE I hear from many folks who are ignorant about the past. Urban western educated people who think they know everything. Homosexuality in Papua New Guinea and the rest of Melanesia has been recorded in various anthropological works. Check these out on the web or library;

herdt, gilbert . 1981. Guardians of the flutes: Idioms of

masculinity. New York: McGraw-Hill. [wlw]

———. 1984a. “Ritualized homosexual behavior in the male

cults of Melanesia, 1862–1983: An introduction,” in Ritualized

homosexuality in Melanesia. Edited by G. H. Herdt, pp. 1–81.

Berkeley: University of California Press.

———. 1984b. “Semen transactions in Sambia culture,” in Ritualized

homosexuality in Melanesia. Edited by G. H. Herdt, pp.

167–210. Berkeley: University of California Press.

———. 1984c. Ritualized homosexuality in Melanesia. Berkeley:

University of California Press. [wlw]

———. 1987. The Sambia: Ritual and gender in New Guinea.

New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. [wlw]

———. 1997. Same sex, different cultures: Exploring gay and lesbian

lives. Boulder: Westview Press

Yea but the Church says...

The Christian Church got it wrong when it imprisoned Galileo when he declared that the Sun was the center of the solar system and not the Earth as taught by the Church. Did the Christians interpret the Bible correctly, regarding Joshua commanding the Sun not to set?

Throughout history the Church in Europe used secular governments to persecute and murder many minorities who dared to oppose its views, for example the massacre of the Huguenots of France and the Inquisition. Did the Church interpret Scripture correctly?

I believe therefore that Scripture is open to interpretation and only God knows the absolute meaning of His Word is. No human can claim to know the mind of God. I therefore do not intend to engage theological debate on matters I am not qualified to speak on.

I wish to concentrate however on the secular grounds by which I believe the matters proposed by Dame Carol are based.

Firstly, contrary to what many think, Papua New Guinea is NOT a Christian Country. It is not a theocracy but a secular democratic state. That is why you see a mosque and at Holola, Buddhist shrine at Gordons Industrial area, a Baha’i center at Tokarara etc… Christianity does not have exclusive dominion on religious affairs in PNG however its important contributions to the nation are captured in the Preamble of the Constitution. The secular state is therefore not under any obligation to kowtow to the views of the Churches in Papua New Guinea including on issues regarding prostitution and homosexuality.

Secondly, Dame Carol’s proposition is about social reform. Dame Carol’s initiative is consistent with Universal Human Rights Principles as well as the promotion of social justice in our country. It is about protecting marginalized and stigmatized members of society who face many perils. I believe it is my Christian/Secular duty as a citizen to stand up for the Lost, the Last and the Least in society.

It’s fine if a Church teaches has homosexuality is sinful, it has the freedom of expression and religion, etc... but it should not impose its views on the State and the rest of society who do not subscribe to its beliefs. You don’t see a lot of opposition to Muslims, Hindus or Bhuddists. So why homosexuality? I bet corrupt politicians are more welcome at church services.

There’s a lot of man-made double standard in this issue. God loves everyone but man picks and chooses his friends. God gives rain and sunshine to both the sinners and saved but man gives only to those he can be repaid from.

But what about majority rules

More recently, the Nazis in Germany were democratically elected by a majority of the German people. Yes, the Germans were Christians and these Christians murdered over six million Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals. Was the majority view of the German population right?


I bet if many gays in Papua New Guinea had a choice between being gay or straight, they’d probably choose to be straight. But it’s natural, not something people choose.

Let me put it this way; if you stepped on a sharp thorn, you’d automatically withdraw your foot – that’s natural. Trying to force someone to be straight is like forcing someone to continue stepping the thorn. You’re going against their own unique state.

WAY FORWARD: Time for a New Society

With the onset of the new age of the gas economy there is a need to define a new Papua New Guinean society. A society that is inclusive and reflects the diversity of this beautiful nation of ours. A society where one is judged by the conduct of one’s character and not by one’s ethnicity, sexual orientation or social class.

A new Papua New Guinean society where its sons and daughter s have an equal opportunity to meaningfully participate in the social, economic and political development of the nation. A society where one is rewarded on based on merit and hard work and not by the connections one has. A society where young people do not have fears about tomorrow because today was even better than yesterday.

I believe the new society is one that promotes the democratic values of liberty, equality and fraternity. I believe in a new and just society that Dame Carol has been working towards achieving. A society that empowers its unemployed. A society where women have a voice in Parliament and in the corridors of power. A society that protects vulnerable members of the community and respects the dignity of every human person.

The new society is one that is well educated, well connected and governed well. It is a society whereby an educated population is empowered to excel. It is a society connected by efficient transport and communications infrastructure that act as the basis for the delivery of all other goods and services throughout the nation. It is a society that invests in good governance mechanism so that there is social justice and greater accountability.

I believe that is the kind of society all Papua New Guineans want to belong to regardless of our religion, ethnicity, social class, gender or sexual orientation.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

It’s the TRIBE, Stupid!


Here’s a typical scenario played out every day. Two strangers buy betel nut and chat about stuff. One asks the other, “bats yu blo we?” the other replies and asks the same question. Once the place of origin is established there is a sense that the introduction has occurred and the conversation flows. Thus, it is very common to find people who a familiar with each other but do not know each other’s name or surname. Usually this delicate identity question is resolved by friends asking friends about names of friends.

I hope by now you are not irritated with my ranting about tribes and identity in Papua New Guinea. However, for me definitions are important. What defines the human ecology in this nation? It is the tribalism that exists in its various forms – wantoks, save pes, skwad, boi blo grup, etc... I am therefore using the word tribe in the generic sense to refer to various social aggregates.

The west defines the nuclear family as the basal unit of society. Western thought has then tried to accommodate our Melanesian social structure by recognizing the significance of the extended family. I am going to expand this to say that at least in the Papua New Guinean context, the tribe is the fundamental unit of PNG society.

Why do I believe it is the tribe and not the family or extended family? Because it is how most Papua New Guineans identify themselves whether in rural or urban settings. Thus, the usual question about identity isn’t “wanem nem blo u?” rather “yu blo wanem hap?” It also explains why there is mob justice, tribal warfare, ethnic violence, inter-school violence, and other forms of collective punishment dished out in response to provocations created by individuals.

When students go to school they become part of the school tribe. If one student causes a provocation the entire school is implicated. Schools therefore need good tribal leaders because families will only partly solve such problems. At university campuses across this nation ethnic violence flares up occasionally leading to deaths. If this cultural baggage is even carried by so called intellectuals and future leaders of this nation, one can only expect the country to perform poorly into the future.

Paul Barker recently noted on his Facebook status that the people of Hagen Open still fully supported their MP even though he had been removed from cabinet on suspicion of corruption. As they say on the reality show Survivor, “the tribe has spoken.” It is common practice that criminals are harbored and protected by tribesmen across the nation.

Thus in the midst of a somewhat chaotic state of affairs in government and civil society, there is a social order that exists in the tribes. It is with-in ones tribe that one finds security.

Friday, July 15, 2011





So you think you know us

And off you go to discuss

About this poor wretched soul

Whom you met in the goal


Then you analyze us

And classify thus

Urban poor

Salim buai arasait long stoa


You say you feel sorry

And want to tell our story

We see you crying

But you are lying


Came to us from afar

Came in a flashy car

Made your money

And drank our honey


You cloak up your failure

Like a high-street tailor

With religious fervor

Coz you’re so clever

Thursday, July 14, 2011



Well I can’t. And the reason I cannot is because you haven’t made the information available.

Such is the information gap in Papua New Guinea that anyone who thinks they’re experts can give so called ‘statistics’ and ‘guesstimations’ about anything. And yes, not everyone agrees.

So why on earth do we not know anything about most things? Honestly, I don’t know but it seems research funding or the availability of researchers is an issue.

A couple of years back, I assisted my lecturer in Public Health as a recorder, during a workshop on Cancer epidemiology. According to the Center for Disease Control, Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events in specified populations, and the application of this study to the control of health problems.

The workshop brought people from all over the country to reflect on how to approach the issue of collecting information about Cancer in Papua New Guinea. It was a very successful workshop and I personally learnt a lot. I guess, the fact that I am writing about it today reflects on how relevant it was and still is.

In fact, the recent cholera outbreak exposed how authorities were playing catch-up because they did not have proper surveillance and monitoring mechanisms. Without epidemiological data, they could not identify the disease hotspots and threatened areas. Thus, it was difficult to contain the spread of the disease.

It may seem like a cliché but it is true, having data is important for planning and responding to areas of need. As a nation, we need to know objectively, how things are going – whether in the right or wrong direction. Unfortunately, many pay lip-service to this issue of data collection. The end result is that important decisions are based on assumptions. Sometimes decisions are left too late because the true picture is not revealed until there is a crisis.

The recent National Census debacle indicates how ignorant many ‘educated elites’ are towards the issue of having quality statistical information. It is little wonder that these ‘educated elites’ make dumb decisions about the nation’s affairs.

So we need to get our facts right!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011



In the recent, May seating of Parliament, important legislative changes were to be passed by Parliament. Amongst these were amendments to the Constitution and the Organic Law on Provincial and Local Level Government Councils that would have created the new Provinces of Hela and Jiwaka as well as the Reserved Seats for Women. Unfortunately this has not been the case.

With the National Elections just a year away, the Electoral Commission had requested that these legal issues be iron out by August this year. This would give the Commission ample time to plan for the proposed Provinces and seats.

There is a real danger of violence and chaos up in the highlands of Papua New Guinea where the people of Hela and Jiwaka wait anxiously for legal recognition of the two provinces. The Hela region is home to the multi-billion dollar PNGLNG Project.

A member of the PNG Defence Force described the Southern Highlands/Hela region as a Major National Security Risk. He commented that the government would be sending the armed forces to lose their lives as it did in Bougainville, because of poor decision making. He suggested that there is a buildup of arms in the Highlands in lead up to the Elections next year.

With the failure to pursue its legislative agenda in May, the government is responsible for a potentially volatile situation next year. Let’s not kid ourselves! The Southern Highlands Province is known to have had a failed election in 2002 that forced the Declaration of a State of Emergency.

Is PNG in for another failed election that may have been conveniently created to perpetuate a totalitarian regime?

It seems more unlikely now that the people of JIWAKA and HELA will have new legally recognized Provinces and Electoral Boundaries. There isn’t much time for Parliament, the Electoral Boundaries Commission and the Electoral Commission to rectify the situation. Amendments to Constitutional Law need more time.

Section 14 of the Constitution sets out the guidelines on how amendments are made to Organic Laws as well as to the Constitution. It sets out in Section 14(1) that an absolute majority of two-thirds of Parliamentary votes is required to make an amendment. It then states in section 14(2) that the proposed law must be circulated to all MPs not less than one month before it is formally introduced to Parliament. Parliament then has two opportunities to debate and voted on the amendments. Each of these voting opportunities must occur two months apart.

So basically, you need a two-thirds majority vote and more than three months in order to get an amendment to an Organic Law or the Constitution.

Further Procedural matters are described in PART XIXA of the Standing Orders of the National Parliament. PART XIXA of the Standing Orders of the National Parliament call for a First Reading, where the Bill is formally introduced to Parliament and referred to the Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Law and Acts. The Second Reading is when Parliament has the First Opportunity to debate and vote on the Bill per Section 14(2) of the Constitution. Then after two months the final reading, debate and vote takes place; known as the Third Reading. (see figure below)


Tuesday, July 12, 2011


This post is dedicated to Effrey Dademo na ol bata long  Goroka Secondary School; Slaytox, JayAshK59, JWK59,GRimz, Lycans, C-Red, Snake, CasterMai and Twing


Above: My buai mums from Goilala filling my bag with betelnut. Manu, Port Moresby

I asked some of my friends on a chat site to highlight some issues that were of concern to them. Those that responded mentioned issues such as the lack of good governance, access to education, poor health indicators and ATTITUDE PROBLEM. Many viewed a change in people’s attitude as a precondition for REAL CHANGE elsewhere.

What then do people mean when they refer to the ATTITUDE PROBLEM? For Governor Parkop of the Nation’s Capital, it centers on littering and respect for public property. The Police think it’s to do with crime and public nuisance. Teachers believe it’s to do with juvenile delinquency and students think it’s to do with the School being mismanaged or teachers not attending class.

Most people think it’s the urban drifters who need to be prevented from leaving their villages by the Vagrancy Act. The urban drifters and anyone who isn’t a politician thinks it’s the corrupt, pot bellied big shots that wear cowboy hats and drive in Toyota land cruisers, as J Febi once stated.

It seems that everyone has an attitude problem, including me, and that’s according to the woman who gave birth to me.

In describing the concept of the State, someone wrote that because the State belongs to everyone, it belongs to no-one. In applying this to the so called Attitude Problem, one can say that because everyone has an ATTITUDE PROBLEM, no-one has and ATTITUDE Problem. Sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Yet it makes sense. Because if everyone wears pink, no-one is out of order.

What if Governor Parkop didn’t blame the General Public for the mess and reflected on how inefficient the garbage collection mechanism was thus creating the eyesore. What if the teachers saw that they had enrolled more students than they could manage? What if the students reflected on the high demand on school resources that led to a lack of capacity? What if the urban dwellers reflected on the push factors that forced people to move to the city, because decisions made by powerful city elite did not serve the interests of the rural majority?

I always thought street vendors were a public nuisance until I became one. Interestingly, my customers would think every other street vendor except me should be sent packing. I never knew how kind Goilala people could be until I met my buai mums – the woman whom I buy betelnut from to resell.

The ATTITUDE PROBLEM is a façade. It is being used by a lot by influential people over the mass media, in order to distort the truth. Unfortunately, many of us have joined the band wagon and are pointing the fingers at each other. It has become a term that is now synonymous with the fringe dwellers of the city – the poorly educated urban poor.

Because these people are of lower socio economic and educational background, they are unable to articulate their arguments the way their critics do. They do not put out media statements or appear on television to defend their dignity. Thus the one-sided prejudiced attacks are now seen by many uncritical minds as the gospel truth.

Every time there is a failure on the part of Police they are able to find a convenient excuse and blame the ‘publics’ ATTITUDE PROBLEM. Politicians who are poorly managing the affairs of the State cry foul over the public’s Pasin (attitude). Senisim Pasin (change of attitude) seems to be a favorite mantra, even amongst so called advocates of CHANGE.

So does PNG have an issue called the Attitude Problem? Yes it does but it isn’t what is being sold on the mainstream media. The Attitude Problem is one of a failure to build a modern multi-cultural society and a sense of communal existence. There are no modern communities in all towns and cities. What we have are enclaves of tribal or neo-tribal groupings. There is little person to person interaction outside of one’s personally defined social zone. There is a failure to coexist in a modern society and so by default, people live as if they are still in their traditional tribal territories.

The task that no one is up to is social engineering- building communities and fusion points. Sports has an important role in building new fusion communities. Sadly, popular sports such as Rugby league are perpetuating the status quo by having tribalistic province based clubs.

Schools also are places to develop new mindsets; however educators perpetuate the cultural baggage. Instead of deliberately encouraging cross-cultural interaction, students are tagged and boxed into traditional cultural groupings during so called cultural shows. Imagine an Asaro mud men dance being performed by Sepik students. The Sepik students learn to appreciate the art, culture and mythology of the Asaro people and begin to empathize and identify common ground with their peers.

No one is building communities and defining a new modern society. We all are stuck in our social enclaves and hurling abuse at those outside. So the People, whom you think have an ATTITUDE PROBLEM, also believe that you have an ATTITUDE PROBLEM.


Sunday, July 10, 2011


# I am now blogging via mobile phone, since my laptop's power cord got burnt by a power_surge

The recent National Health Plan 2011-2020 recognizes the disparities that exist between the middle class and the rest of Papua New Guinea. It therefore sets out to achieve better health for the URBAN POOR and the RURAL MAJORITY.

The disparities dont just center on Health, they include Education, Business, Social and Employment opportunities.

On page 5 of The National Newspaper dated Friday the 8th of July, 2011 was a picture of Air Niugini's new pilots who had been trained by the airline. The recruitment of cadet pilots by Air Niugini is skewed in favour of Port Moresby based candidates as candidates from other Centers are unlikely to afford the cost of travelling to Port Moresby for the entry test. This is a disgrace because the airline is government owned and should provide the opportunity to all Papua New Guineans who meet the entry requirements.

Again this Port Moresby centric system plays out in sporting codes. Most so called representative teams are dorminated by Port Moresby based players. Its not that the players arent qualified, although some may be: rather, players from other centers dont get the kind of support that Port Moresby based sporting codes get.

And so, the trend is that opportunities that should be available to everyone, are limited to those from priveleged backgrounds.

Children from rural areas or urban squatter settlements cannot complete with their privelege peers. While their well-off peers have good support they go hungry to school and do not have access to supplementary learning resources.

Thus it has become a trend that University spaces are being dorminated by urban kids from middle class backgrounds. YES, these kids have qualified on merit, like Air Niugini's new pilots, but the playing field is not level.

An idea is currently being floated about transforming the National High Schools into Schools of Excellence. I would suggest that a deliberate attempt be made to get more candidates from remote high schools as well as those urban poor.

Our rural kids and those from squatter settlements need to be given a good education and a chance to get out of their disadvantaged position. There must be affirmative action to improve the lot of those who are disenfranchised.

Many of those who are disenfranchised turn to be labelled as "IGNORANT" when in fact they struggle under harsh circumstances. Just being able to provide food is so difficult that school fees and laptops and encyclopedias arent priority. Their childrens dreams are just that: DREAMS! We have to help those kids achieve their dreams.

Yes, this is a land of opportunity but those opportunities exist for the priveleged few. Such disparity in society is creating faultlines. And it is along these faultlines that friction may arise in the future.

Our people arent active as their survival isnt threatened as much. However, the greed thats generating this social bias will beget more greed and social bias that tensions will flare.

Many who are currently building their castles on sand will be washed away. The foundation of prosperity is INNOVATION. However, innovation and prosperity will only be sustainable if there is SOCIAL JUSTICE.

Friday, July 8, 2011


I would like to thank all readers who have followed this blog and contacted me.

I am particarly grateful for the support of Louise Ewington, who has been very kind.

Keith Jackson, Lance Hill and Douveri Henao have been of tremendous assistance.

Many of you from overseas, have truly been amazing.

I am very humbled by the responses from home. Unsuprisingly, many Papua New Guineans identify with the message.

I would like to make special mention of the Staff and Students of Divine Word University in Madang. I hope to meet up with some of you soon.

I also acknowledge many High School students from around the country, who love the short stories. Students from Gordons Secondary, Jubilee Catholic Secondary School, Lae Secondary School, Goroka Secondary Secondary School have contacted me.

I also know that many of you circulate my articles via email and I thank you all for doing so.

Just wanna give shout out to all my twitter friends. You guys and gals rock!

Also would like to mention my qeep buddies who worship me...hehehe yupela olgeta sta lo fom.. TrickyJay, RiQ25,Rusty, Swatzment,Kenzmental,Cosna,Miix,Myles15,Sokoman,Nelo@c,Dizzymarn,Syqz,Aross,bata Baxo0,Maxie,Kawagle. ma bro Dontezz,Swifty, head blo mi faul so mi stop lo hap but olgeta qeep skwad blo Dirom yupela best ya.

Thank you all for sharing your ideas with me



Thursday, July 7, 2011



Recently I had lunch with Matt Morris from the Development Policy Center of the Australian National University. Matt was very surprised that I had not met with other bloggers and commentators in Papua New Guinea.

On the two occasions that I attended the Transparency International Annual General Meeting, I’ve noticed how tense and out of place everyone seemed to be. While I do understand the serious nature of the occasion, there was an atmosphere of plasticity unlike other meetings I’ve been to.

Jamie Maxton Graham lamented in the recent media conference that the Opposition seemed out on its own in talking about the Big Issues. He questioned why the public was not mobilizing to do anything.

Matt Morris has worked in PNG and seems to know more about Papua New Guineans than some PNG citizens and Residents. Matt’s been impressed by the fact that for many Papua New Guineans, a little good deed goes a long way in building relationships. I only figured this out recently, having left Medical School.

The key drivers of relationship building in Papua New Guinea are; pasin and luksave. Pasin and Luksave are Melanesian Pidgin words that can be loosely translated as character and acknowledgment of others. Ones pasin earns one respect and following. This may both be either positive or negative characteristics. Luksave on the other end earns great social capital and is achieved by familiarity, greeting people, sharing smoke or betelnut, etc... For example, I send virtual gifts to my PNG friends on a social networking site and I have received a parcel of betelnut sent from afar plus heaps of free phone credits. Papua New Guineans are very generous people and appreciate the little of luksave.

Many advocates of CHANGE in PNG only preach to the converted. They congregate with those from similar socio-economic or educational background. When they attempt to reach out it is usually by hurling the message across a wide gulf; instead of meeting the audience. The receiver therefore does not empathize with the sender and so while the message may be understood, it is ignored. The audience is not familiar with their pasin and well there hasn’t been any luksave.

Thus at one of Transparency International PNG’s AGMs, the current Chairman Lawrence Stephens, mentioned how people think its TIPNGs business to deal with corruption. He told the story of two drunks arguing and one telling the other; “bai mi kotim yu long TIPNG” [I’ll report you to TIPNG].

I can understand the security concerns that may limit expats from meeting ordinary PNGeans but I cannot see why Melanesians can’t meet other Melanesians. Its common sense; people will respond to your message if it’s relevant and if you are relevant to them. Otherwise, you and your message become totally irrelevant to them even if the issue is of National Interest.

Go and meet more people!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011





Stare, just stare at me

Stare coz I am free

Stare from a car

Stare from a far


Stare from your fences

Stare from defenses

Stare closely at me

Stare at your enemy


Stare as they beat me up

Stare at my bitter cup

Stare at me you thief

Stare at my endless grief


Stare, don’t stare at me

Stare at disunity

Stare at what you create

Stare at all the Hate


Stare coz you are blind

Stare at those behind

Stare at your richness

Stare at their emptiness


Stare, you’re finally cursed

Stare at your wounded chest

Stare at your empty heart

Stare as it’s torn apart



I would classify the challenges this nation faces, into two categories; (1) REAL and (2) PERCEIVED. REAL challenges are those that are impediments to the activities of Business and Government whereas perceived challenges are those factors that can be overcome easily if much effort is being given to address them. This distinction between REAL AND PERCEIVED challenges are important particularly in the context on decision making processes. Because when people classify something as developmental challenge, they can sometimes use that as justification for any short-comings.


The REAL challenges to the development of Papua New Guinea are; Land Ownership, Infrastructure, Governance and Education and Foreign Aid.

1.1 Land Ownership

Land ownership is perhaps the most complex obstacle to any Government or Commercial activity. The Constitution guarantees customary land ownership. Acquisition of Customary land can only be done by the State and leased to other parties. Because land is communally owned, it can therefore involves complex negotiations to acquire. For businesses this causes delays and disruptions that can be very costly.

The recent controversy over Special Agriculture Based Leases (SABLs) highlights the need for better methods of Land Administration. In addition, the questions arising over Mineral Ownership also create an impetus to clearly settle questions of ownership in a manner that is relevant to our Melanesian context.

The failure to develop a workable mechanism of land acquisition has meant that disputing parties have had to resort to legal actions. Clearly, the Court system is being clogged with Land matters due to the failure of Land Administrators and relevant parties. A workable model of land acquisition, perhaps via Court-sanctioned Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism should be developed.

1.2 Infrastructure

The delivery of any type of good or service depends on the appropriate delivery mechanism. The scope of commercial and government activities is limited by the lack of supporting infrastructure.

This is the greatest obstacle for access to services and commercial centers for many in the rural areas. Poor or absent transport and communications links means that governments and businesses restricted in what they do.

However, having infrastructure alone will not assist in development unless there are other enabling mechanisms. This was highlighted recently by Amanda Watson in her PhD thesis presentation on mobile phones in rural Papua New Guinea. Ms. Watson noted how mobile phones had little economic benefits and were a costly liability to many in rural areas. A cocoa producer she interviewed said the mobile phone did not assist him in doing his business. Ms. Watson argued that the economic benefits of mobile phones were not being realized due to the lack of enabling mechanisms such as transportation links, available markets and banking services.

This important observation by Ms. Watson lies at the heart of the FAILURE of many developmental projects. The projects exist without the supporting mechanism to make them viable as well as versatile in their usefulness to the communities.

1.3 Governance

Papua New Guinea ranks as one of the most corrupt nations according to Transparency Internationals Corruption Perception Index. But of course it isn’t just corruption that is an issue. There also needs to be major institutional reform to streamline the Public Service. As it is; it is bulky, cumbersome, unmanageable and unaccountable.

Investment in governance also includes meeting the needs of Law enforcement agencies, the Judiciary, the Ombudsman Commission and the creation of a Corruption Watchdog. Law and Order issues and Corruption Practices are greatly eroding this land.

1.4 Education

Clearly, the standard of education at all levels; primary, secondary and tertiary is not up to scratch. This is reflected in the sentiments expressed by graduates and employers. Many employers find their recruits from tertiary institutions to be unprepared for work. Many institutions have noted this and now have arrangements for students to undertake job attachments as part of their training. More needs to be done though.

Education however, should not just enable people to enter the labour market, but also to be innovative. Change is driven by innovation and innovative people are educated people.

1.5 Foreign Aid

Much of Papua New Guineas Development Budget is funded by Foreign Aid donors. Its own internal revenue service’s recurrent expenditure i.e. it goes towards running the Public Service and servicing Government Debt amongst other things.

In other words, Papua New Guinean politicians and civil servants can talk all they want to about developing their country but cannot put money where their mouth is. Thus it is Foreign governments and their Foreign Policy interests that ultimately dictate whether or not PNG progresses.


Perceived challenges are those that are based on prejudice. The two most commonly perceived challenges relate to the natural environment and the people.

2.1 The Natural Environment

Papua New Guinea’s rugged mountain terrain, swampy lowlands and tracts of tropical rainforests are complimented by scattered islands in the tropical South Seas. Such a beautiful and poetic setting is unfortunately viewed by some as a challenge to development. Perhaps the spectacular environment challenges the minds of those who are prejudiced by ideas about savages and diseases of the tropics.

Digicel PNG, the largest telecommunications company in Papua New Guinea is doing business in those rugged mountains, swamps and rainforests and across those tropical seas. It is proof to the world and to Papua New Guineans that progress is possible; even in what is perceived to be a tough environment.

Many Papua New Guineans need to start decolonializing their minds when it comes to addressing developmental issues. This is where the education system really needs to produce innovative thinkers. After all, if our people have managed to live in such so called hostile environments, our people must know how we can bring progress.

We can also learn a lot from countries like China for example; where the highest rail track in the world has been built, linking the Himalayas to the rest of China


We Papua New Guineans are very prejudiced towards our own people. This largely stems from the tribalism and neo-tribalism that permeates the length and breadth of this nation. Essentially one identifies one’s self with a tribe and is identified by that tribal identity. I am using the word ‘tribe’ in a generic sense to mean an ethnic group or other social grouping.

The most disenfranchised tribes are those with very bad labels. With such tags comes stigma and isolation from the mainstream of society. Resources are thus skewed towards benefiting those who aren’t stigmatized; largely because they have access to those in power and are able to lobby for what they want.


Papua New Guinea does have real developmental challenges. However much of the failure to develop this country stems from prejudice about the environment and the country. Everyone loves to report about the difficult terrain because it is less sensitive to do so than address issues of Land Ownership, Infrastructure, Governance, Education and Foreign Aid.

Monday, July 4, 2011


SAM BASIL: frax yu ori blood

I am not personally acquainted with the Honourable Member for Bulolo although I have added him as a friend on Facebook and follow him on Twitter. Many would doubt my proposition that Mr. Basil is capable of being the next Prime Minister. They may put forward valid arguments against Mr. Basil’s suitability or qualification as a Prime Ministerial Candidate and I encourage them to comment on this blog.

Firstly, why do I consider Mr. Basil a suitable candidate? In my opinion Mr. Basil understands Papua New Guineans and has a greater appreciation of the challenges they face and the aspirations they have. This is evident in how he has conducted himself thus far in discharging his electoral duties. This is Mr. Basil’s greatest strength and it has earned him respect and following amongst us the younger generation.

Mr. Basil walks talks and acts like us. He articulates our frustrations well, to those in power. He represents the future of Papua New Guinea i.e. its younger generation.

The Somare era is in its twilight and with it the era of our fathers and forefathers whom Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare led from independence until now.

Just as the Somare brand held great currency amongst the older generation, the Basil brand is emerging amongst many of the younger internet and mobile phone savvy generation.

Papua New Guinea needs leadership that is responsive to the needs of its people and relevant to the times. I believe Mr. Basil embodies the leadership qualities to meet the challenges of the Future.

Batz em Kaksy stret!