What is my place in the world?

chemtrail
When Papua New Guinea was mapped and colonised in the early 20th century,  the rest of the world was entering the so-called post-modern era – an era that is marked by advanced technology,  virtual reality and open rebellion to established dogma.
Our consciousness leaped from tribal allegiance to an era of rebellion to authority; stone axe to laser beams; smoke signals to 4G internet. All of these achieved in less than 100 years.
We happened to the world as users of technology and consumers of knowledge – knowing not how all these came to be.
If the world has reached its peak in ideas, technology and theories – what then is our place in the world?
With one leg in the stone age and the other in this post-modern era, we bring to the world a spirituality and a consciousness from an earthy culture into the world of cement, glass and steel and indifference.
And the way to accomplish that is through writing. I believe our place in the world is that of story tellers and philosophers – linking the true primitiveness of the human psyche  to a world so advanced, it has become indifferent to the spiritual dimension of man.
Our view of the world is our contribution to the world. Be brave. Write your story. Tell you story. If not you, who else will?
Advertisements

Book Review of Nanu Sina: My Words. A book of poems

nanu sina

Nanu Sina or My Words in the Musa Language of the Oro Province is the title of this book of poems by Carolyn Evari – a Writer, Blogger, Author, Mother and Wife living in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.  The book is  published by local publisher, JDT Publishing.

The book contains Caroline’s reflection of life and living, growing up and coming of age.  The book of poems has 82 pages, containing 60 original pieces that are categorized into 4 sections; Conflicts, Relationships, Hope and Family. 

A copy of this book and others that she has written can be found on Amazon.com. Carolyn has also contributed to the 2017 My Walk to Equality: a first all-women’s Anthology from Papua New Guinea. In her story, Carolyn relates her struggles to make it in the city so faraway from her family back in the province. To me her story of overcoming life challenges forms the backdrop for her book of poems. This book of poems is a book of reflections and hope and faith that life only gets better, you just have to work on it.

In the first section, the author examines the broader life questions – concerns that challenge us to look for lasting solutions to address corruption, population growth, cultural extinction, life and living and death. These are issues that are facing PNG right now.

It is indeed a source of  conflict to be standing in front of opportunities and be required to make a choice. Unlike having the liberty to change your mind when choosing ice-cream flavors, some choices in life are made once and the decision last for a lifetime.

“One voice here and another there
Before you could speak one more pops up
Jumping, kicking, pushing and screaming
You have too many choices
When only one is important”
(Complication. Pg 14)

In the second section, the authors delves into relationship issues. Indeed poets are the braver writers among writers because, poems, by being short with less words, are laid bare and open to interpretation. At this juncture, I think some of the poems would have benefited from 1-2 liner containing brief background to guide readers. Despite that, only the brave poets share their intimate thoughts on life and living and everything that happens in between.  

“His hands whisper in the dark
A language of his emotions
A call of attention
Only her body understands.”
(A One-Night Stand. Pg 61)

The written word is indeed more powerful than the spoken word, because one cannot interrupt and argue with a book until the last line. This makes the written word a good place to start discussion on contentious issues that need solutions. For instance, the poem that resonates with  me is how women interpret advice from the patriarch. The self-blame expressed in this prose is regrettably accepted as normal by women in this culture. The victim mindset must not get passed to the next generation of girls.

“I get the blame
I get the shame
I am the reason
For all our problems“
(All Fingers at me. Pg 59)

We have an obligation to shape tomorrow  through the little human beings called children. Indeed, children are the hope for the future. These little helpless people give meaning to life, they allow adults to truly live.

“Suddenly and mysteriously
When my whole world seemed bare
The person I least thought of came to my rescue
It was not portion or spell that changed my whole life
They were words of life that brought forth a life
Words that healed my wound
And united a new life in my womb.”
(Words of life. Pg 68)

In the last section, the author celebrates family – the only safe haven in this harsh world.  Indeed, mother was and will be the only safe haven  in a world so fickle with their allegiance.

My Imbia [mother], my Nai’ye [best friend]
My Queen.
(Imbia. Pg 74)

All poets strive to pen relatable lines – words that articulate what is just a feeling.  When readers come across poems that resonate – it is  a delightful experience because the reader feels understood and acknowledged. Similarly, the greatest joy to a poet is that the reader has understood.

In the process of explaining life, poets are always rummaging their brains for that appropriate descriptor; once found, the word is inspected, tested, and then used to tell a story. Poets are indeed ardent students of the written word – condensing a story into few lines, but still create the feelings, evoke the mood and paint the mental imageries.

Get yourself a copy of this book, because there are gems strewn inside the pages. Be encouraged to write your own thoughts and reflections. Socrates’ says that the unexamined life is not worth living. It is in striving to understand ourselves do our lives have any meaning or value.  Poets are always striving for self-knowledge. Women (and men) who dabble in poetry seem to have a wide view to life for they are always on the quest, to examine and make sense of life.

In concluding, I share this poem from the book. Indeed, PNG needs Caroline’s dose of self-belief as we strive to make a difference wherever we are in the world.

SUCCESS
“Take the power to control your dream
Only you can make your dream a reality
Take the power to control your life
No one else can do it for you
Climb every mountain
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow till you find your dream
Do not limit yourself
So many dreams are waiting to be realized
Discussions are too important to leave to chance
Reach your peak
Your goal
And your prize
That is success.”

 

Women in Parliament

It was just 80 years ago that “hasuman” ruled. Some of those men have just transitioned from the village “hausman” to the national “hausman”aka parliament. In this paternalistic culture, no woman sits in the “hausman” with the men. This generation of women is just one generation removed from PNG’s cultural past, women in this age and time are still bound to the cultural roles of women, no matter how educated she may be. It is hard to fix culturally indoctrinated women and man.The current push to get women into parliament has never worked – it is hard to liberate women who still live under the culture of deferring to men, and men who are still stuck in a culture that dictates that women have no space in decision making.

Our hope for change is in our next generation. Our hope rests on our girls and our boys. The real measure of an equal society is when little girls can go to school and have same privilege as boys. Young women can run for office of student rep., same as young man. When she can stand up and speak her mind in a big meeting. The strategy going forward will be build confident little girls who are assertive; same time build confident little boys who accept that women are as good a leader as they are. In time, confident boys and girls, transition into adults and function in an environment where women are judged based on leadership potential and not on their gender. That is the transition we should be pushing for as our 15-20 year strategy.

An immediate activity that may fast-track positive change right now: the parliament by law, ensure 50% of senior bureaucrat- ‘decision making bureaucrats’ positions go to women. The rubber hits the road at the bureaucrat level not in politics. Politicians are rubber stamps. Real decisions makers and implementers of government programs are in the decision making level of bureaucracy. When a women is in decision making role, she will be inclusive. That’s just a women’s trait – after-all we run households; we are aware of and cater for all in our households. Even if parliament is 100% men, decision making will include woman who will be considerate of the plight of women. Women bureaucrats can change the society in 5 years, compared to 20 years in the life of a woman politician.

And in time – it is easier for a senior woman bureaucrat to transition to parliament because she will be good in what she is doing, she knows the working of the government, she has the respect of her male colleagues and she is confident in what she knows.

APEC Haus-Ela Beach

APEC Haus-Ela Beach

%d bloggers like this: