Saturday, February 14, 2009


ANO_End3, originally uploaded by nathpng.

Went back to PNG last year for a bit. Went some way towards settling some of the restlessness I feel about the place since leaving. Some photo's still get'chya when you look back though! This was a good one after a year on the compound with these kiddles.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Back in Melbourne town, all goes so quickly.

Some ups, some downs - but mostly just a bit weird for a bit.

Winding up in the blogsphere for a little bit (next adventure in a few months methinks).

For all who read/read - - stay in touch on

Friday, September 08, 2006

usual Media + PNG -

but very well put in this particular Crikey linked article:

[Edited portion - by Chris Harries originally]

Let’s make one thing clear. Without question, PNG is afflicted with enormous development problems, amongst them the alarming spread of HIV-AIDS featured on the ABC program. Add to that a level of political corruption, uncontrolled exploitation of its resources by foreign multinationals, and many other problems experienced by developing nations everywhere. Exposure of these problems should not be censored.

Australian media stand accused, not of telling the truth about PNG, but of telling only a small fraction of the truth. The bits that titillate. The bits that feed our overbearing sense of cultural superiority. The bits that spare the Australian nation the knowledge of its own role in exacerbating, if not causing, many of Papua New Guinea’s development woes.

To put this tarnished image-making into perspective, imagine for a moment that media from a dominant foreign power, say Japan, came to Australia and reported on our nation to the world. And imagine if that reporting (done without sensitivity) honed in on the "stolen generation", the mindless ways we have destroyed our soils and river systems, the drug culture amongst youth in our cities. And imagine if this was the total image of our nation, projected to the entire world. No ability to redress or balance such a jaundiced, distorted image.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

so melbourne

so melbourne
Originally uploaded by alandot.

thanks for taking the photo Alan - excellent as always. Home soon...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Slack on the posts again...

but only because I've put the pedal to the metal on the house-moving and workworkwork during the day. I'm across in my best-mate's place house-sitting with Lorena, a phd student studying some anthropolgy/development stuff. Work has less than 3 weeks to go now... which is surreal. All good however - even if there's no chance of getting everything you'd like to get done... well... done!

In between all that I've still managed the Mt Hagen show with a bunch of work/friends/etc. - staying with the Anglican wantoks up in Hagen. Aside from a 6 hour delay in the airport leaving to Hagen, it all went realy smoothly. Some pics up in the usual place (linked on the right of here). Also managed to spend 3-4 days solid battling one nasty malicious computer virus across all 7 workstations here in the office.

Back to work...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Peter T, son Ben & Wantok - Simon

Peter T, son Ben & Wantok - Simon
Originally uploaded by nathpng.

Some people around my compound that I'd speak to pretty much every day.
I like this shot - these guys watch out for each other, and watch out for me a bit too. Simon (also day security) will innocuously (sp?)follow the occasional character into the office front counter, Peter T works across all our service areas, and Ben is Peter's son - good guy - helped me with translation of highlands-pidgen now and then.

Ever get an sms like this?

[word for word]

From: **** **** (my accts clerk)

Hi gutmonin,a troubl-e occured last night & is tense. Its risky 4 me 2 walk 2 da bus stop--plis sent Gay if possible--


Turns out there was another killing & subsequent revenge killing last night, and was an extended family member of one of my staff. My Haus Meri came in and told me almost the exact same story (from the angle of someone living in the settlements, rather than one of the family members as accts clerk #1 is). Sent Gay this morning, I'm dropping her back tonight again.

The main reason that I'm writing this down now is that reading the sms's contents, and sending Gay, seemed like a pretty normal thing to have happen. Hmmm.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Seeing Red -: "How are the Neighbours doing"

World Vision report thing is linked here.

4-corners tonight linked here.

That Red PNG line not looking too healthy.

[News Report] PNG failing on poverty targets

[sent around by a friend earlier today from SMH]

Mark Metherell
August 14, 2006

PAPUA New Guinea, Australia's most pressing foreign aid priority, is the least likely of any country in the Asia-Pacific region to meet international goals to reduce its endemic poverty, disease and illiteracy.
A report published today by World Vision says PNG is unlikely to achieve any of eight targets set to halve extreme poverty in developing nations by 2015.
On five of these goals - poverty reduction, primary education, reduced child mortality, reversing HIV/AIDS and other diseases and access to clean water and sanitation - PNG is "significantly off track", the analysis shows.
In addition ABC's Four Corners will screen a program tonight that details how Papua New Guinea has one of the fastest-growing infection rates of AIDS/HIV but shows that vital drugs, bought by the World Health Organisation's Global Fund, are soon to expire and are sitting in a warehouse run by the Papua New Guinea Department of Health.
World Vision, Australia's biggest non-government aid organisation, has assessed the performance of 22 regional countries against the Millennium Development Goals established six years ago.
PNG has the highest percentage of 15 to 49-year-olds with HIV/AIDS and the lowest proportion of the population with access to clean water, 39 per cent.
Unlike virtually every other country in the region, the rate of primary school completion has declined, and at under 60 per cent is the lowest.
PNG, administered by Australia until 31 years ago, depends heavily for foreign aid on Australia, which gives about $350 million a year.
That figure has remained largely unchanged in nominal terms since the late 1980s, meaning its real value has been heavily eroded by inflation.
The World Vision report, How Are Our Neighbours?, found that all 22 countries were failing to meet some goals, and eight countries, including PNG, Laos, Cambodia and East Timor, needed priority assistance.

argh - feeling sick today

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Saturday night power down...

Now it may seem that I’m going on about this power thing a bit, but don’t read any of these as a “whine” – maybe more as a reflection on how much electricity is taken for granted. It’s a novelty the first 5-10 times it's pitch black in Lae... then you get over it.

When you’re living by yourself, and the power is shut off on a Saturday night – certain things run through your mind. First, you listen out for the sound (sometimes belated) of generators starting up around the neighbourhood. This is important – as you want to know that (a) you haven’t just forgotten to put enough pre-paid units in this week to the power machine or (b) some bright spark hasn’t cut your power line whilst digging a hole on your compound or (c) raskols haven’t cut the line to your house (extreme, but I’ve been told the story). Then you do the pitch-black-I’m-still-in-the-downstairs-office shuffle trying not to trip or drop this laptop on the way. Laptop screen stays open, as it’s the only light source you have. [I used to keep a torch downstairs at the end of last year when black-outs seemed more common. Mental note to start that again]. Then you open the downstairs door to your office, laptop and crap underneath arm, and start the locking up. Remember not to flick the alarm switch on – as alarm will go off when power returns if you do. It’s (almost) pitch black, but good enough to distinguish the bunches of keys and key-hole direction. There’s a sound behind me, and I automatically swing around. It’s Peter Junior (6yo) – walking back towards the house in the dark, can hardly see him at 7 metres. Deep breathe. St*pid… haven’t had any real problems since arriving to PNG, but both previous GS’s did have ‘difficulties’, and you can’t get the stories out of your head when it’s dark and there’s no fences around your makeshift compound. Heart racing for no logical reason. Shuffle back upstairs and figure out the keys to get into the house part – turn off the switch to the rice-cooker which would have been half-way through. No dinner menu for me now – not keen to finish roasting/frying by candle-light for dinner. Hungry. Find matches. Light pre-arranged/placed candles in kitchen. Go to fridge, open fridge, take beer, open beer, sit in front of candle.

Fast-forward a half hour – it’s still v.dark, but mood is helped by the remaining candles (must remember to buy more) and the flickering light of the laptop computer in the middle of my dark living room.

Sms a friend with a message “You out of power as well?”. Undertones not necessarily identified, - regardless, friend immediately replies with “not sure, on the way home now though and about to cook – come around anyways”.

Electricity... alone in the dark is OK for a bit – but not whilst hungry on a Saturday evening.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The name is Bond, Daniel-Craig-Bond?

Somehow I've been cc:ed on the rage built up about the new incarnation of the sleazy, slick, misoginist, sexy, un-killable (my) faviourite secret agent movie series. It made the Age the other day as well. Check out this Anti-Daniel-Craig website here... people going to some trouble. Anyone seen the more recent movie? (is it even out in Oz?). *cough* hasn't quite hit the "big screens" of Lae as yet...

Friday, August 11, 2006

And then you start looking again at Oz

politics and such. With pieces of dirt legislation like this, one hopes that this will be successful as a campaign to stop this legislation...

Senator Fielding met with the Prime Minister to discuss the Bill this morning, but says he has not struck a deal with the Government.

"Australians want a strong system for determining who comes to Australia and who doesn't," he said.

"But also Australians want a fair system in that everybody is treated fairly and they're the issues that I'm weighing up, and also making sure that I've spoken to the key players on this issue."

Senator Fielding also met the Indonesian Ambassador this morning, a move that has angered Greens Senator Bob Brown.

Senator FF-Fielding (insert own acronyms match) should talk to the majority of the church groups who have been dealing with the repercussions of this (and previous) governments stances on Asylum seekers. The minimalist approach to the UN Refugee treaty we're in is a flaccid, nasty option to take.

Back without power again...

Friday morning, around midday, and we've had power for about 1 hour this morning... that makes for a week of about 50/50 on the power-during-working-hours front. Have sent the staff off again for an early lunch, no use kicking around here, as have done most of what can be done without good light/electricity/ computers/phones/ faxes/etc.

Preparations continue apace for exit-Anglican Church of PNG and re-entry-Australia. Even find myself watching a little more 7:30 report and checking the Oz papers as well as the PNG ones again. Back on the ground and around in October to Melbourne.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sunset off Loluatu

Sunset off Loluatu
Originally uploaded by nathpng.

Did I mention that I was on an island for 3 days the other week? Paid for by Ausaid, 40+ PNG volunteers all in the same place for a bit. Niiiice place, good bunch of volunteers. Here's the coastal sunset no-one could resist taking a few shots of.