Saturday, August 28, 2010

Book Publishing and Reprinting of Books

Regis Stella's new novel 2010
Last week we launched a number of great old books during the Buk2Buk Fair staged before the Waigani Seminar at the UPNG campus. The reprints of some of the classics include Sana: Michael Somare’s autobiography, two books written by Amirah Inglis: Karo: The Life and Fate of a Papuan and Not a White Woman Safe: Sexual Anxiety and Politics in Port Moresby 1920-1934, and a number of other books of note to Papua New Guinea. All these books are now on sale at the Unibookshop.

In opening the Buk2Buk Fair, the Pro Chancellor of the University of Papua New Guinea and the Chairman of Univentures, the business arm of UPNG, Mr. Camilus Narokobi, challenged Papua New Guineans to write more books. The establishment of the Univentures saw the amalgamation of the UPNG Press, the Unibookshop and the UPNG Printery come under one business umbrella. It is noted that the book trade business is only one aspect of the Univentures Inc.

Mr. Narokobi wasted no time in announcing that a niche has been created to increase the publishing of books written by Papua New Guineans in all works of life. He encouraged Papua New Guineans to write their histories, publish their researches, and have their philosophies and treatises published with UPNG Press. What was impossible twenty years ago is now possible for many Papua New Guineans to publish their books.

In the first day of the Buk2Buk Fair, Peter Trist an old friend of UPNG and NBC reminded us again that UPNG was the centre of arts, writing, and publishing in the late 1960s and 1970s. The period defined by the vibrant arts, culture, writing, and theatre performances. Trist was involved with the setting up of the National Arts School, the National Theatre Company, and had a lot of impact on the radio drama programs in the 1970s. Many of us remember Peter Trist as the voice of Doriga in our favourite school radio program on NBC in those days.

I first met Peter Trist at Sydney University during a conference on decolonizing Papua New Guinea. We then read Nora Vagi Brash’s famous play: Which Way Big Man. It was a memorable event because among the participants at that time was Sir Paulias Matane (who was not yet the Governor General) and the late Renagi Lohia, then PNG High Commissioner to Australia. We also had the opportunity to visit Ulli and Georgina Beier’s home at that time for a memorable dinner hosted by Georgina on behalf of her husband.

 Peter Trist spoke on behalf of the 88 years old Ulli Beier and his wife Georgina. Ulli was unable to attend because of medical grounds. Trist had those of us present: the second and third generation of artists and writers, thinking in a serious way about the creative potential of this country, its writers, artists, and scholars with untapped talents and skills. The question is how do we develop the arts, culture, and book publishing on our own and go the next step? Some of us have tried and others gave up looking for publishers to get their books into print. The social, political, and economic realities of the 1960s and 1970s were different then. It was only after Independence in September 16th 1975 that the enthusiasm died with writers no longer writing and participating in theatre performances.

Malum Nalum interviews Peter Trist at the Buk2Buk Fair, UPNG
The first day of Buk2Buk Fair had only the guest speakers and a handful of curious students. It appeared the logistics, publicity, and marketing of this event was very poor. Second day began with a clash of events in the same venue. The proceedings of previous the 2008 Waigani Seminar was launched by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Ross Hynes, on the second day. In the confusion someone asked where the about the connection between the Buk2Buk Fair and the Waigani Seminar. UPNG can do better with better coordinated logistics, organization, schedule, publicity, and marketing strategies.

The non-attendance of academics and students on both days leaves much to be desired for an institutional event. Academics must participate in the production and dissemination of information and knowledge through their publications. Publication of research papers and books is the measure of quality academics and programs offered in a university. University education is value added and where that added value is missing serious questions about quality must be asked.

Reprints of law books, history, Papua Pocket Poets, and many others were released this week. The School of Sciences, the School of Medicine and Public Health, and the School of Business Administration launched their new publications. A few serious academics are publishing their researches and course textbooks. What are the rest of them doing?

Dr. John Evans, the Manager of UPNG Press and Bookshop knows the challenges of the book trade in PNG. Under his management we should move forward to a future where our writers and other citizens can benefit from their creative and intellectual labour. We can see more PNG books published in the coming years.

The decision for Univenture to respond to the need for local book publishing, printing, and marketing has a silver lining. It has created an opportunity for publishing and reprinting of PNG books.

The prospect of increasing book publishing volume and the opportunity for writers to earn money from their books is more promising than it was in the past. Having a book published now with UPNG Press means the book is distributed in PNG, the Solomon Islands, and in the world through its agents in USA, Australia, or through the electronic marketing system.

Various small independent publishing ventures are teaming up with UPNG Press to take the book trade business to the next level. Among the small independent self-publishing houses is Manui Publishers set up to publish my own books and those written by others. More details on Manui Publishers are available on my blog: PNG writers can now seek out the opportunity to publish their books with UPNG Press in this co-publishing arrangement.


Friday, August 20, 2010

First Word to Last

Take the advice of successful writers if you want to become a great writer. In his book on the art of writing, the science fiction writer, Stephen King has plenty of advice to give to a novice writer.

He says: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”

King is a slow reader, but makes sure he reads at least 80 books in a year. The book list is crowded with works of fiction. He does not read fiction to study the craft of writing fiction, but to enjoy the stories told in these books.

“Yet there is a learning process going on. Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones.” King relates how a book that he read in grade eight changed his life. The writing was so poor King felt he could write a better book than the book he read at that time. King went on to write master piece horror stories that fill up a book of 300-500 pages.

Knowing what you are writing and for whom you are writing provides the barometer for good measured writing.

“Good writing, on the other hand, teaches the learning writer about style, graceful narration, plot development, the creation of the believable characters, and truth-telling…So we read to experience the mediocre and the outright rotten; such experience helps us to recognize those things when they begin to creep into our own work, and to steer clear of them. We also read in order to measure ourselves against the good and the great, to get a sense of all that can be done. And we read in order to experience good styles. You may find yourself adopting a style you find particularly exciting, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

These words of Stephen King are difficult to erase from my mind. Good writing is positive, enjoyable, and enlivening to a reader. Bad writing is depressing, unedited, and difficult to digest without complaining.

To write well one has to make the distinction between good works of literature and bad writing that suffers from poor stylistics or simply poor understanding of the mechanics of writing. The principles of writing are the same in all genres.

The same advice is also dispensed to students and others having difficulties in writing.

Reading is the tool to good writing.

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or tools) to write. Simple as that,” is the bluntness of Stephen King to would be writers and people having difficulties writing.

The writing styles of others can help a writer to develop his or her own styles of writing. One advice to those with manuscripts ready for publication: Before asking anyone to read your work ask yourself if you have a winning style of writing that is influenced from a writer you admire. It is said great artists are imitators of their masters having studied the works and styles of the master for many years. Good writing is an imitation of good writing styles. The only way to know the writing styles of others is to read the writings of other writers, especially the most successful writers.

As a teacher of writing, editing, and publishing I have always used one book that explains good writing from bad writing. Many writers, academics, journalists, and editors use William Strunk and E. B. White’s The Elements of Style to improve their writing styles and techniques. The book also reveals the words and expressions commonly misused in our writings. The main components of the book are the eleven elementary principles of composition and eleven elements of style.

Over the years I have introduced the book to students studying literature, English, language, journalism, political science, public administration, and chemistry. This year I have a handful of students from the Law discipline.

During Lahara sessions and in various workshops I get the opportunity to introduce The Elements of Style to teachers, curriculum writers, designers, writers, administrators, and others interested in improving their writing styles and techniques. William Strunk Jr. first published the book The Elements of Style in 1919. In his own words Strunk describes good writing:

“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoids all detail and treat his subject only in outline, but that every word tell.”

The little book on elements of style has done wonders to many who were introduced to it. In E. B White’s words:

“In the English classes of today, ‘the little book’ is surrounded by longer, lower textbooks—books with permissive steering and automatic transitions. Perhaps the book has became [sic] something of a curiosity. To me, it still seems to maintain its original poise, standing, in a drafty time, erect, resolute, and assured. I still find the Strunkian humor, a delight, and the Strunkian attitude toward right-and-wrong a blessing undisguised.”

I recently came across a wonderful little book by Lynn Bahrych and Marjorie Dick Rombauer called Legal Writing in a Nutshell, inspired also by Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. I recommended it to law students who are studying writing, editing, and publishing with me. I hope others will find interest in the book as well.

If you cannot attend a class on writing, then read a book on good writing to help your writing.

Whether one is writing fiction or non fiction the principles of good writing styles make a lot of difference in what a reader wants to read. Good writing entices and holds a reader from the first word to the last.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Waigani Seminar a UPNG Tradition

The 2010 Waigani Seminar will take place between August 19 and 20th at the University of Papua New Guinea Main Campus. The theme for this year is Customary Land Tenure and Evolving Democracy in Papua New Guinea. The Waigani Seminar takes place every two years. Many leading legal experts, development consultants, academics, researchers, and customary land owners are expected to meet at the Waigani Campus this month.

The organizing committee had decided that this year’s seminar will only run for two days. Past seminars lasted for a week at most. With time reduced to two days it is expected that the seminar will consider the Government’s position in relation to the PNG Vision 2050 Vision, the legal perspective and how laws can effectively govern and protect landowners, the social and cultural complexities of customary land ownership, models of sustainable life systems and sustainable land use and the crucial training for effective land administration.

As interesting as the academic discussions are during the seminar days UPNG has several creative activities that form part of the 2010 Waigani Seminar. The first activity is the Book2Buk2 activities involving writers, publishers, authors, editors, and professionals in the book trade industry. The discussion has several key individuals who will discuss the various aspects of book trade, publishing, marketing research, and book sales and distribution in PNG. Some of the possible speakers, include big names such as veteran radio personality, Peter Trist on behalf of Professor Ulli Beier and Georgina Beier, S. K. Ghai, Tom Mosbi, Professor Ted Wolfers, a long time PNG friend, Dr. Greg Murphy, Mr. Nimo Kama, Dr. Linda Crowl, Dean of Arts at the Divine Word University and long time publications fellow of the Institute of Pacific Studies at USP (Fiji), who had assisted many Pacific Islanders to publish their books in the 1990s and early 2000s. Dr. Crowl has also written her doctoral dissertation on the politics of book publishing in the Pacific Islands.

The Book2Buk2 will take place before the main Waigani Seminar. Many Port Moresby based writers, editors, and publishers will participate in this event. Dr. John Evans, manager of UPNG Press and Bookshop tells me that a significant number of new books will be launched during this event. A major sales and promotion of reprints of important publications on Papua New Guinea will also take place during this time.

Participants in the Waigani Seminar will have the privilege of seeing the first performance of No Free Land, a play based on the original short story written by this writer. The adoption for stage and performance of the play are led by the tenacious duo: Martin Tony and Motsy Davidson of the Melanesian Institute of Arts and Communication (MIAC). The play will feature the creative talents of the theatre arts students at UPNG. This play is the first major play written and produced for stage after so many years in silence. Participants will appreciate this creative presentation of the same issues dealt with during the two days of serious academic presentations. A must see for all.

I have one challenge to the organizers of Waigani Seminar. Publish all proceedings of the 2010 UPNG Waigani Seminar. The publication of Waigani Seminar discussions can serve as important references for those involved in advising government on customary land tenure and developing policies to guide the government in fully capturing the evolving democracy in Papua New Guinea. We don’t want another missing reference in the list of works that should have been consulted for the development of this country.

Lesson learnt is that we have yet to see the publication of papers presented in the Waigani Seminar of previous years. Having a seminar without publishing the proceedings defeats the purpose of spending so much money, resources, and time only to have nothing concrete published to reflect the discussions that took place.

If the organizers of the UPNG Science 2009 conference can publish the proceedings of this important conference organized by the School of Natural and Physical Sciences and the School of Medical Sciences and Public Health then a high bench mark was set for the organizers of the Waigani Seminar to consider. Publish the proceedings from the 2010 Waigani Seminar right away. The long-term impact Waigani Seminar has is on the publication of its proceedings and not so much on the verbal presentations during the seminar days.

If I am one of the paper presenters at the Waigani Seminar I would want to see that my paper is published so that it becomes available to a wider audience. As a scholar I am more conscious of the importance of having my work published than to just present my paper to a small privileged audience without making an impact on the wider society. The publication of early and later years of Waigani Seminar papers has created a single corpus of literature on the development of Papua New Guinea that many scholars, students, policy makers, advisors, consultants, and government officers use for their purpose to advance the government’s programs and directives.

The task of publishing the Waigani Seminar papers should be made easier if paper presenters leave the final copy of their papers with the organizers for immediate publishing. Many speakers have the tendency of presenting their papers and leaving no final version of their papers for publication. The organizers must insist that all paper presenters have their papers ready for publication on the day they present their papers. No excuse for revision of papers after the Waigani Seminar should be allowed. Such people will never submit their papers for publication. I say this based on the experience of organizing and presenting papers in many conferences.

Finally, the Waigani Seminar is for everyone. It is open to the public to attend and absorb the intellectual stimuli generated every day. It is a seminar for everyone. This year’s seminar on customary land and evolving democracy is useful to anyone interested in the issues and challenges concerning the same. At least attend one session if you can.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Matane Factor in PNG Books

I made an honest mistake last week. I said this year was the 20th year of celebrating the National Book Week. An email message from the Governor General of Papua New Guinea gave my head a little jolt. My immediate thought was that His Excellency, the Grand Chief Sir Paulias Matane, our Governor General was about to summon me for making the mistake. I should have written it is now 30 years of celebrating the National Book Week.

Sir Paulias Matane is the Patron of the National Book Week and a Board Member of the National Libraries and Archives Board.

It is appropriate for me to share in this week’s column my admiration for Sir Paulias’ untiring role in promoting a book culture in Papua New Guinea. Sir Paulias has written more than 42 books. Over the years he has helped many Papua New Guineans to publish their books.

Kum Tumun of Minj (1964?) and My Childhood in New Guinea (1972) were the first books His Excellency published. The publication of these books encouraged the Grand Chief Sir Paulias Matane to write and publish more books than anyone in Papua New Guinea. The transformative power of books that His Excellency counted on had done wonders in his life and in many people who admire his writings and life as a role model statesman.

Sir Paulias began reading and writing at the age of 17. He counted on books to take him from the jungles of East New Britain Province to the Government House at Konedobu. The illustrious writing life of Sir Paulias Matane began in 1957 as a teacher at his former Tauran Primary School in New Britain. He became the headmaster of the school between 1958 and 1961, before returning to school in 1962. He became a school inspector for three years (1963-1966) in Minj Sub-district of Western Highlands Province.

Sir Paulias is a connoisseur of books and anything to do with books, reading, writing, and libraries. The admiration and respect I have of Sir Paulias as a prolific writer comes no where near to the record number of books published by one single author in Papua New Guinea. Sir Paulias began publishing fiction in the late 1970s before moving into publishing non-fiction books ranging from autobiographies, travel narratives, family histories, cultural dialogues, and motivational works. Most of his later works were published India and circulated around the world.

Sir Paulias Matane has two new books coming out soon. The first one had the ubiquitous title: From Jungle House to State House. The two new books will bring out the experiences of making the journey from his beloved Viviran village to serving as the Governor General of Papua New Guinea for two terms. I have always admired the vivacity and tenacity of his Excellency when it comes to writing, reading, and publishing books. Whether it is a conversation on books or just talking about books Sir Paulias has that unstoppable passion that many of us wish we have.

The celebrations this week around the country have come to an end, but not the writing life of His Excellency. He writes every day as revealed to me during a video interview I had with him for a video project I am working on. He still keeps the diaries he kept as a young man finding his path in the world.

His Excellency is also a very religious man with values that are measurable by any Christian standards. In the last chapter of Ripples in the South Pacific Ocean, we recall Aimbe’s speech to his family and people:

“I believe in most of the teachings in the Bible. The Bible is the best book you can find in the world. It is a good guide to our everyday lives. If we live by the words in it, the kind of lives we will lead will be different—we will be full of love, consideration for others, happiness, and all the good things. Wouldn’t it be nice for us to live like true Christians? If everybody in the world lived like this we would have no problems—lawlessness. We would live in peace and love each other. We would become brothers in the true sense of the world.”

It is refreshing and assuring that Sir Paulias too lives a life of serving others before his own family or tribe. His leadership, wisdom, solid experiences as a public servant and statesman, and his disciplined time management is exemplary to many Papua New Guineans. His Excellency is now serving his second term in office as the Governor General of Papua New Guinea.

In this column, I salute Sir Paulias Matane for continuing to write more books that young Papua New Guineans can count on to become good citizens. I say this with conviction because many students who passed through the Literature program at the University of Papua New Guinea had to read Aimbe, the Pastor or Ripples in the South Pacific Ocean, as a required text for their degree program.

In his own words Sir Paulias invites Papua New Guineans to participate in the book culture development:

“Because of the experiences some of us have gained in writing and having our books published, we urge all Papua New Guineans to write. There are many things to write about like cultures, history of families, clans etc. Books could be factual or novels.”

What a better way of ending the National Book Week this year with such words of wisdom. This column shares Sir Paulias’ encouraging view expressed above.

We have many things to write about. We have many books to write. So let us write thousands of books that represent our unique experiences as Papua New Guineans.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Count on Books... Read

The National Book Week is in the first week of August every year. Since 1980 Papua New Guinea has observed the book week in style. Schools all over the country celebrate the importance of books with various activities in creative ways. This is the twentieth year of the National Book Week.

The Office of National Libraries and Archives is the coordinating agency for the National Book Week. The theme for this year is Count On Books…Read. It is an encouraging theme for everyone to count on books as an important foundation of their lives. Counting on books is for young learners in schools, educational institutions, and for all Papua New Guineans. National development must go hand in hand with the development of a book culture in Papua New Guinea.

Counting on book is a slogan for everyone. It is not only for students, teachers, and those involved in education. Books are important to everyone in the world. Books are for the employed and unemployed population. Books are for those who live in towns and in villages. Books are for the professionals and non-professionals. Books are for men and women, boys and girls. Books are important to the young and old. Books are counted among the instruments that changed everyone’s lives. No one can deny that they have never read a book, except for those who have never been introduced to the transformative powers of books.
Many successful Papua New Guineans have counted on books to bring them to where they are now. One of the books that I draw my inspirations from is Sana, our Prime Minister’s autobiography. I occasionally read the Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare’s autobiography to remain inspired and motivated to be a great leader like our Prime Minister. One of the inspiring part of the Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare’s life is that very early on in his life, our Prime Minister had counted on books to pursue his dream.

In this column I want to share that part of our Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare’s life with Papua New Guineans who have not read Sana, his first and only autobiography. He writes about his education in Dregerhafen Education Centre:

“I was greatly encouraged in my studies when, in 1954, I won the South Pacific Commission’s Literature Bureau Competition. We were asked to write about our favourite book. I won the prize with an essay on Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki Expedition. The following year I received the Forsyth Examination Prize, forty dollars worth of books—a new and unexpected treasure.”

Come to think of it, here was a young school boy at the age of 18 making an important decision to make books, writing, and reading an important part of his future. Participating in the literature competition, writing an essay about his favourite book, and winning a major international prize of books, gave him the impetus to look beyond the horizon to a future unknown to him.

The Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare counted on the new and unexpected treasure in books to move on to Sogeri in 1956 where he met Grand Chief Sir Paulias Matane, Sir Alkan Tolol, Aisea Taviai, and Sir Ronald Tovue. His first job after graduation from the Sogeri Education Centre was Utu School in New Ireland where he taught English, geography, and social science.

He then had taught in Brandi High School in 1959 and later at Tusbab High School in 1960. In 1962 the Grand Chief returned to Sogeri for one year to get his Queensland form four certificate.

He returned to Madang to teach at Talidig Primary School in 1963, before joining the publications section of the Education Department. In this job he contributed legends and short stories as well as write simple scripts for the Education Department’s program, Listen and Learn, which was broadcasted on the ABC.

The fascination with radio led him to join the Department of Information and Extension Services as a radio announcer with the newly opened Radio Wewak. If he was not reading the news in English and Tokpisin, the Grand Chief went out as the information officer to collect news, interview people in the rural areas, and to collect stories. This was the time the Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare became politically active, a moment in his life that would launch him into the national political scene in later years. The rest is history for young Papua New Guineans to emulate.

I share this part of our Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare’s life at this time of celebrating the National Book Week because many people need to know the importance of books. The Grand Chief stood on the back of books to make the journey from a humble beginning to greatness as the founding father of the Independent nation of Papua New Guinea, as its Prime Minister, and with it came other respects such as the longest serving parliamentarian in the Commonwealth and the favourite son of the Sepiks.

Many avid followers of Steven’s Window will note that every week I share what I read from books of importance to me. Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare’s Sana, is one book I keep as a treasured book in my personal library. Sharing part of his early life in this column would not have been possible if I did not have the Prime Minister’s autobiography at my disposal.

I count on the importance of books, writing, reading, and literature. I have invested my life in books as a writer and as a teacher in the field of literature. Sharing some of these books weekly in my column is a way of contributing to the knowledge bank of this great nation.

This year’s National Book Week theme: Count On Books…Read is a command to Papua New Guineans to use books as instruments of liberation from the prison of illiteracy and poverty. Papua New Guinea will become a literate nation if it counts on books and reading as an important development foundation.


The Missing Reference

Street vending a sign of poverty and poor human development

I happen to have in my collection the book edited by Ila Temu entitled Papua New Guinea: A 20/20 Vision. The book was jointly published by the National Centre for Development Studies in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the Australian National University and the National Research Institute. Among the contributors to this book are Rupa Mulina, who discussed the monetary and fiscal policy in Papua New Guinea; Miria Ume, who wrote about the development of physical resource development infrastructure; Kila Ai discussed the experiences of national planning, along with Desh Gupta and Henry Ivarature who discussed the political and economic issues on restructuring decentralization, and Lauatu Tautea’s interesting discussion of the missing link in human resource development.

I quickly checked the reference section of the Papua New Guinea 2050 Vision to see if this book was consulted. To my surprise this particular publication was not one of the books cited as a reference. I am usually fuzzy when it comes to references that people consult to form the basis of their arguments. The references in a paper, report, or book are usually the first indication that the author or authors are likely to make sense of what they are talking about. The references also act as a guide to the substance of the subject to be covered in the essay, report, or book. If a reference is missing then the obvious question is why was it considered as unimportant enough to be excluded from the list of works consulted?

Lauatu Tautea’s discussions on the missing link in the human resource dilemma strike me as a key ingredient in making Papua New Guinea develop. We can have all the natural resources and proactive leaders behind the wheel, but a nation with a poor human resource development index is one always in conflict with itself because those who are suppose to follow or do their part are not doing so. In a day so many laws are broken in deliberate disobedience. People drive through red lights, roundabouts, and crossings without stopping; people stop their automobiles right in the middle of the road, taxis, buses and humans use service stations as bus stops. People do not care if the national flag is in tatters, or if we shoot each other at the airport. I am beginning to think our nation is in the slumber mode as we navigate through uncharted future without taking with us the lessons of the past.

Tautea’s view is that the undue emphasis we place on developing Papua New Guinea’s natural resources and the failure to recognize fully the importance of human resource development in the development matrix is the source of our confusion and slow pace in moving forward.

Tautea argues that the recognition of the importance of human contribution to the production process is as old as economic theory. Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations, considered a man’s talent to be part of his fortune as well as that of the society he belonged. Ricardo’s labour theory of value, says Tautea, assesses the performance of a firm on the basis of three factors—land, labour, and capital and used factor prices to measure their relative contribution to the production process.

In classical Marxist theoretical explanation the output of capital is measured by the input of the raw materials, both in its quantitative and qualitative values. Tautea takes on this principle by aptly stating that the relative value of commodities are determined by the comparative amounts of labour required to produce them and that the different qualities of labour embodied in production value of the good depends on the comparative still of the labour and the intensity of the labour input.

To break this down for readers, the relative success and progress a nation enjoys depend very much on how much capital investments and in what manner or form it invests its capital resources in to get the output it desires. To follow Tautea’s argument here we must think of quality labour force as a human resource which requires sufficient capital investment to develop it to a qualitative standard, as an input into the production process to get a quality output. The progress of a nation is measured also by the quality of its labour force as in the economies of South and East Asian countries such as Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. These countries share the common characteristic of not having access to natural resources, but capitalized on the investments they made to develop and effectively use their human resources.

In the same book that I draw my discussion here, the former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Honourable Chris Haiveta, writing in the forward pages declared his cautions of Papua New Guinea: “While we certainly have plenty of policy challenges to work through, I do not accept assertions that we are completely on the wrong policy path or that major deviations from the current path are necessary. We are but a small way along the path of what will be many further years of hard policy slog.”

Aside from outlining the government’s Vision 2020, Haiveta said that since Independence various regimes have had their day in designing and declaring their own visions or strategies for the progress of the nation: “There has been no shortage of views on either Papua New Guinea’s long-term vision or its short to medium term objectives and strategies. All governments since independence have consistently published these at least annually (and often more regularly) in annual Budget and planning documents. Perhaps at different times we have had the wrong set of visions, objectives and strategies.”

The skepticism I have of Vision 2050 is perhaps foreshadowed in this Haiveta statement in 1997. Many policy statements, visions, and development strategies were developed in PNG. Some of these include: Look North Policy, The Matane Report, the Green Revolution, Vision 2020, and the so-called short-term to medium term development objectives and strategies. The lessons learnt then should be our reference.