CRIKEY, IT’S BEEN A HECTIC SIX MONTHS. I was called back from semi-retirement to try to revive an ailing business, then to shut it down, then to create another with Phoenix aspirations, and ended up in hospital for a spinal operation to get me properly mobile and pain-free again.
Throughout all this, though, PNG Attitude continued its remorseless effort to ensure that a good and lively dialogue is maintained between people from Papua New Guinea and Australia who are interested in issues, politics, society and the things that make us a bit better.
Nowhere is this dialogue exemplified more than in the Comments section of this blog, where the debate is often robust but the mood polite.
(I ignore and send to that great virtual shredder in the sky the occasional death threats and sexual abuse I receive; unfortunately that’s all part of a day’s work on the internet. There are some poor, shrivelled souls out there. You can only feel sorry for them.)
But, for the rest of us, onwards and upwards.
So now to the most commented upon stories we ran in August….
23 comments - A long week's journey through nothing very much (Keith Jackson). Ten days in hospital for spinal surgery slowed down your editor a bit and this piece heralded a recovery of sorts, although an anaesthetised brain didn’t make for easy writing.. I remain deeply grateful for the many expressions of support I received at this time.
19 - Affirmative action for our women MPs – I say stuff it! (Ganjiki D Wayne). It was suggested in PNG that a ‘global target’ of at least 30% be set for the number of women MPs. A testy Ganjiki begged to differ – “I say stuff the global target!”
16 – PNG minister bars foreign media from Manus Island (RNZI). PNG banned foreign journalists from visiting Manus to cover arrangements for processing asylum seekers. Readers were divided on whether this was a good idea or not.
15 - Julie Soso, women’s advocate, elected to parliament (Keith Jackson). There was great delight when a third woman was elected to the PNG parliament in one of the biggest boilovers of the 2012 national election. Julie Soso (Triumph Heritage Empowerment Party) is a community leader in the Eastern Highlands.
15 - Democracy, custom & the elasticity of the Melanesian Way (Susan Merrell). Susan asked “is there a democratic Papua New Guinean nation - or is it merely an arbitrary state built on a shaky, crumbling foundation of disparate traditional customs and the Melanesian Way?” A boisterous debate ensued on whether there is a ‘Melanesian Way’.
11 - Seabed mining: a lot of reasons we don’t need it (Martyn Namorong). Martyn took issue with the former Somare government's decision to allow Nautilus Minerals to mine the Bismarck Sea and current Mining Minister Byron Chan's decision to maintain the status quo.
11 - Don’t just sit there – do something, and do it now! (Phil Fitzpatrick). “Three years ago I wrote an article for the Post Courier’s Independence Day supplement bemoaning the decline of literature in Papua New Guinea. Since then we’ve had two years of the Crocodile Prize literary competition, which conclusively proved I was awry in my assessment.”
10 - ‘Markham Tom’, big-hearted PNG pioneer, dies at 83 (Max Uechtritz). Comments on the death of the remarkable Tom Leahy, Papua New Guinea pioneer, planter and politician.
9 - Origin, black v white, & racism: God has the answers (Ganjiki D Wayne). “Many years ago the Western world, that is, Caucasian man, determined that the black man was not man at all. They believed that the darker race was not a race. The black man was a stage of evolution somewhere between the apes and Caucasian man.” Well that was bound to start an argument.
9 - Melanesian capitalism or capitalist Melanesia? (Phil Fitzpatrick). “I am a great fan of the colour grey, as opposed to black and white, which some people maintain are not colours at all. This is another way of saying there are nuances to everything. Good people and bad people are not necessarily good or bad all the time; good people can do bad things and vice versa. So it is with social and political systems.”