Books, film & media Feed

The progress of ‘Man Bilong Buk’

QuoteKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – The production of ‘Man Bilong Buk’ – the tribute volume to the life and achievements of the late Francis Nii – was completed within two months of his death on 2 August and is already available as a downloadable book here.

As usual with PNG Attitude projects, the production of this 320-page book has been a team effort involving Francis’s family and friends, fellow writers, who offer their assessments of Francis’s impact on Papua New Guinea literature, and many of our readers who donated funds to enable the books to be distributed free of cost to PNG.

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How a Gumine family graduated from Yale

Pole Kale
Pole Kale writes the story of his life and career but also a manual on how a commitment to education is best realised as a family pursuit

ARNOLD MUNDUA

Quest for Education: From Selling Firewood to Yale University, by Pole John Kale, Published by Francis Nii under the imprint of Simbu Writers Association, August 2020. Copies can be ordered from Pole Kale, email polekale@gmail.com. Also available here from Amazon Books

KUNDIAWA - It is not often that you will find an academic success story of a Papua New Guinean intellectual in print form.

Although written CVs or career profiles may give an insight into a person’s academic background, the early childhood experiences that contribute to achieving such success are mostly obscured.

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Francis Nii e-book free on PNG Attitude

Francis Nii (2)
Phil Fitzpatrick - "This is not a book about a disabled writer. It is a book about a towering figure in the history of Simbu and Papua New Guinea itself"

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – After a remarkably short production time, the Francis Nii collection, ‘Man Bilong Buk’, has been readied for printing and we’re pleased to make an e-book available for free download immediately.

The link to the e-book can be found above this page’s masthead by clicking through the headline ‘The Francis Nii Collection’.

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Innovation can make suckers of us all

Twitter
In the USA much presidential policy is dispensed using Twitter feed. Trump has 86 million followers (PNG Attitude has 7,000)

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - No matter how good an innovation is there will always be people who subvert it and spoil it for everyone else.

This axiom applies from something as simple as people taking undue advantage of a public welfare measure by ripping it off with false claims to the greater complexity of major frauds perpetuated by large corporations taking advantage of loopholes in tax laws.

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A new magazine for Papua New Guinea

PngheadANDREW WILKINS
| Business Advantage International

PORT MORESBY - This week saw the launch of PNG Now, a new lifestyle magazine for Papua New Guinea.

PNG Now is designed to showcase the best of PNG through reviews, guides, articles and tips.

It also offers a platform for exceptional work from some of PNG’s best writers and photographers.

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One of the best kiap memoirs written

Hardy top Talking to people at Wabag
Graham Hardy talking to a meeting at Wabag, late 1950s

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

Over the Hills and Far Away: Memoirs of a Kiap in Papua and New Guinea from 1952 to 1975 by Graham Hardy, privately published, 2020, 207 pages with numerous photographs, $42 plus $9.95 postage, available from the author at gandphardy@gmail.com

TUMBY BAY - If I could live my life over I think I would prefer to have been born 20 years earlier.

That would have made me too young to take part in World War II but just the right age to go to Papua New Guinea as a kiap in the immediate post war period.

That period, especially in the highlands, probably represented the halcyon days of the Australian Administration.

The Papua New Guinean people still lived a largely traditional lifestyle, there remained large areas unexplored, and development after the war was still in its infancy. There was a lot happening and life was exciting.

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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.

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The bringing of law in an unfamiliar clime

Kerry Dillon
Kerry Dillon - at 22 plunged into the intricacies of bringing western criminal justice to Papua New Guinea

KEITH JACKSON

The Chronicle of a Young Lawyer by Kerry Dillon, Hybrid Publishers, August 2020, 384pp. ISBN: 9781925736410, $35. Available from Booktopia & all good bookstores, www.hybridpublishers.com.au and as an ebook from Amazon, Kobo, Google Books and Apple iBookstore

NOOSA – In 1970 I was the 25-year old assistant manager of Radio Rabaul, my main responsibility being running its news service.

For most of my time at the station my staff consisted just of me.

The Mataungan Association, a proto-independence movement, was in full cry and its legitimate call for social equity and fairer land apportionment for the Tolai people was mixed with the illegitimacy of rebellion and violence.

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Give us a hand to find Francis's books

Francis Nii  Kundiawa Hospital  2012KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - As I gradually compile the full list of books that Francis Nii authored, edited or published, it has become clear to me that his productivity – if I may use such a managerial word – was far greater than previously acknowledged.

And so that I can ensure that the volume we are putting together, Man Bilong Buk – The Francis Nii Collection, is as complete and accurate as possible, I’m previewing here where we’re up to in compiling the list of books he wrote, edited or published in the hope that readers will contribute by adding to or correcting our work so far.

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Bravo! Another Metau epic on the way

Inspector Hari Metau
Inspector Hari Metau

If there was any justice in fiction writing, Phil Fitzpatrick’s Hari Metau series would have sold a million copies and be into its third movie by now. Instead, Phil is putting the final touches on the fifth book in the series and I – and many others who have grown to love the stories of the honest, hard-working detective hard at work in steamy, corrupt Port Moresby – will be grateful but unable to make Phil richer - KJ

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - As far as I can work out I learned to read somewhere between my third and fourth birthdays.

By the time I was five I had worked my way through many of the popular children’s books then available, including James Barrie’s Peter Pan or The Boy who would not Grow Up.

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National Book Week is meaningless & vain

Francis
Francis Nii - "A meaningless and derisory celebration that should not be called National Book Week"

FRANCIS NII

One year ago, Francis Nii wrote this article proposing how Papua New Guinea’s annual book week could be more relevant and useful by focusing on locally-authored books. Like much of what Francis wrote, his words were perceptive but ignored. This failure to listen to and act on good advice underpins much of PNG’s failure to progress the interests of its people….

KUNDIAWA - It is high time the meaningless and vain annual National Book Week was changed to make it become the vehicle for stimulating tangible benefits to writers and readers.

Every August features National Book Week. In Papua New Guinea gaudy banners of all sizes rustle in the dusty wind. Written on them is an ostensibly witty theme that nobody cares about.

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A PNG politician, warts & all

Wake Goi CoverPHILIP FITZPATRICK

Flight of Jungle Eagle – An Autobiography of Wake Goi, Francis Nii Publications, 2020, 168 pages, ISBN: 9798640309997, US$21.50 from Amazon.com

TUMBY BAY – This work is notable for a number of reasons including that it was the last book that was edited and published by Francis Nii, who most of our readers will know died on Sunday.

Francis worked on the book while he was ill, managing to complete it during a respite in his battle for survival. A battle he ultimately lost.

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Hostile laws challenge Melanesian media

Cover_FinalNEWSDESK
| Pacific Media Watch

AUCKLAND - Hostile media environments in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and West Papua pose growing challenges to the Melanesian region’s democracies, says Pacific Journalism Review in its latest edition.

The New Zealand-based research journal warns that laws and cultural restrictions are providing barriers to open information and are silencing journalists.

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Ordinary life in an extraordinary place

Frontier-LandsPHILIP FITZPATRICK

Better Than Rich and Famous: My Papua New Guinea Days by Nicholas C Brown, Mereo Books, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, 2020. ISBN: 9781861519641. 318 pages with illustrations. Available from Amazon Australia, Dymocks, Booktopia, Fishpond etc. for between about AU$33 and – AU$43. eBook for AU$4.29.

TUMBY BAY - Anyone who has worked in Papua New Guinea, past or present, will recognise the feeling. It lies somewhere between exasperation, despondency and hopelessness.

You arrive at a new posting and discover that it’s a mess. The airstrip is covered in grass a foot high amongst which half-wild cattle are grazing. The tractor and grass cutter is jacked up without wheels in a tilting shed or rusting out in the rain.

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The warriors who had no name

Nameless Warrios headGREGORY BABLIS

The Ben Moide Story: Nameless Warriors by Lahui Ako, University of Papua New Guinea Press, 2012, 246 pages. ISBN      9980869577. Order online or purchase from the UPNG Press & Bookshop, Port Moresby

PORT MORESBY – Ben Moide was one of the youngest members of the Papuan Infantry Battalion (PIB), a unit of the Australian Army formed in 1940, the first 63 recruits being old or volunteer police officers, some with considerable experience patrolling with the kiaps.

However Moide’s picture of the PIB was not one of glorious comradeship, but of tribal enmities, tensions even amongst kinsmen, dissension, desertion and discrimination between mixed race and other troops. The PIB lost 60% of its members due to such issues.

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We’ve all got a book in us – or two

Better-Rich-than-FamousNICHOLAS C BROWN

VICTORIA - I had gone to Papua New Guinea in 1971 as a 25-year old seeking adventure.

I’d found life in Britain a little less exciting than I had originally hoped and wanted to do something useful.

But, in those days, I had really no idea as to what that might entail.

I was born in London and left the UK in 1972 and, determined to travel and see the world, lived and worked in Papua New Guinea, after which I took up a similar post with the Commonwealth Secretariat in the British Virgin Islands before eventually continuing my career in Australia in the early 1980’s.

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Turning point: Dorney’s history revisited

Dorney
Sean Dorney on the job. His early independence history reveals a significant turning point in PNG's story as a nation

CHRIS BANGA

Papua New Guinea: People, politics and history since 1975 by Sean Dorney, 335 pp. ABC Books, 2000. ISBN-10: 0733309453. Available from Amazon here for $US31.70

PORT MORESBY – In this book, first published in 1990, the noted journalist Sean Dorney gave us a glance of Papua New Guinea, its people, politics and history over its first 15 years after independence.

Dorney lived and worked in PNG for 17 years as the correspondent of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation having previously been assigned there in the early 1970s to work with the embryonic National Broadcasting Commission.

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The art of tree change

Sue & Paul Oates with Suvista Opal - second prize at the Boonah Show
Sue & Paul Oates with Suvista Opal - second prize winning calf at the Boonah Show

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

Phascogales and Other Tales: A Queensland Tree Change by Paul Oates, Independently Published, 2020, ISBN: 9798651038121, 237 pages with 296 colour photographs, available from Amazon.com, paperback US$29.07, eBook US$3.00

TUMBY BAY - One of the core functions that evolved as part of the PNG Attitude oeuvre, if we’re allowed to use such terminology, is the encouragement of writers, both old and new.

This has largely been interpreted as meaning Papua New Guinean writers, as through such endeavours as the Crocodile Prize.

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Radio Days: Political pressure & public resistance

Radio Days - Gareth & me
As new communications minister Gareth Evans wanted to give the ABC a shake-up. That never happened in history without a major brawl

KEITH JACKSON

SYDNEY 1988 – After my first go at the ABC in 1966-69, I spent the best part of four years in the organisation the second time around between 1985 and 1988.

They were years full of incident, drama, stress, occasional misadventure and gritty management. I rarely had so much joy in a job and never so much fear.

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Radio Days: The Canberra connection

Radio Days - Ken  Geoffrey  Wendy
ABC chairman Ken Myer, managing director Geoffrey Whitehead and deputy chair Wendy McCarthy, 1985

KEITH JACKSON

SYDNEY 1987 – Australia’s centre of government and ‘bush capital’, Canberra, looms large in the life of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, both because 90% of the its money comes from there and because the government of the day appoints the ABC chairman and board.

Furthermore, federal politicians tend to have a proprietary view of the ABC. And, to give this an edge, right wing politicians have a belief, neatly expressed by my onetime business associate and Liberal Party heavyweight Grahame Morris, that the ABC is a manifestation of “my enemy talking to my friends”.

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Radio Days: The ascent of David Hill

Radio Days - David good portrait
David Hill - an exhilarating and exhausting man to be around. He left the ABC, where he was Chairman then CEO from 1986-95, much better than when he found it

KEITH JACKSON

SYDNEY 1986 – In mid-August 1986, I had just got back to my desk after what I considered a well-earned week’s break in Bali when I was called into managing director Geoffrey Whitehead’s office, on the twelfth floor of Broadcast House overlooking Hyde Park.

Geoffrey had just returned from Canberra with new ABC chairman David Hill, in his first week in the job, and Geoffrey was looking worried.

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Radio Days: Return to the ABC

Radio Days - journalKEITH JACKSON

SYDNEY 1985 – I first began to keep a journal in 1973 during my last months in Bougainville. Over the next 15 years I was faithful to it except for the period at 2SER-FM when my days were too long and crowded and my fidelity lapsed.

In the beginning, it was a work diary and was consequently terse and utilitarian.

But it soon became something else, more descriptive and observational - a record not just of decisions and commitments but of issues and adventures, important people and conversations, significant insights, and articulations of my own feelings.

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Radio Days: Back to ASOPA

ITI aerial
The olive roofs of ITI, the tennis court at the rear was owned by the army, whose commando base was in the green-roofed buildings to the left

KEITH JACKSON

SYDNEY 1983-84 – In 1973, with Papua New Guinea having achieved self-government as its final step on the way to independence, the old colonial training institute, the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA), was reconceived and rebadged.

Early in 1974, as the International Training Institute (ITI), it accepted its first trainee middle managers from developing countries. It was a 180 degree shift from its colonial roots.

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Australian Pacific TV initiative lashed

CaptureKATE LYONS | Pacific Editor
| Guardian Australia | Judith Neilson Institute

SYDNEY - A move to broadcast Australian commercial television, including Neighbours, Border Security and Masterchef in Pacific nations could be counterproductive in promoting Australia’s relationship with the region, an expert media group has warned.

The new PacificAus TV program will allow Australian content to be aired free of charge by broadcasters in seven Pacific nations, at a cost of $17.1m, in a move seen as an attempt to combat Chinese influence in the Pacific region.

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Radio Days: A dash at politics

ALP hawkie
Despite John Pilger's assertion in A Secret Country, Bob Hawke and I were never mates (in the ALP sense), but we had some interesting encounters in the 1980s. I think in this pic the Silver Bodgie was having a go at the state of my hair

KEITH JACKSON

SYDNEY 1983 – When my family and I returned to Australia in 1979 and moved to live at Clareville on Sydney’s northern beaches, one of my first priorities outside work was to join the Narrabeen-Pittwater branch of the Australian Labor Party.

I’d been a member of the ALP for eight years, having joined in strange circumstances in 1971, but had never been part of a branch.

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Radio Days: Broadway follies

2SER chalk radio headKEITH JACKSON

SYDNEY 1981-82 – Vulgarity, offence and obscenity have cherished places in the folklore of broadcasting and all broadcasters have their favourite story of how they said something inadvertently odious or incredibly stupid while the microphone was live and thousands of people listening in.

A colleague of mine, the manager of Radio Rabaul, Paul Cox, given the job of broadcast director of the royal tour of Papua New Guinea in early 1974, was one broadcaster who experienced the fallout from inadvertence.

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Radio Days: Hello Sydney!

Keith-jackson-2ser- 1979
Keith Jackson in the main studio of the just completed 2SER-FM, August 1979

KEITH JACKSON

SYDNEY 1979 – Sue and the kids had returned to Australia in January while I wrapped up my Maldives consultancy for UNESCO.

I was counting on getting a job in Sydney.

I’d been told by my onetime ABC colleague In Papua New Guinea, Andrew Greig, that an educational radio station, to be known as 2SER-FM, had been licenced for the city and the two universities that held the licence were looking for a manager to get it going.

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Radio Days: The cultural conundrum

IM & AM
The PNG Independence Medal sits beside my Order of Australia (AM) in a box at home. To me they're poignant reminders of a career now left behind but which was always exciting and sometimes terrifying

KEITH JACKSON

MALDIVE ISLANDS 1978-79 – In mid-1978 I was sitting at my desk in the downstairs office of my home, White Waves, the spray from the waves pounding on the nearby reef corroding the light fittings, when a large manila envelope arrived in the morning post.

It was addressed to ‘Mr K Jackson BA’ and was festooned with Papua New Guinea stamps. Like much of the mail we received in Malé it had a battered and soiled appearance that suggested it had travelled for many months in a dirty sack in the hold of a slow ship.

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Radio Days: Journeys by sea

Busy Male harbour with Malship freighter in background
The busy boat harbour at Malé, with a Malships freighter anchored in the lagoon.  The hub for small boats from more than 200 populated islands

KEITH JACKSON

MALDIVE ISLANDS 1978 – I grew up in the NSW coastal town of Nowra on the banks of the Shoalhaven River where, from a young age, I became familiar with sailing and the sea, sometimes accompanying fishermen on stomach churning early morning exploits beyond sight of land.

But nothing prepared me for the Maldives archipelago where, even for a picnic lunch, you had to travel by dhoni and the completion of any serious work around the country necessitated a sea voyage.

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Radio Days: Landfall in the Maldives

Mrs StevensKEITH JACKSON

MALDIVE ISLANDS 1977 – First came the telegram from UNESCO in Paris then the letter from a Mrs Stevens concerning the vexed subject of toilet paper.

I was sitting on the verandah of our house on the Bundarra Road 20 kilometres from Armidale when I spotted the Australia Post motorbike slowly skid off the main road below and grumble up our long dusty drive.

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We mustn’t lose our literary magazines

Literary magazinesALEXANDRA DANE
| Lecturer, University of Melbourne

This article demonstrates that Papua New Guinea is not the only place where the government has a lack of interest in literature. In Australia it is also notable is the absence of the arts sector in the stimulus and help programs following the coronavirus outbreak. It seems that neo-liberalists are also Philistines – Phil Fitzpatrick

MELBOURNE - Australia’s literary journals are produced in a fragile ecosystem propped up by a patchwork of volunteer labour, generous patrons and, with any luck, a small slice of government funding.

The Sydney Review of Books, the Australian Book Review and Overland were among a group of publications who sought four-year funding from the Australia Council in 2020 but were unsuccessful.

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The demise of regional broadcasting

Justin Kili 1972
Justin Kili as a young announcer in 1972 - "Who is the Queen of Papua New Guinea?"

GRAHAM KING

YUNGABURRA - “And now let’s spin another disc from the Beatle boys” – those were the words I heard from NBC announcer Cathy Garoa when I first tuned in my new radio-cassette player in early 1980.

Where I lived in Papua New Guinea, there was no FM radio, no television, no Australian newspapers and the internet was not yet a thing.

So how did Papua New Guineans obtain their information?

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Radio Days: An Australian foothold

2ARM - press clipsKEITH JACKSON

ARMIDALE 1976-77 – In May 1976, I had no sooner proffered my resignation from the National Broadcasting Commission than an advertisement appeared in The Australian newspaper for a ‘station coordinator’ of 2ARM-FM Armidale.

This was an embryonic community based radio station with a board of directors, a programming collective, $10,000 in the bank, but no staff, no programs and a six month deadline to get on air.

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PNG media: 'Crisis on multiple fronts'

Scott_waide
Scott Waide - "“Politicians are put on a pedestal and adored, corruption is normalised and legalised"

SRI KRISHNAMURTHI
| Pacific Media Watch | Edited extracts

AUCKLAND - Papua New Guinea’s two daily newspapers – the PNG Post-Courier and The National – which dominate the market, demonstrated “overwhelming deference” to the office of former prime minister Peter O’Neill, says a new report about the country’s media freedom.

Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) released a preliminary statement from a research report saying it found “much wrong” with the PNG media.

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Radio Days: Fights between whitemen

Graduates assembled
I graduated from the University of PNG on 1 August 1975, six weeks before independence day

KEITH JACKSON

“The NBC in the first decade of its existence was a model developing world broadcaster. It was one of the first PNG bodies to be totally localised and it had an outstanding record of performance in a remarkable number of communications fields” - Editorial, The National, 2 November 2004

PORT MORESBY 1975-76 – Even for us who were in Papua New Guinea at the time, it’s easy to forget that – while we knew independence was on the way – the precise date was announced just three months before the momentous day.

For many expatriate public servants, including the seconded ABC managers in the National Broadcasting Commission, the date was irrelevant. They had already received letters thanking them for their services and a one-way ticket home.

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Radio Days: Building a corporation

NBC 5 year plan
Abstract from the cover of the NBC's first five-year plan. The primary task of the new commission was to blend two radio services into one and build a network worthy of a newly independent nation

KEITH JACKSON

PORT MORESBY 1973-74 – As I returned to Port Moresby in October 1973 after six months developing an educational radio operation in Java, life in Papua New Guinea was in upheaval.

The rush towards independence was well and truly on and the impacts were tangible as many expatriate public servants readied themselves for imminent redundancy.

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Preaching to the converted

Displaced CoverPHILIP FITZPATRICK

Displaced: A Rural Life by John Kinsella, Transit Lounge, Melbourne, 2020. 329 pages, ISBN: 9781925760477. About AU$30 in most bookshops and online sites

TUMBY BAY - I’ve just finished reading a memoir by one of Australia’s acclaimed writers and poets, John Kinsella. I bought it on the strength of the reviews that I read.

Blue Wolf Reviews calls his work “magnificent, raw; the words coming together in form and shape to evoke the essence of the moment in time he is creating”.

The Australian says that “Kinsella can see into the heart of the country, and the evidence of these taut, complex stories is that what he sees there is both ferocious and unresolved”.

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Transparency to examine bias in PNG press

NiusARIANNE KASSMAN
| Transparency International PNG

PORT MORESBY - Mainstream newspapers have been criticised by citizens as being biased for some time now, with the intensity of feelings increasing in the lead up to the 2017 national elections and the 2018 APEC leaders’ summit.

The question that has been asked by the public is; to what extent is there a bias in the media on governance issues, and more importantly, will it matter in the next major national event, e.g., the current Covid-19 emergency or the 2022 general elections?

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Northumbrian kiap get tick from uni

Robert Forster
Robert Forster tucks into some brain food as a young kiap

ROBERT FORSTER

NORTHUMBRIA - Divine Word University in Madang has secured exclusive distribution rights within Papua New Guinea for my book ‘The Northumbrian Kiap’ which examines bush administration in the turbulent period immediately before independence.

DWU has a reputation for innovation and I’m very pleased with this collaboration.

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Simbu group proposes coronavirus concept

Covid 19FRANCIS NII

KUNDIAWA - Covid-19 is a new disease that caught the whole world off-guard like a tsunami rendering all known medical science irrelevant and ineffective.

Even the best organised nations have struggled to effectively contain the virus.

It was in December at Wuhan Central Hospital, China, that Dr Li Wenling, an ophthalmologist and physician, first observed signs of the virus and warned colleagues about a possible outbreak of an illness like SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) that had broken out in 2003.

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Radio Days: Journey into management

Leigh HH 'Jim'
Jim Leigh with trainee broadcasters. He had a deep-seated dislike of the ABC but was instrumental in constructing 18 government radio stations across the length and breadth of PNG

KEITH JACKSON

PORT MORESBY, 1969 – For some minutes my eyes remained fixed on the newspaper advertisement.

Placed under the logo of the Department of Information and Extension Services, it sought three assistant managers for government broadcasting stations in rural areas of Papua New Guinea.

The colonial Administration, fed up with the ABC dragging its feet on extending its own PNG services throughout the Australian territory, was building its own radio stations and looking to recruit expatriate managers.

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Radio Days: Welcome to the ABC

P-C front page 16-8-69
I have always freelanced, still do. I spent two weeks on leave from the ABC writing for the Post-Courier in August 1969 reporting on athletics at the South Pacific Games

KEITH JACKSON

PORT MORESBY, 1966 – Late in 1966, I received a pleasant surprise when Papua New Guinea’s 30-something director of education, Ken McKinnon, recently returned from Harvard with a PhD, transferred me from my highlands hideaway at Gagl Primary T School to Port Moresby as editor of the School Paper.

For this unexpected elevation I had to give thanks to the trifecta of Kundiawa News, scriptwriting for the ABC, and freelance journalism for Pacific Islands Monthly and the South Pacific Post.

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Dom’s poetry receives Pacific praise

Faumuina
Faumuina Tafuna'i

FAUMUINA FELOLINI MARIA TAFUNA’I
| Flying Geese Productions

CHRISTCHURCH - Poet Michael Dom’s two newest books are being praised for their illumination of life in Papua New Guinea and as a “treasure chest of a special type of poetry”.

Dried Grass over Rough Cut Logs and 26 Sonnets: Contemporary Papua New Guinean Poetry were launched this month.

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Radio Days: In the beginning

Haus Pig (Pig Sty)  Kundiawa  1964
The haus pik, just across the road from the Chimbu Club, and my first home in Kundiawa (1964)

KEITH JACKSON

GAGL, 1966 – I’d been teaching in the New Guinea highlands for two years at the one-teacher, 12-student Australian curriculum primary school in Kundiawa when Konedobu (Pidgin English for ‘place where big men give orders’) decided I was old enough.

With me having reached the significant age of 20, Konedobu determined I had accumulated enough chronology to be dispatched as head teacher to a more remote primary school – a fully-fledged institution with real classrooms and 150 students.

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Michael Dom: A young poet comes of age

Michael Dom 2
Michael Dom - "Picks up the ordinary and mundane, and projects it on to a page and makes us see what we are unable see on our own"

STEVEN WINDUO

26 Sonnets: Contemporary Papua New Guinean Poetry, by Michael Dom, JDT Publications, March 2020, 66pp. ISBN-13: 979-8621-24-062-2

Free download 26 Sonnets eBook by Michael Dom

PORT MORESBY - I have great respect and admiration for the bold and measured language in Michael Dom’s poetry.

Reading this collection assured me that Dom is willing to take up forms of poetry that are structured and articulated through very specific rules of construction.

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An enduring book about Australian bastardry

BB
Behrouz Boochani would have made a great Australian

PHIL FITZPATRICK

No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison  by Behrouz Boochani, Picador, 2018, ISBN: 9781760555382, 374 pages, AU$15 from Amazon Australia.

TUMBY BAY - I’ve been holding off reading this book for a while. I’m not really sure why.

Perhaps it’s because I couldn’t face the misery and the pathos of that I thought it would depict. Perhaps it’s because of the sense of shame that I thought it would provoke.

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Loss of AAP news service

AAP staff are told their newsagency is closing with the loss of 500 jobs (AAP)
AAP staff are told their news agency is closing with the loss of 500 jobs (AAP)

SRI KRISHNAMURTHI
| Asia Pacific Report/Pacific Media Watch | Extract

AUCKLAND - The shock announcement yesterday that the Australian Associated Press newsagency will cease operations after 85 years is a blow to journalism in Australia and the Pacific.

AAP, which is owned by Nine, News Corp Australia, The West Australian and Australian Community Media, provided services to media companies such as newswires, subediting and photography will close with the loss of 500 jobs – 180 of them journalists.

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Rebellion, chaos and mysticism

Sandline
The Sandline debacle was a political scandal and a defining moment in the history of PNG, particularly influencing the Bougainville civil war

PHIL FITZPATRICK

Operation Kisim Bek Lombo by Baka Barakove Bina, Independently Published, 2019, ISBN: 97819744332366, 350 pages, my copy cost AU$34.28 from Amazon.com but there’s an eBook that costs US$4.94.

TUMBY BAY - We are probably all familiar with the term ‘alternative facts’. It is part of the bizarre tableau of language that has emanated from Trumpian America and sits alongside other questionable expressions like ‘fake news’.

Similar expressions are commonly found in literary fiction, particularly historical fiction. Historical fiction seeks to fill in the gaps between known or accepted facts to flesh out obscure and fuzzy periods in the past.

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Life after going finish

CocosPHIL FITZPATRICK

Life on a Coral Atoll: Australia’s Cocos (Keeling) Islands by Paul Oates, 2020, ISBN: 9798602004854, 174 pages with heaps of b/w photographs, US$4.90 + postage paperback or US$2.00 eBook, available from Amazon.com

TUMBY BAY - There is now a slim but veritable genre of kiap memoirs available in print. Some of them have been published by mainstream publishers but most are self-published.

The simple fact behind the preponderance of self-published work is that the general public, in Australia at least, is not especially interested in the subject.

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