outback to jungle

Musings on experiences of volunteering in Papua New Guinea with some gratuitous domestic social and public comment

Friday, June 30, 2006

"He saved others, let him save Himself!"

Yeah, go on Jesus, show us what you can do. If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross. Yeah, way to go Jesus, can't do it can you? Taunting fellow human beings has a long history. In mediaeval times we used to put people in stocks where they could not defend themselves and we would throw whatever we could at them to taunt them. We would throw stones at cripples. Gun fighters in the wild west with a pistol in their hand would oh so bravely make a defenceless pastor jump up and down to avoid the bullets. We would pull the wings off flies. We would throw stones at a mangy dog on a chain knowing we were safe. We would poke fun at a distance at anyone who could not fight back. We would stir up an ants nest with a stick. We leave David Hicks in prison half a world away where he can't defend himself. We call him names - traitor, enemy of our good friend America, suffer you dog, serve you right you Taliban lover, hope you die there, rot in gaol, we don't want you back here. It's easy to be brave and to feel you have right on your side when someone else has their hands and feet nailed to a cross. Hey Jesus, come and get me! Naa naa na na naa.

take this morning's poll for instance

"Should convicted child molesters be executed?" Given the audience, take out those who are too busy to reply, take out those on the way out the door to catch a train, take out families whose children are watching Play school on another channel, then what demographic are you left with to respond to the poll? I can tell you now the response is going to be nearly 100% in favour of execution. So why ask the poll? Replying "Yes" is easy. To this question, the answer is a feel good answer. Subliminally the respondent thinks "Good on you Ch 9 for making me feel good!" Long term the answer is not so easy. This society is falling apart with many loners and losers and psychological problems. The problems are not going to go away just by making a certain demographic feel good. We are losing our way as a community. We don't relate to each other. We don't know who our neighbour is. We have become solitary. Depression is on the increase. Each of us is supposed to talk with at least 3 I think it is people per day. If society is building enclosing structures whereby someone does not have to leave the house, then you can go days without talking to anyone. This is not to excuse criminals but we should wonder what we can do to reinvent community.

the bold and the beautiful

used to be a programme on Ch10 before the early news a couple years ago. I am sure the cast must have been paid Dignity Money because no self-respecting actor would lower themselves to do, say or act as this production required them. Maybe it was meant to be satire on soaps but I did not read it that way. If it wasn't satire or even parody, then the writer must have been paid a fortune because he is never going to find work again. Imagine going for an interview as a script writer:
Interviewer: Can you tell us about your experience in TV script writing?
Hopeful: Yes, I wrote the script for the successful Bold and the Beautiful.
Interviewer: You wrote that? Who let this person through the selection process? Get outer here. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Why haven't you had your membership of the Screen Writer's Guild revoked? That script is an insult to the intelligence of our members. Out! Out I say! Begone! Do not darken my threshold ever. Ours in an honourable profession and you have set it back to the pre-talkie days. Go! Get ye out!

David Hicks and butterfly courage

So the military commissions are illegal, well big deal. It doesn't help AUSTRALIAN CITIZEN MR David Hicks though does it? This piss bloody weak australian government and the 52% of people who have the hide to think of themselves as PATRIOTIC because they can treat a scared loner loser attention seeker like the olden day people used to treat someone in the stocks are disgraces to everything Australia used to stand for. Convicts who were taunted and teased and had the flesh flogged off their backs, WW1 diggers who were scorned by upper class British Generals, Swaggies who were taunted as riff-raff, new settlers who were scorned by the old hands, wogs, dagos and slopeheads who have made it. This is who Australians are and MR David Hicks is one of us not like you mouse shit 52% aussies who trespass on our good name and who love to pretend you are AUSTRALIAN. You are not an AUSTRALIAN's arsehole for what you are doing to MR David Hicks. Once upon a time Australians prided themselves as sticking up for the underdog. MR Hicks might be a weirdo but he is an AUSTRALIAN weirdo. Love him or hate him, he is one of us. If you 52% think otherwise then piss off until you can learn to respect what once were traditional Australian values.

dumbing down

It is still raining this morning after having rained all night following a respite of about 4 hours yesterday afternoon. I don't know if this has anything to do with the speed of the computer but I logged on at 8.05 and it is now 8.45 before I am in a position to write. I have been trying to upload one 275kb picture but it will not take it.
Anyway, what I was going to say about dumbing down. Why does Australia spend billions of dollars on formal education on the one hand and on the other, TV spends billions to dumb us back down. Sure we don't have to watch TV but for the masses who can't afford live theatre and who live too far away from it for its to be a regular entertainment, TV is is affordable and convenient.
But it keeps the masses ignorant through feel good touchy-feely chitter-chat morning breakfast shows and the empty headed hosts and reporters. I'm sure they can't be as inane as they come across but as the hosts of the programme, they are used by the producer to appeal to the lowest common denominator rather than their trying to average up the audience. Radio Australia is spasmodic in its reception and it is often drowned out by Asian programmes which is why I turn to the TV for news. EMTV, the PNG station, gets a lot of its programming from Ch9 Australia.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

job application: poll writer

Dear Sir,
With reference to the position of Poll Writer for your TV station's teletext.
I wish to apply for this position and I address the Selection Criteria as hereunder.
1. Mundane Life.
I left school 2o years ago. I live at home with my wife and 2.2 children. I drive to work. I jog at lunch time. I suck on bottled water. I have been in the one job at the same level for the past two years. I watch TV every night. I copy any craze such as sodoku. I have a huge mortgage which my grandchildren will pay off before they die.
2. Ability to think inanely.
I vote conservative unless my mother and father tell me to vote otherwise. I listen to Alan Jones and Steve Price regularly and I always read Piers Ackerman. I follow the crowd at any race riot in Redfern or Cronulla.
3. Community Service.
I am good friends with the man who lives next door to the Club President and sometimes I help him sell chook raffles. I drop my kids off at sport to help make the do gooder Junior Sports officials feel better about themselves.
Yours sincerely,

interactive television

Dave. Good morning Mabel dear. Would you like a cuppa?
Mabel. You know I would Dave. And while you're at it, see what the poll question is for today.
Dave. There you are love. And they want to know who we should support in the soccer now.
Mabel. Ooh, I dunno Dave. Not Italy after what they did to us.
Dave. Well what about England then?
Mabel. Ooh I dunno Dave. Do you think they're good enough? This poll is too hard. See what the poll is on the other station.
Dave. Well Seven wants to know will Brazil win and Ten wants to know whether we should watch the final.
Mabel. Ooh, they're all pretty important questions Dave. D'ya reckon our opinion will count?
Dave. Ooh well of course Mabel. Remember when they asked us if David Hicks was guilty and Michelle Corby? Of course they were. See here's one on the internet. Should drug addicts be banned from certain towns and suburbs. Well of course they should. See what happens when they ask the right people? We don't want them in our suburb now do we. By the way, why is our phone bill so high?

enemy of the state

Who is the real enemy of the State? "Who should we support in the World Cup now?" was the poll question on the Ch 9 news teletext this morning. You're joking right? Who should WE support now? Most people probably couldn't give a rat's arse if Australia isn't playing. Point 2. Since when has following sport become corporatised? I thought PM Howard and the conservative agenda was pro-individual. Stuff anyone else, as long as I am alright. We? Mate, there's no such thing as we any more. You're broke, down on your luck, got yourself into trouble with a baby hanging on, the team is out of the World Cup? Nothin' to do with me. You shoulda thunk of that before. As for JOINT CORPORATE getting behind another team, what sort of rubbish is this? I can't believe I read the poll questions myself and as if that is not bad enough, I wonder how much they PAY the genius who writes the crap. I'd like his job. And as if that is not bad enough, can you believe PEOPLE actually ring up or text in to respond to the poll? OK, they call it interactive TV but with people like me reading the poll questions and with people like those who actually RESPOND to the poll, is it any wonder we have the government we do? I am part of a nation of morons.

oh dear oh dear oh deary me

The wet season has arrived apparently a month late. Rain which has been threatening since Sunday set in at mid-day yesterday and has continued for 24 hours and we get to have another four months of it. Would that we could share some with the NSW farmers. My understanding is that this rain ends up in the sub artesian basin which is about 3km down in places like Moree.
So if continuous rain is not the cause of addled brains in Canberra, I wonder what is? I saw on SBS last night that I am not allowed to possess a "thing" any more. When the KGB, NKVD, Gestapo, Stasi had this type of law we were outraged. They did the midnight raid and found a "thing" and the owner was sent to a gulag. I mean nice Mr Ruddock, member of Amnesty would do no such thing, but what if nasty pretending to warm and fuzzy Mr Beazely or shudder shudder shudder Mr CREAN (kiddies cover your eyes - and stop screaming - it's not for real) were miraculously to become in charge of the "thing" legislation. Oh dear. A "thing". Goodness gracious me. This is what we pay lawyers to write. A "thing."

Atul and Geoff

taking time out at the Coastwatchers Hotel in Madang.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

"Did you know...

that the skills and competencies gained from international volunteering - such as flexibility, strategic thinking, conflict resolution and resourcefulness - are the exact ones that Australian employers seek from their management and staff?" Winter Issue p3 AVI Magazine.
In this light, I wonder what I can say I will take back with me? Elsewhere I said this experience was as much about the subject as the object. In fact, from an objective perspective, I never regarded volunteering in PNG as an international experience. In my mind it was a neighbour experience - a place that is always there and which you will visit when you get around to it. International meant Africa, Middle East and some parts of Asia. International is a place you go to be flabbergasted. Flabbergasted describes the confusion created in the mind when one confronts an arsehole in an ordinary situation where arseholes are not expected to be. I was walking on the grass beside the road outside the flashy Madang Resort on Sunday. This Z car (government ute with wontoks on the back) headed straight for me at about 20kph. I thought he was just dodging potholes but he kept coming so I moved aside and he followed me and I moved more and he kept coming until he finally came to a stop under a tree. I just stood and stared. To see an arsehole driving a car! Now there is flabbergastion! I was flexible (I moved). I thought strategically (I'm still alive). I am still trying to resolve the confusion and conflict that an arsehole is able to get a driving licence. I was resourceful - I did not confront the arsehole as I know what comes out of it.

AusAid and Volunteers

AusAid and Volunteer Service providers are convening a Volunteers workshop in Port Moresby at the end of July. Some of the things to be considered are how is it known whether volunteer assignments are having an impact and what development outcomes can be attributed to a program?
AusAid is involved in many projects in our region to our north as well as the Pacific, some of then direct such as this one in which my boss is participating, - "the Australian and NZ government sponsored leadership programme called “Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue” (EPLD). This is a 3 week programme where leaders (thank God not political leaders!) from all Pacific countries (incl. Aust & NZ) meet and visit various projects, establishments in different countries around the Pacific. Here we network, share and learn from each other. I have personally been polled in a team that will visit Fiji. We meet in Brisbane, then to various countries and the sum up in Auckland, NZ."
Others are indirect from AusAid's involvement and responsibility is devolved to organisations such as AVI for which I am one of the volunteers.

when I said kindly, what I meant

was that it was good of him/her to correct me but on re-reading my apology I realised I am not sure if "kindly" was the spirit in which the he/she corrected my mistake - the one about the celebrity wedding that is. On reflection I might have given the idea that he/she was generous in their opinion of my disregard of the facts when in actual fact words such as "idiot" and "jerk" ought to suggest to a discerning reader that the spirit was not as kind as my subsequent correction might have suggested. The point is nevertheless that I do appreciate the correction. It might have been better had I omitted the adjective "kindly" but then this would not have conveyed my appreciation and the correspondent is right - I should not write stuff that is wrong. So enough said. I hope I have learned from my mistake.

I admit I was wrong!

A correspondent kindly informed me that I had made errors of fact in my blog about celebrity weddings. I made a mistake in the names of the celebrities who got married. Apparently the bride's name was correct - Nicole Kidman - but her former husband was Tom CRUISE, not Tom Hanks. As if that was not bad enough I then had the bride being married to Steve Irwin, the famous crocodile hunter when in actual fact her new husband is Kieth URBAN. I apologise for the error and hope I did not offend the personalities involved. Thank you to my correspondent for taking the time to correct my misinformation.
Oh dear, perhaps I should not aspire to being a journalist after all. I thought facts were easy to come by and that it was the interpretation of the facts which was the hardest part.

the jack-knifed truck

Men are trying to push the PMV through the boggy ground to get around the semi which had jack-knifed so that it was blocking the whole road. It was in this spot that Tony came out of no-where and suddenly there I was talking with someone I actually knew in the middle of no-where.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

PNG minimum wages. National 19 June 06. p5

"Immediately applicable throughout PNG is a new minimum wage. Government ineptitude has delayed application of the new minimum wage for over two years. The new wage was agreed to on Nov 18, 2003, and was only published in the National Gazette on March 29 this year. Minimum wages for adults has been doubled from K18.55 per week to K37.18 per week. Youths between 16 and 18 have their wages increased from a minimum of K14.15 to K27.91. Camping allowances have been increased from 40 toea per day to 80 toea per day. Tool allowance has been set at K1 per week and heavy duty allowance has doubled from K1.88 to K3.72 per week. With the deregulation of wages in the 1992 minimum wage determination, these rates will apply mostly to the rural sector and might also impact on the security industry. Mr Jeffery said other applicable rates will have been negotiated as industry award or by workplace agreements. The new rates are - Senior rate: 84.5 toea per hour (44 hour week) — 50.7 % increase; Youth rates: 63.4 toea per hour (16-18 yrs old) — 50.7 % increase". (My comment: K1 = A 42 cents; 80 toea = 34 cents. This is the type of thing Australian voters voted for last election. Be happy!)

on the way to Madang

we came across two truck accidents. In the first, the back wheels had somehow fallen into a ravine at the edge of the road. We got past that one - I was driving - and we came across a semi only about a kilometre further on that must have jack-knifed so that it was blocking the whole road. Amazingly, as we sat waiting for the PMV ahead of us to go around the semi, Tony, husband of Joy one of my work colleagues, came over as he had recognised me. In the middle of no-where I see a PNGn whom I knew. The PMV got stuck and so a 4WD on the other side pulled it through the mud and then it was my turn. I'd never had a 4WD before so I had to learn how to engage 4WD low range - as easy as shifting the gear stick - and so we were on our way. Quite uneventful really but it made us about half an hour late into Madang.
The trip took about 5 and half hours. On the flats of the Markham valley the main problem is negotiating the potholes. Around Ramu the road is good until you get into the mountains when it becomes unsealed rock. The unsealed section is probably only 50 k but it is the roughest of rock. I don't think you would get a low slung sedan over it.

living in the shadows

That is Howard's problem. Hawke, Sir William Deane, Menzies. I don't like the man on account of his lies and the way he uses his glasses as an excuse for ineptness. I saw too many little kids at school with glasses who used glasses as a symbol of innocence. He/she looks so sweet they could not possibly be responsible for the havoc that seemed to exist around them. Meanwhile the red headed freckly faced kid would get the blame.
It's what Howard does and he gets away with it just like the glasses kids at school. Sir William Deane was genuine in his agony for the families who had lost children in the rapids disaster in Austria and Howard wanted some of that sincerity to be recognised in him. He probably is a genuine person in his own way but he is acting out an image because this is what the aussies want. In doing so he is no longer true to himself. He is unlike Nelson Mandela who told his people - "If you want me to lead you, then listen to me. If you do not want to listen to me, then get yourselves a leader whom you will listen to". So Howard lives out his image in photo ops at sport, farewelling Defence troops, the Bali tragedy. This is what makes him a little man, not his physical stature.

what does it mean to sit with

the wrong crowd? Hawke could sit comfortably with the cricket establishment because he was one of them. When Howard tries to sit with them, it is a matter of forbearance on their part. Howard is a try hard. It would be the same thing if I went over to Buckingham Palace. I would be a try hard if I did not recognise I could never be one of them. I played soccer at school but I have forgotten the rules. I do however carry a scar on my knee which required stitches. I used to run up and down the sidelines when Matt played but I never coached soccer. One boss told me to enter teams in the District Knockout Selection trial once and I told him we were not a soccer school, we played League but he insisted. I did my best with the team and they were beaten nine nil in the first game and I was chastised. Your team is wasting time and it is an embarrassment for the students. Tell my boss I said. He wouldn't listen to me. Last night against Italy I was happy to confess to my mate that the commentators ought to explain the ref's decisions because they must know that not many of the spectators would know the game. I am a soccer ignoramus but that does not mean I cannot be patriotic. I can be patriotic without being broken hearted or devastated. It is not my right to be broken hearted when I have contributed nothing to the game. So why is PM Howard "broken hearted"? He is bullshitting again for the sake of his image. Why do we tolerate him?

how do you spot a fake?

A mate and I had to be "models" in a fun item for a Ladies fashion show at Brewarrina. My mate did the Aunty Jack presentation - deliberately hamming it up that he was actually a guy in ladies clothes. I did the more coy and modest presentation - as if I was actually a model. Each role was funny but if you can imagine a guy trying to look serious as a woman and not laughing along with the audience, then there is the humour. Peter Sellers was a master at understatement. It was deliberate understatement but it was coy and modest and therin was the humour. So why did Bob Hawke look like a more natural enthusiast when Australia won the America's Cup? He was a more genuine sportsman anyway and so he could carry on because it was part of his cultural psyche. Who he watches with, when to laugh, when to cheer, when to shake the head in disgust at a ref's decision. He was knowledgeable. Howard knows nothing, sits with the wrong crowd and acts only for the cameras, not according to his beliefs or knowledge of the game. He says the right thing but it is bullshit. Plato counted knowledge as justified, true, belief. Howard mimics knowledge. He doesn't believe, and he would not know if it was true or justified. He presents an expectation of what he THINKS others expect of him so he comes over as not being true to himself.

PM broken hearted

over the Socceroos' loss to Italy. So read the teletext on the ch 9 news this morning. Does this mean we get a new Prime Minister or is it another con? The way he carries on at sporting functions makes him look more like a jerk than when he goes for his silly early morning walks. Bob Hawke could look natural as an enthusiastic spectator but there is something about these blokes who bung it on. The PM is a master at bunging on enthusiasm but am I the only one who can see through him? He reminds me of the kid at school who, when all the real boys were out there playing footy and were being screamed at by the little 13 year old girls, would be the know it all of the action and the names of the players and who at the end of the game would be more devastated if the team lost than the real blokes who had played the game or more ecstatic if the team won. We had a hanger on once who was more a pest - he'd run the drinks out, rub denkarub, tell spectators to make way for the team and generally try to sound important. He'd hang around us at the bar afterwards bullshitting about the game each of us played. I didn't think his name was John Howard but I could be wrong.

what counts as a celebrity wedding?

Back in the olden days when the Medicis were marrying and poisoning each other, I suppose they were the Renaissance equivalent to our modern day celebrities - people well known for being well known and nothing else. So apparently the wedding of Nicole Kidman - well known for having been married previously to that other well known personality Tom Hanks - to Steve Irwin - well known for hunting crocadiles - was the celebrity wedding of the year. Big deal. Why should we care? The "darling of the women's magazines" and some dude who is more famous for wrestling crocadiles in America than for doing much in Australia get married. So what? I got married once. It must have something to do with who gets invited - as in Princess Mary's wedding last year. Why do I not hear about marriages in Prince Leonard's of the Hutt River Principality family? Wouldn't that make an interesting guest list? The guest list at my wedding was very spectatular to me and my ex-wife and that is what should matter. Why need the media be interested in who gets invited and who doesn't? Are they trying to embarrass someone?

Monday, June 26, 2006

journalese belittles the real thing

Just when I thought the media had learnt to respect the meanings behind journalesic metaphors they start again. We were spared - as far as I know - the tradfitional "Blues are in enemy territory" when NSW went to Brisbane for State of Origin 2 recently. Unfortunately I heard it last night or this morning with reference to Australian netball heaviweights' going to New Zealand "into enemy territory" to spy on the New Zealand team's preparations ahead of this year's AvNZ netball tests. Enemy Territory is in Iraq and Afghanistan where SOLDIERS and other DEFENCE personnel stick their LIVES on the line just so you reporters and your donkey headed sub editors can write some crap that sounds heavy and knowing and important. Enemy territory is not on a sporting field or oval or netball court. Enemy territory is Gallipoli and Flanders and Tobruk and Vietnam and Kokoda where people DIED. Enemy territory is where SOLDIERS are sent by politicians where they would not send their own children. Enemy territory is where the ENEMY tries to KILL you. Enemy territory is NOT where there is a ball and cheerleaders in spivvy short uniforms and drunken yobbo louts yelling out "aussie aussie oi oi oi." Enemy territory is where only the PROUD deserve to be.

suck on that and learn

to live with it Alan Jones and Piers Ackerman. Don't pretend you care about the owner driver small business men who are being screwed by Tooheys and Linfox. You are no more the friend of battlers than evangelicals are the friends of sinners. Besides, you and 52% of your aussie mates voted at the last and the previous three elections to screw anyone who was weak enough to be screwed. It's a bit late now. I just laugh and love to see you rant and rave at the "oh the injustice, oh the untold misery, oh the woe of it all" when your own policies that you so gung ho supported bite you on the bum. I can live with the screws tightened a bit further on my mortgage just as I learnt to live with the 17% Keating mortgages and as I learnt to live with Treasurer Howard's mortgages - this clever dick economic manager who managed interest rates so well he had to legislate specifically to allow banks to increase their rates ABOVE the previous cap of 13.5%. You don't remember that do you Alan or Piers or what's that other bloke, the idiot Steve? (I hope I don't malign the good footballer) Price I think it is? Not that Labor are worth believing in either - imagine Tony Albanese as a Treasurer?

The thing is not to hold the staff

responsible for mistakes. Staff such as waiters are paid such a small fraction of the K39 cost of the meal and such a small fraction of the K220 price of the motel room. The owners and managers of these establishments think they have found El Dorado when they set up business ventures here. They do not pay the prices that Australian labour demands and if PM Howard and the 52% who support him have their way they will turn Australia into a Papua New Guinea. Of the K200 for the room at the Coastwatchers, K1 per hour would have gone to the house maid, say K10 for electricity and water, K20 for tax, the rest is for profit after capital costs. In Australia, a country motel charges the equivalent of K200, say about $A84. Of this, the house maid gets $A16 per hour, tax $A8.40; electricity, rates, water $A? But the big difference is the labour costs. Take labour costs out and the owner still has K199 to pay for overheads. In the Australian case, take labour costs out and the owner has $A 68 or in kina terms, K200 less K40 labour. So management in the restaurant ought to be investing more in training its labour force. Who can blame someone who is paid 40 cents per hour?

Madang - the Venice of the South Pacific

but without the mediaeval bulidings and St Marco's. The St Petersburg of the Melanesus. The islands are just 100 and 200 metres off shore and they glitter over the water from the mainland at night. We ate at the Smugglers Rest Restaurant on Saturday night where the setting was much more enjoyable than the meal. My friends A, S and T went up there for the weekend, having left at 6am Saturday and having returned by 6pm last night. Anyway I was saying about the setting for dinner. Madang further around the coast is protected by islands but the Smugglers inn faced the open sea and the waves, blown in from a strong sea gale, were crashing against the balustraded outdoor setting spraying us with foam and mist while small crabs nibbled our toes and the noise took us away into a Hemmingway or Conrad fantasy. If only the airline industry were more open and competitive, Australians would come here as an alternative to Bali, Fiji or anywhere else. The tourism industry needs to become a bit more sophisticated though. We ordered prawn, calamari and fish but we were served a gravy like concoction with two prawns that I was aware of on a bed of a very well done piece of steak! For K39. We suggested K20 was a more payable price.

the most preciousest little son

in all the world. How privileged does a father have to be to have a son like mine? I love my little man. I rang last night to check that my little boy who is now a big man of 25 but who is still just a squinchy bit shorter than I am - until the cartilege starts shrinking from between my spine - was still in one piece following his footy game at the weekend. He told me it was rained out. Rugby? Rained out? I remember it happened last year too. Not the fault of the players' not wanting to have a romp in the mud but the grounds staff closed the oval. We played in sleet one time at Bathurst Teachers College - well actually several times but one time it was more freezing than others that I remeber. Anyway, i asked Matt to get a box of Chocolates and send over to Mum: she and I and the late Princess Diana share birthdays on First July. So Matt says he will go up there before his footy next Saturday which is at Yamba. Mum was excited to hear from Matt during the week that he was going to go back to Uni full time to finish his course - in Hospitality, Tourism and Business Management with Southern Cross. I'll be glad that he gets out of the hotel industry but it has been good for him. There is a camaraderie which he has enjoyed for its giving him a family of brothers and sisters which he missed when his little sister died.

Friday, June 23, 2006

It's a good thing

I am not teaching grammar at the moment as on reflection I have forgotten the rules. Auxiliary verb and verb to be taking same case before and after the verb, having is the gerund, thus - "Tony's having been standing" -therefore what follows, suspended participle etc. Forgotten it all.
My mate Rb and I were watching the soccer this morning and I was saying I hope that dreadful little big noting man PM Howard doesn't do his normal thing and come out and claim credit for the Socceroos' getting into the Round of Sixteen. The bloke is shameless for what he does not claim credit for. The Olympic Games, Cricket, Rugby. He is from the evangelical tradition which does not kneel to pray. But you watch at any public church service - as for a State Funeral - he will kneel and clasp his hands. Only if there are TV cameras there of course. And if he can show up his political opponents as non kneelers. The kneelers are generally Roman Catholics and High Anglicans. Howard's background is Methodist. He kneels because he knows the mainly atheist aussie while turned off by religion generally respects a devout believer - provided they don't earbash them. So Howards gets brownie points: that nice Mr Howard. See, he kneels to pray not like those others. He's just like us - he loves his cricket too. What a nice man.

I forget where I am up to

in my web-log. I've been at a Distance Learning Seminar presented by Prof Fred Lockwood over the last few days which has kept me busy - so busy that i have forgotten my train of thought so I am not sure how themetic, consistent and coherent I am. I just looked at the picture of the welcome to Tony and I describe both Tony and i as standing. I meant to say jokingly I am standing out of the picture taking it. This is of course Tony, standing stretching his legs having just arrived from New Zealand. Which one of the "ing" words here is the gerund? "This" is the subject of the sentence, "Tony" is the object but I would need to consult Fowler to recall how the gerund is governed.
My camera has been with friend Atul who had the good fortune - as a result of hard work - to go to Rabaul and he took photos of the destruction of the volcanic eruption eight years ago I think it was. We had a shaky earthquake about 10pm last night. It wobbled my book, 1812 as I was reading. I have a slight window of opportunity to do some casual reading before I start French 307 in late July. Texts we are studying this time are Sartre's play Les Mains sales and Laclos' Les Liaisons dangereuses and two works by Ernaux. I saw Les L.d at Oxford about 15 years ago - long enough ago to have forgotten it.

oh well, that's alright then

A ferry sank in Indonesia overnight and thankfully no Australians were drowned. 35 Indonesians drowned in the accident. I beg your pardon? Are Indonesians somehow less human that we can report their deaths but we give thanks that no Australian died? Can we not express some emotion of regret to balance the one of sympathy?
The whingeing aussies who complain about other nations' complaining have something to complain about as a result of the appalling refereeing during the Australia Croatia match in the World Cup. Hand balls and tackling made me wonder whether the game was Gaelic football or maybe Australian Rules. The right result worked out in the end but the Referee ought to rethink his ability. There I go - its the whingeing aussie coming out in me. Must be genetic.
As for the whingeing, now the aussies must know what it feels like when other sporting teams come out here. The sledging from the crowds and the media are as appalling as the refereeing during today's match. Aussies always give themselves a name as being good sports but they ought to listen to themselves over there. Oh it's not fair we're being labelled as too physical. It's putting pressure on the referees. You aussies give but you can't take. And then you've got the hide to whinge about whingeing Poms. Look in the mirror.

My friends at a meet the new guy volunteer Tony standing, Roger in white shirt, Robert in dark shirt, Elly sitting on the colourful chair, me standing.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Nikita Kruschev, former USSR Premier

recounted the story of the hard nosed Stalin. Kruschev was Commissar for Ukraine during the drought of 1937 and he appealed for assistance from the Kremlin which refused to help. But Comrade Stalin complained Kruschev (a very VERY brave thing to do), last week I was in a peasant's house and she was salting down what looked to be a small piglet. She was complaining about the starvation. Comrade she wailed you must help us. After we have eaten dear little Andrei Andreivich we will have nothing and we too will be dead. Comrade Stalin, things are desperate. These peasants are reduced to eating their own babies. Nonsence Nikita scoffed Stalin. These peasants are very wily. They are just trying to appeal to you for your sentimentality.
I used to be sentimental like Kruschev. I wouldn't say I am exactly hard nosed like Stalin - I don't think I am? But I am hard nosed about this country. The Celts had to choose between Roman ways and their traditional ways. Some choices are not easy. It depends on what you have to give up for what the advantages might be. Is it a good thing to give up tribal culture for materialism? TVs, cars, consumerism, celebrityism? Head-dresses, feathers through nose, grass skirts, bride price, pigs? What would Stalin do?

he who does anything because it is the custom

makes no choice. John Stuart Mill. Today's calendar aphorism. Some people pay a compliment as if they expect a receipt. Kim Hubbard, aphorism 13 June. So what choice will I make. I am wondering about my future prompted in regard to another AVI mate who has decided to give three months notice. Should I, shouldn't I, will I, won't I? I want to stay for the election period next year as I think it will be fascinating to see people power PNG style. Furthermore I think things are happening even though they are very slow. I come to work every day and I spend most of my time on the computer on the internet and still I get to play solitaire. But John assures me we now have writers lined up to rewrite the Adult Matriculation Courses and this will be a major accomplishment. It will prove we can at least do something. Externalisation of University level courses hopefully will follow shortly after that and I am semi optimistic that some University subjects will be available for teachers in the first instance to upgrade their qualifications. I expect the University will get more teachers to teach the increased number of students in the same way it gets more cars. It is a mystery.

with the precautions needed for PMV

travelling, why do you do it? Friends will take me shopping so why tempt things when they are so bad? However little I have as a volunteer it is still 100 times more than the people who gather in wait for you at the PMV stops are ever likely to have. They want material possessions but their ways of procurring them does not excuse their behaviour. I see people in wheel chairs with bony legs - probably victims of polio. Another bloke outside Foodmart with one crippled leg sitting on the wet concrete path with his hand reaching up as he sees the wait man approaching. Another 10 year old or so boy with his hand reaching upward - his eye is white, must have been blinded or something. Sometimes I might give but generally I have become hardened. Why aren't their wontoks helping out if wontokism is so culturally engrained that is the root cause of corruption? Anyway, I CHOOSE to travel by PMV - most of the time. This experience is my most culturally challenging experience. Being at the University does not expose me in the way that other volunteers are exposed to the real people and the survival issues of the country. Life need not be like it is.

once you are on the PMV

you are generally safe although there are so far as I know only isolated of incidents of rascols and bullies and criminals. Mostly the passengers look after each other. The main problem is at the bus stop particularly when it is crowded. At times like that particularly you should not have anything of value in your pocket. Hold everything together in your bag in front of you. Hold onto this bag and do not just let it dangle around your neck. When necessary use the free hand for balance and support but if possible put both hands around your bag. If you have groceries in the other hand then be prepared to lose them - you can always buy another packet of weet bix and another jar of vegemite but to lose your mobile with all the contact details and to lose your wallet with cards and everything are more major problems. Yesterday after my exam finished about 4pm I had to do some shopping so I go to the Top Town Lae bus stop about 4.30. I held my bag up to my chest and my attitude was there are 100 thieves there out of 500 people. They work in groups and they know you are coming. The colour of your skin gives you away as an easy target. As a wait man you are one of only about five wait men who catch a PMV so you will always be a prime target.

PMV travel -the way to meet people

I was on Newtown station a year or so ago trying to catch the 8.23 to City. It came at say 8.25 and was too crowded and the attendant over the loudspeaker suggested people wait for the 8.35 - only a 10 minute wait. However, such is the reputation of CityRail that if there is a train at the station, then you get on it because another might not come. And so people behave in Newtown in a marginally more civilised manner - they do not climb through train windows and generally - I repeat GENERALLY they do not push pregnant ladies and cripples and nursing mothers out of the way. And so as for the PMV system here. It is private enterprise. PMVs are not owned by the government. Owners buy a licence to run a route. The Unigate route is 11C or 11D. But to get 2 fares of 50t they go via Kamkumung - ie, you pay 50t to Kamkumung, the PMV unloads you then the PMV drives 10m and it picks you up again and you pay another 50t. The route is supposed to be 50t direct between Eriku and Unigate. You might say it's only 50t . But tell that to someone who is only on say 80t per hour. As for a timetable. The PMV goes when it is full - ie, when it has about K14 worth of passengers.

I listened to the news

on the TV this morning and it sounds like it is an exciting old world out there in Newsland. A guy has been arrested for murder; an Australian girl was shot in the neck in Thailand; Sunny bill Williams is fit to play on Friday night; the Japanese can slaughter some more whales. There must not have been enough homo sapiens killed in Iraq overnight to warrant their deaths being newsworthy any more. That's great news about Sunny Bill though isn't it? Third top story of the day, eh?
I did my French 305 Literature exam yesterday. I was very tired after sitting up to watch the Brazil V Australia soccer on Sunday night and I couldn't concentrate on my last minute cramming so I went over to AVI mate's N's place for a sleep and last minute cramming. Cramming for literature study means going over the arguments for different critical positions and checking one has everything covered. In the end the questions - two essays in two hours were more general than I had prepared for. N's haus meri was prepared for me to have a sleep on a BED so when I told her I don't sleep on a bed in the daytime and I just wanted to lie on the FLOOR she was full of consternation that I would not be comfortable. She insisted she put a sheet on the floor though. Sometimes one just has to compromise. Thank you N and Wendy.

Monday, June 19, 2006

look at PNG and take note

The majority, the 52% who share PM Howard's vision of the free enterprise Australia should look at this most of free private enterprise and smallest of public enterprise countries and learn from it. If you come to PNG and you believe in free private enterprise you will do well here along with the buai sellers, hard boiled eggs sellers, cigarette lighter salesmen, stolen cotton ear buds sellers, stolen second hand watch, stolen mobile phones, stolen anything else sellers, cigarette sellers, razors sellers, pens and pencils sellers, souvenir sellers, bilum bag sellers, woven grass plates and baskets sellers. You might even bring in a fish or a turtle you have caught and sell them in the market along with the other free private enterprise market traders of fresh fruit and vegetables and second hand clothes. But you had better hope you do not get sick and need to go to hospital. You had better hope you do not need to drive on the roads and keep your Mercedes in good condition. You had better hope you do not get pulled up by rascols. You had better hope your teenage daughter is home and stays home after school. Because Health, Law and Order, Transport - the things that the public sector is responsible for and which the minority in Australia support are like what PM Howard and the majority want to see in Australia.

they are just uneducated

No, this is not good enough as an excuse for thieves and rapists and other criminals in this country. Our species is "home sapiens". We are not like gorillas who have just swung in on a vine from out of the jungle. By definition "homo sapiens" means we can think without education. We look at what our fellow homo sapiens are doing and we see 99% of them acting orderly, decently, civilly, courteously and we THINK to ourselves Hmm I am like them, I must behave like them. They do not look at fellow homo sapiens and think Hmm, I must eat a banana and pull fleas off my neighbour and throw faeces and banana peel at other homo sapiens. Education teaches higher order skills - it does not teach what is basic to being a human being: a human being respects my mobile phone and my right get on a bus in a civilised and orderly manner. I do not need education for that.
This country is letting down its own honourable citizens of whom there are 99% of 5 million people. Fifty thousand criminals and include in that the corrupt officials and political - I was going to call them leaders - but rogues is a more apt description are holding the donor countries as well as good natured citizens and servants of NGOs and churches to ransom.

sell that you *&% low life thief

I got to the bus stop yesterday as one bus with some room on it was leaving. By the time the next bus had come, about 20 minutes later, a crowd of 100 passengers had gathered. I let the next three buses take them away. By this time it was getting late for church so I pushed my way on to the next PMV which took me to Kamkumung. I had to stand the whole trip near the door and when I got off I discovered the thief standing next to me (he's not a person - he's a low life *&% thief) had tried to get my mobile phone cover stuffed with cardboard which was attached to my bag with string. So I put it back in my phone slot of my bag. I then moved over to get the Eriku bus and there was a crowd there too. Anyway I got to the front and I felt the person behing me pushing and shoving - just another rude "passenger" swung in from the vines out of the jungle who doesn't know about manners and courtesy and politeness and civility and taking turns I thought. Then the good people started yelling at him as he ran off with my mobile phone cover stuffed with cardboard and paper. I would love to have seen his face as he read the message surrounding the cardboard - "Sell this you *&% low life thief."

Saturday, June 17, 2006

I am concerned about

the increasing use by myself in response to social condonation if not acceptance of vulgarity in choice of language. There was a time on TV when s*** was bleeped out and the offender's contract terminated. Graheme Kennady got away with ?uark and last year Rove MacMannus got away with the actual f word. I am reading Boule de suif by de Maupassant and it lambasts the hypocricy of the French bourgeoisie at the time of the Fr-Prussian war 1870 and I wonder if there are more things to be concerned about than language which goes through evolution of vulgarity to indecent to decent? It is a matter of being aware that some people do not like vulgar language - as though language were like art - well it is really , but what I mean is vocabulary per se rather than the broader context of language. The f, c, b, s, words generally do not belong in my vocabulary but it would be hypocritical of me to say I have never used them when I was angry - as when my mobile was stolen. They were never part of our family vocabulary. I never heard Mum or Dad use them. Even "fart" was very impolite and it still is in my family context. It was used by vulgar people. These days it seems to be artistic to use the word in context and without being too vain, that was the context of its use yesterday.

Friday, June 16, 2006

not one of the best

but THE best new concept TV programme was Nerds FC on SBS. Former Socceroo Andrew Harper gathered a group of about 20 nerds whose idea of life was total immersion in a book or computer and who therefore had no idea that there was such a thing as soccer and he worked with them for three months to develop coordination and soccer skills among other things. He took them camping and they had to erect tents and blow up mattresses. "Do you mean I have to put my mouth over this germy hole and blow in to it? But the air keeps escaping" Well you have to put your tongue over the hole to keep the air in. And so on.
One of the other ones was a rubber puppet animal cartoon in which they took on the attitudes and values of people. These two mice were sitting back in their straw armchairs in a maze. "Well I have a responsible job really. I have to show the humans how well I can get from one end of the maze to the other without making a mistake. They use the information to help their psychologists design better education mathods for the little chlidren. It's quite tiring but if it will help the little kiddies then it's it's worthwhile really."

I spent salad days in pubs

and I saw all talk and no action blokes. Oh yair? Come outside and say that. You wanna fight? Yair, come on then. Naa, you come on then. Yair you're weak. Yair, come outside and say that. Yair you're not game. Ah you're drunk mate. Yair? Come outside and say that. You'd lose your way. I'd never find ya. Hold me hand then and I'll show ya. I wouldn't hold your hand - it's probably sticky. Yair, come outside and say that.
Then, being a school teacher, the number of Headmasters I was told about who have had canes broken in two and wrapped around neck, heads punched in, teeth knocked out, it's a wonder emergency wards and dentists ever had time to treat car accident victims or fillings for anyone else.
Then as for stud material. 15 times on me wedding night mate fair dinkum. On a whole night? Mate, 15 times in the first hour. What, with only your wife? Mate, after the reception ... and on and on it goes as if these jokers expect someone to believe them. No wonder Australian politics is like it is. That's the tragedy. We do believe them.

at least the Pommies look after

their own which is more than this lousy Australia does. Well if you don't like what Australia has become you can always stay in PNG. Top attitude that. It reminds of the times I took MY bat and ball onto the street with two playmates and the bullies came along in dribs and drabs until they eventually were doing all the batting and bowling with MY bat and ball and we fielded for them. As a school teacher I saw it happen all the time - big kids infiltrated little kids games becaue they could win against them. David Hicks is the little kid here for whatever his faults might be and HIS country and MY country have let him down. David Hicks for whatever he has or hasn't done is AUSTRALIAN. Michelle Corby and Ned Kelly and Dolly Dunn and wife bashers and cheats and gazumpers and tax dodgers for whatever their faults or perfections are AUSTRALIAN. David might have been stupid and misguided, he might be a loner and a loser. But he is still the son of Terry Hicks, AUSTRALIAN CITIZEN and that ought to count for something. Now even the Taliban fighters who are Afghani citizens are being repatriated. The alpha males of Australian politics are too busy sneaking in to the toilets to count the hairs on their balls that they don't care.

there will never be justice for

David Hicks for as long as both sides of politics think there are no votes in the plight of Mr David Hicks, CITIZEN of Australia. Here's how they think.
Howard - Mr Speaker, Piers Akermann, Alan Jones, Swinging Voters. David Hicks ought to stand trial for flying planes into New York.
Beazeley - Mr Speaker, Geg Combet, Green Left Weekly, Swinging Voters. Listen to this lilly livered response by the Government. David Hicks is a traitor to this Honourable nation.
Howard - Mr Speaker, Piers, Alan, Swingers. David Hicks is more than a traitor. He's a harlot, a charlatan, a nasty piece of work, we don't want him here.
Beazeley - Mr Speaker, Greg, Greenies, Lefties, Swingers. He's worse than that. He's an evil treacherous lying foul mouthed grub who once voted Liberal.
Howard - Oh Mr Speaker, Piers, Alan, Swingers. Listen to this go soft on terrorists, anti American, Taliban loving, Illegal migrant loving would be PM. David Hicks smells worse than my dog's farts.
Beazeley - Oh Mr Speaker, Greg, Greenies, Lefties, Swingers. The government is weak on terrorism. David Hicks is so bad he smells like MY farts. Beat that one PM.

I got an email just now

"Justice for Hicks and Habib theatre fundraiser. The Canterbury-Bankstown Peace Group & the Justice for Hicks & Habib Campaign are holding a Theatre Fundraiser: 'Men without Shadows' by Jean-Paul Sartre7:30 for 8pm, Thursday June 15 The Crypt, at The Cat and Fiddle Hotel256 Darling St Balmain. A moving reading of Jean-Paul Sartre’s play ‘Men without Shadows’ produced by Buldozer Theatre and directed by Fiona Green. Duration: 1 hr&15 min,‘ Men without Shadows’ is a fascinating and compelling personal tale of detained Resistance fighters and their torturers. Seven captive men and women discuss the meaning of the violence they have committed: the innocent who have suffered, the meaning to their torture and how to survive. Meanwhile, in the next room soldiers argue between themselves how to get through the task they have been ordered to perform. Cost: $16, (be sure to mention you are there for the Canterbury-Bankstown Peace Group fundraiser). Bookings: 9810 7931".

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I wonder if Patience was right?

Post Courier, 15 June 06. "Uni row gets serious
HIGHER Education Minister Don Polye yesterday instructed police to arrest Dr Kukari and prevent him from taking office as VC of the University of Goroka. He described the actions of Dr Kukari and other purported council members that had supported him as illegal. Mr Polye maintains that Dr Rawlence was still the VC of the University of Goroka. Dr Kukari maintains that he is the VC appointed by what he maintains is the legal University of Goroka Council. Dr Rawlence said he was firmly in control and said Dr Kukari was no longer an employee of the university and should not be acting VC. The non-academic staff walked off their jobs yesterday demanding authorities sort out the problems or appoint Dr Kukari as acting VC. It could not be confirmed if the 1500 students were in class. The Minister had instructed chancellor Sir Ebia Olewale to convene an urgent council meeting tomorrow. Last Friday, Justice Elenas Batari granted leave to Dr Kukari and others to seek a judicial review of Mr Polye’s action in terminating them and substituting them with an interim body. Justice Batari ruled: “There is no evidence to show that membership of any of the applicants was terminated at the time of sacking from the council. It sounds absurd to me that disciplinary actions were the reason to exclude council members whose terms were current at the time of the minister’s action.”

I knew I wasn't imagining

the place that is Eriku. Mate A who sent me the PMV article the other day sent this one over today and he assures me it is not a wind up.
"Please clean Eriku
I AM frustrated at seeing changes in Lae City. One of the places is the Eriku section. It is a place where drunkards, shoplifters, robbers, beggars and fortune hunters . . . the list goes on. It has become a place where there is no peace. Can the authorities clean up this section of the city by putting some regulations to be followed. – Eriku Observer, Lae"

On crowded pay days when there is money around, as this writer observes, Eriku abounds in rogues. It must be like Port Jackson (Sydney) was in the olden days of rudimentary European settlement when convicts and petty rogues and villains made it a very unsavoury place. I don't know why Police do not put officers on duty there and at the Top Town PMV station at busy times.

my speeding fine

Imagine my shock when i opened mail yesterday from the State Debt Recovery Office. State Debt Recovery? I didn't know I had any outstanding debts that needed to be referred to a Debt Recovery Office. It came to me via my Mother's address and I thought where I had been in the last five years where I could possibly have an out-standing debt. Land tax? Unpaid electricity, phone, water, rates. The debt was for speeding through a camera area nbear Ballina on 4th May 2006 - that is about 5 weeks ago!!! 5 weeks ago and I get referred to the Debt Recovery Office as if I had been running away from my responsibilities? It so happens I had been in Australia between Anzac Day and 5th May and if the car I am responsible for was speeding then I accept responsibility but will plead inadvertent temporary loss of concentation. It was nothing wilful. Like sometimes I step off the kerb and forget to look for cars. It is not a wilful act. So to get referred to the State Debt Recovery Office seems rather over the top. The Roads and Traffic Authority is responsible for the speed cameras so why did it not just send me an infringement notice - I mean and I repeat -it was five WEEKS ago not five YEARS ago. Goodness gracious me.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

‘Re-opening mine would start war’ -Post Courier

ME'EKAMUI defence force self-styled general Chris Uma has warned that the re-opening of the Panguna mine would start another war on Bougainville. Mr Uma said the mine would remain closed until Bougainville gained independence and broke away from PNG. Pointing to the giant mine pit Mr Uma warned: “If you’re talking of re-opening the mine, you’re talking about war. The silent majority of the people don’t want mining on Bougainville and politicians must not use peoples’ names in order to re-open or start up any mining on the island. Me’ekamui represents the bulk of population who are in the villages throughout Bougainville. These are the silent majority who are carefully monitoring the government’s move on any issue on the island, and mining issue is no exception". Mr Uma said there was no consultation with the people and leaders were talking as if they owned the land. “Leaders who are talking about mining don’t represent the interests of the people but represent themselves. This kind of attitude from leaders has been ongoing in the National and provincial government and now the practice is the same within ABG. Leaders got elected into parliament and instead of presenting their peoples’ views to governments, they were fooled by foreigners who think of nothing but making money using people’s resources. The leaders then push for their interests only".

from Post Courier, 14th June 06

There are two national dailies in PNG, the Post Courier and the National. I could not download this one so I have had to type this one in. "Three dead in fight over pig. Three men are dead and two are seriously injured after a fight sparked from alleged arguments over a pig belonging to a councillor of Vunabaur in East New Britain got nasty....The fight occurred on Monday between villagers from Vunabaur and Ganai...Between 1pm and 3pm the Councillor along with three men from Vunabaur went to Ganai to demand compensation for stealing his pig...The Ganai villagers allegedly attacked the councillor and the three men with bush knives. The men reportedly returned to Vunabaur and told their people who ganged up and returned to to Ganai where they attacked with bush knives. Police attended the scene and arrested 19 people."
Closer to the University there is a rape crime in which "the woman was threatened and raped allegedly by a security guard outside the UOT campus. the woman was returning from work late at night. The security guard escaped and was still on the run."

how do i justify

vulgar language in my writing? The world, and particularly the Western world has become a more vulgar place. We suffer the tyranny of the majority and sadly in the absence of leadership - which is a contradiction in terms - from the minority, all things decent, honourable, respectable have been rejected by the majority. The Holy has been rejected. Pornography, paedophilia, self interest, self satisfaction, laziness, rejection of community, rejection of standards, rejection of courtesy and manners are the new norms. Sure we are still selectively hypocritical in our values. But when we rejected integrity in our leaders and let them lie about GST, children overboard, David Hicks, Iraq, we said that integrity and standards did not matter.
Following up on the Papience article is this letter to the Post Courier:
"I AGREE with Prof Allan Patience’s comments and, when we look back, PNG was never ready for independence.A few so-called intellectuals pushed for it so that they could gain power to pursue their own gains.No politician will say that we are in a mess, but we must bite the bullet and start again from scratch, even if we have to change our constitution and bring back the foreigners".

alepam oxazepam

that was the drug the doctor put me on to help me get through until the Zoloft kicked in. He warned me it was addictive and I did not want to become dependent on sleeping pills because I think it is a sedative. A year later and I've still got 1 and a half of them out of the only batch he prescribed - 25 tablets - just in case. Once you've had this type of scare you lose confidence. What if it happens again? Will you cope? I think I was on half a tablet am, half pm and one before bed. Australia has just finished Mental Health awareness week and I consider myself fortunate that someone realised I needed support before it was too late. Dear friends in the bush lost their son to suicide the Christmas before last and it is a real problem in this harshest of droughts. Former Premiers Gallop and Kennett know what mental health is about as did Churchill the Great - the Black Dog as he called it. Of course one wishes one were normal - but how normal is normal? I'm healthy in other areas of life so I should not feel any more embarrassed than someone with a heart condition or cancer or a sore leg. Mental Health does not affect one's ability to act with principles, to consider the other, to think rationally, to worship God, to pay taxes and to respect the environment.

the sins of the fathers

being visited upon the children yea even down unto the third and fourth generation. What if I am a colonial exploiter, paying my labourer a wage not worthy of her hire? I don't want my actions to backfire on me and my family in future generations. Therefore it is astounding that we in the West have suddenly become so wise that we can tell the Indonesians about justice and colonial practices with the West Papuans and that we can tell the Singaporeans about hanging and the Japanese about whaling. Sorry I don't remember Twofold Bay. Just like I wasn't around when David ben Gurion was terrorising the British Colonial Headquaters in Palestine. I'm sure he could not have been a terrorist though otherwise Israelis would not condemn terrorism with such intensity. They would hardly condemn something which they practised themselves now would they? Just like the anti-whalers. I'm sure Moby Dick was never written. I'm sure there is no such place as Twofold Bay or Eden in NSW. Myall Creek and Aboriginal massacre? Sorry, never heard of it. Macquarie Island and Port Arthur? Convict prisons? Sorry, you are mistaken. They were film sets - pure fiction and fantasy. Guantamo Gaol? It wouldn't surprise me what those communists and Castroists got up to. Pure propaganda dear chap, pure propaganda.

Abu Bakr Bashir, Buccaneers, Cortes

the Visigoths, Huns and Vandals and Slavetraders. None of my family was killed in Bali or the Madrid train or the London bus or the New York twin towers. None of my family was taken as a slave to America or Arabia. None of my family in recent history had the flesh flogged off their backs. None of my family had our land overrun and confiscated and possessed by a colonial government in which they had no representation. None of my family was massacred at Myall Creek. None of my family was exterminated by being fed poison flour. None of my family was rendered or imprisoned in Guantamo or Auschwitz concentation camps. So today on the release of Abu Bakr Bashir I should not say anything about the release of this man. On a matter of perspective though, I pay my haus meri K20 a day which is about $A8.80 or thereabouts on the current exchange rates. That is a daily rate. In Australia that works out to be about an hourly rate at MacDonalds. Am I an exploiter? Marmalaide jam costs K11; twin pack Kleenex toilet paper K3.5; 250g Coon cheese K6.8;2l milk K7; 50pk tea bags K3.47; 440g Baked Beans K3.28; 680g loaf bread K3.30; topside mince K16; Scotch finger biscuits K5.5; Eggs 1dz 60g K5.7; Stuffed Olives Black&Gold 500g K10.7; Peanut Butter 200g K5.02; Vegemite 200g K5.8; Weetbix 375g K6.8. Fresh vegetables are a lot cheaper though - so K20? Fair or unfair?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I went to live with Mum

expecting to be going to Afghanistan this time last year with AVI. Then the mission was aborted owing to the perceived security risk and I was then without a house and job. I could sense the isolation and had no future. So I increased my Zoloft dose. I had been waking at 3am and pondering am empty future for three days until sunrise so I took three zoloft within six hours thinking I could speed things up. Mum discovered me awake and trying to make sense of this tight imploding head at 3am and she tried to get me over to the hospital but they assured her there was nothing they could do so she fretted until we could get an appointment with her GP about 11am the next day. He put me on an addictive drug Doxepan? until the Zoloft kicked in properly. One in five people in the western world are in my situation. I wish i were not like this and that i had a different makeup but then I would not be me. I asked the cabin crew after the flight if they had sedatives -they didn't - and I asked what they did if passengers became distressed and they said they had handcuffs and a straightjacket. Terrific customer service that isn't it? Handcuffs and a straightjacket would stress the person out more. It's why I hate the imprisoned bears for bile. I imagine their feeling how I felt with three Zolofts. "It is the blight man was born for. It is Margaret you mourn for." GMH.

So what had I just left?

My worst bout of depression ever. Here I was a 56 year old living with my 81 yr old Mum. I had realised after 4 months novitiate for the Ministry that vestments and the Church was a delusionary calling. I love to hear the call of God but His call and the call of the Church I came to realise were two different things. As with my Dad, Church was a major part of my life and so if i was not to have a more permanent and professional role in the Church, then what was I to do? This crisis developed into depression. At 56 I was too young to do nothing. I wasn't a bowler not golfer nor fisherman. Matt was not dependent on me and if anything I had become unfairly dependent on him. The depression even affected my psychology in other ways. I became claustrophobic on the plane down to Melbourne for the pre-departure briefing for PNG. I told the passenger next to me - Can you talk to me. I am afraid. Vous etes mal? he replied. Non, j'ai peur. Je me sens enferme a la tete. Vous avez claustropfobie? Oui, mais c'est bon que vous parlez avec moi. Vous voulez que je fais l'attention de l'hotesse? Mais no merci. Je suis meilleur. C'est seul que j'avais besoin de parler avec quelqu'un. je suis desole. Vous avez etudie francais en ecole? Thank you to the kind Frenchman.

comedians and literary licence

"Students feel lack of PMVs. STUDENTS living in the Taraka, Tent Siti and Bumayong areas of Lae city who commute to schools in the city are finding it difficult with fewer buses on the road. Those that leave home before 6am are able to catch buses, while those going to the bus stop outside Unitech or at Tent Siti and Bumayong, struggle. The female students are the worst affected. In many cases, the students are pushed aside by adults struggling to get into the buses, or are stopped by the bus drivers. This was the case for three Bugandi girls who could not find space on buses and were forced to return home on Wednesday morning. The girls Grace Hamau, Jaygna Sine and Molleen Sombo are residents at Unitech and have to struggle daily to get to their school. They say their male colleagues climb through the windows like Geoff Anderson. Post Courier". The last sentence was added by my comedian mate A: it refers to an occasion late last year when I had courteously let others on the PMV so when the next PMV arrived other travellers "encouraged" me to get in through the window which I did. It is a regular occurence but I only did it the once. I scratched my arms and thought it must not have looked dignified.

how do you know when it comes

to making life's choices? Am I destined and determined so that I only have apparent choices? When I left Brisbane nearly 8 months ago, when i looked at the navigation screen of the 767 at 60 km from departure, when after the flight had shown a movie and the navigator screen showed as well into the Coral Sea and 200kn from destination, and when after being in PMoresby for a week's cultural orientation I flew over the Owen Stanley Range, and then there was the Huon Gulf under me, and the F100 descended and lined up for Nadzab airport, I was aware of my having made a life changing decision. Would I like it, would I cope, was I fooling myself, would I be back no sooner than having arrived? What if it were all too strange? After all I had been there before - the all too strange bit, not PNG per se. The Hostel at Dubbo as an 11 yr old; my first job at the steelworks in Wollongong; St Paul's at Sydney Uni; Barraba, Mooney Mooney, Bellbrook. Not so much Wilcannia and Moulamein. Some places I adjusted to better than others. It depended on the comfort zone I had just left.

what do most people believe in

if the minority believes in fairness, justice, integrity, honesty? Self interest, family, jealousy, looking after themselves, the status quo, not rocking the boat, someone else will do it, someone else' troubles are the responsibility of the Church or government or Salvos or Vinnies, they alone have rights, everyone else has responsibilities, results of your hard work ought to be redistributed to them, if you're a worker you're being overpaid, if their children are workers they are being underpaid, you will organise and supervise their children at Junior Sport, nurses are overpaid, nursing homes are too expensive, child care is too expensive, government should pay for more nursing homes and child care centres, nurses should wipe their bum and clean their vomit for less than the basic wage, nurses and policemen should work Christmas Day at regular rates not penalty rates, do-gooders ought to ask someone else for mid-winter homeless appeals, every other driver is an idiot and ought to have their vehicles removed fronm the road, they shouldn't pay taxes, you should pay taxes.

some would say it's no big deal

to volunteer. Oh? You must tell me more. You haven't grown as a person volunteering? I can understand natural volunteers. They are at every chook raffle, every working bee, every sausage sizzle, every fete. However, count the number of fetes, working bees, fundraisers and you will see that for most of the population volunteering must be a very big deal. What does volunteering mean for me? The con man saw me down the street on Sunday after he had previously been to Church and when he got me alone in his comfort zone he was in a position of strength to ask me for money for petrol. Bullshit. I gave him nothing and I quickly hurried off to get a PMV home. But I help out Peter and Joseph the security guards in little ways like cup of tea/coffee, sandwich etc. I employ a haus meri on good wages but that is all I give her. I am not here on full ex-pat wages. To get expertise in certain fields they have to pay international contract rates. Volunteers come here on the much lower national rates. Is that any big deal? Missionaries are a lot worse off. When I see the state condoned corruption I have learnt that this country can afford full price for international labour. They treat volunteers and aid donors as suckers.

the Far West Organisation

was begun by Stanley Drummond from Cobar and its aim was to get children from the far west of NSW to medical treatment in Sydney where there were medical specialists. It relied on voluntary helpers like my Dad and Mrs Sylvia Randal and so many others of them who would conduct street stalls to raise funds to get the children to the Far West home in Manly. Far West also sponsored children who had never been to the beach for a holiday. I helped Steve Payton and Ray Dart one time back in the days of the goods trains. We had to take the children by car to Byrock to join up with the goods train from Brewarrina. It was stinking hot - mid January - and we filled an ice cream chest (an insulated canvas bag, the forerunner to the esky) with dry ice and drinks and sandwiches to sustain them on their journey of about 12-15 hours by train. One carriage was attached to the rear of the goods train.

Tim Anderson, B.E.M.

My Dad was awarded the British Empire Medal at the Queen's Birthday Honours list in June 1977 for community service to the Far West, Bourke Library Committee, Parents and Citizens and Church. I and my family are very proud of Dad. I announced the award at the occasion of sister Jill's and husband's Garry's wedding after the formal wedding procedures had concluded. Unfortunately there were some drunk yobbos at the reception who did their best to belittle the award to someone who had done more for their community than they would ever have the courtesy of doing and whose best community service might have been served by a post natal abortion. One of the dickheads went on to become chief of staff to PM Keating and is now money laundering for some property developer. Enough said.
Dad was named after his Mother's brother who died of wounds in Flanders WW1, Timothy Farrell. Dad's brother, George Edwin was named after his Mother's other brother George who was killed at the Somme WW1 and another brother, Edwin (Uncle Ted as I knew him) who returned from France WW1. No saving Private Ryan in Grandma's family.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I might not have intended to rob

the bank when I turned up with my 60cm long bush knife but if there had been a bad guy in the bank, he could have overpowered me and there would have been all sorts of chaos. Thus the security guards have to ensure no-one has weapons that could be lethal in the wrong hands which is why they "looked after it" for me while i did my banking. Mum complained once on a plane that her crotcheting scissors were confiscated - a little old lady with knitting needles or scissors might not be a threat in herself - and thus the lesson. I see Rb's blog www.schilt.com today recorded the same earthtremor here at Unitech as I felt in at Eriku at about 10.50 WPT. The jars on the shelves were wobbling excitedly. I had gone in with another mate whose car had broken down (Rg is my neighbour and regular lift if I go in to the yoti) and we caught two of the most reliable and best conditioned PMVs that I had ever been on. In fact the return PMV had a concertina door which buscrew even closed!!!! Beat that anyone!? I told Rg that these PMVs are trying to impress him so he will forsake his car and become a regular PMVer.

I was a bit offended

at Rotary the other night when I was fined for not having been at the working bee last Saturday and doubly so for not being at the ball and trebly so for not telling anyone. The fine session is supposed to be a light hearted dig when things go wrong. However when my integrity is impugned or indeed when anyone's integrity is impugned, that is not right. I had turned up for the working bee at the LAE inter and I did not see the Sergeant at Arms there but he was prepared to fine me for not being there? I looked around at the President and Larry and Milton who would vouch for me and for the young lady whose fare I paid after leaving the working bee. Furthermore I had told the club at the previous meeting of my circumstances - that K250 was too much on volunteers' wages and I even offered at one stage to serve drinks - except that was taken care of by the professional staff at the hotel. Rotary is a service club and members are expected to do service. You can't be a Rotarian and not do service and that is why I was offended. Rotary does good work but it cannot afford to impugn members' integrity no matter in how light hearted a way particularly when the facts are WRONG.

volunteering is about having fun

Last weekend ex-volunteer and now world nomad Jeremy returned to have a party and show finalists in the Sydney short film festival. Other vollies came down from Goroka and bunked down in various parts of Lae. I was lucky to have three house guests over the weekend - good company helps to break up the semester and ease any tensions and they give you reminders of home and let you know that one's own experiences are as bad as they get. Wendy, an ex-VSO from England was here to take some film for a project she was doing and she talked with my immediate superior on his experiences with AIDS victims I think it was and mate R's acculturation experiences all over the place. So generally the weekend was an excuse for all the vollies in and around Lae and their associates to hang out and have fun. Altruism is one reason for being a vollie but enjoying life in another culture is as good as any other reason while you are trying to help out with capacity building. So I couldn't get to the Rotary Ball as I chose to hang out with the other vollies - most of whom are young professionals who have had several years experience in their career and are able to share something with others. At K250 a ticket plus being partnerless, the Ball was not possible for me although I would like to have been able to go.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

what I love about my Dad

My dad died at age 79 in 1988 which would have made him 97 today, 8th June. He never used to make any fuss about his birthday. His Mum, my Grandma sent him 5 pounds for his birthday once and he used it to buy hot water bottles for us kids - there were 4 of us and Jill's being the baby had the only hot water bottle until then. He used to take it turns to put it in one of our beds and the one who had it thought we were special. So the night he bought one for each of us he came in and said Who's got the bottle tonight and of course we all said so and that must have been a special moment for him - our pleasure was his pleasure. That's a bit how God thinks too. He was a bookkeeper at Hales in Bourke, on the Darling in western NSW. He was actually born there but had his growing up years in Balladoran, and a short time in Ryde and moved back to Bourke with Permewan-Wrights after he returned from Occupation Force duty in Japan. He loved sport and was cheeky in a self deprecatory way: he taunted the bowler when he opened the batting at Dubbo once and Dad always laughed about how the bowler got him out first ball. He'd take his tennis racquet in for restringing after each game - that's what the big timers used to do in the days before they had second, third and fourth racquets. I love him and wish he were here to talk to.

my mate R tells the story

of his being approached recently by a shady character who shuffled stealthily up to him all the while looking nervously over his shoulder as though on the lookout for mafia, rascols, or police. "Psst, he tells R, I've got some gold. Good quality. I can let you have it for a fair price." Robert's riposte was a beauty - "Psst, he tells him. Don't tell anyone he says as he leans even further in to the man. Yeah the man says as R grabbed his attention. "You're looking at the poorest wait man in Lae. I'm a volunteer. Got liklik money." Blokes like R and myself travel around Lae on the PMVs because it is part of the experience we came here for. Besides we can't afford to buy a car but why would we want to? I've got a car back in Australia. If I wanted to travel by car and not meet anyone I could do that back home. There are times when it would be convenient to have a car just as there are times when it would be convenient for the nationals to have a car but we don't have one so we learn to live without. The PMVs stop running at sundown so that more or less traps us within the confines of the Uni but we've got friends who take us to Rotary or the yoti or occasional shopping. Mostly I do my shopping after Church on a Sunday. PS. Rascols here are not good natured cheeky layabouts. They are serious criminals.

naa, piss off - go ask a do-gooder

I told a kid asking me to sponsor him for a footy trip yesterday. I didn't really. I sponsored him in x units of 20t which seemed to me a good way of spreading the circle of people whom he could ask for support. But what made me think of the above riposte was the commonly held perception that Churches are the fount of all money. They only have as much money as members contribute for its upkeep. Giving for charitable works is on top of giving for maintenace works. So I thought the next time someone came to the priest's door, what if he were to say, "Naa, piss off, we only give money for the Lord's work and feeding a starving beggar doesn't count. We've got a building to maintain!" The priest is unfortunately and wrongly seen as the face of the church. He is just the leader of worship or at least the organisaer of worship. The congregation is the face of the Church but because it does not live on the premises it becomes removed from the recognition of the daily wants of the people of God who may not always be churchgoers. They are no less God's people for that.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

of course that is not fair

to the many Nationals who go beyond themselves in order to stand up for a principle. They are in Rotary and AIDS awareness and TI and Cultural Festivities and SingSing groups and all sorts of other Beliefs and Principles issues. They put in time and money because this is the way they serve their people. They know it is a cost and they wear that cost because at stake is the principle they believe in. The young lady who helped me the other day. Enoch and so many others. "To labour and not to seek for any reward save that of knowing I do the will of the Lord." You don't have to be doing the will of the Lord. You might call it doing the work of humanity but it is all the same thing. You work for principles. The SingSing groups turn up to give a Melanesian air because they believe in promoting their culture. The Choir travels in and gives time to practice during the week so it can entertain on Sunday. They pay for their PMV ride. It's what they do. They pay because they believe. That was the message to the young guy who thought he should be paid if TI wanted him to spread the word to his village. When he became a member of TI, he became an "us" - no longer could he say "they".

bank security

I asked one of the bank managers the other day about bringing a cash service out to the University on pay days and luckily I caught him as he took an apoplectic fit and didn't hurt himself too much. When he came to, I heard him mumble something through the boos and jeers and hisses - directed at me for saving him - that no staff would be game to go out there point 1, and point 2, security provision would be too prohibitive. So yesterday, and it has happened to me before, I was directed right away from an armoured vehicle out the front of the bank. The security guards explained to me that in the event of an attempted robbery, the public were kept well away from the van and the bank in case bullets started to fly. As for getting in to the bank, there is an entry air lock and an exit air lock. Only one booth works at a time. You enter one door. It is locked. Then the exit door is released. On exiting the bank, you enter the exit booth and the process is repeated. If there are people in both booths at once, one booth is let out, its doors are locked and then the other booth is released. Besides, there are security guards with metal detectors. When I bought my bush knife they took it from me for collection when I had exited the bank.

where do you think TI

got its money from to come here? Like Amnesty and others, people around the world put in $15 or $30 a month to put their money where their mouth is. Members ring up for publicity, they travel to a committee meeting, they come up here. No donor country paid for their expenses. If you believe, then you pay. I am a Volunteer: I am on Nationals level wages when I could be on Australians level wages back home. But I do this because I CAN and I WANT to. Haus meris come to wait man to look for work when I am on the same wages as other people around the University. Why do they come to me when they could go to other Nationals to ask for work? Because there is NO CULTURE that their own people can do things or that their own people have PRINCIPLES. So it COSTS me to employ whom the National doesn't employ himself; it COSTS me to forsake my Australian income; it COSTS me to go to Church and Rotary. If I didn't believe in it I wouldn't pay. Transparency International needs people of goodwill to share its principles and who are prepared to PAY out of their own pockets to stand up and be counted for having beliefs about the better governance of PNG. Until PNG starts to do that then it will need to suffer the taunts of "FAILED STATE"!

there are stacks of volunteer

opportunities for nationals in PNG, there just needs to be a culture of volunteering. They have to understand that volunteering COSTS though. Volunteering is a cost so if you don't believe in the principles, then you find a principle that you do believe in and you PAY for that belief. A donor country is not going to come in and pay for your principles and beliefs. That is something you have to do for yourself. Like Transparency International. It needs a budget to do printing and keep the organisation together. If you believe in the principles of TI, then you pay to get your principles a wider profile. Just like World Vision, Amnesty, WWF, Oxfam, Rotary, Soroptomist, Church. You pay to belong to a wider organisation that supports your beliefs. If you don't want to have beliefs to make your world a better place then why should you expect a donor country to come in and make your world a better place for you? I am paying taxes back in Australia. Why should my taxes go to help you if you are not prepared to have a belief that can make YOUR world better? I do it because MY world is YOUR world. But at some stage you've got to get off your arse and put your own principles on the line.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

correcting the ambiguities

I just read the last published blog and realised the ambiguity in "Western Countries have to stop believing their salvation is in government". The "their" I meant was the people of the West who have forsaken community for extreme individualism. I was trying to juxtapose two situations - the West and PNG: PNG problem is with reliance on donors; Western problem is loss of community. PNG has strong community at the local level but not a common good at the national level. PNG has intensive capitalism as survivalism with very little national government direction. There is almost no government input to basic education, roads, hospitals, social security in PNG but this is an accepted function of Government in Australia and the West generally. So per capita, PNG could claim to be more capitalist - no perhaps more profiteerist- than people of the West.
I saw the con man again today - hadn't seen him for several months - at the Melanesian. We went to look at the Australian Universities and AusAid expo and he was lurking outside. People are so thirsty for education - I hope we can get our projects implemented.
On a grammar note in the last blog, "sun rising" should be "sun's rising".

you've got to stop believing

that PNG salvation is in Donor countries giving more aid. Western countries have to stop believing that their salvation is in government's doing what communities of people ought to be doing for themselves. I'm a volunteer in this country because I CAN be at this level but volunteering does not necessarily mean having to sacrifice beyond what you are capable of. But it does mean realising that some things are more important than money. If you believe in things like fairness, justice, equality, right, then that puts you in a minority. These values are not accepted by most people. If they were, it would not be a matter of BELIEVING in them - they would be factual just like the sun rising regularly is factual. But you do have to believe in fairness, justice, right and equality. If you believe in them, they've got to be worth believing in. And if they're worth believing in then they've got to be worth more than money otherwise it's mauswara or bullshit. What you believe in are called principles and a lot of people tell you they stand for principles. But if as many who told you they believed in principles actually practiced those principles, then the principles would be fact. So the young members of Transparency International have to work out whether they BELIEVE in the values of the organisation they joined.

the other area students struggled over

was about taking one's principles into the political arena. It is understandable when this has become a "natural donee country" that students would think they could be paid for taking the fight for political integrity principles into their villages - they thought there was fund from a donor country that would pay their travel, accommodation, time, leaflet purchase, phone calls, photocopying. A few students did not understand that the fight for principles was a sacrificial fight - you don't get paid except for the reward of the love of your principles. The democacy fight has been going on in the West for over 2000 years and it is not over. I've stood as an independent candidate and I paid for petrol for my car to get around the electorate, I slept in caravan parks and national parks in a tent, I boiled a billy and cooked tinned Irish Stew over an open fire. I paid for advertising and I used my own phone and answered it myself. But I believed in what I was doing. The sitting member drove and sometimes flew around his electorate at taxpayer expense. He stayed in motels and ate at restaurants for breakfast. His secretary answered his phone. He got a postage allowance. He didn't pay for any of this. The taxpayers paid his expenses. But I believed in what I was doing. PNG, you've got to start believing in something!

Transparency International

like Amnesty International and Austln Volunteers Intnl is an association of like minded people who try to promote integrity in government particularly in developing countries. It was here in Unitech yesterday giving the students skills in understanding limited preferential voting (limited in that only three preferences need be recorded). About 70 students attended a forum-workshop last night following an all day education and awareness seminar. A Director of the electoral commission was here as well. A lot of understandings still need to be developed particularly about the role of a representative: asked whether it would be appropriate for a politician ie, representative - to pay the school fees, or build a clinic or a dam, the respondents had trouble distinguishing where their role as representative differed from the role of the government - ie, the individual from the group. Their understanding is hindered by the existence of an "electorate community fund" which is an allowance for MPs to spread largesse according to the micro level of the community needs. In practice this means looking after those who look after the MP. Australia does it too - it has something called "local area initiatives" which is a whatsanym for porkbarrelling.

Monday, June 05, 2006

another view - what the national reported

A PANEL member at the PNG Update seminar in Sydney has dismissed the bleak picture of PNG painted by Prof Allan Patience. He told a World Vision questioner that Prof Patience’s suggestion in the SMH that “PNG was a vast administrative mess” and that the country needed “massive international intervention” was more rhetoric than substance. “I see some understandable impatience in the comments,” he said. Earlier the director of the Australian National University’s Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government Andrew MacIntyre said people in regional countries like Papua New Guinea were offended by comments that their country was a failing state. “It is a state that is here to stay,” he said. "Such negative comments by academic and other commentators were due to “a misreading of the scale of problems”. With increasing Australian intervention in the region, Mr MacIntyre said Australia needed to try and exercise “modesty” and “be really careful about not getting a rush of blood. Australia cannot solve the problems of Timor Leste than the United States can solve Iraq,” he said. "Surges in development assistance could be unhelpful. It is more important what Papua New Guinea itself needs to do. The fiscal discipline showed by the Somare Government itself represented “enormous progress”.

ham fisted and befuddled?

In yesterday’s article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Prof Allan Patience, departing University of PNG vice-chancellor and political science professor, said that PNG is a vast administrative and political mess, representing a serious problem right on Australia’s doorstep. “The systemic corruption that poisons the political system from top to bottom is well known. Transparency International continues to downgrade PNG each year on its international corruption index. Late last year, the PNG police force was strongly criticised by Human Rights Watch International for routinely imprisoning, bashing, torturing and raping children.“Crimes of violence are escalating, including bashings, murder and the rape of very young children, teenage girls and women. HIV/AIDS is out of control, as are malaria and tuberculosis. Health services are collapsing.“The education system has all but disintegrated. Literacy rates are plummeting as schools close. Teachers are not being paid properly, or are not being paid at all. The higher education sector is fragmented and grotesquely under-resourced. It long ago ceased being the main builder of human capacity for PNG.”Prof Patience said that over the past two years, the U N Development Programme had placed PNG successively lower on its human development index because essential services were failing and governance was stalling.

I forgot to mention Peter

my day security house guard. I should say "our" because Peter and Joseph guard the complex of five flats and look after the general security down our end of the campus. Until security guards were put on duty there were holdups on the campus and this was happening until 2 or 3 years ago. On Saturday I went in to the Lae Inter to help set up for the Rotary Ball but it was all done. So I did some shopping and went to catch a PMV back to Eriku. On reflection I think this must have been my first time into Lae on a Saturday because most of the PMVs were going to Market. One kind lady with a child tried to help me and then finally a young lady of say about 20 said here's one over the road come, you'll get it. So I got on and sat next to her. To show I appreciated her kindness I said I would pay her fare and she accepted. Then the buscrew collected the money and the quizical look he gave me when I handed over the kina and said tupela. He looked at me, a 57 yr old guy and this young attractive 20 yr old and I could tell what he was thinking. I felt embarrassed for me but moreso for the young lady. What ever I could have said would have been misinterpreted so I said nothing and I got off the PMV at Eriku as quickly as I could and disappeared onto a Unigate bus.