Rai Coast mothers bargain with Chinese

Women in the far flung corner of Basamuk pretty much know how to do bargaining with Chinese customers for the price of their goods.

A first- timer or visitor to Basamuk in Rai Coast, Madang Province would be amazed on seeing local women bargaining with Chinese workers there.

“Meiyomeiyo polomanmeiyo ”  That’s the common phrase these local women will usually say,meaning  “ no, no, friend” when disagreeing to a bargain for price with a Chinese worker。

The women also understand some gestures which the Chinese use and often argue with them。

Bargaining or haggling is a type of negotiation in which the buyer and seller of a good or service debate the price and exact nature of a transaction. If the bargaining produces agreement on terms, the transaction takes place. Bargaining is an alternative pricing strategy to fixed prices. Optimally, if it costs the retailer nothing to engage and allow bargaining, he/she can divine the buyer's willingness to spend.

It is interesting to see that the Basamuk women already know some basic trading language  in “‘broken pidgin-English” which the Chinese workers use when they want to buy items from the women. 

Since the construction phase of the Basamuk Refinery in 2007 many Chinese construction workers had arrive in that far-flung corner of Madang province。 There interaction with the locals from the Basamuk area had somewhat seen the development of certain forms communication especially at local markets in the area or working with local workers。

The Chinese workers mostly employed with Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Ltd and other contractors in the project love going to the local markets to buy fresh produce from the locals.  One particular market located adjacent to the workers accommodation compound is called ‘Rain Tree market. In fact, there is no shortage of fresh fruit and vegetables at this particular place during market days from Monday to Saturday.

Women from nearby villages arrive as early as 6:00 am to sell their produce to the Ramu NiCo mine workers particularly the Chinese employees who love local fresh produce. The local women sell peanuts, pawpaw, pineapple, ripe banana and different varieties of vegetables which the Chinese prefer.

Since the nickel/cobalt developer established its refinery in Basamuk many local farmers are earning an income from the sale of their produce.

Therefore, nowadays, the local producers know how to bargain well with their Chinese customers when it comes to prices being offered for their goods.

James G. Kila