At that time, it was an internet version of a newsletter networking former students of the Australian School of Pacific Administration, which had trained kiaps, teachers and other professionals to work in the then Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
Two years later, by February 2008, the blog was beginning to spread its wings to cover issues beyond those affecting the ASOPA alumni, and by February 2009 it was well enmeshed in contemporary PNG affairs and the by-lines of Paul Oates and Barbara Short were featuring regularly in its columns.
By February 2010, the blog was more identifiably operating as it does today. And the first Papua New Guinean, the prolific Reginald Renagi, was contributing regularly. For the previous 12 months, more Papua New Guineans were offering comments on articles and, person by person, these people turned their hand to writing feature articles.
This was a major breakthrough in the blog’s self-assigned task of providing a joint forum, mainly but not exclusively for Australians and Papua New Guineans, focussing on PNG issues.
A second important step forward emerged in February 2011 as the first entries in the just announced Crocodile Prize were published.
By today PNG Attitude has had two million page views, is read by 1,500 – 2,000 people each day, and has published some 7,400 posts and 20,300 comments. It has also raised many thousands of dollars for worthy causes, notably to assist individual Papua New Guineans who the system has, one way or another, let down.
And so to the articles most commented upon in February 2014, and to those most successful in securing Facebook ‘likes’.
MOST COMMENTED UPON
1st 30 comments - The tangled skein of the PNG drug purchasing scandal (Paul Oates). Given his long relationship with PNG Attitude, it seems appropriate that Paul should head the list of articles that attracted the most commentary during January, despite experiencing a major computer crash during the month. This piece dealt with the aftermath of Australia withdrawing funding of $38 million from a program supplying drugs to PNG health centres due to concerns about the way the PNG government had awarded contracts.
2nd 20 comments - Forget quality, PNG medicines OK (or so Tenders Board says) (Paul Oates). Paul continued his pursuit of the scandal involving the PNG Central Supply and Tenders Board and the Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals company which had not only been preferred tenderer for supplying drugs despite tendering the highest priced, had also not secured ISO9001 quality accreditation for its processes.
3rd 17 comments - Is changing the government a solution to corruption in PNG? (Francis S Nii). “In the last couple of months, there have been deep sentiments for the change of government by political lobbyists and critics, especially in the social media,” wrote Francis, who was not convinced that this would do anything more than re-arrange the deckchairs. He came up with some solutions including restructuring election procedures and improving local government arrangements.
4th 12 comments - On Australia Day, the wise words of an older Aussie (Peter Kranz).Australia Day was also Peter’s step-mother’s birthday. He paid tribute to her wisdom and her attitude of “if you don't love your neighbours, then you can't love yourself." The comments somehow got on to the family relationships of Australian of the Year Adam Goode, but it was all interesting stuff.
=5th 11 comments - Tribe versus nation: Observations on PNG's critical challenge (Gary Juffa). This was an important article by Governor Juffa, arguing that, if PNG is to achieve its great development potential, it needs to shift its leadership philosophy from tribalism to nationalism.
=5th 11 comments - Wart a parasite! Reflections on the life of a mole (Marlene Dee Gray Potoura). A humorous account of Marlene’s struggles to come to terms with the implications of a mole. “I realised that this mole above my right eye was hideously ugly, that it was a parasite and that I had been its host for as long as I could remember. It just sat there and grew and grew.”
=5th 11 comments - Thumbs up, Belden Namah, for your scrutiny of the O’Neill regime (Joe Formex Wasia). Belden Namah’s name can’t be mentioned in public without people expressing strongly positive or negative views about him. Joe’s defence of the PNG’s Opposition leader’s pursuit of K71.8 million that “walked out” of the Finance and Treasury Departments brought all the much tilled pro and anti Belden arguments back into the open.
8th 10 comments - Belden Norman Namah & his fight against corruption (David Ephraim). David compared Belden to the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela in carrying “the hopes and dreams of many ordinary people who want to crack down on corruption especially among those upper class Papua New Guineans who dominate and control the economy and political landscape.” More argy-bargy.
9th 9 comments - An overdue & judicious remuneration policy for magistrates (Francis S Nii). Francis described how the PNG government had allocated a much needed K38.4 million in the 2014 national budget for the remuneration of 4,800 officials in 1,600 village courts throughout Papua New Guinea. “This is a judicious policy of recompense that needs to be sustained by successive national governments in future,” Francis observed.
=10th 8 comments - In an era of religious wars, fancy dragging PNG into the mess (Phil Fitzpatrick). “In the past, wars were primarily waged for economic reasons,” wrote Phil. “Wealthy men (and a few women) started wars in the interests of gaining power, money and glory…. In recent times wars, have been primarily waged for religious reasons.” Great way to get an argument going..
=10th 8 comments - The regime, the drug company & the ‘murder’ of PNG citizens (Martyn Namorong). Martyn argued that the BSP tender scandal “typifies the despotic regime in PNG. As if allegations of corrupt dealings with public funds wasn’t enough, the highest body representing PNG doctors, the National Doctors Association (NDA) has now accused the government of attempting to ‘murder’ millions of Papua New Guineans.”
=10th 8 comments - PNG appoints Colonel Gilbert Toropo as new military chief (Karl Claxton). “Smart, measured and energetic, Colonel Gilbert Toropo seems a good choice to be PNG’s next Defence Force Commander. He’ll need to be. Even the circumstances surrounding the announcement of his selection highlight difficulties likely to confront him in this demanding role.”
=10th 8 comments - Shy Soldiers (J P Richard). A fascinating and superbly related account of how a wild bush plant was used to inform Japanese soldiers about where Allied forces were located in World War II PNG.
MOST LIKED IN FACEBOOK
1st 92 likes - The Unitech saga: a serious impingement upon academic freedom (PNG Blogs)
2nd 31 likes - Tribe versus nation: Observations on PNG's critical challenge (Gary Juffa)
3rd 27 likes - West Papua – little human rights improvement in 2013 (Australia West Papua Association)
4th 25 likes - Geraint Jones basks in PNG’s new found cricket success (Cricket Country)
5th 24 likes - Death at 88 of legendary Sergeant Ben Moide CBE(Greg Ivey)
6th 21 likes - After half a million deaths, the tragedy of West Papua continues (Gemima Harvey)
=7th 14 likes - Rabaul to play an important role in the ANZAC Centenary (Reg Yates)
=7th 14 likes - An interactive electronic book on the spectacular art of PNG (Susan Cochrane)
=7th 14 likes - Trainee priest Eddie Ekari killed in Queensland car smash (Chris Calcino)
10th 12 likes - Expert worried as PNG population reaches 7.8 million (Radio New Zealand International)