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Subject: Sir Tei Abal - A good story to read this Independence for Engans

Lond Neo
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Date Posted: Thu, Sep 11 2008, 09:55:16pm

Happy 2008 Independence, all Engans.
I am attaching below a story (a must read for Engans) of a Great Man who played such a pivotal role during the early days of our country’s pathway to independence. The least we forget.

Sir Tei Abal

The late Sir Tei Abal, Leader of the Opposition at Independence in 1975, carried the Highlands traditions of fight and moga into the 20th century political arena without any difficulties.
During the colonial administration when he was a Ministerial Member, he tried to delay early Independence because he felt his Highlands compatriots were not ready.

Sir Tei virtually became a Highlands hero.

Essentially a traditional leader, he found his destiny when he saw the similarities at home and the political system introduced by Australia.

When he first arrived in Port Moresby as a member of the Legislative Assembly in 1964, he was out of his depth, having no formal education.

Matter of factly, he used to describe how his first real knowledge of the job of a politician came from a week’s training in parliamentary procedures.

But by the time he was visiting African countries in 1968, he had a pretty firm idea of what was expected of a politician.

Sir Tei fought for the Westminster system of government to be introduced in Papua New Guinea because it had so many similarities to traditional PNG life.

“The moga talks are much the same as meetings of Parliament,” he once said.

“One man wants to kill his pig now, and another wants to kill his pig a week from now.

“It could be that the coastal men want to have their pigs now, while the Highlanders claim they are not yet ready.”

Sir Tei was the face of the Enga people until the time of his death.

At the same time, he was a man with a mandate rather than a mission.

A good Christian, nonetheless Sir Tei began his political career by being nominated in his absence.

He was a well-known medical assistant in the Wabag area, on patrol with his boss, when he was nominated and his nomination fee paid before nominations closed for the 1964 elections.

Sir Tei had heard the kiap talk about the elections and several people had urged him to stand, but he had nothing about it as he was not really sure what it was all about.

He won his seat unopposed, replacing Kibungi, who had represented Enga in the previous Legislative Council.

Since then, Sir Tei was returned to Parliament virtually unopposed in every election.

He was leader of the United Party until young guns such as Iambakey Okuk (Chimbu) and Raphael Doa (Western Highlands) started leading a campaign against him and his star started to wane.

Intra-party squabbling in the Opposition United Party started soon after Sir Tei gained the leadership when Mathias Toliman died in 1973.

An interpreter who later became an aid-post orderly, he never had any formal education.

On record, he made it clear that he felt “a more capable man” should lead the party.

However, what seemed to hold him back was the fear that once he was gone, the United Party could become the staging point for disunity and instability – which have proven to be prophetic words.

The Abal legacy continues in the current Parliament with Sir Tei’s son Sam Abal being the current Wabag MP.


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[> Subject: Photo of Sir Tei

Adrian Keefe
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Date Posted: Fri, Sep 12 2008, 06:19:32am

Sir Tei was a noble man. Although I was much taller than he, Sir Tei towered over most of us in spirit and in sheer class. His eyes had that penetrating appearance of a person who sees and not just looks.

I have a photo of Sir Tei standing in front of Engans clad for war; spears and galvanised iron shields, bows and arrows, and not a gun in sight. His group was ready for war against an equally irate Teremanda/Amala group, just to the west of Wabag Town.

Sir Tei calmed his group and did the same to the others and you could see that Sir Tei had the respect of both warring groups.

No one else in Wabag at that time could have stood between both groups at war with each other and prevented war.

Such was the status of Sir Tei.

Most of all Sir Tei was a gentleman and a warm human being.

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[> [> Subject: Re: Photo of Sir Tei

Engan Lenge
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Date Posted: Fri, Sep 12 2008, 10:44:03am

Thanks Adrian, Sir Tei was a noble man, his legend will live through the minds of many engan generations to come. Great simplity with higher visions was he. Education was no barrier to his determination for his engan people, highlands region and PNG.

On an other note, today much education has made us educational fools and professional con-artists. Claimed leaders are corrupted and consumed with pride. Again our fathers during Sir Tei's days were loyal tribesmen to their tribe leaders, today no-one listens to anyone.
Sir Tei's Glorious purposes for enga are our failures today. Only a heavenward mind will liberate us from the bondage of poverty and give back what has been long aspired by our forefathers.

If Sir Tei was successful in delaying independence, would engans (PNG) be ready for it (independence) today??? Despite the leadership denial, people enjoy being loose cowboys than colonial bandits anyway.

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[> [> Subject: TO Adrian Keefe

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Date Posted: Tue, Sep 16 2008, 12:22:48pm

Hi Adrian
jus wonderin if it was possible to get an email of the photo of Sir Tei?

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[> Subject: Re: Sir Tei Abal - A good story to read this Independence for Engans

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Date Posted: Fri, Sep 12 2008, 03:54:25pm

Reverence is deserved by late Sir Tei Abal.

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[> Subject: Re: Sir Tei Abal - A good story to read this Independence for Engans

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Date Posted: Sun, Sep 14 2008, 02:20:36pm

Yes...Sir Abal was a successful man but one thing that I doubt over his leadership in the early 70s was why he choose to be the first opposition leader when he was first nominated to be the first PM of the nation. He rejected the nomination which prompted Sir Somare to become the first PM of PNG eventually. I really don't know the reason why he refused the offer...history should have written as one smart and well-educated Engan that time was planning ahead in lead up to the election of the PM.


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[> [> Subject: Re: Sir Tei Abal - A good story to read this Independence for Engans

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Date Posted: Sun, Sep 14 2008, 03:10:07pm

During my bus rides home (enga) from Hagen, I normally hear people; both men and women, from enga talk seriously about an engan who will oneday become the prime minister of Papua New Guinea.

Even in the dark huts, so dark that you would not see anything except hear the elderly people talk about issues. They sometimes talk about an engan becoming prime minister for Papua New Guinea. They say enga is blessed generation among all in the country and even in the world.

These people say it is not Ipatas, Polye, Abal or any of the current members who are seen fit by enga to be the prime minister.

(1) john pundari tried but cannot because it is not by enga.

(2) don polye and peter ipatas will talk about it and make believe they are the ones choosen by enga but it will not eventuate because of enga.

(3) others will try but will not succeed if enga does not bless it. Who is enga then: I think the engans are the red men from the mountains living in the stormy clouds.

(4) I think the third generation from current political regime will have a try at this post of the country with the support from the red men from the cloudy mountains.

Long Live Enga = The Choosen Generation

Sir Tei Abal knew it very well because the red men told him. This has been talked about for so many generations but the red men are still keeping it. When it comes, all the four corners of enga will stand up raising tall for its proclaimation.

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[> Subject: Re: Sir Tei Abal - A good story to read this Independence for Engans

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Date Posted: Mon, Sep 15 2008, 01:33:35pm

I have a lot of respect for this great man.

Generally, the people of Wabag respected him as their leader. There was not much tribal fights,if any, he was there to stop them physically, unlike our modern leaders.

Heard that, after attending a parliament session, he would return and stop at Akom and address the crowd and had plans to visit all tribes along the highway... Not well educated but knew his leadership and management skills well...

I guess, the assuming of the United Party leadership after Mathias Toliman's death, shaped him better leader than his prior years.

Sadly, people like Sam and Peter (once groomed and bred by late Sir Tei) decided to burnt down their paps akalyanada.

Peter build his own,(PP) but failed to muster the IMAITA while Sam decided to go into bed with his paps rival thinking that the timog anda will one day be built in Enga??? Just a dream???

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