Joseph Ka’au and wife. Kaiki, surrounded by grandchildren. William is standing, back row.

A birthday party after 60 years

WHAT is a birthday party?
The question may seem stupid to many. But in Papua New Guinea the question is legitimate and may need to be explained. A birthday party is to commemorate another year in a person’s life.
Birthday parties are for those who can afford them and for those to whom it is a custom.
Many Papua New Guineans now know their date of birthday. But most of them do not have a celebration to commemorate their birthday. It comes and goes and they become another year older. No big deal.

The birthday cake.

I have hosted birthdays for all my children. Not yearly, but when I could afford it. At least a birthday party in their lifetime.
So when my children told me that they were going to host a birthday celebration for me. I said, wow. I have never had a birthday party all my life. And I just turned 60 years old.
Not too many Papua New Guineans live to get past 60 years. I am privileged to be one of the few.
And a birthday party, why not? At least a party to acknowledge that I had journeyed this far and that I have loving children. I am blessed with seven children and eight grandchildren. I hope to see a great grandchild soon. So William (eldest grandson), I am counting on you.
Well, if I am going to be having a birthday party every 60 years, then the next one may not be on this earth. Wishful thinking.
One thing is certain for all human beings, though. And that is, after we are born we will die. The only difference is the time between our birth and our death. Some like me, live past 60 years. Others depart before the 60 years is reached.
One wise man told me some time ago, “Life has a definite beginning and a definite end. Death has a definite beginning but no ending”.
So do not be angry, remorseful and always complaining about trivialities in life. Life is too short for such negativities. Try to replace all these negativities with positives like laughter and always find reasons to create happiness. There are many.
As we speak, the Covid-19 pandemic is creating many hardships for people throughout the world, including our country and particularly with the elderly. The positives are in the safety protocols announced by the Government, now referred to as the new normal. These protocols are not expensive and are within our ability to be implemented.
The old normal for me has ended now, after 60 years. Whether we will go back to the old normal again is anybody’s guess. But in meantime, do not forget, wear a face mask, maintain social distancing, wash your hands with soap and water regularly, stay at home if you feel sick and if you need assistance, call the toll free number on 1800200.
Then, maybe you will reach your 60 years and go beyond.

  • Joseph Ka’au is a freelance writer.

John Bom selling his work opposite the Holiday Inn in Port Moresby.

Money on a canvas

OPPOSITE the Holiday Inn hotel at Waigani, NCD, cross the road, on the stone wall lies what seems like a long band of colorful paintings of all sorts. These catchy and creative artworks sparkle up the grey-dull wall when slightly lit by the sun rays; a view that is so spectacular. Every passerby, whether driving or waling at least casts eyes on the paintings before passing through. It is an amazing sight, I must say.
John Bom is one of the artists displaying his work there. He says their paintings come in a variety of ideas ranging from traditionally attired people, animals and portraits. They even do paintings upon request by customers.
He said one of their fellow painters, a female living with a disability, did a portrait for a minister and he bought it for K5,000.
Bom said their group’s founder, the late Mathias Kawage, was the motivation behind their venturing into this work. He said Kawage was very successful in doing his work and they learnt a lot from him.
Bom said in the 90s and early 2000s, the market for the paintings was good unlike today.
He said their paintings ranged in price from K500 to K10, 000 and exhibitions were times when they made good money from their work. Unfortunately, such events do not happen any more due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“The bottom floor at NCDC city hall was a place where we once exhibited our work and one of my paintings was bought by a tourist for K11, 000,” he said.
Bom said most times their paintings get sold to tourists in bulk orders and there was some good feedback as well.
“Planti taim ol waitman save baim ol piksa na kisim go long kantri blong ol, ol wantok blong ol save lukim na askim. Taim ol tokim ol, ol ken kam na baim ol piksa blong mipla,” he said he said in Tok Pisin.
Bom said they had already formed an association and registered it with the Investment Promotional Authority and obtained a licence.
He said they have also been promised a building as a gallery to display their artwork and also some funding. They hope things will get going for them after the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

One thought on “PEOPLE

  • Congratulations Joseph Ka’au on your 60th birth day and true, death is the beginning of a new journey to eternity if you have lived a life free of sins or if you have sinned then confessed all your sins.

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