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We now have a national conversation in PNG


“I thought all my life that I was destined to great things. Today, faced with the hardship of living in the city, I’m more concerned with being able to survive each day. I don’t dream anymore, I am grounded in the reality. Perhaps there are too many visionaries and no one is there to deal with the reality of life in Papua New Guinea” – Martyn Namorong

Martyn Namorong, Ben Jackson and a Sydney iconI AM A WRITER AND STREET VENDOR. I sell buai – betel nut – in the markets of Port Moresby. I also write about political and social issues, usually for social media.

I am in Australia to tell people things they perhaps don’t know about my country, Papua New Guinea.

I want to bring the truth to Australia.

Martyn Namorong at Circular QuayI am here because I believe in the dignity of all human persons.

I believe that human beings are born with certain inalienable rights.

I believe that Melanesians have inalienable rights conferred upon them by Nature and Kastom – our culture and tradition - at birth.

Martyn Namorong and cameraman Thomas Ybarra at The RocksI am here because I believe in the defence of those rights.

I am here because I believe that, in defending those rights, we need to take into consideration fundamental questions of governance and the use of land and resources for the benefit of our people and the preservation of our Papua New Guinean ways.

Papua New Guinea is a country of 7 million people. It is a great country and we are a Martyn Namorong and the Sydney Harbour Bridgegreat people. Like Australia, we are also a country of vast natural resources which have the power to transform our lives.

But we do have our problems – problems of governance, problems of equitable wealth distribution and problems of effectiveness in service delivery.


We must build the capacity and create enabling mechanisms to defend and improve the lives of our people as well as to promote and preserve our Papua New Guinean ways.

Martyn Namorong in the Opera House forecourtIn recent years, there has been a power that has descended on our nation of 800 tribes that wields an influence like nothing else before it.

It is the internet. And, with the comparatively recent deregulation of our telecommunications industry, the so-called Information Superhighway has been opened up to millions of our citizens.

Many Papua New Guineans have seized this opportunity to articulate our hopes and dreams. A national conversation has begun online and - despite ominous rumblings from our government from time to time - it will continue to happen.

Photographs: (1) Martyn and minder Ben Jackson in front of one of the great Sydney icons; (2) Martyn at Circular Quay; (3) Martyn and cameraman Thomas Ybarra at the Rocks; (4) Martyn and a coat hanger; (5) In the Opera House forecourt


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Corney K Alone

John - Good observations and comments. That is a good challenge. I am sure many Papua New Guieans will take it up. The trend is changing. Like everything else, it will take time for more public persona to emerge.

The following faces (list not conclusive goes to show, things are changing (slowly and may not be prolific though, but still is).

.The Namorong Report (Martyn Namorong)
.The Masalai Blog ( Emmanuel Narokobi)
.The Edebamona Blog (Nou Vada)
.ActnowPNG Blog (Effrey Dademo)
.Malum Nalu Blog (Malum Nalu)
.Hope Treck PNG(Nichson PIAKAL)
.Rausim OBE Long PNG Blog (Corney K. Alone)

A blogroll will show many others.

John Fowke

Yes, agreed; it's a historic advance, the digital revolution in PNG.

But unlike Martyn, hundreds of the newly-vocal who use it to exercise their constitutional right to speak out, do so, not enthusiastically, not triumphantly, and most certainly not courageously.

Because 99 % of these "once were warriors", or sons of same, use noms de plume or aliases to sign off on often outrageously silly statements and libellous allegations.

Not here on Attitude, where this kind of nonsense is forbidden, but in the many other blogs of opinion which now flourish in PNG.

And it is a rarity indeed to see a correspondent identify him/herself truthfully and openly in the opinion and letters pages of the four national newspapers.

What hope is there when the upwardly-mobile, the opinionated, the vocal and hopeful as well as the childishly vindictive all hide themselves?

From what?

The heat is under the crucible of PNG's future - and strong, steady, sensible, honest men and women must stand up and be counted and be heard or the future will just be more of the sad same.

Until idealistic PNGeans stand up and identify and give themselves a public persona, the land of the unexpected will continue to languish - leaderless and without direction except for the propulsion created by the selfish and the greedy.

Hard enough for PNG itself, to say nothing of Australians and the rest of the world, to make sense of what is happening there right now, without known, trusted and active leaders coming to the fore to present a believable, trustworthy, respect-worthy face for the nation.

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