My entries for the Crocodile Prize

It has taken me a while but I have finally submitted a couple of entries for the Crocodile Prize. You see, I’ve found it can be very difficult to write a short story when you’ve got karate practice, editing and maintaining of a couple of websites and a full time job.

Unfortunately, I can’t quit my job cos it pays for the others. However, as I mentioned, I managed to cook up two short stories which I have emailed to Keith Jackson and Phil Fitzpatrick for inclusion in the judging. BTW, entries into the Crocodile Prize close today.

I’ve published the two stories on my Hubpage and if you are interested in reading them then please head over there for a peep. Below are the links:

  • The Dilemma – This story is about a man faced with the dilemma of taking a bribe and the consequences it could have on his career.
  • The Bamboo Master – This is about a man called Kon Mantu who pretends to be a bonafide “glassman” (witch hunter) and uses it to profit from ignorant villagers.

I’ll also have them published on Scribd and other channels.

Walk Against Corruption draws crowds

Carol Kidu - Walk Against Corruption 2012
Lady Carol Kidu leading the walk.

Thousands of Port Moresby citizens braved the early morning cold to join the annual Sir Anthony Siaguru Walk against Corruption organized by Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG).

A sea of color gathered at the Jack Pidik Park as early as 4:30am in possibly the largest walk ever and leading the walk was the country’s only female and outgoing Member of Parliament, Lady Carol Kidu.

She was the guest speaker and also led the walk.

In her address to the participants after the walk, Kidu mentioned that it was also a critical time for the time. She said the walk coincided with the election period which was an opportunity for voters to decide their future. She said for five seconds when the votes are cast, the people regain their power and they must decide, not for themselves, but for their children and grandchildren.

Prizes were awarded for certain categories including best dressed team, banner and message in the corporate sector. The prize for best dressed went to Talai Primary School who were sponsored by Post Courier.

The walk attracted both corporate and government agencies and ended with breakfast (hotdogs).

Book review: Desperation

The master of horror and the creepy Stephen King definitely sets a feeling of desperation in his 1996 novel “Desperation”. A fictional town created by the master of macabre, she become host to a terrifying evil that has just been let loose from the pits of the Earth.

The appropriately titled novel tells the story of several travelers who are seemingly abducted randomly and brought to the town by the local sheriff. Unfortunately, from the very beginning they find out that things are now well in this mining town.

King tells the story from several point of views, each character developed independently yet as they are drawn closer become intertwined like strands that come together to make a rope. Each has their own perspective on evil and beliefs. However, the most interesting character is David Carver.

Carver is the main character that had me glued to the book. He had a certain mystery about him that King would eventually reveal but it made the story more digestible and believable. But in true King style, he does the same for all the characters, chipping away layers in each chapter to reveal the core.

The book, although and old one, will definitely put a chill down your spine.

The Hidden Treasures of Morauta Haus

Morauta Haus currently under renovations.

Morauta Haus houses a number of important government departments like the Department of Personnel Management (DPM), Education (Finance branch), NEC and Ministerial Services. It also holds a nice collection of artefacts given to the Prime Minister during overseas visits or by visiting delegates.

In a recent visit there I found some items that intrigued me. Here is a look at some of the items.

A Toi Maori artifact which I believe is worth a lot of money. This is a gift from New Zealand.

This item is quite expensive from the looks of it.

This Lakatoi is amazing. It is almost entirely made out of the turtle shell and is definitely a museum piece.

The Lakatoi

These sets of fish hooks from Samoa are absolutely amazing. I believe there are carved out of bone (I’m not sure).

The fish hooks

The wooden grouper is beautiful and masterfully carved and decorated with shells – an absolute masterpiece all the way from ‘the island of love’, Trobrians.

The carved fish from the Island of Love

This is my favorite in the collection, a megalodon tooth from New Caledonia that dates back 10 – 15 million years ago. The megalodon is an extinct giant species of shark that lived 28 to 1.5 million years ago and according to Wikipedia was “the most formidable carnivore to have existed.”

The giant took is the only remains of a once supreme predator.

Anyway, if you have time and if you appreciate the beauty in such items then I suggest a visit to this awesome gallery. It is definitely a hidden treasure.

Doing IT – the Huawei

When I initially heard about the government’s engagement of China’s Huawei to develop and implement its integrated information system, I was hesitant and appalled by the decision (I still have concerns). However, after seeing these people at work, I can now understand why the bold step had to be taken.

Paris configuring the new switches
Paris configuring the new switches

The National Executive Council (NEC) and the government awarded the contract to Huawei to design and implement its Integrated Government Information System (IGIS). Huawei then subcontracts most of the work to other smaller companies. Of course, the work is overlooked by a Huawei employee to ensure standards and requirements are met.

Huawei sub-contractors installing the hardware
Huawei sub-contractors installing the hardware

I had the liberty of watching these people at work last week and I must say I am impressed with the type of work they have done. While the work relationship seemed casual, they addressed each other openly and freely, the standard of work had to be maintained.

The Huawei equipment
A closer look at the equipment.

The leader of the team I observed, Paris Heng, was quite meticulous with his work but maintained a causal relationship with those he supervised – and whenever something wasn’t done right – he would do it himself. They worked so smoothly and meticulously that it was like a well-oiled machine in motion. However, I can assure you it wasn’t.

Paris tidying the cables
Paris tidying the cables in the MAN box

When the initial analysis and planning process was underway, the contractors faced quite a number of obstacles. The first would be the communication barrier. They expressed how hard it was to communicate with departments and employees. Every time they would try to visit a department, the IT manager or responsible authority would not be around. This caused a major delay in their work. However, as you may have noticed, they persevered and finally got the information they required.

Now, the basic information they required was a floor plan, network plan and a basic system plan. However, all the departments they visited could not provide this information so they had to start from scratch. They developed schematics for all the building they were going to implement in and eventually got the equipment installed.

Last week, they finally switched over our network to their equipment which would allow us to use the latest in technological advancements like VoIP, video conferencing, etc. and the seamless transition was very impressive. This got me thinking ‘what if’ a local company was assigned to do this and I began to see some logic in engaging Huawei.

The Huawei team with our IT manager
The Huawei team with our IT manager (far right).

The very fact that every department they visited did not provide a network plan and other essential information was a sign of poor professionalism practiced by those engaged to install initial communication systems. Even the contractors were joking at the workmanship of their predecessors. Unfortunately, while I must admit that their workmanship is superb, I still have concerns over security.

Huawei has been linked to the Chinese military and its government. There have also been reports on the internet about Chinese hackers being backed by their government and unconfirmed reports of electronic sabotage, espionage, and deliberate attacks on other countries. This is a cause for concern.

The simple fact is that the hardware used is designed and manufactured by Huawei leaves it open for exploitation. What if there are trapdoors /backdoors programed into the firewalls that would allow them to observe traffic and monitor specific emails, etc.?

Anyway, I could be paranoid and these could be just my imagination, but let’s hope I am wrong.

CPL holding clearance sale

sale bannerCity Pharmacy is holding a clearance sale at the warehouse behind their Waigani store. The sale, which began, three weeks ago contains a variety of items at half price.

According to staff there, the sale will end once clearance stocks are depleted, which according to the look of the place, would be soon.

There’s a wide range to choose from including household items that your mother would definitely love like this set of kitchenware, plates, china, cups, etc., and the list goes on. If you think you are too manly to buy such stuff then why not take your mother there…and wait…there’s something for everyone.   

Kensington Essential Kit for Netbooks
I got this items for half price.

I managed to snag myself a Kensington Essential Kit for Netbooks for K25. This item is normally priced at K54 and includes a notebook lock (very handy nowadays) and a wired mouse.

As I mentioned, the sale might finish soon so if you are looking for a Mother’s Day present then this would be great place to start.

Korojih opens water supply project

Korojih water supply opening
Villagers giving baskets as a sign of appreciation and thanks to the Open MP and his delegates.

Korojih village in the Pobuma LLG in Manus officially opened their water supply taps last month. The project, an initiative of the office of the Open MP in collaboration with Rotary Australia, was officially opened by Manus Open MP and Minister for Fisheries, Hon. Job Pomat, on April 4, 2012.

The opening brought mixed reactions as it coincided with the burial of the MP’s Press Officer, Mr. Hosea Mark, who played a major role in securing funding for the project.

Mr. Pomat, in his speech, asked them to name it in honour of the late Hosea Mark. He also asked them to take care of the project. He said the late Hosea would have wanted that.

The opening was also attended by representatives from the 12 LLGs in Manus.

The water supply
Andrew Nombay drinking water from the supply. There are 21 taps and showers like this in the village.

The project, while funded by the Open MP’s office, was developed by a team of volunteers from Rotary Australia led by president of the Argyle Rotary Club in Australia, Wilbur Clarke.

The team had initially visited the village in October 2011 and built a small dam and later implemented a plumbing system to 21 concrete based taps and showers in the village. The project was completed in March 2012.

According to local Councillor, Joseph Sapasan, this has been the largest government-funded project in the village since independence.