Wednesday, 29 March 2006

notes on anniversaries

1996 was the year of law enforcement in PNG, I learnt today. PNG’s third state of emergency relating to criminal behaviour occurred that year also; a national curfew was enforced. All over the country, people had to remain in their homes between 7pm and 4am. It seems laughable, thinking of the many many isolated rural and coastal communities. How serious was this? (Thanks Skate.) I imagine they just meant towns. I’m not sure if it was due to nation-wide problems, or Pt Moresby’s own issues. Anyway, it didn’t help. Many people suspected that criminals would lie low, and strike doubly hard when the curfew was over. Some raskols found it entertaining to run from one area to another at night, without being picked up by the police.

But – more to the point – criminals weren’t worried, for a very obvious reason: they operated within daylight hours! A surprisingly little amount of crime happens at night here, both in 1996 and today in 2006. The most dangerous time for a woman in a 24 hour period is shortly before dawn until perhaps 7.30am (few people are out in public at this time, so great chance of getting raped). The most dangerous time for a business occurs shortly before (when the tills are full) or during the shifting of cash to the bank – which must of course happen during business hours.

Tribal fights, too, continue to obey traditional time rules: start at around 8am, finish at about 4pm. This allows people time to arrive at the scene of the fight, and to leave and go home before it gets too dark, and when they are tired and not fighting well anyway. Tribal fights will also dwindle and effectively be cancelled when it rains heavily.


yo and i have been here for several months over a year and my second bday in png is approaching and friends had better be around for it or else (forget brisbane, ok). And yesterday i had to tell the person i love most in png that i am leaving early. And i came home afterwards and, well, i cried. What is this, getting sentimental? Only one year, but I must have been here too long. Mates will recall my anti-sentimental stance over great events like princess di's death and stupid movies. Yet i'm just such a weakling now that if i tried to argue I simply couldn't hold a serious position. i am turning sentimental! i blame png; i just wasn't like this before. People here - especially men - cry easily and openly. And ... it's important, important to show your feelings (sometimes you get into trouble if you don't; imagine); it makes sense here.

when i get back, of course, i'm going to be just as tuff as i used to be. don't get the wrong idea.

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