I was recently in Brisbane on Friday evening and was so fortunate to witness what I thought was a stunning sunset over the city which has been experiencing rain on and off for a few days that week.
For me this was indeed a golden hour to take this shots. I am moved by the grandeur of nature on God’s earth everywhere I go.
As we travelled upriver towards Toowong I took these shots. Had to muscle my way through the taller people who were eargerly clicking away. There was no time for timidity as I too gently ‘muscled’ my way through a whole lot of jeans and t-shirts to take these shots. But all in all everyone wanted to share these moments so as one lot stood up and swayed towards aft to take their shots the others waited patiently to move forward. The earlier muscling in was after all not necessary so I felt kind of embarrassed but hey it was a do or die situation and I just went for it. What I lost due to size (far from size 28 days but) I more than compensated with my ‘gentle muscling’ at the many swaying midriffs I encountered to take these shots and am kind of amazed I did without being thrown overboard by some (tall giant of a) European tourist. At least I lived to tell my story.
We passed a number of bridges along the Brisbane River when not so long ago the city was under siege of massive flooding.
What a beautiful end of the day this was and I wanted to share these photos of the sunset as we cruised towards our ‘home away from home’ in Toowong.
This was the eve of my birthday as well as the planned opening of the Beyond Pacific Art Gallery the next day, 17th March, 2012 in Bellbowrie.
Wherever we are, the setting sun has a magical aura about it. This is the time when one can find oneself in a reflective mood and I was in that zone. I just took it all in as the City Cat rolled onwards…
Looking back the way we came up river I thought how privileged I was to have witnessed a lovely warm sunset in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It was a wonderful way to end the week and the day.
I met Marie-Rose Sau, a young Papua New Guinean poet recently at the Royal Papua Yacht Club for a Bemobile-sponsored event. The event featured two iconic artists Jeffry Feeger and Ratoos Gary accompanied by an impressive group of PNG musicians led by PNG’s own Louis Armstrong, Pius Wasi.
The event called ‘Journey Through Stains’ is the brainchild of Jeffry Feeger of national renown and gaining more recognition overseas as well. It was held on Wednesday, 22nd February, 2012 to raise funds for the relatives of those who were lost in the recent MV Rabaul Queen tragedy.
I will write more about this event in a separate post. But for now let’s meet Marie-Rose through her poem, ‘On That Fateful Day’. Marie-Rose read this moving dedication but some of it was inaudible because of background noise. I wanted to kill two birds with one stone so after the event I asked her if I could feature her poem on my blog and she kindly agreed. So here it is.
On That Fateful Day
T’was a glorious day
The setting sun illuminating
The horizon beyond
The sea had seemed calm
As if it were asleep
Sea birds soar up above
No fear for stormy clouds untold
No one thought it would end like this
The unthinkable would happen
It was just another ordinary day
Another journey to make
Another endurance of that cruel
Yet families came to bade their
Loved ones a safe journey
Without the knowing that
For some it might
Be their last goodbyes.
Filled with enthusiasm
They rushed through the gates
Onto what might be their last trip
The young ones
Naïve of what was to come
Held on tightly to
Their mamas and their papas
With hearts beating with
And then finally
Amidst the commotion
You let go of your anchors one last time
And you set sail
Into the beyond
To meet your fate
Come the stormy weather
And the high seas
And Bismark could not have been too kind
To the innocent lives on board
For it attacked you with a force
You could not withstand
And you plunged
Plunged into the unknown beneath
And for if you were a being
The endless screams
You would not have missed
The frantic prayers that were begged
From quivering mouths
Prayed from hearts beating as for
As if it were their last
Yet you were but a human
And there you tumbled over
Innocence spilled overboard
Lives tossed here and there
Trying to hold on for dear life
To be spared
To be somehow saved
And yet you could not grant that
And oh how mothers cried out
Dearly for those young ones
For a son
For a daughter
For a husband
Fathers braved the merciless waves
To search for their families
Screams be heard
From already broken hearts
Hearts bleeding with fear
For a mother
For a father
That they were afraid to lose
And yet you failed them
And you sank without shame
And you took with you
All that was to someone
You took the world from someone
And you brought it to the bottom
Of the dark seas
And when the sun shone
And the seas they calmed
The pain and the hurt
Of losing what one holds most dearly to
Could not be eased
The endless tears shed
And the screams
The fight to hold on
And the fight to let go
Words could not comfort
For some they found their loved ones
But some they will live another day
With a missing piece
And the knowing that that missing piece
Sank with the MV Rabaul Queen on
That fateful Thursday 2nd of February 2012…
Dedicated to those that survived and to those that were never found onboard the MV Rabaul Queen
In her own words, Marie-Rose says,“I come from a mixed parentage of Chimbu, East New Britain and Morobe. I started writing poems as early as grade 5. Because of my childhood background, writing poems became a trusted friend to me.
A way for me to speak my feelings. My thoughts, etc. I never gotten any of my writing published per se. It was just a hidden hobby that I kept.
I wrote this poem, because I just lost someone very recently and although it wasn’t as tragic as the Rabaul Queen. That pain of enduring an ordeal like that cannot be described. So I try to write from my own experience of losing a loved one and try to relate that to the ordeal that the victims and those that have lost their loved ones.
I have realized that when, someone dies, in such a way, it is only right to pay tribute to them. for all that they have endured, in some ways, it reminds one that one day later in life, just maybe, something tragic might happen and a stranger will pay tribute too. For me to write that, it somehow gives me some sort of inner peace to say goodbye to the souls of those that were lost.”
I wanted to feature Marie-Rose not only because of this moving piece that she has dedicated to both the survivors and the lost ones but also because it has been a long time for me to hear a poem from another PNG woman as well as meet her which is such a privilege.
Marie-Rose has recently created a group ‘Poetry PNG’ on Facebook. This is a treasure trove of PNG poetry and writing talent being uncovered. It’s illuminating and inspiring stuff. Check it out.
I am featuring Marie-Rose because I want to proactively start promoting PNG women writers whose stars are rising steadily in the PNG writers’ skies following on the impressive heels of such national greats as Nora Vagi Brash who is a poet and playright and many more accomplished and yet to be discovered PNG women poets.
I hope that more PNG women will find their voices through poetry and I wish them confidence, courage and commitment to their art.
Today I listened to Marge Berer, Editor of Reproductive Health Matters Journal and Naana Otoo-Oyortey, MBE of FORWARD speak about reproductive rights.
There are many international legal documents and provisions but are they understood by the people it is meant to protect – women and girls? How do we disseminate information on reproductive rights? Some countries are disseminating information and awareness. However, there is still so much to do and organizations committed to designing programmes to make people aware and to disseminate important information need money and the resources to be able to do so. Some countries are really struggling to stop female genital mutilation (FMG) against girl children.
FORWARD is an organization ‘committed to enhancing the well-being and protecting the dignity of African girls and women by eliminating harmful gender-based discriminatory practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation’ – from the notice I received. FORWARD also has information from other countries beyond Africa on FMG happening in their countries.
Statistics and data collected do not always give the true picture because there are so many cases which are unreported for one reason or another. I wish that there are manuals on how to disseminate information especially international conventions protecting the rights of girl children and those women who are bound by traditional and cultural conventions and obligations and are therefore robbed of their rights.
Organizations like FORWARD need all the help they can get and resources to convince governments and communities to stamp out all forms of female genital mutilation period! Part of poverty eradication and part of the Millennium Development Goals should contain the eradication of FMG: the scourge of humanity.
I was at the press conference yesterday, a bush journalist! It was a very long wait from the meeting which started at 10.00am in the morning and the whole process including the press conference finished at about 6.00pm. I hung around to meet Minister Sam Abal, Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade. I was also curious as to what the conditions, if any were laid down for Fiji. The big question: to fully suspend or not to fully suspend. If you’ve been following my tweets you would have gone to the Commonwealth Secretariat’s website from my blog to hear the Statement being read by the Deputy Secretary General, Mrs Masire-Mwamba. The CMAG is short for the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group and comprises nine member states which includes PNG. The Chair of the CMAG is Malaysia. This video presentation comes to us from the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the full text of the Statement can be found on the Secretariat’s website at: http://www.thecommonwealth.org