Previous month:
April 2014
Next month:
June 2014

142 posts from May 2014

Bougainville people taking ownership of independence - writer


AN emerging writer from Bougainville says its people are steadily taking ownership of the process towards viable independence.

Leonard Rong Foka was one of the speakers at this week's PNG New Voices conference in Port Moresby, organised by the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program.

Speakers addressed a range of topics including responsible sustainable development and new political engagement.

Continue reading "Bougainville people taking ownership of independence - writer" »

PNG's youth speaks out at Lowy 'new voices' confab

Jenny Hayward-JonesJENNY HAYWARD-JONES | Lowy Institute

THE Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program convened its second PNG New Voices conference in Port Moresby on Thursday. We assembled a group of interesting and passionate young people with strong views about the future of their country.

They spoke on a range of topics across three key themes: Papua New Guinea's relations with its neighbours, responsible sustainable development and new political engagement.

PNG's relations with its Melanesian neighbours are complex. PNG appears to be somewhat ambivalent about its membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Contributors suggested the government does not involve the people in its management of relations with Melanesian neighbours, leaving some to wonder what the benefits of trade agreements and intra-Melanesia labour mobility agreements are for Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "PNG's youth speaks out at Lowy 'new voices' confab" »

Sijo for the Flame of the Forest

Flame of the ForestMICHAEL DOM

A red Flame / hangs from the heights / in your proud green / forest home.

Pride you don’t feel / nor care to know, / you love the glow / of city lights;

Fell your trees / and kill the Flame, / sell your green pride / and buy shame.

Continuing my Flame of the Forest campaign, this sijo was created on 28 May 2014. Rhyming is not a strict part of traditional sijo

Training for innovation & entrepreneurship in Papua New Guinea

APTC CEO Denise O'Brien, APTC graduate Serah Otmar and Deborah StokesDEBORAH STOKES | Australian High Commissioner to PNG

THE Australian Government is very pleased to be supporting the Australia Pacific Technical College (APTC) and technical education in Papua New Guinea and in other Pacific nations.

APTC provides greater access for Papua New Guineans to attain Australian trade and service qualifications.

In this way, it is contributing to PNG’s ambitions to develop its workforce and improve employment opportunities for Papua New Guineans, both domestically and internationally.

Continue reading "Training for innovation & entrepreneurship in Papua New Guinea" »

Not a bad set of numbers: analysing PNG Attitude’s readership


HERE in PNG Attitude traffic 2008-14the luxurious silk-lined penthouse of Attitude Central we occasionally lower the golden dipstick into our mighty blog engine to get a fix on how things are travelling for us in cyberspace.

Having just consulted web measuring site Quantcast to see what its data collection offers PNG Attitude, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the findings.

The overall readership trend (2008-14) is pictured clearly in the graph at right. It’s rising steadily and showing strong numbers that, over the last month, totalled more than 15,000 unique (separate) visitors.

This has been a fairly consistent result over recent times.

Continue reading "Not a bad set of numbers: analysing PNG Attitude’s readership" »

Prophecy: The future of the past


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

In the age of smart technology
Evil will rise in detailed chronology
Inscribed in such anthology
How many will fall short on financial strategy

The mother who is land
Her daughter will be a hand
United the army shall stand
You must stop this warfare beforehand

Continue reading "Prophecy: The future of the past" »

Tokarara is successfully fighting the school fights

Tokarara Primary SchoolGIORGIO LICINI

HOW do we stop school fights in cities like Port Moresby and Lae?

The Tokarara suburb in the National Capital District has found its own way.

On Tuesday the first batch of Grade 8 students from the four primary schools in the area held their joint day of formation on “Building a culture of peace, harmony and care for our Mother Earth”.

Continue reading "Tokarara is successfully fighting the school fights" »

For the good of the family – Nembare, an unsung builder of PNG

Tea plantation in the Wahgi ValleyBOMAI WITNE

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Cleland Family Award for Heritage Writing

BOMAI realised during his school days that his father Nembare had to leave his younger children in the care of his wife and travel to places as far as Aviamp in the Western Highlands and work in a tea plantation to earn money for Bomai’s school fees.

Nembare did not possess the knowledge and skill that would allow him high level plantation work so dug drains and performed similar labouring work.

He would keep the money in a plastic bag and hide it in a corner of the house. Nembare worked hard to pay Bomai’s school fees throughout his schooling.

Continue reading "For the good of the family – Nembare, an unsung builder of PNG" »

Children’s literature: The amazing Buk bilong Pikinini project


ONE of the things I took away from the Buk bilong Pikinini authors’ seminar earlier in May was the excitement generated during its three days in Port Moresby.

I particularly enjoyed using the brush and water colour to paint an object representing a letter of alphabet.

The illustrations were later arranged into alphabetical order. Then a camera image of the paintings was captured and transferred to computer.

Alyson Lester, award-winning Australian illustrator and writer, gave the participants a quick tutorial on how to illustrate children’s books.

Continue reading "Children’s literature: The amazing Buk bilong Pikinini project" »

The day that Onana made friends with the pirung

Arovo Bay near Arawa, Bolugainville (Ishmael Palipal)LEONARD FONG ROKA

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Buk bilong Pikinini Award for Children’s Writing

AS a Panguna boy Onana had never seen the pirung [ocean] but he had dreamed about it.

One night Onana asked his mother, “Ungko [mother], I hear children that go to Arawa—where you also go—say there is a big river there. They say it is an angry river called pirung that howls like a furious dog. Is it real to have such a river?”

“‘I will take you there to see for yourself,” his ungko Teruinu said hugging him. “Uncle Miriuii will be happy to take us in his truck.”

Continue reading "The day that Onana made friends with the pirung" »

Revisiting the mysterious disappearance of Michael Rockefeller


Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art, William Morrow, New York, 2014, 322pp, ISBN: 9780062325310. From Amazon: $US16.23 (Hardcover); $US15.20 Kindle

IN the earliest days of the Australian administration in what is now Western Province, one of the continuing problems was the raids on Southern Fly River villages by headhunters from across the border with Dutch New Guinea.

These headhunters came from the vast swamps of the southeast where the distinction between the Arafura Sea and the land is sometimes difficult to determine.  The raiders were known by many names, including Marind and Tugeri.

While headhunting in Western Province was brought to an end relatively quickly, it persisted for many more years over the border.  Even in the years following World War II, headhunters were active right through to the lands of the Asmat along the Casuarinen Coast.

Continue reading "Revisiting the mysterious disappearance of Michael Rockefeller" »

Leonard Roka to discuss Bougainville prospects at Lowy conference


BOUGAINVILLEAN author Leonard Fong Roka will tomorrow address the Lowy Institute’s PNG New Voices Conference about the future prospects of Bougainville.

The Australian think-tank is holding the conference at the National Research Institute in Port Moresby.

The Director of the Melanesia Program at the Lowy Institute, Jenny Hayward-Jones, says the conference aims to provide a platform for young leaders and professionals to offer fresh insights and perspectives on important international policy issues.

“We are seeking to give a platform to young Papua New Guineans to talk about the big issues facing PNG and its future trajectory and place in the world,” Ms Hayward-Jones told me.

The Lowy Institute aims to nurture a collaborative and inter-disciplinary approach to some of the key challenges facing Australia and its interactions with the world.

Continue reading "Leonard Roka to discuss Bougainville prospects at Lowy conference" »

From the Kundiawa News – 50 years ago today


Banner KN 28 May 64On 28 May 1964 the ninth and last weekly issue of the Kundiawa News was produced. There being no announcement that the newsletter would in future appear each fortnight, I assume this was a last-minute decision. The publication had by now progressed beyond the jokey diversion that had marked its beginnings two months before and, in addition to offering a humorous take on local events, it was intent on providing serious information to readers.


Last Friday night the new humidicrib was presented to Medical officer, Dr T Murrell, by organiser of the campaign to buy the crib, Mr G Dick. The humidicrib, valued at £160 [$4,000 in today's money], was purchased at half price through the generosity of the dealer. It is the first humidicrib in the Chimbu area, and the first in any sub-district in the Territory. It will serve an area which has a 9% mortality rate of premature babies.

Continue reading "From the Kundiawa News – 50 years ago today" »

Unitech invests in ‘transformational’ campus wi-fi coverage

Albert SchramPNG TODAY

THE Papua New Guinea University of Technology is to invest a significant amount of its funds to develop a wi-fi network for the entire university campus.

Unitech vice-chancellor Albert Schram (pictured) would not say how much the university will spend but he indicated it would transform its ICT infrastructure.

The university plans to install various systems from Telikom and other satellite service providers and will live up to its name as a leading technical institution.

Continue reading "Unitech invests in ‘transformational’ campus wi-fi coverage" »

Taking the fruits of higher education back to the village


LAST weekend I journeyed with Jane Pumai Awi of the University of Goroka to her home village of Ganige.

Ganige is in the Kerowagi District of Simbu Province, situated on the Highlands Highway not far from the border with Jiwaka Province.

I was there to help Jane with a Kids Club she has established and also to assist her carry out a survey for a health clinic she plans to bring to the people of Ganige.

We left Goroka at 4 pm on Friday arriving at Ganige around six.  We spent the night in Jane’s cosy residence which adjoins her shop.

Continue reading "Taking the fruits of higher education back to the village" »

Leading PNG public figures join administration of Croc Prize


THE appointment of parliamentarian Gary Juffa and academic Albert Schram to the Crocodile Prize Organising Group, COG, is a great boost to the continuing development of a home-grown literature in Papua New Guinea.

Gary Juffa (right) is a national member of parliament and Governor of Oro Province and Professor Schram is vice-chancellor of the PNG University of Technology.

Both men are prominent figures in PNG who have had to overcome significant challenges in recent times.

Governor Juffa’s outspokenness on issues like corruption, the environment and development often finds him out of favour with the O’Neill government while his work to clean out dishonesty in Oro Province is attracting attention from around the nation. He is also a perceptive and talented orator and writer.

Continue reading "Leading PNG public figures join administration of Croc Prize" »

Nearly two decades later, two brothers still feel the pain


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism

STEVEN Mangkona, now a certified boiler maker and running his private equipment and trade hire service on Buka, still finds it hard talking about the incident.

In 1994, outside Arawa, soldiers of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force killed his mother and injured his little brother, Brian, then aged three.

“Every night the PNGDF bombarded us in BRA-controlled areas with radio jingles,” Mangkona (pictured) recalls, blinking rapidly to keep-back tears.

“They called on us to surrender, get their services and find peace. But PNG gave me and my brother the heartbreak of not having a loving and caring mother that today we wander around trying to make ends meet.”

Continue reading "Nearly two decades later, two brothers still feel the pain" »

Spirit of Hela


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

I wrote this poem in mourning for the Spirit of Hela from
where my oil and gas has been taken by an orange man

She goes the Spirit of Hela.
She goes the Kupalini of Hela.
She goes with my spirit in it.
She goes with my heart in it.
She goes carrying the hearts of Hela.
She goes with the Gigiria Laitapo gas.
She goes with my fire to light up the world.
She goes to the land of the orange man.
She goes and Hela mourns for her.
In the name of Hela she goes,
The Spirit of Hela. 

Defeated Mind


An entry in The Crocodile Prize

“GET out of my house! Get out! Before I call the police to come and remove you from this place. Take the bastard with you and don’t ever come back you lying whore!

“You’re such an ungrateful brat. Is that how you repay me when I brought you from the village and you come into my house and find your way into my husband’s bed. Shameful!

“Probably the whole while you were at home you let stray men into the house and now you’re trying to blame my husband.”

That was the last thing running through Hitolo’s mind as she wept helplessly. Her aunt’s words stung her. What she said was the truth and the truth did set her free but it hurt so bad and, speechless as she was, she wept silent tears of shame and embarrassment.

Continue reading "Defeated Mind" »

Crocodile Prize: The wheels that drive the COG – Michael Dom


An occasional series about some of the people administering this year’s Crocodile Prize

IT’S hard to imagine what PNG Attitude or The Crocodile Prize would be without the writing – and especially the poetry - of Michael Dom.

Michael is prolific, he’s a perfectionist and his perception is as sharp as a blade.

And he can also be a controversial observer of the passing parade, as his frequent comments to PNG Attitude on a range of issues attest.

Michael is also without doubt one of a select group of world class writers working in Papua New Guinea today.

Continue reading "Crocodile Prize: The wheels that drive the COG – Michael Dom" »

Sweet Revenge


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

Severe; savouring; succulent
Witty; wicked; wild
Enthusiastic; envious; electrical
Enlightened; endearing; enchanting;

Turncoat; torment; taunt
Rivalry; rage; rave
Elusive; extreme; emphatic
Vengeful; Vicious; vain

Enemy; ethereal; eerie
Nauseating; nasty; niggardly
Ghastly; gruesome; grisly
Excessive; extremist; ego-filled

When rifles ruled: The solace of the innocent


An entry in The Crocodile Prize

Thus embedded in her heart.

Dawn came as a curse.
Grandpa mist dragged crawlers in;
Not his fault though.
Her awakening that stood still
For rifles' rule she saw!

Came hurdling at her door.
Sleepy eyed, she witnessed;
Nest she called home destroyed.
Ransacked to ashes and ruins.
Scattered, as she fled and escaped.
Rifles fired over her head.

Continue reading "When rifles ruled: The solace of the innocent" »

Pharmaceuticals controversy continues to rock PNG

BPP Building, Port MoresbyKEITH JACKSON

PAPUA New Guinea’s Community Coalition Against Corruption (CCAC) has supported calls by the Medical Society of PNG (MSPNG) for the Minister for Health to provide public justification for the inclusion of an ineligible tender among those being considered for the award of a three-year contract for the supply of medical kits, The Loop news website reports.

The organisations argue that an ineligible bid does not become eligible simply by changing the rules. They state that ineligible bids should be rejected.

According to The Loop, the MSPNG has complained for months that the rules were changed after an ineligible bid was received and the bidder was awarded the contract.

Continue reading "Pharmaceuticals controversy continues to rock PNG" »

Like Our Lady, we suffered the wound & survived the crisis

Wound through the heart of Our Lady Queen of PeaceELEANOR MAINEKE

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism

OUR Lady Queen of Peace, Haisi Catholic Mission, is located on the south-western tip of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

In 1962, an American Marist priest from Boston USA, Fr Roger Borgea, established the mission - only the second Catholic mission in the Siwai District of South Bougainville.

Along with the establishment of the mission came a community school, now known as Haisi Primary School.

The catchment of the community school in the 1960s were the neighbouring Murua and Sininnai areas. It was a boarding school until Murua and Sininnai detached and established their own schools.

Continue reading "Like Our Lady, we suffered the wound & survived the crisis" »

Been there, done that – a high school elegy


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

The first spliff, the first kush
The first drag, the first illumination,
At the back of the ablution block, at recess and lunch break
The first liberation, the first misconception
Been there, done that

The first bucket, the first brew
The first initiation, with seniors in the fields
The first drunk party, the first wasted time
Been there, done that

Continue reading "Been there, done that – a high school elegy" »

Major event to mark PNG-Australia 100 year relationship

Bitapaka Wireless Station August 1914KEITH JACKSON

The Papua New Guinea Association of Australia
sponsors The 
Crocodile Prize Publishing Program

IN September the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia (PNGAA) is presenting a ground-breaking symposium reviewing the relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea over the past one hundred years.

The event, entitled From Pacific WW1 battlefield to Pacific powers: A Century of Australia - PNG Relations, will be held on 17 and 18 September at the NSW Parliament House in Sydney.

The symposium dinner on Wednesday 17 September will be held in the grand surrounds of the Strangers Dining Room at Parliament House and the symposium itself will be held on Thursday 18 September in the theatrette of Parliament House.

This year marks the centenary of Australia’s first military engagement of World War I. It took place at Bitapaka on the Gazelle Peninsula when, on 11 September 1914, Australian troops ousted a German garrison defending a strategically important wireless station (pictured above). It was a bloody fight.

Continue reading "Major event to mark PNG-Australia 100 year relationship" »

Why must my people suffer….


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

Surrounded by oil and floating on gas, lies my country so rich and diverse.
Aliens they come to dig up my earth, for whose benefit my mind ponders.
Millions of kina rush in, yet so little seen in our everyday life.
My people cry in silence, yet my leaders turn a blind eye.
And I wonder, why must my people suffer...

A mother dies giving birth to life, not much done to safeguard hers.
A child left to wander the street, while peers learn skills to better their lives.
Thugs rob a man of an honest wage, where are the cops to come to his aid.
My people long for change, but the big men busy fighting for power.
And I wonder, why must my people suffer...

Continue reading "Why must my people suffer…." »

ABC’s Liam Fox in Fiji to look at election preparations

Liam Fox in FijiMERE NALEBA | Fiji Times

AUSTRALIAN Broadcasting Corporation journalist, and former PNG correspondent, Liam Fox is in Fiji for two weeks to conduct interviews on how the country is building up to its 17 September general election.

Fox said apart from being assigned to cover the build-up to the election, he was also interested in finding out whether reports of a blanket ban on the Fijian media were true.

"I'm also here to see what the media environment is all about," he said.

"I think it's pretty common knowledge there have been concerns that the media is not fully able to do its job in an impartial and objective manner.

Continue reading "ABC’s Liam Fox in Fiji to look at election preparations" »

How to write a book in Papua New Guinea

Leonard Roka and his 3 booksPHIL FITZPATRICK

FOR most people the idea of writing a book is downright scary.  The prospect frightens even the most seasoned writers.

For goodness sake, books are much too long to even contemplate.  Think of all that hard work, the dedication and resolve, the sacrifices to be made; not to mention the lost sleep and constant invasion of thought. And, worse, the solitariness of the process.

I could never write a book, you conclude.

And yet there are an increasing number of Papua New Guineans who are doing it.  Go figure?  What motivates them?  All that work and not even a fair prospect of finding a publisher.

And in a country with a notoriously low rate of literacy and a miniscule reading public.  All that work for no real discernible monetary return.  Why on earth do it?

I don’t know the answer to that last question.  I don’t even really know why I write books, let alone why other people do.  I have some suspicions though.

Continue reading "How to write a book in Papua New Guinea" »

Captured by my mother’s heart


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

A poem dedicated to my mom, pictured at right

A heart that never ceases to care,
Over the years this loving,
Beautiful, supportive, and emotional
Heart gave me the physical need and care I needed.

It is still at my side, to know that her child is in good health.
This heart feels the pain her child feels.
The child that lived in her womb for nine months.
This heart extends its love as the family grows.

Continue reading "Captured by my mother’s heart" »

The myth of Bakokora, the makutu maker


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Buk bilong Pikinini Award for Children’s Writing

ONCE upon a time, in the mountain village of Danai in Koromira, there lived a young woman called Bakokora.

She was a lovely but lonely woman. The villagers abused her for her ornamental makutu necklaces, leg bands and wrist bands made them jealous. They call her a sorcerer.

Bakokora had no garden; she fished not in the river or sea, she did not hunt for animals; but she always had plenty to eat and she cooked the finest meals around.

Every day the villagers went to the gardens and worked till sunset but Bakokora never worked. She was more than happy in Danai. She was humble and loving to the children who often cried with hunger when their parents worked late in the mountains in their gardens or hunting and fishing.

Continue reading "The myth of Bakokora, the makutu maker" »

While war raged in Bougainville, there was a miracle at Haisi


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Steamships Award for Short Stories

I NEVER thought I could give birth on my own, but I did. Confirming for me the words of the Angel Gabriel, “With God there is nothing impossible.”

The year – 1992. The month - October.

Since May we had been hiding from the Defence Force in the deep jungle of south-west Bougainville. I was pregnant with my fourth child.

These were difficult times. Food could be carried from abandoned gardens and villages only on certain days. Movement was restricted in fear of both the Defence Force soldiers with their Bougainvillean helpers, the Resistance, and also our own Bougainville Revolutionary Army.

By October I was heavy with my child but still had to carry food, coconuts and other requirements from our village to the bush camps because I had to provide for my three little girls - aged at that time eight, six and two.

Continue reading "While war raged in Bougainville, there was a miracle at Haisi" »

Mothers’ Day present 2015: 22 reserved seats for PNG women

Protest against Violence Against Women, May 2013KELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism

PAPUA New Guinea’s national parliament has 2.7% of its members who are female, just a tiny number to represent the women who compose half the population.

In PNG, educated women have a slim chance of being appointed as departmental heads or elected to parliament. Men regard the Reserved Seats Bill as an offence to cultural norms and men talk for women as if women don’t have mouths.

This caste-like system in PNG makes women vulnerable to exploitation even though women’s intelligence, adept decision making and productivity are equal to men’s.

Continue reading "Mothers’ Day present 2015: 22 reserved seats for PNG women" »

Bride prize creed


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

Today we bring to you the bride
She is our daughter, born of our womb and blood
Her loyalty is the smile of our home
Her mother is the her best friend in the kitchen
We are sadden by her departure
But proven fit to look after her, time has come
We grant her the desire of her heart

Today she becomes your daughter in law
In the presence of her Aunties and uncles we release her
The wife of your son, mother of your grandchildren shall she be
Your wife shall now be served 
And your son shall be the man of the house
From afar off we have seen a fortunate family
A house that our daughter shall call home

Continue reading "Bride prize creed" »

The Crocodile Prize: PNG’s nambawan literary competition

Croc TrophiesMICHAEL DOM

THE very idea of ‘competition’ can leave a bitter-sweet aftertaste on the mental palate.

It seems to imply an egotistical, perhaps vain, desire to be ‘better than the rest’. An urge to be the victor in a kind of bloodless warfare.

But the results of competitive behaviour, even in literature, can be significant: improved performance; enhanced quality; rich learning; recognition of talent; reward for effort; establishing benchmarks…. It’s a long list.

Enter Papua New Guinea’s Crocodile Prize literary contest, now in its fourth year and with a budget in 2014 of approaching $40,000 ($20,000 in prizes, the rest spent on publishing and on a writer’s fellowship).

Continue reading "The Crocodile Prize: PNG’s nambawan literary competition" »

Bougainville’s beautiful clay pots are fading away

Clay pots from BougainvilleISHMAEL PALIPAL

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism

CLAY POTS have been an important part of traditional life in Bougainville, as they have in many Melanesian communities.

They’re used for fetching and boiling water, of course, but have also been an important asset for Bougainvillean families and clans in days gone by.

In the past, clay pots were valuable and considered sacred or holy. Various shapes, styles and sizes had different types of spiritual significance and practical purpose.

Continue reading "Bougainville’s beautiful clay pots are fading away" »

Crocodile Prize: The wheels that drive the COG – Phil Fitzpatrick


An occasional series about some of the people administering this year’s Crocodile Prize

I WENT to Papua New Guinea in 1967 as a kiap.  The early years were exciting and I was involved in first-contact patrols and work in restricted areas where cannibalism was still practiced. 

When I was transferred to a quiet backwater, boredom set in quickly and I headed for Port Moresby to work as a publications officer, a stint which included involvement with a commission of enquiry into land matters.

I left PNG in 1973 and managed to convince the South Australian Museum that I could work with Aboriginal people in Central Australia doing anthropological and archaeological research.

Continue reading "Crocodile Prize: The wheels that drive the COG – Phil Fitzpatrick" »

Catholic Bishops to leaders: ‘There must be an end to corruption’


THE Catholic Church values greatly the good relationship it has with Government in Papua New Guinea.  It is one of mutual respect.  It has the potential to bring about many good things for the people of our nation. 

In the social services, health and education, the relationship is a partnership.  Catholic Church education and health care services are large and widespread in PNG.

We believe that the partnership in health and education services is good but still needs to be strengthened through better communication and consultation at both national and provincial levels. 

Continue reading "Catholic Bishops to leaders: ‘There must be an end to corruption’" »

From the Kundiawa News – 50 years ago today

Aldo (Alan Slack) caricaturing Dr Tim Murrell KN8KEITH JACKSON

THE second last of the weekly issues of the Kundiawa News, number 8, appeared on Friday 22 May 1964, ran to six pages and printed 50 copies at one shilling each. Again the quotient of news increased – and this was to expand much more in the fortnightly issues that were to come. Note: this issue contains the newsletter’s first legitimate quote, banal though it is. While its coverage is improving, the News is still not managing to reflect the complexity and colour of the dynamic Simbu environment in which it is published. The newsletter's best times still lie ahead.


Some important Education personnel will be visiting Kundiawa within the next four weeks. They include Mr A Shanley (Inspector of primary A Schools), Mr R Ralph (Chief of Division, Primary Education), Mr L Johnson (TPNG Director of Education) and Dr D Wyndham (NSW Director of Education). All four will be visiting various schools in the Chimbu area.

Continue reading "From the Kundiawa News – 50 years ago today" »

Corruption & personal responsibility: “One hand washes the other.…”

Gary Juffa (Getty)GARY JUFFA

An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism

PAPUA New Guinea is sometimes called the land of the unexpected. What is expected, though, is corruption, spread thickly everywhere.

Corruption, often associated with the public service, is discussed everywhere: from betelnut stall to the most sophisticated hotel conference room.

Consultants have made oodles of money running courses talking about it and Australia has sent armies of advisers claiming to help PNG improve measures against it.

Very little has been achieved to prevent or even check corruption. Corruption is a relentless creature, moving constantly and continuously, aggressively taking on anyone who challenges it, and apparently winning and gaining ground.

Continue reading "Corruption & personal responsibility: “One hand washes the other.…”" »

Popondetta Hospital’s present day struggles are nothing new

Marian Commerford, Grace and children, Popondetta 1982PETER COMERFORD

IN last weekend's Australian press, journalist Mike Steketee wrote an interesting article about Papua New Guinea entitled ‘In Popondetta, life and death are dealt with in a tin shed’.

We lived in Popondetta in the 1980s and my wife Marian gave birth to three of our children, including undiagnosed twins, at Popondetta General Hospital between 1980 and 1982.

The article made it seem as if nothing has changed in the facilities and conditions in over 30 years.  Having said that, though, the care and nursing support Marian received in her short stay with our three children was very good.

Continue reading "Popondetta Hospital’s present day struggles are nothing new" »

Have we got a job for you: make sure you read on….


WHEN entries come into the Crocodile Prize we read them carefully and mostly lightly edit them if they look good enough to run in PNG Attitude and are likely candidates for the annual anthology.

If they are of great interest or show exceptional promise but have some sort of problem we do a heavier edit. Sometimes we send them back to the author for approval. But often, the volume of literary traffic being so great, we simply lack the time to do this.

We’ve never had an author criticise us for making their piece worse.

Continue reading "Have we got a job for you: make sure you read on…." »

My Betelnut, My Heritage


An entry in The Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

Chew chew chew
I grind and mash away to my ancestral mouths

Chew chew chew
Beda and kuku to my place of no return

Chew chew chew
Yabi and vaga to my place of sea farers and warriors

Chew chew chew
Buai and daga to my place of city-slickers

Chew chew chew
I grind and mash away to the places of my origin.

Crocodile Prize: The wheels that drive the COG – Bernard Yegiora


An occasional series about some of the people administering this year’s Crocodile Prize

BERNARD Singu Yegiora, 30, a lecturer in international relations at Divine Word University, was educated at the University of Papua New Guinea and Jilin University in China, from where he holds a Masters degree in International Politics.

“I developed a passion for writing back in 2009 when I was studying in China,” the Kundiawa-born Bernard says.

“Away from home and my family, writing helped me get over the loneliness.

“Mathew Yakai, a journalist, had this column about China-Pacific relations in the Sunday Chronicle and asked PNG students in China to write articles about our experiences.

Continue reading "Crocodile Prize: The wheels that drive the COG – Bernard Yegiora" »

Crocodile Prize – The wheels that drive the COG: Bob Cleland


FORMER Papua New Guinea kiap Bob Cleland is 83, although you’d never guess it. Like his contemporary Bill Brown, who I also know and like, he’s the sort of bloke you’d want alongside you in a fight. Still.

Bob’s a member of the Crocodile Prize Organising Group, COG, and he and his two daughters (both PNG-born) are sponsors of the important Heritage Writing Award in the Prize.

Bob says of the Award: “I am an active writer and an avid reader. I am passionate about the great value to every person, individually, of knowing the histories of their own culture and ancestry.”

The Heritage Award has been blessed with some wickedly good entries this year – and Bob will choose the winner.

Bob was born in Perth, Western Australia, in 1931, and joined the Administration of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea as a Cadet Patrol Officer in April 1953.

It was the same year his father, Brigadier (later Sir) Donald Cleland, became Administrator of TPNG in a term that would extend until 1967.

Continue reading "Crocodile Prize – The wheels that drive the COG: Bob Cleland" »