Five entries shortlisted for the 2017 Crocodile Prize Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, Essays and Journalism Award

The 2017 Crocodile Prize Essays and Journalism Category received a collection of interesting topics that were written about and sent in. The topics varied greatly. Predictably, a good number of the entries were about Politics, Corruption, Power and Leadership. 2017 was the year of the Papua New Guinea National Elections and so the number of entries talking about this illustrated this. Congratulations to the 5 entries that were shortlisted for the 2017 Crocodile Prize, PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, Essays and Journalism Category. The shortlisted entrants of the competition come with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Listed below are the titles and the names of entrants considered as winners.

 The Murder by Kepan Kepas Winuan
 The Positive Side of Men by Michael Geketa
 Lack of Readers and Buyers in Papua New Guinea by Jordan Dean
 Her Fight by Evah Kuamin Banige
 Doctors without Medical Borders by William Tau -Vali

The shortlisted literary entries above have been sent to the sponsors who have picked the overall winner. The overall winner will be announced at the Awards Reception event on the 17th February 2018, here in Port Moresby. The brief biographies below illustrate a little bit more about the shortlisted authors.

The Murder by Kepan Kepas Winuan

Kepan Kepas Winuan is a Teacher at the Kudjip Nazarene High School, Kudjip Nazarene Station, Jiwaka Province.

Kepan is currently working on publishing two books and a school magazine. These literary materials are; Book of Synonyms, Developing Writing Skills and School Journal.

Her first book (Book of Homonyms) has been completed. She is now negotiating with Notion Press Publishing Company of India to have it published.

The Positive Side of Men by Michael Geketa

Michael Geketa is employed in the informal economy in Port Moresby, National Capital District, after serving in the Royal Police Constabulary for much of his life. He used to contribute his written work to Kokomo Magazine at Kerevat National High School in 1989 as a student. He also contributed poems to the Weekly Writers Column poetry corner of the National Newspaper since 2009. The 2014 and 2015 Crocodile Prize Anthology included his work, four Poems and two Essays. He has started writing a book of poems and short story. Work has also began for a framework of his biography titled: Thun der over Parkinson Ranges

Lack of Readers and Buyers in Papua New Guinea by Jordan Dean

Jordan Dean works as a Director (until confirmed) of Grants Management Organisation in Port Moresby, NCD. He has been writing as a hobby for over a decade. Several of his poems and short stories have been published on international sites and magazines including: Power Poetry, Dissident Voice Magazine, Creative Talents Unleashed, Tuck Magazine, Micro Poetry, Story Write, Spill Words Literary Press and PNG Attitude.

Jordan has published 4 books: ‘Tattooed Face: A collection of Poems’ (2016), ‘Follow the Rainbow: Selected Poems’ (2016)), ‘Stranger in Paradise & other Short Stories’ (2016)) and ‘Silent Thoughts: Exploring Poetry’’ (2017)). These books are available on Amazon.

Her Fight by Evah Kuamin Banige

Evah Kuamin Banige is an Administration Officer in Lae, Morobe Province.
She is passionate about writing, helping children and advocating for change and development in her community. She wrote: ‘Victims of violence have to rise up and speak out for their own good. I believe I have taken the biggest step to write about my experiences as a woman facing violence through this competition’

She has been writing since her primary school days. She won a prize for the story of her experience of the 1994 Twin Volcanic Eruptions which was published in book of collection of short stories. Part of 4th Year Journalism Thesis was published in the South Pacific Islands Journalism Communication. One of her entry won the 2012 World Health Organization (WHO) Best Award in the Print Category of the PNG Media Awards.

Doctors Without Medical Borders by William Tau -Vali

William Tau-Vali
is a retired public servant who resides at his Motuan Village of Gaire, Central Province. His background is in computing. That’s the area he studied at University but he would like to think of himself these days as an emerging writer. This is his first written work, together with the other two pieces he submitted earlier in the 2017 Crocodile Prize Competition.

Judged 5 Best Poetry Entry for 2017 Crocodile Prize Competition

The following titles below are the 5 winners of the 2017 Crocodile Prize Kina Securities Poetry Category.

The short list of the winning entries came from a long process of filing, culling and judging. Only one more process is left, that is: Selection of the overall winner among the 5 winners as identified by the judges.

The winners for the 2017 Crocodile Prize Kina Securities Poetry Category are the following entries:
Broken and beaten by Leila Parina
He is gagged by Emmanuel Marosi
We need change by Annie Dori
When tomorrow come by Leiao Gerega
Who will by Leiao Gerega

Leila Parina wrote a candid and beautifully stringed group of words into a poetry illustrating violence by those who supposed to love. Leila has been writing since she was 9 years old. She mostly wrote in her private journals. Her first published work was out in 2017. It is called “A paradigm shift” which was featured in the PNG Anthology “My walk to Equality”.

Emmanuel Marosi put together firm and strong verses which was dedicated to Martyn Namorong, a Papua New Guinean Blogger and Anti-Corruption Activist. This was when members of public took to supporting Martyn during the Tomato Head saga. Emmanuel has published several articles on the internet, on blogs and other sites like hub pages. He has been writing since 2012. He is an electrical communications engineer.

Annie Dori weaves together a rather grim scene of situations in PNG that shows societies moving toward destitute and annihilation. The poem therefore calls for change. Annie is currently under the Ok Tedi’s Graduate Program as an Occupational Nursing Officer. She loves working with communities and is passionate about Humanitarian work. She only keeps entries in her private journal. She would not consider herself as a writer or a poet.

Leiao Gerega eloquently paints a crude and bleak world we live in, in the poem ‘Who will’. The question is who will. Her other poem speaks of violence in the most animated and colourful language. Two of her entries were selected by the Judge. Leiao is reporter with South Pacific Post Courier. She loves reading, writing short stories and poems. The shortlisted entry for this year and other poems have always been dedicated her my mother. She started writing as a 10-year-old. Her writings were mostly kept in her diaries. Her first ever published work of two poems are featured in the PNG women’s first Anthology ‘My Walk to Equality’.

2017 Competition Report

Compiled by Gretel Matawan and Emmanuel Peni

This is an account of the 2017 Crocodile Prize Competition

The Voluntary Organising Committee (VOC) of the Annual 2017 Crocodile Prize Literature Competition in PNG is happy to announce that a successful year of literature competition has come to a close. We would like to thank all the sponsors and the public who have sincerely supported this competition.

There have been several queries on when the winners will be announced. The VOC is excited too to know about the winners.  However, the winners will have to be administered through a lengthy process of judging and selection.  Our Volunteers have put together the folders (9 altogether) of the entries. Below is the summary of the entrants and the entries for this year.

This is the 7th year of the Annual Literature Prize.  This year the VOC received 245 entries from 87 Papua New Guinean writers and artists.

The Table 1.0 shows that the majority of the writers are from NCD. The VOC did its best to use several media platforms to reach every PNG citizens.  It is unfortunate that very few entries are coming in from outside of NCD.  The Committee is looking at accepting written pieces on paper from remote places in 2018.  Otherwise, the VOC will do its best to reach out to the people of PNG in 2018. Hopefully we get some entries from even those provinces not listed here:  West Sepik, Southern Highlands, Hela, Western Highlands, New Ireland, Central and other PNG citizens living abroad. We have an entry from Fiji.  We can confirm that it is from a Papua New Guinean citizen.  We would like to also report that the entries from Gulf Province were from Kikori secondary schools after a visit by a member of the VOC in 2017.   Our publicity and communications team have learnt a lot in promoting writing in the last two years of work in PNG. Literature spaces and activities in PNG have declined to a state of irrelevance.  This is a tragic and frightening trend when considering Google and fb and Alibaba and more are fighting and in the process spending billions to get information from people around the world. When will Papua New Guineans wake up and write our own history, experiences and our aspirations?  Why do we let outsiders do it from their reference point and own our stories?

Table 1.0 shows the Provinces and the number of writers/artists who have sent in their literary piece(s).

Provinces (Areas) Number of Entrants
AROB 3
East New Britain 3
East Sepik 3
Eastern Highlands 4
Fiji 1
Gulf 3
Jiwaka 2
Madang 2
Manus 3
Milne Bay 2
Morobe 5
Mt Hagen 1
NCD 46
No Response 2
Oro 1
Central 1
Simbu 1
West New Britain 3
Western 1
Grand Total 87

 

There are 8 categories showing here in which entries have been received for. Of these entries two other category winners will be selected from.  These are: Emerging Young writer and Women in Writing.  The figures in the table clearly show that poetry is the most preferred literary piece to be written and sent in at 53% of the total. It is exciting to see that short stories went over half a century.  The VOC will work hard to help the writers/artists of PNG write or illustrate more our experiences, past and our dreams. It is unfortunate that Heritage writing continue to register low levels of entries. One can easily imagine anyone telling a tumbuna story (we have thousands) or describe a cultural experience.

Writing for children is one category; the Crocodile Prize is going to promote more in the next couple of months. We are interested to have more stories for our children so they become readers of our own journey.    

VOC will be more available for Essay and Journalism category next year after the Crocodile Prize blog has been upgraded to Premium.     There will be more interaction and discussions on the entry pieces sent in.

Table 2.0 shows the number of entries received for the categories in which prizes were secured for 2017.

The 2017 Categories Number of Entries
Short Play 3
Essays and Journalism 26
FB & NBC Radio Comp 4
Heritage Writing 14
Illustrations 3
Poetry 130
Short Stories 52
Writing for Children 13
Total 245

It is exciting to see that the 60% of the entries came from the economically active population of ages between 21 – 40 years (refer to Pie chart 1.0 below). It is unfortunate that the older population who would have had many experiences and culturally more rooted sent in less this year.  It is presumed that those who have resigned or have their careers stalling (11% of the total entries) would find passion somewhere else and writing and illustrating could have been a healthier, productive and meaningful diversion.

Chart 1.0 also gives a good indication on the members of the writing societies whom the VOC will target next year to promote, guide and support and engage in the literature competition. Even if they do not want to participate, their entries or submission can be used to add to the body of knowledge captured for generations to use to understand the evolution of the PNG cultural heritage.    
Where to from here:

The process of identifying the winners will take two months. Firstly, the folders will be sent to those who will cull (select what can be judged) from whatever numbers down to 10 entries. The 10 entries will then be sent to the judges who will then select only the top 5 entries. The top 5 entries will lastly be sent to the sponsors who select the winner.  We will announce the 5 shortlist at the end of January 2018. The winners will be announced at a Ceremony at the Grand Papua Hotel on the 10th February 2018.  There will be an official gathering where the 2018 Crocodile Prize Competition will also be launched.  Stay tuned for the announcements and the winners and the launching.

A burning question to discuss is the participation of women in PNG. Both 2016 and 2017, (under the leadership of Papua New Guineans) have proven beyond doubt the participation of women in writing has gained its foot hold.  There are more women sending in entries (55 %) than men folks.  The quality and diversity of the entries far outweigh that of men. Women were the youngest of the entrants and the oldest. Last year’s winner of the Paga Hill Foundation Writing for Children Category was a 14 year old girl from Bougainville.   Females were more active in asking for information and following the rules and guidelines.  The tides have turned and so there must be a category for Boys in writing and Men in writing.

The only issue encountered by the administrative team of the VOC was the lack of respect to the rules and procedures. One of the entrants sent in 23 entries altogether. Clearly this person did ignore the rules or did not bother to ask for clarification.  Others continue to send in entries without the entry forms.  This may sound like hard work to you as an entrant, but technology has made it so easy. One can literally take a snap shot of the entry from and inbox this through fb messenger or email it in picture format.

The VOC takes pride in our work in one tiny area of literature in PNG. What we are especially proud about is our process on identifying the winner.  Our selection and judging process is very stringent. We want to instil integrity into the processes and give an opportunity for the public, sponsors, supporters and participants to believe that we have been transparent and accountable. We want to show and prove that we can be objective and manage wantok system, nepotism and any other possible foul play or conflict of interest.

Otherwise the VOC are privileged to be given the opportunity to lead the Crocodile Prize. The VOC would like to congratulate everyone on their efforts and wish everyone a success in their different endeavours.

 Our Sponsors:

Sponsors Category
Port Moresby Arts Theatre Best Short Play
PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Essays and Journalism
Haltmeier Family FB & NBC Radio Comp
Cleland family Heritage Writing
Yet to Announce Illustrations
Kina Securities Poetry
Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited Short Stories
Mineral Resources Development Corporations Women in Writing
Library for all, Australia Writing for Children

 

The Interim Working Committee

Chairman: Emmanuel Peni, (Author, Director – People Centred OD Consult)

Deputy Chair: Joycelin Leahy (Blogger and Author, operating out of Brisbane, Australia)

Other member of the working Committee:

Ruth Moiam, Consultant (World Bank Communications)

Martyn Namorong, (Blogger, National Coordinator – EITI)

Baka Bina, (Supreme Courts – Human Resources)

Gretel Matawan, (Communications, Institute of National Affairs)

 

Crocodile Prize Winners Will be Announced Tonight

 

The winners of Papua New Guinea’s National Literature Awards – The Crocodile Prize 2016 will be announced this evening at the Australian High Commission, Port Moresby. The competition attracted 550 entries from PNG writers.

Each category winner receives K5000 tonight.

The Crocodile Prize Writers Competition is named after the first novel written by a Papua New Guinean, “The Crocodile” by Sir Vincent Eri and published in 1970. It is an annual competition that has been running successfully for five years under Keith Jackson and Phil Fitzpatrick since they started it. The 2016 saw the first time the writers of PNG took ownership of the competition and ran it successfully.

As the current Crocodile Prize Committee Chairman I sincerely thank our two major sponsors Kina Finance and SP Holdings for their generous contributions of K10,000 each and sponsors; Cleland Family, Kumul Holdings,Paga Hill Development Foundation, PNG Chamber of Mines, Mineral Resources Development Corporation, and Abt and Associates for their generous contributions of K5000 each. We also thank the Australian High Commission for hosting this event and Andrew Edwards at Global for sponsoring a laptop for the competition.

All together, the 2016 committee comprising, Baka Bina (former Chairman) and Joycelin Leahy (current Deputy Chair), and Ruth Moiam began work from September 2015 to 2017 to raise a total of K50,000 prize money. I joined the Crocodile Prize and relieved Baka Bina of the chairman’s position (because he had a lot of work obligations) in May 2016 and helped negotiate the last sponsorships mid last year and ensured we formalised the Crocodile Prize Inc by registering at the organisation at IPA. At that time we added Marlene Dee Gray Potoura to the committee and Martyn Namorong later in the year. In addition, it was a blessing to have Gretel Matawan join the committee to assist with some of the administration work.

We could not have run Crocodile Prize without the support of our sponsors and the hard work put into the competition by only a handful of volunteers. The Crocodile Prize email and Crocodile Blog have been run by Joycelin Leahy. Over 1000 emails, comments, letters and feedback from PNG writers have been managed through the emails and the blog.

I would like to sincerely thank and congratulate everyone for their hard work and enthusiasm to drive the Crocodile Prize from the beginning in Simbu (September 2015) to the end with prize-giving in Port Moresby tonight. I also thank the overwhelming response from all PNG writers to enter the competition. We want to raise the entries to 1000 this year – 2017.

One winner will be chosen out of each category finalists listed below to win the K5000. The finalists’ names are not listed in any order of winning, but only to show who came in the finals. The committee encourages all finalists to attend the ceremony.

Category 1 

2016 Crocodile Prize – Kina Finance, Poetry Category –  Short List

  1. Dying Man by Vagi Samuel Jnr
  2. Miracle’s Monday Trip by Samuel Jnr
  3. Paradeigmania by Wardly D Barry – Igivisa

Category 2 

2016 Crocodile Prize – Kumul Petroleum Limited Holdings, Short Stories Category – Short List

  • Old Man’s Tears by Alexander Nara
  • A Morning to Remember by Alison Kult
  • The Pulse of PNG by Kevin Pondikou

Category 3 

2016 Crocodile Prize – Cleland Family, Heritage Writing Category –  Short List

  1. Morekea Town by Julie Kondi
  2. Waghi by Gina Amba Mul
  3. Ketar Natis, Killings and Two Grieving Kinsmen by Theresa Gizoria

Category 4 

2016 Crocodile Prize –  Paga Hill Foundation, Writing for Children Category – Short List and Winner

  1. King of the Forest by Marycathrine Tavore
  2. How darkness came to the Telei lands or how the rhinoceros beetle broke his nose by Agnes Rita Maineke
  3. Why Dogs Bark by Romney C Tabara

Category 5 

2016 Crocodile Prize – PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, Essays and Journalism Category – Short List and Winner

  1. Ah! The way we behave sometimes by John Kamasua
  2. Regionalism – The most pressing threat to our nationhood by Busa Jeremiah Wenego
  3. Cervical Cancer A Killer disease by Jina Amba Mull

Category 6 

2016 Crocodile Prize –  South Pacific Brewery, Illustrations Category –  Short List and Winner – No entries received this year.

Category 7 

Minerals Resources Development Corporations, Women in Writing Category

Names to be finalised by tonight.

Category 8 

2016 Crocodile Prize – Abt and Associates, Emerging Young Writer Category

Names to be finalised by tonight. – Chairman Emmanuel Peni.

 

 

 

 

2016 Heritage Category Shortlist

A winner will receive K5000 next Thursday (February 16) for the Cleland Family Heritage Prize in the 2016 Crocodile Prize Competition. Below are the three finalists of the 2016 Crocodile Prize Heritage Competition: Ketar Natis, Killings and Two Grieving Kinsmen by Theresa Gizoria; The Disappearance of Gambu by Julie Sugoho and Christina’s History by Talitha Kove.The K5000 winner is one of the three listed here. There were 26 entries for the Cleland Family Heritage Writing Category.
The 2016 Crocodile Prize Organizing Committee would like to congratulate all those who submitted their entries and sincerely thank the sponsor, Cleland Family. The Cleland family has been sponsoring the Competition since 2012.

Many of you may have heard of the famous Sir Donald Cleland Pool ( Taurama Swimming Pool/ Taurama Leisure Centre) in Port Moresby which has recently been turned into an international sports and recreational center. This recreation and sports centre was named after Sir Donald Cleland, the father of Bob Cleland who has been part of the Crocodile Prize for many years and has always supported the voluntary committee.

Sir Donald Mackinnon Cleland (1901-1975), soldier and administrator, was born on 28 June 1901 at Coolgardie, Western Australia, eldest son of Adelaide-born Elphinstone Davenport Cleland, mine-manager, and his second wife Anne Emily, née Mackinnon, from Scotland. Sir Cleland arrived in PNG as a Brigadier in the Army and assumed several other posts when PNG was colonised. After his term, he chose to live in Port Moresby and became very active in many civic activities. One was as a lecturer at the University of Papua New Guinea. For more information about Cleland please click on the link – here

Heritage is defined as property that is or maybe inherited, as an inheritance. Archaic: special or individual possession, an allotted partition. The Love of your grandmother or your love for your home remains your heritage. Heritage is a collection of features and characteristics belonging to the culture of a particular society. These features have a historical significance such as found in language, traditional practices, religion, buildings and totems.

The Heritage Category is of great importance to PNG. The committee wants more heritage entries in 2017 competition. PNG has a third of the world’s languages and is blessed with numerous unique cultures and traditions. There are many stories to be told.
The committee and the judges would like to emphasise that we need to hear more of these stories.

Congratulations once again to the writers who captured our heritage in their excellent literacy pieces. These entries gave imagery accounts of our heritage and the scenes created by the writers were like a view through a kaleidoscope. The entries addressed; changing physical/social geographies, origins of names of geographical locations, plants and animals, historical perspectives, traditional and cultural practices, biodiversity, the effects of climate change, and mystical and legendary gods that form our truly unique culture.

-Chairman Emmanuel Peni.

 

The Crocodile Prize – K5000 winner

The prize money in the PNG annual literary competition, The Crocodile Prize will remain at K5000 for one winner. The Chairman Emmanuel Peni said it was better to keep the prize at K5000 (Australian – $2000 today’s exchange rate) as the previous five years.

There has been a slight delay in winners’ announcement because of the confusion with the prize money.

Although the committee had discussed three prizes from first to third, 2016 prize total remains the same. This was the amount already publicised in PNG media. There will not be three winners per category as in the previous post. Any inquiries about this can be sent to The Chairman on crocprize@gmail.com

 

 

Message From Chairman

Greetings everyone, and welcome back to the Crocodile Prize Blog and Home.

We are excited to launch The Crocodile Prize Competition 2017, but not just yet.

Before we launch, we will announce the 2016 Competition winners. The official Crocodile Prize 2016 Award Ceremony will be held on the 16th of February at the Australian High Commission Grounds, Port Moresby, NCD.

We are excited that we were able to select the winners using a very rigorous and a transparent process of culling and then judging. We believe our highlight for 2016 would have been institutionalising INTEGRITY into our systems and process of administering the Crocodile Prize in Papua New Guinea. Having registered a legal entity to operate under gives Crocodile Prize a strong platform to stand on for future years. The committee has also secured two major sponsors, Kina (K10,000) and SP Holdings (K10,000) and we have introduced “Emerging Young Writer Award”, sponsored by Abt & Associate. You will also be pleased to know that we will have three prize winners from each category – not just one.  As of today, we have all the winners identified from the eight categories.  The categories and their sponsors are:

Kina –Poetry

SP Holdings Ltd – Illustrations

Abt and Associate-Emerging Young Writer

PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum – Essay and Journalism

Kumul Petroleum Holding – Short Stories

Paga Hill Development – Writing for Children

Cleland Family – Heritage Writing

MRDC –Women in Writing

We will start announcing the Short Story winners tomorrow and will continue with all the categories each day on this blog. All winners will be contacted directly by the committee.

Next week, Crocodile Prize representatives will be on the NBC radio to talk about the the competition.  Please tune in to listen to winners, judges and committee members speak about the 2016 competition and this year’s launching.

We would like to sincerely thank all our sponsors for their support.

Thank you writers and friends of Crocodile Prize.  Let’s make 2017 a big year. Write those stories!  – Chairman, Emmanuel Peni.

The Crocodile Prize Sponsors

The Crocodile Prize Competition is closed. Winners will be announced on November 24th, 2016.

The Crocodile Prize is a competition that creates space for many Papua New Guineans to write and express themselves. There are nine categories in the competition; Short Stories, Poetry, Essay and Journalism, Heritage Writing, Book of the Year, Illustration, Writing for children and Women in Writing. Emerging Young Writer is a new category that was introduced by the new Crocodile Prize Committee this year.

Our major sponsor is Kina Finance (Poetry), followed by PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (Essays & Journalism), Abt and Associates (Emerging Young Writer), Mineral Resources Development Company (Women in Writing), Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited (Short Stories), South Pacific Brewery Limited (Illustrations), Cleland Family (Heritage Writing) and Paga Hill Development Company (Writing for Children).

The Crocodile Prize 2016 working committee wants to sincerely thank our sponsors for their generosity to development of literature in Papua New Guinea. Some of our continued sponsors are – Kina Finance, Cleland Family, SP Holdings, Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, South Pacific Brewery Limited, and Paga Hill Development Company. We are grateful for new sponsors – Abt and Associates, Mineral Resources Development Company and Kumul Holdings. Today, Global Technologies Limited, Papua New Guinea donated a laptop to the Crocodile Committee to use for the competition entries and administration.

The Crocodile Prize is a Literary Competition open to all PNG citizens of all ages. It provides a way for all citizens to express themselves in writing, whether it be in poetry, short stories or arts (illustrations) in their own voice, a voice unique and emerging from PNG’s rich culture and heritage. The competition provides an opportunity for those seeking recognition in the literary domain, and/or for those voicing their opinions in essays and journalism. Writing can be seen as a freedom of speech and expression where a few simple words can project a world of meaning and inspiration.

Crocodile Prize should not be seen only as an opportunity to win prize money. It should be a journey that includes the pride of seeing one’s writing being published in a book alongside many other aspiring and legitimate writers/authors in PNG. Crocodile Prize provides all these opportunities to many Papua New Guineans. The shared experience should inspire people to write more and publish. Writing is only “the tip of the iceberg”, because the world of literature is a universe itself.

On the 24th November, 2016, the Winners of the Crocodile Prize Competition will be announced on Thursday 8th of December 2016, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Australian High Commission office at Waigani along Godwit Road, Port Moresby. The event is expected to be attended by book critics, commentators, bloggers and eminent citizens. Prior to the reception, a Writer’s Workshop will convene from 9:00am to 2:00pm. This would be a great opportunity for people who want to explore their passion in writing. (The venue to be announced – but follow us on our webpage) http://www.crocodileprize.com or Crocodile Prize Google Plus or write to us at: crocprize@gmail.com

Congratulations to all those who have sent in their entries to the Crocodile Prize Competition since its launch in January. The 2016 working Committee members, supporters and sponsors wish you all the best in the Competition.

Ikin-yal’s Backyard Revelation – Short Story

Ikin-yal’s Backyard Revelation – Short Story

PNC Goroka
Election campaigns in Papua New Guinea draw large crowds. This is one campaign at PNC Goroka.

Story and picture by Bomai Witne

Why should these people brave the hot sun, to sit and listen to one person? Who is this guy? My thoughts ran wild as I watched from the distance. It was in Goroka town, Papua New Guinea on the weekend.

The speaker had a white stained shirt with long sleeves. The shirt was probably stained with the same betelnut that filled his mouth as he spoke. He puffed one cigarette after another and moved his mobile phone quickly between his mouth and ears. He rambled loudly to someone on the phone. We could only hear his voice.

Each time, he pretended to listen and responded loudly. He wanted everyone around him to hear his conversation. The man was surrounded by a small crowd. Those around him, almost a hundred, controlled their movements and conversations as to not disturb him.

The look on their faces suggested the people in the crowd had neither eaten a proper meal nor slept in the last few days. The sun’s heat was strong enough to hang thick in the air, and melt dirt on these people. The man in the white shirt kept talking for almost two hours. I observed from where I waited. The crowd knew how to wait too. They seemed trained. They chewed betel nut and smoked their rolled tobacco.  The sun’s heat, the sweat and the hunger were not important. The members of this audience would have been good candidates for military or Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary. They were showing signs of great loyalty to the man on the phone.

The man demanded the attention of the people after two hours. He told them that he had been talking to his boss in Lae, and added that his assignment to Goroka recently to take a junior public service position was a clever and calculated action by his boss. He said his boss had given him the position so he could stay close to his people and campaign for the 2017 national election. The crowd became alive and cheered. They yelled and laughed. They looked at each other and looked at the hopeful candidate, nodding in agreement. They savored this small ‘insight’ with anticipation. Obviously, they nodded to each other to say all their dedication is paying off.

The man in the white shirt started again on the mobile phone. He stopped between his talk to chew betelnut and puff cigarettes. He pretended to get angry at callers on his phone. He told the crowd, the callers were deliberately disturbing him from talking to his people.

He assured the crowd that he would work at his new post in Goroka for six months and resign to contest the election. The people cheered again. He asked for the team leader of the group to come forth and handed him a K100 cash.

“Go and get some scones and cordial for your people”, the candidate ordered.

“Don’t forget betel nut and brus”, someone in the crowd shouted as the team leader was on his way out.

The candidate called another person from the crowd and handed him a bundle of cash and mentioned that it was for transport and beers for the men who braved the hot sun. The people rose in unison and hugged the candidate. The womenfolk also went up to hug the candidate for the men’s beer money.

As they waited for ‘lunch’ to arrive, the candidate went into a building close to the meeting yard and came out with another man. This second character was dirtier and fatter than himself.  The second man appeared drunk but he was forced him to talk to the crowd. The fat guy introduced himself and gave another K100 to the people and referred to his friend in the white shirt as the ‘right man’ for the job. The people cheered and spoke to each other in their own language.

After a few minutes, a bushy moustache middle aged man with a cowboy hat emerged. He wore a dirty pair of jeans that was rolled to his knees. He introduced himself as the ‘young leader’ of his people and spoke.

“My people are always loyal to whoever they support in election. This is the first time Ikin-yal, a prominent public serviceman invited us to talk to his people, and we are thankful and will always be loyal to them.”

It was only then did I realized that the man in the white shirt was called Ikin-yal, and he was inviting groups of people from his electorate to the backyard of his office to reveal his intention to contest for his electorate in the 2017 Papua New Guinea national election.