NOVEMBER WAS THE MONTH in which The Crocodile Prize was reinvigorated with the signing of a bunch of good sponsors who will underpin PNG’s national literary awards in 2014, ensuring that a home-grown literature is encouraged and that Papua New Guineans have the opportunity to read their own writers.
As it enters its fourth year, the organisers are able to offer K25,000 in prize money and a similar amount to subsidise book production so the best PNG writing can once again be compiled in an Anthology for distribution throughout PNG and beyond.
At the suggestion of PNG Attitude contributor, Lapieh Landu, for the first time in 2014 an Author’s Citation will accompany each winning entry and Certificates of Merit will be awarded to runners up in each of the five categories.
The categories so far announced – and there will be more to come over the next month – are:
Cleland Family Award for Heritage Literature
Steamships Award for Short Stories
Kina Securities Award for Poetry
PNG Chamber of Mining & Petroleum Award for Essays & Journalism
Ok Tedi Mining Award for Book of the Year
And tribute should be paid to the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby which has been an important supporter of the Prize since its inception. Writers can find more information about the awards and an entry form here.
And now to the writing that appeared in PNG Attitude in November that drew most comment from readers….
1st 18 comments - AusAID has been abolished; it won’t be missed (Keith Jackson). Australia’s Coalition government announced in November that the aid agency would be absorbed into the Foreign Affairs department. AusAID had been in operation for 40 years. Its record was mixed. It got the aid money spent, but how effectively it did it was often a matter of debate.
2nd 14 comments - Oz immigration targets black passengers for 'racist treatment' (Keith Jackson). When Bart Philemon and some of his fellow passengers were singled out for treatment by Australian quarantine officials at Brisbane airport, there was a common element. The white travellers weren’t amongst them.
=3rd 10 comments - Can Mr Namah rely on social media to reach the people? (Keith Jackson). “You would have to bet that the decision by Papua New Guinea opposition leader Belden Namah not to deal with mainstream media and instead rely on social media to get out his message won’t last long,” I wrote. “Quite simply, the numbers won't be there.” A number of readers disagreed, saying the social media can do it alone in PNG.
=3rd 10 comments - How culture shapes brains & brains shape culture (Phil Fitzpatrick). “A few months ago I was talking to a long-time friend and businessman in Port Moresby. In the course of our conversation he said something along the lines of “I’ve been here for over 40 years and I’m married to a beautiful Papuan woman but I still don’t understand how they think.” Now science is telling us why.
=5th 9 comments - Ancient ceremonial stone tool is rescued from the bulldozer (Robin Torrence). A rare obsidian artefact was discovered in New Britain and dated to between 10,000 and 3,000 years ago. “Even more amazing, the stone was flaked into a shape whose profile was unmistakably meant to be a penis,” said the Museum. Well, no. Some PNG Attitude experts saw more utility in the object than just an interesting example of Stone Age porn.
=5th 9 comments - Francis’s story: This is the beginning of a new life for me (Francis S Nii). “I will remember 30 October 2013 as the day that a new part of my life began because of my kind-hearted family of PNG Attitude writers and readers in Papua New Guinea and Australia.This was the day that the first consignment of life-supporting items - comprising an air mattress, air cushion and vitamin supplements - arrived from Australia.”
=7th 8 comments - Currency colonialism: Kina is our economy’s heart, not a plaything (Kalluwan M Pohon). As the kina plummeted in value, Dr Pohon pointed out that “the proper management of the currency and the maintenance of its value has everything to do with good government”.
=7th 8 comments –|Life|+ (Michael Dom). It can be tough for poetry to hit the top 10 pieces of writing in PNG Attitude but this marvellous work from PNG’s eminent poet really cut through. “I recall how I had surveyed you, guardedly from a rocky peak / And why I left the shelter of the mountains, for you / How we wandered on those plains together / Endless long days and shorter nights / You a gazelle and I an eagle.”
=7th 8 comments - Australia's visa bastardry. The unnecessary sadness of Mana Dau(Keith Jackson). A graphic story of how the Australian government’s attitude to Papua New Guineans seeking visas to visit relatives impacts on ordinary people. To say that this policy discriminates against the people of PNG is an understatement. To declare that is has racial undertones is probably knocking on the door of truth.
=7th 8 comments -‘I’m on the right path,’ says O’Neill, & hits out at social media (Rowan Callick). The PNG prime minister gave his administration a very favourable report card while letting the country’s social media know that he has it in his sights.