West PapuansOne of the things that you know (and, perhaps, dread) when you’re unemployed is having a lot of extra time on your hands. The reality is not great chunks of empty hours, but more of a redistribution of time.

A consequence of this phenomenon is the emergence of micro conversations with total strangers.

Because you’re not in a tearing hurry to catch the bus or fit in some shopping before getting back to your desk, you have time to admire dogs, chat to Big Issue vendors or, as happened today, find out why Carfax had been taken over by South Sea Islanders in grass skirts.

The lady I spoke to explained that they were from West Papua.

Under post- colonial arrangements, the former Australian territory of Eastern Papua had gained independence as Papua New Guinea, whilst the former Dutch colony of West Papua was incorporated as a province of Indonesia.

The West Papuans were campaigners for independence from Indonesia and were in Oxford to meet British parliamentarians.

It’s amazing what you can find out, if  you only have the time.

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