AND JUSTICE FOR ALL

The fugitive Kapris, the subject of a 10-week manhunt complete with a bounty, has been killed by police. No doubt you’ll be as relieved as I was to hear that the convicted bank robber and alleged murderer has been brought to justice.

In typical PNG style, the papers (in which it would be scandalous to show a topless woman unless she was in ceremonial dress), have no problem plastering photos of dead people all over the front cover.

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The Post Courrier felt that it was quite ok to show a blood-smeared gurney and the red-staind gloves of the medical staff, but spared us the trauma of seeing the victims’ eyes.

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The National was less concerned about censorship. Their front page included a photo of the victims in their bloodied clothes. The highlight for me was the fellow on the right who’s thinking, “Wow, this is cool- I’d better take a photo on my phone to show my friends”.

It turned out that Kapris had not travelled far at all but had been protected by a network of friends, including a serving Defence Force member. It seems the saga is not quite complete as now those associates are being charged with aiding a fugitive.

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The State of Origin series wound up last week and as usual, it atttracted a lot of attention. New South Wales were clearly robbed by a dubious ‘no try’ decision. The win for Queensland was considered the most important news story of the following day – with this image of the winning team on the front page.

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I went for a walk in my NSW Blues flag again on the day of the game.

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Like last time, I was overwhelmed by the response from people in the street. These folks were having a celebratory barbecue before the game and responded enthusiastically when they saw my flag.

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In the downtown part of Port Moresby, people were having their faces painted with the colours of their favourite team.

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Sadly, some people take the game far too seriously. One person was killed in Lae in a post-game clash. Apparently, one group of youths who support Queensland called another group of youths (who support NSW) “losers”. In the face of such a withering taunt, they responded with violence and someone was killed. Property was also destroyed. Alas, this is not an isolated incident. Such events occur each year after the series.

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Also in the news: STIs continue to be a major health challenge for PNG. This article reports that in a sample of pregnant women attending a clinic, one in four tested positive for Chlamidia – a serious disease that can damage reproductive organs.

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The recycled PM of Australia is in the bad books again. Not just for sending all of Australia’s illegal immigrants to PNG. He also drew fire for claiming to have survived the Kokoda track, when all he did was walk it.

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I can’t figure this one out – for weeks the paper has been incorrectly reporting the gold price as being in the order of US$1500 per ounce (28.35 grams for those of you born after 1799). In reality the price of gold is hundreds of dollars lower. Do they think no one has access to the Internet? Every second Papua New Guinean I meet seems to have 3G access via a smartphone. Is it really that hard to get commodity prices right?

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I visited the Australian High Commission for the first time earlier this week. The foyer has this collection of flags representing the states and territories of Australia.

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The High Comm’ is an oasis of tranquility. Peaceful and safe. Plus everything works. Except the water fountain was out of cups. But one of the staff went out the back and brought some more, which I appreciated – instead of the usual, “Sorry finish”.

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I ate at the cafeteria with some friends. It only offers junk food (Australia does have the highest rate of obesity in the world after all and it’s important to maintain standards, even when abroad). However, they also had token side salads so I bought three.

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I visited a local food market last weekend. It was fascinating.

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The variety of goods available was impressive – far better than what the supermarkets offer.

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These ladies were selling fresh fish…

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…and chunks of sea turtle.

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Speaking of supermarkets. I spotted this enormous pile of ‘saveloys’ in one this week. Clearly, they were expecting a rush. Not quite my cup of tea, though.

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I had a meeting at the Bank of Papua New Guinea this week. They have enough cash that they can afford to write their name in a giant hedge out the front. I’ll have to figure out a way to get a job there. Their building is much nicer than mine.

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I completed the second part of my First Aid training last weekend.

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There was lots more bandaging and responding to real-world scenarios, such as splinting broken limbs.

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This photo has nothing to do with First Aid. These guys just like to play tie-ups.

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The highlight of the week was a “Wild Wild West” themed party. I’m the cowboy on the left.

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My friend went to a huge amount of effort to prepare decorations to give the place a Wild West feel – including these painted cacti.

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These fellows were keen to have their photo taken when I was out walking the other day.

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I loved the slogan on this Nescafe van “Kik Statim Dei” – Pidgin English for “Kick start your day”.

PNG moment of the week: I entered this elevator and selected my floor but the elevator remained stationary and the doors were taking a long time to close. So, naturally, I dived impatiently for the “close doors” button. I looked to the bottom left of the control panel and found the “doors open” button, then scanned the bottom right and found another “doors open” button. Evidently, at some point the “doors close” button broke and the only spare button available was a second “doors open”. Instead of experimenting to find out which was the real “doors close” button, I gave up and just wasted a few more seconds waiting for the doors to close on their own.

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I’m currently enjoying a lovely break in Australia. I’ll be back with more Port Moresby mayhem in a couple of weeks.

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