Children Perpetuate Our Traditional Dances

A small group of Motuan dancers graced the Ela Beach Craft Market yesterday (27th July, 2013).

At 11.00am the sounds emanating from a number of kundu drums drew the crowd towards the back of the Market where this group of young dancers were performing a traditional dance.ImageIt is now common practice to have young people and children join  traditional dances in official functions throughout the country. This is however not the norm in some societies in PNG. In some societies inorder to take part in a traditional dance one has to be initiated. But I think these practices will sooner or later have to be changed in the name of cultural preservation.

Schools, colleges and universities in PNG have cultural events where young people are encouraged to showcase their culture and traditional dances. More and more related events are also incorporated in the showcasing of traditional dances for instances, fashion shows showing off traditional garb or designs. Part of the strategy to preserve our culture and encourage creativity at the same time.

ImageI am so glad that the Ela Beach Craft Market provides the ‘stage’ for cultural performances and with the diversity and colour leaving audiences craving for more, who needs a sophisticated stage with all the trimmings!  I guess Ela Beach caters to the Saturday morning craft market audiences which is very informal.

Although a sophisticated stage set up has a place in artistic performances in PNG too.

ImageI really enjoyed the dances and the children’s voices that rose above and drowned the din of nearby traffic, even if it was just for 30 minutes. What a wonderful way to end another successful Craft Market day.

Here are some of my favourite shots of the young dancers.

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There is always a limit as to the angles from which to take good photos of live performances so these look quite one dimensional. I therefore tried to apply some artistic perspective to my photos and being creative to liven up the images.

ImageThe only downside with this culture performance is still seeing bits of modern clothing under traditional costumes. It is therefore incumbent on teachers of traditional dances to also include the authenticity of traditional dance costumes. That is a big part of the enjoyment, when everything presented is as authentic as possible.

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I hope that in future traditional dancing and traditional clothing will be included in primary as well as secondary schools’ curricula especially where these include live performances and getting feedback from the audience.

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So I look forward to the next cultural performance next month by another cultural group.

Thank you Ela Beach Craft Market organizers for providing the place to showcase our culture and our arts.

‘King ‘ Of The Mountain?

In Port Moresby nowadays and I guess over the past 10 years or so, land-grabbing in the capital and surrounds has become almost commonplace and one expects it to happen! Whatever resistance there is is quite low-key or has become academic and am not sure this is a good thing for those who now own land.

With this is mind one tends to look out for the most weird and strange places around Port Moresby where once bush or kunai-grass covered hills are now populated with houses of various colors and sizes for people who are not necessarily local landowners.

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T’he ‘king’ of the mountain?

Last week for the first time I spotted this house on top of the hill directly opposite the airport. I must admit even now I am still wondering who owns that house, who is the lucky one – king of the mountain or land-grabber or squatter or what? Oh yes, and whether it’s in the flight path of aircraft coming in to land at Jacksons Airport. 

I don’t normally express political views publicly but there’s always a first time. I am concerned about the generations to come of the Motu-Koitabu people who own the land on which most of the city of Port Moresby is built on and expanding at a faster rate. Some of this expansion is kind of unwelcomed although the concept of city expansion is inevitable with population growth as well as business and industry growth.

The house could be legit! But the thoughts of land-grabbing are ever present.

What would happen if land-grabbing continues relentlessly and recklessly. A number of prominent Motu-Koitabu people are talking about it now and are quietly resisting, so what are the strategies out there to urgently stem this scary tide of land-grabbers. Motu-Koitabu friends please do something now before you become totally disenfranchised and invisible spectators in your own backyard. There I’ve said it.

The Mystery Mountain With The Visible Gap

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Notice the mountain with the ‘gap’ – a view from the Airways Poolside Restaurant, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Dining at the Airways Poolside Restaurant situated in the 5-star Airways Hotel near Jacksons International Airport (Papua New Guinea) is not an everyday pastime for most Port Moresby-ites. So when we get to lunch there we focus mainly on the food and amiable conversation with an intermittent look at activities on the tarmac of Port Moresby’s international airport.

For me last week, it was lunch with one of my best friends who has never been there before so I was keen to give her my recommendations on what I considered a great dish. We both ended up at the buffet, as you can see the Beef Stir-fry with loads of beautiful healthy veggies.

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Stir-fry Beef with fresh local veggies…

After our sumptuous lunch we began to look around and across to the tarmac and what seemed to be a very busy day at the airport with aircraft landing and taking off almost every 15 minutes or so.

However, my eyes riveted on to this mountain top in the distance and lo and behold we noticed a gap right at the top of it!  How come I’ve never seen it before? I pointed the scene out to my friend and we started to ask questions for which we both didn’t seem to have any answers like, what the name of the mountain is, is it part of the Owen Stanley Range etc.

I even Google-d it this morning but no luck. May be am not asking the right questions!

It remains a mystery until I can point it out to someone in the know like a geographer who may be able to answer some of my questions. I hate that when I’m kept in suspense.