” Sharing Cancer Australia’s Lots to live for video on social media will start a conversation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about breast cancer and how early detection can save lives. If you are an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, it is vitally important you know the normal look and feel of […]
By Gethrude Bakaie
The Bush Kanaka Speaks by Kumalau Tawali was first published in his collection of poems, Signs in the Sky in 1970. The poem expresses the cultural differences and questions the assumptions of Europeans on the natives. The Europeans were forcing their culture on to the natives however; the natives were trying to recognize the possibilities of revising the history that had misrepresented them during the colonial times.
Historically, “Kanaka” is the term used to refer to indigenous people of Papua New Guinea who used to work in plantations as cheap labours. With the name, “Kanaka” in the modern day, it is regarded as an offensive word since it brings back the memories of the past when the natives were seen as inferior to the colonizers. “Kiaps” were formally known as traveling representatives of the British and Australian government with wide ranging authority in pre-independence Papua New Guinea. When used today it reflects the aggressive Europeans who colonized Papua New Guinea.With the definition of the two terms it shows that the natives were regarded as inferior and the Europeans as superior.
During the colonial era many people resented the administrative officials. The natives could not understand the motives of the administration and so distrusted the officials. Despite what the natives’ think of their colonial masters it was the colonizers’ job to influence their colony with their culture. As two cultures were competing, Tawali made fun of the Kiaps as he exaggerates their frustration in contesting with the natives way of life.
It is evident that the Europeans were classifying themselves as more superior and the natives as primitives and uncivilized. “The Kiap shouts at us, forcing the veins to stand out in his neck, nearly forcing the excreta out of his bottom,” is a quote that is used repeatedly within the literature to show emphasis on the kind of superior attitude coming from the Europeans within the social aspects. The voice in the poem is trying to argue that the natives have their own ways of being, however; he or she does not have high opinions of his or her people since they were still working under the control of the Kiaps. Indeed the colonizers were also having a hard time trying to influence the natives. It caused the Kiaps great stress which, “forces excreta out of their bottoms.”
The Europeans saw the natives as lazy and incompetent. As stated in the second stanza of the poem, lines one, two and three, “he says: you are ignorant but can he shape a canoe, tie a mast, and fix an outrigger?” The voice in the poem tries to point out the Kiap’s misunderstanding of the Kanakas’ way of life and also display their ignorance.
In terms of culture, there was nothing common between the natives and the Europeans. The natives’ cultural practices and traditions were so out of context for the colonizers and wise versa. Tawali used the way the two groups live in order to show the cultural differences. “Has he enjoyed the sea breeze blowing through the window? And the cool shade under the pandanus thatch?” this quote shows the way the Kanakas lived. “Let him keep his iron rood, shining in the sun, cooking him inside, bleaching his skin white.” It is obvious that Europeans prefer to live in enclosed house. “He says we live in dirty houses.” It is evident that those who are colonized often adapt the colonizers’ way of being however, in this poem the way of the colonized have being ridiculed instead of being respected by the colonizers
Stanza three of the poem also reflected the attitudes coming from the natives. Since the Europeans cannot adapt to their way of life, they are not valuable and should go back to where they came from. The country was nearing independence at that time and so they want the Australian administrators to leave. They felt they were capable enough to look after themselves. Even though the natives want to be on their own, the colonizers thought the natives were still less intelligent. This is depicted in this line, “He says we live in dirty house.” It painted a bad picture on the lives of the natives as they were still living in the traditional way of life and cannot cope with the social changes.
The poem shows that the Europeans still doubted the natives in terms of granting them independence, since they were clung to their own way of live. “You’ll get sick eating that fly-ridden food. Haven’t I eaten such food all my life and I haven’t died yet? Maybe his stomach is tender like a child’s born yesterday? I’m sure he couldn’t eat our food without getting sick.” These quotes emphasis on the Europeans judgements on the type of food the natives eat even though the natives eat healthily in their own way of living. In other words, it clearly shows that the white people were concerned about how the natives would handle the political aspects of the country by underestimating them. Despite what the Europeans think about the natives, the Kanakas thought the Europeans were too weak.
When reading through the poem, I got the impression that the person speaking in the poem is struggling to tell the Europeans about his cultural identities and in an amusing way; however he does not have high opinions of himself. At the same time, the voice in the poem reflected the angry indigenous people who attempt to challenge the colonizers during the pre-independence Papua New Guinea. I also realized that the Europeans were forcing their culture onto the natives without respecting the natives’ cultural values and I think they are the ignorant ones.
To conclude, the poem reflected the changing social attitudes and the conflicts between the old and the new way of life in terms of physical, social, cultural and political context during the pre-independence Papua New Guinea.
A Pacific Reader-1. (2014).Retrieved October 27, 2014, from https://2014apacificreader1.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/response-to-kumalau-tawalis-the-bush-kanaka-speaks/
Powel. G. (1987). Through Melanesian Eyes: An anthology of Papua New Guinea writing, Melbourne.The Macmillan Company of Australia PTY LTD.
Waiko, D. J. (1993). A Short History of Papua New Guinea, Australia. Oxford University Press.
Life and its wonders.
BY GETHRUDE BAKAIE
Life has taught me to love as well as lust for things that I desire so much. It was like I cannot go without a day lusting for someone. This started when I attended DWU in the year 2015. My life was not so perfect when I was attending high school but it was different. I learn how to control my life back then and put it in to its position.
Coming into the university was an achievement but I don’t feel like an achievement at all. Sometimes I feel that I was in school because I have to pass the units or because I wanted to have fun being in school or just because my parents wanted me to be educated I had to be here. I never realize what I want to do as individual.
Most of the time I would hang out with my friends, but all we had to talk about was boy’s topics. This influenced me badly. I did not see a reason why boys have to be the topic of our discussion always but it was always the trend. I turn to growing into this topic in a faster rate where I would always want to talk about guys whenever I opened my mouth. We even talked about what we would do with them if we ever have the chance. This was just fairy tales in our heads. Those wild thoughts running in my brain were just UN-achievable illusions of the mind. I burn down most of my energy thinking about the negatives.
Other times, I would go online and looking at stuff that is not even associated to my learning. I would even go onto social networking sites just to get attention. My real life relationship seems less important than the online life. I got addicted to face book. I would even go to the extreme of stalking people’s wall. What was beyond that was talking dirty with boys. I started this and it became a habit which I find it pretty disturbing.
From there school work seem less important to me. It’s like I lost my passion towards my studies. All I did was trying to have fun outside of my study life in which it was the total opposite. My assignments would sit there until the last minute. This wasn’t me, I knew I had changed. I want to go back to my old ways but it seems so challenging for me. People tell me I was strong but are they looking at me from the inside out or just saying the words just to make an impression? I am still confused.
It is time now I look at my life differently. Not in the way the world sees me but how Christ sees me.
By Gethrude Bakaie Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea Bruce Davis has challenged Divine Word University graduates to use their skills and knowledge to build the future of their nation. “Education is one of the most important tools in any country’s development,” he said. He said with a good education PNG communities would come…
By Gethrude Bakaie
Being the perfect girl in front of everyone was every girl’s dream. But do we understand the true beauty of being the perfect girl that we always dream of?
I always believe that being perfect will make me the queen Bee but that was just another illusion in my head. Every time I try to perfect myself there are still these little cramps that find their way out from within me. I admit I could not control them. Those little sick cramps are the negativities that lie within me or are found around my surroundings. My thoughts are the main contributing factor that helps me to deal with the life’s Dos and Don’ts. My surroundings also played a very important part in shaping me. The way I see and interact with my surrounding environment is the most influential part of my life.
I would do things the way I want but it may not be acceptable to my surrounding environment. If fact I am not living my life but only following what is seen as the right way for the community. This is in reality not living your life. You are just following what has already been set. As days unfold continuously and you are following the same routine. Being afraid to do the things you wanted to do because you are scared. Having confidence in yourself and never quit is the fundamentals to achieving your dreams and making the most of your everyday life here on earth. Rules are made to guide you but they can also be broken. Mistakes help us to look beyond ourselves and starting improving on areas that we do wrong and becoming a better person.
Most people want to be in the spot light. They want to be in the center of the attention. They want the world to revolve around them. Those people are attention seekers who cannot get enough of themselves. Never mind such people and never get too close to them they will use you for their own selfish gain. Try as much as possible not to get in their way. They are bad influence.
“Fundamentals are the building blocks of fun.” If you are too concern about what others might say about you then you cannot have the fun that you were supposed to because all your time will be spent on worrying about them and their stupid thoughts. Spread your wings and fly above your worries and the criticisms that come your way. The more you do that the less people will criticize you. Your actions will shine the light to those who are around you. You will not realize that you’re inspiring others indirectly. Being yourself help you to discover your true self. You will have all the time in the world to find your own happiness within your own little comfort space.
The only perfect girl in you will come out only when you stop comparing yourself with others and be yourself. Do the things that you like the most. Dress your best if you are a drama Queen. Live like it’s your last day on this planet. Make the most of every moment with every opportunity that comes your way. That is when you truly know that you are the perfect girl.
As the saying goes, “you are the shaper of your own destiny.”
Welcome to my blog- Gerthyspace.
This is my new personal blog. I post stories about myself and anything that I wrote some time ago…