Taim bilong kaikai

I reckon you thought I’d be talking about food; or a mumu or something to do with food. Nope, you’re wrong! I want to talk about something different; different in the sense that it is not food that I want to talk about here.


“…bus broke down on the highway. It would cost K3000 to fix the crack engine. Assist me with K1500, it is urgent!” The voice demanded into the phone.


“…have been in town for two weeks now and I have been going around empty stomach. Send me some money so I could find food and catch a PMV home.”  A pleading tone echoed.


“…got two vehicles here in my yard. One needs to be registered and should be up and running on the road. The other needs a bit of fixing. Will you assist?” A proud owner of the two useless vehicles asked.


Did you get the picture now? It is not food but now is taim bilon kaikai.


“…we’re in town and the boys have bought themselves beer. Because we’re many what we have won’t be enough for all. Please send us K50 to get a few more bottles.” A drunk blasted into the phone.


I guess by now all know what I meant by taim blong kaikai.


All intending candidates are bombarded by requests, mostly preposterous requests. And they will have to find ways to make their potential voters happy. A request that is not met by a favourable answer means loss of support. And it is bad; actually worse than bad.


It is any wonder, most politicians, when voted into parliament; spend more time enriching themselves and less and less time worrying about the state of the poverty in the country.


For an intending candidate, it is not an easy road. Even after much publicity and awareness about the dangers of kisim na votim the PNG voter, especially in the highlands, are more inclined to do just that.


This is why the election time, especiall for the highlands regions, is time bilong kaikai.


The challenge now is; how can we as educated people change this kind of mindset. Blogging, Facebooking etc won’t work. If they do it would only be minimal. We must go to where it matters and spend real time; I mean time in years between elections to educate people.


Oh, it’s the songs they sing

By Jeffrey Mane Febi

“We see; you’ve come with the flower of the mountain; that blossoms a pleasant red and dances in the wind while the stars look on. We see; you’ve adorned yourself with this flower and come with a determined purpose; and our attention you’ve courted. But before you tell us the reasons, let us show you where you’ll rest your head. Let us bring you firewood. Let us fetch you water. And let you rest for a while. For the night will be querulous and wearisome”, so sang the welcoming villagers.

“Oh so you’ve seen! Well, we cannot hide it, can we? The wind had spoken about it long before. And the earth has brought forth the dancer on the mountain. We came here for a purpose! We will tell when we’ve rested. We will tell when we’ve drank! We will tell when we’re fed. But for now we say thank you that this place may welcome us too”, sang the visitors in reply.

It was a pleasant surprise for Oromo, the tired and weary traveler, who stood and watched his fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters; all singing together in unison; chorusing a sound that captured his ignorant spirit. Not a word he uttered, not even a sigh. Mouth half open, he gazed blankly with his mind’s eye and listened attentively, trying to capture the lyrics; those words that were trampling all over his heart.

But it ended so soon; and ushered to a sitting spot, Oromo could not but wonder at those echoing words of the songs. He has missed a lot, he realised. Even the younger ones knew the songs; they knew these songs are usually sung only on such occasions. How could he have not known this kind of singsing existed? Did they do this just for him? People at home sing for different occasions; but this? Welcoming a visitor with a song, and then the visitor responds in song too, it was totally new to him. He glimpsed the world of his grandfathers that day and it found a place deep in his heart.

He was shamed by the younger ones; those cheeky companions. They knew things he did not know and his heart despite the fatigue, yearned for this precious knowledge and more. In these forgotten lands, where the government’s presence continued to remain on the distant horizon; the traditional treasures were truly valuable. And row upon row of dusty shelves and more rows had yet to see the light of day.

The darkness gradually set in and the fire’s glow became brighter. With every additional piece of wood shoved into the heart of fire, the hotter it became. Oromo turned and noticed the house was full; every inch of space taken up by inquisitive souls. Souls that had gathered with wide open
ears and welcoming hearts to listen and learn of things they did not know about.

Then a drop of sweat slid down over his eye lashes and he knew the place would get even hotter, but no one would feel it except him, for they were used to such gatherings.  People had been steadily filling up the house for the last hour or so. Fatigue and the soothing words of the songs had rendered him oblivious to his surroundings, lost in reverie, letting them take him where they would in this enchanted world.

It wasn’t long before a new song started. Abruptly; his heart woke from its hibernation and he prepared to savour whatever the night offered. He knew his educated mind needed this precious knowledge in order to be complete. He knew he had to learn fast to blend in. He knew that this was to be his first time to be in such a singsing. He knew it wasn’t an opportunity to be missed.

The hosts started singing praise for the flower of the mountain; detailing the adventures of many a dream that had failed to return with the flower. Many dreams had soared to the top of the mountain, only to find the flower unwilling to return with them. Many had waited for the moment; the time they would meet the flower. And how happy they were when it had happened. But the question is why?  Why come now?

Then Oromo tuned his ears to hear his tribesmen reply. It didn’t come! He grew anxious! Why didn’t they respond quickly; he couldn’t wait. His heart was pounding; he wanted to know what the answer would be. And they’d sing it to their host. As whispers continued, presumably discussing the response to the question, the wait seemed long and he steadily grew uneasy. And the heat that he had forgotten began to take its toll. “Water!” he whispered hoarsely to his closest companion. “Please hurry!” He gulped the water from a plastic container with determined haste. Then his throat closed suddenly on him. He coughed abruptly towards the fire and water from his mouth and throat went scurrying into the flames.

Then a voice; a familiar voice! High pitched and with authority; pierced the dimly lit and smoky interior. The thick lazy smoke hovering just above their heads seems to part as if to make way. The voice reminded him of his childhood. Those yesterday’s when he used to hunt lizards and insects with his tiny bow and arrows; those days when his papa would challenge him to a playful wrestle. Oh the unmistakably commanding, yet adorable voice of his mama. The one and only woman who best knew her son.

It echoed into the night while others waited for their turn to join in. Oromo too waited. He wanted to know when the others would join in the song. Then all his companions, old and young alike, joined in the chorus.

But his father’s voice, raised up from the dust ridden depths of his heart, was a mere whisper, drowning rapidly into the abyss of the chilly night outside.

“…so with your great voice, you’ve asked why! We have walked over hills and rivers. We have brought the flower of the mountain. To you now we present it! So tell the others about this. Tell the others about this”.

And on the two groups discussed; disputed each with other; then compromised on certain things; all in song, poetic songs only. And Oromo in his bewildering excitement, listening hard to learn as fast and as much as he could, dozed off into the wind and was carried to the mountain of the red flower.

When first light appeared and the sharpening orchestra of early dawn had begun the members of the two groups, having exhausted themselves, succumbed to their harassed bladders. It was time to depart for the next village. Pots of kaukau were brought in and served quickly. They must make haste in order to cross two fast flowing rivers and clamber over an ugly hill before the clouds started roaring and the rain began pouring.


My Fatita (Walking stick)

What you are about to read is a product of my weary mind…after almost 8 weeks of daily walking up and down mountains, valleys, hills, ridges and crossing huge rapidly flowing rivers, I pondered over what I had achieved. I realised that my best and closet companion was my staff or walking stick.


Some may call it a staff
Others say; ‘ah, its a walking stick!’
But amongst many is close to my heart
Favourite companion of mine
And she’s who keeps me steady on my path

A weary traveller; I seek
Onward I walk with a steady pal
To places I know not much of
And with your warmth I speak
To them that knoweth not

Constant companion you are
Continue to guide my walk
As I meader in this wilderness of ignorance
Keep me true in my talk
And open more eyes in this blindness

I’ll keep you close to my heart
Warmth of my arms around you
Is assurance of my commitment
To be true to your advice
Even when I am about to fall

In this ruggedness
Tress shade me but not hide me
From all that need to see me
I will follow you onto somewhere
Even if the path is croocked

This staff
My walking stick
Lead me on
To where you know

He out did them all

In the confusion
On the mount of our fathers,
All, they tried to be the baddest

When the night’s eye watched
When the day’s star gazed
Even when night’s chorus was silent

Out they parade those things,
Things that make them bad
And onward they mightily marched

Amongst them, stood one,
With a high head, he was stronger
And he out did them all

His name, heard they in the south.
In the north, he flew with a blaze
But into heaven, he couldn’t make it

And so the story was told
To them that will hear
And be wary of the one

He out did them all

With rather strong political connotations


Easter gift for PNG?

We all have heard of the phrase ‘blessing in disguise’, haven’t we? And often we see the fruits of this blessing sometime later. Then we would reflect on and comment either positively or negatively as per the results.

The way of men is to react to situations. And sometimes, instead of rectifying a problem we contribute towards its magnification. But in the end, lessons; presumably life changing lessons are learned.

In PNG, many now think the government’s actions of late have brought us turmoil. Many wonderful adjectives have been used to depict the gravity of our situation and the hopelessness generally felt across the nation. We’re right to express our dismay and disgust at a bad government; which only recently replaced another equally bad government. PNG is left now with no alternate government that is for the people and by the people. This is all the more reason for fresh elections; and the sooner the better. But hang on a minute!

The O’Neil-Namah government has successfully brainwashed the rural majority as the government for the people and by the people with their free-education policy and the yet-to-be-implemented free-health policy. The word now on the lips of many is; “Peter O’Neill is the right-man and we all should vote for his party this election”. This message has gone far and wide to all corners of the country.

It would take a great deal of time and effort to convince the rural majority that the O’Neill-Namah government is not the right government for PNG. Peter O’Neill has addressed an ongoing problem that has disadvantaged thousands of rural kids from advancing in their studies.

What is the blessing in disguise in the government’s move to defer the election by six months? Please don’t get me wrong! I am not a fan of the O’Neil-Namah government.

The rural majority will vote in new leaders. With the mindset they currently have on O’Neil-Namah government, you can be sure these gentlemen will form the new government. So we need time. We need time to attack the government and the way it does business. We must reach out to the people through some form of awareness programs or other means that can effectively change mindsets and perceptions. A deferral of six months, if the government is adamant, is ample time to damage the government’s reputation. While making noise in Port Moresby is good, it is just not enough to change mindsets in the rural areas. We have to be smart; may be smarter than Mr O’Neill. It is time now to take the message to the masses and let them know who Messrs O’Neil and Namah really are.

So the gift for us this Easter, if the government stands by its decision to defer the election by six months would be ‘time’. Time we will have to tarnish its reputation and integrity. Remember PDM (People’s Democratic Movement)? It only needs time to gradually kill the party.

Cheers all.

Who is in our house?

Who is in the house,
Built by our fathers;
Did I see many a mouse;
Where are our mothers?
Their songs I hear not!

Where are they sheltering,
From stormy knights;
Aren’t the wrinkles of love,
Already in sight;
O’ don’t they need a dove?

Who is in the house,
On the mount of our fathers;
Who, our mothers did arouse,
From their slumbers;
Did the children hear them wake?

And the children;
Where are they playing;
Did I hear them say;
We are still sleeping,
Into the youth of day?

Jeffrey Mane Febi.

Of late, PNG’s government has abused our parliament to satisfy their crave for power. I hope this poem reminds us of the imminent danger we face in continuing to allow this government rule.

Danis long wind

Dispela bokis blo diriman
I round olsem kokonas
Stail steret wantem ol tail
We save danis hamamas
Taim wind i bolow wail

Wailo! yellow, ret na pink
Ol danis igo ikam yet
Eye mambol i laik sink
Tsol lon nau ba ol wet
Igat taim blo danis i stap

Dispela kokonas yeh!
Box blo diriman
Bilas blo em stail moa
Em yet em stail wan
Tsol ol painim lon stoa

Jeff Febi

Composed this while in the bus to Lufa.


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