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Papua New Guinea is a land of surprises. Like any other place, there’s the beauty, the bad and the bizarre which makes Papua New Guinea all the more unique. Over the years, we’ve heard some of the most hilarious stories from locals and expats about some of their most memorable experiences during the festive season. Here are the 10 we’ve picked:
One of my work colleagues was usually late for work. One particular year when we had our Xmas party, this colleague arrived very early before everyone even the event organizers. A co-worker surprised to see him arrive that early walked up to him and whispered “you’re early today, did you camp here overnight?”.
One of my superiors is hardly in the office. He’s got conferences here, conferences there, duty travel every so often, workshops here and there, he’s always out. Staff usually talked about his frequent domestic and international travel. During the office Xmas party, one of the ladies on seeing the superior, turned to his fellow colleague and uttered – “boss is not on duty travel today“. The colleague replied “Momokani (true) sister, tell you what – he’s clocked more flying hours than some of our local pilots“!
The whole tribe
A few weeks before Xmas, a new expat boss arrived. Not fully knowing the “PNG style”, he announced in a staff meeting that for this coming Xmas party all staff could invite their family to the office Xmas party which was to be held at the back of the office in the sheds. The boss recalls “Mate, come Xmas day I realized the real meaning of family in PNG. The whole tribe came for the Xmas party it was an unbelievable attendance. Some of the staff I thought were single, well they were bringing in 3 to 4 pikininis. I asked one of the “single” staff – Tom, I didn’t know you were married, let alone, with 3 kids. And he replies – boss, (pointing to the little boy) that’s my brother’s son and (pointing to the girls) that’s my cousin’s kids. Needless to say, the following Xmas party was limited to “Staff only”.
Not so shy
One or two of my work colleagues were so quiet in the office you hardly knew they existed. Come Xmas party, one of those “shy” ones behaved wildly you’d think he’d been unleashed from a cage. Returning back to work after the Xmas party and it seemed like the “animal” in him returned back to its cage.
We used to have two types of dedicated staff. On the one hand, we had this group of loyal workers that would arrive early to work and be the last to leave the office. On the other hand, we had this group that arrived late left early. Apparently, the roles were reversed during the office Xmas party. One of my bosses during the end of a Xmas party called one of the staff that fell in the latter group. “Hey Manu, if you give the same level of dedication and commitment like you did today throughout the whole year, you might make it to next year’s party“.
A former boss once recalled – We had this local chap (Rima) who was very intelligent, usually the quiet type, he knew his work well, had the experience and was good at it. There was one major problem about him – his work attendance was shoddy. One year, he stayed home a fair bit throughout the year and I started to notice that his excuses tended to be similar every time he called in to say he wasn’t coming to work. His excuse was, his mother died, his uncle died, his cousin died and so forth. So at our end of year Christmas party, I started chatting with him and another colleague and raised to him that he must’ve had a tough year with all the deaths (although knowing that some of them were just excuses to stay home). Before I could finish, the other colleague with us who by now had just had a little too much too drink interrupted me – “You know Boss, if Rima experiences the same number of deaths next year like he did this year, he’s going to be the only living person in his village”. I had to break them apart!
Every time I used to go to my office Xmas party, my wife used to slip a plastic bag in my bag. Yu save, leftovers!
Blessing of food
At our office Xmas party, our boss gave Maggie (filing clerk) the honor of blessing the food because out of all the staff, she was the dedicated church type. Our boss regrets this decision. What was supposed to be a short prayer blessing the food and the office turned out to be a marathon prayer blessing almost everything and anything that came to mind. Whenever she blurted out the words “Tenk yu Papa God” in her prayer it was another line of “thank you” for whatever reason that came to mind. One of our staff clowns Igo was seating beside Maggie and he too realized that the boss and some of the staff were becoming agitated at the long prayer. Just before Maggie was about to start another line of “Tenk yu Papa God” Igo stood up tapped Maggie on the shoulder and whispered in here here to say that was “enough” – “Tenk yu Mama Maggie, Papa God tok ‘enap'”!
Do we enjoy the Xmas food with our work colleagues at the Xmas party less than we do munching away with the leftovers at home with our family at home?
Some of our co-workers hardly come to work but at the end of the year we tend to meet up and talk for ages on everything and anything. Our Xmas party feels like an office reunion!