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'White Skins', 'Real People' and 'Chines' in some spatial transformations of the Western Province, PNG.

You come too late, much too late, there will always be a world - a white world between you and us.

Franz Fanon

This essay outlines accounts, mostly told by Kamula and other 'real people' (opa ikadabe - literally 'men' 'true, real'(2)), about their experiences of forms of colonialism associated with Europeans ('white skins') and 'Chinese'.(3) I argue that through these narratives and associated practices, landowners are seeking to define and interrogate the extent of their power to incorporate and control these new, externally derived sources of potency. In the process of articulating the nature of 'white skins' and Chinese, the Kamula come to redefine themselves and their capacity to generate common spaces with these new agents, their technology and 'development'. The creation of these spatial relationships is part of the local equivalent of what Giddens has called globalisation - that is 'the interlacing of social events and social relations "at a distance" with local contextualities'(1991:21).

In the accounts I outline below it emerges that 'real people' are capable of transforming the otherness of Europeans into something more like themselves. But Chinese are generally not subject to such transformative processes. From the perspective of the Kamula they remain 'inappropriate/d others' dislocated from local narratives and practices that attempt to map the kinds of actors and powers available in the colonial and contemporary era (cf Haraway 1992:299). The Chinese remain somewhat alien despite having been a presence in the area since 1982.

I argue that local accounts of Chinese are mediated by the broader process of the 'Asianisation' of PNG - a process that has so far received little attention from anthropologists. The Wingti and Chan governments have given considerable emphasis to a 'look North' policy that aims to integrate PNG into the booming economies of South East Asia. Crucial to this shift has been the increasing amount of Chinese Malaysian investment in PNG's timber industry and mass media.(4) This has generated intense national and local debates, especially in the area of forestry where the concerns focus on corruption, the exploitation of landowners and the inability of the government to regulate foreign investors. Categories such as Chinese and 'Asian', which were terms of abuse and discrimination in the era of Australian colonialism, are now being redefined and deployed in these debates about PNG's limited sovereignty and the failure of 'development' to create a just society.(5)

These kinds of changes in the political economy and culture of PNG alter our prior understandings of PNG as simply a Melanesian country within a primarily Australian sphere of influence. What is needed is a complete re-evaluation of the distinction between Asia and Melanesia somewhat similar to the blurting and revision of previously sharp distinctions between Melanesia and Polynesia (Thomas 1989), between Highlands and Lowlands in Papua New Guinea (Hays 1993; Weiner 1988, Knauft 1993) and between Indonesian West Irian and Melanesia.

In this paper, rather than deal with all the complexities of the process of Asianisation, I merely wish to make the point that anthropology's recent concern with stories about contact with Europeans (cf Sahlins 1981,1985, Anderson and Connolly 1987; Schieffelin and Crittenden 1991, Strathern 1991) should be expanded to include often equally significant narratives concerning contact with non-Europeans. A good example of the kind of focus on Europeans I want to qualify is found in the recent work of Lattas:

I use the term colonialism to include the post-independence context and to refer to domination by white institutions as well as white Europeans. It makes little sense to talk of post-colonialism in present Papua New Guinea where the hegemonic and civilising functions of white culture continue to be major idioms for dominating and incorporating villages into the nation state and world commodity production (1993a: 72 fn 2).

While part of a very insightful reading of colonial experience (see also Lattas 1992a, 1992b, 1993a), the quotation itself offers a somewhat abbreviated vision of that history by ignoring the role of non-European colonisers, both in the past or recently. Consequently it lends weight to models of power that are linked with processes of subject formation in a dualistic black-white colonial encounter (cf Gates 1991:463; Fanon 1986; Bhabha 1986, 1994) leaving other groups, such as the Chinese, out of the picture.(6)

Secondly, I think that to understand the increasing Asianisation of PNG we need to give up the assumption that there are clear and distinct 'societies' or 'cultures' that can be analysed as such. This is related to concerns in anthropology with problems in mapping increasingly mobile cultures into apparently natural spatial units such as society (Giddens, 1981:91; Liebersohn and Segal 1992), the nation, the language group, the village (see Appadurai 1990; Foster 1991; Gupta and Ferguson 1992; Hannerz 1989a, 1989b, 1990). These writers argue that by giving up the assumption that cultures (or societies) are distinct from other similar entities we are more able to focus on the interconnections that all cultures have with other cultures.

Any adequate analysis of the processes occurring in the complex 'intercultural zones' (cf Sahlins, 1993:13) that now make up PNG, must outline some of the characteristics of these zones and then outline the way relevant agents and their powers are defined and distributed. In this essay I explore the nature of these zones by emphasising the production and transformation of space. This emphasis derives from my sense that certain recent accounts of Melanesian theories of social change have focused somewhat narrowly on time and history (Errington 1974, Kirsch 1993, Nihill 1988) downplaying the role of space. A key example of this kind of writing is McDowell's (1985, 1988) important and innovative reworking of 'cargo cult'. She argues that these various movements all involve 'episodic time' or a radically discontinuous notion of change. For believers:

there is no gradual, cumulative, evolutionary change; change is always dramatic, total and complete. Discontinuity is a requirement of and for change. It is as if all change was executed only on the model of a rite de passage, with an abrupt transition or liminal period... This episodic conception of history and change is not restricted to the past but provides a model for the future as well; coming change must also be total, drastic and radical (1988:124).

More recently Kirsch has argued that not all cargo cults are attempts to create discontinuity. He believes that among the Yonggom of the Western Province cult myths attempt 'to contextualize within a single historical perspective what was essentially a disjunctive or discontinuous experience: the introduction of Western technology into New Guinea' (1993: 20). Myth emerges here as a device for making a continuous indigenous history possible.

Without wishing here to arbitrate on these quite different interpretations, I think that these accounts of history and change focus only on one modality of the contact situation - time. The emphasis has been on how agents 'make their own history', downplaying how they 'make their own geography' (Giddens cited in Cohen 1989: 91), 'bridge distances' (Simmel cited in Gregory 1989: 205) or otherwise explore transformations of space (Said 1985: 4-5). As Lawrence (1964: 236-239) pointed out, so called cargo beliefs and practice also need to be understood as devices that allow space to be overcome and redefined. Cargo cults can be understood as a bit like writing, money, maps, mobile telephones, transport networks and other modern techniques for the re-organisation of space.

They also involve the definition, production and circulation of transformative powers that attempt to create new, often highly unstable, collective and individual forms of agency. What emerge are new definitions of humans (eg 'real people'), quasi-humans (eg 'white skins', the dead, bush spirits, pigs-that-are-also-human, bureaucrats that are subject to magic) and non-human actors (eg engines, earth tremors). Often cults also define the appropriate conjunctions and transfers of capacities and competencies between these entities. These transfers are themselves established and shaped by the distribution and nature of the powers thought to be in operation (cf Latour 1992:286).

In the context of logging in the Western Province I outline some of these powers by contrasting the extent to which the Kamula are exploring, in narrative and magic, their capacity to transform colonial space, while the Chinese and the state deploy different notions of power that separate representations from reality, subjects from objects and assume an encompassing, absolute space in which all events are contained. Yet it is also the case that these assumptions structure only certain aspects of the powers available to actors since landowners base a great deal of their politics on assumptions similar to the state and the logging companies. Equally the state and the logging companies, through the agency of maps, money and other devices, continually try to merge definitions of social space (friendship) with definitions of exploitable resources (nature). But despite such similarities I conclude by stressing that the power available to landowners is not equivalent to that available to the companies, which are able to enrol a vast apparatus of intermediaries such as money, machinery and communications technology (telephones, fax machines etc) to realise their definitions of the world more effectively than can the Kamula.

In this complex situation, quite different, often contradictory, definitions of agents and the means of controlling them operate and intersect simultaneously. The aim of both landowners and companies is to exercise a level of effective constraint over actors, to re-structure previous ways of doing things and to bind agents to these new ways of doing things. To have any effect the companies and landowners must be able to stabilise and channel all the actors (human, quasi-human and non-human) and their relationships into durable systems of action (cf Latour 1992; 1993b). If this project cannot be realised in a stable form then it should at least offer the actors interesting, albeit temporary, new definitions of their capacities - ones which they can try out or shift into.

Landowners have sought, and continue to develop, general models of particular experiences of colonialism associated especially with early European patrols, missionaries and Chinese. They abstract these models into potentially useful devices and practices for the transcendence of the space and time that divides locals from colonialists. Such practices, which can form into 'cults', are kinds of power exercised, at a distance, over Europeans (and, in this particular case, far less clearly over Chinese). Such practices (like money and writing) seek to transform or eradicate distance, but focus on the relationship between (native) self and (colonising) other by the production of new forms of spatial organisation and linkage ('road bilong cargo'). Since they also produce new kinds of collectivities and new kinds of agency associated with these new spaces, these practices (just like science) produce new 'social' and 'natural' entities simultaneously (cf Callon 1986). They are devices for creating a new geography of colonial space. In so doing they radically contest Western definitions and understandings of space.

Rather than isolate these kinds of transformative socio-spatial practices as features of 'cargo' thinking, I would argue that they are routine aspects of daily life that were and still are, to an extent, often quite independent of colonialism and global incorporation. In contrast to Giddens (1981:94), who argues that face to face transactions are a diacritical feature of pre-modern society, I think it is clear that transactions between entities that were not physically co-present were equally important. Giddens seems to think of co-presence as a rather literal thing involving 'all those with whom actual interaction is or could take place' (Urry 1991: 170). This not only ignores what Urry calls the 'imaginary co-presence' (1991:171) of absent or dead family, friends and others, it also ignores culturally specific spatial practices, such as dreaming and shamanism, that generate new or interesting perspectives on everyday reality that transcend the limits of the body's ordinary capacity for movement and knowledge (cf Lattas 1993a:63).

Giddens seems to assume absolute space is a universal given which has to be transcended by a technology that is only associated with modernity. He thereby ignores the extent to which some people do not make any assumptions about the existence of absolute space. Consequently his account tends to ignore 'pre-modern' forms of human (and non-human) agency that involve action at a distance. Many forms of PNG magic and sorcery routinely involve the overcoming of ordinary space-time since it is basic to their effectiveness to assume that things which have once been in contact with each other 'continue to act on each other at a distance after the physical contact has been severed' (Fraser cited in Taussig 1993: 52-3). By effecting a kind of merging of representation and reality, such practices are key mechanisms for transforming, compressing and creating space.(7) Placed in the context of these various devices for overcoming space, the ideas associated with configuring space for cargo appear as an ordinary, albeit colonially inflected, part of a far wider set of everyday spatial practices (cf Lattas 1993b:105).


Before considering narratives about how Kamula might incorporate the colonising others and their commodities into closer spatial relationships, I first want to consider accounts of every day male transformative action on the social periphery. These ideas implicate (at least) two interpretations of sociality with distant or peripheral others whereby human and non-human actors transact certain of their properties (cf Latour 1992a:236). They should not be considered as mutually exclusive schemata but rather as two sometimes overlapping, often interdependent, modes of representing actors, and their actions, on the borders of sociality. The first mode of transforming attributes and powers involves an essentially hostile, predatory model of core-periphery relationships, where the parties essentially negate each other, usually by killing and consuming each other. I elaborate this model of reciprocal exchanges of death by considering Kamula ideas about hunting. The second model I consider involves the incorporative identification of the distant other with self such that the other, through coming to share elements of identity, is converted into the domain of close sociality. While both models have influenced local understandings of the process of colonisation, the model of incorporative identification is now the key interpretative framework for understanding 'white skins'.

The model of reciprocal exchange of deaths in self-distant other relationships is articulated in accounts of successful hunting told to me by Kamula men. These accounts would often refer to the Nalowasi people who lived on Mt. Bosavi. Because they had hair like Europeans and spoke Pidgin, Motu or English - opinions varied - the Nalowasi were partially identified with elements of the new colonial order. The term Nalowasi can now be used to refer to Highlanders generally and Huli people specifically. The spirit double of the Nalowasi usually manifested itself in Kamula territory as a wild pig, cassowary, wallaby or tree kangaroo. If a Kamula in a dream saw a Nalowasi man lying on his death bed then the dream was interpreted to indicate that the man dreaming should go hunting because he would certainly shoot a pig. When a Kamula shot such an animal he effectively killed the Nalowasi person because he has shot that Nalowasi's soul. Equally the Kamula's soul manifested itself as a pig, cassowary or wallaby in Nalowasi territory. When a Kamula went to gather a particular fruit favoured by a wallaby, he or she should wave a stick around to stop the Nalowasi from shooting his or her double which appears as a wallaby in their world. Whenever a Nalowasi shot a wallaby, cassowary or pig, then a Kamula would die.(8) Some constraint was supposedly exercised by both sides to this reciprocal killing and eating. These kinds of interpretations of hunting imply that there is an on-going exchange of life and death between the Kamula's everyday world and an unseen, peripheral and yet co-present world of the Nalowasi in which each side aims to gain an externally derived increment (meat, life) hopefully without any immediate balancing reciprocity.

Yet it is not just in reference to the Nalowasi that hunting is seen as symbolically equivalent to the appropriation of a socially distant person or analogue of a person. Kamula also relate success in hunting to the injury or death of alleged witches or anthropomorphic bush spirits (dali patalo).(9) In dreams, meeting Europeans and shaking their hands or, if they are female, having sex with them, is taken as a good sign for hunting. Kamula also emphasize that if a man dreams of having sex with a Kamula woman then that dream is a sure sign of success in hunting for large game.(10) So in a number of ways the Kamula link the appropriation of socially distant agents (witches, Europeans, fantasised women, Nalowasi, dali patalo) with a successful hunt. A successful hunt cannot occur without the appropriate merging or inter-linking of events in distinct, often distant, zones of space-time (eg involving the pig and the Nalowasi). It is as if the capacity to induce and exploit such a conjunction of distant and close events is indicative of the real power of the hunter - ie the hunter has been able to expand his 'control of space-time' (cf Munn 1986) by effectively co-ordinating the interaction between otherwise separate domains.

Basically the male hunter transforms peripheral entities (pig-quasi-human) into internal sociality by a generalised sharing of meat among all co-residents and into reproduction by giving meat to his wife and her kin. These prestations to affines play a role in ensuring that the affines will not use sanctions (curses) that can prevent a wife from reproducing or make her children ill and possibly die. Hence hunting in this context can be understood as a process that converts an externally derived increment (wild game/human) into an internal increment (human reproduction).

If one treats these ideas and practices concerning hunting as a model of Kamula men's 'foreign' or 'external' relations, then what they posit are relationships between self and socially distant others involving transactions in deaths between a permeable sphere of core sociality and an equally unstably defined dangerous periphery. Human and non-human agents are continually shifted between these zones through procedures such as hunting and magic. The aim is to seek an internal increment without reciprocity - this increment typically has the symbolic or material value of a person or quasi person (Nalowasi, dali patalo) and that value is appropriated from outside the margins of sociality and converts into meat suitable for generalised domestic sociality and an internal increment (reproduction). But since the Kamula believe, like the Etoro (cf Kelly 1976), that there must be an equivalent loss of a person or life-force elsewhere in the system, the production of value by Kamula men involved in hunting often appears as an irreconcilable dialectic of realisation (within the community) and loss (on the margin) in which a balancing negation (caused by Nalowasi hunting) may threaten the community.

The second model of external relations involves the incorporative identification of the 'distant' other with self, such that the other, through coming to share identity, is converted into the domain of close sociality. This emphasis on incorporation is perhaps best exemplified in some Kamulas' claim that marriage is a process which converts a husband and his male in-laws from being 'distantly related' (awa) to being like younger and elder brothers. A son-in-law's conversion from distant to closer relation is also expressed in the almost obligatory co-residence of a husband with his in-laws, and in idioms of shared identity between the husband and specific in-laws. Here the Kamula appear to be suppressing or blurring the distinction between siblingship (those who share) and affinity (literally 'on the border'; those who exchange) which in other societies provides the generative template for the production of clearly distinguishable forms of sociality (eg see Wagner 1967). By contrast the Kamula are interested in generating a sociality based on incorporative identification, which to an extent, masks the salience of any differences (without totally effacing such differences).

This process of transforming the distant into close through incorporative identification is also enacted by men in mourning rituals that involve songs that recreate the life narratives of recently deceased people. The ritual transforms social space by temporarily merging the realms of the living and the dead (see also Schieffelin, 1976; Feld 1982). The songs also represent places in the landscape which have been inscribed with the actions of a deceased person. Places for the Kamula are always saturated with meanings - an extraordinarily dense array of named and unnamed places come to represent one's life ('this is where I shot a pig', 'this is where our house was') as well as the lives of past and present consociates. The landscape is a key mnemonic for storing and retrieving past intersubjective relationships. According to the Kamula places are 'like the face' or 'appearance' of the other person involved in those relationships, so that the landscape effectively and continuously mirrors significant events and people back to you. This everyday experience of space as a social relationality becomes a powerful means of expressing the effects of time and loss. The songs, in their poetic articulation of the places of the deceased, heighten these kinds of nostalgic feelings and bring them into the listener's interior - the words of the song 'hit' the listener's heart (dupa - centre of cognition and feeling) causing people to break down and cry.

The Kamula like to think that the singer and the mourner should be namesakes (daiyo). This inscribes onto the difference between self (mourner) and other (deceased) a mediating relationship based on the identity (daiyo) between mourner and singer. To this subtle rendering of identity and difference is added the further complexity that the Kamula also like to claim that once the paint is applied to the dancer the 'real man is not there'. The singer is transformed into anthropomorphic spirit entities (banakaka) who help sing the song and who, in the past, would help shamans in curing disease. Moreover the spirits of the Kamula dead were understood to be transformed into banakaka. So the identity between mourner and singer is, as a result of the 'absence' of the singer, implicitly displaced onto, and reconfigured in, the relationship between mourner and deceased. Along with these transformations in the definition of the agents involved, what the ritual also demonstrates is that men (the singers are always male) have a specific kind of competence - they can mediate transactions between the core (the longhouse where it is being performed, the namesake relationship) and periphery (the dead, the banakaka, the guests who come, with the performers, from another longhouse) and, to an extent, take up, through the poetry of the songs, the subject positions associated with the now transformed external other (the deceased). They bring that subject into the 'hearts' of the listeners.


This formulation of Kamula relations between self and distant other - simplistically opposing balanced reciprocity to incorporative identification - is not intended as a full account of the value of men's action on the Kamula periphery and associated forms of sociality. It merely provides an organising framework for showing how analogous processes enter in to the Kamula's interpretation of some of their relationships with 'white skins' and their incorporation into the global economy.(11) I argue below that Kamula ideas about Europeans are not vastly dissimilar to their ideas and assumptions about interactions with other parts of their world and its margins.

I will first deal with the model of external relations as involving an exchange of deaths and reciprocal consumption. This model tends to be deployed in accounts of early experiences of colonialism where 'real people' often appear as victims of the Europeans. People did believe that they were about to be killed when, in 1936, Champion and Karius came across Kamula living north of Wawoi Falls. All of them ran away into the bush, except one man who had a bad leg. Later during World War II massive formations of planes flying over Kamula villages also led people to flee into nearby sago swamps. Heavily armed patrols attempted to contact the Kamula in the 50s these were unsuccessful because again people fled into the surrounding bush. Later in 1972 when the Kamula living at Kasigi were finally officially contacted by a patrol from Nomad, most people ran away because they were 'frightened'. They too thought they might be killed. People referred to these early Europeans not just as 'white skins' but also as aiyaluma men - a term that means 'prohibited', 'taboo' and can be used to refer to the evil spirit that inhabits a witch's heart.

Even when Europeans were seen to be 'white skins' rather than 'evil spirits' they were understood to be potentially very dangerous and violent despite appearing peaceful. Here I refer to Bakadiye, a Dibiaso man remembering his European teacher during the early 70s:

In Daru Bakadiye became friendly with the high school teacher who was transferred to Port Moresby. Bakadiye accompanied him to Port Moresby. One weekend the teacher decided he would have a party. Bakadiye became frightened at this because he had remembered what the old people had told him that Europeans used to eat people. Bakadiye thought the party would be the occasion where the Europeans would attack and kill him. There were lots of Europeans and a few national women - they were all getting very drunk and dancing. But Bakadiye did not drink anything throughout the party. He was very frightened and stayed close to the phone so that if anyone looked like attacking him he could quickly call the police. (English - paraphrase).

In 1976 another man told me of how he had dreamt that all the houses in the village had iron roofs. There were Europeans in the houses and they asked him in to eat their food. But when he started to come towards their houses the Europeans got their guns and threatened to shoot him. He woke up.

The images the Kamula deploy in these accounts of Europeans define them as devourers of the Kamula. In this way the experience of colonial domination and associated redefinition of the embodied self are thematized in the same terms as the Kamula use in accounts of their relationships with the socially marginal and peripheral. Given this interpretative context, Europeans take on attributes of both cannibalistic murderer and witch.

While it seems no Kamula was deliberately injured by the Australian-led patrols, the association of Australia with dangerous power is made explicit in a key Kamula myth which now identifies Australia as the place settled by the people who first cannibalised the Kamula. In some accounts the main character is understood to be the son of the creator figure Kaiyano. In a sense he is a Kamula, but he is also the first human to die and, angry at his treatment, he retaliates aimlessly against a couple making sago. In other accounts the main actor is not identified with Kaiyano's son and consequently appears more as a prototype of an intrusive alien. In the story Ikwapa and her husband Kamki are engulfed by water used to leach the sago and they are then killed by the man (and his accomplices) that emerged from this water:

And then from inside the woman. He pulled out her intestines with his hands. And her husband too, he pulled out the husband's intestines with his hands karrr! And then he wrapped some of the flesh up in sago leaves. The sago tree's rind was to be his canoe. He got some sticks and made a cabin. And then he put a water bailer on the canoe - it was like an engine [in other version a dinghy]. And then he put the bodies, the intestines and sago in the canoe. And then what did he do? He painted the canoe in blood... At the junction of Kamki River and the Soari River he went down into the water. He travelled in the water. He came up at Kotopeli. Our ancestors were living there - Puluwa people were living there. He arrived with blankets, steel axes, salt, machetes, and trousers and said, 'Do you want these?' And they answered, 'No, we don't want things like trousers. We have beaten bark pubic coverings and these alone we want.' And then he offered them steel axes and they said, 'We have stone axes, we don't want steel axes.' And then he left in the canoe and went down into the water ... [He did this at a number of places] ... And he left and went down the Soari River into the Aramia River. And he arrived at Awaba [the current site of a high school run by the local mission]. And there he made a fire, he singed the hair of the corpses there. And the smoke cleared all the trees and there was only grass. And then he went to Balimo and he cooked the flesh there. And he put it into the canoe, and left. He went to Australia and gave all the goods to the white skins [Kamula direct quote].

At one level, understood either as Kaiyano's son's retaliation for his own death or as an irrational attack by an unknown outsider (the European), the myth presents the attack as resembling a raid in that the victims are treated as objects to be cannibalised. It provides a model of the dangerous capacities of persons now associated with Australia. A couple of men I spoke to on this point thought that the set of events outlined in the myth were, in part, responsible for people's extreme fear of Europeans. It 'explains' why they would have run away from early patrols and also why they would not take the things left by the Europeans.

The equivalence between Europeans and external enemies is made explicit in another version of the Kamki story where the killer sings a song as he travels towards Australia. This song was understood to have the power to attract Europeans - it was the 'origin' or' base' (sitani) of the Europeans. The song was a highly prized secret and was known only by some Kamula men who would sing it to 'call out' to the Europeans to make them come to Kamula country. But it also had the power to attract the Kamula's enemies, the Kalamo, because the 'origin' or 'base' of the Kalamo and the Europeans was the same.

This commonality existed because Kamula make the point that 'white skins' and 'real people' had the same mother and father, that they had the 'same origin' which is recounted in the story of Ikwapa and Kamki. Some people identify this 'origin' as the spring created by the water that engulfed Ikwapa and Kamki. But the myth is not just about the brotherhood between Europeans and Kamula; it is also said to be about the origin of raiding. Europeans are directly associated in the myth with raiding and hence, by implication, with the Kamula's more recent enemies - the Kalamo.

If the song was used to attract Europeans, barriers - through the use of spells (osolo) - had to be put up to block the access of the Kalamo. This association of the presence of Europeans with the presence of enemies is not just an analogy expressing the early European's dangerously alien status. It also returns us to the world of reciprocity where an increment is always balanced by a loss elsewhere in the system. In the case of the song the increment associated with the arrival of Europeans is balanced by the Kamula deaths that the Kalamo cause when they come to raid. Given such ideas, there is a sense in which the deaths of Ikwapa and Kamki can themselves be understood as a form of balanced reciprocity for the increment represented by the arrival of their killer (Kaiyano's dead son, the Europeans).

The myth also addresses the issue of the current distribution of commodities between Europeans and 'real people'. This distribution is attributed to the Kamula's refusal of compensation for the death of Ikwapa and Kamki. The myth also explains the specific spatial distribution of development and European 'things' that is found in the Kamula's immediate environment. The hero visits Balimo, Awaba and Kawito. These are all places that have all the attributes of development (electric power, houses, trucks, airstrips and well supplied stores). Balimo is a government centre and also has a large mission-run hospital that has a number of white staff. Awaba is the location of the mission-run high school which until recently employed a large number of European missionaries as teachers. Kawito is the site of what was a mission warehouse that supplied all the mission stations in the Western Province. It is also the base for a plane and was a place where a number of Europeans (pilots, warehouse managers and mechanics) regularly resided. As we have seen, initially 'white skins' and 'real people' were brothers, but the 'white skins' left with Kaiyano's son. They took with them all the things that Europeans now possess. They now display some of these things close to Kamula country, but without fully restoring them to their 'brothers'.

Not only is the story of Ikwapa and Kamki understood to entail a lost kinship between Europeans and Kamula; in other versions of this story Ikwapa and Kamki are conflated with the technology and goods now associated exclusively with Europeans. In some accounts all the European 'things' are contained in the engulfing water and travel with the killer to Hasta (a place now identified with Australia). In one version the hero uses Kamki's penis to make the engine of the boat and Ikwapa's vagina to make the dinghy. Here Kamula are presented as literally being the origin of Western technology. And the identification extends to contemporary Kamula. One man trying to explain the power of the story to me said:

'Ikwapa and Kamki. It is not other people. It is me. It is my time. It is me. It was my blood, my flesh' (English - direct quote).

In another version what the killer holds up as compensation to Kamula is not European 'things', but the shoulder blade of his victims. Whether he is deliberately tricking them or whether he sees parts of Kamula persons and European goods as appropriately substitutable is ambiguous, but what I find interesting is the fact that Kamula storytellers are exploring the possibilities of such an equivalence and seeking to account for its transformation into its contemporary form where Kamula bodies are unable to be converted into European things.

In seeking to define a past, but now lost, identity between the Kamula, the Europeans and their technology, the Kamula are also seeking to define the basis on which this unity could perhaps be re-asserted and possibly usher in a more equitable distribution of resources. The following account was told to me in 1994:

The mother gave birth to the white skin. She put him to the side in the cold. And then she gave birth to the black skin. She gave them both breast milk but she put the white boy to the side. She and the black skinned child would sleep together. She would also rest the black skinned child on her lap. The white skin did not have any fire. We alone lived next to the fire.

The white skins and us have the same father. The same mother. The same origin. The black skin learnt his father and mother's language. But the white skin learnt another language.

And so his things were different. He took them to his cold country. The black skinned people had no things. The white skinned man did not want them to have them. [Kamula paraphrase].

In these accounts the creation of difference between whites and Kamula is presented as a consequence of a flow of entities and powers out of the Kamula domain. The narratives, while in part blaming Kamula ancestors for the current global situation, also set up the terms for a partial or complete restitution of the loss. Indeed within the terms of these narratives the process of colonialism can be understood as the first phase of realising this restitution. After all the initial colonialists travelled up rivers in boats similar, if not identical, to the boat made out of the flesh of Ikwapa and Kamki that travelled out of the Kamula's spatial-temporal range. This return of the Europeans ushers in the possibility that at last the Kamula will be re-united with their white brothers and given access to their brothers' commodities. As one man explained, my brotherhood with him can be directly linked to the meaning of the Ikwapa and Kamki story:

'Do you remember the time when I said at the disco "you are my elder brother (bapa). Bapa my land is your land" ... You are not from Japan. You are not from China. Your real people are from Australia. They took without compensation. What can I do?' (English - direct quote).


What can be done to restore the situation often involves converting Europeans into 'real people' or otherwise making them conform to their true identity and secondly, centring European technology in the Kamula landscape. Thirdly, some Europeans, especially missionaries, knowing the secret that allows the difference between whites and 'real people' to persist, may be enticed to reveal their secret or at least people may, through dreams, visions and trances, be able to work it out for themselves. I deal with these three procedures more or less in order but obviously they overlap.

The need to identify with Europeans and have Europeans identify with Kamula was, at times, linked to an acute sense of inferiority to the Europeans. In 1978 one Kamula stated:

the black skin's things are not good but those of the white skin are good. The black skin's country has no light. The black skin does not know the origin of goods and the ways of money and the ways of engines. It is good for the black skin and his friend the white skin to live together. We do not know how to write. Our children they will know, they will know the white skin. They will change into the white skin. [Kamula - direct quote].

This account implies that knowledge and bodily transformation are interrelated aspects of a process of identification. In this account it seems that prior to identification it is necessary for the Europeans to co-reside with the Kamula, that they be brought into the Kamula domain.

This emphasis on incorporation was spectacularly successful in reference to at least one European. In one village a crocodile skin trader married a local woman and by the early eighties he was sometimes spoken of as a 'real man' a term applied to all nationals in contrast to the more usual term for Europeans 'white skin'. I take his designation as a 'real man' to imply that through a process of incorporation via co-residence and marriage, the trader had been subject to the effective agency of the landowners and that he had been changed into something more similar to the landowners which, as discussed earlier, is a process that the Kamula expect to occur between affinally related men.

The incorporation of Europeans by the Kamula has also taken the form of creating an identification between European and Kamula through the creation of namesake relationships. Kamula have named their children after myself, Tony (Crawford), Jenni (Crawford), the SIL linguist Isaka (Rotuma) and the missionaries Lola and Mark (Nyburg). In Kamula the word referring to namesake relationships is daiyo which also means 'similar'. When a namesake relationship is established the person whose name has been applied to the child can refer to the child's parents by the kin terms 'father' and 'mother'. The junior namesake is a bit like oneself. So in the case of Europeans, there is a sense in which an aspect of the named European has been transformed into the Kamula domain by the creation of a namesake relationship. Through this process Europeans are copied into Kamula bodies.

This notion of the Kamula being Europeans is reiterated in the widely held belief that the spirits of Kamula dead go and live in Australia, the place where the 'white skins' live. Once there, they are transformed into 'white skins'. Some Kamula have been able to come back to live in Kamula country in their European form even though they will themselves be unaware of their prior status as Kamula. This capacity to reincarnate is according to some people restricted to certain missionaries who share some of the obvious physical characteristics of certain deceased Kamula. Consequently they are identified as being dead Kamula. As one man explained in English:

The village people think that the Europeans are the dead come back. They don't remember their past life. They don't know anything about it. The missionaries - they are the Australians who know more than other Australians. They are dead people come back, but other Australians are different. They are just ordinary people. [English - paraphrase].

But it is not always possible to be definite. This was made clear to me when, during a discussion of the Kamula's ability to transform themselves into Europeans, a man suggested to me - 'Michael you might be a different fellow ... Or maybe you are not in the system?'(12)

The fundamental process is not just one of incorporative identification - the European is 'really' a Kamula or 'like' a Kamula - but also implied is the idea that certain, if not all Europeans, being Kamula ancestors, are consequently part products of Kamula agency (cf Strathern 1991). The effect is to create a new category of person that blurs the distinction between 'white skin' and Kamula - a 'white skinned Kamula'. Moreover, as Lattas has said of equivalent rendering of 'white skins' into Kaliai, such statements can be understood as empowering by making the real person one with powerful others, while at the same time disempowering the white skin 'by making their difference and otherness a version of oneself' (1992a:37).

The idea that the Kamula may exercise power over Europeans is also currently being developed and tested in the knowledge of spells which some people are said to possess to attract or stop Europeans from visiting Kamula country:

Hawai's mother had been killed. When she died Hawai in his dream called on the white skin to come. And the white skin came. A white skin Mr Brandt came to Kasigi. And so Mr Brandt came to Kasigi asking 'where is Hawai? Where is Hawai? 'The man did not know that Hawai lived at Wasapeya. The white skin went there and spoke in pidgin 'Dispela man Hawaii stap o nogat?' Where does he live? But Hawai had died so Mr. Brandt went back to Balimo' [Kamula - direct quote].

The European went away, presumably confused about what he was doing, having been so utterly subject to Hawai's ability to elicit him. Another process of magical transformation was explained in the following terms:

And my mother or someone like her has died. I will be sad. While I am mourning I will get some of her hair. I will get this and some shavings of nail from the big toe. And then I will get a large turtle's shell. And I will get some young shoots from a kind of sago tree and tie them up. And then I will talk to my dead mother. I will tell her to come to her house to get her things. Your pig will be shot. She will row that large turtle. It is like her canoe or car (kwa). She will row here. I will sing onto her long hair. [Song deleted] And then some one like my father - his spirit - the white skin. He won't go carefully. He will say 'I am going up to Kamula country' and go straight away. And the magical things I will put in my mother's house under the floor where she slept. They are the white skin's door and the white skin will come to her house to get her things and eat pig meat. [Kamula - direct quote].

A number of points are worth making about such spells. The objects, actions and words used in these spells are often similar to those used to kill people via sorcery. Hence I would argue that the power to bring 'European Kamula' back to Kamula country is equivalent to the power to kill that shifts Kamula into the domain of the dead. These powers are not just used in reference to bringing the dead-European hybrids into the Kamula domain - some Kamula reputedly now know similar techniques that prevent or attract visits by government bureaucrats, company officials and they have been used, quite successfully in one instance, to make Europeans live with Kamula. The result is that now virtually all entities (the dead, 'white skins') on the margins of Kamula sociality are potentially subject to a degree of control by Kamula.

Another element in this spell that I want to stress here is the image of the 'door' which suggests that Australia, the dead and the Kamula are, like rooms or outside and inside, in relatively close proximity to each other. There is a concern here to overcome any physical space or gap between the colonial other and controlling self lest other differences emerge and persist and thereby prevent the effective operation of this power, based fundamentally on similarity, over external others.

I was also told that

graves are a short cut to where Europeans live. They are like a key to those places. You can go to Australia through them or to New Zealand or America. [English paraphrase].

In my view these ideas are attempts to reconstruct the geography of the world. They seek to make the physical characteristics of the world correspond to the fundamental identity that should obtain between 'white skins' and 'real people'. These places that overcome real geography also overcome differences in history in that the dead are able to enter into the realm of 'white skins' and thereby fuse the different histories that have so far divided the whites and the blacks.

Reiterating these kinds of ideas is the belief that European goods are already produced within or near Kamula territory:

When there were earth tremors the old people thought that the things have come. Is this true? That money has come here. He has given birth to things trucks, steel axes, knives, planes. The plane things are there. The truck things are there. He put them. That is what they said.

The pig was pregnant. And he gave birth to many things. The pig was very big and was very tall. His name was Woklapapu. He did things like this. He was like a mother. [Kamula - direct quote].

Woklapapu is an important Kamula ancestor. He is presented in the myth of the origin of Lake Campbell as a liminal transformer - a semi-domesticated pig that sired a human son. As such he stands midway between an ordinary human and a witch (who is an agent that can transform itself into wild game and who has as a child an evil spirit rather than an ordinary human being - see fn.9). In the events related to the creation of the lake, Woklapapu ate, and then regurgitated, the entire contents of a longhouse including all the people involved in an initiation ceremony then being held there. He represents an image of the other (wild pig) that is only partially converted into identity with humans. Insofar as he combines reproductive capacity (via his regurgitative abilities) with his identity as a wild pig, he is witchlike and as such provides an image of insatiable, all consuming desire to possess through consumption.

In the story of the 'origin' or 'base' of European things, Woklapapu embodies a centring of European technology within a process of reproduction completely mediated or controlled by a male Kamula ancestor. He is a singular encompassing male entity associated with incorporative consumption (Woklapapu eats everything) and the womb (Woklapapu is 'like a mother'). The power he has is analogous to that of the witch who combines reproductive power (in this case European things) and a level of identity with wild game (he is pig/man). In the story of Woklapapu as mother he emerges as a new kind of discursive object, that utilises possibly witchlike powers to reproduce European things in the Kamula domain.

The story also provides an image of interrelationship between the Kamula and European domains that almost involves their conjunction. Woklapapu gives birth to European goods in Kamula territory but under or in Kamula ground. Hence the two domains while brought into close proximity are still separated. The European's goods and technology are not manifest but merely understood to be present through the effects of their production (earth tremors). Yet the story also provides a tantalising possibility that these processes may erupt into the Kamula domain and thereby unify Kamula geography with the production of European things. The figure of Woklapapu is a mediating figure (half human half pig witchlike male mother) literally embodying a capacity (and overwhelming desire) that can collapse polarities and oppositions into an identificatory unity. As such he is an appropriate vehicle for unifying European and Kamula domains by powerfully recentring the technology of commodity production among the Kamula. While discussing the story of Woklapapu one man explained:

the origin (sitani) of things should be close to the Kamula not distant. It is no good if things are sent from a long way away. The Europeans keep the origin of things hidden. Kamula - real people - do not know the origin of things but Europeans they know.' [Kamula - paraphrase].

Woklapapu could give birth to a new order, to a different world where the processes of production would be manifest and consequently knowable.

Hints of what may be possible are also found in accounts of occasional interaction by ordinary people with the dead. In one well known case a Kasigi man met his deceased sister who gave him some biscuits and some PNG coins. As a partial explanation of why the flow of goods was so frustratingly minimal it was explained to me that the man was not given other European food because if he ate such foods he would die. In this context sharing of such food in itself is understood to have the capacity to unify the living with the dead, to transform the living into the dead.

Other people have special powers that enable them to get a different perspective on the dead and their role in contemporary reality. Some people can see through ordinary objects and are even able to see into time and predict the future. Such people can sometimes see through this world into the other world, the world of the dead. One woman with the power of vision was reputedly unsure if there were three separate worlds - heaven, earth and in the middle the land of the dead - or maybe there was just one place, the earth, so that 'everything was here' potentially accessible. In this later model of fundamental spatial unity the world of the dead was said to be within the same domain as the manifest world of the living, but separated from it by a barrier described to me as like plastic or glass. Ordinary people cannot see or travel through this barrier. But people who have unique powers are able to travel into this other world and speak to the dead as they go about their daily business. They learn things from the dead about the secrets of Europeans and can tell ordinary Australians from Australians who are returned dead 'real people'.

Some of the more esoteric knowledge focuses on the European missionaries who live at Balimo, Awaba and Kawito. These missionaries, unlike ordinary Europeans, are thought to know the secrets of the Europeans:

Those Kamula are thinking that those missionaries just sit in the house. But they always get their supplies. They always have things sent to them. So how is this possible? Where do these things come from? They don't work for money. They don't earn money. They have a bank [at Awaba] which one missionary Mr. Smith used to run. Sekomenae's wife she went there and asked if she could join, but he told her that she had no right to that money. The ancestors of the Europeans had suffered to get all the things they have, but the Papua New Guinea people had not. People think the Europeans have a secret which they are not telling the people. [English - paraphrase].

While there is no real consensus on what this secret may be, Europeans are widely known to be capable of utterly wondrous transformations. For example, the Weekly World News of March 22, 1992 contained an article that, in early 1994, was prominently displayed on the Church noticeboard at Wawoi Falls. The article was about a baby born in Nebraska with angel's wings. Accompanied by a photo of the winged child, the article stated:

The birth of a baby with angel wings has stunned clergymen who say that the little boy is almost certainly a message from heaven - and a living sign from God. 'Doctors are trying to tell everybody that the wings are a mutation or a birth defect, but nothing, and I do mean nothing, could be further from the truth' said the Reverend Paul Hayes of Omaha. 'All you have to do is look at this boy to see otherwise' he continued. 'He has the face of an angel and carries his wings with the grace of a bird ... Speaking through an attorney [one doctor] acknowledged that 'Marion Moore does seem to be something "special". I'm going out on a limb here to tell you that this boy is an angel because the appendage, at the beginning at least, was consistent with a mutation. But being a Christian I am comfortable saying that the Lord does things that mankind does not understand. He really does work in mysterious ways'.


The kind of transformative power expressed in many of the above accounts of 'white skins', dead ancestors and the location of Western technology rests in large part on refusing to make a distinction between culture (or idea) and nature (material reality) (cf Mitchell 1990:546, Strathern 1988). Blurring the distinction between representations and the real gives words, especially in the form of spells, the capacity to establish and transform physical reality (America is now 'close' to PNG once the short-cut is known). The possibility of such deformations in geography rests on the assumption that 'social' or metaphorical space and 'natural' physical space are fused (cf Smith 1984:74-75) or capable of being fused when subject to appropriate definition (eg by magical techniques or by the actions of, for example, Woklapapu). The resulting entity merges subject and object, overcomes real geography and repositions the otherwise fixed identities and capacities of 'white skins' and the dead.

But other more apparently modern notions of power associated with the state, the logging project and its Chinese operators are also deployed in the local arena. These forms of power tend, in their official codifications, to rely on imposing a distinction between subject and object such that domination emerges as treating a person like a thing (Strathern 1987a, 1987b 1988; but see Lattas 1993b: 111 for a critique). In this perspective domination is likely to be understood and experienced as a restriction on the capacity of an autonomous self-validating agent (subject) to transform the world (object in nature) (cf Strathern 1987b:287; O'Hanlon 1988: 196-197). Mitchell (1990:584) has further argued that 'modern' notions of power deploy the subject-object distinction through what he calls enframing(13):

the new modes of power by their permanence, their apparent origin outside local life, their intangibility, their impersonal nature, seem to take on an aspect of difference, to stand outside actuality, outside events, outside time, outside community, outside personhood. Hence they appear ... as something other, something non-particular and unchanging - as a framework that enframes actual occurrences' (1990:569 see also 572).

Within these operations power can seem to be something of a metaphysical entity, external to the person and external to practice. Power becomes associated with structure or an 'unphysical realm of order' (Mitchell 1990:572) - lawlike and external, like the PNG state and its Chinese loggers.

The ideas about power evoked by Mitchell are also linked to transformations in the understanding of space. Here it useful to recall Giddens' somewhat romantic idea that modernity involves separating space from place:

in pre-modern societies, space and place largely correspond, since the spatial dimensions of social life are, for most of the population, and in most respects, dominated by "presences" - by localised activities. The advent of modernity increasingly tears space away from place by fostering relations between "absent" others, locationally distant from any given situation of face-to-face interaction. In conditions of modernity, place becomes increasingly phantasmogoric: that is to say, locales are thoroughly penetrated by and shaped in terms of social influences quite distant from them (1990:18-19).

While I have already criticised Giddens' account of pre-modern notions of space as linked to an overly clear distinction between modern and pre-modern spatial practice, his account of so called modern space and its separation from place neatly reiterates the enframing and abstract properties highlighted by Mitchell. 'Modern' ideas about space also entail its purification into objective and subjective aspects. One kind of space comes to be understood as a fundamentally unchangeable absolute - 'as emptiness, as a universal receptacle in which objects exist and events occur, as a frame of reference, a co-ordinate system (along with time) within which all reality exists' (Smith 1984:68). Given this naturalisation of an enframing absolute space within which everything happens, other kinds of space - such as 'social' or 'cultural', 'meaningful' space or 'scientifically objective' ecological zones - can be produced and manipulated.

By using a lawlike, externally binding power and an associated capacity to define and transfer rights in space, the state and Rimbunan Hijau have formally come to terms and produced contracts, plans and agreements that have established the Wawoi-Guavi logging project. The key element of these activities was the transfer of ownership of the timber resources from the landowners to the developer over an abstractly demarcated area of land. This process took place through a Timber Rights Purchase (TRP) agreement which creates a space in which the primary social relations thought to operate are those which are legally restricted to contractual ones between landowners, the company and the state. The internal properties of the spaces can be made explicit and articulated in maps, contracts, 'environmental' impact statements, work plans for specific 'blocks' (Block 1, Block 2, Block 3 etc) in the TRP 'area' and in other documents usually located in Port Moresby. Moreover almost all important decisions, legal and otherwise, concerning the logging project emerge from processes that take place outside the local domain without participation of most landowners.

That such things are possible is a consequence of the loggers' (and the state's) ability to create and map their own spaces (the TRP area, 'nature') which can be distinguished and abstracted from their environment (the people, the land, the wider 'social' context) (cf Certeau, 1988:36). This newly defined space is then subject to the operation of their forms of power and control. The contractually defined properties of the space are, through the application of knowledge, technology and labour, then inscribed or translated back into the world.

And yet this is only a partial account of the powers that operate in or over the territory and bodies of 'real people'. At the same time as the landowners have been effectively encompassed by a kind of power they do not fully control, the landowners have succeeded in transforming their 'local place' into the transnational 'space' of modernity such that the distinction between the 'local' and the 'distant' needs to be qualified. This process is linked to some landowners extending their influence amongst bureaucrats, politicians and legal advisers. Logging companies regularly use landowner board members to lobby the government to approve their particular development plans. In the process of this networking some of the landowners gain unprecedented access to government officials, private lawyers and their powers. They build up significant networks of influence - the kernels of which are often based on the members sharing a common regional identity ('He is all right. He is a Western Province man'). This is also linked to often superbly detailed flows of information about the politics of the project.

Landowners have also tried to convert the state and the logging companies into entities more amenable to magical techniques of power. There is now available magic (osolo) for controlling the 'office' - certain words can ensure that all the secrets of the office will be made available to you - 'everything will be free'. Whatever the more exact nature of this control (something I hope to pursue in future work), it is clear that, through their links with logging companies, there has been a significant redefinition of the nature of the powers some landowners can deploy.

These new abilities to influence (and enchant) the powers of the state and the timber companies suggest some qualification to Giddens' notion that modernity involves a separation of 'space' from 'place' and to Mitchell's related association of enframing power with modernity. These accounts emphasise metaphors of the dominating 'penetration' (Giddens) and encompassment (Mitchell) of 'place' by externally driven notions of 'space' without perhaps sufficiently emphasizing that the local is also simultaneously globalised and re-territorialised, partly by the actions of landowners, into previously 'external' contexts (such as Port Moresby and Sibu, Sarawak). A more adequate model of this process of transformation needs to convey the sense that landowners are developing identities that are embedded in relationships that simultaneously connect and merge the local and the national (and even international). Secondly, this process is not qualitatively different to that operating in the pre-colonial era in the sense that social relations always involved simultaneous conjunctions of the local and nonlocal that were expressed in patterns of migration, inter-marriage, multilingualism (for details, see Wood 1982 Chp. 1) and, as already discussed, magic. While landowners are now being positioned in colonising transnational systems, this shift from regional to global conjunctions is a difference in the scale of the process as much as it is a fundamentally different or 'modern' transformation of space. Finally rather than construct a narrative of these transformations based just on a dualistic bifurcation into dominating, external subjects (the Chinese, the corrupt PNG elite) and their captured, local objects (landowners and their resources), these processes can also be understood to be providing the landowners, or some of them at least, with the 'opportunity to live subjunctively as neither subject nor object of history but as both, at one and the same time' (Taussig, 1993:255).


The attempts by state sponsored Asian loggers to dominate the landowners and the landowners' countervailing attempts to expand their own powers has resulted in a somewhat unstable ensemble of competing definitions of the properties of the agents involved. My interest here is in one aspect of this political conflict - specifically the landowners' definitions of the social identity and characteristics of the Chinese. I outline some of the ways local people have sought to convert the Chinese to an Other that is morally inferior both to Europeans and to themselves.

This construction of Chinese is influenced by national and local debates concerning the general desirability of integrating PNG into Asia and the dominance of Chinese (Malaysian) investment in PNG's forestry sector. Yet most of the force underlying such local constructions emerges from the regional situation, where the failure of the Chinese company, Rimbunan Hijau, to develop the Wawoi-Guavi area is a major political issue. Further, over the last few years Rimbunan Hijau, along with a number of other companies, has actively pursued its interest in acquiring the Makapa TRP, which is adjacent to its Wawoi-Guavi concession, and, which in its 'official' definition involves around 250,000 hectares. Rimbunan Hijau is currently trying to create the political conditions that would extend this concession by around 600,000 hectares making it one of the largest and most valuable timber concessions in PNG. In seeking control of this resource, which is worth at least two billion kina, it has encountered opposition from competing companies, three of whom have formed their own active landowner companies.

The resulting conflict among the landowners has involved a process of fragmentation, dividing villages on the basis of 'tribal' loyalties ('all the Kamula have joined the Kamula-Doso company') or on the basis of loyalty to specific companies ('we Kamula are with Niugini Lumber, but those other Kamula they are with Pisa'). The conflict between competing companies has gone on for a number of years and there have been a number of opportunities where a company's 'supporters' can fairly easily shift allegiance to another company. Hence the companies have sought to bind landowners to them not just through material inducements (gifts to villages, salaries for board members, shopping allowances for visitors to Moresby etc), but also through denigrating competitors by defining them as incompetent, exploitative and corrupt.

It is in this kind of context that many of the themes of Australian colonial discourse concerning the Chinese get reworked into landowner stories of the radical alterity of Chinese. In these anecdotes the Australian form of colonialism is re-presented as a process involving essentially moral agents (cf. Burridge 1960) who are capable of appropriate levels of identification with 'real people'. This positive re-evaluation of Australians serves as a foil to the definition of Chinese who often come to be associated with negative characteristics that were previously associated with Europeans. Hence despite the arrival of the Chinese and their powerful technologies in the domain of the 'real people' this has not led to a radical restructuring of pre-existing evaluations of Europeans as desirable identities. Rather it seems the desirability of Europeans has been amplified in the process of fixing the Chinese in a position of moral inferiority.

Accounts of Chinese reveal them to be unlike Europeans. Chinese are currently defined as unmalleable, to be untransformable into 'real people'. They do not seem to be desirable entities with which to identify. They also seem to be intriguingly absent from important narratives dealing with fundamental realities and associated definitions of agency. Indeed only once have I heard Chinese being referred to in the context of discussing a myth and even here it was a rather indirect reference. In February 1995 Baraiye had recounted the story of Kamki and Ikwapa. He returned to my house a few days later to stress that even though the story was associated with his sub-clan (Bawa) it was not his ancestors who had killed Ikwapa and Kamki. He suggested the killers were 'like white skins' then, perhaps a bit embarrassed over the fact that I might now feel uncomfortable with this possibility, he quickly added that their hair was different to my hair - that it was 'like Tony's hair'. The man referred to here was a senior executive of the Wawoi-Guavi operation and a Chinese Malaysian. He had visited Kasigi for a few days trying, largely unsuccessfully, to get landowners to express their approval of his plans to 'extend' the Makapa TRP. While there Tony had befriended Baraiye as a potentially influential elder of the only autochthonic Kamula sub-clan. Baraiye's association of Tony with the role of the killer of Ikwapa and Kamki is suggestive of a potential to develop further the substitution of powerfully dangerous Europeans with Chinese and their equally dangerous powers, but this was not elaborated by Baraiye into a new version of the story of Kamki.

Despite the possibility of Chinese playing a greater role in Kamula myth, my current understanding is that generally Chinese play little role in fantasy constructs mediating access to desirable products. Once, when trying to elicit information on this subject, I asked a man about the relationship between his dreams of Europeans and success in hunting and I then went on to ask what happened when he went hunting after he dreamt of Chinese people. He replied that he never dreamt of them, that they were different to Europeans. In these ideas about sociality, outsiders are not homogenous or interchangeable because 'white skins', most other humans and quasi humans are potentially transformable liminal entities, but the Chinese are not.(14)

Chinese remain largely external from, and indifferent to, the concerns of locals. They are said to be 'hard' or 'different' people. But the most common stereotype is that they are 'greedy' people. For the Kamula greed is the antithesis of sociality. Indeed one Kamula term for greedy can be roughly translated as doing things 'by oneself' in the sense of refusing to share things such as food or knowledge. The following account of Chinese greed comes from a man who was frustrated at the way the Chinese staff at Wawoi-Guavi had apparently failed to help him learn how to drive:

Chinese way is different to European ways ... Because Europeans what they teach somebody, learn somebody to do ... that thing. To get it. They will give him two or three week before they give you a test ... they will tell you OK you do this and that. After they will say OK you will do the test. If you are fit with him he will say OK The European guy will help you to buy a licence for you and he will give you the licence. He will go and talk on behalf of you. Buy your licensee and you start driving now.

That's the European way. But Chinese is very greedy people. They wont let you do like that. You have to go for three to four years. Before you are driver. Its very hard. That's why I think Chinese idea is no good. Europeans it is good. Sometimes Chinese they are very good in teaching but they are very greedy people. Very very greedy people. They want to do things by themselves. [English - direct quote].

The narratives on Chinese greed can build into a dramatic contrast with an earlier Australian colonialism that is redefined as operating through moral and racial equivalence which the Chinese refuse to put into effect:

Those Europeans were very good ... They were not greedy. They were using all those vehicles and outboard motors and all dinghies. Our local people were using them too. Those things they were using them together. When they go for patrols they sleep together they eat together. And when they come from patrol from the village. They go sit down together they go to Lodge - because John Senior's Lodge was there - they go inside there with the white man with the Papuan New Guineans. Sit down with these boys they have some cold beers there and tell some stories. It was way back in 1966. ... the Chinese are different. They follow their government. When Mr Somare the Foreign Minister made the agreement to let them come in they said they would live together with the people. Eat together and sleep together. But when they come here they follow their government. They might be communist. They stay separate. [English - direct quote].

In the context of intense competition over the Makapa TRP, the contrast between Europeans and Chinese is now sometimes represented as a conflict between different nation states over who will re-colonise this area of PNG. At times the PNG state is simply not represented - it ceases to be an actor in its own territory. Some sense of this is found in the following polemic directed at Rimbunan Hijau by a director of a landowner company supported by European business interests:

we don't want the Chinese. On their side they have the Malaysian and Chinese government pushing. On our side we have the Australians, Americans and English. We want the Australians to come. [English - paraphrase].

These competing foreigners are also evaluated in terms of their relationship to local forms of Christianity. Earlier this year I was told that Pope John Paul had visited Kamusi, the Wawoi-Guavi base camp, on January 18 and preached there. He was brought there by the company. At the time of the Pope's visit to PNG many Kamula believed that the Pope was perhaps the Devil or Anti-Christ and, as such, a possible omen of the end of the world which is due around the year 2000. The end of the world is associated not just with the return of Christ, but with apocalyptic events possibly involving the end of all laws, the emergence of One World Government that will take over all land and property and the arrival of the Anti-Christ. The story of the Pope visiting Kamusi implicitly associated the Chinese company with the evil powers likely to be released by the Devil during the transformations that will herald the Rapture. It reiterates the widespread idea that Chinese represent the negation of Christian morality and have 'evil' or 'bad customs'.

Another, more mundane, factor entering into the definition of Chinese as outsiders, is simply their inability to communicate with local people. The Chinese working at the logging project generally do not speak English or Motu. This results in a sense of the superiority of the 'real people' who usually speak better English than the Chinese, and some Kamula take considerable delight in enacting denigrating forms of mimicry:

Their knowledge is really good, but they don't know real English. Their language is bad. They will say things like "Wawoi Falls people get dozer go bump diwai. Engine bugarap. Wawoi Falls people ha! After boss fuck me!" or "I helf. I helf. Many people come. Always I helf. If they want to base always I helf". They speak broken English. It makes it hard for us. They don't speak English. We on this (Papuan) side speak English. They can't understand us when we speak English. So we speak like they do or use gestures. [Kamula - direct quote].

Workers in the logging project are also aware that some of the Chinese can speak pidgin because of their earlier work experiences on the New Guinea side of PNG. The Chinese are thought 'to stay close' to the workers from New Guinea and are said to be actively creating a wantok system. Thus one Papuan thought that if a New Guinean sent in his reference to the company he would easily get a job, but if a Papuan applied for a job they would make it hard for him.

An equally important source of difference between local and Chinese workers relates to the better pay and conditions that the Chinese receive. Indicative of these kinds of difference was the fact that in one camp where I stayed the accommodation for national single men lacked fans and had no functioning toilet or shower facilities whereas foreign single workers had both fans and ablution blocks. One Kamula explained

It is that segregation system they have. They get paid more than nationals and the others [Indonesian, Thai, Malay, Iban and Filipino workers]. The Filipino's complain about it a lot. They live separately to the rest of the workers.... They think they are better than the other workers and the Papua New Guinea people. The foreign workers they get higher pay and better rooms ... How did they come to get more money? Is it because the company is Chinese? [English - paraphrase].

In the context of discussing wages and conditions people often refer to the Chinese as 'hard' in contrast to European companies who offer very good conditions eg one exploration company was reputed to have paid K97 a fortnight plus free food for 'easy' work whereas the workers at Kamusi might only clear K60 a fortnight for 'hard' work and also have to pay for their own food from stores usually operated by the Chinese. Moreover if it rains frequently there is often no paid work (due to the dangerous condition of the roads) and hence in the wet season some workers apparently find it difficult to earn enough to pay for their food.

Europeans and Chinese can also be differentiated by the extent to which these two groups reputedly gris and bribe people. The Chinese are said to deal with angry landowners and government officials by giving them 'K20 or K50 to make them OK'. This can build into a more general critique of apparently corrupt politicians, government officials and key members of landowner companies. Often a contrast is made between such people whose way of doing things or style is bad (koko batalimana) and 'people of the land' or 'tree leaf people', who do not participate in this process and consequently miss out on any material benefits, but maintain a morally superior position. Landowner company board members, especially those who spend a lot of time in Port Moresby are often the target of these evaluations. They are thought to have 'eaten' or 'stolen' the royalties that should have been rightly paid to the majority of landowners. People say that some companies have seen how much money the landowner company directors consume and decided to run away thereby further delaying the project. Others claim that the logging companies will take the money they have already spent on the directors from the royalties once the logging gets going. This is understood to mean that the landowners will receive lower royalties. Hence paradoxically the procedures loggers use to recruit and maintain a support base can, in a relatively short period of time, have the effect of subverting the popularity of the board members who were presumably recruited partly because of some capacity to influence other landowners. Indeed the bad behaviour of directors can sometimes be used, particularly by landowners who are Christians, as a basis for rejecting the logging company that funds the director's activities.

But cutting across such moral critiques and their often binary categorisation of poor landowner and a corrupt elite allied with loggers is the recognition that:

We Papuan New Guineans are like Asians. When Asians want something from that group. They don't care - 1 toea 2 toea they just give it all to you. Once they give it [to] you, you are with them. I saw it with my own eyes. Not somebody talking. That's why PNG is full up with Asians running the business...

Europeans are different they will think twice before they give you one toea. I've been drinking with other Europeans in Moresby. Their way of living is a bit different to Asians. Europeans if they say they will go for a drink they will go and get a few drinks and something to eat. Then they will take you home. Malaysians are not like that. They will give you more and more. If you're flat out they will let you sleep in the hotel. Their way is not good....

I've seen Europeans they will think a lot before they give someone one toea. But Asians they are different they don't care. They will give more and more. [English - direct quote].

Here the Asian way of gift giving is presented as if it resonates with local people's ideas in that the gift creates a form of identification ('once they give are with them'). But in practice there is nothing automatic about this process. In December 1994 a company gave Kamiyami village a Christmas present of five hundred kina - three hundred of which was consumed in a feast celebrating New Year and the rest was given to the Church. Three weeks later the same company flew eight men from this village to Moresby, but once in Moresby all of the Kamiyami landowners (except one) defected to a rival company.

To get around this lack of binding commitment on the part of landowners the logging companies have deliberately forged other forms of identification with landowner board members. In one case, board members of a landowner company apparently swore on the Bible never to leave or go against the interests of Rimbunan Hijau no matter what happened. But one man apparently refused to do this and the other board members said they could no longer trust him. Later this man's four month old daughter, who was named Eksy, died. Her name was derived from the name of the landowner company, Eksowa, because she was born around the time of one of its initial meetings in Port Moresby. According to her father her death was caused by some of the other board members.

In his view the business practices of the Chinese management continue to show them to be outside the moral economy of reciprocity and incorporative identification, to be different and therefore unable to be positively written into narratives concerning either local, national or even human space:

Chinese business way is different. They don't go straight but talk around the side. I don't like this...You can't take Australia into PNG. You can't take Asia or Malaysia to PNG. This is PNG. PNG is PNG!... It is probably better that an European company come into our area. They colonised us - they understand us and we understand them. Their ways are different to the Chinese. The Chinese are like a monkey - tricky. They are like a mouse - they just cry for food. (English - paraphrase).


I have argued accounts of contemporary colonialism in PNG need to be broadened to include the role of non-European foreigners. Through analysing the different narratives about Chinese and 'white skins' I also argued that the colonial experience can involve a number of forms of power primarily associated with creating and dissolving the restraints of space along edges of 'intermingling' societies (cf Giddens 1981:91). I argued that, at least in reference to Europeans, the Kamula are interested in transcending boundaries by establishing contact and transferring properties (by exchange and incorporative identification) between the two groups such that they appear to merge, re-forming apparently uniquely bounded figures into a commonality (cf Burridge 1960: 282). If the border is negated there is consequently no clear definition of fixed proper 'places' (Certeau 1988:127), one appropriate for 'real people' (PNG) and the other appropriate for 'white skins' (Australia). Rather the 'real people' come to take on some of the characteristics of the 'white skins' and vice versa. The Kamula practices and ideas about Europeans overcome fixed unequivocal identities, destabilising the places of Europeans and 'real people' by physically transforming the world to bring the two together. In these accounts the Kamula emerge as almost triumphant in their project of re-unifying their selves with the white skins.(15)

The resulting transnational hybrid forms (white skinned real people) are not likely to be stable - the boundaries or the limits of this process are now being redefined and transformed by other narratives associated with the state and its forms of power that more clearly impose on the landowners fixed, binding definitions of their true place in the new world order. Such definitions are registered in the stories that outline relationships with Chinese. In these stories both parties are confined to their proper place which can usefully be understood in Certeau's sense of that which 'excludes the possibility of two things being in the same location' (198 8:117). The place the Chinese control (the TRP area) remains different to the place that the landowners own and occupy. Kamula and Chinese cannot yet merge into each other. They do not occupy the same space they remain divided by the 'segregation system' where as 'white skins' can be brought to the point, or almost to the point, of simultaneously occupying the same space as 'real people'. The Chinese remain external to and consequently somewhat abstracted from 'real people'.

Yet the distance between landowners and Chinese is not simply something that has been imposed by the superior ability of the Chinese and a supportive state, to impose their own self-definitions on the landowners. The external status of the Chinese is also an evaluation by landowners of the Chinese form of colonising development as a violation of local theories of entitlement based on sharing and balanced reciprocity (cf Moore, 1994:64, 104-106). The narratives that disable the reputation of the Chinese and their political allies aim at renegotiating this situation and at preventing the Chinese from extending their current strategies of accumulation. The stories also positively re-imagine Australian colonialism and reconfigure elements of Australian colonial discourse about Chinese into more contemporary forms of denigration. What is created is a new past and a new, intercultural space which, despite the forms of identification noted above, is currently more a zone of differences between Chinese and landowners. Within the terms of these differences the Chinese emerge as entities whose powers and capacities should not necessarily be incorporated into the bodies and land of 'real people'.

Essentially my argument has been that the Kamula's experience of contemporary colonialism can only be adequately understood through analysing their ideas about both Europeans and Chinese treated as an interdependent, at times contrasting, shifting field of meanings. But I also think a more complete understanding can be gained if we give up the further assumption that human agents are the only actors in the colonial process. Also involved are quasi-human and non-human agents (cf Latour 1992). Giving analytical priority to humans by ignoring the non-human actors runs the risk of imposing a distinction between social and natural (cf Callon 1986, Law 1991:185-186) in a context when this distinction is itself being contested and reworked through the kinds of competing definitions of space that have been outlined in this paper. Privileging a specific boundary between the social and the natural can also reduce the world transformative powers of redefined entities, such as actors like Woklapapu, to the merely textual, symbolic or mythopoetic. Such a reduction denies the reality of Woklapapu and rests ultimately on a disabling contrast between our 'objective' scientific knowledge (Woklapapu is not real) and their 'cultural' knowledge (Woklapapu is cultural, textual).

Only by a methodology that abandons any fixed distinction between the social and the natural can the mechanisms used by 'real people' for the definition and overcoming of space be understood in a unified explanatory framework that would equally apply to those entities, such as TRP areas, created by the state and the logging companies. The key difference between the landowners and state sponsored logging companies does not involve radically different assumptions about knowledge and reality. Rather it is a difference in the nature and scale of the powers available to them (cf Law 1991). Landowners are seeking the means to convert the space time of outsiders into their own previously local space time through the construction of hybrid spatial transformers like Woklapapu and 'white skinned real people'. But the Chinese and the state are, compared to the 'real people', able to mobilise and enrol many more hybrid and nonhuman agents into the creation of new collectivities. It is a difference in the ability to stabilise definitions of agents effectively and interlink their capacities and then bind these agents to act routinely in terms of those definitions.


Fieldwork on which this paper is based was undertaken in the months of January and February in each year from 1992 to 1995. This fieldwork was generously supported by two grants from James Cook University and a large ARC grant. An earlier version of this paper was cryptically adlibbed at a conference, ably organised by Don Gardner, at ANU in December 1993. I am indebted to my colleague Maureen Faury for the reference to Malinowski's travel metaphors. The other participants of our honours seminar - Gunhilde Fischer, Margaret Genever and Katherine Perrot - were also of real help to me in thinking out some of the issues involved in this paper. Two anonymous referees, and Ray Wood of the Cape York Land Council, provided excellent input and criticism and many of their ideas are now found in this paper. I also want to thank Bill, Pagawa, Hama, Topamu, Wisapiye, Morlo, Okae and, as usual, Bakadiye, for their insights into colonialism in PNG. Ati and Ipolo and Bauwe and Kopa-ato put me up in their houses, fed me and discussed matters covered in this paper.


1. While most of the material in this paper derives from conversations with Kamula men, some comes from people from Bamustu village who primarily speak Dibiaso. Most of my conversations with these people were in English. The logging project in the area is operated by the Wawoi-Guavi Timber Company which is owned by the Malaysian company Rimbunan Hijau. While at Kamusi, the base camp for the logging, I also talked in English to a number of Dibiaso, Doso and Gogodala speakers. Because I do not speak Malay or any Chinese languages I was unable to talk to the senior staff, who generally do not speak English. Consequently this paper lacks any account of how the Chinese Malaysians understand local people or how they have sought to transform them into compliant 'landowners' and 'workers'.

2. The word ikadabe can be glossed as 'real' or 'true'. Kamula speakers sometimes contrast 'true words' (yu ikadabe) to other metalinguistic categories like 'indirect speech' (wa yu); to talk involving 'parable', 'analogy' 'imagery' and 'metaphor' (nesama yu) and to talk that is 'not true' or 'real' (yu pas ikadabe) and which 'lacks any essential point' (dulu koko hawa). When discussing a contrast between wa yu and yu ikadabe Kamula often make a curving gesture to indicate what I take to be the indirect references involved in wa yu. In contrast yu ikadabe is demonstrated as a straight line or direct relationship. Parables (nesama yu) are routinely translated into what they 'really' mean (yu ikadabe). The word ikadabe can also function in a contrast to the kin term awa (which contains amongst its various senses the idea of 'distantly related' 'related') to indicate which of usually two varieties of a named folk generic is the prototype or exemplary version. Given these associations ikadabe can I think be glossed as 'true', 'real' or 'prototypical'. The term 'real people' gains further meaning via the contrast between the term 'light' or white skins' (kapala kamale), such as Europeans and Chinese, and 'dark' or 'black skins' (kapala dikali) of 'real people'. In its most inclusive sense 'real people' are all the people of Papua New Guinea in contrast to outsiders all of whom (with exceptions like Aborigines and Afro-Americans) can be generally referred to as 'light' or 'white skins' and who are implicitly less 'real' or human than the local people. Trying to capture a sense of this ontological ethnocentrism in this essay I use the word 'real people', but do so primarily to refer to people who live in or around the logging project. In particular it functions as shorthand for the Kamula, Dibiaso, Doso, Aem ili, Kalamo and Gogodala speakers to whom I talked about matters raised in this paper.

3. At one level the term 'Chinese' is used to refer specifically to Chinese speakers who tend to occupy senior management positions in the logging company run by Rimbunan Hijau so that it is almost a synonym for Rimbunan Hijau and the Malaysian Chinese who tend to be its senior officials. But the term is also often used to refer to a wide range of people - Malaysian Chinese, Iban, Indonesian, Filipino, Thai who work at Wawoi-Guavi. The term 'Chinese' used in this way has a generic sense somewhat like the term 'Asian'. In this essay I usually, but not always, use the term without quotation marks partly to convey a sense of its equivalence to terms like 'Kamula', 'European' and 'Australian' which are equally polysemous. Also I want to avoid the proliferation of quote marks in an essay already heavily saturated with them.

4. I hope to look at the representations of forestry issues and 'Asianisation' in the PNG print media in future work. Rimbunan Hijau publishes 'The National' - one of PNG's daily papers.

5. There is a vast literature on Australian colonial concerns with race - some examples are Wolfers (1975), Inglis (1974) and Evans, Saunders and Cronin (1993).

6. It is also Eurocentric in that it takes a model of subject formation derived from Hegel, Sartre and Lacan. As a result of the influence of these thinkers the interpretation of non-Western experience of colonialism often emerges as a process crucially involving the production and alienation of (genderless) identities through processes involving the mirroring of self and other. To get a handle on contemporary processes of identity politics in PNG I think we need to shift into a new non-binary geometry of self and other, something like Haraway's (1992: 300) 'diffraction' which maps interference rather than replication, reflection or reproduction. Without attempting a new geometry of the self, here I merely seek to show how Kamula ideas about Chinese are 'diffracted' through their ideas about Europeans. Secondly, the story of the lost self and its retrieval tends to reduce the politics of identity to a story of humans-amongst-themselves (cf Latour 1992:284) and thereby totally ignores the role of non-human agents in the production of the self and the other, 'natures' and 'cultures'. The result is a simplified often universalistic account of power as something only to do with humans. By restricting power to humans it creates a nature-culture opposition with nature reduced to a naive and disempowering kind of social constructionism. Despite these reservations about this dualistic approach, in this essay I have merely tried for a somewhat shot-gun like juxtaposition (or a pre-theoretical marriage) of it with some of Latour's (1992, 1993a, 199b), Callon's (1986) and Haraway's (1992) ideas about science, technology and knowledge. For an innovative attempt to step outside 'Western' accounts of knowledge, identity and personhood see M. Strathern's (1988) analysis of gift giving. Her extension of agency to the gift might be a useful model for re-conceptualising Melanesian ideas about the agency of technology.

7. The spatial element is also re-iterated in Tambiah's definition of magic as 'performative acts by which a property is imperatively transferred to a recipient object or person on an analogical basis' (1973:199). Malinowski argued for a somewhat different spatial perspective on Trobriand magic when claiming it needed myth to ensure its intergenerational transmission. Magic 'requires a pedigree, a sort of traditional passport in its travel across time' (Malinowski, 1955:141). These ideas of magic being a device for traversing and gaining access to regions of space-time are also found in notions of metaphor, especially when defined as the process by which 'things or ideas which were remote appear now as close' (Ricouer, 1979:145 cited in Weiner 1991:204). While I cannot pursue these matters here it does seem that Giddens' account of the pre-modern as dominated by co-presence ignores these forms of space-time manipulation.

8. Moreover the Kaluli believe their own souls or doubles roamed in Kamula and Kasua country in the form of pigs. When the Kamula or Kasua hunted pigs it was thought the Bosavi people died (Schieffelin and Crittenden 1991:67). See also Schieffelin's (1976) account of the Kaluli's interesting ideas about mamul spirits.

9. The witch is a person who has an 'evil spirit' (se, aiyaluma) living in their heart. This evil spirit eats the flesh of co-residents and kills them. The witch is a complex figure but two associations I wish to stress here (that are important to the interpretation of the figure Woklapapu discussed below) are the witch's capacity first for autonomous, narcissistic self-replication and secondly, a capacity for an over-identificatory transformation into wild game (a point I owe to Florence Brunois). The notion of self replication is evidenced in the Kamula's statements that the 'evil spirit' is like the witch's 'child'. Thus a witch is someone who can have a quasi child without affines or licit sexual intercourse. Witches also have the power to transform their spirit double (nesama) and/or evil spirit into wild game. They also have power to draw into their hearts (dupa) wild game and other 'things' which live there. From a male perspective the witch as a prohibited, but desirable, collective phantasy effectively subverts the need for men to convert game (identified with distant others) into reproduction (ordinary children) by ensuring affinal goodwill through presenting meat to their wives and their kin. The witch/evil spirit occupies both poles of this conversion through its capacity to be both wild game and an evil (abnormal) child. The witch represents the subversion of the need for men to dissipate their potency (semen), sexuality and product (large game) into social relations with one's wife and other affines in order to reproduce successfully.

10. Here the idea that a fantasized taking of a woman (increment in person) leads to success in hunting (increment in game) reiterates the idea of one kind of increment being transformable into the other (person into wild game into person). There is also a supplementary stress on a wet dream as being absolutely definitive of success in hunting. Semen is understood as representing the essence of life and certainly can be regarded as almost equivalent to a person and is an important source of growth. In this cultural logic expenditure of life-creating semen (increment in a person) is transformed into a gain of meat.

11. In so doing I seek to extend the application of the symbolic analysis of Papuan Plateau exchange initiated by Kelly (1976), Ernst (1978) and Schieffelin (1976, 1980) to the interpretation of events associated with 'development' and 'modernisation'.

12. It is not just Europeans who may be returned dead. Kamula themselves may also contain a different identity derived from some-one in a far distant place dying. For example two Kamula men Koyali and his elder brother Tom often visited Moresby on business associated with a logging company. One day I met Koyali with a young man named Bob who was from Madang. Koyali said Bob was his 'younger brother'. I asked him how could this be if he was from Madang. Koyali explained that the young man's father had died when he was young. Not so long ago when Bob first saw Tom and Koyaliin a Moresby hotel he suddenly started crying uncontrollably and he went up and hugged Tom. He thought Tom was his father. And Tom also started to cry. This relationship has been maintained and so he has become Koyali's 'younger brother'.

13. Mitchell (1992:566) here is translating Heidegger's Ge-stell. But Mitchell uses it quite differently to Heidegger to refer to the 'post-magical' or modern split between a purely material realm 'opposed to and given order by what now appears as a free-standing, non material realm of meaning' (1992:566). By way of contrast to Mitchell, Rouse (1985:80-81, 91 fn 26) argues that in Heidegger's ontological conception of modern science, Ge-stell refers to the clearing in which beings are disclosed as "standing-reserve" (Bestand), as totally calculable, orderable resources. In this reading even though modernity makes things manifest via a supposed opposition of objectivity and subjectivity, in fact Ge-stell 'discloses beings as neither subjects nor objects' (Rouse 1985:81). This is part of Heidegger's critique of Western anthropocentrism and blurs the distinction between modern and pre-modern. It is an interesting theme more clearly developed by Latour (1993a).

14. I take this to be an important difference to the Kaliai where 'all forms of outsideness whether it be that of secrecy, of whiteness, of heaven, God, America, Australia ... even ... the dead - become interchangeable. All these states of outsideness become paired and fused with each other' (Lattas 1992a:45-46).

15. Of course these various kinds of conversions of the colonisers into 'real people' can be also understood as a triumph of an expansionary colonialism that successfully converts the object (the Native) it sought to dominate into itself (the European). Real people are in a sense successfully colonised into seeking their redemption through transformations into the 'white skin'. The resulting contradiction between autonomy (Kamula convert the Europeans into themselves) and absorption (Kamula are converted into the Europeans or defined as the European's Radical Other - ie satanic pagans) (cf. Beckett 1993:677, Young 1990:146) was not explicitly represented as such by the people I talked to nor did I raise it as a possibility for us to discuss.


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Title Annotation:Papua New Guinea
Author:Wood, Mike
Date:Sep 1, 1995
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