american beauty.

“I’d always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn’t a second at all. It stretches on forever, like an ocean of time. For me, it was lying on my back at Boy Scout Camp, watching falling stars. And yellow leaves from the maple trees that lined our street. Or my grandmother’s hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper. And the first time I saw my cousin Tony’s brand-new Firebird. And Janie… and Janie. And… Carolyn.

I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me, but it’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain. And I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry, you will someday. ”


the sepik, p.n.g.



“You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting — over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”

Papua New Guinea – my home, my heart.


passing afternoons

There are times that walk from you like some passing afternoon
Summer warmed the open window of her honeymoon
And she chose a yard to burn but the ground remembers her
Wooden spoons, her children stir her Bougainvillea blooms

There are things that drift away like our endless, numbered days
Autumn blew the quilt right off the perfect bed she made
And she’s chosen to believe in the hymns her mother sings
Sunday pulls its children from their piles of fallen leaves

– iron & wine.





Third Culture Kids.

“I am a confusion of culture…I think this is good because I can understand the traveller, sojourner, foreigner. I am an island and a United Nations.”

“A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK builds relationships to all other cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in the relation to others of similar background…The multicultural childhood lends itself to the joy of discovery and heartbreaking loss, its effect on maturing and personal identity, and the difficulty in making the transition home. There are developmental problems associated as well as restlessness and delayed adolescence.”

I come from a Chinese grandfather who walked to Hong Kong from Mei Xian (which took him a very long time) and then got on a boat and tried to find the best place to set up shop finally settling in Indonesia and then escaping to New Guinea with nine children (one of them my dad) and a wife. This is how I inherited my transient nature, from my adventurous Ahkung.

But I also come from a father who is Chinese, born in Indonesia when it was occupied by the Dutch when his family became refugees into Papua New Guinea after Indonesian independence due to the anti-Chinese sentiment that existed there. He was sent to boarding school in Australia and then returned to New Guinea to work. I come from a mother who is Maltese and Australian with roots in French and English heritage. I was born in Australia but also grew up in Papua New Guinea. I am familiar with the Australian culture but have no affinity with it. Since leaving Papua new Guinea I have found it really hard to find a place that I could call home. I am flighty, indecisive and terrible with commitment. I am a child of the world but have no one place that I wish to spend the rest of my life.

The closest place I have come to finding home outside of P.N.G was in Hawaii. Mainly because at heart I am an island girl and Hawaii is like New Guinea but much more developed with Polynesian roots rather than Melanesian. I have spent living time in Mexico and Copenhagen and loved them both. I am constantly traveling. I find I have a soft spot for the marginalised and all ethnic peoples. I am always on the move. Always on an adventure. I relate best to those who travel a lot or have lived in countries different from their birth culture but mostly to those who are open minded. I do not understand the concept of Nationalism because I belong not to one country but to many.

I am a tangible example of globalisation. I am also a Third Culture Kid. I am a nomad and I am still finding my way back home.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
(c) 2018 Mel Tjoeng | powered by WordPress with Barecity | Theme Design by Nüde Creative