Saturday, February 10, 2007

Heading to the Sing Sing

The organizing committee calls it The Mount Hagen Cultural Show. Tour operators call it the Highlands Show or the Cultural Festival. The highlanders call it The Sing Sing.

Beyond the major centres, few homes have electricity. Televisions, DVD players, satellite receivers and cable service are rare. The Hagen Sing Sing is a popular entertainment event as well as a traditional gathering.

Highlanders hike the trails from their villages to the road and catch a PMV to Mount Hagen for the show. PMVs are the not so rapid public transit of PNG. The vehicles used are customized trucks with benches bolted into the floor and a canvas awning lashed overhead.

Many of the highland roads are unpaved. Most are in poor repair. The PMVs are crowded. The journey may be bumpy and uncomfortable, but spirits are obviously high. Passengers join in chanting and singing as they travel towards Mount Hagen for Show Weekend.

Once in Hagen, out-of-towners usually stay in the homes of wantoks. Days are spent at The Sing Sing. Evenings are spent with family, telling stories and catching up on news.

While we will arrive by airplane and be accommodated in a hotel, we will share the exciting experience of The Sing Sing with the Highlanders.

copyright (c) 2007 - 2011 Mary Jane Murray