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So what happened to the kiaps honour roll?

A long career in journalism started with a letter to the editor


THE first time Daniel Kumbon saw his name in print was in a letter to the editor of the Post-Courier in 1976. He’s been hooked ever since. And now he’s won a Crocodile Prize award for travel writing.

That first letter concerned a debate about Sunday and Saturday worship. Daniel argued it didn’t matter what day you worshipped so long as your life was straight in the eyes of God.

In his life’s career as a journalist, Daniel has published hundreds and hundreds of articles. “If your mind is clear and you have a bright idea that you want to share, express it in writing,” he said.

“You can leave behind an album full of your smiling face – but what is in your mind is more important. Share it with others and help shape society through things you write.

“In modern Papua New Guinea, the media has a role to play in holding society together, weaving it together.”

Daniel said he hopes more young Papua New Guineans take up the pen and that the Crocodile Prize will continue into the future.

“We need to provide commentary on PNG’s progress and development and to be competitive, distinctive and stand out in world literature,” he said.

Daniel intends to back up his words with action. “I hope to revive the Enga Writers Association which I started many years ago. And my heart’s desire is to publish an anthology of writing by students from Enga Province just like Ku High School in Simbu has done.”

He compares literature in PNG to a pot of boiling water. “The steam building up inside needs a vent, an avenue through which to release itself. The Crocodile Prize has lifted the lid. It has reared its up and must be released and allowed to flow.”

Daniel originally trained as technical officer with the National Broadcasting Corporation which sponsored him to study communications engineering at the University of Technology in Lae. But after the third year, he switched to radio broadcasting, later studting journalism and media at UPNG.

After a long career in journalism, he was Director of Media and Information Technology with the Enga provincial administration until he retired to take up freelance journalism in 2008.

Daniel’s married with two wives, 12 children and six grand-children. He’s grateful to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture for sponsoring the writing award he won.

“The incentive cannot be only measured in monetary terms,” he said, “but recognition in its own right is very satisfying.”


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