Category Archives: TRIBALMYSTIC BLOG

Mother’s Creations – Poem


Handmade by Freda Kauc – acrylic and wool bag. (sold).

Mother

JK.Leahy  – Poem, Memoir

A wrinkled dusky pink sheet cradles a flowered meri blouse, a laplap and a bible – a word or two in the bible is for me, she echoes…

Room scented with sea, woods, coconut oil, eucalyptus and basil

A lotto ticket to set me up for life (her farewell and a surprise gift)

“If I won,” she always said, “I would let you decide what to do with the money”

We had laughed and discussed the possibilities

On the bed, an italic old-style farewell, handwritten in a very neat prose, mixing pidgin and dialect –

“Pawi – my child, I will miss being here…”

My mother was in a plane and gone

Twelve months threaded colourful bilums, gardens, and stories,

bringing me back to the first ten years of my life.

An assortment of brown hue – sculptured gum branches stacked for winter’s fires

Through the window, her many familiar artwork marked my surroundings, reminding me of her even bossy ways

-purple and green kaukau leaves sitting neatly on mounds

“You have sweet potatoes for winter”, her voice reminds me.

The large elephant leaves of pumpkin spreads and sprout golden flowers – a promise for more food.

But, I miss her telling me her stories.

Freda Kauc mobile phone bags.

See below some of my mother’s creations. All her bilums featured here were sold before she left Brisbane for Papua New Guinea. If anyone is interested to purchase my mother’s bags – please write to: joycelinleahy@gmail.com

Freda Kauc bilum – handbag.
Freda Kauc handbag and mobile phone bag.

 

Reality versus Fiction


Reality versus Fiction
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Watercolour image courtesy of haruki-murakami.com

You have not posted on this blog for ten days, (Oh my! Was it that long?) How time flies when you are pursuing reality; trying to get as much out of my mother for a memoir after 50 years or so of your life and finding that you still can’t get her to talk about EVERYTHING, applying for many jobs and getting no response and it is ok when it should not be (because you are worried about your mortgage and your bills and what your family is going to eat), trying to stay positive while the news about how your country (PNG) is going to waste away at the hands of politicians, university students being shot by police because they want to voice what is right, and another bright young student loses his life to Malaria when he could have been saved, receiving sad news that one of your heroes (Mohamed Ali) has died…and the list goes on.  

Many writers are faced with reality versus fiction every day. Sometimes it can be hard to separate the two, and it makes you think hard on what is real and what is not. I also found it interesting that my perception of some important things I remembered when I was a child was different from what my mother told me today. Sometimes, in our recent discussions, I even realised it was not even the reality versus fiction, but a different or two conflicting points of view – hers and mine. Perhaps I found myself thinking too hard about this topic in the past few weeks that I needed to write something about it. 

Anyway, I’m rambling, but glad to be writing here again and I have a piece here from my friend Teresa Buisman about 1Q84 written by Haruki Murakami which I think is relevant to what I am writing about. A few days ago, Teresa watched the documentary I posted on tribalmystic blog about Haruki Murakami and his work of fiction. 

I was surprised to learn that Teresa had read 1Q84, a trilogy I bought for my son Nathan two Christmas’s ago, but he never read the book so I read it myself. The only complaint I have about this book is that, it really strained my finger muscles while reading it in bed, (it is of 1300 pages and heavy) and if you are into this kind of story, be prepared to lock yourself in a room where no-one can disturb you for five days. If you ask me if I slept at all – I probably didn’t, but I can’t remember anything else except the story. This piece on reality was written two years ago as Teresa was reading the book.

On Reality by Teresa Buisman

I’m reading a book called 1Q84 by Japanese author Haruki Murakami – I love his writing; it gives me food for thought. One of the things that he’s making me think about this time is the perception of reality. The book is set in an alternative 1984 and whilst some things are the same as “normal” other things are completely different.

For instance, there are two moons in the sky – one is the regular moon as we know it, the other is a smaller green moon that sits beside it.  You would think that people would notice such a change in the night sky but it seems that the majority don’t.  They keep living their normal lives, going to work, doing the shopping, moving through their days as they always have.  Our heroes, however, are experiencing changes at the core of their reality. I don’t want to spoil the book for those of you who want to read it but it struck me that reality is perception just as much as perception is reality – does that make sense? What is real for some people is far-fetched and out of reach for others.

Look around you, there are examples everywhere. Take the lady on Hay Street this morning: a very chilly morning for Perth at around 2oC.  She’s there on the street with her little sign asking for your spare change. The sign tells you she’s homeless, suffering with MS and has no money. She’s got a blanket over her knees, she’s shivering and dishevelled. Her eyes are dim pools of hopelessness, she’s given up. This is her reality.  Does she ever see that there could be another reality for her?

As I pass I drop a few coins in her collection box, hoping that other people will also be kind and that she’ll find warmth and comfort to help her through the chilly days ahead.  I don’t know what to say to her, she’s from a different world to me as I head off to my corporate job in a swish glass and marble building with warm drinks on tap and wonderful views down to the Swan River.

Do I feel guilty about the relative affluence of my reality? Perhaps I think I have worked hard and deserve my good fortune? Or perhaps I feel bad for only giving her enough coins to buy herself a coffee instead of slipping her a quick $50 that I probably wouldn’t even miss? Or maybe I just take it for granted and don’t think about it at all?  But whichever way I look at it, the MS lady and I live in very different realities – in the same town – working in the same street.

Do we make our luck, our own reality, or is it fate – destiny? Those of us who are fortunate enough to live in the affluence of the western world have the opportunity to make our own reality.  But what about the MS lady? What’s her story? She’s from this same westernised affluent society isn’t she, so what makes her reality so different?

Reality is very subjective.

 

Merry Christmas from Tribalmystic Blog


Merry Christmas to all my readers, family and friends. Thank you for all your contributions in making this blog special. I wish you all a  wonderful 2016. Here is one of my favourite short videos of singing Melanesian  children.

We Are Doing It For Allison This Friday – Rally in Brisbane to Challenge Court’s decision on Baden-Clay sentence


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Public Domain Image: Allison

We are doing it for Allison” is the video produced by family and friends of Allison Baden Clay to call on Queensland people to support a rally this Friday in Brisbane.

Already, the media is expecting thousands of people in Brisbane to join the  Allison Baden Clay rally to challenge last week’s court decision to down-grade the murder conviction of her husband, Gerard Baden Clay – to manslaughter.

All Brisbane residents who are against domestic and violence against women  – are asked to meet  at 12:15pm, King George Square on Friday, 18 December.

Some of my readers may remember the story of the mother-of-three I posted on this blog in August. Her body was found at Kholo Creek, Anstead on July 2012.  This creek is less than five minutes drive from our house.

At that time, her husband had already told police he did not know of her whereabouts. Baden-Clay, 45, reported his wife missing in April 2012 and her body was found 10 days later. During the trial last year, he denied killing his wife. There is a lot of media coverage of Allison’s death and you can read the ABC timeline on the events of her death. Gerard Baden Clay was found guilty on July 15, 2014 and convicted for murder. He was serving that sentence until his appeal and the court’s decision last week to give him a lesser penalty.

Allison comes from Brookfield, one of several local communities in  Western Suburbs and our family property was bought from Baden Clay’s real estate business over four years ago. Please share this post and if you can make it – see you at the rally.

Brisbane Times News

The Ownership of the Yam Hole – My Oral History


The Yam Hole – JK.Leahy memoir series

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A yam garden in PNG. Public Domain image.

Currently, the case of the Yam Hole (Ambisi) is an ongoing dispute amongst our people in Wagang Village, Lae, Papua New Guinea. The national government is negotiating with the villagers to build a large fisheries wharf on my village. Wagang is a small coastal village less than 20 minutes drive to the heart of Lae City. This is the story about the site of the proposed development which is referred to as Ambisi, or the Yam Hole. The Yam Hole is my family’s inheritance, but due to foul play, the authorities have been negotiating with other people who have claimed to own the land referred to as the Yam Hole. With the permission of my Uncle Ahe Max Mambu, I am proud to tell you this oral history and a story about the Yam Hole as told by my late grandmother Geyam Baim to me. This story was told to my grandmother by her mother Geyamtausu Baim and her aunt Awelu Hampom. In one of the flash fiction stories I wrote in Monday’s Finish the Story, I made a reference to this story in Scatterings of the Blood River (Budac) and how a child was discovered.

My grandmother told this story almost every evening and in between other stories after our dinner. When I was 15, I presented the story of the Yam Hole to a large crowd of Lae City residents in the Lions Club Youth of the Year awards. It was in 1980. I represented Busu Provincial High School in the Lions Youth of the Year challenge. In the competition, an outstanding student was picked from all high schools and tertiary schools to give a five-minute original speech of cultural significance. After a gruelling week of interviews in an elimination process, the final test was to give a five-minute speech in front of business houses, leaders, and distinguished guests of the Lions Club (a large charity organisation) in a 3-course dinner event.

That evening, I borrowed a batik skirt, a white cotton blouse and a pair of sandals from my high school principles’s wife. I did not have anything of such quality and was specifically instructed that it was a high society gathering and I must not even wear slippers. Most children owned a pair of slippers or jandals, which we wore to school. None of my family members had any fancy clothes, let alone shoes of any kind. Despite not having anything smart to wear, my family was excited because I would make this speech about our ancestry. I tried to practice my speech in English because in Bukawac, I knew it by heart. It was after all, out family history.

My speech, although based on the Yam Hole and our family’s oral history; featured my great-grandmother and her sister and how they fought the white men/Australian administration and German missionaries to settle and remain in our village. The two sisters were not prepared to give this land away because it was fertile, had clean drinking spring water and completed with two large rivers circling the entire village portion of the land. Part of this land is where Lae city sits on and part is where our village is.

The Lions Club evening was also the evening I learnt to use knife and fork at a table for the first time. Each finalist Lions youth was sat at a table consisting of dignitaries and business people. Our conversations were also marked. I sat in my ‘borrowed’ clothes, the wrap skirt feeling too tight. I struggled to keep the slightly larger sandals on my feet with my napkin still on my lap while I carried on what seemed to be a normal polite conversation with very important strangers at my table. In front of me, on the huge white dinner plate, I tried to elegantly spear my dead cooked half-chicken while it gracefully danced on this huge white plate. I remembered, how crowded the table was with no room to move. It had too many flowers, candles, cutlery, glasses and people, while the food on the huge plates were in very small neat quantities. I could not really tell you which was scarier; the conversation, avoiding the glasses on the table, using the wrong cutlery, losing my borrowed skirt or shoe or catching and eating the dead chicken on the big white plate without getting any of the sauce on my white cotton borrowed blouse from the principle’s wife. I was very hungry, but I had to keep calm and keep it all together until I told the audience my oral history about the Yam Hole.

More on the Yam Hole later on this blog.

 

Garden Finds – What Is This Object’s Story?


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I have been slowly putting a collection of things I find in our garden together. These garden finds are only objects of my curiosity more than anything else. There are quite a few regular objects like an axe in the above picture and the knife below.  Every object has a story, just like people and places. We have lived in Bellbowrie house for over four years and the collection is slowly building up.

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Some of you may know I am a museum curator, so I tend to collect things and then I attempt to tell their story. However, even without my museum work, I am always curious to know the story about each of the things my sons and I find on the property. I have some stories to tell.

Recently however, I have been thinking that since I cannot research and find all the stories about each of my garden findings, I may write some short fiction instead. It sounds strange, but I have thought up some fiction you may want to read.

This month, I am busy writing for the NaNoWriMo, so hopefully, in December I will be freer to write some stories about my garden finds.

Let’s see what you make of these objects I have posted.  Please feel free to tell your story about these objects or make suggestions – unless of course, you know what the real story. If you do recognise of know some of the objects, such as the gun, then, you have to tell us.

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An old pistol, or is it real? It is quite heavy. Picture JK. Leahy©
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A newspaper from November 25, 1987. Picture JK. Leahy©

 

Garden Visitors – Photography


These creatures are our garden visitors. Most of them are regulars, but they do change with the season. This summer, they came in all shapes, sizes and colours. Some were old friends that have never left.

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Almost daily, an old friend visits. You all know Kaz, the rainbow lorikeet that used to live with us.

Amile’s Twins – Short Story


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Picture by Barbara W. Beacham

Mondays Finish the Story

Amile’s Twins – a short story by JK.Leahy

She lived a life that some would describe as being on edge. Amile rubbed the twins in her red Yves St Laurent  coat. She ‘borrowed’ the coat from her one-month-old employer. With minimum wage, Amile was desperate for money. She heard about a game at Vipers, a dingy bar downtown. The stakes were nice and high. Gambling left her habits after Lucas was born, but times were hard.

That night, as the game intensified, all players dropped out except for Snarky Joe and her.  Snarky was rumoured to kill at a drop of a hat.

Grandma Magda’s lucky twin coins made Amile fearless. As the dealer began, Amile winked at Snarky and raised all in. Snarky’s hungry eyes lavished her full honey glossed lips, high cheekbones and large brown eyes. His eyes couldn’t go beyond the poker table; instead, he held Amile’s gaze.

Revealing her win, Amile reached for the chips. Snarky pulled out a .22 calibre.

“I win,” he said.


Click on short stories on triblamysticstories blog, to read more 150 word short stories created for Mondays Finish the Story flash fiction.

In All Eyes – Short Story


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Picture by Barbara W. Beacham

Mondays Finish the Story – Flash Fiction

In All Eyes – JK.Leahy© Short Story

“I watched the vulture looking at me hungrily as I lay on the ground bleeding and injured.” Two thoughts entered my mind. One, it would come for me before the day ended. Two, night would reach me before it did. I shut my eyes and prayed for the night.

“Mama! Mama! Look! A man!… He’s bleeding”.

I wished, that was my son Toby calling his mama, but Toby was no longer five. He turned 17 last June. The Cult dumped my body early this morning and drove away with Toby. I may never see my son again.

“Get back here!” a woman shouted. I opened my eyes. She was closer than I thought, moving cautiously around me.  Her eyes were as sharp as the vulture’s. She was not hungry, hers was a look of horror. What have they done to me, what can she see?

A Stunning Beauty from Papua New Guinea


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On my return home to Papua New Guinea on September 16th, it was the Independence Day. My son Chris and I were very lucky to see PNG people celebrating in their traditional costumes.

On arrival at the Jacksons International Airport, Port Moresby, our first meeting was with this stunning beauty.  I wish I had taken more, but I only had time to take four photographs of this beautiful woman and rush to domestic terminal to transit to Lae. I will get her name later, that’s how PNG networking is, but she was dressed in Simbu traditional dress. I believe she was part of the Air Niugini staff and assisted the international departure passengers.

If you have any questions about her dress, ask me, but this post is purely to show the beauty of the image. When I come across moments like this, I am very proud to be a Papua New Guinean. My reasons being, we are unique people, we love our culture and we are always proud to show it.

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