PORT MORESBY - Two prominent Papua New Guineans have called for a cultural revival in Papua New Guinea at the same time as PNG’s writers put the finishing touches on a petition for prime minister James Marape.
“Papua New Guinea’s cultural heritage defines who we are,” said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Emil Tammur launching the National Cultural Commission’s corporate plan.
“Without culture and tradition we have no identity, no soul.
“If you look at some of the more successful economies of the world – Japan or China or Korea – behind the economic success story there lies a social and cultural background that is the heart and soul of that nation,” he said.
“Culture is what makes them different, what makes them proud and what gives them an identity.”
Similar words have been used by the authors of the literary manifesto that PNG writers intend to present to Mr Marape soon.
“A nation without a story is like a nation without a soul,” the manifesto says. “Without a home-grown literature the story of our great nation cannot be told.”
Well over 300 people have signed the petition which says, “We, the writers, and supporters of writers, of Papua New Guinea, believe our nation’s literature is something that needs to be encouraged and supported by everyone, but especially by the government.
“If our story is not told, future generations of Papua New Guineans will not be fully aware of where they come from, who they are and what made them.”
Mr Tammur said, “If you look at some of the more successful economies of the world – Japan or China or Korea – behind the economic success story there lies a social and cultural background that is ancient.
“That is the heart and soul of that nation. Culture is what makes them different, what makes them proud and what gives them an identity.
“When the oil and gas and minerals dry up, it is our cultures that can sustain us.”
“Our mandate is to keep the heart of this country beating,” said National Cultural Commission boss Steven Kilanda.
“Neglect across the years has brought many of our agencies and the cultural commission close to a massive heart attack.”
Both men called for concerted efforts across all sectors of government to bring back respect for Papua New Guinean ways.
The group organising PNG’s petition that wants greater support for a sustainable home-grown literature are now seeking a meeting with the prime minister.