One of the things Joe and I used to do was go out on the river at night and shoot crocodiles. There were several reasons for doing this and with which we justified our activities.
One was to supply meat for the local kalabus and the other was to make money for the local social club by selling the skins.
Joe has gone to that great patrol post in the sky where, no doubt, he is regularly stirring up the bos kiap and I have done a complete reversal on my attitude to guns and shooting things. Nevertheless, back then we shot crocs.
Most of Joe and I shot were crocs of the fresh water variety but occasionally the odd salty would cruise up to Kiunga. They were particularly dangerous and weren’t averse to nabbing the odd human being. They were also harder to shoot.
More than once we managed to bounce a .303 bullet off their skull and watched in awe as they simply shook their head and swam away.
The purpose of this rambling introduction is to point out the toughness of these particular beasties and their ability to survive no matter what is thrown (or shot) at them.
It is also a roundabout way of approaching a subject that it pains me to address.
As many of you will now realise the Crocodile Prize literary contest also took a hit in 2013. The good news is that it too has shaken its head and swum away. In this case it is paddling towards 2014.
While we don’t want to dwell on what happened this year we feel that PNG Attitude readers, especially those who submitted entries to the competition, are owed an explanation.
Suffice it to say that the Crocodile Prize suffered the fate of many similar undertakings in Papua New Guinea, despite the dedicated efforts of a few hardworking individuals.
Those good people know who they are, as do the people who let them down so badly by trying to turn the competition to their own personal advantage.
However, as noted above, the hoary old bugger will be swimming into 2014 with nothing worse than a slight headache.
There will be some changes in the way the competition is run and readers will be kept posted.
Meanwhile we can report that the 2013 entries were eventually paraded before the judges and a selection of winners has taken place. These will be announced in PNG Attitude on Monday.
We are currently in the process of assessing what funds are available for prizes. These will, of necessity, be limited - and we have had to suspend some categories where it will not be possible to award prizes. However, the core categories of short story, poem and essay prizes will be awarded.
We are also able to announce that there will be a 2013 Crocodile Prize Anthology published. This will also be done in a limited way but it will be available on Amazon and as an e-book on Kindle and there will be a few hundred hardcopy versions available for sale.
The anthology will feature the best of the entries received in 2013, including the work of a number of new and exciting writers.
We hope that you as readers and in particular as sponsors will bear with us as we transition to 2014 and our new format.
Please keep watching this space.