The young men, black and white, who saved Papua

PNG Attitude’s most commented upon pieces for April


AND SO HERE AM I writing this April feedback report in the middle of the Arabian Sea; not quite up to my neck in it since I am sitting aboard a ship.

April turned out to be another good month for comments to the blog. In addition to the ‘top 10’ list presented here, where the minimum qualification was 12 published comments from readers, there were many other articles, stories and poems that attracted a gratifying response.

Our series of autobiographical articles from writers prominent in the columns of PNG Attitude has now, I think, come to an end. It was Phil Fitzpatrick’s elegantly simple idea and it resulted in first class prose and fascinating tales, especially from Papua New Guinean contributors. Thanks to all who provided stories.

There’s no particular theme that bound together the writing that readers responded to with such enthusiasm in April. There was deep controversy, high idealism and personal revelation. There was poetry, religion, dedication and polemicism.

You can enjoy this all again, or for the first time, by following the link in each of the summaries that follow.

24 comments - Civil war to corporate boardroom - but memories remain (Kristian Lasslett). And so the Bougainville debate heats up in the social media - partly it seems the by-product of moves towards a possible reopening of the Panguna mine, partly as the Autonomous Bougainville Government shows a new dynamic and partly as the aid effort in Bougainville steps up. As this occurs, the excesses of the civil war of the 1990s begin to surface with renewed force. “No senior official from Australia or PNG has been formally censured, let alone prosecuted, for their involvement in this dirty war,” wrote Dr Kris Lasslett in this wide-ranging retrospective of an issue in need of resolution.

20 - My Story – From arse tanget to corporate sales executive (Corney Korokan Alone). “If there was a competition for the best arse tanget, I would have taken the prize year after year. My arse tanget always had the best leaves, shined to perfection, with small pieces of cloth in front. That was the way it was until I received my first pair of shorts in grade 7. The shoes followed in grade 9.” With a beginning like that, who wouldn’t be compelled to read more? Corney’s charming coming of age story really grabbed readers.

19 - I am the world. I am Papua New Guinean (Mary Koisen).  “I am not a professional writer," wrote Mary, "but every now and then I jot down my thoughts and opinions of things I am passionate about." Her patriotic poem struck a chord with readers who responded positively to the powerful sentiments it expressed.

16 - I had a dream last night: A vision for my country (Danny Gonnol). “I was my mother’s only child when Papua New Guinea became an independent nation. The PNG flag was raised for the first time and the Australian flag was lowered for the last time.” This leading lawyer and aspirant politician has a powerful vision for PNG that resonated with many readers.

16 - A guide to the PNG expat: Pasin bilong ol waitman (Phil Fitzpatrick). In this piece Phil turned the looking glass around with an anthropological view of westerners and why they may have trouble in their adaption to what, in colonial times, we would refer to as the ‘Territory situation’. “When the cowboy meets the cannibal out in the bush, is there any wonder that it takes time for them to sort out how to deal with each other?”

16 - Road to militancy: PNGDF roasted me on tar (Leonard Fong Roka). In 1989 when government troops began raiding the Tumpusiong Valley; looting and torching homes, Noel Monoung, then a teenager, fled with his family. This powerful piece by Leonard narrates how an innocent village lad was transformed into a militant as the result of one callous act by a group of PNGDF soldiers.

16 - Just what is happening with those PNG fruit pickers? (Keith Jackson). The seasonal fruit-picker scheme, introduced last year after much trumpeting by the Australian government, provides short-term contract labour for Australian farmers and income opportunities for people from PNG and the Pacific. But is it a source for the exploitation of Melanesian labour?

15 - My Story: Resting in God; committed to a life of service (Emma Wakpi). Emma Wakpi is one of Papua New Guinea's most talented young writers, winning the 2012 Crocodile Prize for her essay, The Haunting. In this eloquent life story, she tells of how she became a child of two cultures and a committed and serving Christian.

13 - The Kumul Holdings mystery - where are safeguards? (Blair Price). Price writes about concerns about the ‘closed door’ nature of recently unveiled PNG government plans to consolidate its mining, petroleum and business assets into a state-owned Kumul structure.

12 - Tudor hot on trail of Gogodala 'lost tribe of Israel' (Florida International University). Oh Tudor Parfitt, what have you done? “In a remote corner of Papua New Guinea, the scholar known internationally as the ‘British Indiana Jones’ is tracking a global phenomenon of tribal people identifying themselves as a Lost Tribe of Israel.” A spirited discussion ensued: skeptics, believers and the Gogodala themselves.

12 - Keith’s intimate travel diary 1 – Flight to the Gulf (Keith Jackson). You’re reading the diary faithfully each day, we trust. And you like democracy, right?



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Mary Koisen

Thanks Keith for this forum :-) to be able to express oneself.

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