Telling the Siassi story


THE lack of stories recording the way of life of Siassi islanders has led to the publishing of a book titled “Kowai wisdom” which was launched on Thursday.
Attorney-General and secretary for Justice Dr Eric Kwa, the lead author of the book, said there was no documentation or complete story about the islanders, their environment and lifestyle.
Dr Kwa said Kowai was one of the four language groups in the Siassi island of Tewae-Siassi in Morobe.
The book was launched by Minister for Tourism Arts and Culture Isi Leonard, local MP and vice-minister for National Planning Dr Kobby Bomareo, a delegation of councillors from Siassi island and contributing authors from Siassi.
“The book presents a case for Siassi from the first missionaries that arrived, the people, villages, environment, rivers, lakes, islands to things that are peculiar to Siassi,” Dr Kwa said.
“Then we focused on the Kowai people where we talked about the four laws of the Kowais which are the four laws of Siassi.”
He said the laws covered how things were done in the society such as marriage, building a home, having children, first menstruation, circumcision and death ceremony.
“We also talked about the resources of Siassi and the developments happening on the island,” he said.
“We just presented Siassi as it is from our eyes as Siasians because we want the Siassi children to read about their own culture instead of reading it from somebody else.
“This book is meant for primary and high school students and very simple and easy to read.
“We’re hoping this book will help the Siassi people throughout PNG to appreciate home and be encouraged to visit our beautiful island.”
Dr Kwa said the district development authority supported the production of the book with K77,000 which would be acquitted for transparency and accountability.
He said 500 books would be presented to primary and high schools in Siassi and encouraged people to purchase the book so that more can be produced to be distributed freely to schools.
Leonard said at this time when the traditional culture of societies in PNG was eroded at an unprecedented rate due to Western influence, it was timely that the Siassi people had documented their way of life.
He encouraged the people to build it and work to keep their culture alive.