BY early July, the Crocodile Prize judges had settled down to the arduous task of deciding which of the hundreds of entries in the national literary contest were deserving of the largesse and prestige that follow upon a win.
During the month, PNG Attitude was also able to publish an eight-part series, Creative Nation, which profiled most of the entrants and provided links to their writing. It was a substantial project designed to pay tribute to all 130 writers.
As July went on, the judging drew to a close, the preparation of this year’s Crocodile Prize Anthology was completed and preparations intensified for the awards ceremony and writers workshop to be held in Port Moresby on Thursday 18 September.
The Crocodile Prize is a major undertaking that occupies 12 months of the year.
Preparations begin in October the previous year when sponsors are approached, continue through January when the first entries begin to flow and then activities gather pace right up to September.
With the awards event now only about six weeks away, we’ve switched attention to ensuring the prize-giving and related activities represent a fitting conclusion to Crocodile Prize 2014.
It’s been a good year for creative writing in PNG and we’re determined to make 2015 even better.
So now to the writing that most caught our readers’ attention in July….
10 ARTICLES MOST COMMENTED UPON BY READERS
14 comments - Re-introduce corporal punishment to the education system (Agnes Are). There are some topics that seem custom-designed to generate heated public debate and corporal punishment is certainly one of them. In an article arguing in favour of corporal punishment for errant youth, Agnes said “teachers are [unfairly] held responsible and criticised for the wrongdoing of the youngsters even as society becomes more lawless, violent and undisciplined.”
13 comments - I am a time traveller, not a transitional person (John Kaupa Kamasua). “Commentators may say that Papua New Guinea is a country in transition,” wrote John, “[but] I am not in transition. I feel my heritage steeped deep in the past.” The point being that Papua New Guineans don’t have to move from being who they are to a becoming a different, modern’ person, but that they can be a blend of all their traditions, experiences and beliefs.
13 comments - 100 of the best as Jimmy Drekore’s bush poetry is published (Phil Fitzpatrick). Phil reviewed Jimmy Drekore’s first collection fo his verse, A Bush Poet’s Poetical Blossom (Pukpuk Publishing, available on Amazon). Jimmy’s poetry is familiar to the readers of PNG Attitude. It has a characteristic earthiness, honesty and lack of pretension. Jimmy won the Crocodile Prize for poetry in 2011 and his poems have appeared in all the subsequent editions of the annual Anthology, including this year’s which will be launched on 18 September.
12 comments - Revivalist churches dangerous campaign for 'faith-healing' AIDS (Liam Cochrane). In a backward step for both faith and health in PNG, revivalist churches are promoting prayer as a substitute for medication to those with HIV, according to human rights groups. “PNG is a deeply Christian society, and most mainstream churches are trying to improve attitudes to those living with HIV,” wrote Liam. “But with poor medical facilities and a widespread belief in sorcery, belief in faith healing is growing.”
10 comments - Bougainvillean students harassed at Divine Word University (Leonard Fong Roka). Leonard’s graphic account of an attack on three Bougainvillean students by colleagues from Divine Word University. The Bougainvilleans retaliated, outmuscling their attackers until other students intervened and stopped the brawl.
10 comments - Anthology offers 500 pages of PNG's best creative writing (Keith Jackson). The Crocodile Prize Anthology 2014 is the fourth annual collection of the best of Papua New Guinea’s creative writing. In its 507 pages and 140,000 words are poetry, stories and essays from throughout the nation. All but one of PNG’s 22 provinces is represented. The article lists all the creative works selected for inclusion in this year’s Anthology.
10 comments - Father Christmas attitude is destroying enterprise in PNG (Felix Baraka). Felix used the idiom “I’m not Father Christmas” as an entry point for a discussion of the ‘free rider’ or ‘hand out’ mentality present in some aspects of Melanesian culture. “As an educated person, reflecting on this concept of Father Christmas, I was shocked,” Felix wrote.
9 comments - The philosophy of the ‘sori cup’ – national unity in a bottle (Felix Baraka). Sori cup is a phrase used by youthful Papua New Guineans when meeting together to share substances, usually alcohol. The sori cup is passed from hand to hand, its contents provided by those who can afford to give and shared by all. If we can get together in this way, Felix argued, why can’t we unite about other things.
8 comments - City Spirit (Pauline Riman). Great writing from Pauline. “From deep within the Sogeri forests I come forth signalling the end of another day, carrying the rays of my grandfather – the Sun, thanking him as he sets across his sleeping wife. In his fading light I curl up among the boulders at the base of Paga Hill whispering messages to the plants and animals from those along the inland rivers, falling asleep as their chatter slowly turned into a hush. Deep in the night I awake startled at the sound of a young prostitute weeping and tearing red rivulets into her wrists…..”
8 comments - Life can be cheap & justice hard to come by in remote PNG (Peter Kepa). A real life drama of murder, police incompetence and street justice in Papua New Guinea, enhanced by the comments of readers who knew more about the case. “She was a middle aged woman of about 40, a foster mother of six children, and she was found dead and mutilated in her coffee garden in the remote Mordaula valley of the Simbu Province.Regina had gone to her garden in the morning to pick coffee berries from her families’ coffee trees. She had not expected danger since no foe was not common in this locality.”
10 ARTICLES MOST LIKED BY READERS
148 likes - Do Malaysian loggers now run the government of PNG? (Andrew Lattas)
59 likes - Anthology offers 500 pages of PNG's best creative writing (Keith Jackson)
45 likes - Peter O’Neill’s arguments don’t hold water in Court or in public (Martyn Namorong)
43 likes - Illegal cartels make millions through Port Moresby’s buai ban (Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin)
31 likes - Another dramatic week as PNG PM ‘fights to the very last breath’ (Bal Kama)
31 likes - Sam Koim: 'Our leaders are now on dangerous ground' (Keith Jackson)
30 likes - Bougainvillean students harassed at Divine Word University (Leonard Fong Roka)
27 likes - Corruption in Bougainville is letting down all that we fought for (Leonard Fong Roka)
22 likes - The story of the Upe hat of the Wakunai people (Ishmael Palipal)