Terr’s Spoken Word: Epitome of Beauty and Intellegence

Epitome of Beauty and Intelligence – a poem by Mary Terriette Aseari read at the UPNG Pageant Night on 13 August 2021

“As each word I utter tonight 

Leaves this red inked lips​

Signifying a white man’s mark

I pray you won’t be disheartened 

For every word that transcends out of this mouthpiece

Is an echo of what I’ve written 

Using the red blood ink of my heart

Where the bloodlines of my ancestors still strives.

My ancestors were storytellers

I pray I do them justice tonight as I orate to you this piece 

Now, they say Pacific Island Women are the most beautiful

If that is so then a Papua New Guinean Woman must be handpicked by God to be a reflection of  diverse beauty.

Beauty foretold by her crowning glory that’s been worn for generations

A testament that the creator had been biased when weaving this masterpiece 

Bestowing her with a crowning glory fit for a queen

Hair so dark, it resembles the black charcoals where her palms were used to bake sweet  potatoes

So thick, it defies gravity even the laws of science can’t explain it

Locks so soft and wavy like her foundation the Pacific Ocean, crashing onto the shore of her face   each time the Trade Winds blow

So blonde, I had imagined the maker had dipped her in the same liquid he did the sun, as there’s     

no earthly explanation for this natural phenomenon.

And no, she’s not just a beauty statement

She is an incubator of rich history 

Every genealogy memorized and written on her skin through tattoos marking her roots

She is a goldmine of diverse languages

Her tongue cutting through the air through chants still echoed to this day

She is a master artesian

Painting a story with every stroke she makes on her tapa cloth

You see, she is both beautiful and intelligent 

She is a symbol of her forefather’s actions 

She is a Papua New Guinean Woman“

The End!

Social Experiment: Greeting 103 Strangers at UPNG

UPNG Political Science Honors Students, 2021.

How friendly are students from the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) to strangers who greet them?

Would they greet you back if you said “hello”?

If they do, is it in a clear voice, or mumbling?

And would they look at you whilst greeting you?

We spoke greeted 103 strangers (defined as: students we’ve never spoken to before). Only 7 students looked at us, and greeted us back in audible voice. A long way to go. Read on.

On Monday, 9 August 2021, I was heading over to work at UPNG. I greeted the first person. He didn’t reply. I greeted the second person. He mumbled something without looking up at me. I just assumed he was replying to me, could be in his language. I tried the third person, she seemed surprised that a stranger would greet her. Looked at me suspiciously for a few seconds, and managed an inaudible “good morning.”

I continued greeting 30 people before I reached my office. I posted my experience on Facebook, and asked people to try the same experiment. Five UPNG students decided to try it on the same day. The rules were:

1. Greet the person when he/she is at least one metre before you so they have the chance to greet you back.

2. Only count responses of those who you never spoken to before (strangers)

3. Smile while you’re at

The five students spoke to 73 other students who they’ve never spoken to before. Together with the 30 I’ve spoken to, we’ve disaggregated the data into:

“Replied GM” and “No Reply”. See table 1.

Table 1: Replies of people greeted. *GM = Good Morning

Out of the total 103 ‘strangers’ we’ve greeted, 81 replied, whilst 22 didn’t. That’s encouraging, but doesn’t tell the whole story. The 81 who replied didn’t always speak in audible voices. It ranged from audible greetings, to mumbling, heads down or not even making an attempt to look at the person. So we’ve further divided the responses into: “Audible”, “Non-audible”, and “Made-eye-contact”.

Table 2: Varying degree of responses

As table 2 shows, 35 of the 81 responded with audible voices – good morning, hi, hello etc. But only 7 managed to look at the person greeting him or her. The other 39 mumbled, without looking at the person.

Data like this doesn’t tell much. It could be that Monday is not a good day, and that there would be better responses on a Friday. Or perhaps it would be the same on a Friday. It’s week 6 of semester 2, so the students may have a lot to do, and don’t have time to talk to strangers. Or it could be that, students at UPNG are not used to greeting people they don’t know – strangers.

But there is hope, that, out of 100 people you greet at UPNG, at least 7 people will greet you back, looking you in the eye with a smile.

These 7 were either having a great day, outgoing, or are just used to talking to strangers. Congratulations to the 7, and hope all of UPNG would be like the 7 students.

Try this experiment at your school, workplace, street, shopping mall etc. Keep a tally, and comment below so we know how your experience was.

To subscribers of Academia Nomad: be like the 7 people. Politely greet the person who says ‘hello.’ And do it with a smile. Either doesn’t takes much effort. 😊🤞🙏

Job Hunting Expense: A thousand Kina process for PNG graduates.

Gitty Images

Job hunting expense is the monetary cost looking for job. In PNG, where internet cost is one of the highest in the region, this can be very troublesome for young graduates and students in their final year of studies. Below is a story of how one young graduate, sJuritus Huriamboho, spent K1, 236. 00 job hunting.

“ How job hunting is financially stressful? If you do math on how much you spend looking for job it will surprise you.

On one of my single job Interview it cost me alot. Here’s my experience on how much I spent for the course. The financial expense includes:

I). K6 Rait Card – Job search via internet

II). K20 – Printing & Photocopying (thankfully it was Lae and cheap)

III). K20 – Scanning

IV). (Refer to I above) – sending applications

V). K20 Rait Card – Making follow-ups (by emailing & phone calls) VI). K20 Busfare expenses

VII). K1000 – ticket purchased for two way (Lae to Pom, Pom to Lae)

VIII). K150 – Living expenses in Pom.

So, for single job interview it cost me approx. K1236. Can you imagine if I calculate for hundreds of job applications I’ve applied for…it would be much more higher than this. Job hunting is financially stressful.

The more we apply for job, the more money spend. Receiving NO feedback on our applications it contribute ‘stress’ to our lives. Given the fact of corruptions, I think discipline and good attitude must be the center in recruitment. Too much focus is given on experience and good GPA.”

Powes Parkop is right: privatize PNG Power

City-wide blackout in Port Moresby: PNG Loop

For three consecutive weeks, electricity in Papua New Guinea’s capital went off in the evenings. But this is not unusual for Port Moresby, a city dubbed “one of the least livable cities in the world” by The Economist Unit’s Global Livability Report 2021 in this week.

Powes Parkop, the National Capital District Governor, where Port Moresby City is located, criticized the report as “harsh”. Parkop subsequently wrote a letter to the PNG Minister for State Owned Enterprises to sell PNG Power for the state to sell PNG Power, which provides electricity in most parts of PNG, including Port Moresby. Below is Powes Parkop’s letter.

“SELL PNG POWER – PNG Power is the problem! Not the solution.”

Dear Minister,


I write regarding the above to express, on behalf of the entire community in the City, our deepest concerns and frustration at the continuous power outage and inability of PNG Power to provide reliable and affordable electricity supply. This is a continuous problem, but far from getting better, it seems to be getting worse despite all the initiatives of PNG Power itself and the Government generally.

In the City now, corporate entities are forced to buy back-up generators and become electricians or engage electricians on a full time basis. This not only cuts into their cost and makes the cost of doing business in Port Moresby higher, but also diverts them away from their core business. Instead of focusing on wholesale and retail trading, for example, wholesale and retail companies in the City have to divert their attention to providing electricity to their corporate premises and also homes of their staffs, particularly their Executive Management.

Equally, the individual residents of the City have to not only suffer from unreliable electricity and continuous outage but also the cost passed on by business houses for having to provide their own electricity. Ordinary residents of the City are therefore being hit two or three times over as a result of this situation.

It is my understanding that as a result of the recent commission of new power suppliers, including NiuPower at the LNG Site, there is more than enough electricity for the City. The private power supply from Edevu near Brown River in Central Province, when it commenced operation, gives us absolutely more than enough electricity we need for the City and an economy our size. The problem, therefore, is not one of lack of adequate electricity supply but one of inability to deliver electricity reliably and at affordable level.

Past Governments and Ministers have done their part to help PNG Power to transform itself so it can deliver better, but all these efforts seems to be in vain. It is about time, therefore Minister, that we accept what is obvious and deal with the problem so we can have solutions. In my earnest view the problem is PNG Power Ltd itself. The way it is structured, managed and capitalised simply cannot enable PNG Power Ltd to be a solution. The sooner we, especially you Minister, recognise and deal with this fact, the better it will be. Even if it is an infrastructure problem, PNG Power Ltd is not made out to solve this problem. PNG Power itself is the problem.

I write, therefore, to propose to you and by you, to the Cabinet that we immediately do an inventory and valuation of all PNG Power asset in the City and Central Province and we strip or remove these assets from PNG Power Ltd and sell these assets to a corporate company that can change the dynamics better and completely. Be it a US, Japanese, German, Russian or Singaporean Company, the people of NCD, both corporate and individuals, deserve a better service provider of this critical essential services. Independent State of PNG can continue to have equity in such a Company but as minor shareholders. This has to be and seems to be the only way forward given that PNG Power Ltd does not have the financial capacity to upgrade its infrastructure. The way it is structured and managed too will not give confidence to Banks or financial institutions to offer credit to PNG Power Ltd to recapitalise and rebuild its dilapidating infrastructures. We need to bite the bullet so we change the dynamics completely now. You have the power and privilege to make a difference now and I encourage you to make such bold decisions.

I look forward to sitting with you to explore this and other options your team and KCHL might have but we cannot procrastinate or delay any further.

As this is a matter expressed strongly to me recently, by both corporates and individual residents of our City, I will release copy of this letter publicly to media so the public can follow and contribute to solutions.

Thank you


Good men still live at UPNG?

Students from UPNG protesting against sexual harassment

Drunkard students sexually assaulted a female student. On 7 June 2021 the female students protested against sexual harassment, which is an ongoing issue. They hosted a forum at the UPNG Forum Square to address it. The Media that were present to cover the story were attacked and chased by the male students who didn’t want them to cover the meeting, ironically stating that it would portray a bad image of the institution. Some said it was an “internal matter.” Journalists being attacked made the news in the evening, and next day newspapers had headlines like:

“Home of Intellectuals or Thugs.”

The male students then counter-protested arguing that not all male students harass female students. Their play cards had words like:

“There are Good Men at UPNG.”

There were many views following this incidents on social media. Here, two are re-produced. One by East Sepik Province Governor Alan Bird, and another by UPNG Political Science Lecturer Michael Kabuni.

By GOVERNOR Alan Bird via his Facebook account.

“If you are a good man then act like it

When I was in UPNG, we stood up for women, defended them and treated them with respect. Today these women call us brother still.

You are a good man when you stand up for those who are weaker then you. You are not a good man because you demand it.

What we have just witnessed this past week at UPNG shows very weak character and a lack of appreciation for what constitutes acceptable human behavior in our country.

During my time, girls could move around topless. Nobody groped them, ridiculed them or told them to cover up. There was nothing disrespectful about that. It was normal.

It seems some of our young men have adopted a Taliban mentality where women are supposed to cover from head to toe.

Need I remind you all that our ancestors wore only a loin cloth, shell kambang or mini grass skirt for the women and girls.

All right thinking citizens will criticize your behavior and rightly so. You have clearly demonstrated by your own behavior that you need a serious adjustment to your mental attitude. Your ability to articulate arguments also needs improvement because there is nothing intelligent about it.

If there are any good men left in UPNG then we need to see you first of all apologize to our women and girls, the University lecturers and the country for your silly, thoughtless and unacceptable behavior.

The first act of a Good Man is to acknowledge when he is wrong, ask for forgiveness and make amends. Right the wrong.

Then we need you all to behave like good men so we can see it in your attitude. Treat women with respect.

If you say you are the elite then act like it.

If you say you are the future leaders: act like it.

If you say you are a good man then act like it.

Otherwise, the future leaders of PNG will not be coming from UPNG. You cannot be elite, you cannot be a leader if first of all, you are not a Good Man.

A good man lives by a set of behavioral principles, it’s a way of life.

Respect is given because you earned it. You can’t demand respect by threats or intimidation because not everyone will be afraid of you.”

Alan Bird is Governor of East Sepik Province.

Michael Kabuni via UPNG Political Science Facebook Group

Students attending the forum at the UPNG Forum Square

“The implication of what transpired at UPNG is immense. One thing is for sure: if you are applying for a job in the next few years, and your competition is someone from PAU or DWU, you stand very slim chance. And the “good men” left at UPNG are right to be concerned.

But counter-protesting is the stupidest of alternatives available. If you only worked with the female victims, the security and administration to identify and bring those responsible to justice, you would have sent a very clear message that there are good men at UPNG.

The only evidence that you showed that good men do exist is a counter-protest.

I have friends from private and public sector. And what I hear is that you will have a very tough time trying to get employed in an already limited job market.

As of now, I’ve decided not to write any recommendation or reference for any male student who has taken a subject I taught. Unless I know the person to be good and respectful. I used to limit my recommendations to excellent academic performance (I’ve posted here before that I would only write references for those that scored CR – HD in my subject). Now, I’m not writing references even if you attained HD – not many get HDs anyways. If you’re a boom-box carrying, tribal fighting, women harassing coward, you have no place. It’s going to be the same with many lecturers who you approach for references/recommendations. So if you are one of my students, and took part in the counter protest, don’t request for a reference. I’m obliged to teach, not to pass you or write you a reference.

Character now counts.

Intelligence has failed us.”

Video of students attacking media personnel

Let us know what you think. Comment below.

Don’t Make History a Fairy Tale!

By Gregory Bablis| Plessingsing

[Republished with permission]

Cultures around the world have different concepts of history and of time. The historicity of a people or place crystallizes in many forms etched in the environment, landscape, language, stories, and material culture. Legends, myths, fairy tales, creation stories or origin stories are just some examples. They are historical “artifacts” that can be analyzed for non-fictive content or for universal truths and morals. In the title of this report the phrase “fairy tale” is used to draw a contrast between the word “history”, the former carrying a slightly negative connotation of being more fictive and of less use for present generations – apart from providing amusement and scaring young children into adherence. The articles’ title was in fact a sharp comment made by Mr Ephraim Kavon when I recently spoke with him about local development issues in the Pomio District of East New Britain Province. Kavon is a local leader in the Tol-Masarau Ward 15 area, Sinivit LLG. He serves as Chairman of the school board of the St Paul 2/22 Lark Force Battalion Tol High School (THS) which is run by the Catholic Education Agency. Kavon struggles with the fact that the high school and the Tol Station area in general provided the scene for some major events and atrocities of the Second World War (WWII) and yet there is not as much recognition given by the governments of Papua New Guinea, Japan and Australia as there is to places in Oro and Central provinces through which runs the well-known Kokoda Track.

The THS lies about halfway along a six kilometers stretch of coastline between Tol and Masarau. The glistening white sandy beaches of Henry Reid Bay lie invitingly under the cool respite of shade-giving trees that were purposely left standing when bush and shrubs were being slashed to clear the way for development projects and human settlement.Henry Reid Bay

Henry Reid Bay is the present name given to the inner reaches of the much larger Wide Bay that forms the southern side of the “throat of New Britain Island” – Open Bay forming the upper part of this topographical “throat”. Before WWII and the First World War (WWI) Masarau was known as Waitavolo and this is the name still used on most maps. One interpretation is that Waitavolo is a localized form of the description of the sparkly white sandy beaches which English speakers exclaimed as “whiter flow” when one apparently grabbed a handful and saw the fine white grains pouring out through the gaps in his fingers. The original place name, Masarau, is of (Simbali) Baining origin, from Mẽsrau – mẽs meaning “food” or “to eat” and rau referring to small crabs that can be found along dry creek beds or by the sea. It is the name Bainings use to refer to a nearby creek where the small crabs can still be collected and eaten. The name Tol is a diminutive of the Baining name of the nearest mountain ridge, spelled Tholia. This ridgeline rises some 200-250 meters and forms the backdrop of the thin Tol-Masarau coastline with a larger cul-de-sac indent that accommodates the school grounds and two Sulka villages – Gumgum immediately behind the school and Koki which lies immediately west towards Masarau. The high school was established in 2017 and is fast expanding its building infrastructures. It now boasts two double-story duplex classrooms, a staffroom/administrative building, teacher’s houses, two girl’s dormitories, a boy’s dormitory and an assembly hall. A quadraplex to accommodate living quarters for more teachers, a library building, another duplex dormitory and a double story science lab are currently under construction. These have all been made possible through funding from the Government and the Catholic Church. The THS has grades 9 and 10 and will soon be upgrading to secondary status to include grades 11 and 12.St Paul 2/22 Lark Force Battalion Tol High School (THS) which is run by the Catholic Education Agency.

The first coconut plantations were set up in the area shortly before WWI; foreign logging companies came to the region in the 1980’s, and large scale operations began, with the consent of landowners, in the 1990’s. The first logging companies to arrive were Japanese but from the 1990’s most of the logging in the Wide Bay area has been conducted by Niu Gini Lumber, a subsidiary of the Malaysian logging company Rimbunan Hijau (Tammisto 2010: 44). Today Tol Station lies at the crossroads of a number of district and national government schemes. In 2005 it was selected by former Member for Pomio, Mr Paul Tiensten, to be a Growth Center under the Pomio Economic Development Strategy (2005-2012). With the national government’s Public Private Partnership program, resource developers were supposed to link up and maintain road networks in the Pomio District in exchange for logging concessions. Under the now-failed Special Agricultural Business License concept the Ili-Wawas Road Project was agreed upon and the Department of Environment and Conservation (now the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority) issued an agro-forestry permit to Tzen Niugini (another Malaysian company) to carry out logging followed immediately by oil palm plantations and smallholder estates. But there are many environmental and workers’ rights abuses being perpetrated by resource developers as government authorities lack the capacity or perhaps the will to do proper monitoring and evaluation. These issues will however be the subject of a separate report.

The Japanese landed at Waitavolo not long after taking over Rabaul in January of 1942. They soon set up a base, building military infrastructures that included tunnel networks similar to those found in many places in Rabaul and Kokopo. The largest Japanese tunnel in Masarau can be found not more than a kilometer from the sea at an elevation of 35 m above sea level. The entrance of the tunnel has a width of 7.2 m, a height of 3 m to 4 m in places and burrows into the mountain some 84 m. The tunnel then branches off for an estimated 30-40 meters but the actual depth cannot yet be determined because there is not enough crawl space to make it further in. Today the only occupants of this tunnel are bat colonies, snakes and other nocturnal critters since no sunlight reaches its inner depths. Less than 100 meters away from the tunnel is oil palm plantation belonging to Tzen Niugini.

Japanese soldiers also constructed other tunnels on the ridgeline behind Masarau and the school at 182 m, 185 m and 203 m altitudes. These tunnels are smaller and their entrances are all partly caved in but then open up to heights of 1 m to 2.5 m once one gets in. The largest of these tunnels lies at the highest altitude of the three and goes into the mountainside about 28.3 m at the end of which is a 7.8 m vertical drop and a further 30-40 meters branch into the mountain. There are a few more tunnels in the ridge yet to be found and mapped. Apart from storing things and providing safe shelter during WWII, these tunnels could have also been used to keep prisoners – both soldiers and locals.

The Australians took over Tol and Waitavolo later in 1944 and held these areas until the end of the war. Their graded roads and fighting positions can be found on the same ridgeline on the western saddle and eastern terminus. All these and other war surplus materials now lie under jungle and in the mountains overlooking Tol, Masarau, the high school in the middle and skirted by expanding oil palm and logging activities.

By popular consensus the THS was in 2017 bestowed the lengthy name it now bears. Kavon has been board chairman since March of 2020. The story of the ill-fated members of the 2/22 Lark Force Battalion is well known locally. A small regiment made up mainly of members of that battalion were left to guard Rabaul Town after it had been evacuated early in 1942. When Japanese soldiers of the South Seas Detachment invaded Rabaul on 23 January, soldiers and civilians alike fanned out escaping over the Baining Ranges. About 200 Australian soldiers trekked all the way to Tol to wait for a rescue that never took place. They were instead met by Japanese soldiers who had pursued them by boat. In the events that occurred from 3 February, 160 Australian soldiers were massacred between Tol and Waitavolo. And of these only nine of their remains have been found and reinterred at Bitapaka War Cemetery in Kokopo.
Kavon knows the importance of keeping local histories alive and building important national and international relationships through such histories and naming practices. Through recognition of the high schools name, Kavon has established a sister relationship with Tallarook Primary School in Victoria, Australia, which is near where the Lark Force Battalion had a training base in the war period. In 2018 Kavon proposed the name Daniel Ousley Memorial Early Childhood School for a startup that has a classroom not far from the wartime airstrip at Tol Station. Daniel Joseph Ousley was one of the youngest soldiers of the 2/22 Lark Force Battalion to be killed by the Japanese at Tol. A contingent of the Ousley Family visited Tol in 2018 to honour their ancestor and see the place where he was slain and where his body still remains undiscovered among 151 other of his comrades. The early childhood school is run by the Seventh-Day Adventist Education Agency.
Kavon has proposed to name the new high school oval – to be graded and constructed later this year – after His Royal Highness Prince Henry (William Frederick Albert 31/03/1900-10/06/1974) who served as Australia’s Governor-General from 1945 to 1947. In the photograph below, which is dated 02 July 1945, he can be seen inspecting a parade of local soldiers attached to the Allied Intelligence Bureau in Wide Bay. At the time he was visiting the headquarters of the 13 Infantry Brigade and Tol Plantation camps.(Photograph reference: https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C72106).

A locally-renowned war hero will also be honoured in the name of a proposed museum for Tol Station. The Hon. Sergeant-Major Paranis Kawatpur was a Sulka man who during WWII served in the Australian Military Force and the Allied Intelligence Bureau. He was later awarded the King George Medal, the King George Star and the Independence Medal in 1975.

In the photograph below Sergeant-Major Kawatpur can be seen walking with his wife at the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit District Services Tol Refugees Camp at Sipilangan Village, Wide Bay. The photograph is dated 29 July 1945.(Photograph reference: https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C71297).

Apart from the more recent military heritage, evidence of the areas ancient history can still be found. Some years ago a local man in Masarau found in his garden, not 100 meters from encroaching oil palm plantations, two club heads with holes drilled in the middle.

The club heads are believed to be of Baining origin. Locals say that papait (magical incantations) would have been used to make easier the task of drilling holes into the hard rock. They suggest that the club heads would not have been latched with rope as is done with stone adzes. Rather, a suitable sized stick would be fashioned and wedged into the hole in a tight fit and this would be sufficient to hold the club head in place. The longer end of the stick would then serve as the handle. Locals suggest that the clubs were used for close quarter combat. The local who found these stone artifacts has agreed to donate them to the National Museum & Art Gallery in Port Moresby for proper preservation.

Having a three dimensional concept of time is the hallmark of the successful metropolises and institutions of this world. Many traditional African religions for instance are said to have a two dimensional concept of time that consist of a long past and a present. According to Mbiti, for many African religions, time moves backwards from the present and so the future which lies beyond the horizon of the present is not thought about or considered “actual time” (Mbiti 1969: 17).

The more successful and so-called universal religions of the world on the other hand provide a third dimension in their theologies that take into account the future and which provide for the opportunity of spiritual redemption and resurrection after physical death. So too must our development pursuits be three dimensional allowing for the revitalization of our histories (the past) in the present. These histories must be given new life and significance for the present in the way that Kavon’s naming agenda or a museum exhibition allows for the rekindling of old connections for new relationships. Said differently, three dimensional development projects must be carried out sustainably so that future generations can continue to benefit from the same land and resources without losing something of the cultural and biodiversity values of the place and environment known to peoples of the past. Kavon’s striking comment, “Don’t make history a fairy tale!” is as much a caution to protect our local cultures and histories and the materiality of these left in the environment and on the landscape, as it is a critique of the destructive tendencies and one dimensional approaches of government and corporate developers.

Mbiti, J. S. 1969. African Religions & Philosophy. London: Heinemann.
Tammisto, T. 2010. Strengthening the State: Logging and Neoliberal Politics in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society 1/2010, 44.

Disclaimer: The views in this report belong solely to the author.

Vaccines intended for PNG going to foreigners in PNG?

This photo by Joel Hamari from ‘The National’ newspaper confirms what I saw on 17 May 2021 at Rita Flyn:

That foreigners dominated Rita Flynn, where vaccines are administered, to get vaccinated!

The sad thing is, I wasn’t surprised when I saw many foreigners lining up for the vaccines at Rita Flynn – vaccines that were sent for Papua New Guineans. Viscous misinformation campaign has dominated WhatsApp groups and Facebook groups in PNG since vaccines were announced. I’ve witnessed unprecedented level of conspiracy in PNG against vaccines. Unprecedented in terms of number of people sharing content that discredits vaccines, as well as the number of educated professionals who are critical of vaccines.

ABC International Development and the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme reported that 62% of Facebook posts about Covid-19 vaccines in the Pacific region make unsubstantiated claims about vaccines, with popular falsehoods including that vaccines have been manufactured to track personal data, are counter to the foundations of the Christian faith, and impact fertility, circulated widely across the region.

PNG is a country of about 8-9 million people, so the 132, 000 AstraZeneca donated to PNG via CONVAX will hardly put a dent in PNG’s response to COVID-19 in PNG. Every dose should be going to Papua New Guineans who, unlike the foreigners in PNG, have limited access to quality heath facilities except government run facilities which are mostly run down and struggling to keep up with demands from the populace.

When the vaccines arrived, preference was given to the front line workers, starting with health workers, and later on vaccines were offered to the public. I was part of the UPNG staff who were asked to get vaccinated. It was voluntary. Less than half of the staff went to Rita Flyn where the vaccines are administered. I’m not sure whether it was vaccine hesitancy or the email (toksave) was sent out late, which resulted in low turn out. Perhaps both.

At Rita Flyn, I saw Europeans, Indians, Asians and Papua New Guineans. I didn’t keep a tally, but for the two or three hours I was there, I saw many foreigners lining up. At one time, the chairs before me were dominate by foreigners.

It’s a concern that less PNGeans are showing up for the vaccines. It’s open for the public, after the front liners were vaccinated. But it’s sad to see many Papua New Guineans hesitating to get vaccinated.

Vaccines are scarce, especially in PNG. And the little we have seems to be benefiting the the foreigners in PNG. Because Papua New Guineans are reading and watching too many conspiracy content.

Since we are trying to make PNG a Christian country, let me quote a scripture from the Bible, Hosea 4:6:

“My people perish because of a lack of knowledge…”

If people die in PNG from COVID-19, the reasons will be twofold: first, there is a break down in health system; but second, a lack of correct information or rejection of science.

Our front liners and PM and ministers and departmental heads and teachers and lecturers have been vaccinated. So if vaccines do kill people, PNG should be in disaster mode by now. By now you should have lost most, if not all, of your medical doctors and nurses, your PM and politicians, and departmental heads and teachers.

I got vaccinated. And out of curiosity I placed a coin on my arm where I was injected but the coin fell! There are videos circulating on WhatsApp groups showing coins getting stuck on the arm after vaccination. A friend of mine then explained that coins get stuck on smooth surfaces, so the upper arm where there’s less hair, coins will get stuck, especially if the arms are a bit sweaty (in the 37 degrees POM city, you’re sure to be sweating).

The coin fell off my arm where I was injected

After vaccination I felt pains on the second day. The nurses explained that that would be the case. I was advised to drink panadol and get some rest so that’s what I did. It’s the third day and I’m feeling good.

So my people, got get vaccinated.

Video: Dame Carol Kidu Speaks to UPNG students

Carol Kidu. PC: Sydney Morning Herald

Earlier I posted a transcript of Dame Carol Kidu’s talk. Now I’m posting the video:

The full transcript was published earlier in this blog:


Haus Man, Let’s Talk About Violence Against Women

For those who don’t know, my name is Michael Kabuni, and ‘Academia Nomad’ is my personal blog. I’m writing this from my heart… appealing to my brothers, uncles, students, male colleagues and men of PNG to respect women, and value their lives.

I’m writing this piece after reading how a professional PNG man who has a PhD killed his wife, rapped her in a canvas, and was on his way to dump her remains when police conducting routine checks discovered her (might make news tomorrow). She is Imelda Tupi Tamanda. This comes after two women were tortured right here in the heart of PNG’s capital – Port Moresby.

Violence against women was supposed to be illegal, uncivilized, and sinful. But it’s obvious that starting from villages where men burn women in the name of sorcery, to tales in settlements and cities, to professional men, in every strata, men are guilty of perpetuating violence and murder against women.

I don’t personally know Imelda, but as a professional working class man, it really hurts to know we lost someone of that caliber. I feel like I lost someone I know.

This afternoon I felt that something within me died. I have a passion for research. I write articles on politics of PNG. But now I feel like I’ve been writing about things that don’t really matter. What good is all the analysis and debate, if women are raped, tortured and murdered each week? What good is education if PhD holders kill women? What good is development when women are tortured in the capital of our city? It all means nothing guys, if we continue to kill our own kind.

Where on God’s green earth can I find an justification for the violence perpetrated against our own kind? How can we, in an era where we send and receive message in an instant; conduct lectures and conferences online; have breakfast in Wewak and have dinner in Daru the same evening….. still perpetuate something as primitive as torturing women? How can we have 97% professed Christians in PNG and still take the life of our women in cold blood murder?

Can we all please stop, and have a serious conversation about the plight of women?


It’s not an UN Women issue. It’s not a women group’s issue. It’s not an NGO issue. It’s not a donor country’s issue. It’s a PNG issue. And when we have a serious issue in our villages and clans and tribes….men talk. PNG men, let’s talk about violence against our women. Let’s end this.

The plight of women must be discussed in the halls of Haus Man. It is a serious matter.

Pastors, preach it using the pulpit that wife bashing is wrong. It’s a SIN.

Lecturers and teachers, condemn it in class.

Young man tell your peers it’s wrong to raise your hands against women.

Chiefs, tell your tribe to respect woman. The conversation must enter the sacred halls of Haus Man.

We must all rise up. Seriously there is no justification to raise your hand against any woman. If you don’t want her, please let her go. Don’t kill her. She’s someone else’s daughter, grand daughter, sister, mother etc.

Make it personal. Say no to violence against women.

I pray to God that we will know and value human life. That we can live in peace. Yumi kilim yumi yet ya. Displa pasin mas stop.

Melanesian Man, Say No To Violence Against Women!

Difference between state lease, certificate of titles, and customary lad

A Chinese company recently started evicting settlers at the “First Block” at ATS Settlement. This follows those evicted from 9 Mile Settlement. Clifford Zaneng explains the difference between State Lease, Certificate of Titles, and Customary Land. Basically, state land lease lasts for 99 years, certificate of titles leases lasts 25 years but is still a customary land, and customary land cannot be leased.

By Clifford Zaneng


I am compelled to write this piece as I am increasingly finding to many of my friends and others making the mistake of entering into Land purchase transactions without appreciating the difference between a STATE LEASE and a CERTIFICATE OF TITLE.

Whilst others may say this is not the correct forum for this discussion, I will say it is, for the fact that the other places that such advice is available you will not have access to them without an entry fee. 😉

Let’s begin.

A STATE LEASE is the most secured Land acquisition mode in our country. Recent evictions at ATS and the BUSH WARA 9 Mile on behalf of the State Lease holders confirm this.


The main similarities with a STATE LEASE and a CERTIFICATE OF TITLE are:


The STATE LEASE and a CERTIFICATE OF TITLE will both have a REGISTERED SURVEY, which has been registered with the Surveyor General’s Office at the Lands Department and it would have been issued a CAT No.

If you are shown a Registered Survey go a step further and request to see a copy of the title.


Whilst both the STATE LEASE and a CERTIFICATE OF TITLE are registered with the Register of Titles at the Lands Department, the process of registration is different.

For now I’ll say the STATE LEASE is less controversial, however, the CERTIFICATE OF TITLE is issued after the Land Titles Commission (LTC) hearing is done and LTC has made a determination after receiving evidence and arguments from contending Landowner Groups.

The process also involves the Incorporated Land Groups (ILG) made up of the clans and not individuals, so if you are receiving the CERTIFICATE OF TITLE from an individual, request for the ILG Certification, his relation to the ILG and the LTC determination that led to his CERTIFICATE OF TITLE being registered.

DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE. This is a MUST that is strongly recommended.


The following are some of the main differences between an STATE LEASE and CERTIFICATE OF TITLE.


With a STATE LEASE you can lease the land for 99 years before applying for a State Lease renewal with the State, who owns the Land.

In a CERTIFICATE OF TITLE the lease is for 25 years (under the current arrangements) and the land reverts back to the ILG after the 25 years. It reverts to the ILG as Customary owner of the Land.


Commercial Banks and Financial Institutions will not give you a Mortgage or any other Loan against a CERTIFICATE OF TITLE.

Zero Kina from the Commercial Banks and Financial Institutions.

This is because the ownership of land under the CERTIFICATE OF TITLE is customary and customary ownership is not transferable.

Meaning the banks can’t recover the land in the case of a default and sell or transfer the Land because they can’t do that under the existing Land laws of PNG.



The difference it has to other Customary Land is that it’s registered and the others aren’t.

Even if it’s registered REMEMBER the law is that, CUSTOMARY LAND cannot be SOLD.

Thank you. Em tasol.

This should be enough for you to think about.

DISCLAIMER: Seek competent legal advise and do your due diligence when purchasing land. This advise is for your guidance and food for thought and should not be used as the basis of your decision making.

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