I believe that PNG is on the cusp of one of the biggest epidemics of our short modern history. We unknowingly wondered into the era of preventable lifestyle diseases. Eating surgery foods, having high cholesterol diets, and worse still, normalising obesity as an image of success! The saddest thing is that it is affecting our young business and aspiring political leaders.
I will present imagery to question our own unwitting validation and seemingly present comment on a new narrative about a changing culture. You can decide what that change is but I think the hope is in what the girl says and what the kids are asked to remember.
BIG BEL, PIG BEL
(chorus) Big Bel Maus Grass Pig Bel Maan Ting yu lida Dring bia Keke moni bilong grassroots Maan Big bel shouldn’t be an image we strive for But somewhere along the line we seem to have made it an ideal to live for. Like it legitimises our sta-tus Like my success depends on how big my bel-is. So check this out, this happened the other day. I overheard this conversation and heard this lady say: Ew what a sight, Dude looked like a pregnant lady Bisnis man, maus grass, buai pas, Em traim ol wok meri. Ol meri tokim em "Mipla laikim sports man. Rugby man, soka man, man blo upim iron maaan” "Big bel, buai pas, maus gras man, Maski bisnis man, mi inap pinis lo big bel man" Yu painim hat lo wok about Pato wok lo wok about Klostu bai yu pundaun nau Bikpla guria kam nau! So all the pikininis say: Big Bel Maus Grass Pig Bel Maan Ting yu lida Dring bia Keke moni bilong grassroots Maan Bik bel man, Yu ting yu lida? Trasis hat lo fit na yu werim suit lo haitim bel blo yu? Sitting at bar drinking bia all pei dei, Moni blo mi, yu dring bia? Karim bel na kolim yu yet lida. Blari trasis bruk! Not even 35 Cause of death: Obese, diabetes. Another stat., Another stroke for the tally. Tromoi graun antap lo yu Bai yu go ananit klostu See if you can come back now NO! You’re 6 feet under now! So kids remember this and be healthy. Big Bel Maus Grass Pig Bel Maan Ting yu lida Dring bia Noken keke moni bilong grassroots man - Hans Lee
After several years of economic growth and affluence, we are at risk of preventable lifestyle related diseases and illnesses. The scariest thing is that we have somehow normalised the very crux of the issue. Eating surgery foods, having high cholesterol diets, and worse still, normalising obesity as an image of success!
It was never normal culturally for us to become obese and suffer from diabetes, anyone who says otherwise should show me a photograph of their great grand parents who were the first to see the wait man. So don’t use use culture as an excuse! It is not normal to eat greasy foods everyday, to drink coke every day, to eat every meal with a kings portion of protein! No, you are more likely going to be a successful candidate for PNGs growing statistic of victims who fell foul to lifestyle preventable diseases
The poem was designed as a performance piece by the performer taking on four voices and perspectives each with their own rhythm. There are about four voices which include the narrator, the ladies having the conversation, the grassroots man, and the doctor (9th stanza). The intended audience was for young people to take heed of it as a warning to the dangers of normalising unhealthy lifestyles as they growth up.