Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Connecting the remote Papua New Guinea, GDI Online Marketing, thekiwi

Isolated spot
Eight hours flying time from the Indonesian capital, the Central Highlands in Indonesia's Papua province are among the least visited places in the world. Life here bears little relation to the chaos of Jakarta's skyscrapers and toll roads. In villages like this, there are usually no permanent roads, no electricity and no phones. Foreign journalists need a permit to travel here. Getting information into - and out of - areas like this has not been easy.

Radio contact
But information should flow more easily into the Central Highlands now. People are gathering here from across the area to celebrate the opening of an independent radio station. Officials say it is the first one to be built in such a remote region. It will be linked to the independent radio news agency KBR68H, and will be staffed by local people - all of whom have been trained from scratch.

Gaining trust
There was a lot of scepticism at first about the benefits of building the station. Promises of development have often gone unfulfilled here and many local people are angry at what they see as neglect from the central government in Jakarta. Papua generates large amounts of money thanks to its vast natural resources, but the region remains desperately under-developed.
The editor of KBR68H, who spearheaded the project, says it took many meetings before locals began to trust in it.

Electricity supply
One of the key problems in building the station was the lack of power. This is an area where most people live in traditional thatch huts, and rely on wood fires to keep warm and cook food. The team behind the project decided the only solution was to build a mini-hydro-electric dam to power the station. There was enough electricity left over to channel some to the school, the church and the more modern houses of several local leaders.

Changing dress
Several people wear traditional dress here, but others - especially children - wear Western-style T-shirts. One man, dressed in a traditional penis gourd, head-dress and beads, told me he was tired of sleeping on the ground in his hut and wanted a modern house and proper roads.
"When that happens," he said, "I'll change the clothes I wear and wear T-shirts instead."

Pig economy
This is an area so cut off and under-developed that there is neither much money nor much day-to-day value in having it. Most people are subsistence farmers and the community is built on a pig economy. For the opening of the radio station, locals celebrated with a traditional pig roast.
Nine pigs were brought to the party, by tribal leaders, local officials and neighbouring villages. One pig can be worth the equivalent of $2,000 (£988).

Outside world
Without phone connections or frequent visits from outsiders, getting information from areas like this used to be slow and difficult. Now rights workers say the radio station will make it easier to connect with the outside world - to share allegations of abuses, develop the local economy and stay in touch with events outside of Papua. People may have been isolated for generations, but many are keen to know what is happening in Jakarta and beyond.

This link is sponsored by GDI Online Marketing.

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Asia-Pacific Quiz - 2008, GDI Marketing Group, Auckland, New Zealand

It's the end of the year... How much can you remember about what's been happening in Asia and the Pacific in 2008? Here's your chance to find out!

When you've got your result, why not e-mail the quiz to your friends to see how they measure up?

Question 1
2008 saw a protracted confrontation between Thailand's then ruling party and anti-government protesters from the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD). PAD supporters were often seen wearing the colour yellow - why?
A: In Thailand (and some other Asian countries) yellow signifies courage
B: It symbolises the sun, and represents the protesters' desire to govern
C: It represents Monday, the day of the week on which Thailand's revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej was born
D: It represents the Thai capital Bangkok, PAD's power base
Question 2
Which animals did researchers find had a 36% chance of being drunk on any given night?
A: Police sniffer dogs in Australia
B: Elephants in Thailand
C: Tree-shrews in Malaysia
D: Przewalski's wild horses in Mongolia
Question 3
Which of the following was NOT said by Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso?
A: "Even people with Alzheimer's disease could understand" that Japanese rice is more expensive in China
B: There are many doctors "who lack a fair degree of common sense"
C: On the elderly: "Why should I have to pay for those who just eat and drink and make no effort?"
D: On why tackling the falling birth rate was hard: "The number of birth-giving machines and devices is fixed"
Question 4
Who or what are Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii, Sex Fruit, Keenan Got Lucy and Yeah Detroit?
A: Children's names blocked by a New Zealand judge
B: The titles of pop songs supposedly created by the Flight of the Conchords – the fictional band featured in the hit New Zealand TV comedy show of the same name
C: The names of the year's best-selling novels on the Cook Islands – all written by a former islander
D: The names of cocktails on offer at a surrealism-themed bar in Astana, Kazakhstan
Question 5
In August Beijing hosted an Olympics to be proud of, topping the gold medal table and providing state-of-the-art facilities and extravagant displays. But what went wrong at the opening ceremony?
A: The little girl who sang a solo was actually found to be miming
B: Pro-Tibet protesters staged a large demonstration on the roof of the stadium
C: One of the 2,008 drummers was out of synch with the others
D: Spectators couldn't see the action properly due to the high pollution levels
Question 6
In February, people in China and many other parts of Asia celebrated the Lunar New Year and welcomed in the Year of the Rat. But why did 2008 not prove so lucky for the rodents themselves?
A: Thieves in China tried to cash in by selling stuffed rats to welcome in the new year
B: Vietnam banned people keeping hamsters as pets, after sales rose to celebrate the Year of the Rat
C: Malaysia began taxing owners of pet mice and rats
D: Japanese diners started to follow the South American trend of eating guinea pigs as a delicacy
Question 7
Why are Australians being urged to eat kangaroos?
A: There are too many wild kangaroos in Australia, and they are eating farmers' crops
B: Kangaroos do not produce as much methane as sheep and cows, and are therefore better for the environment
C: Kangaroo meat is low in fat, and much better for you than other types of red meat
D: Kangaroos drink less water than other animals, and Australia faces a prolonged drought

Please click for the answer. GDI Marketing

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