'Bom Bombed Kwin: How Two Card Games Model Kula, Moka, and Goroka

By Pickles, Anthony J. | Oceania, November 2014 | Go to article overview

'Bom Bombed Kwin: How Two Card Games Model Kula, Moka, and Goroka


Pickles, Anthony J., Oceania


'Moka is like a card game. Now it comes to us and we win. Later it passes to someone else; and so it goes round.'--Kont, a big-man of the Kawelka Membo clan, Hagen. Epigraph to The Rope of Moka. (A. Strathem 1971:1)

Kwin (queen) and bom (bomb) were the most prevalent gambling games when I was in the town of Goroka for fifteen months of fieldwork straddling 2009-2010. (2) Situated on the Okuk Highway in the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea, Goroka had a love affair with gambling, principally gambling with cards. Seventy-three per cent of over-sixteens (both men and women) gambled, and the staple card games were supplemented by legal slot machines and bookies, and illegal bingo, darts, lotteries, and informal sports-betting. I lived primarily within the National Sports Institute, in the west of the town, and spent most days and many evenings in various other areas, researching everything that was related to gambling including its detractors.

Card games have remained the most pervasive and the paradigmatic form of gambling in Goroka and the country as a whole since their introduction, and the games kwin and bom are new variations upon card games documented by Donald Laycock in 1966, and by the Oceania special issue of 1987. Elsewhere I made clear that gambling is valued in part because it temporarily flattens Goroka's diversity (see Pickles 2012, 2014). In Goroka it is widely held that the ways card games have been reinvented and adapted into new forms reflects and helps to enact shifts in the Zeitgeist of Papua New Guineans. I speak of the nation as a whole because in Goroka gambling games are known to bring people from different populations together, particularly in urban areas (see Levine and Levine 1979:54), and when they do, things and ideas are said to change hands. Focusing here on the specific properties of gambling games as techniques of comingling (at the expense of the diversity that is flattened) does not mean I assume a homogenous population--rather the opposite. I am looking directly at the forms of equation or analogy that are continually and deliberately brought into being using rules because of the assumed differences between people. I inevitably participate in an analogous process of covering difference through my description. I therefore give a couple of examples of diversity and its pertinence to gambling before I proceed.

People's relationship to the land on which they live is a prime insignia in Goroka's politics of diversity that is nevertheless flattened during a game. A player might be one of the customary landowners from the six recognized peoples on whose land Goroka was constructed, (3) or they may be an officially unrecognized settler from another province living on government-owned or customarily owned lands; they might be public, private or third sector employees living in residential compounds; they could be fourth generation residents who have lived their whole life in Goroka; they might even be distant kin or affines of any of the above who are visiting from their village, or from the capital city. Each of these possibilities could embolden or discourage a potential gambler when faced with unknown opponents in an urban location. Nevertheless, when a player does decide to play a game of either kwin or bom, they deliberately limit their pathway of fecundity into a prescribed form (the game they choose) that is recognized, even lauded for its uniformity. One of the ways in which the diverse people who reside in Goroka participate in a collective sense of Gorokanness is by playing the kinds of gambling games that are deliberately standardized in the town.

No games were specifically the province of a particular gender, but there were gender differences in gambling activities. This included a much higher propensity among men for gambling on sporting events, which was a stereotypically male interest, as well as on the most combative, or expensive games, because these involved the male quality of brinkmanship. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

'Bom Bombed Kwin: How Two Card Games Model Kula, Moka, and Goroka
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.