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143 posts from January 2015

Betel nut is here to stay – so let's solve the problem


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

IT is most regrettable that people’s lives, including very young lives, have to be destroyed because of one very divisive policy – the banning of betel nut.

No amount of money will appease the pain suffered by the relatives of those three people or compensate for the loss. No way.

When the National capital District Governor, Powes Parkop, first announced the policy in October 2013, I was one of those who opposed the idea in the Post Courier and PNG Attitude.

Continue reading "Betel nut is here to stay – so let's solve the problem" »

The homeless man


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

He staggers along the moonlit street
On his way to his hovel
Under what?
Where does he sleep come every night?

Under what urban landmark, city structure
Must the homeless sleep tonight?
His unstable feet plod along concrete pavement
With not a decent boarding in sight.
An oppressive stench of you-guessed-it

Continue reading "The homeless man" »

John Kaupa Kamasua appointed COG’s newest member

Kamasua_John KaupaKEITH JACKSON

A prolific contributor to PNG Attitude and academic at the University of Papua New Guinea is the most recent member appointed to the Crocodile Prize Organisation, COG, the group that administers the affairs of PNG’s national literary contest.

John Kaupa Kamasua, originally from Simbu Province, is a senior lecturer and leader of the social work strand at UPNG, where he been an academic for more than 10 years.

He has a Master of Arts from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom where he studied following his first degree at UPNG.

And he says that, when he settles into his role with COG, he will “contemplate organising writers in Port Moresby around an association” – and we certainly encourage him to pursue this goal.

Continue reading "John Kaupa Kamasua appointed COG’s newest member" »

Despite volcano, Rabaul emerges as a war tourism destination

Reg Yates at Rabaul Anzac 2012KEITH JACKSON

NEW Zealand-born ex-Army officer Captain Reg Yates has been a regular visitor to Papua New Guinea for almost 30 years.

Last year he was a key organiser of a major commemoration of World War I events on the Gazelle Peninsula.

That centenary of Australian military deployment to the Gazelle was covered for Radio New Zealand International by journalist Johnny Blades.

Johnny interviewed Reg about the significance of wartime events which have emerged as one of PNG's major tourism assets.

“Australians and New Zealanders have always been well regarded by the Papua New Guineans,” Reg said. “They always treated each other with respect.”

Reg agreed with Johnny that PNG could make more of its crucial role in two world wars in terms of its value as a tourism destination.

Continue reading "Despite volcano, Rabaul emerges as a war tourism destination" »

My son and his moon


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Paga Hill Development Company
Award for Writing for Children

Dedicated to my son Hyugin (Eugene) Chesed Wenogo

WHEN the moon is out my son is in a joyous mood.

He gazes up into the night sky as if the moon called to him. His searching eyes never tire of the moon’s glowing face.

Last night the moon was just a chin in the dark sky. But tonight she glows fervently, lighting up the sky and the isles that lie beneath. My son is moonstruck.

A while ago he was crying and screaming uncontrollably. His mother and I did everything we could to calm him down but to no avail. When we finally took him out of the house and into the bright moonlight, he stopped crying.

Continue reading "My son and his moon" »

How to write a successful Crocodile Prize children’s story

The power of the bookKEITH JACKSON

The Award for Writing for Children in the Crocodile Prize
is sponsored by the Paga Hill Development Company

WRITING for children is a much tougher assignment than writing for adults.

Simplicity of sentence structure and vocabulary are not so simple in creation. They require technical discipline – and an understanding of what children want.

In the Crocodile Prize, we’ve set an age of around 12 as the maximum you should be aiming for in your writing. Your story should not be longer than about 800 words and it needs to be on a subject that engages children of ages up to that.

And what do these children like? They like to laugh, they like to be excited, they like to see problems solved, they like to learn, they like to see embarrassment successfully resolved and they like to see heroes (protagonists) who are like themselves.

Continue reading "How to write a successful Crocodile Prize children’s story" »

Not gone


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

Side by side they lay, in their homeland faraway
They lie peacefully, rest granted eternally
Out of this bad world, this cold, tough, unfair world
Into this haven of perfect happiness, where joy seemed endless

Hand in hand they strolled, as they chatted and laughed
In the beautiful Garden of Heaven, without being brazen
No more tears and pain, whilst I moan and groan
Their physical existence no more, my heart aches to the core

Why can’t heaven wait? I am alone on this earth
But had to embark on life’s journey, why too early?
Their presence I miss, memories so hard to dismiss

Continue reading "Not gone" »

Trouble at bank: How Hagen Westpac wouldn’t give me my money

Westpac at the Lae market, 1958JIMMY AWAGL

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

WESTPAC Bank might brag that it has been in Papua New Guinea for more than 100-years but the service at its Mt Hagen branch is the pits.

In this world of sophisticated and efficient communication technology, a simple thing like processing an application for a new Westpac Handy Card took me six weeks to process. Bank South Pacific processes a new Kundu card on the spot in less than an hour.

I lost my Westpac Handy Card in the first week of December. I went to Mt Hagen and applied for a new card. The teller told me it would be ready in three weeks.

Continue reading "Trouble at bank: How Hagen Westpac wouldn’t give me my money" »

The tale of a long road

PregnancyISO YAWI

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

A tribute to all those mothers in remote places of Papua New Guinea beyond reach of basic health services who struggle hard during pregnancy to make it to the nearest aid post or health centre

The mountain is too high
And steep for me
I cannot climb any more
Moaned the pregnant woman

Continue reading "The tale of a long road" »

Marriage by plan, marriage by love & marriage by circumstance


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
PNG Government Award for Short Stories

MOST marriages among young people in Papua New Guinea today are circumstantial rather than by plan or out of love or. I saw this happen to my girlfriend Alice when she was only 14.

Alice, from Nipa District in the Southern Highlands Province, was five when she went with her elder sister Martha who got married to a Simbu man. She’s been living in Simbu ever since.

Around the same time, 10-year old Brian, also a Nipa but from a different clan, followed his sister Belinda who got married to a health worker in Kundiawa.

It was Martha who arranged for Belinda to marry the health worker.

Continue reading "Marriage by plan, marriage by love & marriage by circumstance" »

Loss of life & corruption: The buai ban needs urgent reappraisal


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

THE killing by police of two Hanuabada men last Friday and the earlier death of an underprivileged mother last year warrants a strong response from the Papua New Guinea government.

A responsible government would have responded much sooner after widespread reports of appalling human rights abuse and confrontation as a result of the ban on betel nut (buai) selling.

Instead the government turned a blind eye to the issue hoping that people would toe the line when the ban came into force.

But the opposite was true and, since the ban was enforced several people have lost their lives and a blackmarket has thrived.

The government’s action to address the issue after the loss of several lives is unacceptable. If it had been proactive, those precious lives would not have been lost.

Continue reading "Loss of life & corruption: The buai ban needs urgent reappraisal" »

And so Vincent Kawage emerges into his promise of servanthood

At the Mary Help of Christians retreatBOMAI D WITNE

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

THIS month Father Michele Morando offered two special retreats to the parishioners at Mary Help of Christians Parish.

The retreats were targeted at the youth and the laity in the church in preparation for seminarian Vincent Kawage’s deaconate vows on Saturday at Kefamo.

The term deacon originates from Greek, meaning ‘servant’.  Christian churches have adopted the term to refer to missionaries and laity.

In the Catholic faith, it refers to a seminarian who makes his vows to God through the church to become the servant of the gospel.

Fr Michele made several references to the Bible and linked the messages to the life of a seminarian, deacon and missionary. He talked of the great offer by the father of faith, Abraham, who was prepared to show evidence of his faith by slaughtering his son, Issac in an offering to God.

Continue reading "And so Vincent Kawage emerges into his promise of servanthood" »



An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

Woke up to a cold chilly morning, reluctantly
Opened eyes, reached for phone, grouchily
Alarm silenced! Up I get!
Quick shower, dress up, I don’t look that bad

Often skipping breakfast, quickly to catch the bus
Off I go! The bus ride, damn! The traffic congestion, frustrating
Morning greetings, smiles along the way
Hoping to get in time, the clock in time

Continue reading "Disconnected" »

Sorcery in our country & the growing violence against women

Sorcery & violence against womenJOHNSON MAKAEN

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

SORCERY is an ancient practice that has been around since the dawn of human history. It presents in diverse forms and is rooted in every culture.

Sorcery is connected to the paranormal and is irrefutably of satanic origin. The Bible clearly spells it out as evil and draws reference to it as worship of the devil or possession of an evil power.

In many societies, sorcery is considered as a significant part of the culture, having being passed on from one person to another through many generations.

In Papua New Guinea, sorcery plays a sacred role in most if not all traditional societies across the country. It appears to have pervaded every tongue and ethnicity.

Continue reading "Sorcery in our country & the growing violence against women" »

Billy - who brought sweet things for Queen Sabina of the ants

Ant and beeISO YAWI

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Paga Hill Development Company
Award for Writing for Children

ONCE there was a kingdom of ants ruled by a queen named Sabina. She was a harsh queen and told every ant to work for her and build her kingdom.

Queen Sabina’s orders were not to be broken. When she gave a speech, all ants remained silent and obedient to what she said. She demanded all ants do the same amount of work for her despite what class of ant they belonged to - rich or poor.

All her soldiers and guards were strong and mighty and they stood by her and made her kingdom increase and become powerful. Queen Sabina’s fame reached across over the entire land. She ruled her kingdom for a long time.

Continue reading "Billy - who brought sweet things for Queen Sabina of the ants" »

Optimism after the lost decade: Sir Henry looks to the future


Extracts of a speech to the Papua New Guinea Association of Australia, 7 December 2014

I am here as a friend to talk to you, about Papua New Guinea, to share some of my life experiences and to express some of my opinions about the development and progress made in Papua New Guinea during the last 10 to 15 years.

Nobody in his wildest dreams could have envisaged the progress made, the transformation that took place, and the changes in the lives of the people in 15 years.  The last eight years have seen an economic boom unparalleled in PNG’s history.

In terms of natural resources our people of Papua New Guinea are blessed: a sparsely populated country and huge natural resources in land, minerals, gas, timber, fisheries and agriculture.

Continue reading "Optimism after the lost decade: Sir Henry looks to the future" »

‘If you can read this, thank a teacher!’


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

The title of this article is taken from a tee-shirt our high school inspector showed us when visiting our school. He used the slogan to teach us the importance of reading

IF writers don’t compare the edited versions of work they submit to PNG Attitude or the Crocodile Prize with the original articles chances are they will never improve their writing.

If you don’t read what others are writing on this blog or elsewhere, you cannot measure your own standing of where you are at with your writing.

If you cannot accept objective criticism of what you write, and learn a thing or two from it, you will struggle to break free from the mold you have created for yourself.

Continue reading "‘If you can read this, thank a teacher!’" »

Where is the government, where are the people?

Government & peopleRAYMOND KOMIS GIRANA

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
SP Brewery Award for Illustration

THIS cartoon illustrates how the government is often perceived in Papua New Guinea as a foreign master based on the notion that it is a foreign institution or something beyond reach of ordinary people.

It is floating above the clouds; representing a here and there mentality.

The cartoon also depicts the culture of silence common to us in PNG and other Melanesian countries.

In one way, it also illustrates the demise of democracy based on Phil Fitzpatrick’s article, Demise of democracy is a world trend and PNG is at the forefront (PNG Attitude, 5 January 2015), and the subsequent comments from commentators.

Continue reading "Where is the government, where are the people?" »

Burn my shadow


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
PNG Government Award for Short Stories

THE atmosphere inside Lamana Gold Club was welcoming and electric. The décor was sensual, and an eclectic mix of good looking people crowded the pool tables, the sunken dance floor and the four bar areas.

The pulsating sound system was accompanied by great light shows and the DJ was awesome.

Well, I’ll be damned, Hilary said to herself as, in the middle of exchanging jokes with her friends, she turned towards the entrance to see three familiar faces.

Cleared by the bouncers, Joseph Maroa, Simon Adani and Euryth Kicheni headed straight for the side bar.

Simon and Euryth walked in front, as if searching for a prosperous target, while Joseph followed behind like a man pleased to find gravity working in his favour.

Continue reading "Burn my shadow" »

Bidu’s happy thoughts

Bidu in bedDALE DIGORI

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Paga Hill Development Company
Award for Writing for Children
SP Brewery Award for Illustration

ONCE upon a time in a magical forest there lived a boy dwarf by the name of Bidu.

Bidu lived with his parents, Papa Dwarf and Mama Dwarf, in a huge mango tree by the river.

Everybody knew he was a strong little dwarf. He could catch fish with his bare hands and paddle a canoe all by himself. But Bidu had a secret that only his parents knew about; the strong little dwarf was afraid of the dark.

Continue reading "Bidu’s happy thoughts" »

‘We tried to engage local artists but nothing could be confirmed’

EarthquakeSTUART McMILLEN | Geoscience Australia

An Australian cartoonist and illustrator points to the scarcity of illustrators in Papua New Guinea, a shortage that the Crocodile Prize is seeking to address through the SP Brewery Award for Illustration ….

IN 2013 Geoscience Australia commissioned me to illustrate some booklets they were preparing about natural hazards. Specifically: volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunami.

This was a joint project with geological agencies in Papua New Guinea, with the booklets to be distributed to local PNG communities – especially volcanically-active towns like Rabaul.

One key aspect of the project was the need for the illustrations to be relevant for the local Papua New Guinea communities. Geoscience Australia had previously tried to engage local artists from PNG to illustrate the booklets, but nothing could be confirmed.

Continue reading "‘We tried to engage local artists but nothing could be confirmed’" »

New website showcases the art of Les Peterkin, ASOPA legend


THE Les Peterkin Portrait Prize is one of the most popular exhibitions held each year in the Tweed River Art Gallery in northern New South Wales – and there’s a Papua New Guinean connection.

According to the local newspaper, the prize, is “a celebration of the artistic skills of local primary school students.” Last year there was a record number of entries, with more than 3,000 artworks from 31 schools.

Les Peterkin, who turned 80 last year, is equally famed as a talented potter.

But for many of us he’s known for the part of his early career he spent at the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA).

Continue reading "New website showcases the art of Les Peterkin, ASOPA legend" »

Personal score


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
PNG Government Award for Short Stories

Every resident in Four Mile settlement stays hushed. They know one word out of place and they could lose everything. People in settlements must protect each other, no matter what.

THE anger that had built up inside Kaut drove him beyond sane reasoning.  Karulos had made his only daughter pregnant and left her for another girl from Two Mile settlement.

But, that confessed, life should have been sweet.

The poor bastard ended up in jail for taking part in a hold-up.

So why did he have to escape and come back to hide in the Four Mile area? Not everyone here loved him. I detest convicts who escape prisons. These thoughts played on Kaut’s mind.

Continue reading "Personal score" »

What three wise monkeys?


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

This is a poem I wrote yesterday morning after reading the headlines about yet another death at the hands of our law-enforcers. My deepest sympathies go out to the widow, Mary Daure, and anyone else who has lost a loved one to such tragedy - DD

We are drunk, its 10pm on Madison Avenue
Blue and Red lights? Oh thank God! We’re safe
We are drunk, its 10pm on Mirigini Avenue
Blue and Red lights? Batas, run for your life!
Get the picture?

See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil
*chuckle* Do we look like monkeys to you?

Continue reading "What three wise monkeys?" »

Forming the many-faceted crystal of our Melanesian nation


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Award for Tourism, Arts & Culture Writing

PAPUA New Guinea is a Melanesian country rich in the diversity of its culture. A many-faceted crystal would epitomise the complexity of its many different cultures and languages.

Crystal is precious and one would not want to lose it or trade it at a low value. These different cultures - from Sankamap to Sandaun - form the wellspring of a country so special and unique.

And so we are blessed with our different cultures, each unique and rich in its own way. As a result of this diversity, we see in our country many different styles of cultural expression expressed as art: tumbuna singsing, dance, traditional bilas, architecture, weapons, carvings and so on.

Culture influences art and art helps shape and change culture.

Continue reading "Forming the many-faceted crystal of our Melanesian nation" »

Mystical echoes of our forefathers ring louder than ever


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

SPIRITUALISM or mysticism has for many eons played a significant role in molding Papua New Guinea societies and their ways of life.

Even in this modern age we believe and cling to legends that have been passed down through many generations.

Legends about monsters or fearsome creatures guarding sacred places are widespread in PNG, so much so that they are considered an integral part of most traditional societies.

Even though modernity and its principles have penetrated most of PNG’s societies since independence, most Papua New Guineans still revere these myths and legends.

However, as rapid modernisation impacts our lives, the changes wrought do not in any way infer that legends and myths are no longer credible.

Continue reading "Mystical echoes of our forefathers ring louder than ever" »

A life well-lived – is it really worth it?


BEING a moral person in this modern age is a difficult road to travel, not least because any benefits or rewards are hard to come by.

But then again, if you want to be truly moral should you be seeking rewards anyway?  Shouldn’t the self-satisfaction and peace of mind of living a moral life be reward enough?

It would be interesting to know why people like PNG corruption buster Sam Koim do what they do. A sense of duty? Personal ethics? Loyalty to the nation? Sheer professionalism? Some combination of each of these?

He may even find the question difficult to answer.  Which, in a strange sort of way, would be reassuring.

But is living a good life reward enough?  By most indications it seems the answer is no.


Continue reading "A life well-lived – is it really worth it?" »

Sepik spirit

Sepik_spirit_elanduEMMANUEL DAVID LANDU

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
SP Brewery Award for Illustration

THIS image is a representation the famous scarification of young Sepik men as a rite of passage.

It is a form of initiation and symbolises the transition of a boy into manhood.

I believe this is a continuing practice still maintained by the East Sepik people.

In this illustration I want to show that this process symbolises strength, power and courage.

Continue reading "Sepik spirit" »

Governor Gary Juffa: West Papua has suffered enough

Gov Gary Juffa - solidarity with West PapuaPNG TODAY

PAPUA New Guinean parliamentarian  and Governor of Oro Province, Gary Juffa, has strengthened his stance in the struggle for a free West Papua.

Mr Juffa said the dilemma that West Papuans are facing is a long time issue that the governments of PNG and other Pacific island nations need to look into to help West Papua achieve its quest for political independence from Indonesia.

He said West Papuans have suffered brutal acts by the Indonesian government through its coercive state apparatus (police and army) who have killed more than 700,000 West Papuans since 1965 when the Dutch handed over the colony to be part of Indonesia.

This followed upon advice from the United Nations and a referendum which Mr Juffa said was not representative of the majority of the West Papuans.

Continue reading "Governor Gary Juffa: West Papua has suffered enough" »

Will 2015 be the year of the state of emergency in PNG?

Kama_BalBAL KAMA | Dev Police Blog

PAPUA New Guinea started the new year with a bang.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill successfully challenged his referral to the Leadership Tribunal, the Minister for Public Enterprise and State Investment Ben Micah declared a State of Emergency, purportedly with the approval of the National Executive Council, to recoup overdue electricity bills for the state-owned PNG Power Limited, and the ‘disturbing’ hunger strikes at Manus Island detention centre continue to threaten to undo the ‘Manus Solution’.

The Leadership Tribunal is now temporarily suspended, awaiting the Supreme Court to clarify the reservations raised by the Prime Minister.

The distinguished judges appointed to the Tribunal never envisaged that their names would appear as co-defendants alongside the public prosecutor, but were named as such by the Prime Minister because they comprised the Tribunal whose jurisdiction is under question.

Continue reading "Will 2015 be the year of the state of emergency in PNG?" »

The remarkable & true story of the Huli wig school

A Huli wigman in New YorkBETTY GABRIEL WAKIA

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Award for Tourism, Arts & Culture

DESPITE tribal warfare and the bad reputation that follows, Hela is one of the provinces that puts Papua New Guinea on the world map.

In terms of its natural resources and culture, the people of Hela strongly and proudly uphold their tradition and culture.

Hela always participates in special occasions, to showcase and promote its unique culture. Today Hela culture is a significant most tourist attraction in PNG.

Papua New Guineans sometimes believe that education only comes from Western countries. But for thousands of years we had education as well. Traditional education.

The Huli wig school is one of the oldest traditional schools in Hela Province and possibly PNG.

Continue reading "The remarkable & true story of the Huli wig school" »

The Yuri way: A state-church-tribal partnership in peace building

Church, law & state gatherBOMAI D WITNE

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

AS new year 2014 dawned, the grand peace and reconciliation ceremony among the clans of the Yuri people of Papua New Guinea was marked by cultural dances, songs and other traditional activities.

The Yuri Alaiku Kuikane Association (YAKA) invited many people to witness this important occasion including representatives of church, state, civil society and community.

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kundiawa, Anton Bal, and the parish priest from Dirima Catholic Church were there for the Catholic church.

Pastors of the Evangelical Brotherhood and Lutheran churches began the day’s program with an ecumenical service in which they offered the day’s program to God.

Continue reading "The Yuri way: A state-church-tribal partnership in peace building" »

Melanesia's time-honoured & sacred facial tattoo ritual

Facial tattoos (Dale Digori)DALE DIGORI

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
SP Brewery Award for Illustration

TATTOOING is a time-honoured tradition and common in many parts of Papua New Guinea.

Facial tattooing, like most of our rituals, is a practice which borrows from the mating ritual of a bird, in this case the Raggiana bird of paradise, which presents its vivid feathers once it reaches maturity.

In some areas, facial tattooing was seen as a rite of passage reserved only for adolescent girls who had come of age.

My grandmother (the only child of a once powerful sorcerer) explained that, in areas like ours, this painful custom of Ma’isa Gana, or face-marking, was considered sacred and was practiced only by powerful, high-ranking individuals like sorcerers, witches and chiefs.

These tribal markings depicted important information such as the provenance or origin of a person and often contained stories about the derivation of one’s traditional name.

The custom, however, has sadly declined in most areas as a result of rapid westernisation.

Continue reading "Melanesia's time-honoured & sacred facial tattoo ritual" »

We all face tough choices: This was Martina’s fatal decision


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
PNG Government Award for Short Stories

A smile was on Martina Arion’s face as she stood in front of the tall top town Lae building staring at the sign. It read Laminga Lawyers and, in the small print underneath, Serving law and justice in democracy.

It was the day Martina had dreamed of: employment as an accountant with a major law firm.

She walked pushed slowly at her reflection on the glass door and walked in. The air conditioning immediately made her feel comfortable. A vase of flowers bloomed on the receptionist’s table looking down on a row of neatly arranged chairs.

Already Martina felt a sense of professionalism as she walked towards the receptionist, a fat lady in her mid-forties wearing reading glasses.

Continue reading "We all face tough choices: This was Martina’s fatal decision" »

World social communications day focus on the family

Pope Francis last weekVatican Radio

THE Vatican has issued Pope Francis’ Message for the 49th World Day of Social Communications. The theme of this year’s message is ‘Communicating the Family – a privileged place of encounter with the gift of love’.

The World Day of Social Communications is celebrated in almost all countries on the Sunday before Pentecost and this year’s message calls on the faithful to see families as a resource rather than as a problem for society and invites families to be examples of Christ’s love, kindness and fellowship.

“In a world where people often curse, use foul language, speak badly of others, sow discord and poison our human environment by gossip, the family can teach us to understand communication as a blessing,” the Pope writes.

Continue reading "World social communications day focus on the family" »

Marginalised urban youth takes to streets to earn fast cash

Urban street sceneJIMMY AWAGL

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

THE transition from traditional Melanesia to a modern life style in a developing nation like Papua New Guinea triggers youths to engage in entrepreneurial money-making activities in urban areas.

Many youths in PNG migrate to cities and towns. The clever ones come up with creative ideas to raise money.

Having abandoned their customary land and settled in urban centres where they have no land for subsistence farming, they have to compromise by finding money-making activities.

Continue reading "Marginalised urban youth takes to streets to earn fast cash" »

To love a brother


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
PNG Government Award for Short Stories

EVERY time I phoned and asked to speak to my cousin brother Ian I was told he was not home.  I wondered if he just didn’t want to talk to me.

‘Ian’s at the buai market’ or ‘he’s gone to see his friends’ was always the reply.

As we pulled into the driveway, I felt a sixth sense tinkling.

I wondered where he was; Ian, forever in his blue shorts with a cigarette in his hand.

He was always the first sight that greeted me on the veranda whenever I visited.  This was followed by a loud welcome.

But not today.

I wondered.

Continue reading "To love a brother" »

The bean dependency

Coffee tree (Emmanuel Landu)EMMANUEL LANDU

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
SP Brewery Award for Illustration

THIS image portrays the livelihood of my people of the Eastern Highlands Province. It is the most dominant cash crop in some of the poorest and most remote areas of Papua New Guinea.

Coffee has always been there for them. This crop has been a symbol and source of wealth, strength and identity.

In this illustration I have captured all levels of people - men, women and children - as being dependent on the coffee tree.

It is their major source of income for bride price, compensation and basic needs such as food and school fees.

I believe the coffee bean is the essence of every small holder farmer.

There is, as I envision here, a resilient relationship between the small holder farmer and the bean, with an understanding that “if you take care of me, I take care of you”.

Continue reading "The bean dependency" »

It seemed so good, but too much negativity took its toll


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
PNG Government Award for Short Stories

AS he walked into work that morning he knew nothing would be the same again.

Stepping out of his mom’s car, he couldn’t tell her it was on the rocks between Grace and him. He hid behind a shipping container as he smoked his cigarette.

Smoking was one of Johnny’s stress busters; it gave him just a few minutes of relaxation and stimulated his thoughts to analyse situations.

But, alas, only a brief sensation of relief and back to reality. He was tormented by his fears.  Johnny was seen as happy and cheerful by his friends and family but they didn’t know that deep inside he was struggling with his life.

Continue reading "It seemed so good, but too much negativity took its toll" »

Anything for power


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
PNG Government Award for Short Stories

IT had been unusually quiet in the village since Tuesday evening. The familiar sounds of children playing and laughing in the square has long ceased.

Even the roosters had sensed their owners unease, refusing to crow at dawn. The pigs and dogs meekly roamed as if they also were in mourning.

It had all begun with the death of a great and noble man; the chief of the Auogi Ere clan.

It was not known who the murderer was, although a few signs had been given by the spirit gods. But the murderer practiced black magic, and the council were under his charm. Every time they had come so close to finding the truth, it was like mist crawling over a lake – things would become unclear.

Continue reading "Anything for power" »

Catechist Paulus Teine & Cardinal Karol Jozef Wojtyla

Paulus Teine (left), Cardinal Karol Wojtyła and Fr William Kurtz SVD, 1972ARNOLD MUNDUA

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

I have a tendency to cut and keep newspaper clippings, especially photographs of early Europeans and missionaries who spent time in Simbu or have had some influence in the lives of Simbus and myself.

In 1994 I cut a coloured photograph from the PNG Times newspaper supplement on the visit to Papua New Guinea of Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, later St Pope John Paul II, in 1972 when he visited his Polish missionaries in the highlands.

Posing with the cardinal was Fr William Kurtz SVD surrounded by four Highlanders dressed in full traditional attire. The photo was taken by Fr Joseph Jurczyga SVD.

Fr Kurtz was the parish priest of Mai Catholic Mission in the Yongomugl area in the 1970s and 1980s and I remember him as the priest who celebrated the final mass in Kondiu High School during my graduation in 1981.

Continue reading "Catechist Paulus Teine & Cardinal Karol Jozef Wojtyla" »

A prime minister’s prayer


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

Lord, give me wisdom and knowledge of the ancient
To lead your nation with integrity and righteous heart
Let me serve your people as a shepherd in patient
And lead them as you want from the start
Empower me with grace to lead as a servant
In justice, freedom and love in democracy
Show me how great leaders of old lead in significant
And the understanding of how they conquer and shine as the stars in galaxy
I want to have the same spirit
And lead your sons and daughters in right path
Hence make good law abiding citizens in merit
In continue to follow your will in good faith,
As a role model for all;
So I lead as a servant in my call

A world of poverty - and life at the Baruni rubbish dump


THE term “developing nation” is a curious one, especially when you think about the countries to which it is applied.

What it actually means is a country in transition from a form of social organisation, either traditional or simply different, to a capitalist one.  The terms “developing economy” and “third world” mean much the same thing.

China and India are described as developing nations with developing economies, as is Papua New Guinea.

These terms all have a pejorative feel about them and they conjure up unpleasant images of poverty, hunger and squalor.

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The grand old tree


An entry in the Crocodile Prize
PNG Government Award for Short Stories

ON the island of Basilaki stands a grand old tree. It towers above its neighbours with grace and dignity, its trunk a storehouse for countless spirits of a past life.

Beneath where it stands a graceful river flows. Around the entire creation, the forest lies in silence as if to respect the tree’s lofty status.

I gaze in awe of its endurance. How I wish to stand on its shoulders and look out to the world. While we below are beset by problems, the grand old tree stands tall – its piercing eyes searching the horizon for the wind.

When the wind is angry, the tree warns the rest of creation as it prepares to wrestle the tempest.

Inside the tree’s heart is a long history of inheritance knitted into its flesh by continuous weathering. When the time comes for it to come to earth this history will be laid bare for all to see.

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Tears for my canoe

Tears for my canoe (Emmanuel David Landu)EMMANUEL DAVID LANDU

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
SP Brewery Award for Illustration

ART isn't only a painting. Art is anything that's creative, passionate and personal. And great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator.

My drawing, Tears for my canoe, signifies the Waga (canoe) from Milne Bay and its significance in our culture. It simply represents an important aspect of my tradition, a mechanism for migration, trade, wealth and identity.

The Waga is an integral part of life and the subsistence strategies of the Dobu people and other coastal provinces in Papua New Guinea.

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Desperately seeking illustrators: SP Brewery Award will help

Incised bamboo carving (Kambot)KEITH JACKSON

THAT Papua New Guinea is a nation of art and artists is a contention beyond dispute. Even the most fleeting visit to the country is sufficient to demonstrate it.

But when we take to the Internet to find evidence and examples of indigenous Papua New Guinean illustration, there is precious little.

Indeed there seem to be far more illustrations featuring PNG and its people by overseas artists than there are by locals. And some companies are making good money from it.

This is one reason, of course, why we have established the SP Brewery Award for Illustration within the Crocodile Prize. We hope to improve things to the point that, when you search for 'PNG illustration', you are swamped with the real thing.

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Deserved reward: Marlene selected for Commonwealth writers

Marlene Potoura and newspaperED BRUMBY

MARLENE Dee Gray Potoura is a remarkable and talented woman.

She is a single mother who is raising two children - which many people would regard as a full time job in itself.

She also operates a private school – another full time job.

And, as readers of PNG Attitude know, she is a prolific writer of short stories, poems and stories for children.

This labour of love is undertaken almost every night after her children have gone to bed. Marlene often writes until three in the morning.

As she says, “I love writing. It is truly my passion and I just wish I had more time to do it and to fulfill my dream of having my works published properly.”

For several years now, Marlene has submitted entries to the annual Commonwealth Writers Short Story Competition.

Continue reading "Deserved reward: Marlene selected for Commonwealth writers" »

Boniface Tony’s literary crocodile kicks off illustration award

Literary crocodile (Boniface Tony)KEITH JACKSON

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
SP Brewery Award for Illustration

BONIFACE Tony turned 18 yesterday and is the first published entrant in the newly-established SP Brewery Award for Illustration.

He comes from Mingende in Simbu Province and attends the nearby Rosary Secondary School at Kondiu.

Tony’s drawing features the old Crocodile Prize beat in all his traditional Simbu finery - malo and tanget, the traditional daily attire of highlands men – more in the past than today.

PNG illustrators can find out more about this award, which closes on 30 June, here.


PNG needs a new approach to tourism promotion

Balinese shrine (Witne)BOMAI D WITNE

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Award for Tourism, Arts & Culture Writing

I was in Bali, Indonesia for almost two years from 1999 to 2001. During this time I struggled to get used to Indonesian culture. To start with I had to learn the language and understand Indonesians well to know their culture.

For the first three months, I stayed in a lodge at Bukit Jimbaran (Jimbaran Hill) and kept to myself. The employees of the lodge realised from my language difficulty that I was a foreigner.

They also realised I spoke English, so they were interested in learning it from me. One told me that English and other foreign languages were important in the tourism industry; in particular among hoteliers and tourist guides.

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