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28 August 2018


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Daniel - I spent the first part of August undertaking my first trek of the Kokoda Trail (Owers Corner to the Kokoda Plateau end) and came to a full realisation of a truth you have made in your comment.

Whilst PNG's urban centres have rolled out and are saturating schools and communities with the notion of sports being the tool of becoming agents of change, I witnessed no such activity in the communities along the Trail.

Seeing first had the lack of infrastructure and limited general social development, it's of little wonder why such well funded campaigns don't send their throngs of ambassadors and role models out to inspire young minds with rugby etc.

Although, I can report that, with the supply of PNG authored children's book I was able distribute along the Trail, both children and parents were delighted upon receipt.

I had approached Library For All's Rebecca McDonald and Dr Lara Cain Gray and asked for a donation of their PNG-authored children's titles to gift children with during my trek.

LFA were only to happy to assist. So a massive thank you to the LFA team for their support!

Thank you all for reading.

Two points we may wish to consider and act upon through advocacy are:

1. Earlier this year, the Lowy Institute held a workshop to connect/ foster networking between Australian and Papua New Guinean artists. Anyone up to raising with Jonathan Pryke etc that they consider hosting in late 2018/ 2019 a similar event for writers, editors and publishers?

2. As the New Colombo Plan program thrives, is it possible (through article writing) to advocate the inclusion of PNG-authored literature (Pukpuk Publications etc) as part of pre-arrival preparation.

I noted some time ago students from James Cook University were headed to Port Moresby for two weeks to "learn" about PNG culture, people etc. Some books would have helped, I'm (very) sure.

Rashmii, and Keith and Phil, great work in your support of PNG writing.

Rashmii, We missed joining you, Vanessa, Phil and others at the Sunshine Coast readers and writers festival due to election violence last year. Johannes Kundal, a friend of mine, was to join me.

We still can't make it this year. We seem trapped. Only our minds can travel far. There is no motivation when we see the education system collapsing due to crime and corruption.

In a land where there is no free hifi, a three kina flex card seems far too expensive to purchase from the Chinese wholesalers here in Wabag town.

I applaud you for continuing to be the literary voice for all of us in PNG - man na meri wantaim.

Your critical and knowledgeable analysis of the role literature can play to enhance quality education in remote corners of PNG is invaluable.

Yakapylino ('tenk yu' long tok ples Enga).

Rashmi, well written. I enjoyed this one and got me thinking.

Phil, universities and colleges should be at the forefront in assisting to develop a PNG literature that has the people's voice after the pre independence/ UPNG era. But this did not happen.

Pre independence/ UPNG Papua New Guinea literature continued to be the main discourse at our higher learning institutions until the advent of the Crocodile Prize.

This brought to light an authentic Papua New Guinea voices that spoke again of the profound changes that have happened since the pre independence era.

Literature is a human essence and the people should be given a voice to talk about their experiences of the present times (and the past and future) after forty plus years of being a nation state.

Homeland as an independent state, a nation, a boldness inspiring all its citizens, in PNG and afar, a diversity undaunted but establishing a narrative of connectedness to which 45 women so exceedingly well have authored and share, and for which accolade pleasantly streams in the telling by Rashmii. If any sentence is short a verb or vibe, all 'doing words' are in the harmonic of writings by these women.

That last paragraph makes a very interesting point Raymond.

"PNG literature should not be locked away in higher learning institutions but be given to our people to participate in its evolution".

I think that might have happened in PNG.

The pre-independence literature of PNG was based in the UPNG and it continued to be so after independence but in an ever diminishing form.

What the Crocodile Prize did was take it away from the largely academic world and let it run free in the ordinary world of PNG people.

That might explain why, apart from Russell Soaba, we got very little support from UPNG.

Thank you Rashmii for leading the way.
Thank you for persevering, encouraging and nurturing PNG Women Writers.

Thank you Rashmii for this honest assessment of PNG literature and its place in our nation's consciousness and the world in general.

PNG Attitude blog to me is a stand-alone when it comes to modern 21st century PNG literary works of all forms. This is evident in the array of categories where topics are discussed and commented on by the many learned contributors and readers.

Keith, Phil and others (as mentioned by Rashmii) have single handedly nurtured, encouraged, supported and financed a rejuvenation of PNG literary talents not seen since the pre/post-independence Ullie Beier era.

Before the Crocodile Prize literary awards, modern post-independence PNG literature as a form was simply nonexistent.

The Crocodile Prize anthologies proved beyond doubt that PNG post colonial literature should at this time progress from the post a independence to a new school in the post 20th century.

This will also prove that PNG has matured from the writings of the post-independence writers like John Kaisapwalova, Kumalau Tawali, Ben Nakin and others.

PNG literature should be a free and living orgasnism that must be nurtured and guided to adapt and cater for the changes that are happening in the country and around the world.

PNG literature should not be locked away in higher learning institutions but be given to our people to participate in its evolution.

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