About Ples Singsing
Things you need to know about Ples Singsing
Ples Singsing is envisioned to be a new platform for Papua Niuginian expressions of creativity, ingenuity and originality in art and culture. We deliberately highlight these two very broad themes as they can encompass the diverse subjects, from technology, medicine and architecture to linguistics, music, fishing, gardening et cetera. Papua Niuginian ways of thinking, living, believing, communicating, dying and so on can cover the gamut of academic, journalistic or opinionated writing and we believe that unless we give ourselves a platform to talk about and discuss these things in an open, free and non-exclusively academic space that they may remain the fodder for academics, journalists and other types of writers alone. New social media platforms have given every individual a personal space to share their feelings and ideas openly, sometimes without immediate censure. The Ples Singsing writer’s blog would like to provide another more structured platform for Papua Niuginian expressions in written, visual and audio formats while also providing some regulation of the type and content of materials to be shared publicly.
Ples Singsing was unofficially created in 2020 and is meant to carry on the great work of Keith Jackson and the PNG Attitude blog. We want to promote more sharing, discussion, debate, brainstorming, research and writing within PNG while also facilitating the sharing of these to a wider and international audience. The structure of the blog is meant to categorize and contain the diverse types of expressions envisioned while also allowing a freedom of expression among all manner of contributors.
True to its name, Ples Singsing aims to be a common space for creative expression and sharing. Whether you are singing, dancing, painting, carving, photographing or writing, share it here with everyone. Every village or community has a communal space where important and current matters are talked about; where festivals are held; feasts made; speeches given; ceremonies held; or conflicts resolved. Think of this as the same kind of space for that but virtual.
The blog itself does not seek to impose a worldview, ideology or religion on its readers and seeks a more egalitarian and eclectic approach.
Ples Singsing is a Papua Niuginian blog, run by Papua Niuginians for Papua Niuginians. However, it should not be purely conservative or traditionalist in its views nor should it be localist and insular. Papua Niugini is a nation of villages while also being a work-in-progress project to creating one big village from the acquiescence of its member villages. That is basically the idea of nation-building. Ples Singsing wants to help in this project by encouraging creative thinking and sharing while allowing for constructive debate and critiques. Disagreements are inevitable but compromise – taking what we cannot live without and letting go of what we can – is a common but sometimes under-utilised Papua Niuginian virtue. By a similar notion of local-national scale, one could go the next step up and perceive the whole world as a global village as it is increasingly interconnected by the propagation of mass media technologies and communication systems. The nation of Papua Niugini is but one village in a world of many different villages, floating on gigantic rock floating in space that might be perceived as nothing more than a blue marble with white stripes from the vastness of space. Perspective is important and we should always have some when we write, share, debate or argue with each other and with others.
Ples Singsing is a space for Papua Niuginian sharing and debate. It aims to facilitate internal and outside dialogue. Papua Niuginians are urged to write about current and past issues keeping in mind the type of future envisioned. You are encouraged to research and write, read and discuss ideas, share knowledge and inspiration in whatever form of expression comes naturally to you. Whether you are a Grade 8 student or a retired nurse, an undergraduate or a department head, a buai seller or a bus driver, or a security guard or an unemployed youth – if you have something important to say that you feel needs to be heard by someone who can influence your spot in life, use this platform.
Our primary function is the exposition of words and ideas – the provision and exchange of information and opinion – and using this to maintain important relationships locally as well as internationally.
Ples Singsing may not solve many problems but it will raise them, debate them and espouse solutions that others may see as worthwhile. We seek to grow our readership so that ordinary citizens may have their voices heard and those who already have a platform can continue to inspire or inform others.
This is initially a digital and online platform but we would very much like to be able to produce a tangible publication. Given the general low quality of internet services in PNG and the universal appeal of reading hard copies of books as opposed to electronic books, we hope to raise funds for an annual book publication that would be a compilation of selected, criteria-based materials submitted and posted on the website throughout the year.
Ples Singsing uses Word Press to publish material from its contributors. Word Press is cheap to begin with but the cost to upgrade increases depending on the type and amount of content being contributed. The price range can go from $12 and upwards – sky’s the limit really so it can get quite expensive. We will primarily want to be a platform for written expression but envisage the sharing of artistic expression in audio and video media as well. We look forward to being able to increase the websites capabilities to featuring podcasts or vlogs and this of course will cost more. Audio and video media we believe are more aligned with our traditional Papua Niuginian forms of expression so we would like to encourage this by raising funds and upgrading the website.
Ples Singsing is not a formal organisation. It is an online platform run by a group of like-minded Papua Niuginians and comprises its many contributors and the readership, where ever in the world they are. A love and interest in Papua Niugini is a common attribute.
The core group of four individuals who banded together to form this group are not paid and work in different sectors but share a common love for Papua Niugini. They created the website and administer it so their main role is to manage the timely editing and online posting of materials sent in. There are no specified roles among them and administrative tasks are shared equally between them.
You can contribute to either of these sections of Ples Singsing.
Main Page. If you have a story, article, commentary or poem on a subject related to the purpose of Ples Singsing you can submit it for publication by email.
Comments. The best comments are short and to the point. Insert them directly into the website by clicking on the Comments link at the end of each article. All comments are mediated by the editor before publication.
Ples Singsing welcomes your contributions for it depends on them to maintain a lively, relevant and informed website. But of course there are some rules.
The first rule is that when it comes to publishable material, the editor’s word is final. If you do not like your words being edited, this is not the place for you.
Most contributions are edited. Why? Because it is a simple truth that people who write are not always the best judges of how their words will be understood by people who read.
Most people are not familiar with the laws of defamation and we will strive to make sure that contributions do not deliberately or unwittingly tarnish another person’s character or reputation.
People sometimes mistake their strongly held beliefs for more general truths. We try our best to differentiate between opinion and fact and fake. We endeavour to not allow fake news, misinformation or incendiary rhetoric. People do not always fully comprehend the effect of their words on others. We do not want and will work to avoid and discourage the character assassination, offence and ill temper that characterises much social media.
Ples Singsing is a platform for everybody and anyone can publish with us but in a respectful and constructive way.
Your contribution to Ples Singsing may be edited for any one or a combination of these reasons:
Defamation. We use the defamation laws of Papua New Guinea as our guide when deciding whether or not a contributor may have gone too far with personal criticism of another person. You always need to be careful when accusing someone of a crime or of poor character. But, if you are not careful, we will be careful for you.
Offence. Abusive language, racist remarks and other words designed to hurt, generate excessive conflict or cause unreasonable offence to other people are not tolerated and will always be edited. We encourage the expression of strong opinions, but we want contributors to be fair in presenting them.
Length. The average reader may spend about three to five minutes reading any one piece of article. All our editing is done from the perspective of this typical reader. We do want people to read what you write, not give up halfway or because the headline does not appeal. Contributions which are so long they make an excessive demand on readers time will probably be trimmed.
Clarity. If you’re not thinking clearly, it’s unlikely your words will emerge clearly on the page. Big words are not necessarily good words. Long sentences do not triumph over short sentences. Five ideas in one paragraph do not get a special prize. If we do not think you are communicating clearly, we will do our best through editing to try to make sure you do.
Relevance. Some contributors, eager to grind pet axes wherever they can, think just because they mention ‘Papua New Guinea’ somewhere in their writing that they have attained the state of grace known as ‘relevance’. They haven’t.
Truth. If we believe that a statement may be untrue or non-factual, we will try to establish the facts and vary your contribution accordingly. If the whole thing is riddled with falsehoods or disingenuity it will be removed.
Spelling, grammar and punctuation. If errors in these departments detract from the content of what you have written, or inadvertently make you look foolish, we will correct them.
Repetition. Is boring and will be eliminated.
We believe, in general, that it is better to have matters out in the open where they can be addressed rather than lurking in the dark as shabby untruths that people may believe because they know no better.
Ples Singsing does not want to be overly censorial but it will protect its own position and reputation by eliminating defamatory and offensive remarks and words. While we will try to rescue remnants of defamatory and offensive articles, contributors should not test our patience too much.
If we believe a contributor is abusing the privilege of reaching an audience through this website, or is in some other way undermining the integrity of what we do, it is possible this person may be electronically ‘blocked’ from accessing the site.
We discourage the use of pseudonyms (false names), initials, first names without last names and pen names (e.g., ‘Concerned Citizen’), and will almost always reject your contribution in such cases. Any contribution with a false email address will be deleted upon detection.
There are some cases where people are legitimately concerned that the publication of their name may endanger them or in some other way be a threat to them. At such times, you should let the editor know the circumstances and your case will be treated with great consideration.
Sometimes people use false names to cover up disinformation (which by its nature is unethical) or to avoid disclosing the true motives of people or organisations which may have a vested interest or a conflict of interest.
False names may also be used as a shield behind which people who do not want to be associated with their own views for whatever reason feel they can launch cowardly attacks on others without detection. In all such cases, we will delete your contribution.
Ples Singsing will treat each case on its merits but a credible, believable and persuasive contribution will almost invariably appear under the real name of its author.
Let us know if you wish to use a pen name, why you wish to use it and provide us with your real name and email as a sign of good faith. We will not disclose your name if there may be some real threat to you in doing so.
Readers do not generally object to conflict (after all, the mass media thrive on it), but in Ples Singsing we draw a line at that point where conflict becomes personal and switches readers off instead of turning them on.
Sometimes a public forum represents a tempting way to lash out at someone you dislike or whose opinions you despise. On these occasions we scrutinise how views are expressed and, if legitimate criticism turns to abuse, the offending words are removed.
Ples Singsing adopts a general view that comment is free but facts are sacred. But we do not necessarily delete misconceived comment, unless it is likely to mislead and possible harm ensue. But it may very well be edited.
It is always the case in public discourse that wrong and unfair things are said and that sometimes villains are elevated and good people traduced. This is not something of which we approve and we will use our judgment to determine whether a particular view offers fair comment or is unfair and needs to be moderated.
The professed intention of Ples Singsing is to be a platform for Papua Niuginian creativity and sharing and it is a space where this can be done freely but within the bounds of good faith, genuine interest in seeking positive change and within lawful boundaries.
We have no particular axe to grind with individual politicians or foreign interests but we are deeply concerned with how ordinary people are affected by the decisions and actions of politicians and public servants. Hence, we expressly want to amplify local voices, the voices of ordinary citizens – middle class or village-based – as long as you have a way of typing on a computer or a phone and emailing your contributions in.
Criticism is an important part of any democracy. It is in fact built into the structure of modern government systems but seems to diminish the higher up you go. Criticism is healthy and should be embraced. Even harsh criticism is good in healthy doses. Parliament consists of the government and opposition. It is the opposition’s duty to provide constructive criticism to change and improve government policies. In the modern legal system, judges and lawyers scrutinize criminal or unlawful behaviour by the citizenry. During the national elections, ordinary citizens go to the polls and make a choice of their preferred leaders based on active and ongoing observations and critique of current leader’s performance and the quality of potential leaders. Ples Singsing can also be seen as a platform for the ongoing critique of government and of our leader’s performances. We are especially critical of corruption in Papua New Guinea and believe it is every citizen’s duty to continually observe our development progress and the performance of our leaders and not to just fall asleep for the five year interlude between every national election. Let us all use whatever forms of expression God has gifted us with to maintain a lively forum that includes constructive criticism.
Let’s be blunt about it, plagiarism – taking someone else’s ideas or words and claiming them as your own – is a pretty low act. It is intellectual theft, it is criminal and illegal and we do not condone it.
Where we detect plagiarism, we will expose it. We hope though that we do not ever have to do that.
This document is meant to be a living one and will grow as the needs and aspirations of Ples Singsing, its contributors and readership, evolve or change. Please feel free to comment on it or suggest ideas that may improve or augment it in an email to the publishers.
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