outback to jungle

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

Friday, December 15, 2006

I've just gotter blog this before I leave

Paul drove me in to town this afternoon and we pulled up against the traffic just over the pedestrian crossing near Airlink down from Foodmart. As I got out of the car on the passenger's side this wait meri comes over to me and complains that the car was in the wrong direction on a pedestrian crossing. I told her not to tell me but to tell the driver if she had a problem. I'm telling you she said. You do something about it. I was flabbergasted. What to make of this. So I told Paul anyway - not for the purposes of doing anything different but to get it off my chest. He said yair I saw her talking to you and I thought she was a friend. I said no, but why would she not talk to you? Between us we worked out she must have thought I being a wait man was the car owner and Paul being the PNGn was my chauffeur and therefore she expected I would tell my "driver". Bullshit. People don't think in racist ways like that still do they? We can't think of any other explanation. Any ideas?

Then twice outside the bank the securities were holding back the pedestrians, keeping us well away from the doors so they could unload cash. There were securities with rifles and pistols ready to shoot and dog handlers. I obey the instructions no problem because as they told me once before, if bullets start going, they don't want to shoot an innocent pedestrian. They convinced me. But one arrogant ex-pat (not Australian or European) insisted he be allowed through.

Then finally getting on to the bus I was nearly bowled over by a drunk. The passengers already on the bus breathed a sigh of relief as he left. They get embarrassed when one of their countrymen behaves like this.

Happy Christmas, signing off for 2006.

When I was shopping for Boss yesterday I got a beads making set for Betty, a plaster model cast kit for Delilah and a drawing machine for Cynthia, a frisbee for them all and six skeins of wool for making a bilum for Wendy. Six probably isn't enough but it is something. I will give Peter and Joseph some drinks or something like that. I leave tomorrow for Port Moresby, overnight at the Gateway for K198, then fly out to Brisbane on Sunday for 6 weeks in Oz.

Farewell to Robert who leaves this AVI posting next week, farewell also possibly to Anthony who may be transferring his AVI posting to Port Moresby, farewell to Jane for this posting. Good luck with your new ventures. Merry Christmas and best wishes to everyone for the new year 2007. Thank you for reading and for commenting. I hope to start blogging again in late January. I will be on the move in Australia too much to post regularly.

Luv yez all,
Outback to Jungle.

my mate rascolled in his own office

yesterday afternoon. With no staff around at 4pm, this rascol armed with a home made gun looked like 22 calibre he said, came into his office on the third floor and tied him up with tape and was going to shoot him for ruining a wontok's life for poor grades or something - anything even. Mate talked to him about going to gaol for murder and the rascol settled for just taking his lap top. Mate escaped his bonds, ran to his secretary, called security and he was arrested at the gate. The lap top was damaged in the scuffle. We had a few beers last night to get over the trauma. If I can leave with two bouts of malaria, three sores on my legs and one pickpocketed phone I shall consider myself blessed.

While this was going on, I was over at Scout Camp attending a birthday party for 1 year old Boss - also know as Isaac. I got him a little toy car. There was so much to eat there. I ate off a plate but other guests as they came up to the table just tore off a piece of banana leaf and used that as a plate. The mumu was cooked in big pots with heated stones put into the them and water poured in to steam the food. Happy birthday Boss. Thank you for having m,e at your party.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

at the yoti

The Yacht Club has been a regular Friday Night Social Excursion - the one night of the week we can get out because we can get a lift home.
PMVs stop running after dark and as you can see from the background, it is dark time.
Troy, an AVI from Kokopo-Rabaul is in the blue shirt.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

when you knock my representative

then you knock me too right? Why does Peter Costello think it is alright to ridicule the representatives that 5 million or so people elected to Parliament? Paul Keating used to do it too. Why do these jokers think that they can take the mickey out of people we elected to represent us? Do they think we elected donkeys to parliament? Do they think five million of us are so stupid that we elected representatives knowing that they were figures of fun?

Listen up Costello and the 60% of people who elected you. I live in a democracy where my elected representative deserves to be treated with respect. You want to laugh at my elected representative then tell me to my face that I voted for a goose. Nah you're not game and you wouldn't have the courage to apologise either. You rabbit on about the joys of democracy well how about treating the representatives of the minority with as much dignity you like to be treated with.

why can't they have their own style?

I watch fox news and this Greta van Suchen intones her questions as downward intoning throw away lines almost like a policemen getting the facts of an accident: and how old are you Sir? did you see anything Ma'am? and what was that Sir? so you can't be sure? was anyone else around? This is OK for facts but to use the same manner in an empathy situation is a bit fake: and how are you now Sir? you must be devastated? how are you coping Ma'am? that must be so hard?

Anyway this Carl guy on Ch 9 morning show has taken to copying this Greta bird. That one of them does it is bad enough. That one copies the other is hard to take. But when the copyist is such a try hard and it doesn't work, you just feel like screaming, "Do your own thing mate, do something else but give us a break will ya." Perhaps if he put in the Sir bit or the Ma'am bit it might be better?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

David came with me on Saturday morning

He's one of the PNG guys, very quiet and assuming and modest like most people here and something about correct enrolment for the elections next year came over the radio. I asked David if he was correctly enrolled and he replied so unemphatically and unassertively that no he wasn't going to vote. I expressed surprise and he equally as unassertively said that he had vowed to never vote while corruption was so rife. " Those politicians spend K200 000 like we spend K2," was all he said.

People are not stupid so why they are treated as being stupid by the greedy and corrupt ones makes their crimes all the more abhorrent. One politician promised to pay the school fees of students at a high school at his electorate. Another promised a large sum to the new Salvation Army school (not yet received - promise now 2 years old). It is common practice for politicians to donate an ambulance or police or rubbish collecting vehicle and have "This vehicle donated by X, Member for Y" painted on the side.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Labor caucus minutes of meeting

Righto, listen up guys. New day, new team, same problem. How are we gunna win government?
Oi, point of order. It's the Left's turn to chair the meeting.
Yair, and while you sort that out, point of information. What do we want to win government for anyway? It's comfortable enough here in opposition. The Right is too aspirational. You should join the Libs.
Well if Kev wants to be PM we should support him. He's our mate.
Yair too right. Onya Kev.
OK, we've sorted that. The Left is chairing the meeting. Who wants to talk? Go on Anthony.
Well Howard goes for a walk every morning. Why can't Kev go for a walk?
Yep. Point 1. Thanks Anthony. Kev, can you manage that?
Not really but if you reckon it will work with the voters I'll give it a go.
What about getting him in to a Church with the TV to show him kneeling and blessing himself?
Point 2. Got that. Can you work on that Kev?
Yair, no problem. This is good. We're on a roll. Keep the ideas coming folks.
How about getting the TV in to Kev's house to show him watching the cricket? Do ya like cricket Kev?
That's not the point. The yobbos like to think their PM is like them. What about we get Kev a ticket to sit with the yobbos and throw beer cans?
Yair. Have you got a pair of stubbies and thongs Kev?
Oi, address your comments through the Chair. Point 3. Well Kev?
No, but maybe I could get some at Vinnies. This is good. New day, new team, new ideas.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

the end of the year is fizzling out

I went to a farewell function last night to wish well Vivien, Robert, Richard and Dr Dialo as they leave their positions here for new adventures. As usual at a PNG feast there was so much to feast on. I made some chicken which did not turn out as well as I had hoped. A baste of oil, candied marmalade and soy sauce did not grab the chicken as it was supposed to. Luckily there were better cooks there than I. The stir fried veges turned out alright though.
I went over to get myself checked out for malaria this morning. They are very lovely Sisters who work in the clinic and because they are dealing with malaria all the time they are very knowledgeable about the different ways it manifests. I've got a dry cough and no other symptoms of cold. I am on erthmyocin or something like that anyway because I am allergic to penicilin based antibiotics and I thought perhaps that AB would kill off the malaria virus but the sister said it needed to be treated differently. So she took blood and will have it tested in the lab and I'll get the results this PM.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I had to take the truck into town yesterday

and two of the office staff came with me. It was just before midday so I called in at the pie shop across the road and asked the guys if they wanted a pie. "Pie? That's wait-man kai. Us blackfullas can't afford that," they told me. So we had hot pies on the way in. Wait man, black man. There is no racism in the labels. John even told me he was called a red man because the pigmentation in some areas of PNG is so different from the Buka and some other places. On the way back I got some coke and twisties and gave some to the security guards at the gate.
Yesterday there was a sad little boy in the clinic with red blotches his mum told me. I told him I was sicker than him because I had no colouring in my skin. I think as long as we understand we have differences and we don't make socially relevant judgements on the basis of physically or culturally irrelevant characteristics then we can get over any lingering race issues.
Fortunately race does not seem to be an issue in PNG - possibly on account this is an independent country. As far as I know I am just called wait man as an easy way of distinguishing me.

tangled wreck of metal

following a fire at Popondeta store two weeks ago. Also the ww2 plane wreck and my foot on top the wheel of the plane. There is still rubber tyre on the rim.

crashed ww2 plane at Popondeta

Friday, December 08, 2006

how much would you sell your soul for?

A guy asks a girl, Would you sleep with me for a thousand dollars? Yeah of course. What about a hundred dollars. Well maybe. What about a dollar? She slaps him and says What do you think I am, a prostitute? He replies, Well we've already established what you are, we're just haggling over the price.
Politics is very much like that. Us voters show that we are prepared to be bought and the election is about how much we value our integrity. The last election was about trust in which the government turned the word trust around. The people said We trust the government to run the economy well but we do not trust the government to tell the truth. But the truth doesn't matter to us as much as the economy matters. We don't mind if the government lies and lacks integrity so long as it keeps interest rates low.
Who would you trust in a life or death situation - PM Howard or Opposition Leader Rudd? If I think I know the way ahead and the only way I can convince you to follow me is by lying to you, would I be right to lie to you?

it's amazing isn't it?

The invasion of another people's country is not looking good so all the gung-ho-ness and tostesterone has leached from the government's pouch. We turned down a request to embed with Iraqis. Our civilian leadership is going to be nowhere near the military funeral today.
I was never a supporter of invading another country - after all, where do you draw the line - Zimbabwe? North Korea? Burma? Fiji? But now we have shat and vomited and trodden muck into their kitchen it would be the grossest of indencies - to say the least - to creep out.
Whoops, sorry about that Mrs Iraq. Goodness did I do that? I'm so sorry. Let me pay for some house help to clean it up.
Just go will you, you ignorant shortsighted savage. You come here constipated with bravado and you couldn't hold it in. No just leave it - you're just making it worse. Go and learn some international manners so that you might at least spare some other poor people this misery.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Dear Jason, Annie and Tansey

Jase, I went over and picked up your mail today and there is one stamped from Oxford, another looks to be internal mail and a third in a large (A4) brown envelope from the Office of the Director of Institutional Anti-Leverage and Particularity Quantification Equivalents in Hanoi – this one had been opened but not by me. It looked official and I was worried – I did not have my glasses when I received the mail and so I was relieved to notice that the address button was only from some bureaucracy in New Western and not from somewhere important.
I went to Popondeta and Moresby last week and this week I was to have been going to Aitape and Wewak but the airstrip had not been mowed and the pilots refused to land at Aitape so I postponed until early next year. Nothing seems to be happening on the resolution of tensions at SEM and Staff level. I think Council set up a committee to investigate the matters but everything is very hush-hush – nothing even in the papers.
I have another sore on my leg and am treating it with anti-biotics and aloe vera.
We have a farewell at Tony’s tonight for Vivien, Richard, Robert and Dr X from business studies the African guy. You know whom I mean. Things are very quiet. I leave at the end of next week.
Happy Diwali, Christmas, New Year and every other blessing as they are appropriate to you.
--No virus found in this outgoing message.

I've got another sore on my leg

It started off like a scratch like the previous ones and over a few days it got redder and more irritating. I put on some yellow ointment and took some spare erithrocin tablets that I had left over from the previous time - I'd kept them in the fridge - and bathed it with hot salty water. On the first night I put straight tea tree oil on it but I think that made it worse. My leg feels very tight so there must be some serious disorder going on in there.
The clinic sisters are very good. When I went over there yesterday I was standing at the counter for 10secs max and the secretary brought out my file. I had my uni ID card but the secretary had seen me coming. That's a bit of a worry: that one is so well known to the clinic that they do not even have to check one's ID and they can pin point one's file like that. Let me see - 2 sore legs at the beginning of the year and 2 bouts of malaria in September. Now a 3rd sore leg. I suppose that makes me a little bit sick - doesn't it?
Anyway I asked Peter yesterday whether there was any aloe vera in the garden. Robert had got some from the City Mission and he put me on to it as a cure all. Well this morning Peter turns up with an aloe vera plant - not just a leaf but a whole actual plant roots and all. How lucky am I!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I will be away again this week

I come back Saturday for a week and then I am back to Oz for Christmas. Best wishes for Christmas and I hope 2007 will be a good year for you.

I know Howard has supporters

who were encouraged when the boatloads were turned back. We won a great victory. How dare they come freeloading into our country. As for Hicks, after what he did to our American allies who saved us from annihilation in WW2, then let him suffer. I know they think Howard must be an honourable man because they are shown pictures of him kneeling and blessing himself in Church in contradistinction to Labor people who are not shown in this pose. I know they think he must be one of them because he allows TV crews to come in and show him sitting in an arm chair watching the cricket or tennis or swimming.

But I know they are being had. They are being offered an image which supports their prejudices. This is not fair on my country and it is my country too - it doesn't just belong to the supporters of the government. Democracy depends on the support of the majority and the goodwill of the minority in a REAL world, not an IMAGE world which is what we've got in PM Howard. If he believed in himself then he would not hide from the truth.

that's a bit harsh isn't it?

After all, the economy is simply a tool for adding to human happiness. If you see these poorly performing economies and look at the human misery in them, why would you swap a well performing economy for theirs? This misses the point. No-one goes in to politics to run the country into the ground. Every politician thinks he has the best interests of the country at heart and that he alone has the solution. But when a politician lies about the GST, exploits the fears of Australians about the Tampa, dissembles over core and non-core promises, dissembles over the understanding of the word "trust", hides one's own mismanagement of interest rates and size of the budget defecit, does not stand up for one of our own citizens being held prisoner in a foreign country, claims religiosity and love of sport for the sake of image - then there is a problem.
As a voter I do not like being treated as a mug - not for the sake of giving power to one bloke, a bloke who is only an image of what I expect a bloke to be. There but for the grace of God any one could be a David Hicks and I would expect the Prime Minister to assist no matter how stupid I might have been. God gives second chances on account of Jesus. Why doesn't this PM who claims to be so holy?

I am very sorry about Kim Beazeley's

loss of his brother yesterday. People in politics are human too but how often do I forget that myself. Politicians themselves ought to remember that more often than they do. I am sure Beazeley himself was a good man but he let himself down over the Tampa issue in 2001. Maybe he panicked and was spooked and forsook his integrity as he saw power about to slip away from him again. He did not show himself strong enough to put better talent such as Emerson or Tanner on his front bench. I hope Rudd is strong enough to demand a quality front bench.

So if I think like this, does this apply to PM Howard? Is he not a human being too? The man lacks integrity and he plays upon the perceptions of the voter. This is wrong. He lacks the morals of a principled person while he acts out the role of a principled person. There used to be decent people in the Liberal Party - Peter Baume and Ian McPhee and Fred Chainey - but there seems to be no place for them now. Putting an inanimate concept such as the economy ahead of the human concept of the community amounts to policy gone ideologically warped. If Howard wants to be treated as a human then he has to put humanity above economy. If he gets sick or old or dies, then let the economy grieve for him on account that he worships it so much.

Monday, December 04, 2006

where's my photo publishing facility gone?

I goes away for a bit and I comes back to find I can't alter the font and the photo facility has gone. Glory be, it's so hard to get hired help these days. If this gets into cyber space maybe someone will see it and alert the publishing site that the blog has lost photo facility. I'd better go back and check what my last photo published was.

So Beazeley has gone. Probably no big loss to politics as he didn't seem much of a world beater in that field. He tried to look serious by frowning a lot but it always seem feigned and strained. Rudd is also a serious looker but he gets away with it. He might be more of a politician than Beazeley.

As voters we need to question ourselves though. We put politicians into politics which is logical. Maybe we need to be counter intuitive and start putting in the least most likely in order to break the cycle. After all, it is no big deal and not much of a claim to fame to put on a head stone, "The most significant Politician of his generation." What does that mean? "Al Capone, the most significant crook of his generation;" "John Howard, the most significant cheat and liar of his generation." They are not epithets I would like but some people have kinky tastes.

I forgot to finish yesterday's post

about the cricket. It is good to see that some serious comment about how good it is to see competition in the cricket, distinct from the hyperbole and jinjoistic nonsense, is catching up with my perspective of the game. This competitivism is good for the game but if it turns out to be a one night wonder then there is no point. Cricket is more than something akin to pulling the wings off flies or pinning butterflies down. Sure that might satisfy the jingoists and the other yobbos but for those of us who think about the game rather than redeeming our inferiority complex, then cricket lovers and sport lovers in general have to think about strengthening the weaker international teams. That business of setting England 600 runs last week was farcical. No way was it a competitive total. It went right over the top and could have killed the game - not just this series but for all time. And then we would have been happy would we? We showed 'em not to mess with us aussies. Us big heroes us.
Anyway, I was wrong. England has responded. I hope the response was for positive improvement in batting reasons and not for the negative reason that McGrath and Warne had a couple of bad days.

are we Asian or not?

1996. We are Australia. We are no more a part of Asia than Scandinavia is. Australia is Australia. We are not Asian.
2006. We are inextricably part of Asia. This is where our future is. We are as slope headed and slanty eyed in business as the next Asian. Australia is Asia. Asia is Australia. We are one.

Dear God,
I draw your attention to an error in your architecture of the world and humbly request that you rectify this. Australia is part of Asia. Please readjust your map accordingly.
Yours with righteousness,

2006. Asian Games. Why is Australia holding its National titles when all our top swimmers are competing at the Asian Games? Why are our top swimmers in the Asian Games not making it through to the finals? Why are the finals made up mainly of Chinese, Korean and Japanese swimmers? Hmm, some serious issues there.

Basicly? Basically?

Be suspicious - be very suspicious when someone describes something as "basically".
How is Johnny going at school, Teacher?
Well basically, Johnny ...
How is my health, Doctor?
Well basically Mr Jones ...
Concerning the sick joke that is Iraq these days a spokesman said, "It's basically a redeployment."

Basically? Either it is a redeployment or it isn't. There's nothing basically about it.

Basically is a weasel word. It allows the speaker an out later on when things go further pear shaped. "Oh no no no, you remember I said it was basically a redeployment. Well it was that, but it was more than that."

Well basically we are invading Iraq to get the weapons of mass destruction and then we are out of there.

Bullshit, was all the band could play, bullshit, they played it night and day. Basically.

Song cheats and song pirates

ought to get their own songs and leave other people's words, rhythms, melodies and beats alone. Herr Muller or whatever his name was composed the definitive Christmas Carol 'Silent Night' and it doesn't need any 21st century help to improve it. Go and reinvent Mozart's Clarinet concerto if you must or Mark Antony's funeral oration but leave Silent Night alone and while you're at it, leave our national anthem bloody alone too. It doesn't need any more Julie Anthony like warbles and semi crochet tones once removed from the original. Nor does the last line need to turn each note into a multi semi-breve marathon whose multiness factor is known only to the guest warbler. This is Australia, not America where they do weird things to their national anthem. Be a bit more patriotic you singers - sing the original and show respect to the composer.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I love being wrong for a good cause

That was a top day's cricket yesterday. Hang on, where's the font button gone? I don't like this font - it reminds me too much of typewriters. They were a machine before word processors. It was good to see the appreciation for whatsisname's Collingwood double century.
The weak are not strengthened by weakening the strong - I know that and I think I accept that. But if cricket as a world game is to grow from
Sori tru, I'll have to finish this later as I have to go to lotu (Church in Tok Pisin).

Friday, December 01, 2006

mate how'd yez go yessdy?

Mate we hammered 'em. Ocker got 4 fer in the first and 3 fer in the second and Smithy got a 5 fer and 2 fer and Daily got a ton in both innings. Mate an' then last night we went out and got pissed as farts.

This converation interpreted for TV audience by the commentators as follows.

"Well good morning viewers and welcome to our commentary live this morning from Bullamakanka Oval where the visitors will be struggling in spite of the best efforts of the home team to remain focused last night. What about Ocker's performance yessdy Bluey?
Yes indeed Freddo. A 4 fer and a 3 fer followed up with being pissed as a fart last night should make for an interesting day with the bat for him. Mind you, Smithy need not be so sure of himself either despite his 5 fer and 2 fer. Both the quicks were as pissed as farts and deservedly so. Now let's take up the commentary with Bonzo."

Oh my goodnes. What on earth are we in for today?