Sunday, October 30, 2011


By Ganjiki D Wayne

Following my last commentary on the reading culture (or lack of) in PNG, it seems the bookworms have really been let out. Responses are quite uplifting. We heard from people who share the same burden for the reading culture in PNG. People were starting small book club programs at their homes, getting their families in on the action, even reading to their babies in the womb! And they were seeing positive impacts of such programs. A few colleagues of mine were so encouraged that they’ve suggested we do book club at work. So now we’ve designated a lunch time once a fortnight to have book reviews.

I was even encouraged to start an online book club. I didn’t think it would be received well at first, but I did so anyway—on facebook. The response was overwhelming. The facebook page “PNG BookClub” grew to 2800 members (and climbing!) in the space of four days! I’ve never been so happy to be proven wrong. There are people out there who are actually reading books like crazy...and they’re quite excited that they have a forum in which they could just talk books! People are conversing as if they’ve known each other for years...all because they share a common love for books and favourite authors!

On that page people have been recommending books and authors; giving snippets of books they’re currently reading or just completed or starting. They’re setting up meetings with each other to exchange books. More stories of family book clubs are shared. People who lost the passion for reading are telling us that they’re now picking up books again—inspired by the collective passion. Aspiring writers (including me) now have hope that we will surely have readers for our books when they’re published. People have expressed frustration too with the fact that the public libraries in the major centres are non-existent and that access to books is almost zero at the moment for rural and semi-urban areas. A story of a boy named Ngaru Nen—who goes to school in the US—distributing books to rural Watut has warmed our hearts. And news of others also attempting such deeds is encouraging. People with an abundance of books are even willing to contribute to a distribution effort—from within and abroad!

There’s even talk going on to materialise the movement into a formal club—aimed at building and sustaining the reading culture in PNG. A blog for book reviews and a website have been created (but not yet complete). People want a place where they can meet and exchange books both physically and in cyberspace. They also want to get involved in distributing books to people (especially children) who need them. Many ideas are put forward but we’re keen to just take it one step at a time. All good things are built slowly.

Bottom line is that people are being encouraged to read. We don’t yet know the full extent of the influence of the PNG BookClub on facebook. All we know is that members of the page are being encouraged to read more, and whoever they interact with (beyond facebook) are also being inspired to read...and a lot of them are! That gives us hope.

Vision2050 expresses a desire to see PNG people become “smarter, wiser”. These qualities are slowly being realised as more and more people pick up books and read. We can’t rely only on our Education system to make people smarter and wiser. Nor do we have to wait for the government to make things happen. It can start with us; wherever we are. We hope that you will pick up book soon—if you haven’t. And that you will encourage those within your sphere of influence to read books. You can prod them along by holding book review meetings—which are both educational and fun. Give books to them and follow-up regularly. Eventually your involvement will become unnecessary as they will soon get hooked on reading.

Most young people in PNG know Dr. Ben Carson’s story. The power of reading is well-illustrated in his story. Yet many still need to unlock their reading passions. There’s no doubt that if we are to become smarter and wiser, we must read. It takes more than just one week a year to highlight the importance of book-reading. We must prod the young people of our young nation to get their heads out of the clouds and into the books. True and long-lasting change starts right there. To change the attitude of people we need to change the mind of people. Books can do that.

Happy Reading PNG!

Heavenise Day

Friday, October 21, 2011

WannaBe Leaders, WannaBe Readers...

(Here's another commentary I put out earlier this year to encourage reading)

How many of us take time to read? I mean really read. Not short fb comments or chain emails or blogs that don’t necessarily take up too much of your time...not even short messages from Yours Truly. I mean Books! Books of history, of philosophy, of leadership and leaders, or novels and other great works of literature. How many of us spend time digesting words by great men and women and allow our mindsets to be shaped and moulded in great and positive ways???

Most of us will admit that it has been a while since we last dug into a good book. You may realise PNG is not short of leaders, wannabe leaders, and potential leaders. But currently we are stuck in an illusion that leading is something you pick up along the way perhaps at a seminar, or a natural by-product of education. Yes they can be stepping stones that may help in becoming leaders. But there’s a bit more we have to do to be really effective and outstanding agents of change in our country. I can think of two important things that PNGeans hate doing but need to do: READING and THINKING.

Agri-businessman Allan Bird once challenged young people to just take some time to think in order to bridge the gap between the likes of Narakobi, Tawali and other great thinkers, and ourselves. Last week Ambassador Peter Donigi, at the Election 2012 panel, challenged young people to read and continuously learn. How can we be leaders (which simply put means being ahead of the pack) if we don’t read more and think more than those who we aspire to lead? It doesn’t work that way.

My challenge here now is simple..PATRIOTS, TAKE SOME TIME TO THINK AND READ....not just the blogs and these internet mindblasts from yours truly...but real wisdom-giving books that will BROADEN your view of life and give you an insight into the REAL problems of this NATION; as well as QUICKEN your creativity in ADDRESSING those problems.


Heavenise Day!


Who Let the BookWorms Out?!

(Here's probably the article that triggered all this...)

By Ganjiki

I’ve commented before on reading in PNG and I’d like to do so again. Because I think it is such an underrated activity in PNG. For most PNGeans reading is a hard laborious and boring activity. We’d rather chew our beetle-nut and carry on with mindless chatter with our equally narrow-minded peers, or watch a movie that stimulates none of the imaginative and creative power of the brain, or allow desperate songwriters to shape our thinking by listening to their garbage. Reading is just not a PNG thing. And perhaps in our access to social network and blogging we have worked ourselves into a false sense of security—that reading short comments and blogs is sufficient reading—besides, this way we can challenge the author right!? And feel good about ourselves!

The few times I see my fellow PNGeans reading a book, be it on the bus commuting to and fro, or at a park, or wherever, it thrills me. It’s thrilling because it’s such a rare sight. One day while sitting and waiting for an appointment outside our Revenue Haus, I was reading a Robert Ludlum novel. An expatriate stopped, checked out the title of my book and asked me where I got it. After I told him he simply said: “It’s rare to see PNGeans reading...”

Things like facebook and blogs and the newspapers are huge hits with our people. I dare say we delight in reading generally junk (or snippets of junk). We seem to have such a short attention span that we can tolerate newspaper articles, blogs and fb comments...but great books by great authors are not at all in our scope of interest.

It’s even occurred to me that while most PNGeans like to posses KNOWLEDGE, we hate LEARNING. Have you ever wondered how odd it was for flunking Uni students to go riot over grading system? That was in my time and I’m still embarrassed because I didn’t think we deserved any grade higher than what we got! We didn’t like learning but we wanted the As. And if we our lecturers didn’t give it we tried to squeeze it out of them by threatening to burn a few cars!...Comeone PNG let’s change and create a true culture of reading and learning...

Wouldnt it be nice to see a lot more countrymen read. This is why I truly appreciate some great organisations whose mission is to make as many books accessible to as many people as possible. But we can all play our part in creating a new culture of READING...

At home I’ve started a book-club with my hauslain. Everyone was given a task to read a book and give a review at Book Review Night every week. This evening (10/10) we had our first Book Review night. My brothers and cousins from primary school to working/Uni class all gave reviews on their books followed by some comments and questions. It’s a way of getting us out of the trivial and generally unhelpful activities such as watching movies, playing computer games etc...and getting into more positive activities.

This is a simple way to bring change to our nation. We start with the ones at home; start by helping them broaden their worldview, enlarge their brain power as well as their vocabulary. Simple things like this can make a huge difference in the lives of people who are within our immediate sphere of influence. Please consider this an option for your household.

Reading short comments on fb and blogs may be helpful but reading books is priceless if you really want to gain real wisdom and knowledge. I implore you all to read further than this. Even though I’d love for you to read my blog-posts and comments, and emails, and “like” them and “share” or “forward” would do you and this nation much better if you NOW decide to pick up a good book and dive into it.

Like Abigail Adams says: “Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardour [zeal, passion, intention]”

Happy Reading everyone!

Heavenise Day.


Creating a Culture of Reading in PNG

Hi BookWorms!

Welcome to PNG BOOKCLUB.

Where we talk Books, books and more books!!

Following the explosive growth of a Facebook group page of the same name, it seemed necessary that we record the opinions of passionate readers of books in a blog; so that they can be later collated and/or picked out. This page is an attempt to properly record book reviews by the People of PNG who are into reading.

I trust that this will encourage more and more Papua New Guineans to read more and more books. And this may lead to better mindsets and attitudes and in the end: PROGRESS.

Readers can send their Book Reviews to and we will have them posted on this page for access by all. We will also try to post reviews posted on the Facebook group as much as we can.

How To write a Book Review

Reviews need not be any longer than 500 words. I don’t have much idea how to write a Book Review so I just googled “book review format” and found this website, and pasted the format below:

Here is the book review format in which to follow:

Steps to Follow When Writing a Book Review:

(Note: You do not have to answer every question, these are only suggestions to guide your writing.)

1.Write at least 3-4 sentences about the plot

•What was the story about?
•Who were the main characters?
•What did the main characters do in the story?
•Did the main characters run into any problems?
•Did the main characters have any adventures?
•Who was your favorite character? Why?

2.Your personal experiences

•Could you relate to any of the characters in the story?
•Have you ever done some of the things or felt some of the same things that the characters did?

3.Your opinion

•Did you like the book?
•What was your favorite part of the book?
•Do you have a least favorite part of the book?
•If you could change something in the book, what would it be? (If you wish you could change the ending, remember not to tell the ending to the
story you read!)

4. Your recommendation

•Would you recommend this book to another person?
•What type of person would like this book?

Hope you find this site helpful in enlarging your library and doing some serious reading.

Heavenise day!

“Inspiring Passion”