Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I don’t fit my old clothes. Especially not the gorgeous things I sent back from Europe (still in those 2 unopened black suitcases) or the fine delicate things and beautiful books I have in (also unopened) boxes from the Indian subcontinent … when I returned to PNG last year … I just put on so much weight … you know the old adage "you are what you eat" … well, I was rubbish - to be more precise, I was eating rubbinsh - white rice, white flour and white sugar - the 3 food groups of PNG. YUCK. I actually normally avoid all 3 but ever since returning and living here and not being in charge of my diet … when in rome etc … except my family remain perenially thin - but it's more than that - as I stopped caring for and about my Self, I stopped caring for and about my insides ... and that came to show on the outsides.

The good news is I am sloghing off the keggage and it’s a new attitude and and the old me and it feels good - I am not back where I started though - still got these little saddlebags otherwise known as HIPS.

So yeah - this hippage is a bit stubborn and its hanging around just like 2 of my oldest and bestest friends - FEAR and HOPE. And I want to shed those as well. And replace them with FAITH and GRACE (both in the biblical sense).

So … as I go to Sydney in 2 days and I am still not super-skinny or super-refined or super-wowing as I was hoping to be … and I go with a few of the old demons … but that's cool. Its all stuff I can work with.

And I am packing to go down south … and its just a small bag but its exploding with schtuff that’s ALL ricebag … that only I could have gathered and collected from various wanderings and various places. Just my the little silver jewellery mesh bag has earrings from the Red Sea; bangles from Pakistan; a scarab broach from Afghanistan; red coral beads from Iran; black jet stone earrings from london; glittering signet ring from Fiji etc etc… a yellow cotton tuille 3/4 length dress; glittery pale greem sequined chemise; softest black leather ballet flats; tops with puffy sleeves and rolly poly shoulders; everything cotton or denim or silk; something candystriped; the only pair of jeans that still fit; and my favourite parfum Chanel Allure … etc etc. So am going equipped with schtuff and some extra bits and pieces to round it all out.

And I do feel like ME … saddlebags and all.

Talking about clothes ... I just cannot understand why Naomi Watts got such a drubbing over this dress she wore to the Oscars - yeah yeah so it looks she's got some saddlebags of her own but hey - next to Uma and Gwyneth, this was my favourite dress!! yeah yeah nomes - loving your work - even if noone else does - but what do they know!! I told everyone nude is the new black ... don't worry - they'll catch on next year. (Just between u n' me tho - whats up with those earrings??!! One word - Dynasty.)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Headlines from today's national newspaper, the Post Courier.

WOW!! Yesterday was a HUGE day for me ... and an even HUGER one for PNG - at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, our Ryan Pini beat Michael Klim and every other competitor to take home GOLD in the 100m Butterfly in the swimming pool - possibly the toughest arena to wrench away a medal from an Aussie. GO RYAN!! I think the roar could be heard across the country - our first gold of the games and the first in the pool EVER!!

WAHEY!! What a well-deserved coup. We love you Ryan!!

Not only that - we had a true national hero born yesterday when our champion weightlifter Dika Toua made PNG proud after she won a silver in her 53kg division. The pocket dynamo showed a gutsy effort to continue despite a painful toe injury (xrays show it was broken!!) and in doing so won many hearts at the Games because of her national pride - a 40 year veteran in the sport said he had never seen anything like it - for someone to come back and persevere through such an injury. GO DIKA!!

So yeah - thanks to Dika and Ryan, we are now situated at 14 on the overall medal tally.

But I also wanted to mention an unsung hero - Sapolai Yao - running in the 5000m last night at the MCG. Mate - you did your country proud!! GO SAPOLAI!! We will never forget your guts and determination against the superstars in your sport. Keep running for PNG!

Monday, March 20, 2006

ricebag qualifies

A pretty HUGE thing happened to me today. Something I have been waiting and slaving away for the last 10 months - basically I attended the National Court today which ordered that I am now permitted to practice in my profession in this country!! Can’t tell you it's actually taken 4 years to get to this point - and today … it came. My family breathes a sigh of relief. I just breathe.

Despite the attempts of others to put out my fire ... I have been fighting for my right to live and work in my own country, in my own place. And this feels like a great big fuck you to the ones who wanted to squash a little girl.

Ricebag feels like her shit is starting to come together and that feels better than anything else possibly could right now.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

hepi bondei bare-bum

ricebags best friend from school is bare-bum (AKA BBC) ... and today is bare-bum's birthday!

Bare-bum and I hit it off right away in the hallowed corridors of our boarding house on the major highway of a majorly dreary upper-class suburb on Sydney's leafy North Shore … the kind where coiffed mums and their fufu dogs leave their sprawling designer homes in their shiny jeep cherokees to drop off beribbonned pony-tailed gals in royal blue blazers at the ancient gates and manicured lawns of very expensive schools just like the one we went to (actually ... all the mums I knew worked and cooked and loved and hurt ... and drove 1982 ford sedans ... and they weren't plastic at all ... but some of their little girls were little princesses!).

Yeah yeah. We were boarders and we lived it, played it, dressed it up, chowed it down, ran amok and grew up together, sometimes painfully, never too shyly, boarders - always near each other, in front of each other, alongside each other.

And it's just over a decade since we left ... a time of: sunned up teenage leggage sprawling in our blue tunics on the boarders lawn; the midnight foodie gorges and illegal tv; the heads-down study hardies and urgent all-nighters; the slamming doors and cutting tears; lots of tears, mostly me-me-me ones and lonely ones and homesick ones ... but also tears for others - the tears that tell you salt can't sting like missing can; the haircuts in the shower and home&away on brown milk-stained cushions; blubbery phone calls to mums in faraway places and postcards from dads who seemed even further; toast on the heater and one spoon of quik; honey and weetbix facials and smoking teabags graduating to puffing fags in the corner park; communical waxing sessions in the common room and a deep clinical analysis of folicles, pimples, bums and boobs; hysterical laughs and practical jokes ... a relief of the stress and tension that growing up and getting smarter brings; meeting boys for rumby fumbles and silver handbags in the city; always conferring and discussing and ruminating and prophecising; always dreaming and wishing and idolising and imagining; always wanting the end of school, the end of summer, the end of being a minor, just the end of that time so that the rest of our time could begin.

Somehow bare-bum kept me grounded (and still does in ways even she doesn't suspect). Such a person! The kind everyone wants to be friends with - and she picked me. And there she was (and still is), so beautiful and fit and hard-working and a little to the left - just enough to be vibrant and open-minded and non-judgmental - rare qualities in any person, let alone a girl in an all-girls school. And maybe that's why I love her so much - because she's never expected me to be anything other than what I am, never judged my folly, always lauded my success. And that's the way family loves, not friends. And she is, my family, I mean. And at school, it was what she had - just an open, disarming, daring innocence. That fresh-faced rudeness of someone totally unaware of her own glow.

Yeah - we had some laughs ricebag and bare-bum!! And a whole truckload of memories … the kind where she has total recall of the things I'd rather forget … the kind you'd never trade because if she doesn’t remember them, noone will. The very personal, the very best, the very biased kind.

And so its been a few years since school ... and very few of them have been spent in the same country for ricebag and bare-bum. But phones and photos have kept us parallel and I am just so proud to call her my mate. Thinking on those bus-rides we shared to Orange ... day-long train rides to country parties ... 4 hour car rides to parties and even longer ones to picnics ... housing me homeless in camperhole ... and that lovely summer of '97 when bare-bum camped on my langley floor at college - a whole perfect youthful silly season of unbroken beerage and kissing the wrong boys ... entire seasons of talking and months of absence. It's been a real journey, knowing this woman ... and I am totally in it for the long haul - what an utter privilege!!

Today is bare-bum's birthday. That beautiful, surprising, realist … turns another year older. And I am counting down the minutes until I see her again in just 9 short days!

Here's to you BBC!!! ... just remember to FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS ...

not so long ago the lovely brave bare-bum packed herself and her man and went off west west north western australia to work in mining country and live in the incomperable pilbara ... here are some of her photos a la tom price country

dreaming on the ides of march

Yesterday was the ides of march (from the other JC - see "Et tu Brute") … yesterday was a day like any other except it ended with a long long meal between two long time friends of mine … and I know one will never sit with the other agin … too much history and not enough distance means something ended on the ides. And for ricebag, I think its ok. Not every relationship should continue just because just because …

So I went home a lot tired and a little wiped out. And proceeded to have a dream … a dream where my boyfriend of one month (dream boyf) proposed to me over the phone and I said yes and all of a sudden the wedding was here and I was dressed and people were arriving and I had a moments hesitation and then there I am in his arms and it all seems perfect and at the back of my head I am thinking … its ok - if it doesn’t work out, we can get a divorce.

Is that how it happens??

Never had a wedding dream before where I was the broid - might have something to do with the fact that in 9 days time I am flying down to Sydney to attend 2 weddings for 2 of my greatest friends!! I am so excited to be there to witness the most special occasion of 2 of the most special people and to see all my oldies and goodies, my bum-chums and fag-hags, and to fall back in the lap of the city that I love the best. It's all looking blue skies and I just feel so very fortunate to be a part of the good things that are happening in the lives of people I respect and love.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

live simply

ricebag walking this burdened stretch : kerala, india : 2004 : musty days and too thin garments : spicy mama k's vege fray : long sunsets and too-beautiful too-instant people : capoeira at dawn and tokes for tea : pineapples under umbrellas and mangoes in the hammock : long days with spindly sole singers winding trails during black-out nights : mosquito coils and candles : sandy feet and sunning skin : fresh and calm

Someone forwarded me one of those yaddayadda forwards ... send onto 15 of your best friends or get struck by lightening etc

Except this one said (at the very end, after all the extending fluff):

Live simply.

Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

Leave the rest to God.

Words to live by.

Friday, March 03, 2006

a love letter from my sister : the dilettante, the life lover, the future fighter ... babysister said ...

In my absence ... my BabySister, ricebag's only sister, the very real, our most-adored, my most-missed ... has also been absent ... our living doll in Tokyoyoyo ...

Recently BabySister posted this to me on the blog:

shinjuku's neon lights twinkle in anticipation
muji is waiting idley for you the shopper who understands the true symbolism of no brands
udon beckons in steamy wafts
but most of all:
BabySister is calling you like a long lost prayer

dont be pissed off with me
the one who loves you most, yet knows you least, who longs for you the deepest, but suffers from verbal diarrhea & continuous bouts of unpoetic self-expression, for am i not the one whom God sent to protect you - you, the fighting female warrior, the joy bringer, the kiss craver, the defender of all my childhood fears

and so the years have passed and what did i have of you when you went wondering in the desert and trampling through mangroves to end up passing out on distant mountains in a strange mans land? i had periodic emails and 8 hour candles to burn through the night as i prayed 'dear God, her soul do keep...

me, the insenstitive soul who drifts between her 58.2sq, meter flat and to a dead-end-job surrounded by pathetic sallerymen and on the odd occasion where her beautiful and so evidently wonderful yet unfortunately single flatmate MrGuy takes her dancing or more often than not drinks through the night with her- so that she can release her soul and let go of the ache.

how could you possibley be pissed off with me? as i am consumed by jelousy of the multitudes who must know your different faces better than I? as i live vicariously through the words of strangers who have travelled, shared, felt liberated, loved, lost, gained and cried with you? to step into their shoes...i read their replies and wonderful that they know so well the my better half ... the half that i am loving for so long and from so far away.

i listen to tracey chapman's 'the promise' and imagine you listening as i sing to you (karaoke is far from overated). but you know above all others that are here - its just that here i am free to do as i like, go where i please unmolested and unmollycoddled. here i can be.

and i love you, i love you i love you. i love you for the Ricebag i never knew, the big sister that read to me and rocked me as i slept, i loved the young girl that was sent away as a babe and returned as a woman. and i love the woman now who strives, wants more, and settles for less than the best. you will not find love, but love will seek you out and adore and worship you for the woman that you are and the person that you so painfully need to be. you are yet to be loved in the way you deserve and you will be - by one who understands that passion, dedication and the relinquishing of ones soul should only be done for one as one as deserving as YOU.

i carry you with every breath i take and every essence of my soul, i live to learn from you and take the love from you that is mine.


So can you imagine how much I love this baby. yeah yeah. Its history. And blood. And all the reasons it should ... and some of the ones it hardly ever it is. This girl rocks. She is my living example and she should know by now I am so much in awe of her. Our family's treasure. Our family's pride. Does she even know how much she means to us.

All I am asking BabySister, is that you come home. Soon. Everybody wants you. We all need you. Just need to see your face and bask in that smile and remember how good it feels to get a hug from the one who loves more than she keeps.

what lae felt like

A drive out to Butibum ... at the black sand beach in the cove at the opposite end of the lagoon. Roast chicken and day old bread ... lots of pikininis and white wine spritzers on the edge of the old wreck.

introducing ... the 3 loves of my summer

Thursday, March 02, 2006

me with my 3

... hey babies ... aunty ricebag misses you!! even when you shit me, it somehow makes me love you more ... remember me ...

i have i have i have

Tigger outfits ... Barbie backpacks ... twirling skirts ... that's how you know it's all in the pink.

I have 3 nieces. The daughters of two of my first cousins - CRU and Muzz. And they are the loves of my last summer ... my long-time away was spent mooning and glowing and playing and being crabby and lovey and big aunty ricebag.

God they killed me! I sit here dead and gone from sheer joy at their complete insouciance, their bubbling voices and edifying faith in me and the ones they call theirs.

And didn't you know that baby-sitting/mummying is a serious full-time job. And I love you JA with your third on the way ... thinking of you in Newcastle and knowing all the way over here what a wonderful job you're doing.

Never having spent real time with little kids, these past months were strange and beautiful and rejuvenating. And exhausting! Baby angels can be hard work ... lots of dancing on mattresses; playing stuck-in-the-mud- monster; being mermaid in the pool; making cupcakes and lemonade; feeding the peacocks; hiding the snooker balls; turning off(!!) Nickelodeon; cutting out paper butterflies on saki paper; playing basketball with wings; singing a whole new generation into bananarama ... and that's just at home! ... for me the best part was sleeping together, all cubs lined under my wing, fists and legs and hugging night-time arms all askew ... yes, it's not science, it's just play. Play.

But what got me the most was how much it hurts letting them love you. Thats what really killed me!