Tuesday, August 21, 2018

This is PNG calling

I don't expect I have to alert Diane and Bill to this programme. They will be watching as they both worked in PNG. Solely on memory, Sean Dorney was a reporter based in Papua New Guinea, an island to the north of Australia.

It was once full of local people who did local things, like tribal wars, spearing people, mothers' masturbating their sons at a young age to make them big and strong and Catholic missionaries who preached contraception and safe sex, explaining that oddness by saying they were so far away from the control of Rome.

They were a free people, but then owned by Germany, occupied by Japanese, later Britain and then Australia. Australia gave PNG independence, and it then rather fell all apart into a corrupt tin pot country, which is rather sad.

In the 1980s and 90s Sean Dorney reported for our ABC from PNG. He married a local person and they moved to a Pacific Island. I haven't heard any reporting from PNG of late. Does the ABC still have a correspondent there, or is is PNG covered by a South Pacific reporter.

Sean Dorney was a terrific reporter, showing the colour and movement, and troubles of PNG through his reporting. He now has motor neuron disease and will be shown revisiting PNG on Foreign Correspondent on ABC 1 on Tuesday night. 


26 comments:

  1. Motor neurone disease is a cruel beast.
    One of our good friends from college days lived in PNG for years. She loved it, while acknowledging its many problems.

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    1. EC, it is indeed, and you may recall my workmate's wife died very quickly. It seems Sean will be around for a couple of years, which is a good thing. Aside from tropical humidity, it is probably not a bad place outside of the Port Moresby.

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  2. Thanks for the heads up. I did hear about the show but didn't take note of when it is on. He was a great reporter but got kicked out of PNG by their govt. I must view it.

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    1. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did Diane, and I did get a bit teary.

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  3. All I really know about Papua New Guinea is that my former-father-in-law (a wonderful man, that I loved greatly, even if his son was a $#!+) was based there for a time, until he was wounded and had to be medivacked home. He had a large chunk of shrapnel in his left leg until the day he died.
    He told me once, that he wasn't a soldier. But when WW II broke out, he did what all his friends did and enlisted.
    He was a gentle man and I really loved him and looked at PNG as being the place that inflicted life long pain to a man I loved a great deal.

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    1. Maribeth, will you please stop surprising me with your worldliness. That is a nice tribute to your former father in law.

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  4. Anonymous11:44 am

    Sean worked for the Townsville office of the ABC until his appointment to Moresby in 1974. That created a vacancy and I got his position in July. Five years later, I moved to Sydney. I worked with him for many years long distance. He is a fine journalist from back in the day when journos wrote real news and not the click bait piffle they do today. I believe he was temporarily kicked out of just about every South Pacific nation at one time or another for writing stories the governments of the day didn't like. He was widely respected. Best wishes to his family. - Ian

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    1. Ian, the programme then must have been quite meaningful and poignant to you. I had no knowledge of PNG until I used to hear his reports from what is really such an interesting country. My personal opinion is we should have kept some control of PNG. At least we would have more say over how Australia's money is spent there.

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  5. As you noted, in 1942 Japan bombed Manus and then established a military base there.

    My father was sent to Manus Island in the early 1950s, paid for by the Australian Government. His role as an engineer was to introduce a water filtration system for the first time. He loved his time there, except for coming home with malaria (that emerged 9 months later).

    What a disgrace that Australia now runs virtually a concentration camp there :(

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    1. Hels, I had no idea. The contrast between what Australia did on Manus, to what happens there now is extreme. Did you watch the show and see PNG PM justifying Manus with the same argument about stopping the death of women and children refugees at sea.

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  6. I spent a few very interesting, enjoyable days in Port Moresby back in the mid-80s when I was manager of the resort on Hinchinbrook Island.

    I have written about my experience on my own blog...a few months ago.

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    1. Lee, and your tales were so interesting. You should have linked to at least one of them in your comment.

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  7. Occupation by foreign powers can really mess up a small country. I still like to think of PNG as a primitive island filled with primitive people, but no doubt they even have McDonald's there now.

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    1. Cro, I have done one minute of research, and I don't think McDonalds is in Port Moresby or PNG at all. Much of the country is subsistence village living with very happy people.

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  8. MND is a cruel disease and it saddens me greatly that such a fine man should now be suffering from it.

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    1. Rozzie, it is, for sure. It can be quick or slow, but the result and progressive decline is inevitable.

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  9. So independence isn't always the best thing for small countries that are used to being led by others? Perhaps Australia should have done more for them? I really have no idea, not knowing much at all about PNG.

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    1. River, Australia left PNG to its own devices too early without setting appropriate public bodies. It was out colony for a time and we funded it, and we still do, but we have little say about how the money is spent.

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    2. Shame on us then, but I expect it was the old "near enough", "she'll be right mate" and other stuff like that. A very casual attitude to something that should have been worked on better and longer.

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  10. It's a bit like Southern and Northern Rhodesia, not sure if they were ever really prepared for independence when they became Zimbabwe and Zambia.. bit of a mess but hopefully it had to be done!

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    1. Grace. I think had Smith acted much more reasonably and devolved power over time, the end result would have been much better.

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  11. I don't know much about why it is but seems the big missionary dream is to go PNG, and translate the Bible into some local language. The son and his family of the director of KATA, a Sweet Home cat rescue, goes there, with his family, as a lifetime job I guess, to translate the Bible to local languages. He used to work in a Christian bookstore around here, but now and for years, the whole family is down there, but routinely fly back to Oregon, for leaves and vacations. So he must get paid a lot to be able to fly back all the time although that might be related to the work visa requirements, to leave for so long. I just wonder what the big deal is going on there with Bible translation and all these Americans yearning to go do that.

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    1. I wasn't aware of this, Strayer. It is a strongly Christian country, with a little bit of local tribal type religion thrown in. While some missionaries do good things there, I am not sure it is really a great idea. Formal religion seems to bring more problems than it solves.

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  12. I'll confess to knowing almost nothing about PNG!

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    1. Jackie, even most Australians know very little about PNG.

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