The Opportunities of B-Team Project

So-onbokak trawling in his dugout.
The film project could be used to boost the tourism industry.

I’ve been following the developments of the B-Team Project and it seems that people are not as excited as they should be. Well, they should be considering the potential this project has for Papua New Guinea (PNG) not only in the film industry but also in tourism.

The last major movie filmed in the country was Robinson Crusoe which starred Pierce Brosnan, but it did not make much of an impact in the box office nor did it do much for tourism. However, it did make, the Late William Takaku, a cult figure in many acting circles. He also became the first Papua New Guinean to co-star in a Hollywood production and a legend among local actors.

The B-Team will create that opportunity for other budding actors like Stanley Nandex and many others who have signed up for the project but the biggest potential for us lies in the tourism industry. If the film uses exotic locations and gets the attention it deserves, then it could boost tourism to greater heights. The star power of this film is also three times more.

The film will star Don “The Dragon” Wilson, Cynthia Rothrock and Michael Jai White. Now as a martial arts action fan, these names are up there with the legendary Bruce Lee and they are all martial artists too – no posers.

Anyway, the point is we have the opportunity to market the country through this film and we don’t know when another opportunity like this will come again.

Opportunity is as scarce as oxygen; men fairly breathe it and do not know it – Doc Sane

Great article Emmanuel,

I’m also greatly against the idea of undersea mining because we still don’t have enough data to really understand and appreciate how life a few km under affects the ecosystem on land and shallow waters or the same way we failed to understand the impacts of logging in the ecosystem until carbon dioxide became a problem. Thanks to the efforts of people like Cameron, we may be able to finally sink into the deep mystery of the sea.

Masalai blog

Hollywood Director, Explorer and Environmentalist James Cameron and his crew are in PNG at the moment conducting test dives for a new undersea vehicle before heading to the Mariana Trench deep in the Pacific Ocean. The part of the trench known as Challenger Deep, north of PNG, is the deepest known point of the world’s oceans, reaching down to nearly 11,000 metres.

James will be testing his new Australian built undersea vehicle in the deep waters off Jacquinot Bay in Pomio, East New Britain. He has funded the development of the undersea vehicle for his Challenger Deep trip, which a documentary is expected to be made from and research will most likely influence his sequel to Avatar which is said to be set in the oceans of his fictional planet, Pandora. (You can read more about James’ Challenger Deep trip here and here.)

Now aside from all the glamour of James’ Hollywood career, I’ve come to appreciate the fact that James…

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PNG 2012 Cultural Events Calendar

If you are interested in experiencing ad seeing Papua New Guinean’s diverse culture then you are in luck this year. The country’s cultural events calendar begins in May and ends in November. Here is a list of events in chronological order.

Gogodala War Canoes
The spectacular Gogodala War Canoes. Picture courtesy of the National Cultural Commission.

The first event for the year is the 9th Gogodala Canoe Festival which will be held in Balimo, Western Province. The event is two day celebration of the Gogodala people’s magnificent canoes and starts on the 16th of May and end on the 18th.

In June, a couple of events are planned starting with the 17th Gulf Mask (E’haro) Festival which will be held from the 17th to the 18th in Toare village, Gulf Province. This event is aimed at promoting and maintaining the mask culture of the Elema people in the central and eastern parts of Gulf which is ominously vanishing. Following that is the Tavur Festival in Kimbe, West New Britain.

Then in July another couple of events take place mainly in the New Guinea Islands region. Firstly, the Malagan Festival in New Ireland Province which starts on the 21st and ends on Remembrance Day (23rd). This is followed by the Kono Festival in the Autonomous Regions of Bougainville (ARoB) with takes place on 27th to the 30th.

August sees another, more famous cultural events; the Sepik River Crocodile Festival and the Mt. Hagen Show. The first celebrates the Sepik people’s connection with the crocodile and takes place on the 7th and 8th at Ambunti station in East Sepik. The later is a celebration of sounds and colour that resonates in Western Highlands Province and takes place between the 12th and 14th.

September is filled with several events including the country’s independence celebration on the 16th. The 11th National Garamut na Mambu Festival kicks off on the 2nd and 3rd and celebrates the versatile use of the bamboo. The event takes place in the Sepik Show Grounds. This is followed by the 6th Garamut na Mask Festival at Rofundogum village from 7th to the 9th. Then the 4th Middle Sepik Festival takes place in Paliambe village from the 9th and 19th.  All events are in the East Sepik Province.

Running simultaneously in the same month is also the National Mask Festival in Kokopo, East New Britain (ENB) and the Namatanai Mask Festival in New Ireland which takes place on the 16th and 17th coinciding with Independence Celebrations.  Also scheduled for the month are the Hiri Moale Festival in the nation’s Capital, the 7th Bilasim Skin Festival and Coffee Festival in Goroka, Eastern Highlands, and the Warwagira Mask Festival in Kokopo, ENB.

Sepik redenaarsstoelenIn October we have the world famous Morobe Show at the Morobe Show Ground in Lae and then to top it off in November we have the 9th National Canoe Festival in Alotau, Milne Bay. This festival features the traditional war (lopos) and trade canoes including the Epois; the traditional canoes used in the Kula Trade.

Other cultural events are yet to be scheduled like the National Arts & Craft Exhibition in the National Capital District, the Enga Show in Wabag and the Bilum Festival in Goroka, Eastern Highlands.

If you wish to know more then don’t hesitate to contact the National Cultural Commission via email (culture@ncc.gov.pg) or their website www.ncc.gov.pg.

And there you have it a calendar of the cultural events taking place in PNG in 2012.        

Immigrations Services still not responding

It seems the Immigration people are still trying to avoid me. Last week I made a request through email to the immigration department regarding a formal explanation to why they cannot issue my niece in New Zealand a Papua New Guinea (PNG) passport.

I filled in a form on their website www.immigration.gov.pg and was promptly answered by an officer by the name of Liza-Ann Gabina. After several email exchanges she forwarded my request to the Assistant Director Magaret Pejoi-Geita. That was almost a week ago and I am yet to receive a reply.

Yesterday, in an attempt to get some feedback, I emailed them again only to find, this morning, a message from their ‘lost mail’ account.

The lost email message from the Immigration Services
The lost email message from the Immigration Services

It seems suspicious that no NDR messages were sent to my account so I tried to verify the email addresses I used and sure enough the emails checked out. I used the online service verify-email.org. Here is a snapshot of the returned messages I received.

Ms Pejoi-Geita's report
This is the verification report on Ms Pejoi-Geita's email address. The email seems to be valid.
Ms Liza-Ann Gabina's verification report.
This is the verification report on Ms Gabina's email address. The email seems valid too.

It seems someone within the department is avoiding my request and trying to hide behind technological bullshit. If I don’t get a response by next week, I’m going start going over their heads and I will even send a letter to the Minister responsible if need be.

Masalai blog

I received a letter from Sir Mekere Morauta Minister for State Enterprises on Monday the 13th of February dated 10th February 2012 of my suspension. I thank the Minister for teaching me a lot about life.

The process of the suspension does not appear to be in order and I hope, as a matter of principle, they get it corrected. The suspension can only be served on me by the Board of Telikom. That should not be the main issue and I don’t want to get into a public debate over this.

I was charged for not complying with Section 46 B of the IPBC Act. That particular section restricts all State Owned Entities from not spending any money beyond K1 million unless approved by the Minister for Finance. This clause came into play in 2007. The interesting thing about this section is that it does not allow an SOE…

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Ia or Ass-hul?

Some bus drivers never listen
Some bus drivers never listen.

This is the insulting comment I made to the bus driver this morning and I guess made the passengers’ day. The comment translates; it’s in Tok Pisin by the way, as ‘ear or asshole?’ and was simply a comparison of his ears to his anal opening.

This was triggered by the driver’s ignorance to my request for him to stop at the Waigani Drive bus stop near the Lands Department or more commonly referred to as Islander.

You see instead of slowing down, he sped up and took off. I had to get off at the traffic lights at the corner of Vision City and as I stepped out I called to the driver with my (I think) cleverly crafted comment.

I’m not the first person to be angry and bus drivers and I know I won’t be the last but if you want to insult them, make an impressive insult because with their hearing, I doubt they’ll even hear you.

A Brief History of MV Manus

MV Manus
The sinking pride of Manus. MV Manus. Photography by Matthew Brillante

MV Manus is the pride of Manus and while she lies at Motukea collecting rust we are starting to doubt if she will ever see another route. The cost of overhauling her is too much and her future looks bleak. For those who don’t know about MV Manus, then let me shed some light into her past.

It was 1994, Steven Pokawin was the Premier of Manus, Paliau Lucas was the Assistant Secretary in the Manus Provincial Government and I was a grade four student at Lorengau East Community School when she first berthed at Lorengau’s main wharf with all the hopes and dreams of the Manus people.

The MV Manus vessel was built with the intention of servicing the people. She would be used to transport goods and passengers to and from the vast islands in the province. She would also become a catalyst for economic growth in our maritime province much like the roads in East New Britain did for commercial production of copra and cocoa. She was built with this is mind.

The vessel was built in Freemantle, Perth, Western Australia at the cost of K3 million – a very good investment considering that today it would cost about ten times more. It had a Cummins engine and everything about it was first class. When the construction of the vessel was complete, it was skippered by a Kiwi married to a Rambutso woman, Captain Frank Welsh. The first officer was Micheal Pidi from the Department of Transport (National) and aboard was officer Chanan who would later captain her.

En route to Papua New Guinea, the vessel had complications with its air-conditioning and had to stop at Darwin.

She was bought with a loan from the Australian Export Finance & Insurance Corporation (EFIC) to the Manus provincial government with the guarantee that the national government would settle the debt. The initial stages of the acquiring her had taken place some years before and the Manus government had consulted, among others, Francis Molean from M’buke Island, once ranked the best captain in the Pacific.

Soon after she arrived, so did the elections and I guess the dreams the previous government had with her also went away. It wasn’t long before the Manus Shipping Authority decided that the province did not have the capacity to fully utilise the vessel and hence loaned her to Rabaul Shipping who utilised her for their Rabaul/Buka route. After that she was pimped around to another couple of shipping companies like a common prostitute and I believe could have made good money except that the government (provincial) did not get any.

Over the years she was used like a piece of meat and not once did they bother to carry out any maintenance work on her. Finally when all the heavy work and abuse caught up with her, she just fell apart. To make matter worse was the fact that there was no money to fix her.

Today, she sits at Motukea and slowly rusts. The people who used her have forgotten her. They have sucked the last toea they can and now dispose her like a piece of trash. It won’t be longer before she actually becomes a heap of garbage. Until then we only remember what she meant to us.