Hiccup Cure in Pidgin


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Looking through a little book by Phillip C.S. Fong written in Pidgin English, Papua New Guinea Igat Gutpela Marasin Tu, I discovered a hiccup cure. Papua New Guinea’s Pidgin is an official language, although simple and based on English, you may find you can understand it if you look at it long enough! Or just read it out loud and suddenly it will start to make sense! One tip is that you generally pronounce ‘e’ as ‘eh’. ‘Save’ for example means to know and the last e is pronounced as ‘eh’. ‘Me no save’ for example means ‘I don’t know’.

Marasin Bilong Hiccup (Medicine for hiccups)

Em is save wokim nek bilong you krai olsem HUK, HUK, HUK, na i wok long mikim yu olsem tasol. Na sapos em ino malolo long mikim yu olsem long tu o tri wik, em iken kilim yu.

(If your throat won’t stop hiccuping for two or three weeks you can die). Side note! My pidgin isn’t that great, so there is probably a better translation possible, but you can get the gist…

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My First Mumu

Memories of my first pig kill growing up in Papua New Guinea. Huge feasts are held every so often when pigs, sweet potato and other vegetables and meat are buried in ground oven pits, heated with hot stones and wrapped with banana leaves.

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Papua New Guinea and Tuna Exploitation

Many years ago, when we were growing up in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, we occasionally went on holiday to Madang, an incredibly beautiful coastal resort town in this (at that time) untouched, remote pacific island. It was a long trip on the Highlands Highway, which was a two lane dusty dirt road over steep mountain ranges. Our father would carefully pack up our bus, leaving tiny sitting spaces for each of us amongst the suitcases and boxes (we were quite a big family). We usually took a couple days getting there, stopping overnight in a guest-house with rare Papua New Guinean butterflies and beetles encased in glass on its bamboo walls. Mt Hagen was 6,000 feet above sea level, so despite living a few degrees off of the equator, I always remember how the humidity and heat grew as we finally dropped down out of the extensive mountain ranges and hit the hot muggy plains filled with neat rows of sugar beets or palm plantations. As we got older the road slowly got more and more stretches paved, making the trip much shorter.

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Berry Memories

strawberryGooseberries makes me think of the house we lived in when I was about four or five years old. We lived in a government house in Mt. Hagen, Papua New Guinea. It was a cool house, set up on stilts, with wooden floors and a long hallway, that is about all I remember, we moved out when I was five. We arrived in PNG in 1975 shortly after they were granted independence by Australia. Most of the Australian government workers had left the country in anticipation of rioting and other unpleasantry, so the houses were empty for a few years, and they were happy to have us renting it out. My father was a missionary, advising on Bible translation into Pidgin English. We had a great yard with a huge gooseberry bush right near the stairs. I just loved how the little fruits were surrounded by the papery skin, like little Japanese lanterns, and could never wait for the fruit to turn orange and sweet. My mother would made delicious flaky gooseberry pie for dinner sometimes. My biggest mistake was eating so many green gooseberries I got seriously ill, but I guess a good lesson about patience and gluttony….

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