SEPTEMBER WAS THE MONTH when the Crocodile Prize winners were announced (five women emerging as winners in the seven main categories) and when a number of articles by both Leonard Roka and Phil Fitzpatrick commanded great attention from commenters.
Leonard, who today writes the hitherto untold story of his father’s violent death during the Bougainville civil war, was especially prolific over the course of last month.
And what he wrote articulated, in a general sense, what I see as one of the real benefits of PNG Attitude – its role as an outlet for writing of quality that really leads the reader to a better understanding of the nature and antecedents of present-day Papua New Guinea.
During the month, a couple of readers expressed similar views. “Attitude is the blog for intelligent, thinking Papua New Guineans,” emailed one. “I read it each day,” wrote another, “I wish those I worked for would also read it.” Hear, hear to that, say I.
Anyway, to the task at hand – those articles published in PNG Attitude in September that received the most feedback….
18 comments - Christianity a problem for us: it drives people off the plot (Leonard Fong Roka). “In this day and age, Christianity is an impediment to any form of human development in Bougainville, apart from the spiritual. From the simple exaggerated Bible-based teachings, Christianity creates a senseless fear in the minds of our population on our economically-struggling island.” Well, that was bound to start a robust discussion.
17 - Best of the best: The Crocodile Prize winners for 2012 (Phil Fitzpatrick). It was Crocodile Prize awards time with the 600 entries having to be winnowed down to just two handfuls. Phil gave an account of the winners, their entries and a sprinkling of judges’ comments.
15 - On going back home to the Western Province (Martyn Namorong). Even by his own standards of gritty engagement and willful confrontation, Martyn Namorong has had a topsy-turvy 2012 and in this article he explained why he wanted to return to his home Western Province for the first time since he was 15.
14 - O’Neill: Scooping a K6 billion loan for a K500 million deficit (Samuel Roth). In Samuel’s first Foreign Affairs Commentary he looked at the ins and outs of PNG borrowing a huge amount of money from China. Readers really felt this was an issue they could get their teeth into.
12 - The Manus factor: Lombrum base & the China connection (Samuel Roth). Samuel scored again with an analysis of the newly contestable SW Pacific region, a matter that seems set to occupy Asia-Pacific diplomats for most of this century.
11 - Listen, learn, respect – all so simple yet too hard for some (Phil Fitzpatrick). “A little while ago two interesting events in the Southern Highlands were reported on a number of blogs…. The first involved blasting by contractors to enable the PNG LNG pipeline to be laid between Hides and Iagifu Ridge in Fasu country. The second involved the capture, killing and consumption of an unusually large python.”
10 - The Flight of Galkope – stories from the men’s house (Phil Fitzpatrick). “The tribes and clans of the Galkope have occupied the steep mountain slopes and valleys of the southern part of the Simbu Province in Papua New Guinea for countless generations…. A son of the Galkope, Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin, spent several years trekking through his traditional homeland talking to people about their origins” – and then he wrote a book. The Flight of Galkope by Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin is finally being published. Google www.crawfordhouse.com.au
10 - The curse of the tiger (pussycat) economy (Jeffrey Mane Febi). The PNG economy has been growing at an average 8% per year for a decade and, Jeff wrote, “of late some commentators have found it fitting to brand the PNG economy a ‘tiger economy’; once a brand that the PNG nation could only wish for.” But all is not as it may appear.
9 - BRA was the root of bloody civil conflict in Bougainville (Leonard Fong Roka). “In October 1992 I was a kid roaming around parts of the Kieta and the Bana districts in South Bougainville with Bougainville Revolutionary Army ‘A’ Company bodyguard unit. The unit was attached to my relative, the late Autonomous Bougainville Government president Joseph Kabui, who at the time was vice president of the Bougainville Interim Government.”
9 - Pre-independence PNG stamps are still a delight (Peter Kranz). “I used to collect stamps when I was a kid and recently re-discovered my old album at my old Dad's house. I found to my delight that I had a few Papua and New Guinea stamps dating from the 1960's.”