State of Origin or State of Chaos

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I must be honest with you all and that is – I’m a rugby league supporter too.  But I’m not that crazy fan that takes it way too personal and way too aggressive.


By MISTER MORKY

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It’s that time of the year again and what a way to “kick-off” my contribution on Skerah with all this rugby league mayhem they call “State of Origin”.

I must admit that I’m a rugby league supporter too and do follow the game.  Except that I’ve got a little sense in my and I’m certainly not one of those crazy fans that takes this game too personal and aggressive.

Tonight is the first State of Origin match of the year.  And just driving back home after work yesterday, I wasn’t surprised to see all these young and old street sellers selling flags, t-shirts, caps and whatever other merchandise coloured in maroon or blue.

The commercial aspect of it isn’t really an issue apart from the fact that most of the merchandise appear to be counterfeit products.

But the thing about this game is that it’s played a thousand miles away.  In another city, another State, another country.  And the way some Papua New Guineans go about this game is as if their life depends on it. Simply ridiculous if you ask me!

Several years ago, I was at the POMGEN hospital and it was another one of those “Origin” nights.  Just after the game had ended, a number of vehicles started rushing into the hospital gates at the Emergency section.  Most of those being rushed into the hospital sustained injuries as a result of the Origin match. Not that they took part in the match as players but simply as a result of Origin related violence.

Supporting isn’t really the problem. I mean it’s good entertainment for sure.  But Australians supporting their State don’t go through the kind of origin related violence Papua New Guineans go through. Even Australians think we’re crazy.

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Some of the origin antics are outrageous.

Family feuds, family fights and television sets get smashed Papua New Guinea is truly the land of the unexpected.

Origin has also intoxicated some fans to such an extent that some have had name changes like “Meninga”,  “Farrar” and “Mortimer” just to name a few.

The way things are going, these antics will remain for as long as the game is played.  Unless of course, authorities with a bit more sense make use of this passion by using it as a vehicle to drive home an important social message.  Something similar to the annual  Australia/PNG Prime Ministers XIII rugby league match that promotes HIV awareness.  I must admit though that  I’m not entirely sure what positive outcomes this annual fixture has achieved.  If someone has a link to the results of this campaign, I’d be happy to have a read.

Today’s newspaper sales will most likely shoot through the roof all because of this Origin match. Actually, even the illiterate will be rushing off to buy the paper too which makes me wonder whether Papua New Guinea’s literacy rate improves during the Origin period and then slumps post Origin.

Yesterday, at the Waigani traffic lights some kid approached me wanting to sell his Maroons flag. Noting that the kid only had Maroons flags, I asked, for the sake of asking, if he had any Blues flags.  He turns around to his mate carrying Blues flags and calls out “Farrar, Farrar, oi Farrar kam pastaim”!

Maybe if Queensland wins tonight, I might change allegiance for game 2 and look around to buy a Maroons flag from a “Thurston” somewhere in Boroko.

Enjoy watching the match but just use your common sense.

It’s just a game.

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