Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Using Media Technologies for Cultural Expressions

Young Cultural Dancer at Waigani Primary School 2009
The quick pace of electronic media development in the world has no time to wait for people like me. Until recently, more specifically, a month ago, I found myself, entering the world of Facebook as a reluctant traveller. Like so many people I know about these technological innovations that are shaping the world second by second and minute by minute. Like many people, the decision to participate in these technologies, is one of experiment and see where it leads me to.

Apart from discovering many people I know on Facebook I also realized that there are many wonderful things one could do with electronic media technologies. Apart from developing one’s own social network you can have instant communication with friends online, share conversations on common topics, post notices, links to news and information of interests, and even share photographs and videos. One could easily do that with mobile phones, laptops, or from a desktop anywhere in the world.

I have been keeping a blog: http://www.stevenswindow.blogspot.com  for along time that when I discovered I could link my blog to my Facebook page I was thrilled. Now I can update my blog every week and have it linked to the Facebook as a way of sharing my thoughts and experiences as posted on my blog. Since I moved to Hawaii five months ago I hardly wrote every week or have any PNG visitors to my blog. Now with a link to my Facebook and a redesigned home page I have a slow trickle of visitors from PNG to the blog.

I have already shared two recent posts on my blog with readers and Facebook friends. Now I am posting a short videoclip of Waigani Primary School Cultural Day in 2009. The video captures the cultural pride displayed by our children in their schools. My children like other children in their school enjoy participating in their school cultural days.

This short video, I hope, will inspire others to take advantage of the electronic media technologies at our doorsteps by using them to promote cultural pride in our people. There are already hundreds of short videos on the internet, especially on YouTube. Some of them are very good that I have found them as useful teaching materials. Imagine if we have millions of short videos made by Papua New Guineans about themselves it could change the way other people see us.  My favourite is this video "Moresby Modern Trailer".

Visual image is a powerful medium today. For example, PNG music videos that people enjoy watching are popular to many PNG viewers. Some of these are now available on the internet.

Making good short video documentaries that many people can access and enjoy is good, but I think making full video documentaries is one challenge for Papua New Guineans to think about. The reasons for full length documentaries are many. This year’s Oscar nominated film "Sun Come Up", for example is a video documentary about rising sea levels and the associated catastrophy on small island communities in PNG.

I have benefited from using previews of film documentaries made by non Papua New Guineans about Papua New Guinea. I am looking forward to the day when Papua New Guineans will take up the challenge to make their own full length film documentaries and feature films soon that can touched the world.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Walking on Wa`ahila Ridge

One of the things I wanted to do was to walk up the ridge next to the University of Hawaii in Manoa Valley. The ridge is known as the Wa’ahila Ridge.

I wanted to get a different perspective to the one I already have walking between the buildings of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and of the Waikiki metropolitan area.

I also wanted to do this walk because the day was gorgeous for such an activity. I also live at the foothills of the ridge in the Wa`ahila Faculty Apartments.

With a perfect day and the mind to tackle the three hours hike up Wa`ahila Ridge I rang my countryman, Muguwa Dilu, from Simbu, and asked him if he wanted to accompany me on this hike. Muguwa is studying for his Masters in Economics at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He was happy to come along. Our walk began on Cole Street in between Manoa Stream and Wa`ahila Faculty Apartments. Our walk upwards would end where the Wa`ahila Ridge State Park is located.

We began our hike with Muguwa sharing stories about his experience of climbing Mt. William and seeing the breath-taking beautiful lakes and landforms in Mt. Williams. Mt. William is the highest mountain in PNG.

We took pictures as we climbed further up the ridge. The day was perfect for great shots of the University of Hawaii, the Waikiki skyline and backdrop, the Diamond Head, the Manoa Valley and the beautiful landscapes and plants along the way.

The joy of walking on Wa`ahila Ridge was that it gave us the opportunity to experience the natural environment of Hawaii as well as form a different impression of the place we have been calling our temporary home for some time now. It was a way of connecting with the natural environment on this beautiful Hawaiian island of O`ahu.

The walk brought us to discover that some of the plants and sites way up in the ridge were similar to those in our home country. Some places look like coffee gardens next to ironwood trees. Other places look and feel like places we’ve been to in Papua New Guinea. From high up in the ridge, you can get the feeling that the natural environment is the best place to recover from any anxieties and hangovers of the past week.

Rob Nelson of Explore Biodiversity.com writes about the plants of the pines at the State Park. “Cook pines (Araucaria columnaris) come from the Cook Islands. The name is misleading, as they are not pines at all but in the family Araucariaceae, a genus of 18 or 19 species found from New Guinea to New Zealand and Brazil to Chile. Interestingly its one of the few plants only natively found in the southern hemisphere.”

Along the track are plants such as koa, silk oak, strawberry guava and Christmas tree berries. Muguwa enjoyed the day picking the strawberry guava. I did not want to eat any of the berries along the track because I had no idea what they were. Muguwa told me that he knew about the guava strawberries because his adopted parents had one growing outside their house. I believed him, but no thanks.

The fun part of it was when Muguwa alarmed me to a biker who came down hill at a speed that shocked both of us. Further up the track more bikers were met.

Next week is the last week of the Spring Semester in the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Muguwa goes off to Washington DC for his internship with the UNDP. I will travel back to Port Moresby in three weeks time.

Making the walk on Wa`ahila Ridge on this day was the only time we have before the close of semester and the travels we have to make. It was worth it.

I am so refreshed after the walk that I am glad the walk was taken on this day.