Ian Thorpe, Ryan Pini and sponsorship

By Emmanuel Narokobi

I went along with my younger sister Faith yesterday afternoon to the Ela Murray International School for a small visit by some big names in swimming. Ian Thorpe and Ryan Pini made a special visit to the kids of the Boroko Swimming Club (of which Faith is a member).

Ian was here just for the day to attend NASFUND’s launching of the PNG Business Coalition on HIV/Aids.

The image “https://i0.wp.com/masalai.net/articles/images/ian/ian_ryan_02.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

The image “https://i0.wp.com/masalai.net/articles/images/ian/ian_ryan.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

One of the parents told me that when the swimming administrators first told the kids that Ian Thorpe was coming, they were like, “Who’s Ian Thorpe?” but when they added that Ryan Pini was also going to be with Ian, they let out a huge ‘Hooraieee!’.

I guess it just goes to show you the job well done by the media and sponsors in PNG in promoting our local heroes and role models. Making sports business and utilising the media effectively for business has not really taken off here. But it can be seen among the bigger players. Ian came wearing his Qantas polo-shirt and Ryan came wearing his Airlines PNG cap. I even noticed that when they went to get something to eat and drink, Ryan instinctively reached for a Coke Zero from his sponsor.

At Masalai these things are noted, being able to maintain a uniform feel for a clients brand whether it be worn on a swimming star or appearing on a website or our Digital Posters is a must. For example we show the Coke Zero advertisement on our Digital Posters, so we automatically notice what Ryan does with that product in public.

So with all of that in mind Masalai has been in talks with Liz Wells at PNG Swimming Inc. about sponsoring their website. We understand that there are a number of sports out there, but after carefully looking at a number of them we felt that swimming best suited our company in terms of exposure for our services.

Our services are limited to urban PNG and a good number of the parents that have kids in the Boroko Swimming Club are business managers and people with access to the internet both at home and at work. Their commitment to sending out newsletters and using email is an important indicator that all that information being sent around needs a central location for access. But most importantly the Boroko Swimming Club and PNG Swimming Inc are a very well run organisations with people like Liz Wells and Barbara Skelton behind it to make it an exciting sport for all kids involved.

Below is a picture of my sister with Ian, (and yes I did tell her to change her t-shirt, but she thinks it’s cool…whateverr?!). Oh and one more thing Ryan is actually taller than Ian!


The image “https://i0.wp.com/masalai.net/articles/images/ian/faith_ian.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

26 thoughts on “Ian Thorpe, Ryan Pini and sponsorship

  1. As I mentioned in an earlier article…institutions such as sports should be promoted by the government by allocating more funding and improvement of sporting facilities not only to internationally market our talented sportsmen and women but also as a mechanism of instilling national pride and consciousness. Ryan’s popularity among the kids goes to show how much sports can contribute to boosting our national pride and mending the cultural divide/allegiances etc. that run thru the veins of our institutions and politics which is largely detrimental to our progression. I am hopeful that there will be more Ryan Pinis in the near future. The PNG Kumul’s tour of France would be one such promising feat that will elevate our national status!

  2. Hmmmmmmm
    Now on the purpose of their trip to PNG, re: Awareness on HIV/AIDS…..just a question. Do you both think that NACS and all the other stakeholders are approaching the issue in a ineffective way??


  3. Firstly, Every single HIV/AIDS campaign, awareness or whatever else one may call it…always and in every way has a “Sex” connotation in it. Yet, sex is a being seen as a taboo subject in the churches and in villages and every culture in PNG. So how can you talk about HIV/AIDS and not mention Sex?? When one starts to talk about Sex in connection to HIV/AIDS, almost every one closes their ears or are embarrased about the issue…thus HIV/AIDS compaigns and awareness is not having an impact in PNG.

    The way to approach it is (my views)..throught “Sex Education”. We need to break the barrier that sex is nogud!! We need to talk about it more openly. Young people need to know about their sexuality and the choices they make. They need to know about procreation and the wonderful thing called Love!. Young people need to know about contraciptives, pills, condoms and family planning.

    When one is provided all the facts at hand, they will make a decision to benefit themselves and they contry will benefit also. Condoms are not used when one is having a mulliple partners but is also used for family planning. People in the village in rural areas and also in urban areas need to use condoms to plan their family. So many kids nowadays and the parents arn’t able to send them all to school.

    Sex Education is the only option available for the fight against HIV/AIDS. We must education our younger generation on this issues. They must learn how to appreciate their partners. Sending flowers, going on their knees to proposed or even making hand-made cards. These little things does make a difference and can all be taught in the Sex Education program.

    When one learns to appreciate their partner, companion and wife….HIV/AIDS will not be an issue!

    Liklik tingting tasol


  4. Rex, I am of the same opinion.

    When the first TV HIV/AIDS awareness campaign was started and the use of the word ‘koap’ stirred a lot of interest, controversy etc etc..people did not like it but l think one good think was that it caused people to talk about sex and HIV/AIDS.

    I have been overseas for 3 years now so do not know whats the situation is like in PNG.

    I would like to see EMTV also continue airing such awareness for free.

    The best advocates I think are AIDS victims coming out in public, on radio and TV and talk about the impact of the disease on their life. It will be difficult to ask them but there are organisations already established so these NGOs may be approached.

  5. The problem with bringing discussion on sex into the public realm is the control the Churches have on peoples attitudes.

    The Christian Churches have not been pro-active enough in promoting safe sex and use of condoms. In some cases Priests and Bishops have actually been willfully vandalising HIV awareness campaigns by making un-scientific comments about the effectiveness of condoms.

    I realise there is some very good work in regards to HIV being done by individuals and groups within PNG’s religious framework but nevertheless there needs to be more sermons and active involvement in addressing this problem by the Church hierarchy.

    PNG is such a large and diverse country with many different cultures. But possibly the one thing most PNG-eans have in common (apart from a love of RL) is their Christian upbringing. This should be used as a strength instead of the weakness it currently is.

  6. Danger, I think you hit the nail on the head.

    The church has much control over peoples attitute toward sex. Sex is viewed as somthing unholy, immoral…BUT there is not attempt by the churches to preach about sex in the biblical context so as to strengthen the message against HIV/AIDS in PNG.

  7. Sex is not ungodly!! Sex is created by God and is made for the purpose of multiplication so people can live on all the land that God has created.

    Quite frankly, Churchs should be preaching about sex, about the importance on Sex and how God values sex to be. This will thus have a positive impact on HIV/AIDS. Churchs to have a moral obligations and they should teach their congregation about Sex, about pro-creation, about family planning , about faithfulness etc.

    If they preach against sex and against the use of condom, I don’t see anywhere anyone can win this battle on HIV/AIDS. To me, it will be a stalemate between the churchs and the government. But those who will sufer are the people bicoz they have not been taught the truth or facts about sex have been hidden from them.


  8. First of all it must be noted that Ian Thorpe needs a new hairstyle. It’s awful.

    Of course sex education is vital – it goes without saying. People are obviously ‘doing it’, it’s natural, so they know a fair bit about it. We need to teach people how to have sex safely. But sex education goes further than “procreation and the wonderful thing called Love… contraceptives, pills, condoms and family planning”. It needs to go right down to the roots of some of the basic issues here in PNG: violence, gender inequality, human rights, ignorance, alcohol and other drugs, economics and basic education.

    Without changes in these issues, no amount of condom promotion or basic sex education will change the status quo. NACS and other organisations have begun to work in partnership with churches which is commendable and absolutely vital to the whole issue. But churches and NACS and everyone else need to realise that you just can’t tolerate some of the behaviours and norms that are rife in PNG. And not only do they need to not tolerate them, but they need to actively stand up against them and speak out against them and really work hard to stop them.

    There is a culture of using culture as an excuse in this country. This simply needs to stop, and we need to wake up to ourselves and speak out whenever we see those behaviours and attitudes that not only facilitiate the spread of social problems like HIV and AIDS, but that halt the development of this country.

    We especially need strong men to be standing up to their brothers and uncles and cousins and saying “stop”. Enough “Happy Happy La La let’s talk and be friends Tra La La”. Stand up and speak out. Don’t tolerate those “stalemates” and cultural excuses: end them.

    – end rant –

  9. “Thanks for your contributions”????

    Shame on you, Manu. It’s up to you as a Papua New Guinean man to change the way that things are. You need to stand up, for that beautiful sister of yours. You need to speak out, for every woman that you know. Make us proud.

    Don’t you dare dismiss this. You have the responsibility and the power to make things better.

    Nobody else is doing anything about it, Manu. We need you.

  10. Carol, sometimes listening can be just as effective as talking. I want to hear what people such as yourself have to contribute.

    But in terms of what I do about it…I will be running AIDS awareness messages on my Digital Posters service, We will be pushing AIDS awareness through my rugby as President of University Rugby club and President of POMRFU and closer to home you can ask Rice Bag what I do with my family in terms of gender inequality and ‘Men being Men’.

    So I hear you Carol! I’m trying to let my actions do the talking in my little sphere of influence…(and maybe one day I can tell you the stories of the guys I have had to fight with for beating up women and the sisters I have had to take to hospital after being raped…)

  11. Hi Carolyn

    I have been attending workshos held by NACS which have invited churches and other private organizations. And in one instance I was invited to speak about “Youth & HIV/AIDS’.

    Let me tell you something, in all those workshops nobody has ever talk about “Sex Education” or even about “Condom”. NACS is afraid of offending the Churchs….and the churchs don’t wanna talk about sex and about condom.

    In my presentation…..I did not care about anyone……I told the churchs off and I told them straight that they should be talking about Sex and about condom etc…. They should be talking about family planning and all sorts of things which they feel uncomfortable talking about. Dr. Moyap was chairing the meeting and I got alot of questions afterwards….but the churchs were silent and non of them questioned me.


  12. Hi Rex, I’m afraid I don’t bother going to much organised by NACS. I have been facilitating Peer Education training for church leaders (among others) for the last year, in which the conversations about condoms and sex can be pretty interesting – lots of questions and opinions. My training is quite hard-hitting and confronting, particularly for PNG men who aren’t used to a woman talking to them about condoms, sex and wifebeating. Dialogue works, and people are curious and they want to learn. I’ve never had the experience of churches being silent and most are happy to be open and honest.

    Manu, thanks for listening and congratulations on doing what you’re doing. I know that you’re a good role model and an advocate, maybe we can share our stories one day. But what you and I and everyone else does is never going to be enough until these behavours and attitudes stop. You and I need to up the ante every single day in order for this to happen. The challenge is that your sphere of influence is as big as you make it.

  13. No worries Carol…I have big dreams and I hope to broaden that sphere in the coming years.

    So Rex and Carol which churches do you find the most helpful and how do they go about achieveing their aims?

  14. In my experience it’s The Salvation Army all the way – they get youth from the settlements and train them so that they can take the message back to their communities. They have driven and passionate leaders working on this and making sure that the youth are supported and the work happens. Other churches that do a good job are the United, Anglican and Catholic.

    Of course there are members of all of these churches who are fantastic and members who are not so good for this work, and all of the churches need support and encouragement to make their work bigger and better.

  15. Okay so we have, NACS, Churches who else are the change agents for this in terms of organisations?

    And how can we know and co-ordinate information between them all so that we know what our targeted goals are and how everyone involved in this fight is going in terms of reaching them?

  16. The biggest agent of change is the Education Dept. If we can work with education dept to have a curriculum on Sex Education and supported by the NACS and the Churchs……..we will sow seeds of change!!

  17. I love the look of this site. Very smart looking. Definitely a medium alot more people in PNG should use. I think you should have a section on more PNG Culture – more to do with History, I’m interested in mythology,stories from way back.Either I have poor search skills or there is nothing available on the net (may be the former) I couldnt find anything on PNG Legends.There is not alot of free info out there.Anyone know of where I can find some Motuan legends ?? This is bedtime story stuff I’d like to share with my nieces and nephews, rather than the NickTunes/Spongebob stuff that comes on TV. I think our history will be lost with this generation, which is sad. A site like this, that is accessible and relates to this generation, can offer the link back to the past – and with great graphics to show….Something else to bite off ??

  18. Hey Mel,

    Thanks for the comments. Hmmm some very interesting points there, let me look into it and maybe next week sometime I can do a post on it so we can discuss it in more detail

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