PNG Attitude Feed

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


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

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.


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


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" »


"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.

Continue reading "10 years of PNG Attitude in the National Library archives" »

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


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

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


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 ([email protected]), Jemima Garrett ([email protected]) and Sue Ahearn ([email protected]).

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 & 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

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


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....


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.

Continue reading "Papua New Guinea's publishing revolution" »

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.

Continue reading "PNG Attitude: Feeding our creative & literary brain" »

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.

Continue reading "Tour of Australia by PNG writers was more than literary exchange" »

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.

Continue reading "We love to write but we need the oxygen of publicity" »

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.

Continue reading "PNG writers in discussions with Australian authors’ body" »

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.

Continue reading "PNG writers spectacular international debut at Brisbane festival" »

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: 50 years serving the people of PNG


MAYNOOTH, IRELAND - 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.

Continue reading "My Story: 50 years serving the 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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PNG Attitude - let’s celebrate a fine achievement


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.

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PNG Attitude: A long journey & a short goodbye


NOOSA - 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.

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