Monday, June 29, 2009

Peace and love is in the air in China

Tony's article has been published under the new column with Sunday Chronicle, "Letter from China". More of such story/article will be wrtitten by Papua New Guineans in China.

By Tony Jack Manab in Beijing.

I AM grateful and offer compliments and thank you on behalf of the government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) to the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for the opportunity in allowing me to come to a dream place, China. I’ve always wished to set foot one day.

China is never a wonderland as some famous Hollywood TV stars would assert but a country that’s so friendly and beautiful.

I would like to dedicate this article as a token of appreciation and thank you to my boss Mr Frank Mohi Aisi, seniors and colleagues from the International Relations & Aid Oversight Unit of the Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council and my family and friends in China and PNG for making this experience a reality.

Appreciation and thankyou to Mathew Yakai for this opportunity to have my article published under “Letter from China” column.

I am attending a two months Seminar on Economic Administration for Developing Countries at MOFCOM Institute for International Business Officials in Beijing which is fully funded by the Chinese Government.

This Seminar is part of the ongoing program to train 2,000 government officials and technical personnel from the Pacific Islands for capacity building to fulfil the commitment made by Premier of China, Wen Jiabao during the China–Pacific Islands Countries Forum for Economic and Development Cooperation in Fiji in 2006.

My experience in Beijing within the last three weeks and half is amazing and will remain a story and a lifetime experience I will never forget.

Never in a single day have I felt home sick because I am enjoying everyday’s programs and so far used to the humid days as its summer in Beijing.

What I am going to share with you is not everything but my general experiences in Beijing.

I begin by stating that the Chinese people are great and admit that I had negative perceptions about them (Chinese) before coming here.

Even on my first day of arrival in Beijing, I was so security consensus and thought it would be that way throughout the duration of the seminar.

However, being around in the country for only three and half weeks is like I was here for some good donkey years.
I am adhering that my negative perceptions about the Chinese people have totally changed. My experience about China is like discovering the other side of the coin which you don’t see unless you turn it around.

I have discovered that how we Papua New Guineans perceive the Chinese people in PNG is really different and contrary from the way they behave towards foreigners in China.

It is quiet amazing that the locals were so friendly that I now have lots of friends around. I began to see that the Chinese people really have a true spirit of unity and friendship.

There are always smiling faces everywhere and it’s like you can’t help it smiling when one says ‘ni hao’ (hello), like the famous English expression, ‘love is in the air so as unity and peace is always in the air in China.

No wonder China is developing rapidly because their development concept is based on unity and harmony.

The Chinese government emphasises that development of any form should always be in peace and harmony with the people both from within and abroad.

The Foreign Policy of China is also centred on harmony, unity and peace and aims at assisting its developing counterparts to keep up with the pace of modern industrialisation.

China views it unfair to go ahead with industrialisation therefore tries to help other developing countries like PNG to be somewhat come closer to China so that it can move on.

It is like a relay game where one runs his or her share of distance and passes the barth so one can take it from there on.

The principle to win this sport is simple and that is to wait and focus on one who has the barth. After all, the ultimate focus of this sport is making the participants satisfied which in most cases in wining the race.

China is applying a similar principle in the process of international development.

I am beginning to observe that friendship is what reigns in the minds of every Chinese when you are stranger in their land.

On the first day of my arrival in Beijing, It took me no time waiting to find my way to the training centre as some people who walked passed me kept asking if I was alright or needed help.

Just as well our training coordinator arrived and picked me up. I can compliment that Chinese courtesy is world class and probably one of the best in the world.

For my outdoor experience, it was fun especially visiting some of the world’s most notorious sites like the Great Wall of China and the Palace Museum also know as the Forbidden City which are both located minutes drive out from the training centre.

It was quite amazing gazing at the ground level from the top of the Great Wall and it looks like an aerial view from an aeroplane.

It made me wonder how on earth did the ancient Chinese society managed to build such a wall because the Great Wall lies vertically with the mountains.

I was fortunate to be told by a Chinese friend that the Great Wall was constructed in Spring , Autumn and Warring States Periods as a defensive fortification by three states; Yan, Zhao and Qin.

The Great Wall went through constant extensions and repair in later dynasties. In fact, it began as independent walls for different states when it was built and did not become “Great” wall until the Qin Dynasty.

Emperor Quin Shihuang succeeded in his effort to have the walls joined together to fend off the invasions from the Huns in the North after the unification of China.

Since then the Great Wall has served as a monument of the Chinese tradition throughout history. We managed to climb one to the top and not the other two due to time constrains. The team is planning separate times to climb each of the other two walls.

The Palace Museum, historically and artistically known as one of the most comprehensive Chinese Museums, was established on the foundation of the palace that was the ritual centre of two dynasties, the Ming and Qing, and their collections of treasures.

It is designated by the State Council as one of Chinese foremost protected monuments in 1961 as well as made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987.

Situated at the heart of Beijing, the Palace Museum is approached through the Tiananmen Gate. Immediately to the north of the Palace Museum is Prospect Hill, while on the east and west are Wangfujing and Zhongnanhai neighbourhoods.

It is a location endowed with cosmic significance by ancient Chinese astronomers. Correlating the emperor’s adobe, which they considered the pivot of the terrestrial world, with Pole Star (Ziweiyuan), which they believed to be the centre of Heavens, they call the palace Purple Forbidden City.

Toady, it is well alive as ever, as tourists from around the world visit to see and write about. Unlike the Great Wall, we were able to walk around and see all its beautiful historical compartments.

Apart from the outdoor experience, we have a great team that consists of two participants each from 14 countries and they are all good ambassadors of their respective countries.

I get along well with each one of them and the humour and the bond we share makes us overcome our greatest enemy and that is missing home and families.

Lately we formed our basketball team as we are running a competition with some nearby local college students and it’s great as they are friendly.

This is one of the avenues where we are able to meet up with new friends and this experience has somewhat become a habit and a game as well.

Narrowing down to our regional friends, the team from the Pacific like the Tongans, Niueans, Fijians, and the Ni Vanuatus are my great family of friends and are all fun to be around with outdoors. We make up the bigger proportion of the big team and named it the “Pacific Team”.

I also had an opportunity meeting up with some of our country friends like Albert Tobby and Mathew Yakai.

Albert is doing a three year study here in Beijing under the Chinese Government Scholarship and he was at the airport to meet me on the day of my arrival in Beijing.

I personally know Albert from school as he was my senior in the same course back at Divine Word University. He (Albert) is amazing as he speaks very fluent Chinese like his own Chimbu language.

Mathew is a professional journalist and just graduated with a Masters in International Relations and is currently doing an internship with Ramu NiCo’s Beijing head office.

Upon knowing that they were both in Beijing, I really couldn’t wait to meet them on the Sunday of my first weekend. We had some good time and fun walking around the city.

They took me around showing me places and telling me everything I should know about life in China.

The three of us meet every Sundays for church service and our group seems to be increasing every Sundays with our Pacific friends joining in. However, I will be flying out of Beijing to Shangai and that means that I will be missing both of their company for about a week.

Well that is all I can tell you about my three and half weeks experience in Beijing. Next week I will write about my experience in Shanghai.

Note: “Letter from China” is a new column attempting to share Papua New Guinean’s experiences in China. For comments and inquiry, email Mathew on or phone 15116988560

Chinese practices of settling in PNG – Part 3

BESIDES the Malaysian Chinese whose main business is timber, there are ethnic Chinese from other countries who run other kinds of business.

The mainland Chinese, for example, have come to PNG as employees or workers of the agents of the PRC government which has various aid projects in PNG.

Most of the new arrivals from PRC do not have kinship ties with the local born Chinese, and do not have relations with the emigrant villages from where the old comers originate.

After immigrating to PNG as employees of foreign companies, some of them begin their own businesses.

There are some Chinese entrepreneurs who bring their relatives or friends from their own countries to assist in their new businesses.

Thus, there is also chain migration from the East and Southeast Asian countries to PNG. Those New Chinese entrepreneurs have to acquire business visas to start their own businesses, when their original contracts run out.

Some Chinese arrive in PNG on tourist visas. Most, though not all, of the Chinese new arrivals have legal status.

Thus, with the arrival of the new Chinese from various Asian countries, the population of the ethnic Chinese in post-independence PNG has not seen a decrease in spite of the emigration of the Chinese old comers to Australia.

Most of these ethnic Chinese today contribute enormously towards the development of PNG and the Pacific in various ways.

Even some or most have established good relationship with the local people and that has promoted ‘people to people’ diplomacy, one of the areas where the local governments and Beijing can promote and encourage.

Unlike the cities of ex-German New Guinea, Port Moresby does not have a Chinatown or traditional Chinese associations, such as regional and clan associations.

There are several reasons for this. The history of the ethnic Chinese in Port Moresby is relatively short and the size of the community is also small.

It may also be difficult for the Chinese to establish an association because there is much diversity among the recent Chinese immigrants and they are dispersed in their localities.

There are no traditional Chinese associations in the other cities either.

After the independence of PNG, many Chinese left for Australia and their traditional associations disappeared as the number of the Chinese old comers decreased.

On the other hand, recent Chinese immigrants in PNG have established other kinds of associations and groups, and led their community activities.

Those Chinese gather, for instance, in clubs, religious institutions and restaurants owned by Chinese.

They gather in these places instead of traditional associations, make contacts and network with each other.

For instance, some Chinese in PNG now join the Lions Club or other kinds of clubs for socialization purposes.

It is common to see Chinese get together in Chinese restaurants in particular on weekends and exchange information relating to their interests such as business opportunities in PNG.

Chinese restaurants are important not only as places to do business in but also venues for socialization and communication purposes.

To understand the characteristics of the ethnic Chinese community in PNG, this commentary takes a look at the only Buddhist temple in PNG, the PNG Manjusri Buddhist Centre, hereafter, the Buddhist Centre.

It is a branch of a Taiwanese Buddhist group, Fo Guang Shan (Buddha’s Light International Association).

The Buddhist Centre is located in the Gordon area in Port Moresby.

The Buddhist Centre was established in 1994 by Malaysian Chinese who were increasing in number in PNG; they collected the donations for the Centre.

In 1996, they asked a Buddhist association in Taiwan to send a Buddhist priest.

A Malaysian Chinese nun who once studied Buddhism in Taiwan was sent instead, to officiate regularly at Buddhist ceremonies and activities for the Malaysian Chinese community.

She and some volunteers also take up the administrative duties at the Buddhist Centre which is sustained by donations from Chinese followers.

The followers hold Buddhist rituals every Sunday, and every first and fifteenth of the month of the lunar calendar and conduct sutra reciting and gives sermons.

Special rituals are held on special days of the Chinese lunar calendar, such as chunjie (Chinese New Year) on the first day of the first month, guanyin shengdan (birthday of the goddess of mercy) on the nineteenth day of the second month, fodan ji (birthday of the Buddha) on the eighth day of the fourth month, guanyin chujia jinian ri (day of the goddess of mercy’s going into religion) on the nineteenth day of the sixth month, dizang fahui (ceremony for Dizang Bodhisattva) on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, guanyin chengdao ri, (the day of goddess of mercy’s attaining Buddhahood) on the nineteenth day of the ninth month, and fuotuo chengdao ri, (day of Shakyamuni’s attaining Buddha hood) on the eighth day of the twelfth month.

In those special days the Centre invites guests who include not only Chinese but also people from other ethnic groups such as Papua New Guineans and Australians.

These non-ethnic Chinese participants are invited by the Chinese followers of the Centre. For example, there were about 50 participants in a special rite of dizang Bodhisattva in the eighth month of 1999.

Ancestor tablets were placed in front of the statue of Buddha and the participants prayed to them.

The people whose names were written on the tablets did not die in PNG, and participants prayed to their souls.

On these special days, some companies owned by Malaysian Chinese in Port Moresby donate to the Buddhist Centre.

Although the owners and workers of these Malaysian companies do not participate in the activities regularly, they keep in touch with the Buddhist Centre on these special occasions.

The character of the gathering in the Buddhist Centre is influenced by the language used by the participants.

The Centre does not impose any restrictions on followers’ participation, but as chanting and sermons are conducted in Mandarin, it is hard for those who do not understand Mandarin to join in the activities.

Other than that, there are no barriers to participation in the activities.

The Buddhist Centre plays an important role as a center for Mandarin speakers in Port Moresby.

It also provides Chinese –language classes for the children while their parents participate in Buddhist ceremonies.

Some of the participants in fact do not visit the Centre for religious reasons.

One Malaysian Chinese woman says that she does not have anything to do on Sundays because PNG is a Christian country and all the shops and facilities are closed.

So she comes to the Buddhist Centre to socialize with her friends.

Some other Chinese from Malaysia and mainland China say that they did not visit temples regularly when they were in their mother countries but started visiting the Centre after arriving in PNG.

It is reasonable to regard the establishment of the Buddhist Centre as evidence of progress in the Chinese effort to settle in PNG.

The Chinese make use of the non-religious activities held at the Centre to construct their networks and educate their children.

The fact that some Chinese start participating in the Centre activities after arriving in PNG means the Centre has modified its religious nature and acquired new significance for the immigrant community, in a different context and environment.

There is another Chinese association in contemporary Port Moresby.

The Cathay Club plays the role of a node for many Chinese settlers in that city.

The Cathay Club was established by the local born Chinese in the 1960s. It has some buildings for organizing activities for the community, and as such is a place for socialization and amusement for the Chinese in Port Moresby.

Although the Cathay Club was set up by the local Chinese, the members now include Chinese new comers and native Papua New Guineans.

The main activities are sport and games, such as snookers, ball games, swimming and hiking.

Besides these activities, the lion dance is practiced and performed on the premises of the Cathay Club by the Chinese New comers.

The business practice of the ethnic Chinese can also be seen as a strategy to settle in PNG.

Doing business is the main aim of the newly arrived Chinese immigrants.

To protect the PNG national economy, the government has established the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) with a view to promoting and controlling foreign investment.

While the IPA gives license to foreign companies to do business, it at the same time prohibits foreign participation in certain businesses which are instituted as “reserved business.”

Only PNG nationals can engage in the reserved business which also keeps out Chinese workers.

Chinese who wish to go into “reserved business” often have to resort to strategic practices to circumvent the regulations.

Such practices include registering the name of a PNG national as a company director, while the management is in Chinese hands, and starting a new business by transferring the business license to another person to avoid the difficult procedure of acquiring a new license etc.

By using these strategies, some Chinese have established their business and community in PNG.

Note: Part four of this series will continue the following Sunday. E-mail and phone 15116988560 for queries. This column acknowledges Tetsu Ichikawa for his contribution.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

PNG must display at Shanghai World Expo 2010

This article is published under my "Asia Pacific Perspective: China +" column with Sunday Chronicle newspapere, PNG.

By Mathew Yakai in Beijing

AFTER the fanfare of the glamorous Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Game with the theme, “One World, One Dream”, what other events can further extend and expand the international standing and exposing the glory of the 1.3 billion Chinese people then the forthcoming Shanghai World Expo 2010.

The world event which will take place in the China’s financial center, Shanghai, will attract 167 countries and 27 international organizations showcasing their pride from modern technological innovations to raw agricultural products and untouched indigenous cultures of various surprises.

China was bashed by foreign governments for its substandard products, human right issues, corruption, and environmental damages in the past.

This is not even different to the humiliation period China experienced in the hands of Western Powers in history. But Great China is humbled, swallowed its vulnerability and recently made its presence felt in the world from the cloth one wears to children toys enjoyed by children in United States of America.

During the 2008 Summer Olympic Game, the world leaders gathered to cheer for their homelands. Athletes from all over the world came and showcased their talents but importantly, showing friendship through sports.

Gone is the Olympic Game but the legacy and international statutes China built to establish its reputation is now accepted by the international community.

China is seen today as one of the major players in the regional and world politics and issues affecting humanity, yet remains a third world nation according to the World Bank definitions.

China is again in 2010 will provide another major international event to bring all nations and international organizations together to showcase their products, whether it be in technology, agriculture, tourism, and the rest

The theme is “Better City, Better Life”, by essence a follow up of the Olympics theme, “One World, One Dream”, inspiring for a better society for humanity and harmony to prevail in today’s global village where nation’s sovereignties are diminishing given the globalization trends.

According to the expo web site, city is a crystallisation of human civilisation. Just as the American social philosopher Lewis Mumford put it,” the city is a special structure which, fine and compact, has been designed to preserve the fruits of human civilisation."

Many Western languages have derived their versions of the term "civilisation" from the same Latin word "civitas"(meaning "city”), and it is by no means a coincidence.

By virtue of its embracing and regenerating nature, the city has played a significant role in the perfection of order in human society

Thought it is to enhance cities and improve people’s lives, the occasion will be used by countries to display their products of various kinds to attract both investors and tourists.

There is no better place to do that then in China, given its continuous economic growth between 7 to 9 percent despite the world financial crises.

As of today, 314 days are remaining. Though the days may seem long, the count down is continuing and the preparation for individual countries to erect their pavilion needs early preparations.

Out of the 167 countries, 22 are Americas, 48 are Africans, 41 are European, 42 are Asian and Oceania with 14, PNG included. A total of 27 international organizations are also part taking.

Countries throughout the world have made total commitment to take up the opportunity to showcase their individual countries.

This commentary has been watching closely whether any official statements would be released by the Prime Minister and his government in regard to the Expo, which PNG must take part.

Prime Minister Somare was in China in April meeting China’s President Hu Jintao in Beijing but he never made any commitment to part take in the Expo.

As always, Somare reiterated on the importance of the bilateral relationship and economic and technological cooperation but nothing on the Shanghai Expo given the fact that PNG has one of the vast and unique cultures and products to showcase.

Somare’s New Zealand counter part who was also in Beijing coincidently made a commitment of US$17 million for its expo pavilion.

China Daily reported that day that New Zealand will invest tens of millions of dollars to promote and construct the New Zealand pavilion for the upcoming World Expo 2010.

Prime Minister John key said the NZ$30 million (US$17) investment was five times the amount New Zealand spent when it attended the previous world expo in Aichi, Japan.

Though countries are crunched by the world financial crises, Key admitted that the Shanghai 2010 World Expo is a golden opportunity to showcase goods from New Zealand, and he will lead a business delegation to China during the expo.

China is already a vital economic partner for New Zealand and rates as its second largest source of import and third largest trading partner. Trade between New Zealand is valued at more than NZ$9 billion per year.

New Zealand exports to China have more then quadrupled in the last 10 years, with particularly strong growth of 35 percent in 2008, when the two sides inked the FTA agreement.

For PNG, Sir Michael told Hu Jintao that, “China is not only a big and growing consumer market for PNG products, it is also a genuine development partner.”

Somare was the first Prime Minister to visit China in 1976 to establish bilateral relationship and by today he should know the importance of Shanghai Expo and make a commitment for PNG’s expo pavilion.

PNG is a noticeable player in the region, just line New Zealand and Australia when it comes to trading with China.

The total trade volume between PNG and China was around K700 million in 2007. PNG exports to China were around K470 million and imports were around K230 million.

“PNG enjoys a trade surplus of around K240 million with China,” Sir Michael said.

PNG’s exports to China constitutes mainly of crude oil, logs and timber products, agriculture products such as palm oil, rubber, vanilla and coffee, marine products, copper and gold and PNG’s imports from China consist of rice, machinery, mechanical and electrical appliances, textiles, iron and steel products, pharmaceutical products, plastic products, footwear, fertilizers, tools and household goods.

Other Chinese investment activities are in the areas of wholesale, retail, small-scale manufacturing, fast food outlets, and real estate and entertainment facilities.

But this scribe is wandering why Somare is not making any commitment towards the Expo to date?

This is an event PNG must participate to make its international statutes knows in all its uniqueness because PNG is a “Land of Unexpected” with thousand tribes and unique cultures.

Reliable sources have informed this scribe that a country like PNG with diverse unique cultures and products to sell does not even have its own pavilion.

PNG will share a common pavilion with rest of the 12 Pacific island countries, excluding New Zealand and Australia who have the leadership capability to have their own pavilion.

Two copra bag, one coffee bag, one tea bag, and few vanillas will not be enough for PNG to display given its very limited space which will be shared amongst the 12 Pacific Island countries. And what happens to rest of the products?

PNG, the largest island country, rich with natural resources that attract overwhelming revenue for the government with the hundreds unique tribes deserves its own pavilion in the Expo.

Where is the fault when the pavilion for the expo was identified? Was it in Waigani or Beijing or Pacific Island Forum? Who are the leaders designated to work on securing a pavilion for the Expo. Are we paying people who are sitting on government coffers growing fat and doing absolutely nothing?

PNG has one of the best air lines in the Pacific, Air Niugini with direct flight to Hong Kong from Port Moresby, unlike the other island countries.

Therefore, a separate pavilion should have been secured to display loads of products using our own airlines to transport.

Even the Huli from Tari, the Trobriand Island dancers from Milne Bay, the Tapioka dancers from Manus, the carvers, painters, and artists should be using our already established and convenient air line to display their uniqueness in China and the world.

On April 20, the daily papers reported that Culture and Tourism Minister Charles Abel with Michael Mel and Daniel Waswas were representing PNG in the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) and European Union (UEU) cultural meet in Belgium.

“For too long, governments have considered culture as secondary to all other matters and it is time that this perception changed,” Mr Abel said in a statement as reported by The National.

To date, Mr Abel is not making any statement in regard to the Shanghai Expo because this is an expo where PNG can showcase its cultures which he deems necessary.

In PNG politics, politicians like talking, and they lack leadership, action and wisdom to put into action.

For how long will we keep listing to those shallow comments and promises with no actions?

The world is changing and economies are now strategizing their web and bilateral and economic relations to meet the changing geopolitical situations.

Numerous overseas trips made by the Prime Minister on the expense of Papua New Guineans will still remain unproductive if actions are not taken, instead signings of tens and thousands of agreements between Waigani and other countries go on for decades.

China is providing a forum for countries to display their products and they are making use of the opportunities.

This is an opportunity PNG must make use to show other Asian countries that it even has the potential to become the member of ASEAN.

Note: This column addresses issues China is engaged in and how PNG can learn from.. The writer is a PNG student in China. Comments and inquiries email: or phone: 151169888560

Sharing with less fortunate brings human fulfillment

This article is published under the "Letter from China's" Sunday Chronicle column. I would like to thank Madam Elizabeth Momis, wife of PNG ambassador to China His Excellency Ambassador John Momis's wife for contributing to the new column.


WE know this popular phrase. “Behind a successful man is a hard working woman.”

Fathers and husbands have vivid opinion of the phrase and know well that most of their down falls and weaknesses are uplifted by their wives.

When I talk about PNG women, the immediate conclusion to my mind is that they are the mothers of PNG.

Some women, or should say mothers have done tremendous work in making sure their husband fulfill the responsibilities bestowed upon them by the government of PNG, specifically the tax payers like you.

One such mother and wife is Madam Elizabeth Momis, wife of PNG’s ambassador to China, His Excellency Ambassador John Momis.

I first met her on Friday June 5, 2009 at China World Hotel in Beijing during the 2009 Charity Gala of the Commonwealth Society in China.

Madam Momis is the current President of the Society. She was voted in September 2008 and her term expires September 2009.

The Commonwealth Society in Beijing was founded in 1993 by a group of ambassadors’ spouses from Commonwealth Member Countries represented in Beijing.

It is a non-profit organization run by diplomats and female spouses from Commonwealth member states who voluntarily offer their assistance to organize and implement different activities during the year.

The main aim of the Society is to raise funds for donation to Chinese charities where the major fund raising function is the Annual Charity Gala.

I was invited by the Ramu NiCo (MCC) Management Ltd to attend the gala with them as Ramu NiCo was one of the major sponsors.

When I saw Madam Momis, she reminded me of any other humble PNG mothers. She is down to earth and the first word she spoke was, “son, how are you?”

A mother says son and for most of the PNG students studying in China have seen Madam as a mother in Beijing, far from rest of our mothers back in PNG.

As the President of Commonwealth Society in China, Madam Momis has huge task in organizing events aimed at enhancing the less fortunate lives.

In an e-mail, she mentioned that she organizes two meetings, one for the executives and other for all members. She also organizes excursions, and social activities and Charity Gala which is one of the most important events of the year for raising funds.

Madam Momis’s contribution and experiences is not only in China or PNG but she has engaged in other activities overseas.

She participated at international conferences and seminars especially in Bangkok, twice in Thailand on women issues. At the Australian National University, she gave a seminar paper on “Indigenization of the Catholic Church in Bougainville” including other occasions, both in PNG and abroad.

Those who have been through St Mary’s Provincial High School in Bougainville between 1983 and 1989 would recall her leadership when she was the principal for seven years.

And when ambassador Momis was the Governor, Madam Momis, as the wife supported him through various women’s activities and networking women organization in Bougainville and PNG.

She is a real professional woman as well as mother and encourages other women from behind the scene in various activities, including writing articles about women and Bougainville women’s’ role during the Bougainville Crises.

In an e-mail, I asked her to briefly explain her experience. “Very innovative and creative in approach to life and work. An accomplished administrator and sees job through,” madam replied.

She graduated from UPNG in 1980 in absentia but she is adamant that education still continues. She now studies towards her Masters in Development Studies, apart from all her busy schedules as the wife of PNG ambassador.

Her thesis paper is on, “Youths in Bougainville – Youth Development and Empowerment.” The findings of her thesis will be of tremendous help towards policy formulations to see not only Bougainville but PNG as a country.
Given her vast experiences and exposure, I also asked the best advice she could offer to PNG women? “Let us go forward in harmony, to promote women statutes, development and women empowerment.”

On that Friday evening, Madam Momis stood tall before the hall filled with foreign ambassadors with their spouses.
Also in the crowd were sponsors and individuals who are always around to help the less fortunate.

As the President of the Commonwealth Society, she delivered her speech. Tthe essence of the speech can also guide PNG towards helping the less fortunate.

“Excellencies, other distinguished guests, sponsors, ladies and gentlemen,” she continues.
“This evening, as President of the Commonwealth Society in Beijing, I have great pleasure in welcoming you and in expressing our sincere thanks to all of you for your support and contribution towards the Commonwealth Annual Gala which is the society’s most important event of the year.

The main objective of the society is in fact the organization of events throughout the year for the purpose of charity.

The events also serve as a focal point for our members. It gives them a feeling of belonging and a mission when they are so far away from home.

It enables them to make contact and friends with people from countries which have some common values despite their different cultures.

We have many friends from the Commonwealth but we also have with us many friends from other countries who may not know what the Commonwealth really is and therefore I would take this opportunity to say a few words about it.

The Commonwealth” comprises 53 independent states working together in the common interests of their citizens for development, democracy and peace.

It includes nations from the 5 corners of the globe from Asia to the Americas, Europe, Africa and South Pacific.
Nations as diverse as Malaysia, South Africa, Guyana, India and Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea and so forth. And in this diversity lies a great strength and potential.

The fundamental political values of the Commonwealth include democracy and good governance, respect for human rights and gender equality, the rule of law and sustainable economic and social development."

As we gather here in the China World Hotel Grand Ballroom to enjoy the good food and drinks and the company of one another – it behooves us to remember those who do not have access to the things that we have in life.

As man pursues his legitimate aspiration of human fulfillment, he cannot ignore his responsibility towards others, especially those who are less fortunate and those who have least access to power.

There is something deep down in us that beckon us to rise above our own personal needs and commit ourselves to uphold and promote the good of others.

Your presence and contribution here tonight demonstrates your response to that call and commitment to the principle of equitable distribution of power and benefits.

This international event, whilst it provides an opportunity for us to enjoy the good food, music and company of each other, challenges each and everyone of us to give from our hearts to make a difference in the lives of those who have been marginalized.

According to all major Religions of the World as far as I know, our responsibility to promote our own good must be matched by our responsibility towards the good of others.

In other words, the one is not exclusive of the other. Each and every one of us is called to uphold the common good of all – including the less fortunate.

In 2008, all proceeds went to the earthquake victims in the Sichuan Province in China which was devastated by the earthquake.

This year we will give the proceeds to three needy charities, Children Hope International (CHI) Foster Home, Bethel Foster Home for Blind Children. And “Adopted” the Shi Ba Jia (18 Homes) Village, all in China.

I am encouraged as a person from a third world nation finding myself in the midst of a multi-national and multi-cultural group of men and women bonded by a common spirit of sharing to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate.

Our Society will give a special recognition to Ms Pauline Gordon of Jamaica in absentia for her remarkable spirit of support and diligence as the former Treasurer of the Society.

As the President I would like to express my personal profound appreciation to the Executive and Committee members of the Commonwealth Society for their hard work and perseverance to make this event a great success.

Finally our sincere thanks go out to all of you, including those who could not be here tonight, for your tremendous contribution,” she ends.

Madam Momis’s message was simple with depth. Give to the less fortunate and make this world a better place for us all.

Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Limited, the company managing the Ramu NiCo Project in Madang is one of the major sponsors in this Charity Gala with RMB 8000 (K3, 115.) and 400 hand bags.

Madam Elizabeth Momis thanked the sponsors, including Ramu NiCo for giving to the community of underprivileged.
Last year, a total of RMB 170,000 (K66, 201.80) was raised and all proceeds were donated to the earthquake victims in the Sichuan Province in China. Ramu NiCo also sponsored this fundraising.

Note: “Letter from China” is a new column written by PNG students and staff in China. Articles reflect on their daily encounters and experiences. For inquiry and comments, email Mathew Yakai on or call: 15116988560

Sunday, June 14, 2009

“Letter from China” by PNG students

Note: This is the first article for a new column on Sunday Chronicle, "Letter from China". This column will cover PNG students life experience in China. I am writing the article below by way of introduction but future articles will be covered by the students, while I embark on my current "Asia Pacific Perspective: China +" column. I hope that the new column will enrich Papua New Guineans about the new China today. I would like to hear your comments and suggestions. Send them to

By Mathew Yakai in Beijing

Ni hao (hello) and greetings from Beijing. I am typing this letter from the 25th floor of Global Trade Center (GTC) in the Capital Beijing, China. This is a 28 story building.

It is summer and the temperature is around 30 in Beijing, extremely hot for me because my previous city, Changchun, which is not far from Russia was cold since I arrived there in September 2007. For me, at least Beijing is hot. Probably, I will get use to it after a week.

I left Changchun, the capital of Jilin province on Friday 5, 2009 for Beijing for an internship with Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Limited, the company managing the Ramu Nickel-Cobalt Project in Ramu, Madang Province.

Hang on! Let me introduce Letter from China to you first. This is a personal initiative I have taken and discussed my idea with Sunday Chronicle management if such can be introduced.

The good publisher and Managing Director, Wesley Raminai accepted my idea that this column is a need for PNG readers.

I discussed that this column will cover articles, commentaries, letters and personal experiences and encounters by PNG students studying in Great China.

For those who have not been to China can not imagine how the people, the cities, the history, food and village lives are like in this vast land of 5000 years history

The recent anti-Asian sentiment in PNG in May 11 provoked my thought to open this column so that personal experiences of PNG students in China can be shared with the vast population to build common understanding.

Those keen readers of this paper will know that I have the column, “Asia Pacific Perspective: China +” which looks at how PNG can learn from China’s experience in this century. You are assured that my commentary is maintained.

I discussed with Wesley for this column and am thankful that Wesley and his management team have considered my proposal.

The ambition of this column, and any other columns on this paper are directly in line with Sunday Chronicle’s aim at encouraging developmental journalism. Chronicle is taking a major step in educating the people and the government in terms of information for the country’s development.

Negative news stories are not the priority of this newspaper, a new trend in PNGs’ media industry.

So from next week on, you will see different bylines from PNG students here in China. Most are going through some interesting experiences that they will share with you.

By way of introduction, I decided to start off with my brief experience in Beijing. As said earlier, I left Changchun, my host city for almost 20 months for Beijing on Friday 5.

D24 is my train from Changchun to Beijing which cost me 244 Yuan (K95.80) for a six hours trip. This is the fastest train in China one can take. The normal train would take 10 to 12 hours and believe me, this is back aching because if you only take a seat and not a bed, you will stress out.

I left at 7:13am and arrived in Beijing at 1:30pm. At the Beijing train station, Nick (Zuo Jianglong) who works with Ramu NiCo office in Beijing was waiting for me. Nick told me that he just returned from Madang visiting the Ramu Project.

We took a cab straight to Beijing Jian Ke Hotel where I produced my passport and checked in. If you are in China, it is important you have your passport where ever you go. There is nothing fussy about this but it’s to assist you incase you need help.

My hotel room is on the ground floor with two beds, a TV set, room telephone, hot and cold shower, jug, cloth drawer and daily room services. This is good enough.

The hotel is about ten minutes walk to the office, Beijing Global Trade Centre (GTC) where I typed this commentary. It is located at an ideal place, surrounded by several restaurants and shops within walking distance.

Those who have been to Beijing would know that GTC is located at Third Ring Road East in Dongchen District. The 25th floor is where Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Limited office is located.

GTC is located to the south of the Olympic Games area, and it is only 3.2 km from the main venue for the 2008 Summer Olympics, 1.5 km from the Andingmen Bridge station of the subway line 2, 600 meters from the Hepingxi Bridge station of the subway line 5, and only minutes away from the Guangximen station of subway line 13.

From the office, I look across and see the Water Cube and Birds Nest, the two iconic buildings of 2008 Summer Olympic which is now attracting thousands of domestic and overseas tourists daily.

GTC is surrounded by more than 30 bus routes. The nearest bus station, Anzhenqiaodong is just on the right hand side of my desk. So you can imagine how convenient it is in Beijing.

I started my internship on Monday June 8. Being the only Papua New Guinean working amongst the Chinese staff is very challenging but exciting. By the way, I lived in China for more then a year and I am used to Chinese manners now.

Even I am not familiar with them, I found the Chinese people some of the helpful people on earth apart from my previous encounters with Japanese, Koreans, Indonesians, Americans, Australians, New Zealanders etc.

Liu Cheng known as Shirley handed me a card that will serve me for the rest of my internship. I will use this card to clock in and out, to open the electric glass door, for the lift, and importantly the meals for three a day.

A sum of 500 RMB (K196.30) was installed in the card. So I can use the card to pay for the meals at Tower A, Tower B or Tower C/D. The meals and accommodation, even my transport from Changchun to Beijing was paid for by Ramu NiCo.

Nick, who is an active young man with the Corporate Section of Ramu NiCo Office suggested on Monday 8 that Tower C/D which house the Golden Tripod Atpic serves delicious meals at cheap price.

Every lunch we would go there with two other beautiful young ladies Alice (Li Shuang) and Magret (Zhao Miao). Alice, Magret and Nick work under the Corporate Office which I am attached to.

So every lunch, we would go there. I am also frequenting the same restaurant for breakfast and dinner because the food is fresh and yummy.

On Monday 8 we were having lunch when Nick was talking about bettlenut in PNG. He was in Madang so he knew what he was saying. I frankly told him that it is one of the traditional nuts that is chewed by people of various ages.

Nick was surprised that a young boy at the age of 10 or 11 can chew. Nick was also surprised that men in PNG walk around with bush knife. He may have seen that in Ramu.

He was adamant that it was part of PNG culture but I had to explain that our ancestors never produced bush knife and what they carry around was introduced by the westerners.

He jokingly said that he wanted to buy one and bring to China. He even said that he asked a police mobile guarding the mine to hand over his rifle so he could play with it like a toy.

Nick is a person to talk with especially when you are tired after work, or when you want to have a good lunch with jokes.

Alice and Magret are two beautiful and well educated Chinese girls. Magret, Nick and Alice are all the brains behind the publicity work of the Ramu NiCo.

They produce the Ramu Nickel Updater, the Company’s newsletter and also manage the website which updates the interested readers and stakeholders the latest on Ramu Project.

They speak very good English. If you see a copy of the Updater then it will depict their level of English. I am amazed!

On Tuesday 9, Nick came to me with the sample copy of the Updater Volume 7 and found most of the articles very interesting. Especially the article on Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare’s visit to Beijing and Ramu NiCo Office. Sir Michael made his commitment towards the Ramu Project.

All of them have been very helpful during my first week internship. They made me feel at home amongst the whole Chinese staff. Well, I can confidently say that it has always been part of Chinese culture where they are around to help.

Never thought that one day I would do my internship on the 25th floor of Beijing Global Trade Center in Beijing.

After the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in USA, Beijing Global Trade Center can rightfully take its stand today. When I look down from the 25th floor, human beings and vehicles on the ground are like ants.

When I look across, I can see the iconic Water Cube and Birds Nest vividly. When I look up, the sky is unlimited.

As long as there is no limitation, GTC can grow as tall as she can. My mind is boggling and am amazed of the things going on here right now, even while typing this commentary.

But despite all these economic booms or glooms, I find out that Alice, Nick and Magret are very helpful in my daily work.

Despite their colors and ethnicity, I realize, and they do too, that we are all human being. We are born under the same sun, the rain nourished us, and the dusk shelters us.

We realize that as long as we live today and work on the 25th floor of GTC, we must be happy as human beings despite our ethnicity and nationality.

Note: Starting next week, PNG students in China will write about their experiences. For comments or inquiries, email or phone 15116988560

The old and new Chinese to the Pacific – Part 2

By Mathew Yakai in China

WORLD WAR TWO and the consequent Japanese military administration in this region had a serious impact on Chinese society in New Guinea.

In 1942, Japanese military forces attacked New Guinea and occupied parts of it.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Australian government evacuated their women and children from New Guinea.

However, Chinese women and children were not included as they were “regarded as being in the same category as locals”.

Under the Japanese military administration, the Chinese in New Guinea provided forced labor for the Japanese army and resided in concentration camps.

During the war, most of the Chinese in New Guinea were not protected by the Australian colonial administration because of their nationality.

After the war, New Guinea was returned to Australian rule by which time the
Chinese community was transformed.

First, Chinese in New Guinea ceased to have contact with China. Prior to the outbreak of war, Chinese had kept contact in many ways with Hong Kong and mainland China, especially Canton.

Many Chinese used to send their children to China for their education. This is because in New Guinea, Chinese students attended primary schools operated by missionary organizations which provided only basic education; one needed to go abroad for higher education.

Those China-educated students brought back to New Guinea what is known as “Chinese culture,” which included Chinese language, poem, calligraphy, martial art, traditional beliefs and religions etc.

Those returned students used to play an important role in maintaining Chinese ethnic identity among the Chinese communities in New Guinea.

This contact with China weakened dramatically after the onset of war which made it impossible for Chinese in New Guinea to contact their relatives in China.

The situation did not improve during the civil war between the Chinese Nationalists and the Chinese Communists which started almost immediately after World War II.

It was not until the Communists established the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 that Chinese in New Guinea could make contact with relatives in China again.

But it was not easy to visit or send their children to China. Australia did not establish diplomatic relations with PRC until 1971.

Some New Guinean Chinese continued to maintain contact with Chinese societies in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, but not China.

The second change, which was the result of the first, was that the relationship with Australia became strong.

After Japan surrendered in 1945, the Australian army stayed on in Rabaul. Some Chinese began to do business with the Australians.

Also, many Chinese started to send their children to Australia in the 1950s when the Australian government began subsidizing the education of New Guinean Chinese students in Australia.

The number of the Chinese students going to Australia for higher education gradually increased.

In the late 1950s, Australia began allowing Chinese to obtain Australian citizenship. After this, most of the Chinese in New Guinea acquired Australian citizenship and the number of those who spoke English increased.

As a result, Chinese society in New Guinea began to have a closer relationship with Australia.

This Australia-oriented tendency was accelerated by the independence of PNG in 1975.

As independence became imminent, Chinese in New Guinea had to decide whether to stay in PNG as foreigners, or to apply for PNG citizenship.

It also became clear that after independence, their business would be restricted in several respects, arising from the issue of the right of land-ownership and eligibility to obtain license for running stores.

The number of Chinese migrating to Australia began to increase even before PNG became independent.

During the colonial period, most of the Chinese had established their business as storekeepers or wholesalers and some were doing business in shipping, trading and running plantations.

Those Chinese who had finished their education came back to New Guinea to do their business.

But as the independence of PNG was getting close, some of them decided to stay on in Australia even after they had finished their education.

As such, the children remained in Australia, while their parents resided in PNG. As the business situation in PNG worsened with the weakening of the kina, and the rising crime rate in PNG, these Chinese children in Australia persuaded their aging parents to join them in Australia.

While considering that possibility, these members of the older generation invested in properties in Australia and prepared for migration.

They became Australia-oriented in making plans for their old age.

While Chinese migration to Australia has continued after PNG’s independence, there are other kinds of Chinese immigrants who come to contemporary PNG.

These Chinese new comers have increased in number since independence, especially in the 1980s.

They have also changed the character of Chinese society in PNG.

Both the arrival of the new immigrants and the consequent change in the PNG Chinese community has been influenced by the transnational Chinese migration in the Asia-Pacific region.

The contemporary transformation of the Chinese community in PNG should thus be examined in the global context of Chinese migration.

Unlike the old comers, the new comers are from diverse places of origin.

While the former came mainly from China, especially the Siyi area in Guangdong province, the New comers consist of ethnic Chinese from East and Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the territories of Hong Kong, Taiwan and PRC.

Even the mainland Chinese immigrants come not only from Guangdong but also various parts of China like Beijing, Shanghai, Fujian etc.

The diversity of the new comers has made the structure of the PNG Chinese population more complex.

The pattern of immigration has also changed. There are many ethnic Chinese employees of East and Southeast Asian companies operating in PNG.

The old comers’ immigration to New Guinea was characterized by chain migration based on kinship and locality.

During the colonial period most of the old comers were single male laborers. After establishing their livelihood, they brought their families or other villagers to New Guinea.

The family was the main economic unit in that period. On the other hand, many new comers arrive in PNG as company workers and after their contracts run out, they may return home or stay and start their business in PNG.

These New comers’ migration movements are affected more by the transnational activities of the companies than kinship and locality.

For a consideration of the feature of the New arrivals, this commentary examines the migration of Malaysian Chinese in this area.

About 80 percent of PNG is covered in rain forest, and forestry is one of the country’s main industries, it is the prime destination for Malaysian timber companies.

Other foreign companies from Japan, South Korea and Australia are also engaged in logging and sawing in PNG, but Malaysian companies have played a crucial role.

One of the Malaysian logging companies, Rimbunan Hijau, is estimated to be in control of over 60 percent of PNG’s log export in the 1990s.

The arrival of Malaysian timber companies in PNG has boosted the immigration of Malaysian Chinese in this country.

Most of the Malaysian Chinese workers in the timber industries were already engaged in logging in Malaysia and most of the Malaysian companies are owned by ethnic Chinese.

Other Malaysian companies, besides the timber companies, have also brought Chinese workers to PNG, such as those in the print media industry.

National is a daily newspaper which has been published since 1993; its owner is the same as that of Rimbunan Hijau.

The National newspaper in PNG is obvious that Malaysian capital has significant influence in the print media according to David Robie, former journalism lecturer at the University of Papua New Guinea.

As the number of Malaysian companies in PNG increases, the Malaysian Business Council was established in 1992 by about 500 Malaysian companies in Port Moresby.

Maybank, one of the Malaysian banks, also has a branch in Port Moresby to cater to the financial demands of Malaysian companies operating in PNG.

Just like the Malaysian timber companies, they bring Chinese workers who make up the biggest component of the Malaysian Chinese community in PNG.

Because these Malaysian Chinese have arrived in PNG recently, they have different characteristics from other Chinese in PNG, especially the local born Chinese.

One of the Malaysian Chinese characteristics is in relation to where they live. The local born Chinese have mainly lived in cities, towns or plantations since the colonial period, mostly in Rabaul and Kavieng.

Malaysian Chinese, on the other hand, live not only in cities and towns, but also in remote areas such as the rainforest.

Whereas the old comers have not resided in some provinces, such as Western and Sandaun, there are Malaysian Chinese who live and engage in logging or other businesses there.

Note: Part three of this series will continue the following Sunday. E-mail the writer on or call 15116988560 for queries. This column acknowledges Tetsu Ichikawa for his contribution.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

PNG: Use Chinese expertise to grow rice

By Mathew Yakai in China

PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare’s trip to the Philippines that resulted in an agreement to engage a Philippine technical team to carry out feasibility studies on rice growing in PNG has received overwhelming objection.

Media reports the majority objection given that the scientific research on rice done in PNG is sufficient and the government should further fund the existing institution.

There are some questions need to be answered by the Prime Minister to clarify his latest move, undermining the Taiwanese expertise, Chinese expertise and Japanese expertise in growing rice

These expertises have once and for all rubbished Canberra’s rhetoric that PNG is unsuitable for growing rice.

Mr. Prime Minister, what are your bases for resorting to the Philippines for their expertise? What is lacking with the already foreign expertise that you try to acquire?

Why don’t you, Mr. Prime Minister, assign the K5 million towards the already existing rice research and growing projects in the country.

These questions are asked on the bases that the government has been and is always lacking wisdom when it comes to hiring the so called foreign expertise on a very luxury package when it suppose to make use of the already existing projects and find ways to improve.

There is no doubt that rice is already grown in PNG. Some families are slowly substituting the crop as their staple food. This is an improvement in PNG that must be utilized by the government if this country has to move forward.

Somare-Temu government is a boastful and hypocritical government of the day. On one hand, this government boasts that she realizes the importance of agriculture like what the Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Michael Ogio said at the National Agricultural Research Institute’s innovation show and 12th Anniversary at Bubia in Lae, Morobe Province earlier this year.

Ogio states that the Somare-Temu government recognizes that agriculture is the only sector with a huge potential in improving economic growth.

But looking at rice, as the focus of this commentary, millions of Kina had been spent overseas to import rice when local farmers who are already growing rice can be assisted by the government.

Apele Goso in Nagamiufa village, near Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province is growing rice with his local people, but he needs a bigger mill to accommodate the growing production. Isn’t this good news for PNG?

Apele who received accolades from Jun Cao Technology of the Fujian Agriculture University of China for his high-quality rice production, says the K5 million could be better spent in helping existing rice growers who, at the moment, are struggling due to the lack of Government support.

This commentary agrees with Apele and adds that Somare-Temu government must support Apele and his villagers.

We have heard in the 50’s and 70’s that water-buffalo’s were ploughing the muddy terraces to plant rice.

But thanks to scientific break-through where the Chinese introduced Golden Mountain rice in Eastern Highlands, and smallholder farmers are cultivating and eating it.

There are many stories to tell when it comes to growing rice but this commentary would like to give an example of what is now done by Ramu NiCo Project in Madang.

Ramu NiCo Project is not only in the country to invest in the multi billion dollar nickel-cobalt project but also dispatching its scientists to teach people how to grow rice.

This commentary is not sure whether the action by Ramu NiCo is part of an agreement in the mining venture. If it is not then PNG should applaud this Chinese owned company.

They are bringing a huge change to the lives of the people living close to the mine site and PNG as a whole by contributing a huge potential in food security.

According to Ramu NiCo 2006 to 2008 Sustainability Report, Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Ltd is working with the Tropical Crops Genetic Resources Institute of the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agriculture Science in Hainan Province, China.

A team of six Community Affairs officers interviewed local farmers, local officials and other experts and identified rice as an untapped crop suitable for local farmers.

Thus, in 2006, Ramu NiCo helped established three model rice farms and expanded to 12 in 2007 through the provision of training and free seeds.

Rice farming requires limited financial investment and manpower, according to Ramu NiCo Report, and as such, rice was identified as a possible means by which local farmers could earn a sustainable income while reducing the need for expensive imported rice.

Ramu NiCo helped offset the initial cost and purchased a rice milling machine for farmers in Kurumbukari. Finally processed rice is sold to the Ramu NiCo catering service or the local market.

Ramu NiCo supports agriculture development in the Project area through research, technical support, and financial assistance to farmers and by providing access to new markets.

Its’ rice program is an excellent example to illustrate. So isn’t it a good idea for Somare-Temu government to tap into this arrangement between Ramu NiCo and Tropical Agricultural Research Institute in Hainan, China, rather then spending the K5 million to a new engagement from the Philippines.

China has a population of 1.3 billion, the highest in the world and if she can be able to sustain her huge population through food security then the scientific innovation in terms of agriculture from china should be embraced.

China lived through 5000 years, gone through it, and now they are telling PNG for the mere 5.6 million people. This is unlike Australia, Britain and United States, who ruled and left without leaving anything behind.

If you love rice and know something about Chinese rice then the name, Yuan Longping would ring a bell. He is the father of “hybrid rice” in China, now comfortably feeds the 1.3 billion people.

“I saw rice plants as tall as Chinese sorghum,” said Yuan of a dream he once had, “each ears of rice as big as a broom and each grain of rice as huge as a peanut.”

“I could hide in the shadow of the rice crops with a friend.” Yuan was awarded a RMB 5 million State Supreme Science and Technology Prize for his high yield hybrid rice species. The award is viewed as “Chinese Nobel Prize”.

He came up with an idea for hybridizing rice in the 1960s, when a series of natural disasters and inappropriate policies had plunged China into an unprecedented famine that caused many deaths.

Since then, he has devoted himself to the research and development of a better rice breed.

In 1964, he happened to find a natural hybrid rice plant that had obvious advantages over others. Greatly encouraged, he began to study the elements of this particular type.

In 1973, in cooperation with others, he was able to cultivate a type of hybrid rice species which had great advantages. It yielded 20 percent more per unit than that of common ones.

His research made a breakthrough in seeding. He successfully developed a set of technologies for producing indica (long-grained non-glutinous) rice, putting China in the lead worldwide in rice production.

For this achievement, he was dubbed the “Father of Hybrid Rice.”

In 1979, his technique for hybrid rice was introduced into the United States, the first case of intellectual property rights transfer in the history of new China

At present, as much as 50 percent of China’s total rice fields grow Yuan Longping’s hybrid rice species, yield 60 percent of the rice production in China.

Due to Yuan’s hard work, China’s total rice output rose from 5.69 billion tons in 1950 to 19.47 billion tons in 2007. The annual yield is enough to feed 60 million people.

The “Super Rice” Yuan is now working on yields are 30 percent higher than those of common rice. A record yield of 17, 055 kilograms per hectare was registered in Yongsheng County in Yunnan Province in 1999.

The debates among scientists about whether quality or quantity should take priority are frequently heard.

In the under-developed world, the output increase is no doubt the primary concern, while people in developed countries prefer high-quality rice.

Yuan had been asked to switch his major concern from increasing output to improving quality and taste, a task easier to accomplish for him.

But Yuan was unswayed. He firmly believed, in developing countries, the output increase outweighs the urgency for a better taste, and that his foremost task was to increase the grain reserve in developing countries.

"First we must have enough food, then comes eating well," he said. What's more, he explained, high yield does not necessarily mean a low quality.

In the past, when the Chinese people were not sufficiently dressed and fed, they looked on high output as their only goal. So they used fertilizers and farm chemicals without limit. This surely led to quality degrading.

At present, China has established nine indicators to evaluate the quality of rice, some of which are positively correlated with the output, while others are not.

Last year, China planted over 3 million mu of hybrid rice, with an average yield of 650 kilograms per unit. The highest unit output has reached 1,139 kilograms.

Due to improvement in quality, six indicators of the rice have met the First-grade level, and the other three the Second-grade. Some people, after trying this rice, said, "It is tastier than the rice from Thailand."

With the help of Chinese scientists, the acreage of hybrid rice in Viet Nam and India increased to 200,000 hectares and 150,000 hectares respectively in 1999.

Sir Somare’s first state visit to China in 1976 was to establish bilateral relationship with Beijing and also tap into China’s agricultural know-how.

Before hanging his sulu and sandal in politics, Somare should bring in Yuan’s “hybrid rice” and ignore the Philippines.

China is ready to offer, not running shops and kai bars, but, scientific knowledge. Up to you now, Somare!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Zai Jian Tongxue Men

Time to leave school now and move onto the new pace of life. I met many international students, almost from all over the world in the International Relations program I was majoring at Jilin University, People's Republic of China (PRC). We lived in the same hotel, eat together, attended classes together, party together and the most interesting but frustrating thing was that we all struggled to survive with our poor Chinese language.

But time has come for us to leave each other. Though graduation will be in June 30, 2009 and we all should depart July 31st, 2009, I decided to leave early, June 8, 2009 for Beijing and home bound (PNG). It was so difficult to meet all of them and hugg them so I decided to write this short piece and thank them for their time and knowing them. I would like to share the email I wrote for them with you. Happy reading and please leave your comments.

zai jian tongxue men (Bye Class Mates)

If there is any better moment to say “bye’ this is the moment. If there is any moment to say “sorry”, this is the moment.

Tick, tick, tick, tick, the clock kept ticking away, as we all invested our time in our future endurance. We have partly accomplished and we might not see each other again tomorrow.

Yes, we arrived yesterday from shores away and far apart. And we met in this land of thousand year’s history. For some, it was a surprise, for others, it was mysterious, for the rest, it was amusing, but for me, it is still a dream. My dream is still lingering in my mind.

We came yesterday, lived together, and will depart tomorrow and live apart. We will go to our own respective shores, may be never to see each other again if there will be a dark cloud above to cover the sunshine we long to see.

I hate to hear that we all will go on our different journey, to our mother land…in the Africa, South America, Asia and the Pacific.

But in ones life, and in time immemorial, there is always a journey in life. And that’s what we face today and the journey continues.

I would like to share my thoughts to you through Robert Kennedy’s speech of June 7, 1966 in Cape Town, South Africa.

In a speech that skillfully placed the South African struggle for freedom in the context of the worldwide campaign to break down the barriers of nationality, race and class, Kennedy expressed his fundamental philosophy. He spoke not only to the students of South Africa at the time but to the youths of the world.

When I though of you all, I feel in my heart that Kennedy also speaks to us now.

“Each time when a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.”

Kennedy spoke in 1966. Since then, the “ripples of hope” that have been created may not be obvious today as we face many struggles.

And this is our turn, as students who will depart soon to play our little but yet genuine roles to bring hope and smiles to those who are around us. And we shall together send forth the “ripple of hope” today.

I am sure, we don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night in misery. Nor our children to cry in the midnight due to terror and fear. So together, we can create a world where we can all smile and be happy.

Well, life path is not always easy. There are ups and downs. I personally went through that while being in Jilin. I have been down in the deepest of life but God still raises me.

Some of you may have felt the same.

Former U.S. President Richard Nixon’s speech always gives me encouragement when I am down with life.

In his 9 August 1974 speech when he voluntarily resigned before he was impeached due to Water Gate Scandal, he stood tall and proclaimed that life is not meant to be perfect but at the end of the tunnel, there is always a light.

“It is only a beginning, always. The young must know it; the old must know it. It must always sustain us, because the greatness comes not when things go always good for you, but the greatness comes and you are really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes, because only if you have been down in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.”

If we have been down in the deepest valley in our life in all manners, I believe that we will one day reach that highest mountain and appreciate how wonderful it was to experience those sad moments.

For those I have hurt in any manners, intentionally or unintentionally, I fervently pray before my God’s throne to ask you to forgive me. From within my heart, I say SORRY!

For those who have been beside me, during those days when I was into problems, trials, tribulations, I pray to my God that He shall shower you with blessings everlasting. From my heart, I say THANKYOU.

For those who are my best of all friends I have made here, it is sad I will leave you soon. That is life and it’s inevitable. I don’t know the best word to say here, but sadly, I will miss you. Let’s meet in Heaven tomorrow.

For the new students who will be left behind, I wish you a happy study, good health and enjoy Changchun as much as you can because when that time comes for you to leave, you will miss Changchun like me now.

Thank you one and all for being such a good friend. I thank God for knowing you!

Mathew Yakai
Papua New Guinea
Graduate – Summer 2009

Monday, June 01, 2009

I Love China so as PNG

This poem was sent to The National for publication. Your comments are welcome.

I love China so as PNG

By Mathew Yakai

I hate to hear that you have been attacked
Looking at you from your home land China, my heart melts with pain
Your brothers and sisters here in China love me so much
They tell me everything and do everything for me
They feed me, they shelter me
When I am sick, they take care of me
In the streets, the little toddler wants to touch my skin and hair
The old says “ni hao” (hello) with a smile
The young lady says “wo ai ni” (I love you)
I want to melt into her eyes
Not because she loves me but instead my country
Happiness is coming to me everyday
I make a wish to the moon that you live peacefully in my country
Tell me this is not a dream
My eyes are filled with tears but want to change to joy tomorrow
I love my homeland PNG
So do I love my host country, China
Let’s live side by side
And make PNG and China a better place in our hearts.