We can never agree on how books should be written, or, regarding how their authors (editors or publishers) choose their subjects. Etc. How some commentators have expressed their views in response to a recent publication on some women leaders in the Solomon Islands is a case in point. Actually, the authors are all the women who wrote the chapters and the editors are: Dr. Alice Aruhe'eta Pollard and Prof. Marilyn J. Waring (it's not the other way around!).
There is nothing wrong about readers disagreeing about a book and its subject. Perhaps what should be included in a book is arguably just as important as what is left out (the post-colonialists will really take me to task here). It's the function of the fact that different people naturally have different opinions on any written story. However, in regards to the above mentioned book, while we can never agree on all the arguments put forward by different commentators, certainly some readers will agree with at least one of the following points:
. The authors, editors and publishers of the recent publication must be given their dues - thank you for the completion of an important book. It puts for the record (in written form) a subject of importance to our nation;
. The book resulted from a collaboration by many well educated women which, shows that education does play a pivotal role is such an exercise (publishing books in English is not as simple as one would like to think. At least this is what the subject matter is to a layman like me), not to mention the support by its publishers: RAMSI, Pacific Media Centre and AUT University;
. The editors (who initiated the idea) have chosen only some women (they have their own reasons so please ask them - NOT me). It maybe that they cannot compile a book on all our women leaders in the Solomon Islands. Frankly, I don't know;
. The "gabs" (as seen by some of the book's readers) which should be filled but, in some unexplained ways (for the moment) are being left out by the book's authors and editors alike are for others to fill; and
. Finally, to those who intent to record (through writing) their views on alternative leadership, or re-right flaws in the book, I encourage them to do so. My advice to them would be: to organise such a task calls for hard work, collaborate with those who have experience in publishing, seek support and, 'just do it'.
The above are some of my reflections after I sat down last year (in Honiara) to finish reading the book 'Tell it as It is: Autobiography of Rt Hon. Sir Peter Kenilorea, KBE, PC, Solomon Island First Prime Minister', Published by the Center for Asia Pacific Studies, Taipei, 2008.
Perhaps one of the reasons why we can never agree as to what should constitute a "First" is simple - in leadership there is no such a thing. After good leaders and heroines expend their energies to the national, village and provincial good, their stories in written forms graciously belong to all of us and, perhaps they alone can answer the question: As a hero or heroine, does it matter to be first?
One book: some Heroines and dissatisfactions
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of George Hoa'au and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.
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