IN THIS SECOND ISSUE we look back at the start of Papua Niugini’s literary history, with retrospective articles from academic scholars and old students of the ‘father of PNG literature’, Ulrich Horst Beier. We do this in order to ‘give back to PNG what we already have’ – a rich heritage of literary work emerging during colonial, pre- and post-independence periods. We then showcase five recent books by PNG authors.
Sumatin Magazine also pays tribute to the passing away of four national leaders, three knights and a deputy prime minister, as our still young nation moves towards 50 years of independence, and the formation of our tenth national parliament this year.
Today there are many writers using blog platforms, wondering where PNG is heading and when the vicious cycles of political corruption, poor economic development and social decay will end. One young writer poses that PNG is “a nation in denial”.
We at Ples Singsing believe that it is by thinking and writing, reading and reviewing our literary, lifestyle and legislative processes, that people can be brought into a better understanding of what we value, who we are, and what we may achieve together.
One aspiration is to have written and translated works in our three national languages, English, Tok Pisin and Motu. While English may be the language of education, and not disregarding our own local languages, it is very apparent that Tok Pisin and Motu are the most commonly used means of everyday communication. We believe that using our two native oriented languages, and presenting translated works, is a practical and strategic way to open up our national conversations, by including the true diversity of Papua Niugini and allowing this to shine through. There is originality and an intrinsic value for creative works using our own idioms. We should celebrate this uniqueness.
This year author Baka Bina has led the way, being shortlisted in the Commonwealth Short Story competition for a story originally written in Tok Pisin and translated into English. Meanwhile, poetess Fiada Kede won our mini-poetry contest for a dual English and Tok Pisin poem and Michael Dom’s essay, written in Tok Pisin, asks why our languages were banned in school. Also, Caroline Evari reflects on ‘kastom wok’, a culture which all of us share, while Gregory Bablis notes that “history is not a fairy tale”.
We have much more in store for our literary growth and towards revealing who we really are, as a creative people, to the rest of the world.
We wish you pleasant reading!