BY KEITH JACKSON
I WAS STANDING, bored, in an airline queue at Brisbane Airport late yesterday morning, waiting for something exciting to happen, like movement, when a tall good looking man travelling with his wife caught my eye and approached me.
“Are you Keith Jackson of PNG Attitude,” he asked, introducing himself as Charles Abel, who I knew to be Papua New Guinea’s Trade Minister, especially as I’d just posted an article about him on the blog earlier in the day.
Charles was returning from the Pacific Forum conference in Auckland where he’d been a member of the PNG delegation.
And so we got into conversation … about governance issues (which I'd just written on for The National and the blog), about the difficulties of drawing the sometimes fine line between corruption and family affiliation in Melanesian cultures (we’re determined to root it out it, he averred; and see Joe Wasia’s comment yesterday about the difficulties involved), about Peter O’Neill’s skills and strengths as a leader and, briefly, before the queue began some sluggish movement, about Charles' interest in the arts.
I provided a quick briefing on The Crocodile Prize (to be awarded for the first time tomorrow night to four outstanding Papua New Guinean writers), which was the reason I was in a holding pattern in an airline queue in Brisbane.
Charles told me he’d thought from time to time about contributing to PNG Attitude but wondered whether this was an appropriate thing to do.
I enthusiastically suggested it was, and we agreed that – when remarks from him would be useful – that I could drop him an email with some pertinent questions.
And so the queue straggled on; somewhere beyond the end of it was Port Moresby.