VANISHED PARADISE BY ASENETH WAIDE

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 This piece was written by my 14-year-old daughter, Aseneth.  For the record, I had no part in editing or setting the scene of the story.

A great many thanks to Barry, Rosa,  JC and the bunch of crazies who took on the “other side” and  for helping Aseneth and her brother develop a social conscience  and awareness. 

Aseneth writes: 
 As the sun sets on a heavily populated Melanesian city, an old man whose face and hands were wrinkled with struggle and memories sits and listens to his talkative grandson asking questions on various subjects. When finally he asks “ What was it like in your time? Did you live in a city like this?”
The old man suddenly sat up straight, which was surprising because he often slouched.
Then replied “ I will tell you a story instead “.
“Many years ago before you were born, we lived in the rainforests. We hunted wild animals that were tastier then frozen chicken and ate vegetables that were grown in our own gardens. I was a landowner at that time. I lived in a small village in the mountains. We never used money because all our resources came from the forest. We all lived happily until…. They came.
 “Who?”
“People, strange people, wearing strange clothes who said they would bring sustainable development to our village. To me sustainable development was good roads and other accessible services. So we welcomed them to our village, we showed them our forests and other sacred places.
“And you know what they said?”
“What?”
“They said we were already sustainable so they just had to bring in development. I did not know what would happen I said yes without thinking. I guess I was just curious to find out what would happen if I did. Who would have thought that the small village would become a large city.”
“So then what happened?”
“Wet pastaim na mi pinisim buai.(Wait let me finish my betelnut)
“The first thing they did was block our forests with sharp metal fences. Then, they chopped down our trees. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Most of those trees gave us food and medicine and now they’re gone. I angrily asked one of the men what they were doing.”
“He said ‘Your people disgust me they do not know about the modern world, they are savages’.”
“That was when I realized that those people did not really want to bring development, they only wanted money.
“I tried reasoning with them but they weren’t listening. So I had no choice but to wait and see what would happen to us. And this is what happened” he says quietly.
“So you see” he adds to his grandson, “ I made a terrible mistake which I cannot change. But you can.”
“How?”
“You’ll know” he smiles at the little boy. “You’ll know”
As the evening wind blows out the candle, he quietly lies down and remembers all the lush green vegetation and his village.
‘ The vanished paradise will regrow‘ he thinks to himself.
         
    The End
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EMANCIPATION ACCORDING TO CRAZY CLAIRE, THE BOUGAINVILLEAN

Below is a piece from crazy Claire – A Bougainvillean writer, social activist and a few other things. She writes:

“The following was my attempt to be recognized as a serious Papua New Guinean author, I entered it into the 2013 Crocodile Prize Competition with PNG Attitude.
Inspired by three women that look pretty ordinary and even a tad bit ‘ples type’, pushover but trust me it’s all an act covering up an acute razor sharp intelligence. I am humbled to have been able to count them as colleagues.
Dedicated to Maureen, Rosa and Serah!”

Emancipation…

Lay back, close your eyes and let my words roll over you, soak into your head filling it with the images I breathe into life as I speak…This is my story about us, each a vine fondly reminisced and woven into this majestic basket of memories of the proud people we once were.
Black earth, black sands and black skinned people, amidst lush green jungle, clear blue skies and a cacophony of birds, insects and cold clear murmuring rivers. In our very own Garden of Eden we were a proud people!
Communal integrity and pride was an important aspect of us, one people with a myriad of relationships that functioned so that the elderly, women, children and the vulnerable were safe and cared for. Justice was about healing broken relationships and resolving problems, not punishment, revenge or justice being served.
We were at one with Mother Earth; the rhythm of her seasons was one with the beat of our hearts. Readily she gave herself to the tender toiling of our hands, giving birth to healthy and abundant crops. We respected her not forcing her to yield too often too soon. Allowing her time to recover until she would push forth a certain plant, which would be a sign that we could work her again.
We respected that there were greater forces in the universe. Our people of the sea knew her winds, stars and seasons like they knew the palms of their hands, they would confidently navigate across thousands of deep blue kilometers to trade.
We were a symbiotic people that truly knew what it meant to be independent. Trade was about seeking what we lacked and giving what we had in abundance so that everyone had enough. Wealth and prosperity weren’t measured by individual wealth but by how much one was able to contribute to society. Everyone shared the burden of ones misfortune.
Our moral standards made sense and were consistent. We looked upon those of few words but with many kind and courageous deeds as leaders. Vision was not restricted to now or the next generation – rather vision was about the future that was beyond our grand children’s lifetime. Outsiders or those who sought power, prestige, recognition and self-gain had no influence or power in our society.
Yes indeed we had it all in our Garden of Eden but now…the blue skies, black sand, the black soil and our black skin are the only remnants of our Garden of Eden.
We raped Mother so Earth savagely with our technology that dug, blasted, and amputated so far, deep and wide! Strangers, a people who will never contribute or affect our lives daily, deceived us into thinking that we needed more in order to be truly sovereign. We lost our lush green jungle, the birds, insects and cold clear murmuring rivers in the process of becoming independent.
Some of us saw this happening and fought a war that was rightly ours to fight, sadly the terms and rituals of peace that comes after the war was not ours. We were broken and humiliated. We lost our integrity and moral compass. Truth and what is right is unattractive so that lying and omitting the truth have become our second nature. The elderly, women, children and the vulnerable are preyed upon, violated or neglected; no one is safe anymore.
Our systems of justice, leadership and trade that worked and sustained us for many millennia are now labeled as backward and primitive. We choose leaders that have selfishly gained and amassed and give purely in order to further their individual gain. We judge by standards that don’t have substance or make sense.
Yes we were a liberated people living in harmony with Mother Earth. We were a people of integrity, peace, justice until chaos was strewn.
The challenge is for us to emancipate ourselves from the imprisoning alien ideals of democracy, national sovereignty, Westminster Systems of politics and justice, modernization, foreign investment and that diabolical obsession that mineral resources equate to independence. Let us return to who we truly are and be a people of standard, who value integrity, truth, what is right and justice with a functional society where everyone is safe, cared for and has enough.

©Klaireh http://klairehsays.blogspot.com/

A RURAL POWER PROJECT [DOCUMENTARY]

The place is beautiful and the people industrious. Buang in the Morobe province,  posed  significant challenges  when PNG Power’s rural electrification team  began  the Buang rural electrification project about a year ago. Hundreds of houses are being  supplied electricity for the first time  in a decision that will change the lives of future generations.  As in many  districts,  it is difficult to separate  the politician from  service delivery, primarily because the  district and local level governments  aren’t working as they should. More videos can be found on on the EMTV website: www.emtv.com.pg

ATS SETTLEMENT MARKED AS A POTENTIAL SITE FOR REFUGEE SETTLEMENT (the guardian)

The ATS settlement in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea’s capital, has been identified as a potential site for newly arriving asylum seekers under the new PNG-Australia resettlement programme, announced by Australia’s prime minister Kevin Rudd on July 19. Rudd’s plan would see all asylum seekers who arrive by boat sent to PNG for processing and settlement. As a result of the programme, some 3,000 locals who currently live in the ATS settlement could stand to lose their homes http://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2013/jul/29/png-settlement-under-threat-pictures
 
 

FR. GEORGIO LICINI: ASYLUM DEAL A BLUFF

The conflict over the Rudd-O’Neill deal on refugees escalated today as UPNG students burned copy of the agreement at the end of peaceful demonstration. The Prime Minister from Tabubil rebuked them for underestimating the financial benefits the arrangement brings to their own university.

It is probably time the government looks beyond the pure financial component of this issue. There are much more relevant implications: ethical, legal, cultural and religious. The government cannot just tell everybody to shut their mouth, get the money and help Australia after they have helped us so many times.

A possible violation of the national Constitution, as claimed by certain quarters, is an issue that cannot be swept under the carpet. We are obliged by national treaties to help refugees, but strictly speaking only when they come to our shores or walk through our borders. Those arriving at Christmas Island are Australia’s concern. They depart from Indonesia. Therefore, it is with the Indonesian government that Kevin Rudd needs to strike a deal. It’s their police that have to run after people smugglers.

Australia now gives the refugees non chance of settling in the country. The only hope will be PNG. It’s a bluff. Canberra just hopes that the boats will no longer come. In truth, in fact, the boats should not come. The UN has in place offices and procedures, though inferior to the needs, to process asylum seeker requests. The fact, however, is that people get at sea and gamble on their lives, especially from Indonesia to Australia and from North Africa to Southern Europe.

Large communities cannot be settled in PNG. The reasons are well known: non public land, no proper education and health facilities, no jobs. Asylum seekers have never been resettled in developing countries. Ours would be the first case. Australia and PNG governments know. But it’s part of the bluff.

It’s all bluff. Australia hopes to stop the boats. PNG wants a few billion kina to renovate a few university, hospitals and roads. Both are showing an appalling lack of respect for the most unfortunate on the world. They are not helping the boat people. They are helping each other.

True! The issue is huge, complex and difficult to address. Countries in the Pacific Region must help each other and nobody should be so selfish as to close eyes. But the two prime ministers are just asking to swallow the deal and refuse to discuss any detail with the parliament, the public opinion, the landowners, the NGOs and the churches. No wonder the students run out of patience!

RESOURCE SECTOR GROWTH DRIVES UP RENTALS IN LAE

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Mus Palang

Five years ago,  Mus Palang an electrician  and a real estate developer  built a set  of units  in  Nawae Block – an area  plagued with  a high rate of drug and alcohol abuse.

            Today all his units are fully tenanted mostly by   middle income earners  seeking relief from  the  soaring rentals in the  more preferable locations in  Lae City.  
            “The prices are too high. And that’s what drives people into the outer suburbs and settlements.”
            Mus  is one of many  small businessmen and women  who have taken advantage of   the ever  increasing demand for affordable housing and security.  His  one and two bedroom units are occupied by families of  public servants  in middle management  and  private sector workers whose employers  pay meager housing allowances.
            But many more families live in  shabby, unregulated, privately built  bedsitter units.   Not all have the basics of water, power and sewerage  services provided by the  city  council.   
Mus says the government needs regulate real estate prices  and  offer some relief to struggling families.  
            But it is a view that is not shared by the Real Estate Agents Association, President, Mike Quinn, who says the industry   cannot and should not be regulated.
            “It is an industry that depends on supply and demand,”  he says.
Units at Nawae Block

            Much of the real estate industry growth,  in the last 10 years, has been driven by the resource  sector.    However, in the last five years,  that growth – in Lae at least –  has plateaued  with  the end of the construction phase in the LNG project in Hela Province.  Low gold prices in the last  nine months has also set a major mining project in the Wau-Bulolo area back by at least two years.

            But Mike Quinn sees  good days ahead. In two years, the Wafi-Golpu project  owned and operated by  Morobe Mining Joint venture (MMJV) is expected to begin operation and with it will come a renewed demand for quality  housing.
            Quinn sees government intervention happening  in other areas of the housing sector.   He says the government has the capital  to  develop large scale housing projects in  areas  that  are currently unfeasible for privately owned real estate companies.
            “Those are the kind of areas that the National Housing Corporation should be taking the lead is developing  housing projects.”
The National Housing Corporation (NHC) – the government agency tasked to  provide affordable housing to Papua New Guineans – has not  been doing a good  job in the past.   It has fended off ongoing allegations of corruption and its executives have  faced the Parliamentary  Public Accounts Committee  during  investigations.
Since taking office, the  new  Housing Minister, Paul Isikiel,  has pushed for internal reforms.  One of the things he wants to do is sell off  NHC  properties  in Lae to the  Morobe Provincial Government  in a move expected to ease the  public servant housing shortage.

HOUSES TORCHED AFTER SHOOTING OF SECURITY MANAGER

Armed guards
House burning
The shooting of a security company   manager yesterday   has sparked a violent response from guards mostly from the Menyama area   in Lae, Morobe Province.  Just after 1pm yesterrday, guards from the Menyamya Morobe Security services and tribesmen armed with bows, arrows and bush knives torched a house where one of the suspects live. The victim 33-year-old Steven Simeon was the operations manager for the company. He was shot in the head by an armed youth during a holdup.  Lae’s Bumayong and the Back Road area has been the scene of a series of violent crimes this year. 

In April, a Lutheran pastor was killed.  His body dumped near a police station. A few weeks earlier, a woman was raped and killed. The attackers burned her face and genitals. The security firm’s board members and executives have demanded that the suspects of this latest crime be handed over immediately. Police arrived minutes after the rampage.  The head of police operations, inspector, Sam Kaiwa, who spoke to the men said police know the identity of the suspects but it will take time before they are captured. While much of the tension has been diffused with police presence some schools remain closed today.