We all have a part to play towards nation building

By Michelle Auamoromoro

Michelle on the far right and her partner Pau on the far left I with their graduating students and guests after the first Graduation on April 22, 2021

After moving to Popondetta late last year, my partner and I were a little concerned that the youths and even adults living in the community that we were in were mostly unemployed and doing nothing (no school, no work) and it seemed to be a normal to them. One of the thing they also lacked was basic computer knowledge. Since my partner owned a registered IT SME, we thought that we had to do something. When you own a business or a company, or as an organization or an institution, you have a social obligation, you have to give something back to the community. We felt that it was our social obligation to help the community by training them basic computing skills. So we put forth a Community Development Program, a Basic Computing Skills Training. When the awareness of the training went out, we had interested students who came in to register. We realized that not only youths came, there were adults who were computer illiterate and they needed the training too.

The first intake had 9 students and the training started on March 16. We planned to run the training for two weeks. Within those two weeks, we introduced them to computers, and we trained them how to use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Publisher and Excel. With zero experience of training or teaching, I was privileged to be the Trainer. I summarized notes, prepared my presentations and trained them while trying to explain in the simplest way that I could. Most of the students were beginners. You could literally see their hands shaking as they tried to use the touchpad and it took them a minute or two to find a letter on the keyboard. After the two weeks ended, my partner and I were satisfied and happy to see the students typing with ease. We were also happy with the feedback that we received from them. Above all, we were happy that we had helped 9 people in our community to be computer literate.

Our second intake had 8 students. This intake and the first agreed to have a combined Graduation. So in April 22, 2021, we had our very first Graduation where 17 students received their certificates and references. On that day, we also officially launched our Community Development Program. I was sick and couldn’t attend the event, but I was smiling and crying tears of joy while in my sick bed. I felt the feeling of true satisfaction that day. We may be unemployed, we may not be benefiting from this training but what’s satisfying is the fact that we are helping to build this nation in a little way we can.

Being an Accountant and a Journalist by profession, we moved out of our circle and decided to give back to the community the knowledge that we have about computers. We are thankful with how the things have turned out. We look forward to helping more people. We also want to thank everyone who have supported us in one way or another. Thank you, we truly appreciate it. Above all, we thank God for everything. In the end, all glory and praise goes back to Him.

Oh, and yes, you may be wondering about what happened to the students after graduation. Well, thanks to our partner, Advance Z Computing, who has taken on board our students to do their job practical. From the response that we received from Advance Z Computing Managing Director, our students are doing great, even the beginners! And that’s good news. We smile every time the students come and find us to tell us about their job practical experience. We are so happy for them.

As for the training, it is continuing, currently, the 15 students for our Third Intake are attending the training. They will be done tomorrow.

So what did I learn through this experience? I learnt that the saying ‘You can make a change by starting where you are’ is true. And I also learned that nothing is more satisfying than giving back to your community, your province and your country in general, even in a very little way.


Book written and typed on Phone

By Gerard Ivalaoa

My name is Gerard Ivalaoa and I am happy to announce to you the publication of my first book.

I have written this book, typed it on the phone and have engaged Shane Baiva Publications to publish it. The writing and publication of this book was really challenging, especially typing 85 000 words with two fingers on a wowi phone. It was too difficult in a house that doesn’t have electricity. But the message that inspired me was difficult does not mean impossible. No.

When my phone’s battery was down, I had to pay K1.00 at a trade store to get it recharged or give the phone to my best friend to charge it at his house.

However, with the inspiration of seeing young people, particularly students exposed to the importance of academic excellence, I was able to and prayerfully complete this book in circumstances that wanted to defeat me.

This book is an inspiration, a new message to this young generation of students from a young author.

I believe that many students would be excited and be interested to discover what the 70 REMINDERS OF ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE is all about in order to give their best efforts to excel academically.

70 REMINDERS OF ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE is for those who are brilliant and below average. But I believe that if students are reminded about the importance of education they can rise above the average.

Yes! Times are tough but as we have always heard that when things gets tough the tough gets going.

Please do not hesitate to inbox me to receive my contact details to grab the first batch and limited 80 copies of my books for only K50 (per copy).

Gerard holding his book “70 REMINDERS OF ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE”


By Hercules Sivire – posted on April 27, 2021

From the day that I saw you.

My heart skipped a beat.

Making me feel the heat.

Telling me that “I want you.”

I like you, I want you, I need you.

But my guts told me not to.

Because you’re just too A to the D-O-R-A-B-L-E.

How can I describe you?

A to the D-O-R-A-B-L-E.

Because this is what I see.

A to the D-O-R-A-B-L-E   

And that is all in you.

Too cute, too gorgeous.

Too sweet, too fun.

So, A to the D-O-R-B-L-E You are.

Playing with your emotion is not what you want.

Giving too much compliments is not what you want.

Instead, asking me to be confident is what you want.

I know, confidence in men is what you want.

I cannot give you what you want.

I am just a kid, going through, learning through and knowing you.

And what I see, makes me think

You are, A to the D-O-R-A-B-L-E.


Inaugural Award Ceremony of Tingting Bilong Mi Essay Competition


Five winning essayists and the Masterminds at Ribito Grill & Restaraunt

The inaugural awards ceremony of the Ples Singsing Blog’s Tingting Bilong Mi 2020 Essay Competition took place at the Ribito Grill and Restaurant on Saturday 10th of April.

Present at the event were essayist and their guests, along with the four Ples Singsing Masterminds and special guest Ms. Imelda Griffin, a writer/poet and manager at WestPac Limited.

A huge congratulations was shared with all the writers and to the nine essayists who made it onto the competition shortlist.

At the awards ceremony the essayists were welcomed as aspiring writers and celebrated for their courage and efforts in the competition.

The finalists present were Illeana Dom, Mathisah Turi, Vilousha Hahembe, Latasha Akane and Nathan Kilali. Other finalists, Issabella Vilau, Esther Tuweyo and Jamila Kawas, were not able to be present and their awards will be posted to them.

The essay judges unfortunately were unable to attend but their hard work and effort was highly acknowledged during the ceremony. The judges were Dr Fiona Hukula (researcher and advocator), Philip Fitzpatrick (author), and Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin (essayist) also Patrick Levo (Post Courier), and Ed Brumby (retired educator). 

The top three places in the competition went to three outstanding female essayists.

The Most Popular Essay on the blog which received over one thousand views on the blog went to Vilousha Hahembe. In first place was Illeana Dom receiving an award certificate and prize money of K600. Mathisah Turi, the youngest writer turning 16 this year, was in second place and received an award certificate and prize money of K400. Issabella Vilau, who lives in Goroka, was in third place and will be sent her certificate and K300 prize money. The three winners each received two books by PNG authors.

Also, on the program was a panel discussion which was moderated by special guest Ms. Imelda Griffin. Everyone present participated in the discussion which was led by, Elizabeth Turi, Grace Dom and Caroline Evari and Michael Dom of Ples Singsing.

The first topic was about “government support for independent publishers and what’s needed”? 

Apart from having access to publishing opportunities and supporting local start-up publishing businesses the most important point agreed to by the panel was about editing.

Editing is vital to the writing process but availability of editors is lacking in Papua New Guinea. Good editors support local authors and their publishers to produce readable books.

Also, in order to produce quality reading materials critical editing is paramount for PNG authors to improve their manuscripts. Writers are best advised to find someone to whom they can send their work to proof read and edit work.

Another topic was “developing reading culture and preserving our stories and how to address the different audiences”.

One idea was to promote the use of vernacular language use in writing, which is also a tool to capture oral literature. This will also become a means to preserve our local languages.

The submitted essays made valid points for the PNG government to support PNG authors.

Two of the strongest points was the need to improve literacy and literature in PNG. While these two words are related but can be distinguished from each other as Literacy is reading and writing while literature is the tangible work put down on a piece of paper.

The need for improved literacy and literature in Papua Niugini is close to the heart of Ples Singsing.

In his remarks when opening the awards ceremony Ples Singsing’s Michael Dom stated that “We want to encourage more Papua new Guineans to be reading PNG authored books and to create many more avenues by which we can make those books (and Papua Niuginian) writing available to more Papua New Guinean’s. In other words, we want to popularize our national Literature”.

In 2019, the four Masterminds were part of the writers’ group along with retired journalist and author Daniel Kumbon had petitioned the Prime Minister to support Papua New Guinean authors who were struggling to get their books published and made available to schools and universities for students to read. The government is yet to respond to the petition.

Meanwhile the Tingting Bilong Mi Essay Competition asked the question ‘Why do you think the PNG Government should/should not buy PNG authored books’ aimed to gain an insight into what young Papua New Guineans think about the petition agenda.

Essay writing provides a means to encourage critical thinking skills by our youth, particularly students, from 16 to 36 years age. The Tingting Bilong Mi Essay contest has helped to capture these young people’s thoughts about the writer’s cause “PNG authors for PNG readers”. It is planned that this essay competition will continue for another five years with different topics.

Ples Singsing – Papua Niugnian Writers Blog was formed around July 2020 by the four Masterminds Caroline Evari, Betty Wakia, Michael Dom and Gregory Bablis, who were brought together because of their passion for writing.

The blog shares short stories, poems, essays, book reviews and other writing by PNG authors which are also promoted on their Facebook page, on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The Masterminds have also promoted the Tingting Bilong Mi contest through newspaper articles, and plan to publish a book compilation of the essays. There is also an idea to publish a magazine of Papua Niuginian stories to promote literature.                                                                                    

Another writing competition that will soon be run by Ples Singsing is the Kurai Memorial Award. Paul Kurai is from Wabag in Enga Province and owns Ribito Grill and Restaurant at Waigain North, and the sponsor this award for short-biographical story of an individual’s contribution before Independence.

The Ples Singsing Masterminds sincerely thank Mr. Paul Kurai for putting up his business place for the awards ceremony. And after an excellent lunch along with our guests and the essayists, we can assure Port Moresby residents that Ribito Grill & Restaraunt serves up truly delicious T-bone steak and excellent chips – go there for your munchies cure!

Open minded & not afraid of criticism to become writer

Vilousha Hahembe with her TBM award certificate

By Vilousha Hahembe

I’d like to start by expressing my deepest appreciation to the Ples Singsing Masterminds for hosting the Tingting Bilong Mi essay competition. It has given many young talented Papua New Guineans a platform to express their opinions about the originality of PNG authors. My experience in the essay competition gave me a motivational boost to write more. The exposure that l got was 1, 200 viewers oustanding and all the critical comments and support from my friends and family were overwhelming. You guys are the best!

As part of our panel discussion during the ceremony, the first time writers are actually scared of criticism and perfection and that’s why they sometimes hide their work. But if you want to become a writer, you have to be open minded and not afraid of criticism and not trying to be perfect always. This is such a great encouragement for all of us to start writing.

I am now determined to publish more of my work with the Ples Singsing masterminds and hopefully inspire my peers to do the same as well. You will definitely see more of my work online during the semester break.

Also an encouragement to you parents, when your children are as young as 3 years old, please give them books to read instead of mobile phones to watch movies. English is still a struggle for some people to understand. When you train your children the right way to take interest in books they will grow up with very intellectual minds. Trust me!

Finally I’d like to promote the Ples Singsing Masterminds. They are a group of Papua New Guineans who have published some of the best PNG literature. They are not writers by profession but writers by passion. They offer free editing and publishing of the best literature pieces on their blog from Papua New Guineans with critical minds. They are open to all opinions so please if you’re someone with a critical mind who wish to express your opinions put them down on paper and make sure it’s very convincing and send it over to them anytime.

Your mind is the most valuable gem in the world!

Five Essayist

Charles Monckton – the trigger happy colonialist

Charles Monckton in 1907

Academia Nomad

Charles Monckton: Some Experiences of a New Guinea Resident Magistrate

PORT MORESBY –Charles Arthur Whitmore Monckton (1873-1936) first arrived in the protectorate of British New Guinea (later known as Papua) in 1895 having been recruited from New Zealand as a magistrate.

Upon Monckton’s arrival, Lieutenant-Governor Sir William MacGregor was unable to employ him.

This was partly because the colonial budget was constrained and also because the young Monckton was inexperienced and lacked knowledge of New Guinea and its people.

So Macgregor directed Monckton’s to the newly-discovered goldfields on Woodlark Island. Monckton was happy about this and made his way there, later engaging in pearling and trading in the Louisiade Archpelago.

He returned to New Zealand for a time to study navigation and in 1897 bought a small boat in Sydney and sailed to Port Moresby.

Macgregor was now able to offer him relief postings as resident magistrate in the Eastern Division, then the Mekeo district and finally the South-Eastern Division.

From 1899 Monckton took up permanent appointments in the North-Eastern and Northern Divisions.

His book, ‘Some Experiences of a New Guinea Resident Magistrate’, published in 1920 was the first of several he wrote about his time in British New Guinea.

It is a gripping and adventure-packed narrative in which Monckton recounts his exploits as a miner and trader on Woodlark Island and in the Louisiades, and his later experiences as a resident magistrate in a land largely unpenetrated by colonial impact.

Taking up his job as resident magistrate at Samarai for the South-Eastern Division, Monckton discovered that, apart from his magisterial responsibilities, he was expected to train police, sail boats, marry people and act as gaoler, undertaker, surveyor and doctor in the absence of these and other specialists.

Sir William Macgregor, Monckton learnt, expected resident magistrates to “know everything and do everything”.

The Samarai gaol at the time held the troublesome Binandere prisoners who had been charged with the murder of Northern Division resident magistrate John Green at Tamata Station.

In the book Monckton tells of the events that unfolded which led to punitive expeditions by the colonial government into the Mambare River area.

In the Mekeo District, Monckton tells of his exasperated efforts to aid the missionaries’ work and to establish government order in an area where cunning sorcerers held the local people in a fearful grip.

It was in the newly created North-Eastern Division that Monckton took up his first permanent appointment as resident magistrate.

Arriving at Cape Nelson (now Tufi) in April 1900, Monckton was charged with establishing a government station to control a number of warlike tribes and exercise law and order for miners at the Yodda goldfields.

Monckton trained local police, led by trusty Binandere men, into one of the most effective fighting forces in British New Guinea and embarked on exploratory and, at times, punitive expeditions throughout the North-Eastern Division.

He wisely forged close alliances with the chiefs of some of the more intrepid tribes, notably Chief Giwi of the Kaili Kaili and Bousimai of the Binandere, and enlisted their help in his expeditions. He also won to his side to assist the government’s cause captured war leaders like the powerful Oiogoba Sara of the Baruga tribe.

With highly disciplined police and warrior tribe allies, Monckton effectively subdued cannibalistic raids by combative groups like the Doriri, Dobuduru and Paiwa tribes on their weaker neighbours and brought relative order to the region.

Monckton described his amiable encounter with a peculiar people known as the Agaiambu in the Musa swamps. Over generations the Agaiambu had adapted to living entirely in stilt house villages, rendering their feet impractical for walking on land.

Monckton’s stories in ‘Some Experiences of a New Guinea Resident Magistrate’ have been confirmed as factually accurate concerning events in which he was directly involved.

His book also has perceptive observations of the local people and their customs accompanied by sketches and historical images.

In his writing, Monckton both extols and criticises the conducts of his colleagues, missionaries and other expatriates in the protectorate.

Monckton was considered to be an efficient, tough and quick-witted officer who showed great loyalty and respect for his Papuan allies and subordinates.

He was admired as a “fearless fighting man” by some of his colleagues. But his trigger-happy methods in some of his dealings with aggressive tribes made him unpopular with some officials.

Monckton’s book provides a first-hand glimpse into the operations of early colonial government as well as the raw, pre-modern way of life of Papuan tribes as they came into increasing contact with a strong foreign influence.

Monckton, C A W (2016). ‘Some Experiences of a New Guinea Resident Magistrate’. Palala Press. The book is available here from Amazon

Bradley Gewa is a research technician with the New Guinea Binateng Research Centre based in Madang.


A safe place for Paulina and Jerry

*A story about Domestic Violence, how it affects women and children, and the options available for getting help

Paulina’s father was a violent man. Every night, he would come home drunk, argue with her mother, and beat her up. Seeing this, Paulina would grab her brother Jerry by his hand, run into her room, lock the door, hide in the closet and cover their ears.

Most times, they would fall asleep in the closet and wake up the next morning seeing their mother with a black eye and bruised face.

Paulina would always skip school to take care of her mother and brother.

Their home was always peaceful whenever her dad was not around. They enjoyed their mother’s meals, her jokes and the bedtime stories she would read to them each night.

But whenever her dad came home, everything turned into chaos. The arguments and fights would start, and Paulina and Jerry would spend the night in the closet.

One afternoon, a group of women visited her mother and told her about a Safe House for women like her and her children who have a violent father. Paulina’s mother was relieved when she heard about this and quickly left with Paulina and Jerry.

The Safe House had other women and their children, too. Paulina was sad that they left their home and dad, but she was also happy that her mother would not get beaten up again and she would not have to skip school.


Peacemaking – My culture

By Caroline Evari – 12th April 2021, Everyday Battles

On Saturday January 30th, 2021 at around 7:30pm, my family had small peace-making ceremony here in Port Moresby. Leading into the new year of 2021, there were some misunderstanding amongst my older siblings’ daughters that resulted in dispute and disharmony between several family members. As always conflicts are bound to occur among family members and as such in our tradition, ‘kastom wok’ was the only way in resolving disharmony.   

Continue reading “Peacemaking – My culture”

Of writers, publishers & self-publishers

Herman Melville – his epic book, ‘Moby Dick’, sold a squillion, but only after his death

By PHIL FITZPATRICK – 26 February 2020, Keith Jackson & Friends PNG Attitude

TUMBY BAY – Herman Melville (1819-91) published his famous novel, ‘Moby Dick’, in 1851. Sales were very slow.

The novel was out of print during the last four years of his life, having sold 2,300 copies in its first 18 months and an average of 27 copies a year for the next 34 years for a total of 3,215 copies.

Melville was broke when he died, but since his death countless millions of copies of the book have been sold. Dozens of films and television series based on the book have also been produced.

The most popular was the John Huston film made in 1956 starring Gregory Peck. The film grossed US$5.2 million, which in today’s money is about US$52 million (K180 million).

The wealth subsequently generated for everyone except Melville is inestimable but must be in the billions of dollars.

Melville wasn’t the only famous writer to die in poverty.  Franz Kafka, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, John Keats, Oscar Wilde and many others died in penury.

Book publishing is essentially a commercial activity. In most cases the desired outcome for a publisher is to make money out of the books they publish. Very few publish books on their literary merit alone.

Publishers are essentially gamblers in the capitalist tradition. They weigh up the odds of making money out of a book and, if it looks possible, they take the risk.

If the bet comes off they might get their money back, make a handsome profit or on some occasions make a huge profit.

Of those huge profits a few lucky writers might also become rich. Nowhere near as rich as the publishers, but rich nevertheless.

Since the advent of movies the profit from a bestselling book has been enhanced substantially. So ubiquitous is this that modern writers often write in what is recognised as a cinematic style.

Melville and some of those other writers who died in poverty at least had the good fortune of finding a publisher.

Other famous writers had a lot of trouble getting their first books published. They often had to resort to doing it themselves by raising the funds to pay a printer.

The list of famous writers who self-published or contributed their own money in one way or another to get their books published is very long and includes such notables as Charles Dickens, Beatrix Potter, Alexander Dumas, TS Eliot, Zane Grey, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling and Leo Tolstoy; not to mention modern authors like Stephen King and James Patterson.

Self-publishing has always been disparaged in the publishing world and there is no doubt that a lot of awful books have been produced this way. On the other hand, as my list indicated, some very influential writers have used the process.

It is, of course, in the interests of traditional publishers to demean self-published books. Self-publishing, if done right, cuts out the middleman, which is, of course, the publisher.

In this digital age, when self-publishing is so easy and inexpensive, quite a few famous writers have joined the club.

Stephen King, whose net worth is about US$400 million, now self-publishes digital books while still using traditional publishers for others. His main reason for publishing himself is to retain the integrity of his work.

Ebooks may not have set the publishing world on fire as originally predicted but the spinoff of digital print-on-demand publishing is having a major impact.

Some self-published writers now make in excess of US$400,000 a year from their books. This must be exasperating for many traditional publishers, especially the smaller, independent ones.

It has also had an impact on re-sellers of traditionally published books. Bookshops all over the world are closing their doors in the wake of the digital publishing revolution.

That many writers are now reaping the benefits of their hard work instead of the big publishers and booksellers would have cheered up Herman Melville no end I suspect.