Wednesday, March 21, 2007

bye woo : in india

Heya lovers.

The past few days have been an absolute whirlwind and I will summarise soon.

Just letting you know I had the most fortunate opportunity to cross paths with my Woo here in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India these past 2 days. Woo and her Kzee boy and we could have been in Paddington for what the world means. Slightly bizarre even though I hadn't seen her in (exactly!!) one year - and here we meet in India.

Love you baby and Berlin is going to love you too.


about a boy

Babysister is going to meet A Boy. I know this much is true. I just know it. And the country of her birth comes close to mind.

Love you baby. Here's to falling hard and fast and worrying about the fall-out later. Later. Later. Later. Here's to taking a risk and accepting all the guts with the glory. I got your back baby so run with it and I will follow from the sidelines - just in case.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

back to basics : ricebag in india


hello lovers.

been busy busy since my rant against racism ... which i wrote at changi airport on my way out of singapore, leaving bear and brad and sun and shops and even zara - all for an indian odyssey

and now i write to you from delhi. from a conference. with 185 young leaders from 33 of the 50 something commonwealth countires. wow. you never saw so much potential and passion and smarts and desire and ambition in one room. and then there is me.

so made fast friends with my pacific crew and the carribean mobs and alla that and having beers on a sunken rooftop in little kabul with a blasted swimming pool and kingfisher beers ... cool delhi nights and warm delhi days ... its been a time of contrasts and the real part of the trip hasn't even begun yet - tomorrow we all leave each other for other indian rural and urban an distant places and am looking so very forward

for me, it was a bit of a funny feeling. returning. i got back and paharganj found me and how did i feel? i think i was wrong when i said "i am indian" - and please understand this is a tough admission for me to make.

i am not indian. i am ricebag. i am ricebag. i am ricebag. i am ME. i am not the romanticised perfect past of me. i am ME. over here. over there. over everywhere.

so i think i must be maturing. coz i just don't know how i got to be not indian anymore. and to be me instead. when in india. just like when without.

so i am sad. because the indian in me died in its sleep. but i am glad because out of the shadows is coming the person i am when noone else is looking.

love from delhi


hey lady

happy bloody birthday bare-bum - turning 30!! thankyou Lord.

biggest kisses.

you know i love you over there in cyclone-land

as ever


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

why the money in png stinks : please don't shit on my country or talk shit about it while you are feeding off it

last saturday night pinky u went to dinner with a whole bunch of people ricebag knows. something happened. a conversation ensued which is still slightly surreal to me, although its not unexpected given some of the racist attitudes of some people, who are not papua new guinea citizens, that ricebag knows. definitely NOT all - just a few. mostly the ones who have been here the longest and somehow think it is ok to talk like this - how could ANYONE ever think it was appropriate to say that the money in papua new guinea literally stinks and that is because the papua new guinean citizens on their payday put the money up their bums/assholes/anus/backsides. HELLO?? how direspectful is that? how crude. how ignorant. how rude.

racism is not ok in varying degrees. ie saying 'oh - thats not really racist' or it's not 'extremely racist' doesn't cut it. a "small" racist slur or a "simple" racist joke or a truly horrifying racist crime - it's all symptoms of the same disease - IGNORANCE at best and ultimately, hatred. and i, for one, can no longer tolerate it.

papua new guinean citizens in this country WORK HARD and with DIGNITY and with HONOUR. papua new guinean citizens in this country are DISADVANTAGED every single day because of those (both citizens and non-citizens) who take advantage and screw both the people and their environment and resources over through corruption and because of greed. papua new guinean citizens in this country are expected to SURVIVE despite the completely UNREALISTIC COST OF LIVING imposed on us by a cash economy and import regime and shitty trade deals ... all things imposed outside the average papua new guinean citizens' control. despite all of this, papua new guinean citizens are NOT beggars in their own country. we are one of the few nations on the planet in which the people still 'own' the tribal lands from which they came and therefore, always have the option of returning home and living off the land. in fact, in this country, 85% of people subsist in the rural economy.

and just in case you didn't realize, papua new guinean citizens, on their payday, do not put money up their bums.

what papua new guinean citizens don't need is for people who are not papua new guinean citizens to come here and INSULT and DENIGRATE and RIDICULE us whilst they are happy to make their own profit in this land.

i am not railing just against the conversation - i am also really trying to get papua new guinean citizens to understand - MORE NOW THAN EVER BEFORE that we, papua new guinean citizens, need to say that that kind of talking, those kind of views are COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE!!!

it is NEVER worth keeping the peace if you LOSE your respect for your self and your heritage. if we dont RESPECT ourselves NOONE else EVER will. and sitting there and letting this slide is akin to saying its ok. and it is NEVER OK. ALWAYS ALWAYS STICK UP FOR YOURSELF - especially when noone else can or will or knows how or is afraid to.

i propose a system of ZERO TOLERANCE.

as a papua new guinea citizen with expatriate education i come across these people daily. up until recently i thought you had to compromise your ethics to survive in this place and definitely to thrive. but that is not true.

i, myself have been the subject of racism - all over the world. it always comes as more of a shock in my own country ... it seems some people who are not papua new guinean citizens think i am black on the outside and white on the inside and therefore must be 'open' to the uneducated and racist conversations that describe other papua new guinean citizens as being like and living like and acting like and thinking like ANIMALS.

other than being incredibly coarse and racist, its incredibly HYPOCRITICAL. many of these people get completely DEFENSIVE if i make a negative comment about their country of origin (not a racist comment but political/social/hostorical commentary) and yet they never think twice of IMPUGNING my people, our cities, our culture, our hopes, our land. and all at the time that they are happy to make money out of it. don't forget - thats papua new guinean money which stinks because papua new guinean citizens stick it up their bums on payday.

so why did i associate with them here? even though i suspected ramblings of racism masked as humour, i ignored it. png is a small country and port moresby a small city, you 'make do' with what is available. and that means the people too.

well, that's all over. my zero tolerance regime kicked in a little while back and whilst my social circle is smaller. i feel a LOT healthier. and un-fucking-compromised.

it pains me because the people who said those things are NOT EVIL - they are ignorant - and it's hard because the ricebag knows some of those people probably have other good, even great, qualities - however, thinking the way they do and then saying it out loud and thinking its ok to be vocalise racist thoughts as fact is not ok - and in the 'game of life', for ricebag, it completely OVERRULES all other personal positive qualities people might possess. there should NEVER be a time when sitting in a public restaurant in papua new guinea at a table with papua new guinea citizens makes it ok to suggest that other papua new guinea citizens are so DESPERATE and FOUL and FILTHY that they put papua new guinea currency into their butt-cracks/assholes/anuses etc etc and that THAT is why the money here stinks.


help me.

now - on pinku u's blog, some people said papua new guinean citizens are ALSO racist. and that is 100% for sure! no doubt about it. racism is a crappy and a universal human condition. but this rant and that conversation on saturday night is not about the racist attitudes of papua new guinean citizens. its about people who are not papua new guinean citizens and who come to this country; bitch about it the entire time they are here; and act like they are doing us a favour while they are "surviving" the incredible shitty experience of living here. guess what? we do NOT need your commerce or your sacrifice. so please fuck off. we have enough of our own shitty, racist, greedy papua new guinean citizens in this country and we certainly do NOT need to import any more people like that. so go back wherever it is you came from. and NEVER say you 'survived' papua new guinea. WE ARE SURVIVING YOU!!

and if you think our money stinks. you MUST love the smell and the taste and the feel of stinking money coz you are still here. making more. so you can go home and buy stuff with it while you tell people who are the citizens of your own country about how crap it was in papua new guinea, but even though the money stank from being put up papua new guinean citizens arses, you still wanted it so much you shovelled and shoved into your ravenous wallets. you know what stinks. you stink. you REEK. you make me sick. you act WITHOUT HONOUR and WITHOUT RESPONSIBILITY. YOU ARE GUESTS IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA and NEVER BLOODY FORGET THAT.

without you, we will be fine. without papua new guinea - who are you?


the last weekend


been a whirlwind since i blogged last. friday night was spentat client drinks - helps that th client is the only brewery in png. followed by fajitas and champagne at my house with pinky u and jaybird and beau. wow. candles on the balcony, breeze and mixers. finally we lollopped out at 2.30am to the intrepid tribal den where much fun was had in the pool room. it was a random night made by random friends ... that saw ricebag imbibing from 5pm to 5am. nice.

saturday was spent running around and getting ma hair braided. pinky u and i sat on the balcony of a house of twins where girls of 2 and 3 and sometimes 4 stood around ricebag and plaited like the fire was coming. ... 5 hours later and ricebag has a medusa head. nice.

ricebag then went outie out out. out to a farewell party for the british high commissioner. and there she had very VERy much fun and someone she met even asked for her number. very nice.

then of course lamana called. oh dear. and she spent midnight to 4am screaming ... during very animated arguments. which she won. of course. all of them. nice.

she then took her old pal The Chef home and CRASHED. only to get up on sunday for a funeral. and then spend the day with Shell. and the evening on her balcony with Shell and pinky u and some very spicy fish. sitting quietly and staring at the most amazing night sky, morphing and changing colours with the winds and the threat of rain. you never saw such puce!! nice

needless to say my body was wracked ... prodigou amount of alcohol consumption and lack of sleep ... not so nice. what was nice though was packing on sunday for my overseas trip the next day. very nice.

Friday, March 09, 2007

the office

Hola peeps.

So some of you been wondering what ricebag does all day. Other than staring out my window at the glittering harbour ...

Ok. Been back BACK in this country almost 2 years and in an actual real office for the last 12 months ... an office where I turn up and work and where I like turning up and I like working (yikes). Lots and lots of air-conditioning. Lots of shhhhhhhh, noise that is not actually noise, humming that lies just under the radar - not sure exactly what it is - leather-backed swivel seats rolling across marbled carpet; computer hard-drives whirring some electronic pah; the slick sleeves of flipping folders and files; ink-jet printers emitting paper emissaries signalling the work due now, due tomorrow, due yesterday .

Haven't been in a proper shh shh office as a permanent worker bee for like ... ever ... and am just now getting that the shh shh isn't just inside my head.

This week through my shh shh office ricebag:

  • tuesday: perved on the waterboys replacing the weekly glugglug machine right outside my door
  • thursday: was mesmirized by the intense black clouds converging from the sea and bringing in horizontal rain that came crashing against my window-wall. beautiful.
  • tuesday: drove straight to OurHero's house after work for a feed with the family and LAX and to be reminded without words how loved I am whilst being given the spanish inquisition on all current affairs in the life of ricebag
  • friday: was harassed by a pmv full of pmv-people who pounded on the top of my ancient nissan sunny battleaxe as the old bat stalled in the middle of morning traffic ... all a ricebag could do was holler
  • monday: speaking of which, the battleaxe has decided to stop co-operating and now the engine cuts out every time I am driving in 1st or 2nd gear - I cannot tell you how dangerous this is, except to say I really did have a near-death experience about 20 minutes ago on my way back to work from lunchie (don't worry, the car is going into shop on Monday) and am still be shakey
  • tuesday: cleaned my office from top corner to bottom corner in my high heels (the first time in 6 months - spring-cleaning I mean, not the in-heels bit)
  • yesterday: went down to the ground floor to visit my dentist of 18 years so he could drill another hole in my skull
  • thursday: had a press conference with the British High Commissioner for a wee thing for ricebag
  • thursday: thanked the French High Commissioner for the vintage champagne and gazpacho at his house the night before
  • wednesday: snuck out to buy a watermelon (FRESH!! yumyum) for friendly bbq
  • mon, tues, wed: ate oreo biscuits at my desk for morning tea until wednesday when they ran out
  • today: had lunch in the cafeteria across the road and yelled at the VERY VERY ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude Chinese lady who was SO RUUUUUUUUUUDE.
  • monday: the cramel strap on my caramel slides broke so hopped one-legged to the boy on the buai corner outside my building who stitches shoes for less than a dollar
  • yesterday: sent an email to all the ravos confirming xmas in july

And in between I managed to do some stuff that I actually get paid to do.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

bird and frog refuse to lose

Pinky U showed ricebag this site which is a webcounter to this webpage and it's free - so I signed up 2 days ago and it's been quite interesting, seeing who is peeking in and how they got here.

I thought I'd let you in on just a few of the more interesting Google searches which brought people from around the world to this blog in the last 48 hours alone:

  • Quebec, Canada searched "feels like something rolling up and down my oesophagus" and came here
  • California, USA searched "how to make a baby roller coaster" and came here
  • Pennsylvania, USA searched "island boys bums" and came here
  • Dakar, Singapore searched the words "advice for never giving up" and came here - hang in there Singapore!!
  • Washington, USA searched "what to do when limerance is gone" and they came here
  • Bronx, USA searched "wung it" and also "i wung it" and came here
  • Kent, UK searched "rules for the happy secreataries" and came here
  • Auckland, New Zealand searched "how do you make tapa cloth ink" and came here
  • Auckland, New Zealand searched "shazza zulu" and came here - hello?? I made that up!
  • Kent, UK searched "preteen heaven" and came here - hmmmmmm wonder what they were looking for
  • Xiamen, China searched "fuck babysister" and came here - know what they were looking for! that's just rude!
  • Missouri, USA searched "island dresses and mumus" and came here
  • California, USA searched "bird and frog refuse to lose" and came here

Hello? What are these some of these people searching for? I am slightly worried. People looking for happy babies and happy secretaries, for never giving up and keeping limerance, for island boys bums and birds and frogs that refuse to lose. Oi vei.

Everyone else who visited this blog in the last 48 hours already knew how to get here or linked to this site via Masalai and PNG Life.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

missing mymama

I miss MyMama. Missing!!

She rang me at 4am today (hello people - 4am!!) ... and we talked for ... ages.

MyMama has been gone long way south now for just over 2 months. And I miss her. And it doesn't matter that we've been consistently apart since she left me at the boarding house that very long long January day when I was only 10 - I miss her as much now as I did throughout my boardng school years, throughout my burgeoning years, my blossoming ones and the bitchy ones. Before, I missed her because she didn't get to witness some of the most meaningful events of my life ... now I miss her because I don't get to witness hers and really, because I need her. I need her to remind me who I am when I forget and to tell me my baby stories and to hold my cheeks in her hands and I need her support and her love her love her love.

What has changed is that I am much better now at coping without her - but I still miss her. Muchly. Like every day in some little way that reminds me that there are some things that only mums know how to make better.

Monday, March 05, 2007

missing pinky u

alas alack miss pinky u is leaving our shores. well, i am leaving before her, but when i get back she will be shopping for thermal underwear somewhere closer to antarctica than here. and it just hit me.

we love pinky u. not likey like but love.

pinky u was born with the loving gene - generous of spirit and soul and just a big bloody heart really. best thing about pinky u is she always makes you feel at home - and this, trust me, is a very rare thing indeed. everyone pulled into her circle feels cared for. i think that is simply the most amazing personal quality to have.

so i think something she taught me that i really needed to learn was to make my home where-ever i am rather than the ricebag tendency to "survive" a situation until one ends and another begins. and i am. trying anyway.

and the thing she taught me that was the most important was to live live live. not to save living like money in the bank to be used at a later date or for another occasion. but spend it, live it, breathe it, share it, give it away and don't expect anything back. all the time. all the time. and i learnt that from her by observation.

pinky started the next quarter century of her life last week and that entry was celebrated in some style with pinky u making from-scratch vegie pizzas with perfect dough (yes!) with lovely vegies from goroka brought down by miss low and an unstoppable punch(!!) which was quite effective (am sure i had an anaesthetized tongue there at one stage) and best of all left us without overhang the next morn - purely magic.

and it will be sad not to have the best SH-bumming curry-cooking vodka-slushy-making galpal around but i am so so happy for her as this chapter closes and the next begins. pinky is getting married and to someone who is so lovely its not truly believable ... so of all the y chromosome carrying humans in the world she someohow found The One that fits and ricebag knows that its going to be a very special life that they make together.

so png was blessed to have had pinkness in its life. and me too.

me toooooooooooooooooooooooo.

pinky u and i have been through some changes together this past 9 months since we met. like learning driving. like learning to leave excess behind at SH. like learning goroka show. like learning cairns. like learning when youre in a small place you can sometimes be compromised by people around you but that geography makes it hard to escape so you deal and then move on - quietly if you can - and leave the rest behind. like learning that a sunday afternoon in the rain at the coolest (and remotest) pub in moresby can be quite nice indeed ... and of course, for popping our tattoo virginity together.

and so, as i take your leave pinky u, i say thankyou. for giving me more than i gave you but thinking that we're even stevens anyway.

Friday, March 02, 2007

what the

Mr Howard - what the fuck is wrong with you??!!

Thursday, March 01, 2007


EEEEEEEEEEK. It's the first day of the 3rd month of what I still feel is like the Brand New year. Only it's not still brand new and I am turning into an Old Lady.


Around 2am last Sunday morning (or late late Saturday night, if you like), I was sitting on the pink balcony of lovely FijiBoy's apartment in his brother-ful highrise in town and having milo sans sucrose and laughing, laughing my guts up. Surrounded by people who belong to FijiBoy who know who they are even if they don't know where they're going. And all of them are young. And sweet. And just good people really.

And I was thinking why is ricebag this churning yearning mess inside? Why cannot she see the beauty of of a live experience whilst it's happening instead of sometime after it occurred. And how can she not know that her worth is NOT made up singularly of the negative sum calculation based on the gaps created from missed opportunities, lost loving and unfollowed promise.

Why cannot I remember that people and lovers are the sum of the whole score with all our fractions lumped together - those fractions, pitchers of hope and fear, markets of understanding and committments, novels of solitude and plenty, but mostly the fractions of action - actions we engaged in, initiated, effected ... the things we brought and stuff we shed and the way we made other people feel ... the words we wrote and the coffee we drank and the lies we told and the pleases we said and the smiles we made on the faces of others ... we are the memory someone else has of us and the prayer someone else prays for us and the tears someone else sheds for us and the desire someone else feels for us ... we are the doors slammed and the toast burnt and the watermark and the unravelling thread and the trailing perfume ... we are the daydream and the champagne and the loose change and the stolen kiss ... we are the working hands, the sweat, the pride, the rash, the dirt ... we are the breast, the bone, the nose, the hip ... all those things, all those moments, all the parts, all the divisions, all the touch, all the lack of touch, all the lonely and some of the rich ... and mostly we are the love that we didn't always deserve. That's the stuff that fills the gaps left by other-things-that-did-not-happen-instead. And (maybe) that's the stuff we're made of.

90% of ricebag is still feeling like the rest of her life is about to start (!!!!!!) ... I know I know ... Crazy Old Lady. That 90% says resign everything to Passion and Art and A Very Real Dream. But it's that little 10% left over that holds a lotta lotta sway and It says that the times, they are a changing. Ricebag's daydreams now consist partly of vague ideas of getting a dog and buying a house and upgrading the car ... wow!! How incredibly pedestrian I would have said just less than a year ago ... and I still feel that. Not as a judgement on others, more a sign of ricebag putting up the boots on my "true promise" in some small way.

My old Dreaming Self still wants me to do something Reckless that everyone else can say "I'm glad you can do that but it's not for me" as they go back to their goodgood income-tax-paying lives while ricebag jumps in the deepend without lifejacket ... that Dreaming Self wants to make her Big Dream come real ... the problem is, that bloody big dream is fucking changing itself and that's why ricebag is squealing ....... EEEEEEEEEEEK.

because one can

I had dinner with someone relatively new to ricebag the other night - JayBird. She is pretty goddam stunning PNG lass-of-the-vega but better than all of that she has a real true burning fire and passion inside her for PNG, for the environment of PNG - and it's pretty contagious, her fever, and I hope all those people sitting out there cracking a buai and sitting on the curb waiting for someone else to clean up this eco-mess, that they catch a whiff of what's going around and get off their bums and do something about it rather than resign themselves to the untruth that one person cannot make a difference.

Because one can.

And I tell you what - here's a big-up to you JayBird and having Dreams and having Passion and living life like no-one else is going to live it for you. It's a pretty scary path this one, with no room for tunring back so I am so grateful it feels like we understand that we are on the same kind of journey - the one without roadmaps or signposts or sometimes, even without roads. And it seems the only consolation in all of the "unknown" is the knowledge that nothing that is being created or made or dreamt or belived - none of that belongs to anyone else - it's yours. And THAT is why doing anything else feels like suffocating.

So breathe.

And one of the coolest parts of our entire conversation was when she told me about the leatherback turtles - the ancient mariners which come to Madang in PNG to nest and then travel all the way back across the length and breadth of la mer South Pacifica to the west coast of the USA ... only to return. To nest. And then she said Ricebag is a Turtle. And I am. I have been. Travelling along, away, far away across and abroad and along and about and I keep returning. To nest. And so is JayBird.

And maybe we all are. In a way. Maybe we are all 65 million years old and we take 50 years to reach maturity and procreate and maybe for all of us our habitat spans the globe, we all are only 1 to surivive out of 1000. And maybe we are all, maybe we are also, all, becoming extinct.


I neeeeeeeeed CHOCOLATE!!

I need gooooooood chocolate. Badly.

And sadly.

Only women all around the world will understand.

next quarter

hepi hepi bondei pinky u!!

you have been a glittering life-line in the dimming times and a wonderful anchor through the rest.

here's to you and the next quarter century

love ya guts and looking forward to lots of future playing!