BY REGINA DORUM
Regina Dorum is the latest writing talent to emerge in Papua New Guinea. Last Saturday, we published her maiden short story in PNG Attitude – and there will be a second in the next few days. Regina wrote the following words in a letter to chief judge of the Crocodile Prize, Phil Fitzpatrick. I felt they should be reproduced here - KJ
DEAR PHIL, YOU HAVE SAID YOURSELF that my short stories are very compelling and I am glad because that was my aim.
Almost all my stories don’t have any happy endings because they are all inspired by factual events which know will not end happily unless there is a divine intervention!
Yes, there are hostesses in night clubs and sex workers do live in containers on the wharf and are abused on daily basis. Most of these are young girls between the ages of 15 and 25.
There are homeless children begging in the streets of Port Moresby and young seven year olds and five year olds drinking home brew and smoking marijuana.
I have witnessed all these events and have had the chance to talk with these women and children. Yes, there are businessmen who cause family problems and wealthy and good families destroyed by HIV and AIDS and alcohol related violence and abuse.
Girls and young women are being forced into prostitution by their relatives or are sold to businessmen at ages as young as twelve years of age or are abused by their relatives by making them work as slaves while their own children are well cared for.
I have interviewed them, seen them and pitied them but I could do nothing about it. I only managed to tell people who were willing to listen and what they all say is, ‘Oh my, we are so sorry for them but we have our own problems too.’
I hope that instead of telling them as it is, I have written stories that will make people wake up and realise that this is really happening and what must be done by certain authorities.
And I hope that politicians who can read make time to read these stories and put their own women and children into the shoes of my characters. That should change their mind about pocketing the people’s money and making good use of it.
And for those politicians who does not know how to read, (which is true, once a politician was caught reading a newspaper upside down!), I wish I could make movies for them!
For people who do not know PNG culture might be tempted to blame our problems on our multi-cultural society. However, we are Melanesians and there is one thing common to the thousand cultures that we have and that is: We take care of what is ours.
If we had forgotten our culture, we will be as worse as the African nations. Our culture is the only thing that is still holding PNG families together, otherwise, we are done for.
However, our culture is also fading due to the rapid change from stone-age to the computer-age. I pray and hope that our government and people in authority can wake up to this silent call I make on behalf of our children, to look and see that we are suffering.
Give us public schools with no fees. Job opportunities for drop outs and graduates. Orphanages for homeless children and shelter for abused children.
Thank you very much for this opportunity and now I feel more enlightened to the fact that I can do something for these children with your help.
And again, I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I love writing them because I wrote from my heart.
Regina Dorum (25) comes from Mount Hagen. She is a chemist with a gold mining company in Port Moresby. She began her interest in reading in Grade 5 when she was 11 and is a fan of fantasy novels and authors like Dean Koonz, Stephen King, David Eddings and Diana Gabaldon. Last year, she thought 'why not write, anyone can write', and surprised herself by writing 20,000 words of an epic fantasy that she hopes will become a trilogy.