What is a foreign God?

This morning I had to turn off the radio after listening to a guest speaker – a supposed prayer warrior – talking about praying for the the APEC Leaders Summit against the invasion of ‘foreign Gods’.

The use of this term had me so riled up that I had to switch off the radio. I literally felt offended that someone would use such a term to describe other religions when the very one that he practices is foreign.

If you are a Christian calling other religions foreign then you don’t know how your religion came to be. In fact, if we are brutally honest, as Papua New Guineans it is a religion that was literally forced on us.

Did our ancestors have a choice? To accept Christ or not? They did not and although missionaries did not force it on the older folks, they did with the children – even to the extent of taking them away from their parents.

Now I do not know which foreign God this speaker was referring to but such blind fanaticism is not good – for any faith – and history has a multitude of examples.

Anyway, that is the rant for today. Let me know what you think in the comments section.

The Things My Grandmother Values

My grandmother, Helen Bobwaleu, was a young girl when World War 2 reached the shores of Manus and she has vivid memories of going bush to hide from Japanese forces. I recall her telling us of how the village elders would arrange marriages for girls who were of age with men to avoid being taken by the warring forces. Her actual age is unknown but she could be over 80 years old and until recently I did not fully understand her.

Every time we would go to the village, we made sure we brought her new things like clothes, towels, bed-sheets etc. and we would tell her to use. However, on another visit I would find that she had gifted these items to her (our) extended family, and she would be using her old stuff.

I would often tell her that these items are for her to use and not as gifts, but as usual, she always did what she did and it wasn’t until recently I began to understand what she truly values in life – her relationships with the people around her.

Grandmother grew up in an era when relationships were the currency of the day and material wealth was only a tool for forging strong ties. If you traded a bag of sago with an islander for fish, you not only exchanged food, but also established a partnership that would go on for generations.

In some instances, these partnerships would be further strengthened through marriage establishing kinship. In my village, some of these trade links exist even today especially with the people of M’buke island.

Until I started understanding grandmother’s values, I could not understand how she would give away things that we had bought for her so easily. Her values contradict the Western ideology of wealth which is materialistic and weighs more on relationships.

If wealth is measured in relationships that we build then grandmother would be one of the wealthiest people on Earth.

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My sisters Shirley (left) and Freda (right) with grandmother Helen (middle). This picture was taken in 2012 after my late father’s burial in the village.

Destination Wedding, a witty take on relationships

I could not stop laughing when I watched Wedding Destination. It is dark romantic comedy about two misfits who travel to a wedding in the French countryside. They get into a couple of awkward situations but it is their dark yet witty outlook at life and the guests that bring out the laughs.

There are basically two stars in the film with a whole lot of extras. Firstly, there is Keanu Reeves who brings that pessimistic witty sarcasm in a monotonic manner which is quite funny – picture him as Sheldon Cooper in the sitcom Big Bang Theory. His costar is Winona Ryder.

Ryder is the overly optimistic character, bringing a balance to Reeve’s Frank. She is the ying to his yang and is a fit choice for this role. I cannot complain about the casting.

As I said, the misfits Frank (Reeves) and Lindsay (Ryder) first meet at the airport for a flight to the wedding destination. Immediately, they find they are at odds with each other but things get worse when they are seated next to each other on the plane and the placed in adjacent rooms at the hotel. They only thing they find in common is a dislike for the bride and groom and some of the guests.

The film is very relateable especially when attending obligatory social gatherings. I mean the obligation takes you there but you wish you were somewhere else. Then there are the ton of guests that you barely know or dislike but cannot seem to avoid. The dialogue between Frank and Lindsay will either have you rolling on the floor with laughter (ROFL) or just smiling.

Without giving too much away, there are a couple of moments in the film that stand out like the sex scene which is absolutely hilarious and the scene where they watch TV while drinking wine and eating chocolate.

Overall, the film is a dark witty take on relationships and family and is something that anyone with a good sense of humor will enjoy.

The Little Mermaid, entertainment for the whole family

the-little-mermaid-movie-posterWhen I first heard that The Little Mermaid was a modern retelling of the famous Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, I had some doubts but it turned out to be a pleasant movie fit for family viewing.

The film is filled with an amazing cast of brilliant young actors and actresses. Firstly, there is the legendary Shirley MacLaine providing a supporting role and acting as the narrator of the story. William Moseley plays the male lead while Poppy Drayton and Loreto Peralta take on the female leads. The casting is ideal for the target audience and there is no disappointment there.

The movie is set in the 1950s with Cam (Moseley); a journalist, on a assignment to Louisiana with his niece Elle (Peralta) in the hopes of finding a miracle cure for her at a circus. There they meet Elizabeth (Drayton) who may or may not be a real life mermaid of the Mississippi.

Although the story is fictitious, there are aspects in the movie that everyone can relate to like being trapped or the yearning to be loved. However, it also manages to bring the audience back to an age of innocence, when our minds believed anything was possible.

Finally, without giving too much away, I can say that this movie is something for the whole family.

Latent Racism in the Political Arena

Papua New Guinea politics is quite colorful, then again so is the nature of politics around the world. However, when its closer to home, its easier to relate to so when Madang MP Brian Krammer posted this on Facebook, it kind of opened a new perspective in racism – latent racism.

So racism is human nature and regardless of when you come from you will always have some innate bias toward other people. For example, coastal people will regard highlanders as agressive. However, having visited villages in the highlands, I, as a nambis man, can tell you that it is not true. You will find aggressive people everywhere.

Anyway, back to the post that Krammer published (see below) in which he claims Police Commissioner Gary Baki calls him a “mix race bastard“.

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A screenshot of Krammer’s post on Facebook.

Now that is a low blow coming from someone of such standing in the country.  But I must give credit to Kramer’s response (see below). I mean the guy nailed in the head. Ouch!

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Krammer’s response on Facebook.

In addition to that Krammer claims to have witnesses that can verify the phone call if Baki claims he is lying.

In anticipation, Mr Baki may claim I’m lying and threaten to have me arrested or take the matter to Court, he needs to remember I was in the company of an entire village when he called so I don’t expect to have a problem calling witnesses, add to that the records on my phone. 

The race card has always been something used by people to solicit support and commit unspeakable acts since time immemorial. In recent history, Hitler used it as an excuse to kill Jews and at home it was used to separate indigenous natives from the Caucasians and even enslave our people – yep, it was called ‘black-birding‘.

Today, we are learning to be more tolerant. However, many of us still have this latent racism hidden deep in our character, and when our mettle is tested, its ugly face can surface.

 

An expat leaking information? This could be bigger than we see.

In Parliament this week, Member for Usino-Bundi, Jimmy Uguro, questioned the Minister for Mining, Johnson Tuke about an expatriate working for the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) leaking confidential information to mining companies.

This question has been making rounds around my brain since hearing on radio and then reading about it again this morning (https://postcourier.com.pg/mining-minister-queried-expat-leaking-confidential-info-data/)

The minister used them the term ‘leaking‘ but I would have used the word ‘corporate espionage’ to describe it – and by all definitions, it is.

Some people might think I am being melodramatic but it is exactly that – he has been trading information – for what exactly, I am not sure. But I’m pretty sure monetary or other enticements were used.

While the issue was brought to the attention of the mining minister, other leaders need to take this seriously and approach it from a broader perspective. If the accusations are true, and this expat is leaking information, then the implications are far wider than corporate espionage.

MRA is a government entity and the actions of this expat is in fact, against the government and people of the country. It is espionage. Then the implications of these leaks have to be considered also.

How has these leaks affected government dealings with mining companies? And how has it affected the country as a whole? And if he has leaked mining information, then what else?

There is also a high probability that this person may have also disclosed other information to third parties which we are not aware of. This needs a thorough investigation.

Now, I am not saying this person is guilty. That is for the Courts to decide. However, this allegations cannot be taken sitting down, and if true then this person is a security risk to the country and appropriate action needs to be taken.