PNG Attitude Feed

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

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


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.

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


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.

Continue reading "I am appealing to you for your help...." »

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.

Continue reading "PNG writers, where are you? We miss you all!" »

Papua New Guinea's publishing revolution

Scott HamiltonSCOTT HAMILTON |

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


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


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


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.

Continue reading "Now on sale: The inside story of a tumultuous 10 years" »

Now for the book: The candid story of PNG Attitude is on the way

Fighting for a voice coverPHIL FITZPATRICK

‘Fighting for a Voice: The Inside Story of PNG Attitude & the Crocodile Prize’, scheduled for publication within the next few weeks, is Phil Fitzpatrick's no-holds barred account of the first 10 years of this pioneering blog. The book of nearly 400 pages weaves into its story the fascinating and sometimes dramatic events of Papua New Guinea over the same period. To give you a taste, here’s an extract from Chapter 8, ‘Problems of transition, 2013’ - KJ

FOR the superstitious, the number thirteen is particularly ominous. Some hotels skip the number in sequencing their rooms, even floors. Linked with a Friday it is said to become highly dangerous.

Fear of the number thirteen has a name - triskaidekaphobia. For the Crocodile Prize, 2013 nearly proved disastrous. How Keith and I escaped catching triskaidekaphobia was a minor miracle.

The year began well enough. Keith noted that many of the articles written by people awarded writing fellowships were being picked up by other media. Pat Levo of the Post Courier was using them in his weekend literary section and Amanda Donigi was doing the same in her new women’s magazine, Stella. We were not concerned by the thought they were exploiting PNG Attitude as source of free copy; we were just happy to see some good writers getting further exposure.

Continue reading "Now for the book: The candid story of PNG Attitude is on the way" »

New fellowship scheme will strengthen PNG’s literary revival


PAPUA New Guinea will benefit from a privately-funded initiative by PNG Attitude to develop writers associations throughout the country.

A program of annual fellowships has been started to provide the basic management skills required to establish and maintain writers associations at a provincial level.

The McKinnon-Paga Hill Fellowship has been funded by separate gifts from PNG’s pre-independence director of education, Prof Ken McKinnon AO (pictured), and the Paga Hill Development Company.

The first three McKinnon-Paga Hill fellows have been identified and accepted their awards.

They are established authors Daniel Kumbon and Leonard Fong Roka, who have received full fellowships, and Francis Nii, who has received a part fellowship.

Continue reading "New fellowship scheme will strengthen PNG’s literary revival" »

My Story: It’s been a long journey from the piglets of Ganige


An occasional series of autobiographical memoirs by PNG Attitude's writers

AT KUNDIAWA provincial hospital on 9 August 1973, the morning dawn, as the Simbus say, had stagnated.

The small township was soaked with drizzle. The crystal white clouds had astutely sought refuge on the adjoining peaks of Dee Pek, Argol, Porol Scarp and Tokma.

Seen from the air, the junction of the Simbu and Wahgi Rivers (Murane and Uwai) seemed as if they were in the Antarctic. The four cornered Kundiawa town was soaked and submerged in a cold, hard, white landscape.

In the hospital labour ward, timid but stout Simbu mothers were strolling around anxiously in skirts, laplaps and a couple of grass skirts, awaiting what had turned out to be a marathon delivery.

Continue reading "My Story: It’s been a long journey from the piglets of Ganige" »

My Story: The challenges & trials of Papua New Guinean life

Rose Kranz24 - ROSE KRANZ

I WAS born in Goglme in the Simbu, my birth father being Otto Kuman Omba. He died when I was a baby and my mum married another man, Peter Daka. I owe my life to this man.

Like John Kamasua I had a difficult childhood in Simbu. And I remember the days of Australian kiaps and the excitement of seeing the small planes land on our little airstrip.

As a baby, I was very sick and had scabies, a skin disease. Neighbours told my stepfather that he should leave me under the trees to die. But Peter Daka said, ''No - I will look after her.  God has given her to me". And so he did.

Working as a carpenter (he built several churches in Simbu), he would carry me with him to work in his carpenter’s bag with the hammers and chisels. He fed me on coconut milk and tinpis wara. So I survived and was sent to relatives in Banz where I attended the Catholic Primary School.

Continue reading "My Story: The challenges & trials of Papua New Guinean life" »

My Story: A half century of service among the fine people of PNG


I WAS born on 28 January 1946 in Ballinahown near Fermoy town in County Cork, Ireland; the third born son of Garrett Roche and Margaret O’Toole. I was named Garrett after my father.

I attended Grange National Primary School, a two-teacher country school, from 1951 to 1958. Between 1958 and 1963 I attended the secondary school run by the Christian Brothers in Fermoy town.

After completing the Leaving Certificate examination in 1963 I worked as a laboratory assistant at the nearby Agricultural Research Institute at Moore Park.  However, in September of that year I left and joined the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) at Donamon, Roscommon, Ireland.

Continue reading "My Story: A half century of service among the fine people of PNG" »

My Story: A lucky life with a good journey still ahead

Kamasua_John Kaupa22 - JOHN K KAMASUA

I CAN best tell my story by presenting it in sketches. Not that it is a glamorous or significant story, it’s been ordinary; yet, to me, quite spectacular!

My parents were illiterate and were unable to write any of my story, or even have photos of my early life. Now, of course, I do have photos of school, college, and university life.

The life I have now today really when I started school. But I had an earlier life which I can only recollect in patches.

My mother tells me I had a pretty typical childhood. I was born in the former Kundiawa General Hospital and a day later spent the night in Sikewake, near there.

Mother tells me I cried all night and nothing they did could make me go back to sleep. They thought I was going to die that night. And so I was introduced to life on planet earth.

Continue reading "My Story: A lucky life with a good journey still ahead" »

Poking the fire on PNG Attitude


POSSIBLY the largest two bodies of expatriates in Papua New Guinea prior to independence were the kiaps and the teachers.

They tended to be posted all over the country and often in the remotest areas. They had more contact with Papua New Guinean people at the grassroots level than any other group.

By the time PNG Attitude got going they were all either retired or on the cusp of retirement with time on their hands.

They were also at an age where many had become reflective, and a great deal of that reflection involved their time in Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "Poking the fire on PNG Attitude" »

My Story: A stake in two cultures & a passion for good

Rashmii Bell21 - RASHMII BELL

I WAS born in late March 1981 at ANGAU Memorial General Hospital in Lae, Morobe Province.

Twenty-nine years later I returned as a bel mama to give birth to my second child; a beautiful, healthy girl with a crop of loosely curled hair, mixed African-Melanesian and as black as night.

The photographs I’ve seen of how ANGAU hospital was way back then and my own memories of my younger years clash with how it was for the birth of my child in 2010.

It’s an inconsistency that tells of an institution that continues to do what it can despite the abhorrent neglect of the government.

Continue reading "My Story: A stake in two cultures & a passion for good" »

My Story: My father, the man who dreamt dreams

Busa Jeremiah Wenogo20 - BUSA JEREMIAH WENOGO

MY father arrived in Port Moresby in torn short pants with not a single penny in his pocket but full of hope and determination for what lay ahead of him.

He also came with a dream.

My father came from a line of great dreamers. It was said that both my paternal grandmother and grandfather foretold the time of their passing through their dreams.

My grandfather, I was told, was not particularly fond of the hornbill because it had some sort of connection to his death.

My paternal grandmother told her family that if she gave birth to a male child she would die. But if the baby died, she would live. As it turned out, she died a week after giving birth to my father.

Continue reading "My Story: My father, the man who dreamt dreams" »

My Story: Those halcyon Papua New Guinea years

Ed_Brumby19 - ED BRUMBY

IN 1950, when I was five years old, my family escaped the bleak prospects of post-war England and emigrated to Australia, setting up home in the distinctively parochial and conservative city of Townsville in north Queensland.

My father, a gifted pianist who had left school at 14, took a sales job with a chain of music retailers where he parlayed a highly successful career selling pianos, organs, sheet music and records.

Until my brother came along in 1953, my mother worked as a cook at the local migrant hostel to help make ends meet.

While both of my parents had left school at 14, they were avid readers and interested in the world of ideas so our dinnertime conversations and debates ranged across politics, current affairs and music and the arts. (Unlike me, my father was no fan of contemporary or country and western music, or sport.)

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My Story: I can see my country clearly now

Daniel Kumbon18  -  DANIEL KUMBON

IN 1960 a government patrol post was established in Kandep.

The people were rounded up to clear land and build the new government station and the Kandep-Laiagam road.

My father arose early every morning to walk several kilometres to help build bush material houses for the patrol officer, his servants, policemen, teachers and health workers.

The people also worked on the road and the building of a new primary school and clinic.

The government had ordered that this be done and every man had to obey. Those who did not turn up were rounded up and beaten or put in jail.

From time to time I joined my mother, who went to barter bags of sweet potatoes for salt, cooking oil, bars of soap, beads and other goodies at the government station.

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My story: Life as a reflection of our decisions & choices


MY full name is Raymond Muso Sigimet. I am now in my mid-thirties and I grew up away from my province and village. Half of my life was spent in the New Guinea Islands.

I am the third born in my family of nine siblings. Five blood sisters, two blood brothers and one adopted brother. We were a crowded lot and very close when growing up.

We fought, argued, got punished, rebelled, forgave, and did all those stuff that families and siblings do. And we still do some of these things today.

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My Story: The PNG connection, a benign type of PTSD

Chris Overland16 - CHRIS OVERLAND

On 15 March 2013, PNG Attitude began publishing autobiographical profiles of its leading contributors with ‘Arresting cannibals sure beat banking’ by Phil Fitzpatrick. The series eventually ended many months later with the publication of its fifteenth profile. Since then, the blog has benefited from the memoirs, views and knowledge of many new writers, who have joined the ‘old guard’ in keeping this forum topical and lively. Today we resume this occasional series with Chris Overland’s story….

I WAS born in a small Australian country town in 1951. My parents had been born and raised in the country and neither liked the city nor felt comfortable in it.

Dad had been in the RAAF during World War II, flying a full operational tour in Beaufort Bombers. He was based in Papua New Guinea, mainly at Vivigani on Goodenough Island.

He had several terrifying experiences, surviving three crash landings, but counted himself lucky because 20% of RAAF aircrew died in training or operations. The war changed him but did not break him.

Continue reading "My Story: The PNG connection, a benign type of PTSD" »

Your chance for Attitudinal immortality


A couple of months ago, Keith Jackson asked me to write a history of PNG Attitude and the Crocodile Prize.

After considering a number of possible scenarios and formats, I decided that the best way to do it was to let the blog and the prize tell their own story.

Right now the project has reached a point where I’m compiling a collection of what I think are the significant articles that have appeared on the blog and linking them with explanatory notes and some extra discourse.

Continue reading "Your chance for Attitudinal immortality" »

Those ratbag Christians: many are glorious; some are chaff

NewguineachristianPHIL FITZPATRICK

SINCE its inception PNG Attitude had scoured a wide range of publications for material of interest to readers. Relevant articles were largely republished on the blog without comment.

Among all of those articles, two types tended to attract vigorous comment. The first were those from the tabloid presses that saw subjects like primitiveness, sorcery and cannibalism as attractive to its sensation-seeking readers.

The second was akin to this but decidedly more sinister. It came from missionaries, particularly those involved in fundamentalist causes.

Continue reading "Those ratbag Christians: many are glorious; some are chaff" »

How PNG Attitude’s readers & writers designed a literary tradition

Crocodile Prize Ad 2010PHIL FITZPATRICK

DURING 2010 ‘Big Pat’ Levo, editor of the Post-Courier’s Independence Day supplement, asked several regular PNG Attitude contributors to provide articles for that year’s edition.

When he asked me to write something I cast around for a suitable subject. I thought the state of Papua New Guinean literature from those early days to the present might be a good topic, so I started doing a bit of research.

What I found was truly appalling. Papua New Guinean literature seemed to have died shortly after independence.

Continue reading "How PNG Attitude’s readers & writers designed a literary tradition" »

An old dog not ready for his pit: With gratitude, more Attitude


MY early December statement, PNG Attitude – A long journey & a short goodbye, had proven painful to write.

But your consequent comments were even more painful to read. To paraphrase the Song of Solomon, “They captured my heart / They held it hostage.”

I was moved by the kind and generous words. There were many of them; some written with an anguish that greatly discomfited me.

Raymond Sigimet - Thank you Keith, with your family, for selflessly giving and sharing 10 years of your life in fostering people to people dialogue through the PNG Attitude. Your blog inspired me to put pen to paper and I believe many others as well. Yu stap long longpela resis na yu win tru / na nau yu kamap long mak bilong yu / yu strongpela man stret / stori bilong yu bai stap longpela taim yet. 

Continue reading "An old dog not ready for his pit: With gratitude, more Attitude" »

Why don't we all roll over and go back to sleep


I’VE been thinking about the future of literature in Papua New Guinea for a while now.

It’s a frustrating thing to contemplate. As Ed Brumby has pointed out, there is a lack of inertia and an all-pervading ennui in Papua New Guinea that seems to permeate and frustrate not just literature but most worthwhile endeavours.

I’m not sure why this is so but I know that it’s been the case for as long as I can remember. We were even warned about it at ASOPA where we were trained before we set foot in the country.

For a while I thought it was a reaction to colonisation, or whatever it was that Australia practised in Papua New Guinea prior to independence – a kind of passive resistance as exemplified by Ghandi and others at being ruled over by outsiders with an overly developed sense of superiority and little understanding of other cultures.

Continue reading "Why don't we all roll over and go back to sleep" »

PNG Attitude & the Croc Prize: An opportunity and an obligation


I’VE refrained from commenting on the demise of PNG Attitude and Pukpuk Publishing until now for two reasons: to come to terms with how my daily routine will change and to observe the responses from PNG Attitude readers, Papua New Guinean readers especially.

I’ve been getting my PNG Attitude fix straight after breakfast for so long now it has become embedded in my early morning routine.

It was nostalgia that drove my early engagement with Attitude (and I suspect was a key factor in Keith’s decision to establish it in the first place).

In its infancy, Attitude provided me and other expats who served in PNG with a vicarious reconnection with friends and former colleagues. It was a forum for shared experiences and reflections on what happened back then and what might have been.

Continue reading "PNG Attitude & the Croc Prize: An opportunity and an obligation" »

A great idea is born


I CAN’T remember when I first started reading PNG Attitude.

I recall dipping into its predecessor, the ASOPA Files, occasionally but not too often because it seemed to be mainly run by old chalkies who were drinking mates and was of limited interest.

How it transmogrified into PNG Attitude I’m not quite sure.

Much of what has happened with PNG Attitude seems to have been serendipitous; that is unplanned, although upon reflection some it it has been anticipated and guided. Most good things develop that way for some reason.

From my own perspective there have been some significant events along the way.

Continue reading "A great idea is born" »

PNG Attitude - let’s celebrate a fine achievement

Ian Kemish, Phil Fitzpatrick & Keith Jackson at the first Crocodile Prize Awards, 2011PHIL FITZPATRICK

AS I’ve gotten older and my short-term memory weakens I find it increasingly difficult to multitask, that is, do more than one thing at a time.

To combat this inevitable development I somewhat reluctantly adopted the need for a routine to manage it.

Routine doesn’t come easily because until recently I operated on the principle of spontaneity. I do things based on my gut feeling rather than logic. When I write I don’t worry about grammar, for instance. If it looks right and sounds right I’m happy. This attitude, I think, adds spice to life.

Continue reading "PNG Attitude - let’s celebrate a fine achievement" »

PNG Attitude - A long journey & a short goodbye

...and so we take our leaveKEITH JACKSON

PNG ATTITUDE first appeared (under the masthead ASOPA People) in February 2006 and its mission soon evolved to be the creation of a dialogue between Papua New Guineans and Australians who were interested in the well-being of Australia’s former colony.

Over its 10 years of publication it has not only presented news, information and commentary but offered insights into the colonial period and PNG's history and heritage; all of this material preserved in the archives of the National Library of Australia.

The blog also has brought together people separated by distance and time, encouraged the emergence of many new PNG writers, provided funding for a host of worthy causes in PNG and, most eminent of all, innovated, incubated and driven forward the Crocodile Prize national literary contest in collaboration with author and ex-kiap Phil Fitzpatrick.

The Crocodile Prize has now evolved as a PNG entity and we will see what becomes of it.

We’ve achieved all this – and probably more – in a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation, critical only of institutions, authorities and individuals who have adopted untruth, incompetence, hypocrisy or corruption as their modus vivendi.

Continue reading "PNG Attitude - A long journey & a short goodbye" »

I'm in transit back to Australia and, after some finagling around the central west of NSW, Noosa. There will be a few disruptions to the usual publication of articles and processing of comments over the next 48 hours. Stick with us.... - KJ

A period away from my desk but it’s business nearly as usual

Keith in IstanbulKEITH JACKSON

TONIGHT Ingrid and I depart these sun-drenched Queensland shores for Dubai, where we will meet up with MV Nautica for a long cruise along India’s coast across to my old Maldives stamping ground and on to Africa.

The five-week voyage will conclude with a few days in Cape Town from where an arduous string of flights will, 35 hours later, deposit us in Orange NSW for the wedding of Ingrid’s first son, Evan, a medical student.

This period away from my desk will, of course, have an impact on the production of PNG Attitude although, on previous sojourns afloat or in hospital or on long treks, I have somehow managed to produce the blog regularly and, as usual, my email remains open to you.

Continue reading "A period away from my desk but it’s business nearly as usual" »

And so, after nearly 10 years, we reach our 10,000th post....


PARDON my indulgence, but we must surely mark this milestone – the 10,000th piece to be published by PNG Attitude since this blog kicked off in February 2006.

And I’ve grabbed the space.

Each of those 10,000 articles, essays, poems, stories, reviews and other writings has been duly archived both here (lower left hand column if you’re interested) and by the National Library of Australia.

Along the way, PNG Attitude has had some great successes and a few failures. Perhaps the highlight has been the achievement of the Crocodile Prize national literary contest, which has just concluded its fifth year.

Continue reading "And so, after nearly 10 years, we reach our 10,000th post...." »

PNG Attitude’s most commented & most liked in August


AUGUST was a month when a big bunch of new readers came to the blog and decided there were a lot of pieces published that they liked.

Hal Holman’s inside story of the tumult behind the design of the Papua New Guinea national flag in the early 1970s was much approved by readers, attracting a record 635 likes.

(Coincidentally, Hal's big format memoir, The Phoenix Rises Eternal - including this story - has just been published in a limited edition.)

And my piece on the Paga Hill Development Company’s gift which will provide a special collection of Crocodile Prize kids’ books for PNG schools scored the second highest approval rating ever with 482 likes.

Raymond Sigimet is a new writer to PNG Attitude but his open letter to the Theo Zurenuoc, Dear Mister Speaker, with 187 likes made an excellent connection with readers.

And there were other stories that were not far behind. It’s a great feeling to kick goals like that for our readers.

Continue reading "PNG Attitude’s most commented & most liked in August" »

So what happened to the kiaps honour roll?

Careers with a ChallengeKEITH JACKSON

AT the request of a group of four former kiaps, the honour roll of patrol officers and related district administration personnel who died in the course of their duties has been removed from PNG Attitude.

The more eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed its absence.

Paul Oates, Ross Wilkinson, Bill Brown MBE and Peter Turner ML BEM were concerned that some of the comments from readers were “sullying the real importance of the Roll” by including, for example, claims of paternity and disputes about historical incidents involving kiaps.

“Could we accord the Roll, and those who names have been entered on it, more dignity, respect and recognition?” asked one ex-kiap, and it was proposed that comments made subsequent to the Honour Roll be relocated to a new section of the blog.

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Most commented & most liked pieces in July’s PNG Attitude


EARLY next month Jimmy Drekore will leave Simbu’s misty mountains and jet down to Queensland to attend the annual Brisbane Writers Festival. Bob Cleland and I arranged the trip, which turns out to be very timely indeed.

In addition to meeting BWF organisers to determine whether linkages can be established between writers in the Land of the Unexpected and the Sunshine State, Jimmy will be sitting down with Bob, Phil Fitzpatrick and me to discuss the future of the Crocodile Prize and the extension of the successful Simbu Writers Association model to other parts of Papua New Guinea.

As regular readers of PNG Attitude will know, Phil and I have decided to take a step back from organising the Prize and its many related activities in a determined effort to get a PNG takeover going.

Having taken five years to establish a literary template that is seen to work effectively in PNG, and with it a good funding base, it is time to pass on total control of the administration to Papua New Guineans.

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PNG Attitude’s most commented & liked pieces in June

_Crocodile Prize 2015KEITH JACKSON

SO the time for entries came to a close in this year’s Crocodile Prize national literary contest and, after a flood of contributions arrived in June, there were 827 pieces of creative work on the table – 200 more than the previous record in 2014.

These came from 132 writers & illustrators, another record, representing 19 of the 22 provinces in Papua New Guinea.

You can download the profile of every author and illustrator here: download profiles (if you're not mentioned, it's because we haven't received your entry form).

Once again Simbu excelled itself with one in five of all entries coming from the highlands province, home to the only writers association in PNG and host of this year’s awards event in September.

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PNG Attitude’s most commented upon & most liked in May


IT seems there’s no such thing as a boring month in the Papua New Guinea – Australia relationship nor in PNG Attitude, one of whose tasks is to keep that relationship in the headlights.

May proved to be a particularly intriguing month because of an incident that developed in a most unexpected way – out of supporting papers to the Australian federal budget.

The budget papers let it be known that Australia had plans to locate a new diplomatic post in Bougainville. Whaaaat, cried PNG, how about asking us first!

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Pleasure multiplied: the delight of sharing books


READ a good book lately? Want to share it with someone?

Written a good book lately? Want to spread it around?

Thought about giving it away so other people can enjoy reading it?

Passing books on gratis is a long standing and underrated tradition.

I’ve read thousands of books in my lifetime but my bookshelves only house a few hundred favourites.

Most of what I read nowadays, unless it’s spectacularly good, ends up in our local Red Cross opportunity shop, sometimes via a few odd relatives and friends.

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April’s most commented & liked pieces in PNG Attitude

Crocodile Prize trophies 2015KEITH JACKSON

THESE are the trophies that, in September, will travel from their place of manufacture in south-east Queensland to the Papua New Guinea highlands to be presented to the winners of this year’s Crocodile Prize.

Along with K5,000 prize money in each of the eight award categories, travel and accommodation to the event at Kundiawa and guaranteed publication in the 2015 Anthology, they represent the reward for outstanding talent and effort.

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PNG Attitude’s most commented & liked pieces in March

PNG Attitude front pageKEITH JACKSON

AND so we report another interesting month’s activity in PNG Attitude. Lots of entries to the Crocodile Prize (the total crept up to nearly 400)

March proved quite a buzz for Crocodile Prize Organisation chairman Jimmy Drekore, who was voted Digicel PNG Man of Honour at a major event in Port Moresby.

Later in the month Jimmy was in the news again when he was selected to attend the Brisbane Writers Festival later this year as the first step in building a relationship between writers’ organisations in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

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Attitude's most commented upon & most liked in February


RECENTLY a reader found cause to offer me some observations about PNG Attitude and this got me thinking about how far this blog has travelled and how the whole project has developed to get to this fourteenth year.

I was just a whippersnapper of 57 when it began.

Its deep beginning was in February 2002 as a conventional hard copy newsletter, under the masthead Vintage, published for former cadet education officers of the Class of 1962-63 of ASOPA, the Australian School of Pacific Administration.

Later in 2002, Vintage morphed into another newsletter called The Mail, which was to run for another nine years under the mastheads PNG Attitude and, briefly near the end, The Review.

The newsletter and the blog, which was launched in February 2006, were published side by side for more than five years.

Then, with the Crocodile Prize beginning to swallow great chunks of my time, the newsletter, which had developed into a sophisticated monthly review of PNG affairs, was discontinued.

As the newsletter and blog developed over those years there were, as you might imagine, huge changes.

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PNG Attitude’s most commented & most liked pieces in January


IN January the 2015 Crocodile Prize national literary contest got going in earnest, with nearly 200 entries received during the month.

The Prize secured two new sponsors: SP Brewery made possible the just-established Illustration Award for and the Paga Hill Development Company spared the Writing for Children Award from extinction after the previous sponsor went missing.

The Crocodile Prize Organisation also welcomed senior academic and award-winning writer John Kaupa Kamasua to its ranks after the resignation of Steven Ilave Sr.

John is contemplating establishing a group like the Simbu Writers Association in Port Moresby. If this can be made to happen, it will represent a major contribution to the development of a sustainable indigenous literature in Papua New Guinea. We wish him well.

Now for the writing that stimulated the most comment and proved most popular in PNG Attitude during January.

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An eight-word note brought forth a mountain of memories

The Golden Years coverKEITH JACKSON

PUBLISHING PNG Attitude – which I have done each day for nearly 10 years from locations as unlikely as the middle of a volcanic eruption in Rabaul in 2006 and a hospital bed after spinal surgery in 2012 - has its compensations.

Which is just as well, since I’m occasionally beset by concerns about the amount of time the blog and its cousin, the Crocodile Prize, suck from a schedule that never seems to ease no matter how many years pass me by.

I have just turned seventy, and who can ignore the Psalms which tell us we are actuarially entitled to “threescore years and ten” and then warn “if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”


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