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Subject: Sings of a Dying Rich Engan Culture


Author:
Cool_Guy1
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Date Posted: Fri, Jan 12 2007, 09:51:02am

I would like to post a few things that have been bothering me for a while, regarding our rich Engan Culture.

Did you ever wonder about the fast declining or virtually non-existance of "Haus-Man" in many tribes and clans in Enga? The "Haus-man" were used as means to pass onto young man by elder man of the tribe the values of the society and how to comprehend life and live a discipled life.

Tindi's and Areman's no longer resound in Engan houses at early house of the morning. There is a way to tell the Tindi's and Aremans and that seem to be gone. Singsings (Mali's) no longer takes its place as a way to express the Engan culture with pride. Tribes dress their best man to put on a show, free of charge for the people, where people miggle and get to know each other and it becomes and opportunity for young man and woman to meet and find their future husbands and wives.

Sangai's also are becoming a rarity. It is none existant in Engan Society. You can add more to the list.

My point is that if we loose the culture that makes us identify our roots, what else is there to bind the people together. Now a days, the language becomes a key unifying factore for all Engans. However, compared to early 1980's, the percentage of Engan Langauge speaking, Engans is declinging. Engans who are raised up in the city tend to feel superior when they speak Pidgin, English or motu and can not utter an Engan word. With a lot of cross-cultural marriages, Engans seem to loose their own identity. They become Engan by name only and can not present themselves the way a real Engan would do.

The question is.. Can culture become an obstacle to competing in the modern world?

Personally, i see that Engan cultural values are the best there is to adapt to any sort of culture. The western culture does not have any roots. As a result people loose their identity and cant tell whether they are man or woman, no wonder we have an increase in Gays and Lesbians in the western world. Mind you, Hanuabbada seems to have caught up with the western world. They lost their cultural heritage and now lots of young man and woman from that particular village seem to have lost their identity and Port Moresby is polluted with this so called Gays and Lesbians.. mostly from that one village. My understanding is that, traditional values have been lost. Values that used to be passed on by Elders to their young people have failed to reach the ears, TV becomes a main source of guidance where people base their lifes upon. How sad...

Engan culture that promotes Haus-man and haus-meri, where the young woman are taught the realities of life, how to bear children, how to take care of their husband, passing on the family tree, how to make bilum, how avoid enemies and trouble... etc.. This values are very important in a modern society. People say, is might become to old fashioned.. but.. can it be true? i think not.. because the western culture does not have its roots.. it does not stand on any values.. the western culture thrives on the media..The influence of the western culture is through the telecommunication networks.. TV... Radio.. etc.. Western culture does not have its roots.. It started from Europe.. but slowly as time goes by.. the culture has losts its identity and its a culture with no strict values that guides the culture.. The Engan Culture is guided by principles that can guide a person to miggle in any other societies..

We should not allow our culture to die slowly... lets rise up and do something about it. If it means.. we as educated man and woman.. going back to the roots and imparting the cultural heritage of our children.. do that.. Modern society preaches all the gabbage that can spoil our children.. Engan culture can set a child to prosper in the modern world...

Your comments..

Cool_Guy1

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Replies:
[> Subject: Culture and identity


Author:
pngean
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Date Posted: Fri, Jan 12 2007, 07:50:31pm

Great topic for discussion!

I myself have been pondering about the exact issue and would also like to share my thoughts.

I am one of those you might call "Enga lon name tasol", basically because I grew up in Wewak, Lae, POM and Rabaul because my dad was with the defence force so naturally we had to move where-ever his posting was. My wife is part Central/Miline Bay and ENBP and and the issue of identity for my one year old son is one that I have been thinking about and discussed with my wife over many dinners.

Culture is definetly how we identify ourself. I totalling agree that aspects of our culture such as those listed by Cool guy are fast disappearing among young Engans (myself included)as we run towards and embrace the "western culture" and leave no time to participate, learn and pass on to our children what our elders can teach us. I think one of the reasons why (and there are many reasons - you can give yours) is that the passing on of traditions, rituals, legends, and other aspects of the Engan culture to the younger generation has been largely let to be the jobs of "ol lapuns". But I also think that today's young Engan men or women have little interest in learning these things. To them, the material world and money is more attractive than learning ones heritage. Maybe in the remotest parts of Enga, where little western influence has reached, the learning and passing on is still occuring.

So whats gonna happen when all those "lapuns" die? One of the ways where we can revive, mantain and continue the Engan culture and traditions is by institutionalising the learning, teaching, and practise of our culture. By this I mean, an Enga cultural centre/commision/intitution (whatever name you want to call it) needs to be set up where our different ways of singing and dancing, courtship, initiation, art, body painting and many others can be recorded, taught and practised. So that we do not LOSE WHAT MAKES US WHO WE ARE!

The idea of institutionlising the teaching, the learning and practise of the Engan culture may sound very big and the first question everyone will ask is, "where will the money come from to fund such an institution?" I think if we are really serious and mean bussiness it can be achived. Of course the provincial government and others may fund it, but for the longterm sustainability of such an institution, the people of Enga must own it! HOW? I think it has to start from us, those of us who want to see our culture live on. I mean private donations and fundraising by prominent Engans as well individuals to sustain the function of such an institution. I know these are some wishful thinking but just my thoughts.

Anyway, for now, we as individuals need to do whatever you can to promote and make others aware of the importance of learning and passing on our traditions and cultural heritage.

For me, I think I need to learn them first!!

peace

pngean

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[> Subject: Re: Sings of a Dying Rich Engan Culture


Author:
Sari Songster (Tra lala dum dum tra lala)
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Date Posted: Sat, Jan 13 2007, 04:51:07am

The meaning of life
tra lala
is that life
tra lala
is life
tra lala

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[> Subject: Dying Rich Engan Culture


Author:
pongene
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Date Posted: Sun, Jan 14 2007, 02:12:51pm

VERY IMPORTANT topic!

Countrymen, I am a mixed blood of Engan and Eastern Highlands origins and I totally agree with your sentiments. (Being a product of different ethnicities within PNG does not mean that we have to neglect our cultures. The onus is on each one of us to learn as much as you can about your cultures).

The Engan language is the only language spoken by the biggest population in PNG. In fact our customs, values, and the principles guiding our way of life is as original as those preached by the bible. It is imperative that we uphold and maintain these rich culture so that our future generations do not lose out on them.

The task of institutionalising our culture is not herculean as PNGEAN pointed out. It is in fact achievable. All we need to do is mobilse and inform the people of Enga from the top administration post down to the ordinary villagers about this concept. Then leave it to the Provincial Government as the formal authority to spearhead this course.

Of course it would take time and money and a whole lot more but the positive is that the percentage of Engans who do not know the language and the Engan way of living is as yet minimal. For instance, the Maori people of New Zealand had almost completely lost their cultures and customs. It was just recently (last 20 years or so) that their government started institutionalising their cultures and today there is a gradual increase in the Maoris being well versed in their cultures. Even then, they have lost several languages already. Hence the current Maori Lingo is a combination of the other lost Maori languages.

In Enga we do not want to lose our only language and culture that way. It is important that our provincial government, especially the new one taking office after 07 elections, take a serious look at this topic.

pongene!

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[> Subject: Re: Signs of a Dying Rich Culture


Author:
east to west
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Date Posted: Sun, May 13 2007, 04:32:13pm

This is a great dicussion.

I truely believe in the values of the old ways, they came about to bring some order to society and they acknowledged every social issue that existed in a society.

Societies with no values/ traditions/ culture brings about diorder and encourages people to have no self worth or feel they dont belong to a community/a family and dont realise that there lives are more then there own. It is a beautiful thing to be of many culture and know who you are and where you have come from. To know you have a family of hundreds and not of 10s can be inspirational and comforting.

I am in the unfortunate position that I dont know my language nor the european langauge of my adopted family and really have no cutural identity besides that which was around me where I grew up in PNG (POM). Even when I was back in png I learnt many things about my own culture that I never got from the mingled cultures of Pom. I learnt the practises of mourning a loved one, of family expectaions and accountability

We all should play a part in keeping our own culture alive and for those from more then one ethic group you should at least know one of your culutres in greter detail then the other. knowing culture should be more then knowing language though for some of us (like my self) language would be a good start. With out slf participation in conserving our culture, the country known for more then 800 languages will be know for how fast the langaues and culture disappeared.

As for myself I intend to go back to png and learn some culture, what I never learnt growing up as well as making sure my kids, speak the language of there father(if he speaks his language).

east to west

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[> Subject: Re: Sings of a Dying Rich Engan Culture


Author:
Cool_Guy1
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Date Posted: Mon, May 14 2007, 11:32:44am

Thanks for your comments, East to West and pngean. Just over the weekend i was at this pub in Port Moresby having afew beers to relax after a hard days work. From across the bar, i was facing the door and could see everything that was moving in and out of the bar.

I must have had a few classes of rum, when i saw two beautiful ladies walked in, both had long braided artifical hair and had full lip-sticks, plucked eyebrows, high heels and tight jeans, and a short t-shirt that revealed their belly buttons. Man, their entrance made everyone in the room turned their eyes. They outshown all the ladies in the room. From a distance, i would have fallen for one of them, however, when they walked a bit closer, i realised that, they both were gays. I was kind of laughing inside. This made me think about what is happening in Papua New Guinea.

The western influence is getting hold of Papua New Guinea. Latest fashions and socials ill from western societies catch PNG so quicklty like wild fire. The same things that are happening in the western or Asian world is happening in PNG. How so quickly we are being deceived by the so called western culture. In actual fact, PNG has rich cultures which add value to life. PNG cultures are unique, setting the pace for a human person to grow mature and fend for him/herself given the right timing. I for one believe in my culture and try to make sure i do most of the things that an Engan is to do, upholding the Engan culture and tradition.

Engan culture is unique and it has its own benefits. I can mix the Engan culture with the western culture to make a living in this lovely country of ours.

People who have walked away from their culture and try to adopt the western culture, they find themselves confused with ideologies which dont have any roots in their life.

I hope many Engan and other Papua New Guineans see the great benefits culture can bring into our lifes.

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[> Subject: Re: Sings of a Dying Rich Engan Culture


Author:
nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
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Date Posted: Mon, May 14 2007, 03:48:50pm

Agreed. The unique culture is disappearing.

The Engan language itself however will never disappear quickly. Other aspects of culture are on drift and life support.


There are many causes to this.

1. Urban drift and migration - People pack up only the clothes and money to dash off leaving all traditional gear behind.

2. Lack of higher learning institutions in the province - This is causing a lot of young men and women to spend most of their lives outside the province.

3. Widespread and regular trouble fighting in the province.
This leads to annual singings and sangai ceremonies put off the calendar altogether.

4. Pure laziness. Buai, lamp flaps, card games and idleness have made inroads and taken many captive.

5. Family separation - The grandpa's and grandma's are in the village while the busy mum and dad raise the kids in towns and cities. The kids don't have the luxury of listening to tales and legends. TV has replaced that.


Steps that can be taken to arrest the decline.

1. Stop the fucking trouble fight at home, fix the main roads and feeder roads and make airfares affordable. Create some full factors at home.

2. Make Sangai and singsing an important part of the school calendar.

3. Enga needs to educate some of its people to become sociologists, linguistics and historians. The good culture and traditions needs to be documented and preserved through art, music, TV and other forms of media

4. Apart from the Annual Enga Cultural Show, there needs to be a cultural shows organised at each district level.

5. Develop culture oriented tourism facilties all over the province

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[> Subject: Re: Sings of a Dying Rich Engan Culture


Author:
Mix marit - strongpla kaukau
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Date Posted: Mon, May 14 2007, 04:21:04pm

hey, people, came across this forum and sat for almost 10 hours reading thru the posts. Indeed, its great. Keeping posting inttellectual and critical comments and discusion points. Really nice, lol!

this is cool subject to discuss.....

My word on the ground: Its the parents onus to educate there kids despite the geo-location. We(parents)make no excuse. For those who are parents-to-be, try leave the comfort of town and go back home and learn the good values and traditions. That won't hurt. Just wanna share a sentiment of my personel experience.

I'm actually married to a gudsomie (NSP, AGB) of my choice, excuse me! eh ehe eh...but i was breeded in enga. Well, came these twins, I told my wife that they have to identify themselves as someone who has cultural integrity that would uphold their man/womanhood in this westernising society that has plenty of bad infleunce encrypted with it. So my kids were taught the engan language as a first course, together with pidgin, then english and their mom's language. Well, they are fleunt in all 4! So when we are home for holidays, they could translate what my relos back home say to their mom and translate their mom's language when we are in their mom's village. Suprising to many kids back home (ENga), they could illigally borrow the kids from 6 am to 6:30pm, yupla klia what we used to do "mekim ol secret whitle nabaut na yumi save luslain ya, eh eh eh! MAn, sometimes mi save wari ya. At one time, the kids don't wanna go back to town because they saw fit speaking the language they speak to only four people! Well, kids have their share of learning tok noguts when they migle around with kids back home. Anyway, I'm a proud father because the little kids were taught what was required of them by their grandparents at several occassions. At one instant, the dude got angry and was shouting when his sister jumped over a bundle of vegies! I got my suprise in turn! Excuse me, they are only 3 yrs old. And at one instant, their mum got so crossed with me that the kids told her she is fancying herself with all these earrings! "eeh...kale yari dolo kokilao pipioko, embania endenge doko dopalepe mende pisingi...."eh ehe eh...they spoke enga language, because their were these aussie and US couples came to pick us up for a party.

oh ya, Its the way one percieve to preserve the dying rich culture. The "instituting" of the dying culture would a great idea. We should find means and ways to materialise it!

To start, everytime one is at home for holidays or so, do tape recordings and video shootings. I find these helpful most of the times because I could listen to these very old tindies and nemago lyrics, together with the old songs. My kids favorite song is one taught by their grandpa....I translated the song in English with the help of a Linguistic sholar and they won medals at their school.

lets join hands to preserve the dying culture!

mix marit tasol strongpla kaukau

Sudan

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[> Subject: Re: Sings of a Dying Rich Engan Culture


Author:
Solution here
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Date Posted: Fri, May 25 2007, 03:23:07pm

Like all of you, i was worrying about this critical issue.
It seems that we are losing our culture and moving into the white culture....but on our journey we are lost.
We are actually not in our culture nor the white culture but in a hybrid culture.
Therefore, i suggest that discussing the a critical issue and leaving it unattended is not really a conduct of intellectls. We must do something and that is we that interest people....those names above and some other interested can contact each other and form a association.
After the association, we will seek financial assistance and make a research in Enga and document them in a book.
We must write a thick book about this.
Some people like me is a pure bush material currently attending university and i'm full of some of it but as you've it will die out.
The only way to preserve it is to document it/ write about it so that our childern can be guided throuh the written Book.

Aimos Joseph Akem
UPNG.

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[> Subject: Re: Sings of a Dying Rich Engan Culture


Author:
nnnnnnnnn
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Date Posted: Fri, May 25 2007, 04:32:02pm

There is good news.

With donor funds and assitance from an academic from the University of Utah, USA, the Enga Provncial Government is in the process of revamping the Enga Culture Centre Building into a modern Cultural Heritage Centre for all of Enga -costing well over K2 million.

It is envisaged that the New Centre will become the launch pad to revive the culture, document the unique culture ( through video productions, music, books, arts and many more.

The building will begin straight after the national elections - August 2007.

Enga Prvincial Government has supported the intitive with counterpart funding worth K800,000.00

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[> [> Subject: Re: Sings of a Dying Rich Engan Culture


Author:
AM Potane
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Date Posted: Sun, May 27 2007, 03:20:18am

Yeah, that's Polly Wiessner from Salt Lake City Utah. She and Akii Tumu have written Historical Vines a book that pretty documents the whole history of Enga. I tried reading the book but it was like a history textbook so I only picked out the stuff that interested me. They also wrote other smaller books that I've read and find interesting and highly informative. Anyway, back to Historical Vines, she said they needed to make it like a textbook so that it would not be misrepresented but still around for the future genereations. I did not realize that they had been doing research and interviewing older people since 1986 (before I was even born) but she has these cassettes of older men, most dead now, who told of the sangai, trade, tribal origns etc,etc of every tribe in Enga and I am helping her catalogue them so Aki can sort them out. We then plan to digitalize the ones that he thinks are invaluable and weed out the unnecessary stuff and have them in the Center for others to listen to. I am amazed that the recordings from the 1980's are still in good shape and was walking on air yesterday when we found that all the tapes were in the box and in good shape.
Polly worked with mom and them so she invited me over to spend summer here in beautiful Salt lake City Utah, but she is amazing. She keeps on pushing for the Cultural Center and stuff to be built because she realizes that if Aki dies and she's not about then then so will some of Enga's histroy. All the years of collecting data and material will be wasted. It is in the book but she wants to make it funner and more accessible to us.
To those of you interested, read Historical Vines it has pretty much everything. I am loving hearing the orign tales of different tribes, Great Wars, Tee routes, there are some gory things like human sacrifice in parts of Enga but well that just makes it all the more colorful. I am getting my lesson on Enga history from recorded voices. It's in Engan but then again I am fluent in it so it doesn't matter, just because some of us are not in Enga doesn't mean we're totally out of touch. So serisoulsy check out the book. I am grateful we had people like Polly and Aki dedicate their lives to put in years of work and document it for people like me. I mean it's one thing to talk to your own tribesmen, but to get something for the whole of Enga takes years of research and patience.

Of course when the west and our tribal society collides there is bound to be change. But if we have the books and Cultural Center to give us a sense of our roots, then we will not be totally lost. Hope the adminisration does release the funds it promised soon so building will commence.

Cheers,
AM Potane.

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[> [> [> Subject: Re: Sings of a Dying Rich Engan Culture


Author:
tongai patange
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Date Posted: Wed, May 30 2007, 05:11:55pm

This book titled Historical vines : Enga networks of exchange, ritual, and warfare in Papua New Guinea written by Pauline Wilson WIESSNER,Aki TUMU and Pupu NITZE, look great. I really like that book.
Yap..i have read through that book and it was very interesting.
but just one ponit is that enga is a province of rich cultural diversity and i hope we contribute some more which i believe are not there.
Otherwise, credit is due for Wiessner, Aki, Pupu and your mother.

hoping to keep the tradition alive.

Tongai patange

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[> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Sings of a Dying Rich Engan Culture


Author:
AM Potane
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Date Posted: Thu, May 31 2007, 04:52:45am

Tongai patang, u might want to check out out A view of Enga Culture and From Inside the Women's House which are 2 other books by Polly, Alome Kyakas, Aki Tumu, eta al. They are interesting read too with all these songs and chants in Engan that is later translated and exaplained in the context of the book. I personally enjoyed those 2 better than Historical Vines. Anyway, Polly is trying to do rewrites and improve the current editions. She's also doing comparative studies of what it was then and how it is now. Having the Cultural Center with all the info in one place would be great so then people can combine ideas and add what needs to be added to preserve the cultural heritage for future generations. Building is supposed to begin in August so I hope it goes as planned, you never know with PNG timing and the elections and all that jazz.

PS-Regards to you and the rest of the Last Market squad.

Another Tongai sist

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[> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: Sings of a Dying Rich Engan Culture


Author:
Tongai Patange
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Date Posted: Thu, May 31 2007, 01:44:20pm

Thanks for the update on the cultural development already done and those that are ahead. Actually these are news to me. I'm dying to see that building up...hope that nature of enga be on our side despite the election bomb.
Well, all ur last market squard are just fine.
ME, kelly, polo, malaki, luke, angela and eveyone.
we all wish you well in US.

Cheers

Tongai patange
(Last Market Bingo MAster)

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[> Subject: Re: Sings of a Dying Rich Engan Culture


Author:
nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
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Date Posted: Mon, May 28 2007, 09:15:28am

Thanks AM Potane for shedding further light on this.
I am sure we'll be able to read more on this.

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[> Subject: Re: Sings of a Dying Rich Engan Culture


Author:
Cool_Guy1
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Date Posted: Mon, May 28 2007, 09:47:37am

It is exciting to read about the initiative taken by the acedemic in America. I Also strongly believe in what mix-marit is doing. I believe, if all parents take the responsibility to educated their children, so that their children learn two cultures concurrently, it would be a way of saving our culture.

If we all, participating in this discussion use our initiative to educate children with the Enga culture and language, it would go a long way in preserving our culture.

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[> Subject: Re: Sings of a Dying Rich Engan Culture


Author:
nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
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Date Posted: Mon, May 28 2007, 10:40:23am

The academic concerned has the following areas of specialization

Hunter-gatherers, cultural systems of sharing and exchange, ethnoarchaeology, ethology ecology, warfare, oral history; Highland Papua New Guinea, southern Africa.

It would be even nice to see our own Engans venturing into streams like this. When that happens, I am sure we'll have very detailed and accurate information about our cultures and systems on record for our future generations.

These kinds of things need massive financial support and years of perseverance.

However with the readily available technology (video camera, digital camera, MP3 recorder, computers), we can do much better.

When things are done properly, it can be become a source of revenue (direct or indirect).

However, it's a pity that today's students appear to think that there's money to make in law, medicine, engineering, IT and those urban based trades only.

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[> Subject: Re: Sings of a Dying Rich Engan Culture


Author:
nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
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Date Posted: Mon, May 28 2007, 10:43:24am

The academic concerned has the following areas of specialization

Hunter-gatherers, cultural systems of sharing and exchange, ethnoarchaeology, ethology ecology, warfare, oral history; Highland Papua New Guinea, southern Africa.

It would be even nice to see our own Engans venturing into academic strands like this too. When that happens, I am sure we'll have very detailed and accurate information about our cultures and systems on record for our future generations that we can be justifiably proud of.

These kinds of things need massive financial support and years of hard work through perseverance.

However with the readily available technology (video camera, digital camera, MP3 recorder, computers), we can do much better.

When things are done properly, it can become a source of revenue (direct or indirect).

However, it's a pity that today's students appear to think that there's money to make in law, medicine, engineering, IT and those urban based trades only.

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