I will not go down like a coward, and I hope you won’t either
The apathy and ennui of the Papua New Guinean people

An old dog not ready for his pit: With gratitude, more Attitude


MY early December statement, PNG Attitude – A long journey & a short goodbye, had proven painful to write.

But your consequent comments were even more painful to read. To paraphrase the Song of Solomon, “They captured my heart / They held it hostage.”

I was moved by the kind and generous words. There were many of them; some written with an anguish that greatly discomfited me.

Raymond Sigimet - Thank you Keith, with your family, for selflessly giving and sharing 10 years of your life in fostering people to people dialogue through the PNG Attitude. Your blog inspired me to put pen to paper and I believe many others as well. Yu stap long longpela resis na yu win tru / na nau yu kamap long mak bilong yu / yu strongpela man stret / stori bilong yu bai stap longpela taim yet. 

Arthur Williams - Just read the bad news which makes this drizzling grey Sunday morning worse.... What will life be like in March when Attitude has gone? You guys brought me some hope for PNG's tomorrow as more PNG writers and readers were attracted to Attitude.

Some readers cajoled, flattered and reproached me, while others offered a simple thank you.

Slim Kaikai - Mi 2 sad. Very sad. Your contribution has been immense. Will there be life after u go? Frobably!

Paul Oates - All of us who have appreciated Keith's ongoing commitment to this project would obviously like it to continue. We must however accept and appreciate that this was not just a labour of love. PNG Attitude and its predecessors were a personal commitment to PNG and her people from Keith and the community he caused to create.

The gravity of what you had to say gave additional burden to the weight of what I was contemplating.

Francis Nii - In my five years association with PNG Attitude, I have benefited from many good things. It is through Attitude that I could freely express my thoughts on issues of concern to PNG and Australia. It is through Attitude that I can now confidently edit other people's writing. Thank you so much Keith and Phil for your editorial sword.

Phil Fitzpatrick - I don’t think we should be mourning the loss of PNG Attitude. Rather, we should be celebrating it and lauding its outstanding achievements. I don’t know whether Keith would agree but PNG Attitude is a singular achievement that will be long remembered by many people, especially in Papua New Guinea. It is now a significant and historical fact that should go down in the annals of the Australian and Papua New Guinea relationship. And so should the man who created it.

My decision to cease publishing PNG Attitude had clearly dismayed many people and the consequence of this was to force further consideration.

Johnny Blades - I count myself as one of the beneficiaries of PNG Attitude's remarkable range of writings. As an outsider and student of Melanesia, I've found them frequently fascinating, informative, challenging and gritty, these depictions of PNG and its cosmos. I would think that in years to come, the sheer importance of the service Keith has provided will come into increasingly sharp focus. An amazing body of work that still has the power to effect change. So here's to you, your regular contributors, the writers and authors you have helped nurture and most importantly, to PNG! Aroha nui.

Marlene Dee Potoura - I just want to thank you for helping me make my writing grow. I appreciated the way you published my work and how the readers reacted.  Thank you for being who you are and the heart you have for PNG writers.

Reader reaction was voluminous and strenuous. It gave me cause to review the wisdom and necessity of ceasing publication. And to think what I could do to continue the blog while removing some of its demands upon me.

Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin - No, no! PNG Attitude has to press on. This news spoilt my day.

Fr Giorgio Licini - What?

Rashmii Bell -Throughout the past nine months, PNG Attitude has been both a sanctuary and platform where I’ve sloughed away at topics about which I’ve felt, in equal measure, opinion and passion. Given Keith Jackson’s recent announcement that his blog site is to come to an end in February, I am somewhat inconsolable. There goes the history lessons, the poetry, the debates, the giggle. But above all, I hate goodbyes.

And so I have decided to continue to publish of PNG Attitude. I do not continue reluctantly, I hasten to add, but with a sense of commitment and obligation.

As Ed Brumby has proposed, so I will dispose: my new determination is to see a succession plan implemented for when that inevitable day of departure arrives. As I recalibrate my effort there will be changes but you can be assured they will not diminish the quality of what PNG Attitude has to offer.

I'm pleased to be able to add that Phil Fitzpatrick (seen here looking unusually chirpy) has also granted a reprieve to Pukpuk Publications. Phil's announcement that he was considering ceasing production had occasioned a significant outpouring of disappointment and regret.

Like me, Phil will reduce his workload - which has been substantial - by being much more selective in what he chooses for publication. Only the very best writing will catch the editorial eye and be given the Pukpuk imprint.

Michael Dom - Diamonds are more valuable after they have been cut and polished - that requires a master jeweller.

Raymond Sigimet - Thank you Phil for giving Papua New Guinea 33 books in a space of six years. That's about five or so books each year. Like Keith, I acknowledge your immense contribution to PNG literature and mentoring of PNG literary talents during those years. I had a look at the Inspector Metau series (downloaded through PNG Attitude) and I believe they are classics. I believe PNG writers can learn something from your style and use your work as a reference point in fiction writing.

Baka Bina - Thank you Keith for having being the stalwart for PNG in many things but the rightful kudos should be for lighting the fire for Papua New Guineans to write. I have benefited immensely from your site and it has brought me out to publish my four works. I could still have been wandering around with my manuscripts had it not for the kindly assistance through PNG Attitude and Phil.

I have realised afresh that we outside friends of Papua New Guinea, who have known and loved the country and its people, have a responsibility to stick with it especially during a period when there is a broad apprehension that its good people are finding life tough and the road ahead looks even more unpromising.

I believe, furthermore, that I should publish this blog in the run-up to the 2017 PNG national elections. I want to be able to offer a voice and a forum that speaks bluntly and without weasel words for honesty and competence in governance.

Daniel Ipan Kumbon - It will be like a bad dream for me when PNG Attitude goes. I stumbled upon it by mistake only early this year and fell in love with it at first sight. What amazing stuff I saw there. Through PNG Attitude you and Phil have impacted the whole country. Gentleman, the two of you have touched the hearts and minds of a young generation of working-class men, women and students who have been lacking fatherly advice, awareness, insight, guidance, encouragement, self-esteem and a chance to think and express themselves critically. You provided them with a platform and a voice to argue and express themselves not only through comments but through literature.

Chris Overland - I think that PNG writers as a group owe Phil a debt of gratitude for being a publishing trailblazer for them. He has shown a true entrepreneurial spirit by undertaking the arduous and largely thankless task of organising the publication of works that might otherwise have languished, unread and unappreciated, in a cupboard somewhere.

These past two weeks have reinforced my understanding of exactly how PNG Attitude has become an important platform and information source for many people; it is more than a mere ‘flannel channel’ or 'PNG Platitude' as it was once unkindly described by a man who wanted more bellicosity.

Mathias Kin - Thank you so much, Keith and Phil. You have inspired many in PNG through PNG Attitude and the Crocodile Prize. Our discussions on issues have been enlightening. I have learnt so much from everybody who has taken part here in this forum. Thank you to all. Whatever happens, Keith and Phil, sapos yutupla tru bai lusim mipla, mipla lo Simbu tok thank you tru long olgeta gutpla helpim na wok yu mekim lo mipla. I guess all good stories end sometime so ating displa stori bai end long hia?

Jimmy Awagl - Thanks Phil for your laborious help to enhance writers for their publication. Once you are gone we will be all gone, dead in the literature world. Most of our writing will be collecting dust in the cupboards. I am too saddened to read such an article.

There was a compelling third reason that forced a re-think, and this was the relationship that exists with many people I have never met but with whom I feel a strong personal connection. And the relationships between those people.

Dominica Are - It is through PNG Attitude and Crocodile Prize that I have been motivated to write and read more. I totally enjoyed this blog!

Chris Overland - What a show it has been over the years. It is my strong impression that it has, certainly in recent years, been required reading for those with an interest in PNG and its affairs. There has certainly been some tremendously good material published over the last 10 years….

Fr Garry Roche - I only discovered PNG Attitude last year, but I found it very informative and interesting. Also I managed to reconnect with a few former friends through it.

And so the blog will continue. Co-editors, mainly Papua New Guinean, will be appointed. Some of the finest writers in Melanesia will continue to be recognised and published. We will continue to harry the corrupt. Expose the venal. Admonish the incompetent. And a great people, culture and heritage will continue to be acclaimed.

Rob Parer - Wow, Keith, you have raised the bar so very high. Sincerest thanks for the extraordinary unique product that is PNG Attitude. As I have said previously, you have achieved more for PNG than the two daily newspapers and the universities - and all done offshore. What a mighty effort.

Allan Kidston - From a former broadcast & film technical officer to the former station manager, well done Keith. I have followed PNG Attitude avidly over the years & one cannot fail to see the love Keith has for PNG and its people.

Sorry for the false alarm. The old dog has struggled out of its pit. Now write, you good things, write!


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Betty Gabriel Wakia

Wow! Can't wait to start...thank you Mr Jackson and Mr Fitzpatrick.

Paul Waugla Wii

Keith, I just can't thank you enough for this selfless decision to continue publication of PNG Attitude.

You and Phil have undertaken a worthwhile endeavor over these years. Owing to your mentoring and generosity, I have improved a lot as a fledgling writer.

Where can we be without Attitude? Just think about it.

By the way, I read this artIcle just today and it has truly made my day.

Dominica Are

Ever so grateful for this news! Thank You Keith and Phil.

Daniel Kumbon

Keith, Just come back from home, Kandep. The best christmas and new year gift you have given PNG is to reconsider publishing the Attitude for some time.

I wish you good health and Happy New Year.

Arnold  Mundua

Oh, thank you, thank you....thank you! Keith when news broke out that PNG Attitude would wind up in February 2016, I found it difficult to post a comment. Simply, the news was something like a bucket of cold water poured over a burning fire. It is a relieving news to keep the attitude flowing again. Thank you, Keith....and Phil too.

Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin

Sipu....sipu..ahooo. (translated as thank you! thank you! and ahooo is the climax of happiness - Simbu way).

Happy to continue the journey with Phil and Keith.

Lindsay Bond

STRUTH. About to lose that coffee mill, we saw.
PHEW. Numbers of call of kind delays such date.
CRIKEY. Coffee tis true easy unregulated fix.

OMG. Unbelieved, not just, court of corrupting reports.
WTH. WHO cared learning, PNGers ‘sans medicines’.
WTF. Disinformation exposed sustained abased form.

AGASP. Of coffee, alertness, lest too fine a point.
ADJURE. Impost exogenously needling is at best.
ADIEU. Partings, staved off for another flay.

Bob Cleland

There's another point that I think is critical about 'Attitude'.

It is operated from outside PNG.

If it had come from within the country, surely the current PNG government, long since, would have found a way to silence it.

PNGian contributors could not have spoken so openly and honestly as they do now. They could have been surreptitiously 'quietened', and who would have known?

Keith, you've made the right decision. So have you Phil.

That's an insightful observation, Bob. In fact the PNG government's repeated threats to repress its own social media played a part in the decision to continue Attitude - KJ

Johnny Blades

Thanks Keith and Phil etc.
Good on you.
Kia kaha

Mathias Kin

Puoooo! Puoo....ooooo! You great man! I am having a beer today!

Simon Jackson

Great news Dad. Good on ya! Keep up the Attitude and keep the bastards honest.

Bill Brown

In 1970, a woolly-headed youth drifted into Bougainville to take over as manager of the Administration Radio Station. His name was Keith Jackson, but someone, I am sure it was not me, gave him the pseudonym “Gollywog.” That was a long time ago, and there will be few, if any, that are alive to remember.

Keith was the third to assume that role. Geoffrey Heard was first, Ken Burslam followed, and Keith was next. Heard made the mold, established the station, recruited the staff—the people who worked with him, stayed in contact with him, until they left the coil.

KJ, aka ‘Golliwog’ had a different style. He challenged them all, and he maintained that style throughout his tenure. He challenged authority. He challenged DC Ashton, he challenged Middlemiss, and he challenged Leo Hannett. He had his principles, and he did not bow.

If you are lucky, there are people in your life who you respect, even if you disagree with violently from time to time. I am one of those lucky ones. I have known, admired, criticised, denigrated, and respected Keith Jackson AM for 45 years.

I believe that Keith’s decision to stay, to soldier on, to ignore our ineptitude, to persevere with our meanderings is a blessing. If nothing else, it will add to preservation of those many unknown, unrecorded facets of PNG history—memories and anecdotes that are recorded nowhere else but on PNG Attitude. Perhaps, more importantly, it will continue the PNG experience for all.

Well done, and thank you KJ.

They were tough days and good days, made easier - and occasionally more difficult - by Bill Brown and a top team of kiaps - KJ

Marlene Dee Gray Potoura

Thank you Keith!
Thank you Phil!

Francis Nii

Thanks for the change of heart, gentlemen. You've got to set up something to keep the good work continuing and it's a wise decision. Applause.

Jimmy Awagl

Thanks Keith for giving us another opportunity to expand our literature skills in PNG.
Such a breaking news gives us the opportunity to comment on your tired less effort to edit and publish our writings.
Our fingers will still hit the keyboards to ensure we contribute much of PNG Literature.
Thanks Keith and Phil we salute your heart for PNG.

arthur williams

Hamamas tru!
A surprise gift this festive Season from our two wise men
Very welcome news for 2016 for all PNG Attitude contributors and readers too.
For all PNG people who long for a better future and who write on this site remember the famous quote: 'First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win!'
Mostly attributed to Mahatma Gandhi.

Rashmii Bell

Mr Jackson and Phil, thank you so much for reconsidering. Thank you! Looking forward to how the succession plan evolves and how I may be a part of that😊

Daniel Doyle

Great news, Keith and Phil. Your contribution to the restoration of PNG literary endeavours will go down in history. I wish you health and strength as you continue with this important undertaking.

Murray Bladwell

So glad the 'old dog' and the 'crocodile' have a few more tricks left in their repertoire! Thanks Keith and Phil for your ongoing commitment to a lively debate of PNG issues and the active encouragement of a national voice in literature. Over to the many "friends' of Attitude to ensure its future. Go you good thing!

Arthur Smedley

Wonderful news Keith, and like may others I was quite dismayed at the news you would no longer publish of PNG Attitude. Your 'determination (is) to see a succession plan implemented' is a great outcome.

Peter Kranz

Keith - sorry, I was not aware of the sad demise of the PNG universities' efforts to be at the forefront of academic progress and cultural change - which they used to be. Sad days indeed.

But I have an anecdote which may bring hope. When in PNG two months ago I shared accommodation with two family members who were students at UPNG. They were reticent at first, but gradually opened up as we got to know each other.

Both very intelligent young men who had a vision of changing PNG for the better. They played me their favourite video clip - Barack Obama's speech at Nelson Mandela's funeral.

They said "Peter, that's the vision we want for PNG's future."

I said "If you take anything important from your studies, remember that. Probably the greatest speech of the century."

"The audacity of hope." Watch it.


PNG needs activist students who are cutting their teeth in organising for change, even if it only for cleaner toilets. It seems to me that too many students (and more than a few lecturers) are hanging out for their free seats on the gravy train of government. They become apologists not nation builders - KJ

Peter Kranz

Are the universities not interested in helping out? It would seem a great creative project for UPNG, DWU or PAU lecturers and students and could become part of a creative writing syllabus.

Read Phil Fitzpatrick passim. Universities not interested. UPNG is in a torpor. Goroka is in foment. DWU got rid of its literature strand a year or so ago (what madness lay there?) The PNG disease is rampant and a cure must be found in a nation-building blend of energy, focus, commitment, organisation, persistence, honesty and courage - KJ

Gary Juffa

Don't put the keyboard away just yet, Keith. We need all the help we can get.

The keyboard is burning hot with a desire to get rid of the crooks and the hypocrites and to assist the good people of PNG realise the great future they deserve - KJ

Raymond Sigimet

Thank you Keith Jackson and Phil Fitzpatrick for extending the life of PNG Attitude and Pukpuk Publishing.

Sepik writers, we have another year to contribute articles, essays, poems and stories in this year's Crocodile literary writing contest and those who want to publish books, Pukpuk Publishing is there now.

Get those creative juice flowing and start writing.

Michael Dom

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more...."

Barbara Short

Dear Keith and Phil, Thank God for your change of heart! What else can I say?

The young PNG writers are not ready for you to leave yet! When you see one of them setting up their own publishing business, maybe, then, you can start thinking about your retirement!

Will Tekwie, a Wewak lawyer, has bought a drone and for my Christmas present has gone down to Brandi High School and taken some great aerial photos for me, which I have sent on to the old Brandi teachers and ex-students.

So now there are some good emails, full of old memories of Brandi, travelling from Perth, to Cairns, to Sydney, to Brisbane.

On the Sepik Region Development Discussion Forum on Facebook we make good use of photographs. I find good photos can replace a thousand words. And they really move people. How about some more photos on PNG Attitude? Just a thought.

Happy New Year to you both.

What may the future bring? Love Gary’s outburst! Can one man change PNG? I hope so. I see Renagi is thinking of standing in 2017! Another good bloke.

Better shut up and go back to my job, always a bit quiet on the weekends. Major bridge of the highway to Pagwi on the Sepik River has been washed away. Now have excellent photos of the scene. The locals are making a fortune out of the predicament.

Chris Overland

What a marvellous change of mind and a fine Xmas gift to PNG.

Thanks for reconsidering the situation Keith and Phil.

Emmanuel Peni

This is wonderful news. But there must be no rest for us in PNG to learn
as fast as we can. No rest for us to consolidate our plans and set the plans in motion.

Thank you Phil for a chance for us to build on what you and others have done.

Thank you

Ed Brumby

This is a wonderful festive season gift, Keith and Phil. Thank you both.

`Robin Lillicrapp

Welcome news, Keith and Phil. A warning nevertheless that while the spirit is willing, the flesh is weakening thus a succession plan needs developing.

That such a spate of well wishing has drawn you from the shades of evensong can only bode well for optimistic authors who must now also reconsider the attendant obligations to be shouldered to assist your endeavors.

Thank you for the labors you continue to exert.

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