A Cruise Up-River At Sunset In Brisbane

The 'ferris wheel' against the sunset. Brought back memories of the London Eye.

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.   

Cruising up the river towards Toowong, Qld.

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. 

These structures reminded me of a place in London...

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.

This shot from under one of the bridges. I caught my breath whenever we turned a corner on the river.

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.

What a sight to behold!

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… 

The train passing through...a moving silhouette against a stunning background.

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.

A Moving Dedication In Poetry

Marie-Rose Sau reading her poem 'On That Fateful Day', with Jeffry Feeger at work on his and Ratoos Gary's tribute painting on the far right.

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

Bismark Sea

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

Onboard you

The young ones

Naïve of what was to come

Held on tightly to

Their mamas and their papas

With hearts beating with

Sheer excitement

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

A brother

A sister

An aunt

An uncle

A cousin

A friend

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

Marie-Rose Sau

 

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.

FGM: The Scourge Of Humanity

She has rights...God-given rights. No-one has the right to take away her rights...no-one!

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.

CMAG Statement on Fiji

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