Do PNG a favour: Go buy a home-grown book
28 June 2022
A book does not lose value. Its colour may fade, pages may tear and the covers drop off, but the words, memories, emotions and story live on in those people who have held it and read it
| Ples Singsing
PORT MORESBY - A fellow Papua New Guinean author once told me about the incident that prompted him to take on a major lifestyle change.
“I gave up drinking,” he said, “when I was told by a man that my K50 book was too expensive.
“A carton of beer seemed more affordable than a reading book.”
How many people have picked up a PNG-authored book and responded in the same way - ‘Wow that’s pricey!’
There’s always plenty of debate across social media about the price tags of various products, whether shoes, bags, perfumes, clothing or gadgets: the same product costing more in one place while lower in another.
The most common explanations are the costs of labour, freight, customs clearance and profit.
I’ve seen entrepreneurs explaining the lengthy and costly process they must go through to manufacture and bring a product to market.
“I hear you and I feel for you,” I think.
Just like entrepreneurs, authors invest time and resources to create a product to sell.
The difference that sets a book apart from other products is the value it of its content.
One book can impact an individual, a family, a community, a village or a country.
If you have 10 people in your home, you don’t have to buy 10 books because one book can be read by everyone.
It doesn’t matter what its size, shape or colour, the book can serve its purpose multiple times.
If you buy a size 16 meri blouse for K50, it can be worn only by women who fit into it. It loses value over time.
A book does not lose value. The colour may fade, pages may tear and the covers drop off, but its content – the words, memories, emotions and story – live on in those people who have held and read it.
With national elections coming up a few days from now, I’d like to see a political party with a policy aimed at improving the country’s literacy rate and ranking on the human development index.
A policy that specifically prioritises libraries and books.
A policy that will bring back to our society what once was the norm: reading at home and in public places –at bus stops and on the bus, in a long queue, at the market and so on.
When you spend K50 on a PNG-authored book, you are at the same time doing four other things:
- Buying knowledge
- Making an investment (one book priced at K50 can educate 10 people valued at K500 or 20 people valued at K1,000)
- Preserving local wisdom and tradition
- Promoting local literature
- Creating a chain reaction by tapping into the space that will inspire more Papua New Guineans to get into the habit of reading and writing
So you see, buying a PNG-authored book goes beyond just supporting a local author.
And it all starts if you purchase a book by a Papua New Guinean author.
D. Hoffman - A list of 75 recently published books by PNG authors or about PNG is available in the free to download issue of Sumatin Magazine, here:
Prof D Arganbright - Waigani Primary School does not have a written history, as far as I know. It would be a fascinating read if it did.
Former Parents & Citizens leaders included Prof Steven Winduo, Mr. Sakarepe Kamene and Bernard Minol, the literary group, and a few other UPNG lecturers whose children also attended the school.
I was a student there from 1987 to 1989.
Waigani Primary was one of the first 'top-up' schools, when grades 7 and 8 were included, in 1990, if I recall correctly.
I was also at UPNG from 1997 to 2000 when you were a visiting lecturer, heading up the new IT courses I believe.
Posted by: Michael Dom | 08 July 2022 at 08:31 AM
My first time to live in PNG began in 1974 when I arrived at UPNG with my wife and two young sons to be a lecturer in Maths. Max McKay was head of department.
Our oldest son attended Waigani Primary School. It had been established as a multi-racial school with mixed classes. Half of the students and the teachers were from PNG and half from overseas.
I served one year as Secretary of the Parents and Citizens Committee. while Renagi Lohia was President.
We requested the government to maintain the school in this role after Independence but were unsuccessful.
Now nearly 50 years later has anyone written a history of this experiment in developing a new type of school for PNG?
Others on the board at the end included Cecil Abel and John Rumens. My memory falters on others.
Posted by: Deane Arganbright | 06 July 2022 at 01:01 PM
Most of the books written by Papua New Guineans are available on Amazon Australia. If you know the name of the author type their name into the search box.
Posted by: Philip Fitzpatrick | 06 July 2022 at 11:07 AM
Where can I buy books written by Papua New Guineans anywhere online?
Go to Amazon Books and use the search function to find books by these contemporary PNG authors:
Leonard Fong Roka
Naka Barakove Bina
There may well be others, but that's a good start - KJ
Posted by: D Hoffman | 06 July 2022 at 06:00 AM
This is a good argument. Present the exact script outlined here in Tik-Tok video format and spread it widely.
Posted by: Corney Korokan Alone | 28 June 2022 at 11:51 AM