I keep the screws in my foot where they do some good, not in my head where, if they were loose, they'd just cause problems.
I mean, we're all entitled to our opinions. You readers who know me understand I have strong views. You know I give voice to them.
We say in journalism that opinions are free but facts are sacred. I believe in that too.
But, beyond those beliefs, I’m a pragmatist. I believe in doing what it takes to achieve outcomes that are productive and beneficial. (Big caveat - so long as it’s ethical.)
Hence PNG Attitude, the Crocodile Prize, my broad and continuing commitment to PNG literature and my affection and efforts for the people of Papua New Guinea.
There was a period when The National newspaper in PNG wouldn’t mention my (or Martyn Namorong’s) name because of our views on the logging practices of its owner, Rimbunan Hijau.
This banishment was accompanied by a protracted spam attack against this blog and a complaint to some internet agency that I was a person of low repute who should be banned from communicating. I have no evidence as to who was responsible for this sleaze but, you know, I have my suspicions.
I’m staying at The Stanley Hotel in Moresby. Fine place; grand place. It’s owned by Rimbunan Hijau and a number of people in this city have blacklisted it. So be it. Their choice.
One of the leading lights of the Crocodile Prize wouldn’t come here to meet me the other day. Said it made him “feel uncomfortable”. Too bad. His choice.
Other people decided they wouldn’t turn up for the launch of My Walk to Equality we’re holding here tonight. Rude, but they’re entitled to their stance. Wouldn’t bother inviting them to anything again though. My choice.
What these people have to learn is that, if you want to achieve things in life, you don’t sweat the small stuff. You have to learn to tolerate many things you find personally distasteful. You can’t afford to bear too many grudges (mine are against people who treat other people badly).
Most times you’ve got to get above the shit around you, acknowledge there is a big picture, a greater responsibility, and get on with doing things.
You’ve got to like and respect people too. That always helps.
Yes, like people while at the same time being practical, realistic and hard-headed.
And, if people you down, drop ‘em until they prove they can do better.
So, if you’re in a mental cave, get out of it and take a reasoned look around. Plan. Organise. Act. Don’t wait. Don’t make excuses. Be strong. Do it now.
And keep your head (and foot) screwed on.