IT’S been a while since PNG Attitude asked readers to kick in for a worthwhile cause, but Phil Fitzpatrick came up with a good idea and now Jo Holman, wife of the late Hal Holman, has come up with the means.
The idea, which Phil brought to life in a piece last week, is simple: funds are provided to buy books which are sent to their Papua New Guinean authors to sell, hopefully retaining the proceeds to buy more books.
More PNG authors are stepping up to the plate to publish books, thanks to the CreateSpace innovation which enable free publication.
PAPUA New Guinea’s writers patiently wait their turn to one day hit the limelight. Surely it will happen.
We have already witnessed so much raw talent emerging from sport, music and other artistic pursuits that our writers must one day achieve success after being exposed on the national and international stage.
Our government has built modern stadiums and training facilities and provides cash incentives for athletes who win gold medals – the type of support required for success.
FORMERLY dissident Bougainville groups have united to reject an attempt by Peter O’Neill to transfer Rio Tinto shares to them rather than to the Autonoous Bougainville Government (ABG).
Panguna landowner associations and the Meekamui Government of Unity, meeting at Kuri village in Buka late last week, spurned the offer, made two weeks ago, which commentators saw as a crude attempt to aggravate divisions between the ABG and groups with which its relationships have not always been smooth.
But the move has backfired, instead drawing once dissident groups closer together, and moving more Bougainvilleans to contemplate a future without Papua New Guinea.
PAPUA New Guinea's trade minister Richard Maru warned the government that its proposed rice policy could have a drastic impact on PNG in terms of its trade ties with Australia.
Mr Maru (pictured) was responding to questions from Rabaul MP Dr Allan Marat, who asked if a policy which will give a single company a monopoly will strain ties with Australia.
PNG imports K700 million worth of rice annually and Australian company Trukai is the major importer.
AN IRANIAN refugee held at an Australian-funded detention centre in Papua New Guinea has won a political cartooning award for his work depicting life inside the camp.
Ali, a 25-year-old whose pen name is Eaten Fish, has chronicled his three-year detention on Manus Island as he struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and debilitating panic attacks.
Under Australia’s hard-line immigration policy, anyone intercepted trying to reach the country by boat is sent for processing to camps on Manus or Nauru in the South Pacific. They are not eligible to be resettled in Australia.
SOME 10 days ago, I wrote a piece following expressions of concern in Papua New Guinea that new cybersecurity legislation would be used to crack down on freedom of speech.
Political commentator Martyn Namorong said he would shut down his Namorong Report blog to avoid breaching the new Act and Transparency International chair Lawrence Stephens said he was worried the Act was “the start of a slippery slope to wider censorship”.
My remarks in response basically argued “let’s see how the new laws are applied, then form a judgement.”
An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize
In the twinkle of an eye
As it seemed, onion's vapour comes in contact
It filled with watery feeling
The eye lid worked hard with strong muscles to stay closed
Soon the white retina turned red
Darkness is the image projected inside the brain's focal sight
bang, bang, bang
A PAPUA New Guinea court has dismissed all criminal proceedings against the attorney general and justice minister Ano Pala.
Mr Pala was arrested and charged with abuse of office and misappropriation in April in a series of high-profile arrests by the police anti-corruption unit.
The Supreme Court last month quashed the warrant of arrest against Mr Pala, and his legal team has sought to end all proceedings against him.
The National newspaper reports that magistrate John Kaumi said the Supreme Court ruling was clear and dismissed all proceedings and ordered that Mr Pala's bail money be refunded.
THE PAPUA New Guinea government has announced more spending cuts and revenue raising measures in a bid to reduce a deficit blowout.
The government handed down a supplementary budget, saying it would cut spending by K928 million and raise a further K958 million to keep its deficit at K2.1 billion rather than the projected K3.9 billion.
The cuts include slashing K649 million from capital works and holding back K279 million kina from government agencies.
PAPUA New Guinea’s trade minister Richard Maru has again asked the Fijian government to lift its ban on the corned beef product, Ox & Palm.
Maru said the PNG government struggled for 16 years to have Ox & Palm sold in Fiji and it has given the Fijian government two weeks to respond or PNG will retaliate by shelving some imported Fijian products.
He said a letter was sent to the Fijian government after testing carried by the PNG National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority.
THE Wafi-Golpu joint venture in Morobe Province has applied for a special mining lease, the first large-scale resource project in the province since the Hidden Valley mine commenced operations in 2009.
The application follows a review by the boards of both Newcrest Mining and Harmony Gold Mining of a pre-feasibility study.
If developed, the project will make a substantial positive impact to Papua New Guinea’s economy.
“WHEN, in Paris Trance, Alex asks Luke why he never got round to finishing the novel he came to Paris to write, Luke responds: “Why write something if you can live it?... ”Why write something if you can live it? Alex knows why. “Because you can’t live it forever.” (excerpt from ‘New York Trance: Geoff Dyer and the Life of a Writer’).
This glimpse of a layer of rich tapestry popped up in a long-form essay Englishman Toby Lloyd (pictured) in the Los Angeles Review of Books.
It was a gem I uncovered midway through a lazy Sunday trawl of the internet; my usual haunt when needing inspiration or procrastination while writing.
AS STUDENTS converge on the University of Technology in Lae for resumption of the academic year, repair work continues on damage from June's unrest.
Unitech courses were suspended after the murder of a student in a dormitory and university buildings were burned down in a concerted attack on campus in late June.
Unitech vice chancellor Albert Schram says the administration has worked hard to reconstruct key infrastructure including the mess in time for resumption of classes next week.
PAPUA New Guinea's revenue base has shrunken back to where it was a decade ago despite the economy having doubled in size in that time.
The PNG Treasury's 2016 mid-year outlook shows a collapse in revenue for a second consecutive year.
Australian economist Stephen Howes, who is director of ANU’s Development Policy Centre, said a central reason for the reduction is a disappearance in taxes from the mining and petroleum sector.
BOUGAINVILLE president Dr John Momis has given PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill a “final opportunity” to transfer the 17.4% equity in Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) bequeathed to it by Rio Tinto to the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG).
If this does not happen, Momis has said in a letter to O'Neill, “the ABG must use other means to keep control of decisions made about the Panguna copper and gold mine.
“The ABG cannot allow your bad decisions to stand," the president said.
“In particular, we will cancel BCL's exploration licence under the Bougainville Mining Act [and] seek a new developer by inviting tenders.”
IN A recent article, Phil Fitzpatrick described politicians as a global rabble. Like many of us, he thinks that the political class - now dominating democracies almost everywhere - has conspicuously failed to deliver the quality of government we need.
As a general observation, very few of us aspire to be politicians. We do not wish to expose ourselves to the often unfair criticism and abuse that politicians endure, nor suffer the unsociable hours and many tedious and frustrating aspects of the job.
Most particularly, few of us would enjoy the relentless public scrutiny involved, where our slightest error in judgement or other misdemeanour can see us publically labelled as hypocrites, fools or crooks.
UNLESS you are extremely lucky there is very little financial reward attached to being a writer.
In Australia the average annual income of a full-time writer is currently $12,900, well below the poverty line in our money driven society.
In Papua New Guinea, it’s fair to say writers’ incomes are not far above zero. That doesn’t help Papua New Guinean literature.
This is one of the hardest truths to convey to new writers when they approach Pukpuk Publications for help in getting their books to market.
IT APPEARS that 2016 is a volatile year for Papua New Guinea in both politics and economics.
The economy under the O’Neill government has faced a volatile period since 2014 when the economy began to experience commodity volatility following a successful decade of impressive economic growth in the Pacific region.
The slump in the global oil price in late 2014 affected the revenue base of the PNG economy. As a result, the government imposed austerity measures to keep economic risks to a manageable level.
IT WAS a Facebook post that caught my eye. He’d posted two of his latest paintings, this Facebook friend I’d never met in person.
Clement Koys is a talented and down to earth young man with passion and commitment. He’s a lad from Simbu now living in Port Moresby.
Clement’s paintings are attractive and eye-catching. But since I am interested in Papua New Guinea’s cultural heritage and do volunteer work on cultural preservation and promotion, I was particularly intrigued.
You see dried grass over rough cut logs
And the earth floor of my house
When I open my home to you
And you think to yourself how you can help me.
I smelled the air that morning we cut the kunai grass
And I heard the children laughing as they played
On the green knoll beside us
And I tasted the sweet sour sweat
As we hewed the living trees to earth.
Two Sides to Every Story: A short guide to cross cultural awareness in Papua New Guinea, Philip Fitzpatrick, Pukpuk Publications, 2016, ISBN: 978-1537118406, 114 pages, US$5.53 plus postage from Amazon Books
SEVERAL years ago I wrote a paper about cultural awareness. It was based on my experiences working in Papua New Guinea, with indigenous communities in Australia and in some South Pacific islands, including Vanuatu and the Cook Islands.
My target audience was resource and project developers in Papua New Guinea. With that in mind I consulted many sources including a number of Papua New Guineans working in the field - geologists, camp managers and anthropologists.
I was prompted to write the paper, which finds a new life in this book, after watching the unnecessary problems that development workers and project managers seem to experience in Papua New Guinea because of their lack of cultural awareness.
An entry in the Crocodile Prize
As the Sun sets over Mount Kauka,
A magnificent ray of golden red splatters the horizon.
Before the night makes the world darker,
That ancient Sun is certain to rise again when it dawns.
Beautiful golden red, pink and purple,
Such are colours to behold.
But if a sunset has them all,
Now that is a moment untold.
CAIRNS businesses have lashed out at Qantas for abandoning direct Cairns-Papua New Guinea flights.
Qantas announced last month that, due to high demand for flights to Bali, it would be reducing its domestic flights in regional areas.
This includes shifting its Cairns-Port Moresby flights to Brisbane-Port Moresby from the end of October in order to better serve the business market.
DON Williams ('Old Baldy', he'd call himself) was hewn of the toughest and roughest stuff that they grow in the urban jungles of Sydney’s west.
Of gravel voice and challenging mien, he had a fondness for racehorses, bourbon, fishing and Camels. In no particular order of preference.
Those same cigarettes, he told me in our last conversation three weeks ago, were certainly responsible for the cancer in both lungs that killed him.
Don had called me to explain his circumstances and to say goodbye. We had a long conversation.
TANYA ZERIGA-ALONE | EmnauPNG’s Blog
GETTING ahead in life by cheating the system is extolled as the smarter way, smarter than following rules and regulations that keep societies fair for all citizens.
This is observed on PMV buses, in taxis and with political leaders. Smart lawyers divulge that information to business prospects.
How did this mentality come about? Maybe this lack of respect is a carry-over from the lack of trust pervasive along tribal lines. Everyone wants to get ahead at any cost but cannot trust anyone outside the tribe.
We need more common sense. But common sense is not common; it is a product of culture. If by common sense we mean Western custom, this alien custom needs to be learned. It is not captured through association or by watching reruns of Neighbours or Ramsey Street.
WHILE the political system in Papua New Guinea has thrown up a particularly venal type of politician, in Australia it has created something quite different.
Here the standout politicians are the cruel and unfeeling ones.
That isn’t to say Papua New Guinea’s politicians aren’t also cruel and unfeeling or that Australian politicians aren’t greedy and avaricious.
Greedy politicians still hurt people and cruel and unfeeling politicians usually have an economic motive at their base. It’s just that in our two supposedly democratic countries the emphasis is different.
MY SON Ben Jackson has just been appointed as communications specialist to an important Australian-funded project in Papua New Guinea.
Together with partner Becky and three-year old daughter Leilani, Ben will head to Port Moresby at the end of September to work in the new Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct.
This is a joint PNG-Australia program that aims to develop ethical leaders who will implement the PNG government’s priorities for national development. It’s a visionary project aimed at effective service delivery and equitable growth across PNG.
Land of the Unexpected: short stories, anecdotes and memoirs of Papua New Guinea, Peter Comerford, APM Publishing Services, 2016, ISBN: 978-0994447425, 360 pages, $25 plus postage from Peter. Email him here
WHEN Peter Comerford’s book arrived in the mail a few weeks ago I looked at the title and cover and thought, ‘Oh dear, not another one’, and put the book at the bottom of my stack of unread books.
When I eventually worked my way down to it I discovered a note inside from Peter that explained his own trepidation about the title,
“My original idea for a title was ‘Tingting Bek …’ but in the end I went with the highly ‘original’ title of ‘Land of the Unexpected’”.
I’ve never been very good with book titles and headlines either. That’s more in the line of an expert journalist like Keith Jackson and I can sympathise with Peter.
THE gaping hole carved into mountains was at one point the world's largest open-cut copper mine.
Right on Australia's doorstep, it delivered riches beyond imagining and a mess big enough to tear a country apart.
This controversial pit became the flashpoint for a bitter civil war in Papua New Guinea in the 1990s that cost as many as 20,000 lives.
THE turbulent events of recent months in Papua New Guinea have greatly affected our daily lives.
For the first time ever, I am beginning to think seriously about our country and what the future holds for us as a nation.
We are going to celebrate our country’s independence next month. It is an occasion when we come together as family and friends to celebrate the journey of triumphs and travails we have taken together.
So many people in PNG today are disillusioned by the accumulated injustices they see all around them.
They believe the future is really not promising.
IN HIS critical review of traditional kastom in Papua New Guinea, Sam Koim should have been more specific.
He should have stated that our culture has been politicised both by politicians and those mostly western educated men who have become bikman by money and who go back to the village to flaunt their wealth in order to buy support and recognition.
This is a total abuse of our customary systems.
I am writing this as someone who comes from a simple background and who has been privileged to witness and experience the benefits of customary practices like hauskrai and bride price and the benefits they have on society.
PAPUA New Guinea's deputy opposition leader Sam Basil has expressed concern over the 400% increase in local level government election candidate’s nomination fees from K2,000 to K10,000.
In parliament late last week, a series of questions was asked about the local level government elections and prime minister Peter O'Neill indicated that the next sitting of parliament will seek to amend the election laws.
"That is to increase the nomination fees to help fund the shortfalls in the overall funding of the Electoral Commission budget which was reduced from K500 million to K300-million,” Mr Basil said.
IT IS now clear that PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill’s decision to transfer part of his government’s equity in Bougainville Copper Ltd to “the Bougainville people” specifically excludes the transfer of shares to the Autonomous Bougainville Government.
O’Neill said he "deliberately decided" to do this so "the ABG does not control the shares.”
And Bougainville president John Momis is furious.
Rio Tinto recently decided to quit its stake in BCL and foolishly transferred shares to give the feuding PNG and Bougainville governments equal equity.
HELA landowners from the Hides area have signed a memorandum of understanding with a PNG government team paving the way for normal business operations to resume at the Exxon LNG project.
Petroleum and Energy Minister Nixon Duban was present at the signing and agreed to honour all the matters in a landowners’ petition that would be taken to cabinet for further action.
The government provided bank documents showing that royalty money had been deposited in Bank South Pacific and the Bank of PNG. Government officers have also begun the clan vetting process to determine who should receive payments.
An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize
You’re hurting me, please stop I cried
I’m sorry that your brother died.
Your brother was my son, you see,
So stop this pain. You’re hurting me.
I’m sorry that your father died,
He was my husband, at my side.
He was so old, he could not walk,
He even found it hard to talk.
I’m sorry that your daughter died.
In God’s own hand she’ll now abide.
She was my grandchild, dear to me,
I would not harm her, don’t you see.
OUR customary practices in Papua New Guinea are mostly geared towards wealth consumption not wealth generation.
Whether it's haus krai, compensation, bride price or Moka, all are designed to consume wealth.
There is no wealth transfer during these customary exercises nor is there wealth generation.
THE forgotten backwater that is Daru is to receive funding from Australian Aid for its seriously dilapidated hospital.
Daru hospital has only three wards in one unit. According to Hospital CEO Sister Orpah Tugo, the paediatrics ward, the surgery ward and the medical ward are all stationed in one unit with 10 beds allocated for each.
Furthermore, the gynaecology ward, the labour ward and the obstetrics ward share one unit again with 10 beds allocated for each.
An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize
Tell me now, what have I become, a creature of the dark?
I don’t have my own soul.
I am not my own.
Living on the wasted
Feeding on the remains of the night
A life I call mine
Screams out through the window of my insanity.
Tell me now, what have I become, a creature of the dark?
I cannot sleep.
It has ceased with time.
I remain locked, trapped, a prisoner of my insanity
Robbed from the joys that were once mine.
WHEN prime minister Peter O’Neill welcomed the passing of Papua New Guinea’s cybercrime legislation this week, he said the internet must be a place where "human rights are respected and cowards not misuse technology to hurt people and incite violence.”
Commentator Martyn Namorong’s immediate response was to say he was quitting his long-running and respected blog, The Namorong Report.
He said the new laws had elements that caused him concern, including a section with vague references to "defamation" and "undermining the state"which could potentially be used to quash criticism of the government.
THE University of Papua New Guinea will today initiate contempt of court proceedings against Student's Representative Council lawyer Laken Lepatu Aigilo.
UPNG allege the young lawyer (pictured) encouraged students to go on strike after the court issued a restraining order not to do so.
UPNG is also blaming Aigilo for property damage that occurred when campus buildings were burned down.
"I welcome the proceeding and, if the law finds me guilty, let me serve the prison term," Aigilo said.
THE CATHOLIC church dedicates August as the month of the bible and Catholics everywhere are called to read the good book with renewed energy, zeal and commitment to prayer.
This year’s theme is ‘listen to God’s heartbeat in the bible’. For Christians, God speaks to us in the bible and, when we read the bible, meditate and listen deeper, we can feel God’s heart beat in his words.
In Goroka, Bishop Francesco Sarego, in one of his final homilies, challenged parishioners of St Mary of Help Kefamo to make the gospel become a reality in their lives.
“If you don’t read your bibles, it is useless,” Bishop Sarego observed. “The words of God do not reach your hearts. Read your bibles and let it open your hearts.”
The bishop concluded that Jesus was a model in serving others; he lived a life of serving, sharing and caring for others. Jesus revealed God’s infinite mercy for mankind.
PETER O’Neill has avoided a full frontal clash with the Autonomous Bougainville Government by agreeing to give it a majority stake in the Panguna gold and copper mine.
In a move that was fundamentally stupid, mining giant Rio Tinto in June decided to split its 53.8% stake in Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) to leave the PNG and Bougainville governments each with 36.4% of the equity.
It was a recipe for potential conflict and tragedy which only a global company with no sense of the society and culture within which it was operating could have formulated.
ON THE eve of his visit to Australia to attend the Brisbane Writers Festival, award winning writer and political commentator Martyn Namorong has decided to shut down his blog to, as he put it, “avoid the risk of being charged under PNG's new cybercrime laws”.
Namorong announced to his readers yesterday that “in light of PNG's new draconian cybercrime legislation, I regret to inform you all that my blog is no longer available for public viewing.”
He says he is concerned that the new legislation, passed by parliament last week, could lead to a crackdown on freedom of expression in Papua New Guinea although officially the Cybercrime Bill seeks to control things like spam, hacking, forgery and computer fraud.
IN PARLIAMENT on Wednesday 10 August, prime minister Peter O’Neill made a number of statements, which were published in the media, about the PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd (PNGSDP) and me.
All of them are untrue. The prime minister should apologise for misleading parliament and the public.
It reflects very badly on the office of the prime minister for Mr O’Neill to regularly twist the facts, tell half-truths and make misleading statements designed to deceive the public and justify his actions.
LANDOWNERS in Papua New Guinea's Hides and Agnore areas of Hela Province remain firmly of the view that the government must provide the benefits they were promised in relation to the liquefied natural gas project.
In Port Moresby at the weekend they formed a group - the Angore Well Head Leadership Committee (AWLC) - to address their issues with the government.
Chairman Hari John Agipe said the group will fill a leadership vacuum in order to pursue important issues affecting landowners.
THE first ever appearance by a group of Papua New Guinean writers at the Brisbane Writers Festival in September has just been upgraded to a prime lunchtime slot.
Francis Nii, Martyn Namorong, Rashmii Bell and Daniel Kumbon will participate in the one-hour panel discussion that organisers have entitled, ‘PNG: A State of Writing,’ from 12.30 in Auditorium 2 in the State Library of Queensland conference venue.
Collectively the four writers represent a splendid cross-section of contemporary PNG writing, ranging across the spectrum from novels to poetry, commentary and journalism.
Their names are well known to PNG Attitude readers, of course, and also to those many Papua New Guineans interested in public affairs.
REPORTS from Papua New Guinea's Hela province say landowners continue to block access to a key site in the ExxonMobil-operated LNG gas project.
The project's gas conditioning plant at Hides remains locked by landowners protesting that the government owes five years of outstanding project commitments worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
They had threatened to shut down the entire LNG project this month if government didn't respond adequately with payments.
Speaking in parliament last week, the prime minister Peter O'Neill said all outstanding payments would be made in due course, while a government delegation travelled to Hela last Wednesday for discussions with the landowners.
THE [Australian] coalition government has rightly made much recently of its policy to promote growth and jobs through its support of small and medium-size Australian businesses.
The Australian publishing industry is made up of hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses. The independent Australian publishing industry, on which printers and allied trades also rely for much of their work, directly and indirectly employs thousands of skilled and professional workers.
Abolishing territorial copyright would place Australian publishing at an impossible business disadvantage in relation to its overseas competitors. Some publishers would almost certainly be driven to the wall.
HENRY MacDonald Bodman, who died in Brisbane yesterday afternoon aged 77, began his career as a school teacher in Papua New Guinea and, upon returning to Australia after independence, emerged as a successful entrepreneur.
He was one of the ‘old men’ (at 23) and leaders of the 1962 intake at the Australian School of Pacific Administration (ASOPA) and, after arriving in PNG in late 1963, spent the next year teaching at Tavui Primary T School, near the submarine base in Rabaul.
This began a distinguished career in PNG education including three years as headmaster at Kabagap near Kokopo and five years in the high pressure position of headmaster of Hohola Demonstration School in Port Moresby.
PAPUA New Guinea’s trade minister Richard Maru has accused Fiji of not honouring the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) free trade agreement between the two countries.
Maru said that for over a decade Fiji has refused to import PNG products such as Ox & Palm corned beef, Trukai Rice and others.
“We have allowed Fiji to have a trade surplus with PNG for a long time and trade volumes are increasing,” he said.