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The birth of the Simbu Writers Association

Arnold Mundua
Arnold Mundua
Francis
Francis Nii

ARNOLD MUNDUA

KUNDIAWA – Sometimes great people’s legacy – their influence on and contributions to society - only becomes fully recognised after their passing.

The late author Francis Nii was such a person. His passing on Sunday 2 August at the Sir Joseph Nombri Memorial Hospital in Kundiawa left a huge vacuum in the lives of the many people who knew him personally.

Continue reading "The birth of the Simbu Writers Association" »


Man Bilong Buk - what you can expect

MBB writers pic
Francis Nii with Daniel Kumbon, Phil Fitzpatrick, Martin Namorong and Keith Jackson, Noosa, 2016

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – The manuscript of the Francis Nii Collection, so generously funded by a number of PNG Attitude readers, is nearing completion and shall soon be despatched to Jordan Dean – who runs Papua New Guinea’s only affordable publishing company - for design, layout and publication.

Entitled Man Bilong Buk, the tribute volume includes the best of the late author’s provocative and entertaining essays, revelations from his astonishing life story and insights into how an author imprisoned by his own body in the corner of a hospital ward managed to become such an exceptional figure in fostering a home-grown literature in PNG.

Continue reading "Man Bilong Buk - what you can expect" »


This is as far as we can go

FN Grave construction
Men of Yobai gather around as Francis Nii's grave begins to be constructed

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – The email arrived yesterday precisely three weeks after the untimely death of our friend, the eminent Papua New Guinean author, Francis Nii.

Untimely because, as his daughter Charlene wrote in the communication, “he was a strong man even to his last minutes with us”.

But the email revealed that Charlene now had another problem on her hands.

Continue reading "This is as far as we can go" »


Francis Nii tribute book is well underway

Francis Nii
Francis Nii - Not only a literary craftsman but a writer who understood the business of writing

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – It’s always great to be able to thank PNG Attitude readers for offering a helping hand when you respond generously to a significant project we’re getting our teeth into.

Right now, the project is the publication of The Francis Nii Collection, a tribute volume to the late paraplegic author and literary leader who died in Kundiawa a little over two weeks ago.

Continue reading "Francis Nii tribute book is well underway" »


Against the fading of the light

Francis Nii 2013
Francis Nii understood clearly that the grand enterprise of creating a national literature required more than writers

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – I spent the weekend reading through the archives of PNG Attitude between 2010 and now, extracting the writing by and about the late Francis Nii and, occasionally distracted by some other old article or incident it evoked, wandering along the trail of my own memories about this remarkable website.

Yes, in its 15th year, I think PNG Attitude is entitled to the honorific ‘remarkable’. I began publishing the blog when I was 59. I’m now 75. It has occupied a considerable chunk of my life and has been published almost each day – whether I was in Papua New Guinea’s remote highlands, in the middle of some ocean, even in hospital, where I have been too often these years.

Continue reading "Against the fading of the light" »


A Festschrift for Francis Nii

Writers
A rare group photo of Francis Nii with fellow writers Daniel Kumbon, Philip Fitzpatrick, Martyn Namorong and Keith Jackson (Brisbane Writers Festival, 2016)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – In Germany a Festschrift is a book honouring a respected person. It is generally presented during their lifetime, although it can also be a memorial.

PNG Attitude’s Festschrift for the late author Francis Nii will take the form of an edited volume of Francis’s most significant essays, articles, poetry and commentary, his ideas and achievements and it will include fellow writers’ observations of his work, his methods and his life.

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Help us assemble the Francis Nii Collection

Francis NiiKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – On this day Francis Nii, one of Papua New Guinea’s most eminent literary figures, is being buried in the soil of his Simbu homeland at Kundiawa.

And also today, PNG Attitude establishes a fund to ensure that the many words and deeds of Francis Nii will endure and not be lost to the future.

Early commitments to the fund already total $1,400 on the way to a target of $10,000.

Continue reading "Help us assemble the Francis Nii Collection" »


On the mend at last

ImageKEITH JACKSON

BRISBANE - After three weeks in hospital, a stay much longer than expected, it looks like I’ll be let loose from hausik tomorrow.

Truth be told, I’m a bit of a wreck right now - a mountain of drugs having deprived me of clarity of thought and the ability to easily read and write.

Nevertheless, I have begun to Walk Upright again (assisted by four wheels) with little pain and I feel we’re just a few days away from PNG Attitude returning to normal.

Thanks for the hundreds of messages of goodwill you have sent me. Believe me, they have guided me forward through some tough times.

I’ve received much great writing from you these past few weeks and Look forward to publishing it soon.


In case of emergency, break keyboard

My screwed right foot
I had two screws surgically inserted in my foot during a previous hospitalisation. Fortunately they did not much hamper my typing

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – I have left  Noosa’s verdant fields and sparkling shores and driven south along the desolation of the Bruce Highway for a spell in Brisbane, a city I enjoy but rarely get to visit these days.

Brucebane (why not?) is just two hours down the bitumen from Noosa but the reason I’ve become an infrequent visitor is that my back’s not been backward in holding me back.

Which is why Brucebane and Wesley Hospital loom.

Continue reading "In case of emergency, break keyboard" »


Can you win this big poetry contest?

PrizeKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - The Montreal International Poetry Prize has just one winner – but the award is a big one, about K50,000 to the writer of that single poem.

The Montreal Prize is organised by the department of English at Canada’s McGill University and this year’s judge is Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Yusef Komunyakaa.

Continue reading "Can you win this big poetry contest?" »


First Words: Those maiden comments

CommentCOMPILED BY KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - After receiving about 150 comments a year in its first three years, PNG Attitude now receives something like 4,000 a year. Maybe more. Too many to count.

It’s hard to recall, as Phil Fitzpatrick writes in his wonderful history of the blog and the Crocodile Prize,  ‘Fighting for a Voice’ (Pukpuk Publications, 2016), that time when “the Comments facility on the blog was rarely used”.

Continue reading "First Words: Those maiden comments" »


A dangerous year for poetry

Phil
Phil Fitzpatrick - ready to publish a collection of PNG poetry in the year of the plague

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - Author, kiap, anthropologist and PNG Attitude bulwark, Phil Fitzpatrick, has emerged with a wonderful proposal for Papua New Guinea’s poets to motivate them to inspiration in this, the year of the plague

“I thought I might experiment this year and collect poems that appear on PNG Attitude that appeal to me or attract positive comments from readers,” Phil writes.

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A matter of Attitude

AttitudePHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Further to my article the other day about PNG Attitude’s old duffers chewing over world affairs (with apologies to Charles Duffer) it occurred to me that they represent a rare collection of thinkers.

I’ve been casting around for a term that describes them but haven’t come up with anything appropriate so far. PNG Attitudism doesn’t really cut it.

I guess they are progressive-leaning with an odd ginger of conservative input. Important too is that they are a mix of Australians and Papua New Guineans - rare in itself.

Continue reading "A matter of Attitude" »


Writing for PNG Attitude

AttPHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Keith Jackson has got a fairly comprehensive guide to the sort of material he will accept for publication on PNG Attitude but let’s try reading between the lines a bit.

These are, of course, my personal observations.

Writing for PNG Attitude isn’t a great deal different to writing for any other platform, be it digital or hardcopy.

Continue reading "Writing for PNG Attitude" »


Heroes of modern PNG literature

CrocPHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - I’ve been ruminating about the successes and failures of Papua New Guinean literature since Keith Jackson and I kicked off the Crocodile Prize in 2010.

In the scheme of things, the prize and what spun out of it was really the only game in town for quite a while. Things were happening elsewhere but not on the same scale.

Continue reading "Heroes of modern PNG literature" »


And a tribute to our web creators & publishers….

Exkiap
The long-running Ex Kiap website is published by Peter Salmon

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Many Australians who spent time in Papua New Guinea, and who want to keep in touch with others who were there too or simply want to find out what’s going on, follow three main websites.

These are the Ex-Kiap website, the Papua New Guinea Australia Association (PNGAA) website and, of course, Keith Jackson and Friends PNG Attitude.

Continue reading "And a tribute to our web creators & publishers…." »


New blog design has benefits for mobile readers

Mobile
PNG Attitude as it now appears on mobile devices

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – I’m guessing that PNG Attitude’s first design change in six years will bring with it a ‘shock of the new’ feeling for many readers, but it also has some really tangible advantages.

Perhaps the most important of these is that the design change manifests itself as a particular improvement for the hugely increased number of readers (and especially the 6,200 followers on Twitter) who since 2013 have begun to access the blog on their mobile phones.

Previously, the mobile blog screen appearance was a miniature version of the larger scale PC presentation, and pretty difficult to read and to add comments to. Now it’s in a much more friendly format.

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Marape’s great opportunity to boost home-grown literature

Francis Nii
Francis Nii - "We struggle to produce our own literature hoping that one day a good leader will rise up and see its importance"

FRANCIS NII

KUNDIAWA - Writing and publishing our own Papua New Guinean stories in the absence of government or donor agency support is a daunting and painful experience.

But we write because stories are part of our culture and books are repositories of our culture. What is it the authorities don’t understand?

I would like to relay the many struggles and hardships I went through to get my first book published only to find there is a trifling level of readership in Papua New Guinea. My story, unfortunately, is similar to many PNG authors.

I started writing, mainly poetry, in the 1980s while doing my economics degree at the University of Papua New Guinea and published in Ondobondo and the PNG Writers’ Union magazine.

Some of the poems were later republished in a collection by lecturer Ganga Powell with Macmillan Press Australia in a book titled, ‘Through Melanesian Eyes’, now available on Amazon.

My first serious writing, a novel, came in in 2003-04 while I was recuperating at Sir Joseph Nombri Memorial Hospital in Kundiawa from a near fatal motor vehicle accident.

Continue reading "Marape’s great opportunity to boost home-grown literature" »


Huge response to petition to strengthen PNG literature

FlagAt last count, 315 people from around the world have signed a petition asking the Marape government to make home-grown literature in Papua New Guinea a powerful cultural & social force. 

Many of PNG's best known writers have shown their support and have been joined by supporters of a strong PNG literature from within PNG, across Australia and around the world.

These people understand the struggle of PNG's authors, short story writers, poets and commentators to have their books and magazines available especially in schools, universities and libraries.

Prime minister James Marape will be asked to help bring PNG's talented writers to the world and, more importantly, to the people of Papua New Guinea.  

Download Petition & Names here

Continue reading "Huge response to petition to strengthen PNG literature" »


Back at my desk again, about to rejoin the fray.....

KJ March 2019
Keith - today

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - It's been quite a week. But I'm at home in one piece, though it doesn't feel like that right now.

Seven days ago I lay on a hospital gurney, flat on a decrepit back, trying to take in anaesthetist Jack Huang's mandatory briefing about the risks I faced at his hands. 

I was at ease with those risks. I'd built them into my decision to have this surgery, the fifth on my spine and third in three years.

Told by the previous surgeon he wouldn't undertake a further operation because "it could well leave you much worse off," this day was something of a last chance saloon.

For me, not being 'much worse off' meant declining mobility and increasing pain. This  day's procedure was a bet against invalidity.

I'd done my research, took some months to consider a decision and found my man - Brisbane maestro Dr Gert Tollesson - to slice open the lower back like a fillet and find every bit of intrusive bone, displaced disc, problematic nerve ending and strand of scar tissue so as to forge a clear pathway for constrained and impeded nerves, giving them a clear run and doing the same for me.

Nearly four hours later, I emerged into morphine-addled stupor in intensive care, many tubes poking out of many orifices. The grand theatre of surgery was over and the ugly process of recovery had begun.

And so it continues but in a place we all yearn for at times of great stress - at home amongst family and friends.

And PNG Attitude, my companion over so many years, resumes. Thanks for sticking with me.

Now to get this old cart back on the road. 

 

 

 

 


Best of our new years: When comments triumphed over posts

Bodman
Henry Bodman (1938-2016) - wrote the first comment published in PNG Attitude

KEITH JACKSON (2011)

SYDNEY - This is a tribute to all those commenters who make PNG Attitude such a lively internet space. When this blog kicked off nearly four years ago, on 26 February 2006, the first comment, from Henry Bodman in Brisbane, appeared the same afternoon. But there wasn’t a helluva lot of commentary back then. I wrote the posts and people read them largely in silence.

It wasn’t really until regular commenters like Paul Oates (first post, 4 November 2007) got into their stride that the interactivity really blossomed. Back then, the site was entitled ASOPA People and it had a much narrower view of its purpose. Its evolution into PNG Attitude came over time and was largely driven by a growing and diversifying readership.

It was never in doubt that the internet could be a strong influence in bringing together Papua New Guineans and Australians who cared about the relationship between our two countries, and who wanted to strengthen it. But for that to happen, the blog had to be a real forum – it had to be interactive, it had to have a wide input from a range of contributors, and it had to be controversial and even irritating.

Continue reading "Best of our new years: When comments triumphed over posts" »


I was in the depths of despair when PNG Attitude came to help

Sylbeez Hive Learning Centre
The school finished 2018 with just seven students, the eighth is Marlene’s daughter Darhlia. At right, wearing a cap, is teacher David Kataka

MARLENE DEE GRAY POTOURA

LAE - So many kind hearted PNG Attitude readers have given my two children and me a wonderful Christmas. Your help has made us happy, as we have had a really tough time lately.

I write this article to tell my story and show that I work hard to try to make things happen. The kindness of readers pushes me forward to keep doing what I do.

Thank you for your kindness. I wish you all a prosperous new year.

My children’s father brought me to Lae from Port Moresby in 2005 when my son was around five months old.

In 2006, I got a job at the Salvation Army school as its deputy principal. At the end of 2009 I was offered the role of principal with a full sponsorship to do a master’s degree in leadership at Divine Word University. But instead I resigned because I wanted to start a learning centre for the sake of my son, who had a  disability, and other children with parents who worried whether they were properly taken care of.

So I wrote a letter to the Lions Club here in Lae asking if I could use their building in Eriku to operate a learning centre and if I could pay the bond fee and rentals at the end of January 2010.

Continue reading "I was in the depths of despair when PNG Attitude came to help" »


....and the very bestest Christmas to all our readers

SP
Cover of the PNG primary school paper for Christmas 1967. It doesn't seem like 51 years ago that I edited that fine publication. But the calendar doesn't lie.

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - Christmas Day has dawned without snow and ice on the Sunshine Coast, very much the 'no surprises' scenario which in my previous life always delighted clients . 

There is quite a lot of traffic building up on the roads, as this is a resort area, but not quite as much as the human traffic in the local liquor stores yesterday. Grog shops closed on Christmas Day triggers national panic.

Anyway today we have glorious beach weather and friends to visit and people are on the move, populating Main Beah and the river foreshore with tents and tarpaulins and Eskies to keep the champagne chilled.

Noosa shire's population doubles at these times as holidaymakers head here to experience the safe waters of Laguna Bay, the Noosa River foreshore and the calm hills and forests of the hinterland.

But despite the crowds, there is the wonderful aura of the tranquillity and joy that always accompanies Christmas.

This morning Ingrid and I will visit mum-in-law Libby (93 and going fine) at the aged care place she enjoys so much; join some good neighbours for some good drinks in the middle of the day; and later in the afternoon play host to our delightful local relatives for some agreeable hours. That's my Christmas Day schedule and I hope yours will be just as pleasant.

Continue reading "....and the very bestest Christmas to all our readers" »


For 40 Maseratis, 3,000 Marlenes could be helped

StarKEITH JACKSON

Thanks to these readers, Marlene Potoura has been enabled to....

  • move to a better and safer place
  • take her kids on a Christmas outing
  • mobilise her new learning centre
  • visit her family in Bougainville for the first time in 14 years
  • meet the man who killed her father
  • gather material & photographs for her forthcoming memoir
  • better pursue her avocation as a writer

Allan Kidston; Craig Coolum; Ross Wilkinson; Anonymous; Norm Wilson; Simon & Bea Ellis; Janis Roberts; Bob Cleland; Frank Alcorta; Dan & Judy Duggan; Max Uechtritz; Michael Main; Geoffrey Hancock; Bill Brown MBE; Alex Harris; Rick Nehmy; Deborah Ruiz Wall; Paul Munro; Gary Tongs; Joe Herman; Chris Overland; Col Young; Anne-Marie & Peter Smith; Paul Oates; John in Adelaide; Murray & Joan Bladwell; John Bennett; Betty, Nikitta & Valesca Kagl; Bill Welbourne; David Ransom; Ed Brumby; Jo Holman; Lindsay Bond; Jan MacIntyre; Phil Fitzpatrick; Elissa Roper; Robin Lillicrapp; Tess Newton Cain; Keith Jackson AM

There are many Marlenes in Papua New Guinea. They are the ordinary people who, in large measure, have been abandoned by their own government - a malodorous government fawned upon by people and institutions who should know better, including the government of Australia.

PNG Attitude has been able to help only Marlene and her two children. Targeted assistance for the fraction of the cost of a Maserati.

We hope that, before too long, those in positions of authority where they can assist change the lives of many of the fine and hospitable people of PNG will begin to fully realise their responsibilities.

You know who you are. Perhaps you can start now. This Christmas.


Thank you everyone, you have made so many things possible

Marlene with Darhlia Dee & Martin GrayMARLENE DEE GRAY POTOURA

LAE - My two children, Darhlia Dee and Martin Gray, and I would like to thank you all, our overseas readers of PNG Attitude who contributed in the Australian spirit, well known throughout the Pacific, to make sure my kids and I have an awesome Christmas.

I want to kindly and gratefully inform you all that you succeeded. My two children and I are most grateful, which writing here cannot express.

Firstly, we have moved out from a really shitty cave like building, where I had tried to operate a learning centre this year.

The struggles I went through in that cave are not worth mentioning now because it was downright unbelievable.

On 22 February, a week after resigning from a teaching job I had with the Salvation Army School, I was robbed senselessly and mercilessly.

All my writing from over 20 years went to nothing, taken right out on my two laptops, an external drive and over 16 flash drives. I nearly went insane, because I was worried.

Continue reading "Thank you everyone, you have made so many things possible" »


Marlene Potoura 2YOUR DONATIONS HAVE GIVEN MARLENE HOPE FOR A NEW LIFE

"I will soon write a longer piece to express my gratitude to PNG Attitude and its readers. I will email it before this week ends as our life settled down. In it, I will talk about what I intend to do with the money and reflect on our previous life and the two robberies.  I will also update everyone on the little Learning Centre - school - I intend to establish and what my plans are for 2019" - Marlene Potoura

Donors: Allan Kidston; Craig Coolum; Ross Wilkinson; Anonymous; Norm Wilson; Simon & Bea Ellis; Janis Roberts; Bob Cleland; Frank Alcorta; Dan & Judy Duggan; Max Uechtritz; Michael Main; Geoffrey Hancock; Bill Brown MBE; Alex Harris; Rick Nehmy; Deborah Ruiz Wall; Paul Munro; Gary Tongs; Joe Herman; Chris Overland; Col Young; Anne-Marie & Peter Smith; Paul Oates; John in Adelaide; Murray & Joan Bladwell; John Bennett; Betty, Nikitta & Valesca Kagl; Bill Welbourne; David Ransom; Ed Brumby; Jo Holman; Lindsay Bond; Jan MacIntyre; Phil Fitzpatrick; Elissa Roper; Robin Lillicrapp; Tess Newton Cain; Keith Jackson AM


This Sensitive Woman

Marlene Potoura and newspaperISO YAWI

Dedicated to Marlene Dee Gray Potoura

In my quest for literature, her ink dropped on my way, 
Like molecules of wisdom, falling as the rain
Each gentle droplet reforming as a ripple
Droplet, ripple, wave, heading to the shore

A creative wave of story, poem, insight
An ocean of narrative, and gentle humour,
In her luminous wake, grace and compassion
Shining through the squall, the storm, the loss

In her words I met them, old and young
The creatures of her creative urge
Each one guiding me along the way 
Until, my surprise, I met their owner

Continue reading "This Sensitive Woman" »


We only ask for your support when there’s a real need

Marlene Potoura and newspaperKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - Two months from now, I’ll have been publishing this blog for 13 years. According to the statistics, that’s about one-fifth of my life expectancy.

During that 20% of my life, I’ve wanted no reward from PNG Attitude except to keep it serving its main purpose, which is to maintain the links between Papua New Guineans and Australians. That’s a good reason and enough reward.

And when this blog is no longer required, when it’s replaced by something better, or when I tire, I’ll draw the curtains and slip away.

But for now there are thousands of people who value this small space on the internet. I value them and they constantly motivate me to continue this project.

One thing PNG Attitude does from time to time is to ask readers to assist with small but important activities in PNG. We began doing this even before the term ‘crowd-funding’ entered the dictionary and when our readership was tiny. We saw it as a means by which readers could give some money and contribute to the relationship this blog seeks to maintain.

Continue reading "We only ask for your support when there’s a real need" »


10 years of PNG Attitude in the National Library archives

All in the attitudeKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – In 2009, the National Library of Australia sought permission from me to “provide public access in perpetuity” to PNG Attitude.

“The Library aims to build a comprehensive collection of Australian publications to ensure Australians have access to their documentary heritage now and in the future,” said senior librarian, Edgar Crook at the time.

“It is [also] committed to preserving electronic publications of lasting research or cultural value. Since [1996] we have been identifying online publications and archiving those that we consider have national significance.”

Mr Crook said the Library would take the necessary preservation action to keep PNG Attitude accessible down the years even with hardware and software changes over time, adding that its national database is shared by over 1,000 Australian libraries.

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No one asked, no one advised, but PNG Attitude lost its Likes

Keith at 73KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – It all started when Facebook did the dirty on Typepad and made some unconsulted changes which caused the two platforms to stop communicating. I understand FB is known for having that kind of superiority complex.

The worst outcome, perhaps, which has saddened me, is that we’ve lost our Likes feature which enabled readers to offer some kind of applause and writers to get some kind of feedback.

The Likes of every article returned to zero – even those big enchiladas that had over 1,000 (one of Phil Fitzpatrick’s babies was in that elite group).

The most any piece got ever was around 3,000. It was a beautiful but tragic story of a PNGDF soldier killed in the Bougainville civil war.

I had been thinking for some time of making PNG Attitude more smartphone friendly, but knew we would lose the Likes so always resisted the urge. Now it's been done to us. Maybe I'll take the opportunity to look at a new design. Or maybe not.

Continue reading "No one asked, no one advised, but PNG Attitude lost its Likes" »


Writing for PNG Attitude – a cornucopia of ideas

PNGA
The first archived issue of PNG Attitude in the National Library of Australia from mid-September 2009

PHIL FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - I like to write. I don’t really know why. Sometimes it’s easier to write than talk. Perhaps it’s because I find writing is a way of mustering and sorting my ideas. Maybe it’s just a way of blowing off steam. Who knows?

I’m nosey and I’ve got a wide range of interests and I write about most of them. I published my first piece in 1970 and haven’t stopped since.

What continues to surprise me is that, despite the demise of many traditional outlets like magazines and journals, I can still find people willing to publish what I write.

These days I like to write books. Writing books, both fiction and non-fiction, is an amazingly leisurely way to explore ideas.

Lately, the emergence of print-on-demand has meant that if I can’t find a publisher I can do it myself. That’s a wonderful freedom.

Continue reading "Writing for PNG Attitude – a cornucopia of ideas" »


A plea from PNG Attitude to people committed to our neighbours

How you can help restore the ABC’s broadcasting services to PNG & the Pacific

A group of eminent Australian journalists associated with Papua New Guinea and the Pacific have come together to persuade the Australian government to rebuild the ABC’s once great broadcasting services to the region. They include well-known names such as Sean Dorney, Jemima Garrett, Max Uechtritz, Tess Newton-Cain, Sue Ahearn, Peter Marks and Jioji Ravulo. They have the full support of me personally and PNG Attitude with its 5,000 followers.

The Australian government is at present conducting a review of Australian broadcasting in the region. It is taking submissions until Friday 3 August (read about it here). This is a great opportunity to change Australian policy on this important issue. I strongly urge you to make a submission. And, if you need a helping hand, you’ve got three expert journalists to provide it: Sean Dorney (sean_dorney@hotmail.com), Jemima Garrett (garrett.jemima@gmail.com) and Sue Ahearn (srahearn@hotmail.com).

I ask you to act now, wherever you live. Your voice deserves - and needs - to be heard


Editor in country - blog unreliably following me around

Ingrid and I are in PNG for 10 days. Mainly to see family and friends.
And to feel the vibe again. As always when I travel, the blog may be a
bit irregular, 
but keep those articles & comments flowing


Thank you all for empowering me to carry on writing

FRANCIS NII

Francis Nii & new laptop
Disabled author Francis Nii and new laptop: 'Without a computer and a reliable mobile phone, I am truly handicapped'

KUNDIAWA - A personal computer can be an important tool for any writer but for a disabled writer like me, composing my words and sentences from the confines of a hospital bed, a laptop and a reliable mobile phone are essential tools of trade.

Without them, I am truly handicapped. With them, I am liberated to access information and to write, write, write.

When the screen of my Asus computer, given to me by my good friend Murray Bladwell in 2016, experienced a major breakdown while I was trying to upload the second edition of my novel ‘Tears’, I knew I had hit a desperate moment. Hopelessness overwhelmed me. Tears indeed!

Luckily I had saved the entire manuscript in a Samsung phone given to me by Patrick Haynes so I emailed the valuable document to Philip Fitzpatrick to upload to my CreateSpace publishing page.

I told Phil that I couldn’t upload it myself because my laptop had encountered a serious problem. I had no idea that the piece of information relayed to Phil would prompt a fundraising effort that would result in me getting a brand new HP laptop and a Canon printer.

Continue reading "Thank you all for empowering me to carry on writing" »


Francis Nii laptop appeal exceeds target in less than 24 hours

Francis H&SThe Francis Nii laptop appeal exceeds its target. Francis will keep on writing
TARGET $1,000;  FUNDS RECEIVED $1,230

Thanks to readers, Francis Nii – the noted Papua New Guinean author whose home is the isolation ward of Kundiawa Hospital – will now get a new laptop to continue his important contribution to PNG literature and affairs. In less than 24 hours our appeal passed the targeted $1,000 and we’re beside ourselves with gratitude. Contributions exceeding the cost of the computer will be used to purchase books by PNG authors.

 Thanks to Garry Tongs, Ed Brumby, Donna Harvey-Hall, Kerri Worthington, Lindsay Bond, Murray Bladwell, Chris Overland, Phil Fitzpatrick, Keith Jackson, Toowong Rotary Club, Jim Moore, Paul Flanagan, Joe Herman, Bea & Simon Ellis, Stuart, and Bill Woods.

The National Australia Bank was this morning instructed to transmit the funds to Francis, who responded: "Thank you very much. My laptop will be delivered on Monday if I make the payment today which I will do. I will borrow a machine and send a word of thanks over the weekend to PNG Attitude".


Revealed to the world: The grumpy old men of PNG Attitude

Ugly Head
Phil - has survived long-term exposure to grumps reasonably intact

PHIL FITZGRUMPY

GRUMPY BAY - One of the hidden delights of PNG Attitude over the years has been the contributions of articles and comments by a venerable coterie of grumpy old men.

You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned grumpy old women. I’m sure they exist but I’m not sure I really want to go there. Call me sexist or cowardly but there are some possums not worth poking with a stick. So back to the men.

They are, of course, a fairly elite group. You don’t become a grumpy old man unless you’ve earned it. You have to be able to exhibit the scars of battle to gain membership. Not even bribery will get you there.

So what makes this band of brothers so unique?

I think Chris Overland, himself a fine example of the genre, defined it quite well when he said: “Sixty or more years of experience can confer a degree of wisdom and, unless you are truly delusional, you mostly see the world as it is, not as you might wish it to be.

Continue reading "Revealed to the world: The grumpy old men of PNG Attitude" »


I am appealing to you for your help....

Marlene Potoura (2)MARLENE DEE GRAY POTOURA

To say Marlene Potoura has had a run of bad luck is a terrible understatement. The writer and educator is a single mother who in recent times has seen her pre-school business collapse and been evicted after her flat caught fire and was ransacked by thieves. Marlene has experienced the very worst of what Papua New Guinea can be. A few of her friends have assisted with funds but now I am widening this to include PNG Attitude readers. After you read Marlene’s story, if you feel you can assist, please donate to her at: Marlene Potoura, Account 1006258444, Bank South Pacific, Port Moresby. Marlene’s address is c/- Sylbeez Learning Centre, Lae, Morobe Province. This is an urgent and legitimate plea for help - KJ

AS YOU read this, I take this moment to ask for your kind help.

On 11 October 2016, my son Martin, 12, lit a candle at 9pm during a blackout, went to the toilet, came back, placed the candle on top of a computer CPU in our room and went back to bed. My daughter Darhlia, 8, and I had long gone been asleep.

The candle burned into the CPU and a fire started, giving off thick black smoke and setting alight the curtains and louvres. Luckily the door to the room was open.

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

Phil 2015PHIL FITZPATRICK

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.

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Papua New Guinea's publishing revolution

Scott HamiltonSCOTT HAMILTON | http://readingthemaps.blogspot.com.au

SOMETIMES New Zealand publishers complain to me.

The book market here is so small, this or that publisher says. Grants are inadequate. Bookshops are closing, as internet imperialists like Amazon expand.

All of these complaints are justified. The life of a Kiwi book publisher can be a difficult one.

But if our publishers need some perspective on their plight, and some inspiration, then they ought to read Phil Fitzpatrick's remarkable article 'The Lost Creative Writing Generation of Papua New Guinea', which was published late last year on the popular PNG Attitude blog.

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PNG Attitude: Feeding our creative & literary brain

SimonSIMON DAVIDSON

IF THE body is made from the foods we eat, then the beauty of the poems we pen, the elegance of the prose we write and the majesty of the books we author can be said to be derived from the books we read.

The ideas, imagery and anecdotes from books, speeches and newspapers are the raw materials that the brain needs to weave its creative magic to mint ideas to fill the blank page.

The creative soul needs a constant dose of good books for reading, to replenish the mental stock. Reading and writing are symbiotic twins. To write well, one needs to read well from literature’s vast spectrum.

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Tour of Australia by PNG writers was more than literary exchange

Glen Elmes & Tony WellingtonFRANCIS NII

I READ somewhere that our brain can process images 60,000 times faster than it can process words - and that images can convey ideas which stick with us much longer than the words on a page.

I am sure this rings true the moment you see the images accompanying this story.

The two gentlemen you see in this first picture are Hon Glen Elmes MP, the local member for Noosa in the Queensland Parliament, and Tony Wellington, the mayor for Noosa Shire, proudly showing the gifts of sand paintings donated to them and the people of Noosa by Daniel Kumbon and his wife Julie.

During last year’s McKinnon-Paga Hill sponsored study tour of Australia, Daniel, Martyn Namorong and I didn’t discuss bringing PNG arts and crafts for our Aussie friends.

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Daniel KumbonA globe-trotting journalist pays tribute to his own country

FREE DOWNLOAD

I Can See My Country Clearly NowMuch-travelled journalist Daniel Kumbon was born in Enga, university educated and is now back working among his own people. In this book, the award-winning writer tells of his global travels and reflects on how his many experiences revealed Papua New Guinea to him in a new light. Daniel's book joins other excellent works on offer absolutely free through PNG Attitude and all available by clicking the links just below the masthead....


We love to write but we need the oxygen of publicity

Simon DavidsonSIMON DAVIDSON

MARKETING plays a vital role to motivate wanna be writers and budding writers and to bring their works to the public view.

Virginia Woolf in the preface to her novel Mrs Dalloway referred to such profile-raising as the “oxygen of publicity” which writers can breathe in and enjoy and benefit from.

The first time I breathed the oxygen of publicity happened when one of my article was published in PNG Attitude in 2014. It was a satirical article I’d written on the Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas project. You can read it here.

At that moment I saw it, I felt I was standing on Mount Everest and breathing the dizzying air at the summit of the earth’s highest peak.

Oxygen at 8,848 metres above sea level might be thin but there it was plenty enough for me to breathe and enjoy.

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PNG writers in discussions with Australian authors’ body

PNG writers meet the Australian Society of AuhorsJULIET ROGERS | CEO, Australian Society of Authors

IN SEPTEMBER, we were fortunate enough to meet with two writers from Papua New Guinea, Martyn Namorong and Daniel Kumbon, who had been brought to Australia for the Brisbane Writer’s Festival and a series of industry meetings.

Martyn is a political activist, award-winning writer and a much-quoted blogger, while Daniel has had a prominent career in journalism, including a number of prestigious international scholarships.

PNG has a national literary award, the Crocodile Prize, which is now in its sixth year and this prize has also established a not-for-profit publisher, Pukpuk Publications.

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Crying croc Croc relaxedPNG Attitude's Next Mission

Papua New Guinean books are being written and being published.  
But they are not getting to Papua New Guinea's readers.

Let’s make 2017 the year every major development  project in PNG
is persuaded to get PNG-authored books into PNG hands.


PNG writers spectacular international debut at Brisbane festival

Part of the audience at the PNG writers sessionKEITH JACKSON

AT THE Brisbane Writers Festival yesterday, before an audience of over 50 people including Papua New Guinea’s consul-general Maggie Moi-he, four of PNG’s top writers showed they were not only giants of the keyboard but splendid performers on the international stage.

As representatives of their country and interpreters of Melanesian literary expression, Francis Nii, Martyn Namorong, Rashmii Amoah Bell and Daniel Kumbon - with style, intellect and charisma - put in a superb performance at the first ever PNG presentation at an Australian literary festival.

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Fighting for a VoiceOrder your copy from Amazon now: Fighting for a Voice by Phil Fitzpatrick

The inside story of PNG Attitude's first 10 years, the Crocodile Prize and Pukpuk Publications.
How a non profit, voluntary enterprise got off the ground and grew into a formidable voice.
The dramas, the setbacks & the personalities. The story of a project that led to an historic
collaboration between Papua New Guineans and Australians who care.

Order your copy from Amazon here: $US10.66 plus postage 


Now on sale: The inside story of a tumultuous 10 years

Fighting for a voice coverFighting for a Voice: The Inside Story of PNG Attitude and the Crocodile Prize, Philip Fitzpatrick, Pukpuk Publications, 2016, 374 pages, ISBN: 978-1533616906, Available from Amazon Books (US&UK), Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository, US13.33, £7.40, €8.47, AU$18.00, K42.20 plus postage

FOR most Australians, Papua New Guinea is a mysterious place somewhere north of Cape York and roughly between Bali in Indonesia and the resorts in Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. As a place it sits at the bottom of their consciousness.

Papua New Guineans, on the other hand, know a lot about Australia. Many of their goods and media come from there and the big companies exploiting their resources are often Australian.

There are, however, a small band of Australians who worked or served in Papua New Guinea before independence in 1975. For these people it sits permanently and warmly in their memory and consciousness.

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