An hour by the Kepesia  Rocky Beach

By Alphonse M Huvi

Turubu, East Sepik Province –
I see the sea shore washed away like the bulldozer clearing the land
I watched in agony as the treasured trees nearby were washed away like logging taking place
Like a marbles clanging against each other, the pebbles rejoiced over the splashing salt water
Sea waves rushing towards the land like nobody’s business
Where have all the herons gone? 
Where were the eagles that flew high in the sky like the aeroplanes? 
Where are the sea weeds that were nutritious?

My face is sunbathed by the salt spray like lotion applied to my Amazon forest skin
My eyes looked longingly to the horizon like a compass searching for a lost ship
I am engrossed with the cool breeze surfing through my body like cleansing water
Where was the beautiful tallis shady tree that once stood here?
Where was that bent pandanus tree that had leaves hanging like ropes towards the sea?
Where was the magnificent coconut tree that I once quenched my thirst from its coconut juice? 

I caught sight of the brownish bush near the beach that looked like burnt forest
The naked trees standing barren without leaves like shameless beings
The natural surrounding becoming more transparent like a mirror 
Where was this once greenish beautiful environment?
Where are those pebbles like marbles of all shapes?
Where in the world are we heading to?   

Two poems from Telly Orekavala

Too much freedom stings

Freedom is a human need
It gives us our rights
The right to live
Freedom of speech
Freedom of Association
Freedom of movement
But also the right to abuse it
Too much freedom stings
Man talk about it
Man sing about it
Man dream about it
When freedom is deprived
People cry for it
People fight for it
People die for it
When freedom reigns
Too much freedom stings
There is stealing, killing, raping
Burb wires and security guards
Misuse of public funds
Abuse of mandated powers
Leaders above the law
Common people subject to it
Corruption at its worst
Prevalence of “No care attitude”
People live for today
They live in fear
For the tribal fighting
For sorcery related killing
For armed hold ups
Mothers and girls are not safe
They live in abusive environment
Rebels and murderers walk free
Life is compensated with money
It is bought and sold
Where is freedom we all love?
We sing of it 
How long, how long
We dream of it
Not long, not long
We cry for it
How long, how long
We even die for it
Where is freedom we all love 
Abused and being abused
Bullied and being bullied
Too much freedom stings
Where is the freedom our fathers fought for?
Abuse of freedom is the root of them all
Prime minister give us the freedom we need.
Governor give us the freedom we long for.
Honourable member give us the freedom we deserve.
Too much freedom stings

Cry My Beloved Country

Born on September 16 1975
Grew up un-noticed
Months and years transforming into a woman
A virgin beautiful virgin
Crowned with plumes of paradise
Blooming hibiscus in the black oasis of hair
Attired in grass skirt and necklace of tabu
Adorned with frangipani flowers
Equipped with stone axe and digging stick
Armed with spear, bow and arrows
Swine is your companion, your wealth, your status
If not your protein
In your dark colour, at your flower age
Your eyes sparkle
Like the pearl in the Pacific Ocean
So beautiful, so gorgeous
Like the feathers you’re wearing
You stick out among the stars of the Pacific
Dotted red, black and gold
In the vast, vast blue sky
The Pacific Ocean
As you dance and sway
To the garamut and the kundu
Flavoured with bamboo band and ukulele
The Pacific beat, the Pacific style, the Pacific way
Your body glitters not from sweat
But from the coconut oil
The fragrances of herbal ornaments
Steals the air and scatters
The world over
You lure the white man
You attract the orange man
You entice the black man
Their hearts are stolen
To be admired, a virgin you were
Till you tied the knot
The knot of “Look North Policy”
With the orange man
T’was love at first at sight
Without knowing what the future held for you
Since then, you’ve lost your virginity
Cry my beloved country
Your sisters in Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia
Are watching, giggling and sad
Because you’re no longer a virgin you used to be
You know all men, all men know you
They’ve exploited you, they’ve used you
You’re adorned with Somares
But they’ll be blown away
They’ll run dry
Cry my beloved country

A flood gate of aliens
Door flung open asunder
Foreigners they suck out of you
Milk, breast milk for your son, your daughter

It’s Exam Time


73,000 students plus sat for the 2020 national examinations

I wish the best of luck to the Grade 10’s who are into the fourth day of examinations and soon to be followed by the Grade 12’s and Grade 8’s right across the nation.

This is decision time determined by the ink of a biro.

Nothing is more powerful than whatever is decided on your papers today. Whatever you write reflects how far you come as the student in whatever grade you’re doing.

Looking back at the life of a student in PNG, education is centered on Teachers versus Students.

The output of a student reflects the input by a teacher. The skill with which students overcome an exam is determined by the sum of teaching invested on that particular student by the teacher.

Many students today will enter into exam rooms with nothing in their head, nothing to draw answers from and nothing to conclude, given the questions, as most and rest of the schools in the country are faced with the unavailability of teachers, shortage of teachers’ resources book and major draw-back by the COVID-19 pandemic on the education calendar.

As has always been, the ratio of drop-outs to the ones who will be passing is real tragedy.

The average number of students passing exams and entering tertiary institutions remains a controversial issue to government and other stakeholders.

According to the PNG Education News, last year saw 72,124 Grade 10 students faced the Grade 10 national examinations while 30,711 Grade 12 students sat for the Grade 12 examinations, and out of these, about 30,000 grade students continued into grade 11 while rest were sent home.

For Grade 12, only about 20% of students were able to continue into tertiary education and 5% of them went into private colleges and technical colleges, while the rest were unable to find a placement for further studies.

What can be drawn from the last year’s results as it is seemingly a trend, and this year’s results may be no exception.

The goal every of parent is to see their kids prospering in education and success during examination is one of the greatest hopes a parent expects.

The parents know that their kids are given into the hands of people who will hopefully make them proud: the entrusted teachers, the school administration and the government of the day, who have the onus to take care of the children by providing the adequate teaching and learning in the classroom.

However, this has been the biggest let down on the parents.

We are living in society where teachers blame students for their inability to master skills taught, administration blames government for the subsidies, but we as parents whom can we blame?

Where do I quench the thirst for my child to be well educated and pass exams?

Children are passing through time and tide, but those officers, examiners, teachers, and government who dictate the exams are the ones who have been in the system and knowingly fail the students with their failed system.

Is this failed system PNG has been party to ever been debated and adjusted to meet the demand of the education system in place?

How long will this system continue to fail the students, parents and sponsors?

Politicians and education systems administrators are equally responsible for failing the students.

We will never rise to achieve the Sana’s dream, put explicitly into The PNG Vision 2050, unless the education system structures and teaching and learning method is well debated and augmented.

Again, I convey my Best Wishes to the Grade 10’s, 12’s and 8’s on their examinations.

It’s now or never. Give it your best shot, for your life of thousand journey starts now.

29 days: Nanjikana & Qoloni’s big drift

Lost on their boat in the Solomon Sea for 29 days, Livae & Junior were rescued by a lone fisherman

| Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation

HONIARA – Livae Nanjikana and Junior Qoloni have beaten big odds in surviving 29 days lost at sea on a 400 km drift from Solomon Islands until their rescue off the coast of West New Britain last Saturday.

The intended trip already had its risks, a 200 km sea journey in a 24-foot open raebo (ray boat) driven  by a single 60 horsepower Yamaha outboard.

Starting from Mono in the Shortland Islands they would keep in sight of Vella la Vella and Gizo to their left en route south to Toro Island.

They soon ran into trouble.

“We encountered bad weather that came with heavy rain, thick dark clouds and strong winds for about an hour,” Nanjikana told SIBC News.

They discovered the GPS tracker battery was dead and they lost visual bearings because of the weather.

“We decided to stop the engine and just float, we still had some fuel left,” he said. But the sea and wind intensified and they were driven further out to sea.

For the next nine days the men ate the oranges they brought from Mono but when the last one was gone, they survived only on “rainwater, coconuts and our faith in God because we prayed day and night for strength and guidance,” said Nanjikana replied.

Waking up in the middle of nowhere each morning, the men remain focused on maintaining their physical, mental and spiritual strength.

They trapped rainwater in canvas and whenever they saw a floating coconut, they would start the engine and drive to it, using a small axe and the boat’s anchor to cut it open.

A Solomons raebo (ray boat)

“After several days, God gave us this thought of constructing a device to sail so we made a mast-like structure using paddles and canvas for a sail and just followed the direction of the wind,” said Nanjikana.

They didn’t know their location but the wind took them across the Solomon Sea into Papua New Guinea’s territorial waters.

On 27th day, they saw an island in the distance. It was the coast of New Britain and they unsuccessfully strived for two days to reach it.

Then. early in the evening of the 29th day, with little fuel left, they spotted a fisherman in a canoe and waved but were not noticed.

So they started the engine and moved towards the fisherman but the fuel ran out.

“We shouted and continually and waved our hands and the fisherman saw us and paddled towards us,” said Nanjikana.

“When he reached us, we asked where are we?” and he replied, ‘PNG’. Oh we are now safe.”

The fisherman towed their boat to shore which they reached at 9pm.

They were fed and later taken to the Health Centre at Pomio to be treated.

“The fisherman was a nice man. When we reached land, our bodies felt weak so we were carried by men to the house.

“We were later fed with good foods such as taro, pawpaw and other vegetables which made us regain our strength,” said Nanjikana.

“We are now well kept and fed with the people here, they are nice people”.

The men are staying with Pomio local, Joe Kolealo, who said the Solomon Islands government will repatriate Nanjikana and Qoloni.

“I picked them from the health centre on Sunday morning and now they live happily with us,” said Kolealo.

One thing that kept the two men going was a strong and positive state of mind, hope and faith in God. They indeed beat incredible odds.

‘Hot-cake’ Maseratis now a bargain. Maybe

Some of the controversial and much unused Maseratis. It’s said spare parts may be a problem in PNG but those street mechanics will turn their hands to that

| British Broadcasting Corporation

LONDON – Papua New Guinea has admitted making a ‘terrible mistake’ after struggling to sell a £4.2m (K20 million) fleet of luxury cars bought to impress politicians during a meeting of regional leaders.

The then-O’Neill government boasted the Maseratis would be snapped up after being used for the 2018 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference.

The purchase caused a controversy, with some leaders, including New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern, refusing to use them.

Now the country – one of the poorest in the Pacific – will sell them at a loss.

“If we had any foresight, the Maseratis would not have been purchased in the first place,” finance minister Sir John Pundari told local media.

“I don’t know the reasons we went down the path of purchasing Maseratis and now we are caught up with this dilemma,” he added.

The cars will now be sold for around K400,000 each ($A160,000), around a 20% loss on the original price.

The Quattroporte sedans were bought through a dealer in Sri Lanka and flown into the country by a chartered jumbo jet.

At the time, the country’s APEC minister, Justin Tkatchenko, defended the purchase, claiming that the cars would provide “the level of carriage for leaders that is the standard for vehicles used at APEC summits”.

Mr Tkatchenko claimed that the vehicles would “sell like hot-cakes” once the summit had concluded and then prime minister O’Neill promised that the government “will not be out of any funds”.

However, the cars have reportedly remained in a warehouse in Port Moresby since the summit ended.

In 2019, James Marape, then finance minister and now prime minister, led local media to the warehouse in an attempt to prove that none of the cars were missing or stolen.

The country also faced other difficulties soon after the summit.

In November 2018, police and security forces stormed the parliament buildings in a dispute over unpaid bonuses of around K350.

Authorities were also forced to appeal for the return of almost 300 other cars that went missing after being loaned to officials during the summit.

Papua New Guinea is one of the poorest countries in APEC, with 40% of the population living on less than K4 a day according to the United Nations.

They’re blowin’ smoke up our arses

Michael Dom

How many books may a Maserati buy
Before it rusts in a shed
How many crooks make a government bad
Before it gets through our heads
Yes, and how many times may a prime minister lie
Before we know he’s a thief
Those politicians are blowin’ smoke up our arses
They’re blowin’ smoke right up our arses

Yes, and home many schools may a Maserati fund
Before the end of a year
And how many drugs may be bought instead
Before our people drop dead
Yes, and how many times must we take out loans
Before we sell off our souls
Those politicians are blowin’ smoke up our arses
They’re blowin’ smoke right up our arses

They’re blowin’ smoke up our arses

Founding father Sir Pita Lus dies at 86

ames Marape and Pita Lus at this year’s Independence Day celebrations in Maprik,  just a few weeks before Sir Pita died

KEITH JACKSON – posted on PNG Attitude Blog

NOOSA – Sir Pita Lus, one of the fathers of Papua New Guinea independence, has died in Maprik aged 86 only a few weeks after giving his last public speech.

Sir Pita was elected to seven PNG parliaments, including the first House of Assembly in 1964, his political career ending in 2002 after 38 years. He was knighted in 1979.

He was a founding member of the Pangu Party, persuaded the great leader Sir Michael Somare to enter politics and remained a major figure and influencer throughout his career.

From the beginning he gained a reputation for fiery rhetoric and unruly parliamentary behaviour but, while this did not always endear him to his colleagues, it strengthened his position as a politician to be listened to.

Historian Hank Nelson later wrote that, in the 1964-68 House of Assembly, there were only seven Papua New Guinean members who stood out of whom only one, John Guise, showed an ability to govern and two, Pita Lus and Gaudi Mirau, were willing to speak aggressively.

Sir Pita was born on 16 September 1935 in Lehinga village in the Maprik area of the Sepik District.

He was not a recognised clan leader by birth and did not learn to read and write until he was 24.

From the beginning, it seemed as though his life would be unpropitious. His father led a group which speared to death a white recruiter who, despite protests, had threatened to take Lus’s older brother.

His father was convicted of murder and sentenced to serve a three-year prison sentence in distant Rabaul, where he died before

Sir Pita was raised by his mother and older brother and very early showed an independent and aggressive temperament.

In 1949, aged 14, he left home to seek his fortune, finding work in Rabaul and then Kavieng as a cook and domestic servant.

He briefly returned to Maprik in 1952, but soon left again to work on Manus, finding a job as a labourer employed by the Australian Navy.

He gained notoriety when he joined, and became spokesman for, a strike against long working hours, later saying it was “the first time I had ever spoken defensively against Europeans”. Later Sir Pita wrote in Kovave:

“Labourers got up at six o’clock in the morning to cut grass. One day, those of us who were involved held a meeting for a strike. At the meeting the foreman asked each one of us to prepare an argument that was suitable to present on behalf of the group to the patrol officer. I looked at the men who sat there making no attempt to say a word.

“I got up and said, ‘My name is Lus and I am going to try to express my opinion. When I was at Rabaul I observed that the people who worked for the government got up at about seven or eight o’clock to start work. Here we are getting up very early at six o’clock like a lot of prisoners. This to me is improper.’

“Everybody including the foreman said, ‘You will be the one to talk with the kiap.’ The kiap with some police came by the government’s boat. The clerk came and called us to appear before the kiap. We all gathered and sat before the kiap for a court case. They asked us, ‘Who has something to say?’ I said, ‘I have.’ ‘You are the one who influenced these people, are you?’ I said ‘I did not influence them, but we are not your gang of prisoners’.”

Sir Pita said he was struck by the kiap to the anger of the hundreds of striking labourers but the kiap realised this was developing into a dangerous situation began a negotiation after which conditions were improved.

The incident brought Sir Pita to adverse attention but did not stop his progress. He was trained to become a painter and then became foreman.

After seven years on Manus he returned to Maprik in 1959, aged 24, and approached a missionary with the South Seas Evangelical Mission saying he wanted to learn to read and write.

The man must have been impressed because not only did he agree to find a place for Sir Pita in school, he invited him to live with his family. During this period the name Pita was added to his family name.

Sir Pita reached Grade 3, became literate and was recruited as a Pentecostal catechist working across the Maprik-Dreikikir region.

It was here that he built and consolidated what was to become his political power base

In 1964, the colonial Administration held what was PNG’s first democratic election for a newly formed national House of Assembly.

I wrote on “the phenomenon of Pita Lus” for Pacific Islands Monthly in July 1975

A man of considerable charisma. Sir Pita defeated five other candidates to become the Member for Dreikikir.

At the following 1968 election he transferred to the Maprik electorate, which he was to represent for a further 34 years.

Dr Jo Herlihy later wrote that he was “regarded as an obstreperous rebel” who others saw variously as a “parliamentary clown, interjector, champion of the little man [or] outspoken critic of [the colonial] government.”

Sir Pita himself viewed his personality in these words, “We Sepik people are not easily aroused; we war with words…. I am not given to fighting”

In 1975, in an article for Pacific Islands Monthly, I wrote:

“Pita Lus immediately made his mark [in the House of Assembly]. During his first two years as a member, he voted against the Administration 22 times in 30 divisions on the floor of the House. No man was so consistent an opponent of the colonial government. Not Guise, not Chatterton, not Pasquarelli.”

And I revisited a fiery war of words in parliament:

Lus: “You shut your mouth and sit down.”

Abal (continuing): “I ask you, Mr Speaker, to order Mr Pita Lus to shut his mouth for a little while.”

Lus: Point of order, Mr Speaker. Mr Tei Abal is not sticking to what he should be talking about.”

Abal: “You are a liar. Sit down.”

At this early stage of his political career, he constantly criticised expatriate domination of politics and commerce: “They only make the profits and go away with them.”

Associated with this was his strong faith in the capabilities of Papua New Guineans and his early advocacy for self-government.

Meanwhile in addition to his success in politics, Sir Pita was achieving in business. By 1972 his parliamentary biography listed his interests as ‘farmer, cattle, coffee, rice, trade store, trucking’.

In 1967 he became a foundation member of the Pangu Pati, establishing a branch in Maprik, where in recruiting members he explained the party concept as: “If the government does not listen to the wishes of the people, the party can tell the government and they must listen”. Maprik became a Pangu stronghold.

Journalist Miriam Zarriga has written of how Sir Pita convinced Michael Somare, to enter politics:

“Somare told him he was not popular and that no one knew him. Sir Pita told him: ‘I will campaign for you. You will win. PNG has to gain independence.’ So he campaigned for Somare because he wanted him to become prime minister. ‘I rode my motorbike up the Sepik Highway campaigning. The road wasn’t that good as now. I slept along the highway’.”

Somare stood and won the seat of Wewak in 1968 and went on to lead PNG to independence. In 1973 he appointed Sir Pita as the Minister of State for Police.

Sir John Kaputin once wrote: “Sir Pita Lus might have been perceived as vociferous and a loose cannon, but, behind this façade, there was a very serious mind concerned with real issues, expressed in Pidgin with lots of humour and punctuated with colourful phrases in English.”

A favourite story of Sir Pita was that when Somare and others were debating a desirable date for Independence, he slapped the table and loudly exclaimed, “Let me pick the date”, saying 16 September was a good date, to which the group agreed. Whereupon Sir Pita laughed and told them it was his birthday.

At his last public appearance on Independence Day this past September, a frail Sir Pita was joined by prime minister James Marape.

Founding father Sir Peter Lus with Sepik Governor Allan Bird at his last public appearance (Kalakai Photography)

On that day, Sir Pita made his last speech:

“We didn’t get Independence for you to fight each other, we didn’t get Independence for you all to hate each other, and we got it because we wanted the best for this country.

“If you have turned away from our Christian values that this country is built on, turn back to God, who remains our father of this Nation.

“Stop the tribal fights, we became a government because we wanted you all to have a good life, a settled life.

“To all of you who turned up to celebrate this day, my wife and I are happy to join you all, may God continue to bless and guide you.

“I want to tell you all, wherever you came from Nuku, Drekikir, Angoram or Wewak, you all have come to be one.

“Fighting will not take you anywhere, do not fight, in the eyes of God, I am here to tell you to listen to me and sit down and respect each other, this is our country. God is constant and always faithful.

“Independence was for you all, keep on working to making this country great.”

Miriam Zarriga wrote: “As Sir Pita concluded, he lifted his hands and blessed the country.”

Sources: Kovave v1 n1, November 1969; Yagl-Ambu v1 n3 September 1974; Pacific Islands Monthly, July 1975; The National; Stories By David Wall; EMTV Online

40 years lost on useless reforms

Dr Joe Ketan – “The failed government systems have set PNG back many years – this time back to the stone age” (DWU)

| My Land, My Country

KUK – Public sector reform is an alien concept to the people of Papua New Guinea.

The idea has been brought into countries like PNG by fly-by-night consultants, whose knowledge seems based almost exclusively on trendy paperbacks purchased at airport bookshops on their way to their new jobs in Third World capitals.

PNG has been one of the testing grounds for weird ideas on governance, development, education and service delivery.

The reforms have been pushed by international organisations whose consultants often lacked knowledge of local conditions with the inevitable outcome that reforms fell short of achieving their objectives mainly because they were not needed in the first place.

PNG has lost 40 years of development opportunity because of poor advice from foreign consultants.

It is embarrassing that the best and brightest in this country have not been consulted on these reforms.

The best analysis of public sector reform has been provided by Papua New Guinean academics and public servants, but our government has consistently ignored the evidence.

The failed outcome based education (OBE) system set back PNG 20 years. This, together with the Tuition Fee Free policy, is responsible for the poor standard of education.

The failed provincial government and local-level government system has also set PNG back many years – this time back to the stone age.

The transport infrastructure remains collapsed. The plantation economy was killed by the high cost of security and by mismanagement. Extension services were withdrawn from rural agriculture.

Funding for core areas of health, education, agriculture and village courts was cut and diverted to electoral purposes with MPs as fund managers.

That is what happens when structural changes are brought about without understanding the purpose of public sector reform.

PNG is now ranked among the lowest country in terms of the human development indicators, despite increases in life expectancy and literacy rates since 1990.

We cannot afford to have people with no real life experience in parliament, running government departments and state enterprises, or working for the government as consultants.

Similarly, we must never allow corrupt people in these places. We have suffered enough at the hands of incompetent and corrupt leaders.

Let’s work together to salvage what is left of our country for our children.

Dr Joseph Ketan lives at Kuk near Mount Hagen and is an independent researcher and sociopolitical commentator with a background in anthropology, political science and governance. He has held academic posts at the Institute of PNG Studies, the National Research Institute and the University of Papua New Guinea. You can follow him on Facebook



I used sit in silence. 
Watch from a tiny distance. 
Pretend I was deaf to the things I heard. 
Wished I was blind to the stuff I saw. 
Denied strong emotions to what I felt.
That was before. 

Today I know the plight of silence. 
A bashed-up wife, 
A beaten daughter, 
Son out of control, 
Family in chaos, 
Community in detest, 
Stranger in the neighbourhood,
Item of gossip groups. 

Those are the ripples of silence. 
Tomorrow, I gain my voice 
My ears all hearing, 
My eyes all seeing 
My feelings attentive, 
My mind discerning, 
My tongue filed. 

Master Silence I no longer tolerate. 
To him I cease to bow. 
His reign I will forever end, 
A captive I shall be no more. 
Silence me not. 
I have gained my voice for sure. 
Setting me free and others too.

Tok Pisin first for Commonwealth story prize

By EMMA D’COSTA – posted on PNG Attitude blog
| Commonwealth Foundation

LONDON, UK – Guyanese writer Fred D’Aguiar will chair an international panel of judges for the 2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, which is now open to 1 November 2021.

And for the first time the prize – offering a first prize of K24,000 – will accept stories in Creole languages like Tok Pisin.

The other judges, drawn from the five regions of the Commonwealth, are Rwandan publisher Louise Umutoni-Bower, Indian author Jahnavi Barua, Cypriot writer Stephanos Stephanides, Trinidadian novelist Kevin Jared Hosein, and Australian writer and poet Jeanine Leane.

The prize is administered by the Commonwealth Foundation, the intergovernmental arm of the Commonwealth that works to support and amplify the voice of civil society.

The prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words) and is open to citizens of all Commonwealth countries and free to enter.

Five regional winners each receive £2,500 (K12,000) and the overall winner £5,000 (K24,000).

“Many view the short story as fiction in its most refined form,” said chief judge, Fred D’Aguiar.

“With the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, the global Commonwealth, as articulated by its writers, can be seen as a kaleidoscope of traditions, peoples and places, that is, the best of the Commonwealth at its imagined best.”

The prize now open for entries which will be accepted up until 1 November 2021.

In addition to English, stories can be submitted in a number of languages including, for the first time, Tok Pisin.

Stories that have been translated into English from any language are also accepted and the translator of any story that wins will also receive prize money.

Now in its eleventh year, the prize has a strong reputation for discovering and elevating new talent.

“If you are a writer—which is to say, a person who cannot exist without writing—then you must avail yourself of this opportunity to have your work read and amplified and championed by one of the most diverse communities of writers anywhere in the literary world,” said last year’s winner, Sri Lanka writer Kanya D’Almeida.

“Don’t enter thinking I need this prize. Enter believing this prize needs me.”

If you are interested in applying, you can find out more here:

My Grandpa


The Old Man, (image) from a short-story by John Kaupa Kamasua
He was four foot three 
With silver grey hair free 
Big rimmed glasses guarded two brown eyes 
Eyes so cloudy, dimmed by ages toil. 

Hard working hands so tough 
Feet that walked million miles 
Back bent from laborious work 
And two missing teeth replaced by plastic duplicates 

His voice was beautifully magical 
Naturally shaky and made everyone wakey 
Melodious sounds escaped the guitar at his strum 
A mixture of instrument and voice No one would dare ignore. 

An entertaining storyteller he recounts 
Stories of old, stories so true 
The war, the White man 
The country before now 

A panel beater he was 
The best I have ever seen 
Go bring in your wrecked cars 
He’ll return with no scars 

A book worm of novels, newspapers and later the Bible 
A fan of poker, 7 leaf and card games in prime years 
He once love the bottle guy 
He once loved the casinos 
He also once loved my grandma 
But that was all now in the past 

He sang the good oldies 
He talked about great times 
He rejoiced in new life 
And wept at the loss of it 
His hands though a bit shakey 
Were prompt to lend a hand. 

He went to sleep one day 
And rose again no more 
Old age creeped up on him eventually 
And took his breath away In my fathers’ arms he slept 
No more songs so cheery 
No more tales so dearie 
His seat forever empty 
That was my grandpa.