Tuesday, 24 October 2017

HEROES DIE, THEIR STORIES LIVES ON : Tribute to Fallen Colleagues

There's alot of things that distinguishes between mainstream and social media that not many people get to appreciate the job of many journalists in Papua New Guinea.

While media personells are always criticised for not reporting freely and fairly, there are darker times that journalists, photographers and reporters endure to keep our people informed on whats happening in our country.

Missing sleep on the road, climbing a mountain for a few hours or even braving the scorching heat of the sun trying to get a story is quite remarkable for many journalist colleagues in PNG. We litteraly share the same food, the same bottle of water or even a cigarette stick while on the job.

Many of us dont get to have a decent meal throughout the day and even had to sleep late in the night after finishing off from the office. For some of us younger reporters, we dont get to feel the pressure like our senior colleagues do.

They hardly spend time with their families, they are always concerned about the news deadlines and what Papua New Guineans would read about the next day. For a job that one has to earn less than $500, senior reporters have families that deserves better care and support from the organisation they work for.

In January 2016, PNG lost one of it's most talented sons and the greatest sportscaster of his era in  Late Mark Sapias. Dubbed as the Ray Warren of PNG, Mark's voice was the voice during the late 80s, 90s and into 2000. His rugby league commentaries were unmatched to this day.

Late Mark Sapias was committed to his job and spent of his behind the sets of Television news and sports. He was indeed a giant in his personality.

In March 2016, PNG again lost another great hero in the radio broadcasting industry. 73years old Roger Hau'ofa was indeed the king of radio with his trademark personality on FM100's Talkback Show program. He was indeed a great icon of radio in PNG leaving behind a legacy that will be unmatched in the years to come.

On Christmas Eve 2016, the media fraternity mourn the passing of senior media personal and former Chief Editor of the Post Courier newspapaer Late Oseah Philemon. During his funeral service, the elder daughter described here dad as selfless. Someone who lived for the people and spend most his time away from his own immediate families.

The Late Oseah Philemon was a staunch advocate for a free press, that also includes his stand against the cyber laws that the government was trying to introduce. OP's foresight in journalism helped alot of young reporters to write about the issues affect our nation's growth than to promote agendas which will destroy our people.

OP passes on peacefully to be with his beloved wife, leaving behind a colorful legacy with his children, grandchildren and colleagues in the media fraternity.

Ten months on and another shocking news hit the same newsroom at Konedobu. Another senior colleague has collasped and was taken to hospital. For many that knew the circumstances surrounding her death, it was painful as she was alleged to have suffered physical abuses in the hands of her husband.

Rosalyn Abaniel Evara, 41 lost her elder son along with her third son on the 15th of August 2015 and 15th of September 2016 respectively. The pain of losing her sons was immense, but she still hold on and strive to give her best for her employer, her family and the people of PNG.

Rosalyn was a quiet hardworking reporter from her humble beginings in Lae, Madang and then to Port Moresby as the Business Editor with Post Courier. Her darker sides of her life were kept to herself even her colleagues knew about the ordeals she endured in her own home at the Post Courier flats.

"We often advise her to leave the guy, but she doesn't really tell anyone her problems," says one of her friend.

"When we start a conversation on violence, she would leave the discussion. At least we tried, she wouldn't let it out till she went away."

The lessons from the lives of fallen colleagues will always remind us that we all live once and that is to do our job with dilligence. Most of all spend more times with your families and live, love and enjoy more laughter in your lives.

It is with great respect for my colleagues that I symphatise with their families and loved ones and I hope the people of PNG an dthe Government can stand with us through thick and thin and ensure we do our work without fear, favor, threats and intimidations.

The pen is mightier than the sword to change our nation.

Monday, 16 October 2017

TAKING THE RISK - PANGU Pati On Troubled Waters

PANGU Pati's move to join the Peoples National Congress (PNC) led coalition under Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has spurred widespread criticisms from it's supporters nationwide. PANGU Pati leader Sam Basil has been campaigning against the O'Neill led government in the last five years with allegations of mismanaging the economy and a pending arrest warrant over the Parakagate saga.

While Peter O'Neill may have welcomed the move by Basil and thirteen of his members to the government, several members of PNC and it's coalition partners are fazed with PANGU's move. PANGU is now has the second highest number in the government coalition and several minitries might be reshuffled to cater for PANGU.

This could also mean PANGU can take the Deputy Prime Minister post and other key ministries on offer, but that doesn't seem to be the case as this might split the government ranks and MPs could defect to the Oppostion.

Do you think Peter O'Neill is unaware of PANGU's hidden motives? Do you think he would be kind enough to reward PANGU with a portfolio that will determine his (O'Neill's) own exit route from parliament? Do you believe O'Neill when he mentions political stability when welcoming PANGU Pati into government?

United Resources Party (URP) under William Duma has four ministerieal portfolio including the police ministry and the State Enteprises ministry. Duma has been implicated in the Manumanu land deal and there's massive criticims leveled against the PM on why Duma was retained the SOE ministry.

PNC on the other hand wont be too cautious about losing URP. PANGU will still maintain the numbers and balance within the government if one or two smaller political parties decides to defect from the government. O'Neill has already seen the plan for massive destruction to his coalition if he is not careful with the cabinet reshuffle.

PANGU's move was strategical  to gain more numbers before the 18months grace period ends.Unfortunately the alternate PM would be only chosen from the Opposition which in this case Basil could not be favored.

PANGU strongholds (in particular Morobe) have been very vocal against the PNC-led government during election campaigns. PNC stalwarts were replaced in almost all electorates in Morobe by PANGU. For them going back to the PNC-led government is contradicting to what PANGU stood for in the elections - Friends to all, enemies to one Peter O'Neill.

However PANGU will continue to grow numbers in the next six months and might have the better chance of getting more independent and one-man party MPs to join them. That is the danger for PNC to reward it's coalition partners.

Was O'Neill clever enough to welcome Basil and PANGU to join government? or did O'Neill made a worst mistake in allowing PANGU to join government? O'Neill made Basil a Minister without portfolio drawing massive criticims from the public. Was O'Neill showing his sarcasm?

PANGU Pati may have made the right choice to join the government. But it will take time and alot of careful consideration for O'Neill to reward PANGU. Some decisions of revoking ministries wont go down well with certain members, but it is in the best interest of PANGU for this to happen so Basil and his team can take control.

Whatever the outcome of this political marriage between PNC and PANGU will tell us who will the greatest political strategist in PNG's modern day political history.


Thursday, 12 October 2017

MARTHA KARL – Young, Aspiring Dual-International Player for PNG

 It’s always a dream for young sports men and women in Papua New Guinea to wear the national colors and represent their country abroad. There are only a handful of athletes who have been able to juggle between different sporting codes and get to make it into the PNG squad.

In December 2016, I wrote about 19year old Martha Karl, from Dumun in Sinesine Chimbu province, who played for PNG during the 2016 FIFA U20 Womens World Cup in Port Moresby.

“Even though we lost by a huge score differences in the soccer World Cup, I always keep my head up and aim for the best for my country, “ Martha said.

Martha is one athlete who has been outstanding in her aspiration to become the youngest athlete to represent PNG in two of our beloved sporting codes; soccer and rugby league.

Martha (14) about to tackle an Australian Jillaroos player

“ I was also selected to be part of the PNG Flames Womens AFL team to the 2017 International Cup in Melbourne, but my family could not afford to raise enough money for me to travel.”

Martha grew up among boys at the Admin compound in Lae and learnt the skills of rugby through her friends who play touch footy in the local competition. Most kids that grew up in Admin compound were into rugby touch and soccer, which Martha decided to give it a go into soccer.

“I also take up athletics, AFL, rugby union, rugby league and soccer.“ says Martha.

Martha in action for  PNG during 2016 FIFA  U20 Womens World Cup

In 2016, Martha was part of the PNG U20 Womens team who hosted the FIFA U20 Womens World Cup in Port Moresby, an historical year for a young Highlands girl.

Martha is set to create another history for herself, her family and her beloved country when she will be wearing the PNG Orchid jersey in the Womens Rugby League World cup in Australia from November 16th – December 2nd 2017.

“ I started playing rugby league in 2014, I played for Eriku Panthers, 2015 for the Morobe Tigers and 2016 I was away in camp for the FIFA World cup and now I play for the 14B Pirates, Martha recalled her short rugby league journey.

She plays on the wing and backs in soccer and center and half-back in rugby league. This World Cup she would be playing utility (off the bench) for the PNG Orchids.

“This World cup for Rugby League, I am dedicating it to my father Andrew Karl, my great supporter who always cheered for me whether I win or loose,” says Martha.

“I always wanted to be the female version of Greg Inglis or Jonathan Thurston. Because I grew up among boys, I couldn’t resist playing the sports and players they choose.”

Martha is one of the youngest dual-international players in modern day football in PNG. Despite missing out playing with the PNG Flames AFL Womens team, she is confident to give her best for PNG Orchids in 2017 Women rugby League World cup in November.

Pictures courtesy of Frostferria2017