A few words at JB’s 70th birthday party

December 7, 2010 at 6:41 am (Papua New Guinea, Parousia, Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk, theology) (, , , , , , , , )

70th Birthday Party of John Bowers held at Irene Graham’s house in Gordon on 7/5/10                        

John a true Victorian, in a sense a 19th Century man, he deals mainly with the respectable institutions in society: the Army, the Law and the Church

John Bowers, an Englishman abroad; I’m not in any sense comparing him with Guy Burges. 

It must be well over forty years since I first met John on the banks of the Sepik River at Angoram. From the start I could see that he was a man on a mission and a quest. There was no mistaking him for anything else but an Englishman. Another English friend of mine was once asked, was he English? To which he replied, ‘are there any other people?’ John, I’m sure, would not be so abrupt. But yes, he was in a sense a latter day Empire representative, if indeed the colonial outpost was Australian rather than English but we were all British in those days! 

It did not take me long to realize that John was a Sandhurst man and ex-British Army with intense spiritual interests with a dedication to the Authorized Version and the Book of Common Prayer. In Angoram he was a Patrol Officer and political educator. On my blog I describe JB as, An Englishman of many talents, John Bowers

John Bowers, British Army, Sandhurst Man, Patrol Officer, Teilhardian, He subsequently put aside The Phenomenon of Man by Teilhard de Chardin for McCann’s God or gorilla, Special Branch Officer, Judge’s Associate,  New-Age Fighter, Anglican Prayer Book Man, Premillennialist and Herbalife Consumer, A Most Extraordinary Man!

The fictional character, Ernest Spender, in Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk, shows a remarkable resemblance to JB.

His world-wide quest has taken him to many places, meeting many people: He shared a whisky with Field Marshal Alexander’s chaplain, a committee with Arianna Stassinpoulos, author of The Female Woman, alerted Brother George, a biblically inspired Cannon Hill Baptist to the dangers of the New-Age after his experiences at Findhorn and his reading of David Spangler, Revelation:The Birth of a New Age. He instructed Cheryl, an aspirant of the Cannon Hill congregation on New Light on the New Age. His intense instruction on one occasion caused Brother George’s wife to ask him what Cheryl and he were doing in the caravan. In no uncertain terms he told her that they were working on the New-Age for her husband.  Perhaps his instruction was not intense enough as it was said that Cheryl converted to Islam later He was washed in the waters of the Jordon with full Baptist rites while in no way turning his back on his Anglican tradition. He has discussed The Secular City with Harvey Cox in the Holy Land and been left by Brother George with an appreciation of the Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37: 4) He has revealed to Dr Patricia Brennan his position on the ordination of women at an Anglican Synod in Sydney and excused it with reference to the Sandhurst motto: Serve to lead.

But he had to admit to Dr Brennan at lunch that he didn’t support the ordination of women.

In the hills of Adelaide a holy father in a monastery took exception to John’s reference to finding the Special Branch in a cupboard, and took him by the throat. There was nothing Neanderthal about the holy father or John!

   
  John a red-blooded male has chosen, like the Lord the single state while being always drawn to women he always respects them In spite of, at times, the gloom and doom of his theology, he has always preserved an essential Joie de vivre. Even if we are in the Tribulation There is faith hope and charity and the rapture of the Lord.  
     
       

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6: 12) 

If I may say, on a more serious note, I would like to thank John on mine and my wife, Deborah’s behalf for all that John has done for us and our two sons, Andrei and David Augustus. When we returned from PNG John was a pillar of strength and support for us. 

 Ladies and Gentlemen I give you John Bowers, Alias Sir Ernest Spender!

Whether it’s breaking up a riot in PNG or saving a plane of returning military families in Karachi or refusing to cross the Tiber and remaining true to his Reformation ideals we can say with St Paul you’ve Fought The Good Fight,( nearly) Finished The Race, Kept The Faith (2 Timothy 4:7)

Like St Paul you have been all things to all men and may I add women (1 Corinthians 9:10)

Happy Birthday, 70 years and still going strong!

Not old age not new age but just John Bowers, A man for all seasons.

Perhaps I might be forgiven for saying that there is something of the Rapture about this convivial gathering here tonight! And for this we owe a lot of thanks to Irene.

 Thank you and God bless you, John.

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C Wyatt, a legend in his own time, makes a visit.

September 10, 2010 at 1:36 am (Angoram, artifacts, expatriates, Papua New Guinea, PNG) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Cedric Wyatt, Rick Wyatt, CWyatt - a legend in his own time!

What a pleasure it was to see Rick after many years – an old expat Sepik hand – Education Officer, Cultural Development Officer and extraordinary character.

We spoke of many things and people – kiap(s), ol didiman, teachers,  missionaries, politicians, medical officers, medical assistants, malaria control officers, doktaboi(s), ol meri na misis, ol  mankimasta, traders, artefact buyers, educators, crocodile shooters, recruiters, the God fearing and the not so God fearing, canoes and the present state of PNG. These are just a glimpse of the depth of our discussions.

We were both intrigued with a rumour going around Angoram that the late Patoman, a mankimasta/butler, who had served many expats in the past, did leave a memoir, dictated to a tourist and written down in the 1980s just before he died. This manuscript, if it exists, would be a priceless document for a social historian researching the Sepik.

In life it’s a wonderful thing to catch up with old friends, especially ones of the calibre of Rick.

(To the locals Rick was mainly known as CWyatt, particularly in Kaup, a coastal village where he spent a considerable time as a teacher.)

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Did Chairman Mao Visit Angoram in 1966?

October 1, 2009 at 2:52 am (Angoram) (, , , , , , , , , )

Long Life To Chairman Mao by Oldtasty.

Poster source: Flickr

Sixty years ago Mao Zedong declared the beginning of the People’s Republic of China.

For years it has been rumoured and gossiped that Mao visited Angoram in 1966. The Angoram Club’s visitors’ book did bear the name of the illustrious Chairman – a record that alas is no longer with us, being cast to the wind with many other relics and vestiges of that fine institution at its demise after independence.

Mao’s visit is a question among many others: Was there a Maoist cell in Angoram? Did the Postmaster in Angoram at the time alert Special Branch to a letter posted from Angoram to the Chairman? Was a prominent expatriate resident contemplating marriage to the daughter of a Nationalist Chinese Army General? Did a Patrol Officer at Angoram join the Special Branch, the intelligence unit of colonial PNG, some years after the supposed visit? Was the health of Mao proposed and drunk to in the Angoram Club? Did a senior Administrative Officer in Angoram have a connection with the Hong Kong police, and was he a person of interest to the People’s Republic of China? Did an entrepreneur, and fine art dealer of Scottish lineage present to Mao a priceless piece of cave sculpture from the Karawari River area – an artefact that can now be seen in China? Was Mao’s love of peasant rustic women pandered to by a fair Kambaramba lady of the night? A final question is, was Mao borne on the crest of a tidal wave up the Sepik River and deposited at Angoram in 1966?

A known fact is, that at the time, the Malaria Control Officer at Angoram was the proud owner of the “Little Red Book”, Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, and was apt to freely quote from this work when in his cups at the Club.

Mr Donald Bosgard, the then venerable President of the Angoram Club, was reported as saying that any visiting head of State would be accorded the respect of his or her office should a visit be made to the Club.

It is recorded that Mao was most impressed with Norm Liddle’s rendition of The Court of King Caractacus on the accordion, and he even invited him to visit China, and play with the Military Band of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

Mao was particularly interested in Bob Mackie’s fool-proof method of venereal disease prevention. As Bob said to Mao, “it always works.”

We get back to the basic question, did Mao visit Angoram? Of course he did. You may as well ask me, did George Mallory summit Everest? Of course he did.  It is even said that the Chairman sent Michael Somare a letter about his visit to Angoram.

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Free online copy of Sepik Blu Longpela Muruk!

December 28, 2008 at 11:21 pm (Angoram, artifacts, expatriates, Fiction, malaria control, Papua New Guinea) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

A critique that is a fair measure of the book.

Just send me your email address in ‘comment’ and I’ll send you an online copy. The link to the online copy:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/10049376/Sepik-Blu-Longpela-Muruk

For $2 you can get the book from Amazon Kindle Direct:http://www.amazon.com/kindle/dp/B00BJKTFEM/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_eos_detail

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