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09 December 2018


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Fuck the government.

I'm doing it for myself and I think writers always have done, no matter how altruistic the intention.

The Crocodile Prize, as a self-help, run-by-interest group was a good model.

A bit of commercial funding for the advertising and award glorification.

Some local get togethers, and an open communication hub (like PNG Attitude), and we'd be alright.

Get a few big-wigs in before they drop dead, e.g. GC'' Sir Michael Somare and Sir Paulias Matane, Dame Carol Kidu, local expertise Dr Steven Winduo and Mr. Russell Soaba, influential figures in government and business like Gary Juffa, Brian Kramer, Kerenga Kua, and lots of volunteers for the hard slog organization.

Apply for a Commonwealth not-for-profit status.

And we're off.

The following link provides access to a recent article that reflects on Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, which was first published via the Appeal to Reason back in the early 1900s. It is well worth a read:

Total disdain for writers? The PNG government has total disdain for all the population. Why should they be any different. I doubt anyone cannot see where we are headed. Ask an ex-Africa hand.

At Simbu Writers Association we discussed the possibility of approaching our government as a small to medium sized enterprise (SME) because writing can sustain a family - put food on table, pay for school fees, etc.

As an organisation we have approached the government but to no avail. Our most enterprising project of promoting literacy in school of Chimbu in 2014 - after an extremely successful year - came to nothing in the following years.

This was due to lack in funding support from government. All the children (Grades 9 to 12) we enticed have all been left to fend for themselves. In 2014 Chimbu schools produced three writing anthologies.

Personally I laboured through 'My Chimbu' and on many occasions nearly threw in the towel. Even a writer has to eat and has his family to feed. He has to communicate, research, attend meetings, travel etc - and frankly not when we are all living in poverty!

Fortunately for me my partner the children's mother works as a nurse so was able to take care of the house while I spent time on our history book.

So yes we have a very irresponsible government that is killing writing in PNG.

Well said, Phil. As a sometime mentor and editorial guide for Marlene during the past 4-5 years or so, I have come to admire greatly her creativity, her curiosity, her resilience, her cheerfulness in the face of all kinds of adversity and her determination to the be the best writer she can be. She is also a wonderful and caring mother. I am proud and grateful that she always refers to me as her PBM: pren bilong mi.

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