Painim liklik mak bilong tokples long Crocodile Prize: (4) Motu i hait iet

“Vernacular traces in the Crocodile Prize”

An essay in five parts

BY MICHAEL DOM WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS BY ED BRUMBY

Long 2016 Crocodile Prize Nesenol Litereri Kompetisen tripela tok-singsing i kamap long Tok Pisin na wanpela long Tok Motu. Entologi buk long dispela yia em istap olsem e-buk tasol, na pepa-buk bai ol man meri iet putim oda long Amazon. Olgeta narapela Entologi ibin kam long pepa kopi na tu long e-buk.

Ol fopela tok-singsing em ‘Tingim ol Lain lo Ples’ (p36), Paul Waugla Wii emi ratim, ‘Dispela nait ino gutpela tumas’ (p37) na ‘Wara kalap’ (p55), em Raymond Sigimet i raitim, na ‘Red cigar seller’ (p51), Caroline Evari i raitim long tokinglis na mi tanim tokpisin long en.

Vagi Samuel Jnr emi nambawan man i raitim tok-singing ‘Sinagu E!’, na tanim tokinglis, ‘Oh Mother’ (p42-44) long dispela taim, na inogat wanpela moa tok-singsing long Tok Motu ikamap bihain long en.

Dina danu vada ekwadogimu 
Maurimu ai baina hamaoromu
Sinagu E! Oina feiva kori kori 
Badina be egu lalokauna hegena ori
---
The end of this life is coming very soon 
And while you are alive, I am honoured to deliver this message 
Oh Mother, you are my hero without a platoon 
My love for you is like the clouds on a mere silent passage

Vagi i raitim narapela tupela tok-singsing istap insait long 2016 Entologi na wanpela sotpela-stori ‘Servants of the Sea’ emi klostu winim nambawan mak long en. Phil Fitzpatrick i tok olsem dispela kain stori i marit wantaim tok-singsing na karim gutpela kaikai bilong em iet.

Long tingting bilong mi dispela nek Fitzpatrick i mekim i givim luksave long yumi olsem ol tokples bilong mipela bai kamapim sampela gutpela hanwok long litiritia sapos yumi bungim hanmak bilong tok-singsing wantaim ol kain stori mipela igatim.

Ating em bai kamap wankain olsem ol singsing-stori (sung-tales) bilong ol sampela lain long hailans, olsem ol Simbu na Wabag. Na tu, ol kastom singsing bilong miplela igat hait stori insait long ol. Tasol ating mipela ol raita ino bin traim ol dispela kain hanmak inap nau.

Vagi Samuel Jnr igo pas long makim ol man-meri bilong Central Provens long dispela yia 2016 na i pablisim wanpela buk ‘Voice of the Senemai”. Vagi emi tromoi tumbuna stori long tok-singsing na sotpela stori wantaim.

Long taim bilong 1970’s wanpela man Trobriand aislan, John Kasaipwalova, ibin mekim dispela kain wok long bungim stori bilong tumbuna wantaim hanmak bilong tok-singsing, na igo moa iet emi mekim kamap drama we ol Nesenol Arts lain i bin putim pilai long Goroka long 1980’s. Nem bilong dispela bikpela hanwok bilong Kasaipwalova em ‘Sailing the midnight sun”.

Long 2016 wanpela savemeri long Fine Arts, Julie Mota, ibin pablisim ol tok-singsing bilong em long wanpela buk ‘Cultural Refugees’. Insait long dispela buk emi raitim ol tok-singsing bilong em long Tok Inglis na Tok Pisin, na igo moa, emi kisim wanpela tumbuna pasin bilong ol lain Tuif long Oro Provens, igat nem kaita, igo insait long wanpela tok-singsing bilong em. Kaita emi wanpela kain drama igat tok-singsing tu bilong sori long ol lain idai pinis. 

Ating dispela emi wankain hanmak bilong ol PNG meri raita olsem long taim bilong 1980’s Ondobondo, PNG Writer na Bikmaus megezin na ol narapela literatia olsem Pocket Poets Publication, we wanpela meri bilong Central Provens, nem Nora Vagi Brash, ibin stap olsem biknem bilong litiretia long sait bilong drama na wanpela tasol tok-singsing bilong em, ‘Song of the winds’, long Tok Motu i stap long PNG Writer (1985). Inogat moa.

Boge bada e e heau lao, boroma gwada,
Magani gwada Ee – e Garago ta – Na – mo e – e
Gwada, gwada, e e e gwada namo o o o

Boge bada, you will run as fast as the fastest 
hunting dog and catch me the wildest of the boars.

Mi no save sapos yumi bai i stap inap narapela fopela-ten krismas bipo long wanwan hanmak bilong Tok Motu ikamap gen. Ating bai mi lapun tit bruk pinis na redi long indai. Em bai sori tumas long mi iet.

Ating dispela kain sore na wari bilong mi mekim na mi traim long kamapim sampela tok-singsing we bai igatim gutpela nek long Tok Inglis, Tok Pisin na Tok Motu wantaim.

Mi iet i nogat save long Motu na Tok Pisin bilong mi tu i save paul liklik, tasol mi gatim gutpela bel tingting na laikim bilong mi em i abrusim save bilong mi olsem na mi traim iet. Ol poro-man-meri imas wanbel long tok-singsing bilong mi ikam wantaim dispela gutpela bel tingting na ol i hamamas long tanim tokples.

Nambawan tok-singsing mi raitim em Rev. Willie Moses na Christine Sina Moses i halavim mi long tanim tok-singsing ‘Where we lived’ long Tok Pisin ‘Ples we mitupela ibin stap wantaim’ ikamap long Tok Motu ‘Emai noho gabuna’ (em istap long pinis long dispela pepa ia).

Wanpela vers-lain bilong en i sutim tru bel bilong mi na long Tok Motu em i swit moa long iau bilong mi;

Tanobada bona Davara edia lalokau dagedagena. 
---
Bikpela laikim wantaim pait i stap namel long graun na solwara. 
---
Tempestuous love affair of earth and sea. 

Mi iet mangalim Tok Motu long dispela ol tok-singsing tasol save bilong mi sot. Emi orait mi ken pilim swit nating.

Long dispela liklik hanmak yumi ken luksave olsem giraun na solwara igatim nem bilong ol long tokples bilong ol Motu iet olsem Tanobada na Davara. Ating igat stori tu istap wantaim ol dispela kain nem yumi givim tasol mi iet inogat save na ating sampela lain bai raitim stori long bihain taim.

Mi hamamas tru long ridim ol narapela tok-singsing bilong mi tu we Konemamata Gemona i tanim Tok Motu olsem ‘Ating yu pilim swit’. Dispela tok-singsing mi raitim long hanmak bilong ol Italy igat nem ‘terza rima’ em olsem ‘sem nek istap long namba tri lain’.

Igatim sampela strongpela toktok long dispela tok-singsing igo olsem;

lain painim ples b’long silip long nait. 
Ol pikinini b’long yu iken kamap 
ol doti strit-mangi, ron painim pait, 

na tu-kina meri, raun painim koap. 
Skul ol ibin kisim free, wankain nau 
insait het kru traipela free spes stap.
---
Taunimanima Hanuaboi ai mahuta gabudia e tahumu 
Oi natumu na dika idia bamodia bae la, heatu be taumu

Bona dala hahine dia, hegagai e taumu. 
Free sikuli ea oremu neganai, vada anai bamona. 
Kwara dia lalodiai danu na space babada mia.
---
People looking for a place to sleep at night. 
Your children may become like 
Dirty street kids, looking for a fight 

And street whores, looking for a fuck. 
After their free schooling, just the same, 
Inside their heads is a big free space.

Long dispela tok-singsing mi luksave olsem mi kamap long wanpela kain wokmak wantaim Tok Pisin we i mekim mi iet ikirap nogut long lukim. Tok-singsing i kalap namel long wanwan lain olsem wanpela pisin i danis, na i mekim ai hamamas na nek i karai swit long iau na mekim maus i wara nating.

Em bai gutpela moa long yumi lukim sampela kain tok-singsing i kamap gen long Tok Motu, Tok Pisin na tu long ol narapela 800 plus Tok Ples bilong yumi iet.

Dispela emi wok bilong mipela ol raita bilong Papua Niugini na ating mipela inoken sakim.

Yumi wanwan iet iken skelim ol dispela hanwok taim ol i kamap, sapos ol i makim stret tingting, toktok, pasin, laip, na kastom bilong mipela Papua Niugini.

Em olsem yumi planti lain i save laik long kaikai buai na ol narapela ino save laikim, tasol emi stap wantaim yumi iet. Emi a nek istap long dispela tok-singsing “I am the red red stain”, “Mi tasol olsem blut I kapsait”, “Launa ramoramo kakakakana”.

I am the betel nut,	
The daga stick
And the lime pot:
I am the red, red stain
---
Mi tasol mi buai,
Na stik daga 
Na sel kambang wantaim:
Mi tasol olsem blut i kapsait 
---
Launa buatau 
Vaga auna,
Bona ahu hoduna
Launa ramoramo kakakakana

Dispela kain tok-singsing emi autim wanpela mak bilong yumi iet, em long tokinglis igat nem ‘identity’, em olsem yumi husait lain tru.

Mipela noken lusim tingting long ol gutpela pasin na kastom bilong yumi iet we istap insait long tokples bilong mipela long tokaut long en.

Vernacular traces in the Crocodile Prize: (4) Motu is still hiding

In the 2016 Crocodile Prize National Literary Competition there were three poems in Tok Pisin and one in Motu. The anthology was published as an e-book, with hard copies available by order from Amazon.

The three Tok Pisin entries were Paul Waugla Wii’s ‘Tingim ol Lain lo Ples’ (Thinking about my people) (p36), Raymond Sigimet’s ‘Dispela nait ino gutpela tumas’ (This isn’t such a good night) (p37) and ‘Wara Kalap’ (Water rising) (p55).  There was, also, Caroline Evari’s ‘Red cigar seller’ – which she wrote in English and I translated to Tok Pisin.

At the same time, Vagi Samuel Jr was the first to write a Motu poem, ‘Sinagu E!’ and translate it to English, ‘Oh Mother’ (p42-44). But there were no other Motu poems to follow.

Dina danu vada ekwadogimu
Maurimu ai baina hamaoromu
Sinagu E! Oina feva korikori
Badina be egu lalokauna hegena ori
---
The end of this life is coming very soon
And while you are alive, I am honoured to deliver this message
Oh Mother, you are my hero without a platoon
My love for you is like the clouds on a mere silent passage

Vagi also wrote two other poems which were included in the 2016 Anthology, plus a short story, ‘Servants of the Sea’ which almost won first prize. Phil Fitzpatrick said that this kind of story combined with the poem bears such good fruit.

My thoughts about Phil’s analysis are that he recognises that we can use our own languages to generate good literature by combining poetry with our stories.

I think we could produce song stories from the Highlands – from Simbu and Wabag, for example – something that we writers haven’t yet tried to do, so far.

In 2016, Vagi Samuel Jr collected contributions – traditional poems and short stories, from people of the Central Province and published a book, ‘Voice of the Senemai’.

During the 1970s, Trobriand Islander, John Kasaipwalovia combined traditional stories with poems, and went further by developing them into a play, ‘Sailing in the midnight sun’ which was performed by the National Arts group in Goroka in the 1980s.

In 2016, a Fine Arts expert, Julie Mota published her poems in a book, ‘Cultural Refugees’, including poems in English and Tok Pisin. And she went further. In one of her poems, she included a tradition of the Tuif people of Oro: Kaita –a kind of play with poetry which mourns those who have died.

I think this is typical of PNG women writers at the time of the 1980s Ondobondo, PNG Writer and Bikmaus magazines and other literary publications like Pocket Poets. This was when a Central Province woman, Nora Vagi Brash established a fine reputation for her plays and, especially, for one Motu poem, ‘Song of the winds’ which was published in PNG Writer (1985). But there are no more.

Boge bada e e heau lao, boroma gwada,
Magani gwada Ee – e Garago ta – Na – mo e – e
Gwada, gwada, e e e gwada namo o o o

Boge bada, you will run as fast as the fastest 
hunting dog and catch me the wildest of the boars.

What if we have to wait another 40 years before we have more Motu examples?  I’ll be an old man with broken teeth and ready to die by then – which makes me very sad.

And it is this sadness and concern that motivates me to try to produce English, Tok Pisin and Motu poems.

Although I can’t speak or write Motu and my Tok Pisin is not perfect, my strong motivation and desire helps me to ignore these factors and so I keep trying.  All of my friends understand that my poems are inspired by these considerations and are happy with my focus on using these languages.

Rev Willie Moses and Christine Sina Moses helped me translate my first poem, ‘Where we lived’ into Tok Pisin: ‘Ples we mitupela bin stap wantaim’ and Motu: ‘Emai noho gabuna’ – which are included in this paper.

One line in particular excites me and sounds so sweet:

Tanobada bona Davara edia lalokau dagedagena
---
Bikpela laikim wantain pait I stap namel long graun na solwara
---
Tempestuous love affair of earth and sea

While I wish I could write Motu poems like this one, I don’t have the capability. But that’s all right because I can still enjoy the sweetness of it.

In this example we can see that, in Motu, the land and the sea are called Tanobada and Davara. I think there are other tales about these ideas. I don’t have any right now, but will certainly write them later.

I love reading some of my poems which Konemamata Gemona translated into Motu, such as ‘Ating yu pilim swit’, (‘I think you are feeling sweet’). I wrote this poem in the Italian ‘terza rima’ style where the third line repeats the same rhyme sound, (at least in the Tok Pisin version). (Note: There are some offensive expressions in this poem.)

Lain painim ples b’long silip long nait
Ol pikinini b’long yu iken kamap
Ol doti strit-mangi, ron painim pait

Na tu-kine meria, raun painim koap
Skul ol ibin kisim free, wankain nau
Insait het kru traipela free spes stap
---
Taunimanima Hanuaboi ai mahuta gabudia e tahumu
Oi natumu na dika idia bamodia bae la, heatu be taumu

Bona dala hahine dia, hegagai e tahumu
Free sikuli ea oremu neganai, vada anai bamona
Kwara dia lalodiai danu na space babada mia
---
People looking for a place to sleep at night
Your children may become like
Dirty street kids looking for a fight

And street whores looking for a fuck
After their free schooling just the same
Inside their heads is a big free space

I recognise that I have produced a Tok Pisin example which, when I read it, offends me. [Nope, I’m not offended in the least.] CORRECTION: With this poem I realized that I had achieved a level of Tok Pisin use that even I was surprised to read. Among the lines of the poem there is a bird dancing   pleasing to the eye   makes my mouth water

It will be so much better if we can see more poetry in Motu, Tok Pisin and in our other 800+ indigenous languages.

And this is the unavoidable shared responsibility of all Papua New Guinean writers – to record the ideas, conversation, behavior, life and customs of we Papua New Guineans.

Although many of us enjoy chewing betel nut, there are others among us who don’t. This is the idea behind the poem ‘I am the red stain’, ‘Mi tasol blut I kapsait’ (‘I am the red, red stain’), ‘Launa ramoramo kakakakana’.

I am the betel nut
The daga stick
And the lime pot:
I am the red, red stain
---
Mi tasol mi buai
Na stik daga
Na sel kambang wantaim
Mi tasol olsem blut I kapsait
---
Launa buatau
Vaga auna
Bona ahu hoduna
Launa ramoramo kakakakana

This kind of poem reveals a feature of our identity. We must not forget our good traditions and customs and they should be recorded in our own languages.

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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