Friday, December 9, 2016


I HAVE over the years been asked by many young people about the requirements of becoming a pilot trainee cadet with Air Niugini (ANG).
The most I have given them come from the ANG ads I see in the newspaper where they state that students must score Bs or better in English, Maths A and Physics to be eligible to apply for the ANG Pilot Training Cadet Programme.
I may give a bit more information to that because I have gotten in touch with a senior pilot with ANG - Capt CM.  
I walked into a shop today and bumped into him. Capt CM was my peer in national high school and a Maths A classmate, back in the late 1980s.
I had a small conversation with the captain and may get more information regarding the programme and any new arrangements that ANG has in mind regarding taking on young people in pilot roles/training.
Things are going to change a bit with the cadet programme, so I have been told. (That much I can give now. More will be confirmed and passed on to you later!)
That information would be available in early 2017!

PS. I told him of many young people asking about the requirements and Capt CM said he would be happy to help us pass along the right info to those interested when things were finalised. I told him too about the comments from a best aspiring student in Northern province who told me that he wanted to become a commercial pilot and get his mother off selling ice blocks to support him. Yes, that was the best comment I got from years ago from a student who want to enter the aviation industry as a trainee pilot.   

Sunday, July 10, 2016


IF I were to make a small speech about my country (PNG) anywhere in the world, it would be themed: “PNG is a niche!”
Everybody knows that we are culturally diverse and linguistically rich – having about 850 different dialects.
Back in the 1990s, an anthropology friend told me that many prominent anthropologists in the world did their field work in PNG.
After Independence the world came to us for copper, gold and other precious metals and then they went for the oil too.
Today our Ministers and Government are excited about liquefied natural gas (LNG) and are scouting for interested developers.
Just last week, a Minister spoke about the potential of black coal in at least three provinces in PNG.
A few years ago, a French scientist said something to the effect that PNG is an enviable niche for any biologist in the world to study the diverse plant and animal life – from the tip of the highest mountains in the Highlands to the depths of the Bismarck Sea.
All those niches are here – for sure. However, there is a niche that is still untapped and that must be brought up and brought out to the rest of the world.
That niche has to do with stories – the old, old stories or the current/contemporary stories that have yet to be truly told. Those are the stories that scratch below the surface, the stories that are more than just news that are 200-300-word long.
The problem with us here in PNG is we are short of good and eager storytellers – people who can see, listen and document stories before telling or sharing them, and I mean telling stories in the form of poetry, short stories, novels and scripts.
That niche is here – but as yet it seems people are unaware that it is here because we over time have trained ourselves to think that all that is good must be touched, felt, traded for fast money, ergo.
Stories are rich too. If we treasure them – and tell them with some sense of appreciation, we can get paid too for the effort.
It is this story world in PNG that I think is an untapped mine that we must try to tap into.
In the process, we protect our own identity and heritage when we document such stories in the form of poetry, short stories, novels or films.
That is my belief.  
Think about this: In a decade all the LNG and black coal may have been extracted with big holes and rusting pipes left behind, but our stories captured will still remain, if we manage to document them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


A FORMER educator who taught in different secondary schools in Papua New Guinea has launched his autobiography in his village of Punnaveli, in Kerala, India.

Dr Kaipuraidom Mathai George, who taught with his late wife, Elizabeth, in Holy Name Girls School, in Dogura, in Milne Bay, and Aiyura National High School, in Eastern Highlands, in the 1980s launched his autobiography on April 2.

The launch was done in the presence of about 500 friends, church leaders, family members and community leaders.

Photo: Dr KM George (left, front) watching as a copy of the book is presented by an elder to an official guest.

It was the right time for the retired professional who has served in institutions in India, Malaysia and PNG to publish his memoir, since it was a month after he turned 90 years old on March 6.

The educator who is known as Mr George by his students in PNG, was born on March 6, 1926, as the ninth child and fifth son of KA Mathai and Saramma Matahi in a family of twelve children.

An email received on April 10 by The National states that the memoir titled “Amazing Grace: Dr KM George’s Life Story”, is not George’s first publication”.

Being a committed member of the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Dr George has authored more than a dozen books, including Historical Development of a Developing State, Sabah Malaysia (1891-1991), Church of South India, Life of Union (1947-1997), among others.

A few years ago, Dr George emailed his former students in PNG to send their recollections of their years at either Dogura or Aiyura and it is likely that some of the sketches of those years in the 1980s are in his book.

The book starts with George’s life in his village of Punnaveli and then his journey to school and college and to his working or studying overseas, including completing his doctorate degree from Columbia Pacific University, in California.

After the Georges left PNG at the start of 1989, they returned to Kerala.

Unfortunately, George’s wife, Elizabeth passed away in May 1991 due to cancer.

The couple has a daughter Sarah, who is a medical practitioner in United Kingdom and lives with her husband, a chartered accountant, and their two sons.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


HERE is a recent photo taken on one of my hometown's sandy beaches.

  Photo: Young men playing soccer (football) on the beach at Wewak.

I took this photo of young men playing soccer (football) on the beach at Wewak, East Sepik, Papua New Guinea on March 29, 2016. 
Almost every top soccer player who came out of Wewak has played soccer on this beach.
Wewak, my hometown has a lot of beautiful beaches.
Wewak is the provincial capital of East Sepik Province, which is located on the northern coast of the mainland.
The first Prime Minister of PNG, Sir Michael Somare is from East Sepik.
He will be celebrating his 80th birthday this year. He is still in politics and indicated not too long ago that he is retiring from politics.

Monday, January 11, 2016


I TOLD the cabbie to wait for me. I would spend about 15 minutes with my cousin and then he would drive me back to my workplace.
After 20 minutes, when I came out of the place where my cousin was, the cabbie was sitting beside his vehicle.
As we were walking towards it, the cabbie started talking.
For the next 15 minutes to my workplace, he was the one talking and did not give me any chance to talk.
It was clear. He was moved by the topic.
He told me that his father (who has since passed on) had said many things like that to him.
Here are a few lines that his father said to him:
NEVER GO AROUND WITH PEOPLE WHO STEAL … If you do, you would become a thief.
NEVER GO AROUND WITH PEOPLE WHO ABUSE THEIR WIVES … If you do, you will also turn out to be an abuser of your spouse.
NEVER GO AROUND WITH PEOPLE WHO GO TO COURT FOR EVERY LITTLE THING … If you do, you will also run to court for every little thing.
FORGIVE OTHERS OF THEIR WRONGS … If you do, you will live longer. (This is the second time in 10 years that I have heard this line.)

Here is something else the cabbie said (the last one before he left me):
“You know how many men and women ruin their homes because they bring rubbish into it – all the rubbish that the world has and offers?
“You know the cuscus that cracks the karuka nut? It is so clever. It does its eating far from where it lives. It does not bring the nuts or other rubbish to its abode. In doing so, its abode is free from rubbish and people who hunt it will never know where its abode is.
“They will see the rubbish of the nuts far from its hideout and do their hunting there thinking that the cuscus is somewhere close by.
“The cuscus does that for its survival – it does not bring rubbish into its abode.”

MY LESSON: “People too must be careful when they are meddling in the world and must ensure that the rubbish of the world must not get into their abode. Bad practices are the rubbish we see in the world and we must ensure that such practices do not get into our homes where cleanliness and hygiene in every sense must prevail.”


ARE you aware that our PNG local ancestors had some of the wisest characters – and some of the wisest sayings?
If you have spent some time living in the village, you would be privileged to have heard a traditional lore or one-liner.
(For those who are writers/or aspiring writers, it is a good thing to explore such themes. Write down traditional lore, anecdotes and proverbs as part of documenting our heritage. You will be enriched by doing that. In my next post, I will post a few.)
I have heard a number and they have shaped the way some of us think too – those of us who were privileged to be there in the 1970s and 1980s.

I was ferried by a cabbie yesterday evening to visit a cousin before she left the city to return home.
In the process, we (the cabbie and I) got into a conversation, as is the usual practice for me when I am in the mood.
I spoke about the need for common sense and how our ancestors celebrated important occasions in their lives without consuming alcohol.
I told him of my stance as regards alcohol – “there is nothing good in it”. It is a foreign concept that has ruined the nation – our nation.
I spoke of how today young people take alcohol and speak disrespectfully of others without restraint.
“This never happened in the old days,” I said. “The whole village will stop you and tell you immediately to make plans for restitution and make apologies. One of your own relatives may even handle you physically to put some sense into you.”
The cabbie told me that that was “real men talk” – something most people he travelled with never do.
I asked him if he was a Kange – a real Melpa man.
He said he was.
And I told him, I have been with some young Kanges in the past and they have said the same thing when such comments are made. (I told him that I grew up in Melpa country too – before and after Independence.)
Some of these Melpa men I know remember how their fathers or grandfathers taught them – the need to live with a head on and be at peace with their neighbours and relatives, something that is not usually seen today in many homes and families.
The abuse of alcohol has further pulled down the barriers that have protected our people for the ages.
Today when someone is under the influence of alcohol and do something bad, people would say: “Oh, sorry, he was drunk when he did it.”
When that is said, it is as if the culprit should be excused.
You try that in court and the magistrate would hurry you up to the National Court section to be trialled for assault or harassment – or whatever illegal thing you did.
Being drunk gives you no excuse of harassing or abusing somebody.

Next post: Some pieces from Melpa country