Saturday, May 30, 2009

Whisky Moresby

"I recall one typical evening when, after dinner, a group of us sat on the verandah enjoying what coolness there was as we sipped our whisky and water. By the time midnight was approaching, not an unkind word had been unspoken, not a reputation left untarnished. Feeling I had had more than enough I cried plaintively: “Doesn’t anybody love anyone in this town?” The answer came in a flash. “Good Lord, yes. Everybody knows Bill Jones loves John Smith’s wife.”

David Selby, Itambu, 1963. World War II anti-aircraft commander in Rabaul, East New Britain then 1961-62 Judge of Supreme Court of PNG.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Big Trouble in PNG's Little China

According to today's Post Courier newspaper PNG police commissioner Gari Baki is not too pleased about recent reporting on deported Chinese national Gu Kai.

Baki reportedly shouted at Post Courier journalist Mohammad Bashir: "You know this person (Gu Kai) ? He was an illegal alien and if I had it my way, I would boot him out on the spot and never allow him back. You can write whatever you like."

Below is a link to an AAP feature about PNG's Asian gangs influencing PNG's corruption. The Gu Kai affair certainly raises questions about the confluence of police, immigration and labour department corruption allowing Asian crime syndicates to do their thing in PNG.

Meanwhile the Australian newspaper's Greg Roberts today has picked up the widely circulated, suspiciously well written, inflammatory email that was doing the round earlier this week.

The unknown source using the pen name 'Cardo Stanzo' has called for a bonfire of the tucker boxes by December 31. But it's not just small businesses that should burn but all Asian businesses they say. Most people in PNG have dismissed the misdirected email as pap albeit concerning pap - it certainly doesn't pull any punches at blaming Asians for all of PNG's woes.,25197,25552427-2703,00.html

As ever it is easier to blame the minority group, especially as they look and sound different and worse don't follow rugby league. But there is no mention of the PNG owners who employ Chinese to manage their shops or go into partnership with Chinese as they are more reliable than PNG to make a quick buck. Nor is there any concerted efforted against those elected and chosen leaders that so far have shirked responsibility to what some commentators see as a frontline for more civil unrest.

From earlier in the week. Here is Sam Abal, Foreign Affairs minister responding to the issue:

And from Monday Prime Minister Michael Somare responding:

As the Chinese say: may you live in interesting times!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Who said Papua New Guinea was boring?

British collector rates PNG stamps among world’s best

A British stamp collector has rated Papua New Guinea postage stamps among the best in the world.

United Kingdom-based R.E.A Howard said recently in a letter to the PNG Philatelic Bureau that he began collecting PNG stamps in 1937.

“I have really enjoyed your issues from 1937 and I am only missing four stamps plus one stamp booklet.

"I must congratulate you on your new issue service, this compares with the very best, do keep it up,” he said.

The bureau’s February 2009 issue, which Mr Howard referred to, features the country’s different frog species and was a joint project between Post PNG and conservation organisation WWF.

The British High Commissioner to PNG, David Dunn, said Mr Howard’s attraction to PNG stamps is not surprising.

“PNG stamps are amongst the most collectable in the world and with their vibrant colors and scenes depicting PNG life and the vast array of indigenous flora and fauna remain as popular today as this were in 1937,” he said.

Love will tear us apart, PNG Highlands style

By Ilya Gridneff
PORT MORESBY, May 28 AAP - Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), billions of dollars, ExxonMobil and thousands of isolated Papua New Guinea landowners aren't usually the ingredients for a love story.
But this is PNG, the land of the unexpected, where village romance blossoms in the most unusual of ways - especially when money is involved.
After five intense weeks, thousands of Highlanders far from home in Kokopo, East New Britain Province (ENB), signed the unique deal for what they get from the $US12.5 billion ($A16 billion) ExxonMobil-led LNG project.
It's impossible to please everyone and as expected ferocious complaints, legal threats and abuse are already flooding in.
But for love-struck Southern Highlands Province (SHP) landowner Philemon Su'uba, who attended the talks, his gripe is not being able to bag his new sweetheart, local girl Lucy John, 22.
On Wednesday Su'uba and John tried to return home but ENB airport authorities would not let her travel without identification.
PNG's Post Courier newspaper reported Su'uba unsuccessfully pleading with airport staff: "She's my new wife, she must come with me.
"I've paid for her already, she must follow me now.
"I can't go home empty handed, if she stays I stay too," he said.
Kokopo's grounded lovebirds are arranging the necessary measures to get on with their LNG-fuelled honeymoon.
The marathon Benefit Sharing Agreement (BSA) signing session on the weekend secured relevant landowners seven per cent equity in the LNG project.
The deal is valued at 20 billion kina ($A9.5 billion) over the 30-year life span of the project touted as potentially doubling PNG's Gross Domestic Product while tripling the country's export revenues.
For PNG's Highlanders the most important things in life, in order, are land, pigs then women.
The more you have the more you are a `bigman,' so the BSA was crucial to prove one's worth.
The BSA meeting included several delays, court orders, threats, abuse, a media ban, and one senior bureaucrat attacked at the airport while others bayed for the petroleum minister's blood.
More police were deployed, every hotel in town was full, and thousands spent on accommodation and daily expenses.
Five hire cars were damaged, one crashing as it was leaving the rental shop.
Allegations of landowners misbehaving forced a collective press release denying there had been an increase in drunkenness, rowdy behaviour and luring young local girls with beer for sex.

Trade not aid

Last week I travelled to Southern Highlands Province with Oil Search's Peter Botten and a group of movers and shakers from an Australian business coalition called: Business 4 Millennium Development (B4MD).

They've set themselves some difficult challenges in an infamous part of the world but its another step in the right direction if all players get things right.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dim Dim and Dim Sum

PNG’s Prime Minister Michael Somare admitted on Monday corruption in PNG's police force, labour and immigration departments was a factor behind a week of widespread violence and looting against Chinese businesses.

Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Abal said corruption, not just in immigration, was "paralysing PNG's systems”.

Peter Aitsi, from Transparency International's PNG branch told AAP PNG's general public have no faith nor confidence in the procedures of police, labour and immigration departments.

“We’re getting to a point we’re if we don’t take a stand this country is lost.

“Who will stand up and take ownership? Who will stand up and take responsibility?" he said.

Below is a link to an interesting background read to this 'Big Trouble in Little PNG'.

James Chin's Contemporary Chinese Community in Papua New Guinea: Old Money versus New Migrants.

Australian National University, Chinese Southern Diaspora Studies, Volume Two, 2008

Morobe landslide: 3 dead 16 still missing

Three bodies have been recovered and 16 people are missing, feared dead, after a massive landslide wiped out a remote Papua New Guinea village. Villagers had to walk three hours to alert authorities in Morobe Province, on PNG's northwest coast, after days of continual heavy rains caused the landslide early on Monday.
(Supplied pic
PNG Post Courier 26/05/2009)

Morobe landslide buries 19

Papua New Guinea is plagued by natural disasters especially so as it sits on what is known as the 'Pacific Rim of Fire'. Active volcanoes, heavy rains, frequent earthquakes and landslides -it's never a dull moment in the belly of mother nature.
This week heavy rains caused a landslide in remote PNG. Three dead have been recovered while 16 remain still missing, believed to be buried underneath.
Villagers walked for hours to report the landslide that hit the Sialum district in Morobe province, on PNG's northwestern coast.
Bad weather, continuous heavy rain and massive cloud cover is hampering relief efforts.

In the beginning....

Hello all,
and welcome to Papua News Guinea. Slowly slowly we'll get there. Tentative steps to get PNG into blogsphere.
I am a digital kanaka so any hints, tips or advice greatly appreciated.