Painim liklik mak bilong tokples long Crocodile Prize: (3) Ol PNG raita i kirap bek gen

Vernacular traces in the Crocodile Prize: (3) The PNG Writers Rise Again

An essay in five parts

BY MICHAEL DOM WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS BY ED BRUMBY

Taim 2014 Crocodile Prize Nesenol Litereri Kompetisen ikirap gen (em igo bek gen long han bilong Keith Jackson na Phil Fitzpatrick) ol raita i pinisim bikpela wokmak tru olsem na Entologi buk em igat 497 pages. Dispela page mak emi abrusim mak bilong 2012 Entologi inap long 122 pages na i luk olsem wanpela liklik buk igo antap moa.

Tasol long dispela taim inobin igat planti hanmak long Tok Pisin na Tokples. Tripela man tasol i raitim tok-singsing na tanim tok, em Jimmy Drekore, David Wapar na mi iet.

Luksave i bin stap long ‘Sonet 6: Long tulait bai tumi kalapim dispela banis kalabus’ olsem em i mas stap insait long 2014 Entologi (p144), we mi bin salim igo long kompetisen long 2013, na mi noken giaman mi iet i pilim bel gut. Tasol taim mi lukim hanmak bilong Jimmy Drekore long “Mina Ya, Mama Ya, Oh Mama” (p201) na David Wapar ‘Laif i sot tumas’ (p207) mi hamamas moa iet long dispela tupela tok-singsing.

Bush Poet Drekore em i tainim tokples Dinga long Tok Pisin na Tok Inglis, na tripela tok-singsing wantaim i kamap nais tumas long ai na long nek na long iau bilong mi. Olsem nambawan ves i tok;

Kua gal mei re / Bona au re / Mone mone di re / Unao. 
---
Karim bilum kaukau / Olim rop bilong pik / Isi isi / Yu kam. 
---
Carrying that load / Holding that rope / Slowly / Walking home. 

Taim yu lukluk long dispela tok-singsing long pepa em bai luk olsem wanpela liklik hanmak, tasol taim yu ridim bai yu luksave olsem emi trupela tok-piksa. Na tu taim nek bilong yu pairap long tokples na tokpisin na tokinglis bai yu harim na pilim tru swit bilong stori. Bai yu inap lukim stret wanpela mama i wokabaut igo wantaim bilum kaukau na pik i bihainim em.

Dispela piksa emi laip bilong ol mama blong ples long wanwan dei taim yumi ol man-meri long siti raun insait long bus, kaikai long Bik Roosta na bel kaskas olsem laip bilong yumi hat tumas.

Mi save tingim tu hatwok bilong mama bilong mi iet long Mosbi Siti. Ating Anutu pasim het bilong mi gut na mi inosave larim mama bilong mi mekim wanpela bikpela hevi wok abrusim mak, bilong wanem wok blong em olsem kaunselor emi kam wantaim planti wari na hevi bilong sindaun blong ol man-meri. Dispela wok long siti tu em i olsem wok gaden na bihain bai karim bilum kaukau igo long haus. Na ating mi wanpela liklik pik i bihainim em tasol.

Emi bin wanpela longpela wokabaut tasol Drekore iet itokaut long bel tingting bilong yu mama olsem;

Yal molo dinga ple / Yal molao.
--- 
Yu tok kamap man na / Nau mi kamap man. 
---
You wanted to see me a man / Now I am a man. 

Ating ol narapela lain tu i ken pilim dispela tok-singsing long bun bilong ol iet. Dispela tok-singsing em inogat mak bilong em long kalakala nating, em igat mak bilong em long pen bilong laip. Dispela ol kain sotpela tok-singsing igatim pawa bilong stori-tru isave kamap long olgeta tokples.

Nambatri tok-singsing ikamap long 2014 Entologi em bilong David Wapar, ‘Laif i sot tumas’, we em i bihainim hanmak bilong tok-singsing ikam long ol veses wankain olsem ol ‘choir’ (planti man meri wantaim) singsing. Taim em raitim ol veses David i mas mekim sampela rul bilong em iet long bihainim taim em kamapim dispela tok-singsing. Nambawan ves igatim fopela lain. Bihain ves igatim tripela lain we i mekim wankain nek tasol igo. Na tu igatim wankain nek pairap long pinis bilong ol wanwan ves-lain, olsem ‘flawa’ na ‘aua’. David i raitim tok-singsing olsem sampela kain ‘proverbs’ (tok-piksa igat bilip) bilong Buk Baibel.

Mi save ting laif i olsem flawa 
We i soim kala long moning aua 
Tumoro, taim win na san i kam nau
Bai yu lukim lip blong flawa pundaun 
Laif blong yu na mi mas stap amamas 
Laif, laif, laif i sot tumas 
Em bai orait sapos oltaim yumi amamas

Tok Inglis bilong en tu em ikamapim gutpela tok-singsing na bihainim wankain rul David ibin makim. Mi ting olsem dispela kain hanmak emi soim strong bilong Tok Pisin long traim narapela narapela kain tok-singsing na strongim nek bilong tokpisin iet insait long wok litiritia.

Tasol dispela tok-singsing em ibin nambatu hanwok bilong David Wapar long Tok Pisin. Nambawan hanwok bilong em ‘Long nait bai yumi bung’ igat narapela kain tokgris bilong en;

Long nait bai yumi bung
Taim papa silip tingting i lus,
Bai yumi bung aninit long mun
Krunkutim giraun long ol pinga
Isi tasol, nongut ol i kirap 
Yu kam hariap mi wet istap

Em wanpela hap wok bilong ol yangpela man-meri na stori bilong em long Tok Pisin emi kamap nais tumas na ating bai lusim sampela swit bilong em sapos yumi traim tanim Tok Inglis.

Long 2015 Entologi buk inogat wanpela hanmak bilong Tok Ples na Tok Pisin. Jimmy ‘Bush Poet’ Drekore ibin putim tupela tok-singsing na wanpela moa em i raitim wantaim Marie-Rose Sau (em ibin kirapim na save bosim Poetry PNG Facebook page). Fopela tok-singsing bilong mi istap insait long 2015 Entologi tasol olgeta stap long Tok Inglis.

Long 2015 mi raitim wanpela kain tok-singsing ‘Mi na yu’ we igat ol sotpela tokpisin toktok bilong sutim bel na pulim nus wantaim. Sampela tok bilong en igo olsem; “Mi save long yu na yu save long mi / Mi no tingim yu na yu lusim tingting / Mi fit man tru na yu ia ino wanpela man tu!”

Dispela tok-singsing blong mi inobin kamap insait long Entologi tasol wantaim ol arapela wok bilong or raita long 2015 istap iet long Keith Jackson & Friends: PNG Attitude blog. Namel long dispela krismas ol raita ibin kamapim planti wok we igat bikpela mak na soim olsem ol raita igat namba tru.

Igo moa, long 2015 kompetisen em ibin nambatu yia bilong Cleland Family Award for Heritage Writing, we Bob Cleland i kamap sponsor long en. Sampela tumbuna stori tu i stap long Entologi blong 2014 na 2015.

Ex-kiap Mr. Paul Oates i bin raitim wanpela tok-singsing long dispela taim tu, ‘Equality of service delivery in rural PNG’. Em ibin gutpela long ai bilong mi long lukim Paul tromoi sampela tokpisin i kam insait long wokbung bilong mipela ol PNG raita long Crocodile Prize na PNG Attitude, bilong wanem ol kiap wantaim ol lapun papa-mama bilong mipela i kirapim Tok Pisin trutru long taim bilong ol kiap. Na sapos yu ridim tok-singsing bilong Paul bai yu inap skelim olsem bel tingting bilong em i stap iet wantaim yumi ol pipol bilong Papua Niugini.

Equality of service in rural PNG 

Mipla igat traipla hevi, 
Ol bus igat planti wari, 
Lain gavaman inostap, 
Na oli askim mipla antap, 
Bilong wanem yupla noinap, 
Long mekem ol samting kamap? 
Orait, bai mipla mekim nupla lo, 
I olsem bengbeng istap bipo, 
No ken wari na singaut moa, 
Watpo yupla paitim doa, 
Lo opis bilo mi? 

Ating dispela wok i soim piksa olsem mipela inap long brukim tokpisin wantaim ol sampela man-meri bilong narapela hap graun na em bai kamap gutpela tru long literatia bilong yumi. Tok Pisin em i stap long bun bilong mipela ol Papua Niugini, long toktok, long stori, tok-gris, tok-hait, tok-pilai, na tu long autim bel tingting, bel hevi, sori, poret na wari. Long dispela as i bai gutpela sapos Tok Pisin ken kamap strong moa long literatia, long kamautim ol stori, tingting na bel trutru bilong yumi Papua Niugini.

Ating long bihain taim baimbai yumi lukim sapos sampela wok i kamap long dispela tingting bilong mi long raitim ol tok-singsing na stori bilong yumi long tripela nesenol tokples na tu long tanim tokples. Mi iet i traim long brukim bus long kirapim sampela tok-singsing long Tok Pisin na ol gutpela poroman-meri halavim mi long tanim Tok Motu na Tok Ples Sinesine, na emi wanpela tok-singsing, ‘Enduwa Kombuglu’, we mama bilong mi iet, Mrs Ruth Dom, ibin tanim toktok long en.

Ooo Enduwa Kombuglu,
San emi holim het bilong yu pastaim tru
Olsem blessing bilong tumbuna man
Na tulait emi holim pasim yu isiisi tru
Olsem yangpela meri ino marit iet
---
Ooo Enduwa Kombuglu,
The sun touches your head first 
Like a blessing from our patriarchs
And dawn embraces you gently
Like a young unwedded woman
---
Ooo Enduwa Kombuglu 
Koma are bilin augidimwe one
Nile gome Abe bolemil umwe
Te kamuntagwai monemone dire uwai
Ene gai kumul ta kene pai kewa mele, elwe

Long dispela tok-singsing mi tromoi sampela tingting olsem, Endua Kombulgu emi nem bilong Mt Wilhelm we ol asples lain ibin givim long en. Tasol long taim bilong ol koloniel ol German ibin givim nem long wanpela yangpela bikman bilong ol iet, Kaiser Wilhelm. Ikam inap nau dispela nem bilong ol asples emi lus nating, na yumi olgeta i tingting olsem Mt Wilhelm emi nem bilong yumi iet, tasol nogat, narapela lain i tromoi nek bilong ol igo antap long yumi. Ating i wankain long ol narapela kain ol samting, ples na pasin long kantri bilong yumi. Em kalsa tu bai senis.

Yu sutim nus bilong yu igo antap long lukim heven
Tasol ol pikinini bilong yu ol i mekim paul raunraun 
Ol lus tingting pinis long pasin bilong sanap strong tru 
Na ol i sutim giraun na lukim ples nogut
.---
You hold your head high up to the heavens
But your children
Have forgotten the way to stand with strength
And they grovel in the dirt and misery
---
En gumanikan kaminil epe den we
En gage kane i kan kundalkenwe
En el enga bolemil, gage yumore wanmolumwe
Te yobalema i en augiderere molawe mile nigedomwe

Vernacular traces in the Crocodile Prize: (3) The PNG Writers Rise Again

When the 2014 Crocodile Prize National Literary was announced (organized again by Keith Jackson and Phil Fitzpatrick), writers contributed many entries – the 497page Anthology surpassed the 2012 Anthology by 122 pages.

Nevertheless, there were still not many entries in Tok Pisin and Tok Ples. Only three men wrote poetry and translations: Jimmy Drekore, David Wapar and me.

Although I had entered ‘Sonnet 6: At dawn we will escape the cage’ in the 2013 competition, it was included in the 2014 Anthology and I cannot deny that I was very happy. And when I saw Jimmy Drekore’s entry, ‘Mina Ya, Mama Ya, Oh Mama (p201) and David Wapar’s ‘Laif I sot tumas’ (Life is too short) I was even happier.

Bush Poet Drekore also translated his poem into Tok Pisin and English and these three looked and felt so nice to me. As the first verse says:

Kua gal mei re / Bona au re / Monemone di re / Unao
---
Karim bilum kaukau / Olim rop bilong pik / Isi isi / Yu kam
---
Carrying that load / holding that rope / Slowly / Walking home

When you look at this poem on paper, it looks like a little piece of writing. But when you read it you see a true word picture. And through the mother tongue, Tok Pisin and English you can hear and feel the real essence of the story: you can really see the woman walking with her bag of kaukau with a pig following.

This illustrates the life of all village women while we city folk ride buses, eat Big Rooster and are angry about our hard lives.

I think too about my mother’s hard work in Port Moresby. I think I ignored this and left her to do all the heavy work because her work is like a counsellor dealing with plenty of worries and concerns about everyone’s lives. This city work is the same as garden work when you carry a bag of kaukau to the house – and I’m like the pig that follows her.

There is another long journey that Drekore describes about our thinking about our mothers:

Yal molo dinga ple/Yal molau.
---
Yu tok kamap man na/Nau mi kamap man.
---
You wanted to see me a man/Now I am a man.

I think that everyone can feel this poem in their bones. It isn’t just empty decorative words. It speaks of the pain of life. This kind of short poem has the power of stories told in all mother tongues.

The third poem included in the 2014 Anthology – David Wapar’s ‘Life is too short’ has the style of verses as sung by a choir. When he wrote these verses, David used certain rules. The first verse has four lines. The next verse has three lines where he expresses one kind of thought and another in the final lines, about flowers and time. In this way, David’s poems are like Biblical proverbs.

Mi save ting laif i olsem flawa
We soim kala long moning aua
Tumoro, taim win na san I kam nau
Bai yu lukim lip bilong flawa pundaun
---
I think life is like a flower
Which blooms in the morning
Tomorrow when the wind blows the sand
You will see the petals fall
---
Laif blong yu na mi mas stap amamas
Laif, laif, laif is sot tumas
Em bai orait oltaim yumi amamas
---
Our lives should be happy
Life, life, life is too short
But it will be all right if we are always happy

The English version is also good, and follow’s David’s rule. I think that this style confirms that Tok Pisin can be used in other types and styles of poetry and makes a strong case for including Tok Pisin in our literature.

This was the second Tok Pisin poem by David Wapar. His first, ‘Long nait bai yumi bung’ – ‘When we meet at night’ has another kind of message.                

Long nait taim yumi bung
Taim papa silip tingting i lus
Bai yumi bung ananit long mun

Krukutim graun long ol pinga
Isi tasol, nongut ol I kirap
Yu kam hariap mi wet istap
---
When we meet at night
While Papa sleeps dreamlessly
We can meet underneath the moon

Step on the ground with every toe
Gently, don’t wake everyone
Come quickly I am waiting

This aspect of young men and women’s lives is expressed very well in Tok Pisin and, if translated into English, would lose much of its essence.

The 2015 Anthology contained no mother tongue or Tok Pisin entries. Jimmy ‘Bush Poet’ Drekore submitted two poems plus another he co-wrote with Marie-Rose Sau – who initiated and manages the Poetry PNG Facebook page. Four of my English poems were also published in the Anthology.

In 2015 I wrote ‘Mi na yu’ – Me and you, which is a short Tok Pisin description of teasing and deception. Part of the poem includes: ‘Mi save long yu na yu save long mi/Mi no tingim yu na yu lusim tingting/Mi fit man tru na yu ia ino wanpela man tu! (I know you and you know me/I don’t think about you and you forget/I’m a truly able-bodied man, and you’re not a man either’

Although this poem wasn’t included in the Anthology, other writers’ work produced during 2015 was published in the Keith Jackson and Friends: PNG Attitude blog. Around that Christmas, PNG writers produced many works, thus confirming how many of us there are.

Moving on, the 2015 competition was the second year of the Cleland Family Award for Heritage Writing, sponsored by Bob Cleland, and some of these heritage stories were published in the 2014 and 2015 anthologies.

During this time, former patrol officer, Mr Paul Oates wrote a Tok Pisin poem, ‘Equality of service delivery in rural PNG’. It was pleasing to see that Paul utilised the Tok Pisin that we, the community of PNG writers used in our Crocodile Prize entries and contributions to PNG Attitude – because it was the patrol officers and our grandparents who had promoted the use and development of Tok Pisin in pre-Independence times. If you read Paul’s poem you will understand the deep feeling he has for all the people of Papua New Guinea.

Equality of Service Delivery in rural PNG

Mipla igat traipela hevi
Ol bus igat planti wari
Lain gavman inostap
Na oli askim mipla antap
Bilong wanemn yupela noinap,
Long mekem ol samting kamap?
Orait, bai mipla mekim nupla lo
I olsem bengbeng istap bipo
No ken wari na singaut moa
Watpo yupla paitim doa
Lo opis bilo mi?
---
We have a heavy load
People of the bush have many worries
Government workers are absent
And everyone asks us administrators
Why aren’t you able
To make something happen?
All right, we’ll make a new law
Like the one that was there before
There’s no need to sing out again
Why are you knocking on the door
Of my office?

This work confirms that we can use Tok Pisin along with others from other places to make a strong contribution to our literature. Tok Pisin is deep in the bones of we Papua New Guineans: for conversation, stories, flattery, secrets, making fun and for expressing our thoughts and feelings, fears and worries. These are strong reasons for Tok Pisin to become an integral part of our literature, for telling our stories and explaining our thinking and our feelings as Papua New Guineans.

I hope that, in the future, my advocacy will bear fruit and there will be more of our poems and stories written in our three national languages and in translations of our mother tongues. I am trying to pave the way by writing some Tok Pisin poetry and good friends are helping me to translate works in Motu and mother tongues.

In years to come we will see more poetry and stories in our three national languages and in translations from our indigenous languages. Meanwhile, I am working hard to write Tok Pisin poetry and good friends of mine are helping me with translating Motu and indigenous languages. My mother, Mrs Ruth Dom translated the following poem, ‘Enduwa Kombuglu’:

Ooo Enduwa Kombuglu,
San emi holim het bilong yu pastaim tru
Olsem blessing bilong tumbuna man
Na tulait emi holim pasim yu isiisi tru
Olsem yangpela meri ino marit iet
---
Ooo Enduwa Kombuglu,
The sun touches your head first 
Like a blessing from our patriarchs
And dawn embraces you gently
Like a young unwedded woman
---
Ooo Enduwa Kombuglu 
Koma are bilin augidimwe one
Nile gome Abe bolemil umwe
Te kamuntagwai monemone dire uwai
Ene gai kumul ta kene pai kewa mele, elwe

In thinking about this poem, I am reminded that Endua Kombulgu was the original name ascribed to Mt Wilhelm by my forebears. It was the German colonists who called it Mt Wilhelm, in recognition of their then young leader, Kaiser Wilhelm. Nowadays, the original, indigenous names of our places have been forgotten and we think that Mt Wilhelm is the name that we gave to it. But, no, it was others who displaced our original name, and the same displacement has applied to many other features of our places and customs of our country: our very culture has been changed, by others.

Yu sutim nus bilong yu igo antap long lukim heven
Tasol ol pikinini bilong yu ol i mekim paul raunraun 
Ol lus tingting pinis long pasin bilong sanap strong tru 
Na ol i sutim giraun na lukim ples nogut
.---
You hold your head high up to the heavens
But your children
Have forgotten the way to stand with strength
And they grovel in the dirt and misery
---
En gumanikan kaminil epe den we
En gage kane i kan kundalkenwe
En el enga bolemil, gage yumore wanmolumwe
Te yobalema i en augiderere molawe mile nigedomwe

Published by Ples Singsing

Ples Singsing is envisioned to be a new platform for Papua Niuginian expressions of creativity, ingenuity and originality in art and culture. We deliberately highlight these two very broad themes as they can encompass the diverse subjects, from technology, medicine and architecture to linguistics, music, fishing, gardening et cetera. Papua Niuginian ways of thinking, living, believing, communicating, dying and so on can cover the gamut of academic, journalistic or opinionated writing and we believe that unless we give ourselves a platform to talk about and discuss these things in an open, free and non-exclusively academic space that they may remain the fodder for academics, journalists and other types of writers alone. New social media platforms have given every individual a personal space to share their feelings and ideas openly, sometimes without immediate censure. The Ples Singsing writer’s blog would like to provide another more structured platform for Papua Niuginian expressions in written, visual and audio formats while also providing some regulation of the type and content of materials to be shared publicly.

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