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Sunday, 28 January

15:33

PNG-owned resort tops Samoa award Papua New Guinea Today


A Papua New Guinean-owned luxury resort in Samoa, the Taumeasina Island Resort, has won Samoas prestigious national tourism excellence awards 2017/2018.

The awards are given by the Samoa Tourism Authority celebrating the outstanding performances of those who have made exceptional contributions to Samoas tourism industry within the past 12 months.
The multi-million dollar Taumeasina Island Resort is owned by three PNG joint venture partners, the Lamana Group, Petroleum Resources Gobe and Mineral Resources Development Company.
Despite strong competition from two other finalists, Seabreeze, who has won this award several years and Return to Paradise, who have been in the market for many years, Taumeasina snatched the main category award of 2017/2018 Samoa tourism excellence and also securing the best hygiene award.
Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa Fiame Naomi Mataafa, presented the award at the awards ceremony hosted at the Taumeasina and congratulated the resort staff and management.
The resorts general manager Nathan Bucknall said Taumeasina Island resort has been open for 19 months and the journey, has been incredibly challenging, but equally rewarding.
We have had the opportunity to host many celebrities and dignitaries from aboard, and a large number of tourists from around the globe, Mr Bucknall said.
We are proud that we have become the first-choice accommodation for Samoans returning home to visit family and relatives, and a popular destination for weddings, events, reunions, meals and a place to hangout.
Taumeasina Island resort is blessed with an amazing team of people, who work together, to achieve a common goal.
Without the support and hard work of the people around us, we would not be able to have received this award.
Mr Bucknall said many of the staff were proud of the resort in Samoa, as many were involved in the development of the building and in the official opening of it.
This gives them an ownership rarely seen in staff who works in hotels.
I beli...

14:56

People in Papua New Guinea Are Still Hunting Witches "IndyWatch Feed World"

As of January 2018, the world is surely an interesting place indeed. Amid Donald Trumps genocidal tweets, fake Hawaii missile threats, a U.S. government shutdown and anti-regime protests threatening Irans political stability, people in Papua New Guinea (PNG) are still hunting witches.

According to the Diplomat, real life witch-hunts that end in torture or murder are so commonplace they rarely make the evening news. This reality persists despite the fact that, since 2013, witch-hunting is supposed to attract the death penalty after a 20-year-old woman accused of witchcraft was burnt alive on a busy street corner as hundreds of people looked on. The Diplomat reports that the majority of these incidents go uninvestigated by police.

Sanguma, or sorcery, still continues to plague PNG to this day. To some people in PNG, any death that cannot be explained by old age can be believed to have a malevolent agent behind it. It would be reminiscent of Arthur Millers play The Crucible, were it not for the fact that some people have been uploading photos of witch-burning onto social media.

In 2016, the Guardian  detailed an account of one man in PNG who recounted the tale of his own death, which led to the torture of four women who had been accused of killing him. One woman died and two were exiled after the ordeal.

She came and ate my heart while I was still sitting in the house, the man says as quoted by the Guardian. I felt so cold and shivering that I went and lay down at the doorway to the room.

And I called out Sande, Sande and passed out. That was the end. I died like any other dying person.

At the end of 2017, the Huffington Post reported that a U.S. missionary by the name of Anton Lutz has dedicated much of his life trying to save women and girls from being tortured and murdered in their communities after being accused of witchcraft. Lutz allegedly saved a six-year-old girl accused of sorcery from being tortured by a group of men and she subsequently made a very narrow escape with her life.

Someone has to do something. If...

14:00

Solomon Islands Police in Choiseul Province are investigating two deaths of Asians Papua New Guinea Today

Police in Choiseul Province are investigating a death incident involving two Asians employed by a foreign logging company operating in Legavana Camp, South Choiseul on 25 January 2018.

Supervising Police Provincial Coordinator (PC), Sergeant Robert Satini says, Police officers in Choiseul Province received the report and it was alleged that the five (5) Asians, after eating what described as bush cabbage became ill.

They were transported to Posarae medical health centre in Choiseul Province and sadly two of them passed away and the other three are currently in a critical condition, adds Acting PC Satini.

Police officers are now investigating the matter and I appeal to those who have any information regarding the incident to come forward to assist Police in their investigation.

13:58

Solomon Islands Police destroys last blue boat Papua New Guinea Today

The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) has destroyed the last remaining blue boat, today (26 January 2018) out at sea, Iron Bottom Sound.

Supervising Commissioner of RSIPF, Deputy Commissioner Juanita Matanga says, The RSIPF was given the responsibility to carry out the destruction of the last blue boat by the Ministry of Fisheries, while two other boats were destroyed by locals with the advice of Fisheries earlier on.

This blue boat is the last from the three boats detained since 26 March 2017, after being found fishing illegally at the Indispensable Reef 50 kilometers south of Rennell Island, Renbel Province and the High Court of Solomon Islands ordered their destruction, adds Supervising Commissioner Matanga.

She said, The RSIPF offers to carry out the destructions as it has the capacity to do so without worrying of the danger of the destruction.

I can confirm to the people and government of Solomon Islands, the last blue boat has been destroyed by the RSIPF in an operation conducted by RSIPF Maritime Department today, Friday 26 of January 2018 at 3:44 Pm, outside at sea in an area called Iron Bottom Sound, says Supervising Commissioner.

Since the detention of the blue boats there have been concerns raised in the media that, the boats were a threat to our bio-environment, alleging species seen in the boats are not found in Solomon Islands and may bring new diseases.

Ms Matanga says, I would like to thank the Ministry of Fisheries for accepting the offer of the RSIPF to get rid of the last boat, as to put the blue boat saga to rest.

06:50

Link Keith Jackson & Friends: PNG ATTITUDE

LONG DISPELA WIK, MI NAP SALIM SITORI LUSIM IKAM BET LO HAUSIK
Over the next few days you may notice a few flutters & stutters with the blog as I spend time in hospital. Continue
to keep your contri
butions & comments coming. I'll publish them whenever I have the opportunity - KJ

06:49

Shallow M6.3 earthquake hits near the north coast of New Guinea, Papua New Guinea "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.3 hit near the north coast of New Guinea, Papua New Guinea at 22:47 UTC on January 26, 2018. The agency is reporting a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). EMSC is reporting M6.3 at a depth of 40 km (24.8 miles)....... Read more

06:00

The great Ilimo farm mystery. Where are 746 cows & their grass? Keith Jackson & Friends: PNG ATTITUDE

Ilimo dairy farm
Ilimo Farm dairy (thanks to reader for helping out; we hope this is a more recent image!)

FRANCIS NII

KUNDIAWA - The announcement by Innovation Agro Industries (IAI) at Ilimo Farm outside Port Moresby that its locally produced milk will find the shelves of PNG supermarkets next month has been received with mixed reactions.

IAI managing director Ian Weiss told PNG News that 746 cows were producing six tonnes of milk a day with production aimed to be ramped up to 12,000 tonnes a day by March.

The quality is in the taste, said Mr Weiss, Ive got years of diary experience and this is the best you can get globally.

To many Papua New Guineans, the announcement is welcome news for the local economy especially at a time when imported milk product prices are high due to the falling value of the kina and government tariffs.

Once the IAI product hits the supermarkets, it will create competition against imports, giving consumers an economical choice.

Furthermore, theres been a K100 million investment in the enterprise which has created employment for locals.

But Papua New Guineans who have been to Ilimo Farm are querying the existence of the 746 cows Mr Weiss claims are producing the milk.

They have to show us where the dairy farm and cows are, Joe Larry Chinau told PNG Today. Ilimo farm has no land for cows. Where is the milk coming from?

The last thing we need is to be putting more chemicals into our kids bodies so can someone confirm that this large herd of cows exists? he asked.

Eragairma Yal confirmed this view. Where could the cattle farm be and how could they manage to raise 746 cows? Is it indoor grazing like the hydroponic farm at Nine Mile?

Other people have raised similar concerns.

Unless its hidden up in the hinterland, there is no notable green grass for cow grazing, said AH Robin.

For the good of the company, its products and its customers, Mr Weiss should answer a straightforward question. Where are the dairy farm and its 746 cows?

Consumers have a r...

05:00

A sensible approach is needed to address the betel nut problem Keith Jackson & Friends: PNG ATTITUDE

Parkop & buai sign
Governor Powes Parkop addresses the media in front of a sign saying: 'Forbidden: You can't sell betel nut here"

BUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO

PORT MORESBY - Social media in Papua New Guinea is again raging with debate around the buai (betel nut) ban.

This is because Powes Parkop, Governor of the National Capital District, announced a plan to reinstate the infamous buai ban.

While there is urgency to clean up Port Moresby in preparation for the APEC summit later this year, there is a lot to be desired about the national government's approach to the buai problem and, more generally, the informal economy.

Experience from last time the ban was imposed points to a critical need for a more sensible approach.

From the outset, some form of stock take needs to be done to determine the impact of the previous betel nut ban towards achieving its desired objective - which was to keep the city clean. This would provide a basis for the next steps in addressing the issue.

As taxpayers' money was used to impose the ban, the public deserve to know the full cost and benefits of its previous implementation. But to this day there has been no report provided for public perusal.

The last time the ban was imposed it cost taxpayers millions of kina, led to loss of life, resulted in the destruction of thousands of kina worth of private property and triggered abuse of power by those entrusted to enforce the law. At the end all this was ignored and it was declared that the ban had few major defects.

Port Moresby deserves to be kept clean, however this should not come at the cost of the livelihoods of thousands of its citizens.

This time, Governor Parkop and the city authorities need to take a different approach, one based on mutual understanding and shared ownership.

The government and the public (including betel nut sellers and chewers) need to work together to promote the good image of our country. The starting point should involve the NCDC reaching out to the producers and vendors and engaging them in a con...

Saturday, 27 January

14:32

The Weekly Volcanic Activity Report: January 17 - 23, 2018 "IndyWatch Feed Enviro"

New activity unrest was reported for 5 volcanoes between January 17 and 23, 2018. During the same period, ongoing activity was reported for 13 volcanoes. New activity/unrest: Kadovar, Papua New Guinea | Kusatsu-Shiranesan, Honshu (Japan) | Mayon, Luzon (Philippines)...... Read more

12:07

74 movies shot in Fiji last year Papua New Guinea Today

Altogether 74 movies were shot in Fiji in 2017, up from 57 productions in 2016, according to authorities.

Film Fiji Chief Executive Officer Dallas Foon said Thursday they already approved and confirmed seven major productions for 2018 and were looking forward to another very busy year of film activity in the south pacific island nation.

Foon said it was a stellar year for high-quality productions with a budgetary value of over US$300 million (US$150 million).

Fiji's Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources, Faiyaz Koya said the industry had seen exponential growth in a short period of time and the success of 2017 was a testimony to the dedication and hard work of all stakeholders involved.

There were 13 major productions last year including the upcoming feature film "Adrift" starring Hollywood stars Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin.

The film was shot in the greater Suva area and parts of Rakiraki.

The movie is based on the true story of Tami Oldham, who, after being knocked unconscious by the largest hurricane in the history of the Pacific Ocean, awakens to find her fianc Richard Sharp badly injured, their boat in ruins and no means of communication or navigation.

Another major feature film shot in Suva and the Western Division in Fiji was the highly anticipated, soon to be released Indian movie "Party," which included Sathyaraj and Ramya Krishnan from the highest grossing Indian movie in history "Baahubali."

U.S. reality show "Survivor" continued its production for another year.

Fiji, especially the Mamanuca Islands, is the most used location in the show.

Jeff Probst, the long-standing host of the show, said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that Fiji is their home and he hoped that they stay in Fiji forever.

"Survivor" is aired in over 100 countries with a viewership of over 110 million people.

In addition, a popular comedy TV series, Wrecked (Season 2), shot in Sigatoka and Nadi, was aired on popular U.S. cable TV network TBS on June 20 last year to over 1 million viewers.

SOURCE: XINHUA/PACNEWS

12:02

Australia takes over Solomon Islands internet cable amid spies' concerns about China Papua New Guinea Today

Australia's spy agencies were so concerned about the security and strategic risks posed by a plan for Chinese firm Huawei to build an internet cable linking the Solomon Islands to Sydney that the Turnbull government will now largely pay for the project itself.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed it has taken responsibility for the undersea fibre optic cable, including paying for the bulk of the project which will cost tens of millions of dollars through the overseas aid programme.

The cable will provide fast and reliable internet to the small Pacific island nation, which now relies on satellites.

The step is highly significant as it shows the lengths to which the Turnbull government was willing to go to ensure the cable project could go ahead without Huawei's involvement.

The Solomon Islands under former Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare signed up Huawei Marine to lay the cable connecting to Sydney. But Australia made it clear to Honiara that it had security concerns about the Chinese telco plugging into Australia's internet backbone, with Nick Warner, the head of spy agency ASIS, personally warning Sogavare last June.

Huawei has previously been banned on the advice of security agency ASIO from being involved in the National Broadband Network.

Sogavare was replaced as prime minister in November by Rick Hou, a former senior World Bank adviser who is well respected in Australia. Hou had been highly critical of the circumstances in which Huawei Marine was awarded the contract under his predecessor.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs told Fairfax Media the government has entered a contract with the Australian telecommunications firm Vocus to carry out the initial work.

"They will undertake a scoping study and identify potential solutions to bring high-speed telecommunications to Solomon Islands," she said.

"The bulk of the funding for this project will come from Australia's Official Development Assistance programme."

She said the Solomons project would be consolidated with a project to lay a new cable connecting Papua New Guinea with Australia, creating "significant efficiencies on cost". The cost of the Solomons project alone has previously been estimated at $86 million.

According to the federal government's AusTender website, Vocus is being paid $2.8 million for the scoping study for both the Solomon Islands and PNG. The department spokeswoman said that this study would define the final cost.

Fairfax...

11:48

Worlds most vulnerable countries on track to achieve universal Internet access by 2020 UN report Papua New Guinea Today

The worlds least developed countries are narrowing digital divide, and with millions of people now taking advantage of smart phones and other digital devices, keeping up this momentum can put their societies on the fast track to sustainable development, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

It is vital that all stakeholders governments, civil society, the private sector and UN system continue to build momentum through collaboration and sharing of innovative solutions, highlighted Fekitamoeloa Katoa Utoikamanu, the top UN official for least developed and other vulnerable countries, launching a new report on universal and affordable Internet.

Least developed countries with a strong government commitment, recognising the importance of digital technologies for national development, and backed by enlightened policy and regulatory actions including steps to develop skills, can achieve universal and affordable access to the Internet, added Houlin Zhao, the Secretary-General of the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The report, Achieving universal and affordable Internet in least developed countries, also states that the progress augurs well for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as the Istanbul Programme of Action, which charts a development course for least developed countries.

A key highlight of the progress is the launch of third generation (3G) mobile telephony and data services in all 47 countries in that category as well as over 60 per cent of the population there covered by a 3G network. Overall, four in five people in these countries have access to mobile-cellular network.

Information and communication technologies are transforming lives everywhere and offering limitless opportunities for sustainable development.

These improvements are already having a positive impact in areas including financial inclusion, poverty reduction and better health services.

Furthermore, the anticipation that these countries will achieve (on average) 97 per cent mobile broadband coverage, making Internet prices relatively affordable by 2020 can translate into strong, home-grown innovation; new business opportunities; and more improvements health and education services, added Utoikamanu, the UN High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.

While the picture is largely positive, there are some gaps which need to be overcome, find the report, including ad...

11:41

Nautilus successfully progressing trials in PNG Papua New Guinea Today

Nautilus Minerals Inc. is pleased to provide an update on submerged trials for the Companys Seafloor Production Tools, with the final machine, the Bulk Cutter, due to finish trials next month.

Submerged trials of the Collecting Machine and Auxiliary Cutter were completed late last year.

To date, the Bulk Cutter has completed commissioning of the power and control system, on-shore functions testing, submerged function testing and submerged endurance trials. Remaining trials will focus on overall cutting performance, a key criteria for this machine.

Ongoing analysis of the results to date indicates that the Seafloor Production Tools can perform to design specifications with the machine components all functioning as designed in submerged conditions. The cutting performance of the Auxiliary Cutter has been particularly positive.

Approximately 770 tonnes of material was cut during trials, with the Nautilus site team commenting that the material appears at least three times harder than the mineralised material at Solwara 1, (even allowing for the hyperbaric effect on material located at seafloor depths of the Solwara 1 Project which are far greater than the depths at which the trials were conducted). The Company will provide a comprehensive analysis once all test work and data analysis is complete.

Mike Johnston, Nautilus CEO commented; We are extremely pleased with the progress that continues to be made on the trialling of the Seafloor Production Tools. The results of the trials to date indicate that the machines have been meeting and/or exceeding their key design specifications. These results have been achieved through the dedicated work of our staff, key contractors (SMD and KDI), and support staff (Curtain Brothers, Papua New Guinea), and within a tight budget. The performance of these machines is critical to our seafloor production system, and the results to date significantly de-risk the project. We look forward to providing future updates once the Bulk Cutter trialling is completed, said Johnson.....read more on >> Pacific Mining Watch

SOURCE: GLOBAL NEWSWIRE/PACNEWS

11:33

PNG PM O'Neill Extends Australia Day Best Wishes Papua New Guinea Today

The Prime Minister Peter ONeill  has conveyed the best wishes of Papua New Guinea to the people of Australia on their National day.

PM ONeill said the relationship between Papua New Guinea and Australia is stronger today than it has ever been, and this will only continue to improve.

Papua New Guinea and Australia are the strongest of partners and friends, and our country extends our fondest regards on Australia Day, the Prime Minister said.

Over more than four decades we have strengthened our bilateral engagement on many levels.

Australia is the largest investor in the Papua New Guinea economy, and this is creating jobs and stimulating business.

More and more Papua New Guineans are studying in Australia and this not only enhances skills and knowledge in the short term, it also establishes long-term bonds between our people into the future.

The Prime Minister said the close relationship between Papua New Guinea and Australia was in many ways born through the hardship and loss of war.

Our people fought side by side and thousands died in the defence of our two lands during World War Two.

From this shared history we carry mutual respect and affinity that is always present in the interaction between Papua New Guineans and Australians.

PM ONeill further thanked Australia for its ongoing engagement as Papua New Guinea prepares to host APEC Leaders in November.

I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Turnbull to Papua New Guinea this year when we host the APEC Summit.

The first ever APEC Meeting was held in Canberra in 1989, and nearly thirty years later we have seen exceptional economic growth that has improved the lives for people around the APEC region.

Papua New Guinea appreciates the security co-operation being undertaken with Australia, together with other partners, as we prepare to deliver a successful APEC 2018 summit.

11:13

Social Concerns Notes January 2018 Social Concerns

Compulsory SIM card registration in Papua New Guinea
By Amanda H A Watson on Jan 24, 2018 Devpolicy
The SIM card registration deadline in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has now been extended to April 30. The deadline was to be today, but over a million mobile phones are not yet registered. If consumers do not register in time, either their SIM card will be deactivated or the operator will receive a fine from the regulator NICTA for continuing to operate unregistered SIM cards. A SIM is a Subscriber Identity Module linked to a users phone number and usually looks like a small computer chip.
In various countries, SIM card registration has been legislated. Governments often adopt such a policy in order to help mitigate security concerns and to address criminal and anti-social behaviour. In PNG, similar motivations for the policy have been expressed, including the need to have increased security in time for the APEC meeting in Port Moresby later this year. A concern though is that to date, there has been no empirical evidence that mandatory SIM registration directly leads to a reduction in crime. Indeed, in Mexico, the theft of handsets increased after a similar policy was introduced, likely because criminals stole handsets to avoid the risk of being traced. Mexico subsequently abandoned their SIM registration policy and later introduced a scheme for registering handsets. Several countries in Latin America have opted for handset registration in order to address handset theft.
Proof of identity issues are a major concern, as the majority of people in PNG live in rural areas and do not have written identification such as a drivers licence or passport.
There may be a risk that vulnerable or socially marginalised people are excluded from the opportunity to own and use mobile phones. This policy could lead to an absence of two-way communication in disadvantaged communities in PNG. If the few active mobile phones in certain remote villages are cut off, this could have negative implications regarding time-critical emergency communication, such as for childbirth complications and natural disasters. Citizens in such places may need to overcome further hurdles in order to ensure that they are not left even further behind. (See Devpolicy.org for the full article)

No fees assistance program
January 12, 2018 Post Courier
The Enga provincial governments flagship school free education sponsorship program will be hindered in 2018 due to the current economic situation in the country. The program has been a hallmark of Enga Governor Sir Peter Ipatas political leadership over the last 20 years, however, the education advocate says the current financial situation has affected this years rollout. On average the Enga provincial government assists around 400 of its students, annually, attending various tertiary institutions in the country. Also the onset of increase tuition fees in...

07:35

The US Should Not Be Rehabilitating Indonesias Abusive Special Forces West Papua Action Network

https://thediplomat.com/2018/01/the-us-should-not-be-rehabilitating-indonesias-abusive-special-forces/

1) The US Should Not Be Rehabilitating Indonesias Abusive Special Forces

The Indonesian militarys past abuses should not be forgotten.
By Andreas Harsono January 26, 2018

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was seen laughing and smiling this week as he watched a military exercise in Jakarta in which Indonesian troops drank snake blood, rolled in glass, broke bricks with their heads, and walked on fire. The spectacle would hardly be amusing, however, to anyone familiar with the Indonesian militarys human rights violations, especially the record of its special forces unit, Kopassus.

Mattiss visit was part of U.S. efforts to improve military cooperation with Indonesia. During his staym he discussed with Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu plans to resume U.S. assistance to Kopassus. Assistance to the unit had been halted in large part because of the U.S. Leahy Law, which bars US assistance and training to foreign military units known to have committed gross human rights abuses, unless the government has taken steps to remediate, address the abuses, and hold those responsible to account.

The U.S. military first announced plans to re-engage with Kopassus in 2010, hoping to train newer untarnished soldiers, but in subsequent years remained reluctant to proceed, in part because Indonesia had largely failed to address past abuses.

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There are a whole series of abuses to address. The U.S. government first imposed restrictions on military assistance to the Indonesian military and Kopassus in 1999, after the military committed massive rights abuses during its scorched earth campaign in East Timor. Kopassus members were also implicated in abductions and enforced disappearances of student activists in 1997-98, and the murder of the Papuan activist and leader...

06:00

When Rev Wilhelm Bergmann met Chief Bongere of Kamaneku Keith Jackson & Friends: PNG ATTITUDE

The heart of Kundiawa today
Bergmann's "pretty flat space" - the heart of Kundiawa town today showing the infamous 'aircraft carrier' airstrip

MATHIAS KIN

An edited extract from Chapter 3 of A History of Simbu, a work in progress

KUNDIAWA - Then we were on a pretty flat space. From that moment we came across the mountains and surveyed the area, I always had this place in mind and also told the others that this could be the station ground.

That is what the Lutheran missionary Rev Wilhelm wrote after he and his team had climbed the hill from Wara [river] Chimbu to todays Kundiawa in May 1934 on a pioneering expedition to identify suitable locations for mission stations.

The large team of  men, including five other white missionaries, made camp near a big garden where todays Kundiawas nationl works compound stands. This was the garden of chief Bongere of Kamaneku and his family. At the time, the corn was ready to be harvested and the patrol wanted some but could not find the owner.

The people of the area had run away in fear of these strange people or were hiding in the bushes. Bergmann and his team took some corn from the garden and at that exact location left an axe and some shells, covering these valuable items with corn leaves. The next day the expedition moved on west.

When Bongere returned to his garden the next day, he found that some people had walked through it and stolen some corn. At the time he did not locate the axe and shells. He was told by people who had witnessed the event from their hiding places that this strange group had entered his garden and stolen his corn.

...

05:00

Some thoughts on writing history the Melanesian way Keith Jackson & Friends: PNG ATTITUDE

British in Port Moresby 1885
British troops observed by Motuan people in Port Moresby, 1885

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Like a lot of expatriates in Papua New Guinea prior to independence, I commenced a university degree through the University of Queenslands school of external studies.

I didnt have a particular goal in mind. My motives were to add some direction to my voracious reading habit and give me something to do in the evenings on the remote patrol posts where I worked.

My vague study plan allowed me to range over many different subjects. The only constraints were the rules of the university. In this way I flitted from one course to another as they caught my interest.

The plan would certainly not provide any particular qualification when my degree was completed. Rather it offered a good general education in the nature of the old style Victorian scholastic era.

What I probably didnt realise at the time, though, was that my approach had a particular Melanesian flavour to it, a sort of laid-back way of learning. It was something, along with a few other bad habits, I must have picked up in that Papua New Guinean water.

Through this make it up as you go along degree, I found myself as one of only a few males tackling Womens Studies and later among hippies absorbing The Politics of Non-Violence.

One thing I did learn from university, no matter what the subject, was that original thinking was a big no-no. It was all about giving the lecturers what they wanted to hear. In other words, echoing their ideas.

I first realised this when an essay on Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness was returned to me with a low mark. In the essay I had had the temerity to suggest that my location on a remote patrol post on the upper reaches of the Fly River had some relevance to an appreciation of the novel.

I had also dabbled in a few history subjects and made the same mistake. As Pink Floyd declared, I was just another brick in the wall and thats where I was expected to stay.

When I understood this, I settled back to regurgitating the lec...

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