The mystery of low birth weight
Don Dunstan’s role in PNG independence

Push the power of the pen

Power to the pen
"True development comes not when more money comes into the treasury but when the mindset changes"


SONOMA – The words of writers live longer than the ploys of many politicians. Writers influence every successive generation. Their legacy lasts long.

I believe in the power of writing and it is a power that has no peer.

The world is changing and Papua New Guinea is changing in terms of buildings and roads and education and international relationships and development.

But my question is whether the mindset of Papua New Guineans changing?

I believe true development comes not when more money comes into the treasury but when the mindset changes. That’s what spearheads the development of a nation.

One way to change the mindset of Papua New Guineans is to support a PNG literature.

To begin with, prime minister James Marape needs to work collaboratively with local writers and publish their works and distribute them throughout the nation.

If the prime minister can call for change with his voice and pen, the destiny of the nation will be projected positively.

The danger facing PNG today is that the power of pen will be buried, allowing dubious political ploys to lead the way.

Julie Oseid in her book ‘Communicators in Chief’ describes the writing of some past American presidents like Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

These leaders left a legacy because of their writing. I am not suggesting our prime minister needs to be a writer to influence this nation, nor do I say he is unable to be a writer. However he can push and support literature in this nation.

As we traverse back into history, we can see that writing has done some powerful work in shaping nations. James Marape need not be a writer, but if he could push the power of literature in this nation his legacy will be lasting and powerful.

To begin, we must saturate the minds of every student with literatures written by our own authors. How can we do this?

Let me share my own example. I started to read books in 2006 when I was in the fifth grade. No one told me to read books but my life was changed when I heard the success story of Dr Ben Carson about how books shaped his thinking and his life.

That’s what we want to achieve. Begin earlier with students who are in elementary and primary schools and we shall see the change in our nation.

Change in PNG will never begin at the bottom; it must start at the top. When we are leaders, people watch us and only when we implement the changes we want to see in the nation will they begin to flow down to the people.

Literature can contribute positively to this.

I am afraid that our leaders might bury the power of pen and pay more attention to matters that will not contribute permanently to the well-being of this nation.

It’s time prime minister James Marape invested in our national literature.

The good news is that PNG is blessed some top writers, poets and essayists who need just a little support to unleash their potential to contribute to this nation.

One of the wise sayings a teacher told me is that to live an abundant life you must add value to other people’s lives.

Power-of-the-pen-iOne way Mr Marape’s leadership can add value to the well-being of this nation is to support and fund its literature.

My fear is that the delay by the prime minister to respond to the petition from local writers might become a stumbling block for the progress of this nation.

It’s time to push the power of pen in Papua New Guinea. Put politics aside and push the pen.


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Michael Dom

"Change in PNG will never begin at the bottom; it must start at the top. When we are leaders, people watch us and only when we implement the changes we want to see in the nation will they begin to flow down to the people."

This idea sounds totalitarian and externalises individual responsibility.

Rather change begins with each of us.

It's for this reason that writing can be a powerful tool to spread the messages and share the knowledge.

Marape is not Messiah.

Simon Davidson

A timely piece to keep reminding 'the powers that be' on the importance literature in national development.

The minders in the O'Neill regime used to read PNG Attitude and felt uneasy at the satirical barbs, in the form of essays and poems posted on this blog.

But this time it is a friendly reminder and I hope Marape minders take heed and something positive eventuates.

Philip Fitzpatrick

James Marape is a good speaker but his written material leaves a little to be desired.

Perhaps one of our writers can volunteer to clean up his texts before he commits them to the world.

Francis Nii

Totally agree, Justin. Can I have permission from you and Keith to forward this article to Post Courier for featuring in their Weekend Magazine as a support publicity for our petition.

That's fine with me, Francis - KJ

Lindsay F Bond

In support of Justin, but also more about pushing "the power of the pen", here is an item from that well-known Australian communicator, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, who is quoted today as saying:

"Just sit there and just churn out those words and just send those words off everywhere all over the place and try and get into all the media, even media that overwhelmingly puts forward lies like 'the Earth is flat' or 'that tobacco is good for you' or 'that climate change is not real', because at least you're getting to a new audience.

"So just keep on churning out that material, just doing it over and over and over again. You get good by doing it and you make mistakes.

"And ignore opinions, stick to the facts."


Lindsay F Bond

What might of write, for PNG as a people? Will it be of brevity, breeching vogues and fleeting verbals?

Of Australia it seems a larrikinism and laconic expressiveness lightened loads of everyday effort, linking landholders, languished and loiterers.

Yet are politicians to put paid to collective connective? Nay. They float on the 'inform', leadings not their lot.

Writers lead. Whither a Newbolt of PNG will write what's game?

Reference is to “Prose & Poetry - Sir Henry Newbolt”, at

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