MAY WAS ANOTHER BIG MONTH for PNG Attitude’s army of commentators, who keep our contributors honest and our readers enthralled.
Political events in Papua New Guinea confused Bob Carr (not our commentators) but not even Belden Namah could stop the national elections, now just a couple of weeks away.
And Martyn Namorong embarked on his Take the Truth to Australia Tour, electrifying the hundreds of people who met him and the many more who heard him on radio and television and who read his revelatory Melbourne Age article on the Australia-PNG relationship. The tour was made possible by the generosity and foresight of PNG Attitude readers.
The Crocodile Prize national literary contest, which wound up at the end of May, continues to provide some first rate writing and unearthed a bunch of new literary talent in PNG. The prize is another PNG Attitude initiative that continues to bear fruit, and we also thank the PNG Post-Courier and the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby for their seminal roles in this great project.
And so to the stories that, in May, drew the most active interest from readers:
1st (20 comments) A salute – and a caveat - to the activists of PNG (Martyn Namorong). “Activists, we salute you for your courage. You are doing a great thing by showing the government the people have a voice – that O’Neill and the whole parliament have forgotten that they are accountable to us.” It was a big month for PNG’s best known blogger. Just before he left on his Australian tour, Namorong was part of a collective that organised a 10,000 person protest against the PNG government’s threat to defer national elections and a protracted attack on the judiciary.
2nd= (15) Australia not a good friend: Namorong in 'The Age' (Martyn Namorong). “I'm on my first visit to Australia right now - and what an introduction to your country. A two-week run of four major cities where I'm meeting politicians, journalists and ordinary Australians.” And serving it up to a dilatory Australia where he thought the criticism was deserved.
2nd= (15) What my fathers taught me: a tribute (Emma Wakpi). The scourge of male violence against women is one of the big issues facing PNG society. Here Emma reflects upon the male influences in her life and is able to offer a heartwarming story of love and dedication to family.
3rd (13) Diplomatic ruckus: envoy tells off Aussie journo (Douglas Marau). PNG’s high commissioner to Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, Brian Yombon-Copio, refutes claims by Australian freelance journalist Susan Merrell that his explanaton of events in PNG was anything other than correct and proper.
4th= (11) Catholic church attitude on condoms promotes misery (Peter Kranz). With PNG having one of the most serious HIV/AIDS epidemics in the Asia-Pacific, the Catholic church is urged to address issues of common humanity and get off its high horse.
4th= (11) - Namah: Feathers fly as the point man weighs in (Hamish McDonald). “PNG has seen plenty of political wild men – but has there been anything like Belden Namah, the present deputy prime minister?”
4th= (11) Namah says he'll nominate O’Neill to be PM (Eoin Blackwell). After the deputy speaker unexpectedly threw open prime minister’s position, Belden Naamah said he’d back incumbent Peter O’Neill. But will ti be the same story after the elections?
7th= (10) - PNG’s ‘phantom poets’ – is this Ern Malley revisited? (Russell Soaba). One of its top literary figures exposes the blight of pseudonyms that inflicts PNG writing, often used to cover up scurrilous attacks, especially on social media and in The National newspaper.
7th= (10) Plesman's postscript to the political impasse (Nou Vada). “We will go to elections. Not even Somare can stop the elections... and if he does, I will gladly take to the streets again to remind them that it is my right to vote.” One of the organisers of the 10,000-people protest reminds the politicians that the people can be boss if they organise.
9th= (9) - Lloyd Hurrell - Kiap, soldier, planter – dies at 95 (John Fowke). One of the last of the most distinguished of pre-World War II Kiaps, soldier, legislator and entrepreneur.
9th= (9) Can I defeat a political giant in the Lae Open? (Loujaya Toni). Will any women be elected to parliament in this month’s elections? Songwriter and musician Loujaya Toni is giving it a go.
9th= (9) Street vendors are a burden on modernisation (Axel Rice). “Street vendors, the bottom end retailers of our nation, are a burden to the modernisation of PNG.” Student Axel Rice’s controversial essay entered into the Crocodile Prize.
9th= (9) Is 'The National' playing dirty with my reputation? (Keith Jackson). “Yesterday I received an interesting email from an outfit called the Barracuda Central Reputation System.” Now read on….