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PNG writers, where are you? We miss you all!


EVERYONE online in Papua New Guinea seems to be currently preoccupied with the elections.

The big question is whether the hugely unpopular government will be able to subvert and bribe enough electoral officials, candidates and voters with the money filched from the public purse to get re-elected.

And, if that happens, what Papua New Guinea is going to do with a likely illegal national government at the helm.

I can hear the lawyers in Port Moresby rubbing their hands in anticipation all the way over here on the west coast of South Australia.

While the whole sorry saga is currently enlivening the pages of PNG Attitude, I can’t help but think about what we’ll be reading in a few weeks’ time.

I suppose the ‘Land of the Unexpected’* factor will throw up something new to keep us amused but I’m not really looking forward to that, it’s been so depressing of late.

I think what I really miss are the short stories, poems and essays that filled the pages of the blog a couple of years ago.

It seems ages since we’ve seen a new poem by Michael Dom or his fellow bards, or a captivating short story by some new writer or an essay to make one think and reflect.

These stories, poems and essays are a great way to find out what people are thinking in Papua New Guinea and what concerns them over and above the barren and banal world of politics.

There is still a lot of thoughtful writing on PNG Attitude but it seems to be thinning out and its origins seems to be increasingly from Australia and less so from Papua New Guinea.

Sure, I know we saw so much of this rich Papua New Guinean material because there was a potential cash prize attached to it but I also like to think that it was also because people simply liked to write and see their words and ideas in print.

Perhaps we need to talk to Emmanuel Peni and his dedicated little band of literary lifters so that people submitting entries to the Crocodile Prize might send a copy to either me or PNG Attitude.

Keith has already indicated his willingness to publish entries and I don’t mind reading and editing material.

If that happens we might again stand in awe as another new and exciting talent bursts onto the scene; just as we did a few years ago.

*A marketing slogan once used by the tourism industry to indicate a diverse and interesting experience. Now a derogatory term indicating an inevitable propensity to screw things up.


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Mathias Kin

Hello Phil, we are reading alright and commenting whenever we can.

My interest in CP is not there any more since a few years back. Its not as lively as it used to be.

Many of us here at SWA are very busy writing books. That is maybe only a small reason for our not writing often to Attitude.

When SWA did a project for the schools of the province and members were trully committed, the results were obvious; two school anthologies, Simbu contribution to the CP reached more than a third of all entries.

The thing that made me really proud was the fact the one that one of the school committed to the project, Kondiu came first in PNG in the 2014 national Grade Ten Written Expression Exam. 19 of its students scored 100% which contributed to 20% of their final marks.

I was a proud man and with the band of Awagl, Drekore, Francis and Arnold were so happy that we had contributed, with assistance from the edits from Keith, Phil and others to a very worthy cause, seeing results right here before us.

Then things started going down from there.

It is also correct to say many of us are 'sot win' from the recent encounters with O'Neill and PNC so that, as mentioned by others also is true.

And post 2017, O'Neill wins in almost every match seem discourage us....our continuous barbs and upper cuts, at the government through Attitude, Face Book etc has come to nothing. Mipla give up.

I must end my story, we need to get back to the schools, and CP? Don't know now. As Awagl and Bina suggested, the organizers need to be more transparent. But then again, as identified by you, economics!

Michael Dom

Hi Phil Fitzpatrick - I've been thinking about your shout out for a while now and probably the best response that I, and perhaps my fellows, may offer you is that I am reading.

I will write whatever it is as soon as it is ready.

Jordan Dean

Work commitment got the better of me but I am hoping to complete my next poetry collection by the end of this year. Just need someone to review it again.

Maureen Patia

PNGns definitely lack articulation in writing their feelings and views about issues concerning their country or themselves.

There is a small number who write and I enjoy reading articles, poems and stories on this blog. I have personally been motivated to start sending my stories to be posted on this blog. How do I go about this?

Click the 'About' tag under the photo above and you'll see an email link directly to the editor - KJ

Baka Bina

I agree with Mr Awagl that Crocodile Prize (CP) is translucent, it needs to become transparent.

The Crocodile Prize needs a blog/web page that is clear and simple as PNG Attitude. It is a bit messy at the moment and that was limited to the IT help that CP through Joycelin, could pay for.

CP would like to improve the web page but currently is hampered by financial constraints. The issue of letting people know whether CP received the entry is a right and proper concern but reply by Digicel or Bemobile text has it own set of problems mainly financial. It wants to do so by publishing via facebook. CP wants its contributors therefore to be linked to its facebook page.

Secondly CP is trying to put up what is submitted and the dilemma is to put up work that were up for judging. The raw material is to be judged by a panel from a shortlist - how do you get on the shortlist, the raw work or the edited work. It would be grossly unfair for edited work to compete with raw work.

CP will be judicious in putting work on its site and it was suggested that yesteryear's competition submissions should be posted, with post competition editorial work to it.

CP will take note that PNG Attitude wants to help to publish some of the contributions and it welcomes that. CP has to come up with rules of engagement on how to deal with work published during the competition on either PNG Attitude or CP.

CP is asking for volunteers to help in in edit work. It is unfortunate that there are very few on the grounds currently.

This year everyone is out electioneering and like those on PNG Attitude we anticipate election stories bigtime unless our contributors left their writing head at home en-mass for the lamb flaps which we hear were not enough to share.

Please join us to volunteer for CP work. Those in POM, we ask you to contact Emmanuel Peni, Gretel or myself. And do get on the PC facebook page.

John K Kamasua

Phil, electoral fraud is being systematically and neatly engineered. That is the opinion of most people who have become suspicious of the reasons why government has printed more than the required number of ballot papers for the voters.

With 10 million ballot papers but with a registered voters of only 5 or 6 million, what happens to the remaining?

Talk is also that electoral officials, police and defence force soldiers are being bought off to ensure that this happens.

For those of us who want free, fair and safe elections, such views are depressing and faint a bleak picture for democracy in this country of plenty but with more poor people.

All manner of stories of how exactly most of the current MPs are going to be returned by usurping the electoral processes are making their rounds on social media, and on the tongues of genuine Papua New Guineans on the streets.

It is likely that the elections will be declared failed, but will the Electoral Commissioner also do that?

Chips Mackellar

Phil, I am still willing to edit PNG poetry. I am currently in contact with Johanna Kilembe assisting her with her poetry. You remember, she contacted you on Attitude previously.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Daniel Kumbon is working on a new book and seeking opinions - would you like to help him along Ed?

Ed Brumby

I'm with you, Phil. Perhaps the election does have something to do with the absence of creative writing on Attitude.

Or maybe it's finding the time to reflect and write in the midst of dealing with professional and family obligations - as is the case, I know, with the likes of my apo, Baka Bina and PBM (pren blo mi) Marlene Potoura.

I suspect, too, that the Bard to the Boars, Michael Dom no longer has the time to cogitate and dream now that he has returned to the world of work after his sojourn in academia.

I have a personal reason for regretting the missing manuscripts: I really do enjoy collaborating with and editing the works of my PNG writer friends, and I feel somewhat useless when I don't have a draft to work on.

Jimmy Awagl

Papua New Guinean writing has not been transparent because the people organising the Crocodile Prize decided not to published them on the blog.

In most cases what appears on PNG Attitude is more transparent than the way the Crocodile Prize is doing.

I don't know whether writers are contributing for the 2017 Crocodile Prize. If so then they need to let us know.

Get your notices on PNG Attitude for public viewing rather than individual notices offline.

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