Top Australian author for Crocodile Prize awards
Namah threatens to arrest Supreme Court judges

Old warhorses meet young colt: result - symbiosis


Takingthetruth2ON MONDAY, DELIVERING THE OPENING REMARKS at his first public forum in Sydney, Martyn Namorong had relied heavily on notes; some of which fell to the floor while he was presenting. Their disorder was not a great help to fluency.

Martyn also had a series of slides to illustrate his talk. Not needed. Especially when you forget they’re there and have to scrabble though them every few minutes to find where you’re up to.

You only need visuals when your content has no other visible means of support.

Despite such technical difficuties, the event was a great success.

Martyn-Nat-Liz-GaryMartyn later went on to the Kokoda Track Foundation (see picture), where he again wowed the assembled group.

Yesterday lunchtime – at Mido Restaurant in Neutral Bay, Sydney – Martyn, poised somewhere between the ABC and the SBS and their need for interviews, and sitting on a single beer throughout, fronted a round table of (let me be polite) older gentlemen.

All of whom had spent some time in PNG in the 60s and 70s. A tough audience. Tough as in: ‘What’ve you done with place since we left, eh?’

There were ex chalkies, ex journos, ex military, no ex kiaps thank god. It was a tough enough gallery. But a fair one.

So it was that the assembly threw every issue at Martyn except what happened to the kitchen sink – corruption, media freedom (or otherwise), Chinese influence, demographics, Chinese illegal immigrants, gun running, what happened to old so-and-so from Karkar, Bougainville, politics, even the events of the day (the Supreme Court had just declared Somare the rightful prime minister, again).

Our man Martyn, who had been out and about all morning, and who I anxiously wondered was across the day’s events, was on top of every question and every nuance.

Not a question without a substantive, informed and often witty answer.

I wish the camera crew had been present for this event: the old colonials meeting the newest edition of the post-independents. The two groups, despite being separated by two generations, saw eye to eye on just about everything.

I also wish I had the memory bank (and the space here) to repeat the anecdotes about times past with which Martyn was regaled by the likes of John Highfield and Leo Carroll and Phil Charley.

Each story received with a silent smile and eyes glistening with encouragement.

No question unanswered, no tale unappreciated, no false statement unchallenged (but in the gentlest way).

If you get a chance to catch up with Martyn Namorong in Australia, make sure you do. You won’t regret it.

On Tuesday Martyn also featured on the ABC's Late Night Live and on the SBS-TV News as well as being interviewed for Radio Australia and having a guided tour of the ABC broadcasting centre in Sydney. Early in the morning he had written an 800 word article for The Age newpaper....


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