IT’S time once more for us to take a rear vision glance at April’s PNG Attitude to see which articles readers responded to most through comments and which they ticked as ‘likes’ in Facebook.
Before that, April was a month in which this year’s Crocodile Prize shifted up a gear or two.
With just two months to go until entries close on Monday 30 June, writers were busy and stories, essays and particularly poetry poured through the email box.
As poet Michael Dom has pointed out: “It's exciting to see many new writers sending in their work."
But that wise man added a caution: “I want to encourage consistency and focus. Rush jobs for the sake of competing show themselves out in less complete work, which can be disappointing to all when read.”
Yes, one of the central truths of a contest is that it is quality not quantity that will prevail.
That said we’ve had 260 entries so far across all the categories, with 100 writers represented, and many of these pieces of creative work are very good indeed.
Meanwhile, the Crocodile Prize’s much-awaited website was launched (catch it here) and proved to be worth the wait.
Anyway, let’s look at April’s returns….
MOST COMMENTED UPON IN PNG ATTITUDE
1st 27 comments - Oil Search share acquisition a strategic investment for PNG (Francis S Nii). Francis parsed and analysed the PNG government’s controversial 10% share acquisition in Oil Search with a $1.2 billion loan to assess whether it was good value or not. He concluded it is a vital investment for the people of PNG. “For ages we have been complaining about multinational companies reaping our natural resources and giving us scraps … so rich yet so poor has been our cry for donkey’s years.”
=2nd 13 comments - Marking the 50th anniversary of a sometimes scurrilous newsletter (Keith Jackson). Fifty years ago, as a19-year old schoolteacher, I dropped a single sheet of paper under the masthead, Kundiawa News, on the bar of the Chimbu Club. It turned into a robust newsletter that was published for two years and now has substantial historical interest. We’re publishing extracts.
=2nd 13 comments - Indonesian military crosses border at will in pursuit of OPM (Benjamin Kedoga). There were more reports that the Indonesian military is crossing into PNG territory with theIndonesian consulate in Vanimo demanding that the PNGDF attack West Papuan refugees. It’s a continuing saga – and there are over 10,000 West Papuan refugees in PNG.
4th 12 comments - Nokondi banished: Eastern Highlands traditional icon ousted (Don Tapio). Governor Julie Soso and the Eastern Highlands provincial governmentlaunched warfare against traditional icons and passed a motion to replace the province’s traditional Nokondi. It seems the government was blaming the iconfor lack of progress, lack of confidence, underperformance by provincial public servants and missing millions from provincial coffers.
5th 11 comments - Working like you don’t need money: the Chinese in PNG (Bomai D Witne). Bomai reflected on the work ethic of Chinese immigrants to PNG – and their contribution to young nation. But it hasn’t been rosebuds all the way…
=6th 10 comments - A real man of New Guinea: Albert Speer MBE dies at 92 (Keith Jackson). One of the sombre tasks of PNG Attitude is to mark the deaths of people who made a significant contribution to PNG. Albert Speer, who died in Sydney aged 92, had a 37 year association with PNG in war and peace. After the war, he joined the PNG Administration as a medical assistant and led the medical team that evacuated victims of the 1951 Mt Lamington disaster.
=6th 10 comments - How a unified whole-island nation of Papua might be achieved (Bernard Yegiora). In an imaginative essay, Bernard posited a scenario in which the whole island of New Guinea – Indonesian and independent PNG - might be achieved. An exercise in creative visualisation, the practical difficulties would be immense, as Bernard was first to recognise.
8th 9 comments - The cunning Simbu human Lumbricus terrestris: a new culture (Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin). Sil used the initiation of aFacebook group, Simbu Intending Candidates, to expose dekrome arkanga, Simbu slang for the Lumbricus terrestris earthworm. “These earthworms are lazy confidence men who feed on wannabe pollies. They are people who do not plough their own land for sustenance but feed on others toil.”
9th 8 comments - Abonas Alotau – a place to refresh the mind & the spirit (Gary Juffa). “I have almost given up writing about anything,” said Gary. “There is nothing left to inspire me. Or even agitate me.” And then he paid a visit to Alotau – where he was spiritually refreshed and reinvigorated.”
=10th 7 comments - In the name of Galileo, have a quiet moment and think again! (Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin). More on Nokondi. “In the entire universe, the myth and symbol of Nokondi is only found in the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea,” wrote Sil. “Angels, Homer and the Iliad, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Greek goddesses, the Dancing Wolves of American native people, the Tari myths and so many other beautiful stories are intermittently found and unique to special civilisations. Leave them alone.”
=10th 7 comments - This is how Indonesia treats West Papuans (Ronny Kareni). Ronny wrote of how two West Papuan student protesters calling for the release of the 77 political prisoners were viciously beaten for 36 hours in police custody.
=10th 7 comments - The two worlds in which we live (Phil Fitzpatrick). “Most of us, whether we are in a remote village in Papua New Guinea or in the sprawling mess that is Australian suburbia, live in two worlds,” Phil wrote. “One of our worlds is the reality that Thomas Hobbes, the English philosopher, described as ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short’. That world, despite what we say and claim, still persists in our suburban enclaves and in our isolated villages. The other world that we live in is the unreality that is our own creation.”
MOST LIKED ON FACEBOOK
1st 72 likes - Abonas Alotau – a place to refresh the mind & the spirit (Gary Juffa)
2nd 71 likes - A real man of New Guinea: Albert Speer MBE dies at 92 (Keith Jackson)
3rd 40 likes - How a unified whole-island nation of Papua might be achieved (Bernard Yegiora)
4th 34 likes - Bilum hanmak blo ol meri (The bilum is women’s handiwork) (Mary Fairio)
5th 31 likes - Nokondi banished: Eastern Highlands traditional icon ousted (Don Tapio)
6th 29 likes - The cunning Simbu human Lumbricus terrestris: a new culture (Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin)
7th 24 likes - Illegal logging makes up 70% of PNG’s timber industry (Jeremy Hance)
8th 20 likes - Working like you don’t need money: the Chinese in PNG (Bomai D Witne)
9th 19 likes - Comparing the education systems of China & Papua New Guinea Betty Gabriel Wakia)
10th 18 likes - Meeting in Beijing (Betty Gabriel Wakia)
Photo: Kund gale effigy of Ngunts, Minj District on the cover of Look, the journal of the Art Gallery of NSW, May 2014