Change is the law
Japanese researcher helps solve 70 year mystery

Let’s get this talented writer to the Crocodile Prize


Francis Nii, September 2011THE FRANCIS NII STORY is one of triumph, tragedy, and triumph over tragedy.

And the PNG Attitude readers’ story is one far removed from the languid passivity of the supine web surfer.

Our readers boast a notable track record of action – including medical equipment to Kavieng hospital, treatment for a Papuan villager confronting blindness, support for the Crocodile Prize, practical condolence to Reg Renagi, not to mention the recent successful Australian tour by Martyn Namorong.

And now we’re asking you to stand up, put up and stump up again.

Picture a small room tucked away in the paediatric ward of the Sir Joseph Nombri Memorial Hospital in Kundiawa, Simbu Province.

There sits a man in a wheelchair. He’s nearing 50 and his faced is etched by time, hardship and the heritage of his Salt-Nomane people in the south Simbu.

This man has a degree in economics and was an agricultural economist and banker with Papua New Guinea’s National Development Bank until a car accident on 9 February 1999 left him paraplegic and laid him low. He’s been in hospital for the 13 years since.

Being thus disabled is a particularly tough gig in PNG, where welfare is self-provided and life with a disability is anything but easy. Most people die early.

But Francis Nii has survived. A tough man from Yobai village, he has adapted to tough times. He writes verse and prose (see the Crocodile Prize Anthology 2011), has published a book on the scourge of AIDS (Paradise In Peril), set up the Simbu Association of Persons With Disability, and, recently, was appointed administrator of the Simbu Children Foundation.

We’ve invited Francis to travel to Port Moresby in September to be present at the Crocodile Prize awards and to participate in a discussion group of regional authors at the associated writers forum.

Francis - who is not flush with funds - has been raising money to pay for his travel and accommodation but still requires another $800 to make the trip.

I’ve assured him I’ll obtain the money by hook and by the book (not by crook, no way), and I’m hopeful you may see fit to contribute a spare $20 or $50 to help out. Bank account details follow, as does one of Francis's poems:

Australia - The Crocodile Prize
Bendigo Bank
Account name: SPSS The Crocodile
BSB: 633 000
Account number: 141 021 527
Reference: Francis

Papua New Guinea - Society of Writers, Editors & Publishers
Westpac, Waigani Branch
Account name: PNG Society of Writers, Editors & Publishers
Account number : 6002358726
Reference: Francis

Peaceful Village

By Francis Nii

Kunai hut, remember-me-ever
Wooden bed, forget-me-not
Roasted kaukau is always sweet.
Flowers keep smiling
Birds sing unchanged jungle melodies
While country kids dance free for joy

Waterfalls like silver crystals
Early rainbow kiss the dewy treetops
Kids hide and seek,
And mum and dad have endless honey moon.
No gang of boars, intrude.
Stay gentle village,
Peaceful promise land.


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Francis Nii

Hi Keith, how are you feeling now? If you feel better, would you kindly send me the names of the PNG Attitude readers who contributed towards my travel. This is apart from you and Jimmy.

I'd like to formally acknowledged them in my presentation.

If you don't feel well, pls don't bother. My heart and thoughts are with you. Get completely well. God bless.

The readers who contributed to making sure Francis travels to Moresby for the Crocodle Prize, and who he will acknowledge publicly, are: Michelle Moss;
Trevor Freestone; Robin Lillicrapp; Ed Brumby; Geoffrey Jones; Peter Kranz; Lindsay Bond; 3 Anonymous

Corney K Alone

Keith - Was trying to do TT my family's pledge and was asked for the physical address for the Bendigo Bank Branch.

Is it alright if we contribute the Prize sponsor pledge to the Papua New Guinea Society of Writers, Editors & and indicate it accordingly?

For Francis' book I am pledging K300.

That's very generous, Corney, and by all means make the transfer to the Society's bank account - KJ


Hi everyone and thanks to Keith Jackson for bringing out Francis Nii, which gave me a great sense of direction and venture in poems, stories etc when I first read about him (Paradise In Peril) in 2007.

We used this very poem in a class activity for our Literature Class and just retrieved my hard drive to find these questions about the poem


Exercise on Poem: Peaceful Village by Francis Nii

1. Explain the kind of feeling this poem evokes.

2. Pick out two figurative language from stanza 2 expressed in the poem. Name the type of figurative language used (simile, metaphor, personification, etc.). Explain what they mean.

3. Who is speaking in the poem? Justify why you say so.

4. Where do you think the person is speaking from? Also justify your answer?

5. Do you think this poet is romanticizing his village? Support your answer.

6. Could this village have changed since then? Explain.

Michelle Moss

Keith, I am able to transfer AUD20 today.

Thanks Michelle - KJ

Jimmy Drekore

Let me be the first to pledge to Francis's Croc Prize Trip - K200.

Jim always stands up to be counted when there's some work to be done. Always - KJ

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