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Advice for young people: You’re here for a purpose


PORT MORESBY - This picture, circulated on Facebook recently, drew my attention compelled me to tell you of my experiences. Because if I can make it, you can too.

To all Papua New Guinean children, let me tell you my story. My own children know my story very well and know the reason why I am very strict with them so they understand they will need to work to earn a living and that nothing in life is given to them for free.

I am happy to say they are working as labourers during school holidays to pay for their upkeep and assist with school fees, just like I assisted my parents pay my school fees and pocket money when I was growing up.

I was a rural and simple missionary child, and my family had very little money. I had to dig deep to help out my mother and father.

I clearly remember that in 1981, when I was doing Grade 4 at Omaura beyond the mountains of Kainantu, I assisted my mother sell her baked bread in the market plus, and I occasionally panned for gold. I was 10 years old then.

When we moved to Minj in Jiwaka Province, I picked coffee after school for extra bucks (50 toea a bucket).

I also assisted my mother at her roadside market and on Sundays I would caddy at the then Minj golf club for 20 toea a golfer I assisted. I was 11 and 12 years old then.

I went to boarding high school and during term holidays I worked on school farms for 25 toea an hour six to eight weeks during the school holidays. I was 14 and 15 years old at the time.

Through my upper high school and university days, I looked for part time labouring opportunities.

For instance, in 1991 student strikes led to class suspensions so I worked part-time with my first formal work boss, Joshua Bakirie. He paid me K75 a fortnight as a real estate agent.

As I look back, working and earning a living is the reason why some of us are where we are today. Kids who have an easy life playing and depending on their parents’ success will often fail in adult life.

The photo accompanying this article shows a boy working and other children playing. Wow, what a contrast!

I want to encourage all children reading this to discipline yourself, assist your parents, look for opportunities for work and education and grow an attitude of hard work and perseverance. Then you too can make it.

One thing I learnt along the way is that hard work and education pay, nothing else matters.

You can have talent but if don’t have a good work attitude, you will not progress much in life.

As a government, we are focusing on second change education through flexible open and distance education (FODE) for those who have dropped off.

The government is also paying for higher education, we are supporting small business, we are offering price support for coffee, cocoa, copra, rubber, oil palm and other agricultural products.

We also providing freight subsidies for produce to be transported from markets.

And so I say, opportunities are abound in our country and only the lazy will not progress through life.

To all my children across our beautiful and blessed country, have hope and faith that you too can make it in life and make use of your time and talents by working hard wherever God has placed you in our diverse and blessed land of PNG.

For those who are struggling, I say that God created you for a purpose, and the right attitude will get you there.


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Philip Kai Morre

James Marape's words are encouraging for young students.

I know what it is like to be a missionary kid. Pastors, elders, catechists and others titles have to work for nothing or with small gifts.

They struggle to make ends meet, especially with many kids in school, but at the end they have seen blessings.

AG Satori

PMJM words here are true words of wisdom. They were true for a time when he was was growing up. It was true for a time when he had proud parents even when poor.

What PMJM extols here is now being followed by a very few parents and their children.

The kid with the bag looking for empty bottles and discarded cans is not there to look for his school fee but is part of the hand to mouth economy where if he brings nothing home, a couple of mouths are not going to have anything to eat.

The picture is misleading. You only have to try to park or reverse a car in downtown POM to see the number of children who have never gone to school but are busy keeping traffic lookout for a few meagre toea to pay for an evening flour ball to eat. We need some better intervention and hope that this government does so.

It is no better with rural areas where books are not existent. When an ex-Grade 12 graduate student says he is 'wenting to the stua', you know straight off that he has never read a book all his school life.

They need to read books and books about their own - not the one sided literature.

I agree with what is said here and somebody posted about the Nigerian author Adichie's comment that we too in PNG have a story - a literature - 860 of them that our children need to read.

We have some 60+ now.

PMJM should get these out to all schools using the TFF (tuition fee free) funds (30%) that goes to some supplier for some stationery suppliers to all schools.

Daniel Kumbon

And you know prime minister, your words are gold for children of this country. Your direct message can impact their lives at an early age.

Your words can get them off Facebook and get them into a library full of books.

Support Papua New Guinean writers.

Find out about the unsung heroes of modern PNG literature on Wikipedia. I will cut and paste the article for you since you are a busy man.

And you know, I have included a photo of you in traditional Huli-Opene attire - the heart and soul of our culture

Our country is blessed with a thousand more cultures, all different from each, none more valuable than the other. All unique in this world.

Our bilas, our songs, our legends, our way of dress, our way of cooking etc are the very things that give us our identity - the heartbeat of PNG.

Our culture is truly unique. We need to preserve it. Support PNG writers to do that.

As far as I know, you are the only prime minister who has proudly put on PNG attire for the world to see.

That is why I put a picture of you in the pages of my 400-page book 'Victory Song of Pingeta's Daughter' now available on

Here is a list of some of the many heroes of modern PNG literature including the veterans of course.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia....

Papua New Guinean literature is diverse. The emergence of written literature (as distinct from oral literature) is comparatively recent in Papua New Guinea.

It was given its first major stimulus with the setting up of creative writing courses by Ulli Beier at the University of Papua New Guinea (established in 1966).

Beier also founded a Papua Pocket Poets series, as well as the literary magazine Kovave, the first of its kind in the country. Some of Papua New Guinea's first noted writers, including John Kasaipwalova, Kumalau Tawali, Apisai Enos and Kama Kerpi, were first published in Kovave.

In 1968, Albert Maori Kiki’s autobiography Ten Thousand Years in a Lifetime was the first major work of Papua New Guinean literature published outside a magazine. In 1970, Vincent Eri published the first Papua New Guinean novel, The Crocodile.

Notable Papua New Guinean writers also include Ignatius Kilage, Nora Vagi Brash, Steven Edmund Winduo and Loujaya Kouza.

Heroes of modern Papua New Guinea literature include Michael Dom, Betty Wakia, Caroline Evari, Rashmii Bell, Jordan Dean, Emmanuel Peni, Wardley Barry, Samantha Kusari, Dominica Are, Francis Nii, Jimmy Drekore, Jimmy Awagl, Ruth Moiam, Mathias Kin, Martyn Namorong, Daniel Kumbon, Sil Bolkin, Leonard Fong Roka, Baka Bina, Reg Renagi, Marlene Dee Gray Potoura, Philip Kai Morre, James Thomas, Winterford Toreas, Diddie Kinamun Jackson, Lapieh Landu, Raymond Sigimet, Arnold Mundua, Jeffrey Febi and Bomai Witne.

And there can be added many more to this list.

Michael Dom

That's some good encouragement Mr. Marape.

I assume that you've had a good reading experience through your life to afford you a strong and cultured intelligence.

I think those young folks you are encouraging could use some reading books.

It would be doubly encouraging to read books written by fellow Papua Niuginans.

And, as you'd know, out there in the sticks a hard copy book is what is most useful.

So here's an idea, why don't you support PNG authors?

Here is a link to find out more about the group that sent you a petition two years ago.

And you will soon find out what some of our young students think about PNG writers and their books at Ples Singsing.

Caroline Evari and Daniel Kumbon are part of that crowd at Ples Singsing, so you can email us here

We've got some ideas worth sharing with you about a lasting legacy that you can leave this country which not even Somare could achieve.

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