A Musical Evening With The Voice Of Portoroki

VOP14-promoNovember 30 at 3pm, the Voice of Portoroki, 2014 edition kicks off.

This years event is hosted by the Midnight Cry Ministries (MNC), under the leadership of President Emma Falau. It is being organized on a joint-venture with the Music Department of Portoroki Church.

Featured on that evening will be more than 20 groups, presenting musical items to the theme of “We Stand In Awe Of You, Lord!” Singing groups will include the Go Advent Singers, Salvation Praise, the Youth of Portoroki, Humility Praise, the Church Choir, and solo performances by Yolanda McSasai and Sherita Shem. Also included in the program will be a performance by the Comforters Brassband.

The Wiles Memorial Media Production team will be recording the event live and a DVD will be produced in 2015. Members of the public are welcome to attend with friends and family. There will be refreshments after the musical part of the program.

The Voice of Portoroki is an annual musical event organized in turn by singing groups who are part of the Portoroki Church. Portoroki Church is the first ever established Seventh-day Adventist Church in Port Vila. It is located on Maine Street at Nambatu. Many residents of Port Vila call it Nambatu SDA Church – behind Au Bon Marche’s wholesale at Nambatu.

A Silent Perspective – Part 2


I am currently fascinated with deaf people. They are limited by a disability, yet they offer so much to the rest of us. As pointed out in this post, I mentioned that deaf and hearing people have a common denominator; and that is, that we are all human beings.

Human beings are emotional beings. We like to be healthy. We like to feel and give love. We like to laugh and when it is called for, we cry. We can be guilty of the worst gossip and at the same time lift each other up when we are down. We are constantly communicating with each other to move from one point in time to the next.

This, and many other attributes, is what makes us human.

But then we get separated into groups and subgroups as life deals with us one way or another. One such group is the one I am currently fascinated with. Deaf people!


The deaf community consists of people with various degrees of deafness. Some are completely and totally deaf while others can hear in only one ear. There are those who were born deaf while others became deaf at some point in their life due to health and other reasons. And then there are people with Cochlear Implants and those who oppose such implants. We even have deaf pride!

How then does this variety of deafness get along? How do they communicate with each other? And how can they interact on an intelligent level with the rest of the world? Do they have a language?

These are very important questions that require an educated response. Unfortunately, this blogger cannot get into the details of how deaf people communicate, but I will try to answer the questions raised in the above paragraph.

Sign Language

My interest in the deaf culture came about because of Sign Language. I became hooked to it after watching “Switched at Birth.” I have caught myself talking with people and making random gestures. The actors in “Switched at Birth” sign properly, but I like to pretend that I can throw random gestures around and make sense like they do in the TV series.

Now, here comes the big revelation – deaf people communicate primarily with each other with Sign Language. There are different sign languages around the world. The diversity is a result of the plethora of human languages that exist in this world.

The sign language being used in the TV series is the Americal Sign Language or ASL. Then there is the British Sign Language or BSL and a host of other sign languages. A convenient list is accessible here. The different languages differ from country to country and from region to region. Some regions and/or countries adopt sign languages from other regions and/or countries. For instance the Moroccan Sign Language is actually ASL – signed by deaf people from Morocco.

Due to the diversity of languages and the signs associated with them, communication between signers of different regions and countries can be difficult at times. This is similar to when someone from Ureparapara tries to communicate to someone from Paama in the Ureparaparan language. The person from Paama will not understand the Banks Islander if he does not specifically know the Ureparapara language.

In the same way, deaf people from different countries will have to teach each other how to sign certain words, actions, places, events and a host of other things before they can start to communicate with each other. There is no universal sign language understood by all deaf people!

But the biggest challenge that the deaf community faces is the stigma and stereotyping that they have to deal with because of their disability. The hearing populace are mostly the ones who are guilty of causing this type of hurt to deaf people.

A lot of hearing people do not understand that the deaf are as healthy and as fit as people with normal hearing. Their brains operate on the same level – some even better than most hearing people. Yet, their lack of perceiving sound in its fullness makes them unworthy of fair treatment by a lot of hearing people.

Something that a lot of hearing people are too lazy or too careless to notice is that sign language is a form of identity for deaf people. It is part of the deaf culture. When the deaf, the hard of hearing, and interpreters “speak” with sign language, they are able to understand and and complement each other in a way that brings deep-rooted identity. This is why there can be a lot of debate among deaf people when it comes to innovations like Cochlear Implants.

A lot of hearing people disrespect this cultural identity by assuming that deaf people are unintelligent beings who need extra special attention and care. While it is true that they need hearing people around them to keep them from harm, they should be treated with intelligence. Their culture prepares them for life just as much as a hearing person receives life training from within his/her culture.

Learn to Sign

Sign language is not a difficult language to learn. It is easy, but you have to choose which language you need to learn.

Learning sign language is more than just learning the alphabet. While each word can be spelled with the alphabet, whole words also have associated signs. There are signs for verbs, nouns, adjectives and a host of other language structures.

A very important accompaniment to hand gestures to depict emotion in sign language is facial expression. This is very important when someone has to use the same sign for different words. The expression of the face will indicate what the sign depicts in the context it is being used.

So, take up the challenge today and learn to sign. If you are unsure where to start, get in touch and we’ll start with ASL.

See you in the next post.

VT300 Million Alleged to be Making the Rounds in Vanuatu

This post is an edited version of this post from the Vanuatu Indigenous Watch blog.

Vanuatu's Parliament house in the background. In the foreground is a carved out Pig's Tusk - a symbol of wealth in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu’s Parliament house in the background. In the foreground is a carved out Pig’s Tusk – a symbol of wealth in Vanuatu. Beside it is a Namele tree – a symbol of taboo in Vanuatu

A member of parliament on the government side, whose name is being withheld, has warned the remaining 36 members of parliament regarding an alleged huge amount of money currently circulating in Vanuatu.

He told the VIW that there are allegations of VT300 Million [available] to bribe Vanuatu leaders. The MP said that the suspension of the 16 MPs yesterday by  parliament should be a lesson for the members of parliament not to accept huge amounts of monies if they are unsure of the source of the funds.

He said that he was one the MPs who was approached by a group of opposition MPs offering him an amount of VT1 Million. The MP confirmed that there was no mention of a loan scheme as claimed by the opposition. He said that the monies were [a bribe] to gain support for a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister, Joe Natuman.

The motion which was deposited in Parliament last Friday by the now suspended leader of opposition, Moana Carcasses, is scheduled to be debated on Monday next week.

He alleges that the group of opposition MPs also promised him an additional VT4 Million should they topple the Natuman-led government.

The MP concerned has already launched a report with the police regarding the attempt to offer him VT1 Million.

The suspended leader of opposition, Moana Carcasses, yesterday claimed in parliament that some of the government MPs have also received monies from his VT35 Million supply.

[Out of respect for the house though, he did not want to reveal the names of said government MPs.]

Motion against Prime Minister Natuman is in Order

This post is an edited version of this post from the Vanuatu Indigenous Watch blog.

Vanuatu's Prime Minister, Honorable Joe Natuman

Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, Honorable Joe Natuman

The motion of no confidence against prime minister, Joe Natuman, is now scheduled to be debated in parliament on Monday next week. The office of the speaker said yesterday that the motion is in order and has been listed to be debated on the afternoon of Monday, December 1, 2014.

The leader of the opposition, Moana Carcasses deposited the motion last Friday.

In the meantime, Mr Carcasses remains suspended from parliament (as of Tuesday, November 25 2014), along with 15 other MPs from the opposition side over allegations of breach of the Leadership Code.

Mr Carcasses said this morning that he will challenge their suspension in court. However, if the current political situation remains until Monday next week, the motion against Mr Natuman will not have sufficient number to be voted by the parliament.

Following the suspension of the 16 opposition MPs yesterday, only 6 opposition MPs remain in the house, a stark contrast to the government’s 30 MPs supporting the Prime Minister, Honorable Joe Natuman.

Carcasses to Challenge his Suspension in Court

This post is an edited version of this post from the Vanuatu Indigenous Watch blog.

The ousted leader of opposition for the Vanuatu Parliament, Mr Moana Carcasses said that he will challenge the decision of the parliament in court. The decision was to suspend him and 15 other MPs from parliament yesterday afternoon.

He said this morning that he will go to court before the end of this week

The 16 MPs were suspended over allegations of breach of the Leadership Code. Parliament heard yesterday that on 30 October, ANZ Bank transferred over VT1 Million to the bank account of 15 MPs from the opposition under the request of Mr Carcasses lodged on October 29.

Moana Carcasses Kalosil

Suspended Opposition Leader Moana Carcasses Kalosil

The mover of the motion, Prime Minister, Honorable Joe Natuman told parliament that the action of the 16 members of parliament is a breach of the Leadership Code and asked the parliament to suspend all sixteen MPs.

Mr Carcasses told the parliament that the motion was unconstitutional and asked the government MPs not to support it.

He further cautioned that not only the 15 opposition MPs received money from him. He alleged that the remaining 6 opposition MPs and some government MPs also benefited from the 35 million vatu that was deposited into his bank account.

Mr Natuman pointed out that the motion concerned only the MPs whose names were listed in the bank transfer.

Mr Natuman admitted in parliament that when Mr Carcasses was PM, Mr Carcasses gave him VT200,000 to attend the Melanesian Spearhead Group leaders summit in New Caledonia. The PM revealed in parliament that when he and Mr Carcasses arrived in New Caledonia, he received a phone call from someone confirming to him that he (the caller) had donated the VT200,000 and not Mr Carcasses.

Member of parliament for Ambae, James Bule pointed out that parliament has its own rules and that it is not the first time that parliament was making a decision to suspend some of its members.

The motion was voted for by 27 members from the government side and 22 votes against from the opposition side. There was one abstention.

The 16 suspended MPs will re-enter parliament only after the end of the first ordinary session of 2015.

16 Members of Parliament Suspended

The motion to suspend sixteen members of the Vanuatu Parliament has passed during the ordinary session of parliament at 4:30pm, on November 25, 2014.

The votes from the floor was 27 for the motion, 22 against and 1 abstension. It was not clear why one member of parliamnet decided to abstain from voting.

After the votes were counted, the 16 MPs from the opposition bloc, including the Opposition Leader, Moana Carcasses, were asked to leave the parliament chambers and not return until the first ordinary session of parliament in 2015. The dates will be set towards the end of March, 2015.

The sixteen MPs have been outed and ousted for reasons of bribery. It has become public knowledge in Vanuatu that Moana Carcasses authorized bank authorities to transfer monies of VT1 Million from his private account to the private accounts of 15 MPs from the opposition bloc. These were purported to be loans for development projects by the 15 MPs concerned.

Whether the sixteen MPs will bring their cases to court is a matter of speculation at this point.

Meanwhile, parliament has been adjourned until 2pm on Wednesday November 26, 2014.

Maralau to Answer Charges in Court

This post is an edited version of this post from the Vanuatu Indigenous Watch blog.

vanuatu-achievements-acknowledgedThe acting commissioner of the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF), Aru Maralau is scheduled to appeare before the Vanuatu Supreme Court on December 2, 2014, over conspiracy charges against him. Mr Maralau said that he and other  police officers are going to stand in Court to answer the allegations against them. He said that the conspiracy charge against them were a result of the second munity case of 2012.

The acting commisioner is adamant that he is still the acting commissioner until the court decides otherwise, and that they are ready to answer the charges laid against them in Court.. He also raised concerns over the lack of respect within the VPF hierarchy.

The Prime Minister, Honorable Joe Natuman, who is also the minister responsible for the VPF, issued a letter to the Commissioner, Arthur Caulton, who is currently on suspension to stop the investigations and to rebuild unity within the force.

Mr Maralau said that the request of the state minister responsible for the VPF has not been respected by some police officers who have continued with “underground” investigations. He said the underground investigations have now led to the impending court hearing.

Meanwhile, Mr Maralau has indicated that he will stand and defend the integrity of the Police Force which is being undermined by alleged corruption within the force. He picked on his experiences on missions to Bougainville and some African countries and he understands the consequences of corruption in a police force.

The acting commissioner has stated that he will make sure that what happened in Bouganville and the African countries will not happen in Vanuatu. As the incumbant acting police commissioner, he will serve the government of the day and the people of Vanuatu.

Mr Maralau has asked the citizens of Vanuatu to stand with the VPF to fight the corrupt practices that exist inside the Vanuatu Police Force.