I'm sick and tired of hearing the "fat ones" (olesem ol grisman na stilman na giamanman) blaming PNG's current parlous state on their so called "colonial inheritance". I believe that PNG administration was one of the most cost effective imperial, bureaucratic interventions of recent times, I can not think of another similar endeavour that was more effective or delivered "more bangs for the bucks". At the "business end" (or the "grass roots" level, whatever) it was in general purposeful, moral, ethical, honest regardless of whether we were part of a imperial policy whose motives may not have been as altruistic. I believe that we did do a good job in PNG.
The following is an extract from an email (Aug 2000) I received from an (ex-didiman) friend (no names, no pack drill) who was then working in East Timor, it's re-assuring:
"Good to catch up with you last week over the phone. I am well settled into the local scene here in Dili now. It is a bit unreal with almost 12,000 UN expats here. Because East Timor is such a big event, all the head office types from every UN agency you have ever heard of, plus a few more you never imagined existed, have all come over here on short term assignment. Because all they understand is a bureaucracy, they bring in hundreds of staff and feel secure in running their local empire. In fact they spend a lot of time protecting their turf and fighting as to who should do what. Engaging with the locals. Sorry, who? What are the locals ?? I kid you not. It is terrible. In fact I bet one Kiap could achieve more than 100 UN workers are doing in a situation like this, and do at 25% the cost. However, this is the way the UN works and it is a sad thing that it is the best the human race has been able to come up with ..."
Address list - I would like to build up a comprehensive contact list with emphasis on email addresses as this is a far more efficient (and less expensive means in terms of postage, envelopes, copying, etc.) means of communication which will facilitate the organisation of future reunions be they in SE Qld or elsewhere. If others in another region or state wish to organise a reunion then I'm only too happy to sort and supply an address list or do the email-out for them.
At this stage I would like to
thank those ex-kiaps who have organised those reunions in the past, they have
all been great social events. In my particular case I'm thinking about the
Brisbane Irish Club soirees organised by John Vincent Dagge, Peter Andrews and
This address list may also form the basis for developing an overall index of kiaps, past and present, dare I say an "Honour Roll".
Publication of memorabilia - To publish kiap's personal photographs and memorabilia. Much of the official written administrative record has been archived but not the unofficial visual administrative record which was accumulated by us through our personal photographic collections and copying of official documentation. These records are now slowly decaying away in our wardrobes.
Our photographs are unique and limited in availability, they never formed part of the official record as we didn't have the technology then as we do now in terms of word processing and digital photography. The general public never had the access and opportunity to photograph what we could. A photograph is worth a thousand words and apart from us and a few others (anthropologists, etc.) who will ever know what the traditional garb of a person in some "god forsaken" backwater of the Sepik or where ever, looked like.
We're no longer interested in looking through our own photographs as we have seen them many times before and the process of dragging out and setting up the slide projector is unwieldy, a pain in the proverbial. Similarly, Mum and the kids are no longer interested, they have seen them many times before.
The only people now interested in looking at your photographs are your comrades. I enjoy looking at pictures (that I haven't seen before) of what we were all about, outstations that I have heard about but was never posted to, etc. and I feel sure that others do as well.
Thankfully, technology has come to the rescue via computing and the internet, it provides us with a convenient means of "strolling down memory lane" through a comrade's collection who may live at the other end of the country.
At this point of time I'm of a mind that I'll allocate a separate web page to each individuals' collection and cross link them to other photographic indexes as they are developed, for example, the page where I'll trying to display a pictorial display of each outstation.
In relation to the issue of copyright, I have explained in the copyright section to this web page that copyright remains vested in the respective contributor and that anyone who wishes to copy an image, etc. has to obtain prior approval from the contributor.
There is an additional benefit to all this and that is that once a picture has been scanned and digitised it, in effect, arrests the decay of the image, an electronic image doesn't decay and it is in a form that is capable of being enhanced or repaired through a photo editing programme.
Archival - We're all approaching that final inevitable stage in life and I'm a little concerned that once "Dad" is out of the way that all those photographs and other material may end up in the garbage bin. I'm hoping that this web project may also cause us to think a little bit more about this issue.
There are institutions who are interested in archiving our material. I'm currently in the process of renewing contact and verifying these venues and will publish details once they are to hand.
Current (PNG) affairs: To provide a convenient means of keeping us abreast of PNG issues that are of interest to us by providing links to current media outlets and summarising news items.
THE VINEGAR STROKE
It is important that the web site
be current if it is not to fade away like so many other web sites have. To this
end I hope that the address list, message board, links to the PNG media and
other items of common interest and the gradual accretion of photographs and
memorabilia will prevent this from happening and will give cause for re-visits.
I am a facetious, sarcastic, cynical bastard and tired of being PC and this will show in some of my comments so apologies to those who may take offence but there is a remedy in the following paragraph.
At this stage I'm footing the bill
for the domain name and site hosting but I can afford it and consider it as a
hobby and a "labour of love". I also consider this as "our"
site and not "mine", this means that I am open to consensual or
majority opinion (by ex-kiaps) in the direction that the site should take after
I've had time to have a little sulk. At
this stage I would suggest that the best way to achieve this would be through
the sites' forum (message/discussion) board). I suppose that in the long run that the
site will be inherited by the last computer literate, willing and interested
ex-kiap standing who hasn't been blessed by "old timer's" disease.
Cheers - Peter Salmon (PO Box 740 Springwood, Queensland, Australia 4127)
[This page last updated 23/03/2003]
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