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September 25, 2017 | by  | in One Ocean |
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One Ocean

Last week was Papua New Guinea’s 42nd Independence Day!

I was at home (Samoa) during the pre-celebrations and my mum, being from PNG, took us with her. Listening to the speeches and examining the intricate knitting that went into the hundreds of bilums* I saw, I was reminded of how far we’ve come as a country.

When decades of Australian colonisation finally ended in 1975, we took the helm of our own canoe, as numerous other Pacific states have done. As the news reports have probably reflected, we’ve had our issues. Scratch that — we’ve had LOTS OF ISSUES. Our recent elections probably came to mind when I said that. I’ve been asked, true story, how the heck we’re still independent, still a state, still… alive (yes, some people go there)?

They feel sorry for us, generally. I’d be an absolute liar if I didn’t say that half the time, I end up feeling sorry for myself, and staring at the Bird of Paradise on my passport wondering why we named it that!

But then, self-pitying or not, we still live.  

We still literally climb mountains, wade through rivers, cut through bushes, and go to work and school each day. Like any other Pacific nation with its trials and triumphs, we still fly our flag. Because, despite everything around us, we still can.

 

*Traditional PNG bags

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Uncomfortable places: skin.

:   Where are you from?  My list was always ready: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, puppy dogs’ tails, a little Spanish, maybe German, and—almost as an afterthought—half Samoan. An unwanted fraction.   But you don’t seem like a Samoan. I thought you were [inser

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