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11 February 2016


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We were at the Sydney PNG Consulate today to get Rose's passport renewed. Well you can't do that from Australia anymore, you have to send all the documents and application off to Port Moresby with a promised 2-week turnaround.

A bit tough if you're in a hurry (luckily we are not); but whilst there I picked up a few copies of Paradise - the Air Niugini in-flight mag - and we were extremely chuffed for PNG Attitude to see the Crocodile Prize featured prominently.

There were two stories - 'The Hotel with no guests' by Daniel Kumbon, and 'A Road trip in the Highlands' by Hazel Kutkue - both prizewinners. And the Croc Prize was described as a leading national literary prize.

You may have already covered this, as I have been off the air for a bit, but the Croc Prize is flying high! So many congratulations are due to your good selves and the talented writers you have promoted.

I could write a bit more about this if not covered. 'Paradise' is one of the better in-flights mags and is amazingly informative. Also we are a bit biased as the Jan/Feb issue features a picture of Rose's brother. I wonder if you can pick it?

Great project. The revitalization of literary engagements and writing and publishing through the Croc Prize needs recording.

A country without a thriving literature has not soul, and cannot advance in other fields of inquiry.

A perceptive piece, as usual, Phil.

The commentary, discourse and dialogue on PNG Attitude - born as they are from shared interest, experience and values, is indeed marked by equity, mutual respect and, increasingly, mutual understanding.

If I have any concern, however, it is that the dialogue sometimes borders on being overly respectful and agreeable. Disagreement and dissent, on the relatively infrequent occasions it is expressed, tends, generally-speaking, to be muted and almost apologetic – although Paul and Rashmii are notable exceptions in this regard.

The absence of really robust debate reflects, probably, our shared views and aspirations and the aforementioned mutual respect. That said, every group or family needs a gadfly and you, Phil play this role extremely well. It’s a pity, nevertheless, that your occasional ‘provocations’ do not lead to more rigorous responses and exchanges.

All that aside, like you, I think, I will be ever grateful for the friendships that Attitude and the Crocodile Prize have spawned. I’ve never met Baka Bina, Marlene Potoura or Busa Wenogo, but through our literary collaborations we have established special relationships that can truly be described as ‘friendship’ – and it remains my hope that I will meet them face-to-face one day.

Great history. Well done to all involved.

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