Summer fun food and drink – Heading home to Papua New Guinea

PNG dancerA Papua New Guinea politician is threatening retaliation against Canadian companies after eight young dancers were denied entry to Canada, apparently because border officials didn’t believe they were on a cultural exchange.

The dancers arrived in Vancouver on July 4, expecting to spend four weeks in the British Columbia Interior, sharing traditional storytelling, dance and music at the invitation of the Little Shushwap Indian band.

Instead, they got four hours of interrogation by the Canada Border Services Agency… and then sent home. Bloody brilliant.

(Today)I had coffee with Papua New Guinea expert, Brendan Holden (retired University professor) at one of my cafe haunts – The Finnerty Express, underneath the UVic bookstore.
I know a little bit about PNG Culture (over 20 years experience observing PNG media) and Brendan Holden knows a lot about PNG culture, having lived and worked in Fiji for almost 3 years, having worked in Vanuatu and having visited a wide variety of Micronesian and Melanesian Islands.

Let’s just put it this way: The Canada Border Services Agency have just fuddled up big time… again. PNG Culture is entirely different than Canada’s – and when dealing with unique cultures like PNG, we need agencies and officers with a modicum of training and some sensitivity to cultural differences.

The Canadian Border Agency has no diplomatic training. They are about as culturally sensitive as a hungry wolf in a sheep paddock full of expectant ewes.

So, you wonder: What on Earth can PNG do to Canada, Canadians or Canadian businesses doing business in PNG?
Actually, I am not so concerned about Canadian businesses in PNG.
I am concerned about Canadian travelers and missionaries on the job in PNG.
Word travels fast in that part of the World – believe it or not.
And revenge or retribution is usually swift and painful.

Hopefully, next time, the CBSA will grab a brain and use a little reason, show a little compassion and exercise a little restraint.

On the up-side, the dancers got away before the RCMP airport detachment could put a taser cap in their asses…

Tok wantaim Yumi wantok (Say it with me friend…) – We live in interesting times!