Ruff and Ritual records my observations and critical reflections whilst deployed to Papua New Guinea as a ‘trailing spouse’ to my partner, Shane, an Australian official. First and foremost, it pays respect to the people of Papua New Guinea (PNG) in particular the many women who are so giving and work tirelessly for their country.

Secondary to this, is the objective to open up debate on the ethics of aid that go beyond political speak of supporting a developing nation to question the deeper purpose beneath aid. It is proposed that relations of dominance determine the provision of aid to PNG to the detriment of PNG.  In this context, aid, as good-will, becomes expedient to the politics of self-interest.      

Excerpt from Ruff and Ritual 

‘A Tale of Tragedy’

In Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’, ambition, revenge, and unintended consequences are underwritten by self-interest: a brother’s ambition to wrest the king’s crown, a widow’s desire to retain her status as queen, a dead king’s ambition to revenge his murder and his preparedness to use his son for his own end. Hamlet is also about subterfuge: a son who pretends to be mad so as to trick the new king into confessing that he murdered his brother, Hamlet’s father. It ends tragically. Global Hamlet played to Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 2015 claiming relevance to the present. Shakespeare cautions, through Hamlet, the limits of the human condition particularly of politics and ambition. Ruff and Ritual tells a similar tale of ambition, and deception, in bilateral discarding of policy based on strengthening the public service sector by Australia and PNG. Ambition in seeking to silence critics, the advisors. Deception, in misleading advisors, and ‘tragedy’ for PNG in consequence to come namely of diminished governance.