Archive for the 'media' Category

PNG news clippings link.

This website made me laugh and I hope it continues to be updated. Ominously it was last updated on December 7th 2010, but stranger resurrections in the blogosphere have happened before – witness this very blog’s revival. Enjoy.


Domesticity – strange sounds filter in from outside. A man with a megaphone is reciting the names of the Highlands provinces – Enga, Simbu, Eastern Highlands, Western Highlands, Southern Highlands… there is some kind of meeting on tomorrow but the wind warps the sound so I cannot make out what it’s all about. I go out too look but can see nothing from the balcony, just the shuddering leaves, the curved rooftop of the new market being built, and the endless parade of traffic on Waigani Drive. Inside, more water is boiling. It boils for thirteen to fifteen minutes. I keep a lid on it so it doesn’t all evaporate away. The city has cholera these days, apparently more than 450 cases have been reported around town but it seems like not many people have died. I remember that the lettuce I bought at the market probably needs a wash in sterilised water. Aside from the tedious inconvenience life goes on. Television in the evening still broadcasts news services and cooking shows. One such show was on the day while I was telling a story. Mid-sentence I find my words cut off by the volume. Somewhat piqued I turn the TV off at the wall. How dare you! I was trying not to laugh, because I could see what had been on – some luscious looking dessert is being made on the screen. Kit looks at me, disgruntled. But that was FUDGE!. Other domestic scenarios surrender their momentoes to the curious bank of memory. At the supermarket – not the supermarket for expats and ‘aspirationals’, but the local one visible from the balcony – the woman at the checkout was happy to see me, possibly not for any reason besides the fact that any evidence that other people could come here and go to the ‘normal’ supermarkets was welcome. I was happy to humour the woman, although I did not spare the time to explain our usual shopping tendencies. The woman commented that the city had a bad name thanks to the exaggerations of the media, both local and foreign. Not for the first time did I find myself agreeing with such sentiments – but only half agreeing. The half that disagreed was bemused, yet again, by the propensity of many PNGeans to blame their country’s ills on the hype of the media, as if this were some great sweaty dusty simulacrum where the reality of crime and poverty was a problem borne purely from the illusory powers of the powerful ideas-manipulating forces of the media. Never mind that media access is hugely limited countrywide, never mind the gross and obvious disparities in wealth (not just between expat and national but elite PNG and poor PNG), never mind the shitty roads and the shitty services and the shitty state of health and education… never mind that in the next sentence after decrying the media most PNGeans will agree vehemently that things are indeed no good. I bought my mi goreng noodles and the tin of bamboo shoots I found, waved goodbye to the two women sitting in the shade nearby, and went back home just in time for the power to black out.

Crorect sellping is vitla

My interest in PNG’s newspapers ebbs and flows, depending on how one feels on any given day about reading yet another litany of bad governance, disasters, dodgy dealings and lofty moralising (not to mention garbled sentences, clause overloads and misplaced vocabulary).

Nonetheless, some days bring bright little gems. Like a small headline in today’s National, down the bottom of page 7:

“Communication vitla for growth”.

This was enough for me. To paraphrase Bill Hicks – it’s base irony but I like it. It’s a hoooot.

But if one dares read on:

“…to ensure that the service delivery mechanism was effective and result-oriented, the system to be used must be transparent where information and communication services should be strategically planned and the mass media fully used to enhance better public participation and consumption.”

This is enough to make a piece of my brain go *TILT!* like an old pinball machine, and this is far from the worst example I’ve seen. I feel like I’m in one of Don Watson’s more febrile nightmares when I read this. Later the Professor (does that answer some questions?) quoted also is on the record as saying “Reviewing social and cultural mileu, he said a strategy had to be planned to set the tone for a new role of communication to society.”

This is in a newspaper people. Not that this kind of stuff should be excused in the lofty world of academia, but for everyday readership? Uhhh… last time I looked copy/paste is not journalism. And there’s bigger issues at play, mired in this kind of cumbersome dreck – but maybe the phrase colonisation of the mind doesn’t necessarily cross everyone’s thoughts at these moments.

Moving on from deep issues – on another page in the same paper there’s an ad for some competition being run to promote a brand of tinned meat. It’s one of my favourites right now:

“WIN A LIVE PIG or K800 CASH! You choose!”

So the answer to today’s big question is…?

PS (a couple of days later): The National Broadcasting Service (NBC) has a new-ish TV station, a commendable effort with some commendable shows. Not enough to sate our forlorn longing for Kerry at 7.30, but laudable nonetheless.

For example, there’s a regular show called ‘Talk Balk’, the premise being that people call up and ask questions of public service chiefs and government ministers (that’s the ‘talk’ bit), who then proceed to either answer the questions live or ‘balk’ at them, like a horse jumping at a sudden movement in the shrubbery or my daily reaction to the idea of hard work. ‘Talk Balk’ should not be confused with the popular mass media concept of ‘talk back’, even though the concepts might be uncannily similar… (I’m sorry olgeta, they say sarcasm is the lowest form of humour, an adage I’m happy to disregard when it suits me).

PPS: I have also sadly noted that the menu at the local Korean restaurant has been revised, and my favourite dishes of ‘fried lice’ and ‘cream crap corn soup’ have been removed… Chingrish humour in Port Moresby. Who woulda thunk it?