THE pace really started to quicken in May as the Crocodile Prize closing date loomed, triggering a frenetic rush of literary creativity.
On the financial front, things were complicated briefly by Steamships precipitate withdrawal of its sponsorship of the short story award, still unexplained. But then, an anonymous benefactor in Australia sprung up with replacement funds and so the day was saved.
Perhaps it’s worth spending a few words on what happens to those Croc Prize entries when they hit my email box.
First of all, they’re all considered for publication in PNG Attitude and I’m pleased to say that around 90% of them are accepted. The balance of them – the other 10% - go straight into the relevant portfolio (poetry, heritage, essays etc) for judging in the Prize proper.
Those selected for publication are then put through an editing process before appearing in the hallowed halls of this blog.
It may be some weeks before a particular piece is published. It depends upon topicality as well as the volume of material we have awaiting publication.
I don’t like to publish more than about five pieces a day. Most readers don’t spend a lot of time with us (there’s much on the web to catch up on) and I want each piece to be considered worth reading rather than publish many more that would remain largely unread.
After Monday 30 June, all entries will be placed in their portfolios and long lists assembled of those being considered for publication in the Anthology. And then short lists will be prepared of those in contention for that precious and hard to get Crocodile Prize award.
MOST COMMENTED UPON
18 comments - TPP – an acronym that stands for US Pacific trade dominance (Peter Kranz). The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a secretive trade deal between the US and a number of nations including Australia.Papua New Guinea is not involved. Peter believes that it is likely to impact many industries, commercial interests and education in PNG and force it closer into the welcoming embrace of China.
17 comments - In Simbu, the Maryjane druggies are given special recognition (Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin). Ah, Sil writes such scintillating prose about such dramatic subjects. A natural born investigative writer. “Tonnes of marijuana (Maryjane) are waiting for a potential buyer in many of the villages in Simbu and other highlands provinces. The marijuana bags are stored on a wood shelf or ceiling above the fire mound in the family home. Some are stored in 10kg rice bags, sewed up and used as pillows.” And the druggies? Far from being outcasts, they are deferred to.
16 comments - Corruption & personal responsibility: “One hand washes the other.…” (Gary Juffa). Through his writing as well as through his governance of Oro Province, Gary Juffa offers guidance and good advice on how individual citizens can do their bit to respond effectively to corruption and malpractice. “Papua New Guinea is sometimes called the land of the unexpected. What is expected, though, is corruption, spread thickly everywhere….Corruption is a relentless creature, moving constantly and continuously, aggressively taking on anyone who challenges it, and apparently winning and gaining ground.”
13 comments - Not a bad set of numbers: analysing PNG Attitude’s readership (Keith Jackson). Web measurement site Quantcast showed steadily rising readership over the life of this blog, which now has a regular readership of 15,000, of whom 2,500 – in the language of Quantcast – are ‘addicts’. Thank you one and all.
13 comments - In a first for PNG, Simbu writers form their own association (Francis S Nii). In a pioneering step, writers of Simbu Province came together to promote literature and the Crocodile Prize through the Simbu Writers Association. From time to time I ponder about why the people of Simbu are so prominent in the arts and writing. Is it a cultural phenomenon?
9 comments - Holistic approach is needed to tackle corruption in PNG (Bernard Yegiora). The first time Bernard heard about corruption was in anElements of Public Administration class at the University of Papua New Guinea.“As freshmen, we were fond of copying stuff from the blackboard. Some of us tried our best to catch his main ideas while others drifted away mentally. This was best demonstrated by shoving the end of a biro into their ear to scrap out wax.” I guess they were the guys who now take bribes. Bernard, who listened, went on to become and academic and a thoughtful commentator on PNG affairs.
8 comments - Asylum seekers have change of heart as Torres Strait beckons (Our Manus Correspondent). Our anonymous Manus correspondent speculated that, when released from detention, asylum seekers might continue their journey to Australia across the Torres Strait. Because our correspondent was shrouded in mystery, radio stations in New Zealand and Queensland decided they’d interview me instead.
8 comments - While war raged in Bougainville, there was a miracle at Haisi (Agnes Maineke). “I never thought I could give birth on my own, but I did,” is the first line of this Agnes’s amazing story. In October 1992, Agnes and her family were hiding from the PNG Defence Force in the deep jungle of south-west Bougainville. “I was pregnant with my fourth child. These were difficult times. Food could be carried from abandoned gardens and villages only on certain days. Movement was restricted in fear of both the Defence Force soldiers with their Bougainvillean helpers, the Resistance, and also our own Bougainville Revolutionary Army.” Then the baby signalled its arrival.
7 comments - Rabaul-born Sally Jackson appointed to ABC media role (Nic Christensen). My daughter left The Australian newspaper after 25 years to join the ABC as its media manager for the news and current affairs division. “In taking the role, Jackson follows in the footsteps of her father Keith Jackson who was head of corporate affairs for the ABC in the 1980s”.
7 comments - The exploding mumu - a cautionary tale involving geology (Peter Kranz). You can’t make a mumu from just any stones, Peter explained, they have to be mumu stones. Readers offered helpful advice designed to stop your next mumu inadvertently exploding mid bake.
7 comments - Leading PNG public figures join administration of Croc Prize (Keith Jackson) Parliamentarian Gary Juffa and Unitech vice-chancellor Albert Schram accepted invitations to join the Crocodile Prize Organising Group, COG. “Both men are prominent figures in PNG who have had to overcome significant challenges in recent times.”
MOST LIKED WRITING
43 likes - Mike Dennis MBE, Rabaul-born soldier, dies at 67 (Noel Pascoe)
42 likes - Popondetta Hospital’s present day struggles are nothing new (Peter Comerford)
30 likes - A new broom on Manus is lifting the veil of secrecy (Phil Fitzpatrick)
21 likes - While war raged in Bougainville, there was a miracle at Haisi (Agnes Maineke)
19 likes - In a first for PNG, Simbu writers form their own association (Francis S Nii)
18 likes - Looking at the world through Nagovisi eyes (Don Mitchell)
18 likes - Rugby League’s biggest match has a Bougainville origin (Tevu Tenasi)
17 likes - In Simbu, the Maryjane druggies are given special recognition (Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin)
17 likes - Spirit of Hela (Betty Gabriel Wakia)
16 likes - Witchcraft surges while PNG’s health services disappear (IRIN)
16 likes - 'Tok Pisin i go we?’ asks Swiss academic as he heads for PNG (Christopher Neuenschwander)
16 likes - Corruption & personal responsibility: “One hand washes the other.…” (Gary Juffa)