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27 December 2012


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Yes, Kua has mentioned some very good points. How do we move on from here?

Interest groups need to migrate from electronic media like Facebook pages to face-to-face reality.

We need to look into each others eyes and see the dawn of a new day reflected there. "At dawn we leap from prison walls".

Nice thinking by Kua.

The reason I told that story about our friend is that is closely mirrors the experience of my wife.

Some years before we met, she was befriended by an Aussie expat, who took her in as a haus meri, 'gud taim girl' and babysitter and she looked after and loved his two kids for three years.

He regaled her with promises that he would take her to Australia to become his wife. But then his contract expired and he left PNG with his kids.

That was the last she ever heard from him - except to find out later that he already had a wife and family in Brisbane.

She has had no contact or knowledge of the children she learned to love and helped bring up. But she still has their photos and remembers them fondly to this day.

I have heard many similar stories.


Is polygamy to blame, or treating women like property? And who is guilty of this?

We've recently visited some good friends who are an Australian man and a PNG highlands wife who have been happily married for around 30 years.

But she has an interesting story to tell.

She was alone and friendless, having been rejected by her family, and was wandering the streets of Port Moresby at risk of falling into a life of degradation when (being an attractive young girl) she was befriended by an Australian expat.

He became infatuated by her and asked her to come and join him in Australia. He left PNG and after three abortive contacts by the young girl, he eventually provided references for a visa and the wherewithall to come to Australia.

So she made the big step of travelling to Oz and met the expat.

But he had changed his mind - I don't know why, racism or embarrassment at the prospect of having a black wife - and told her she should find another man to marry and he would happily hand her over.

She has the good fortune to meet a good man, and the original expat duly 'handed her over'.

This has a good ending as they were married and have three lovely kids and are still living in a blessed relationship in Australia.

But what gets me is that the expat she first met thought he could get rid of his obligations by just palming her off to another man, like an unwanted second hand car.

There are many such PNG women in Australia, some with much sadder outcomes than our friend. Their stories should be told.

So who can criticise polygamy in PNG with good conscience when Australians have treated PNG women like this?

My view on this polygamy subject.

Polygamy in PNG was and is part of the culture, accepted and practice for years. It is part of a culture that cannot be taken away easily by creating a law overnight.

Changing a culture is very very hard unless you put everyone through a brain surgery to delete polygamy out completely. Which I assume will not easily happen.

Why invent laws for every little things as a blanket-quick-fix solution without thinking through it, and for sure you have a law for small people and one for politicians on the same matter.

My view for proper sustainable solutions for the government look into in line with V2050 would be to;

- Provide more fee assistances and scholarships to girls in all levels of education so that more girls can continue on in their education

- Provide more employment for women, both formal & informal sector

- Provide child support for tax paying women so that they can walk off if marriage is not working for them

There may be more solutions out there but in a long run 20 years down the track, these 3 might help decrease Polygamy marriage and issues surrounding this.

Women nowadays are led or allow themselves into such marriage due to several reasons which needs to looked at and solved.

They even can’t get out of such marriage due to limitations such as uneducated, no job opportunities, no child support solutions around etc which needs to be looked at and solved as well.

Having new law is not a sustainable solution, we already have an Adultery law which is supposed to be effective.

Violence against women can be reduced by stopping the practice of Bride Price payment. No one can deny the link between bride price payment and domestic violence.

Michael I agree totally this evil, if I may, should be addressed first.

Tony, not all men initiate polygamous relationships. Women play a major role too.

So when a woman willingingly allows herself to participate or choose to enter into a polygamous relationship, how do we address the 'women's rights' issue? Obviously, the first wife would be affected with her children but to the new wife, it would be a gain. And wouldn't she (second wife) argue that it is her right to choose how to live as she likes? Oh my, het i pain nau...!

What about some highly educated women - lawyers, accountants, teachers, nurses, doctors, and etc - who choose polygamy as their way of life and are OK with it; what do we tell them? And mind you, these women are happy and living stable and progressive lives.

The Mormons practice polygamy.

Saw a documentary about an American man and his 2 wives on SBS.

We just need to educate the women folk to tolarate the other wives who are human beings with needs and wants.

I am a Christian but with a more liberal view not to hard line.

Those in a position of decision make or law making like the governor should not let emotions influence the way one thinks. Better to apply rational thinking and choice.

Jeff that is an interesting point.

Educated women who choose to be in a polygamous relationship makes the issue more complex.

The good governor should engage or fund more quantitative research to get the views of all Papua New Guineans.

In the matter of crimes directly caused by the polygamous relationship, would it be reasonable to consider the husband to be at least a minor accessory to the crime?

Without his initiating the relationship the crime could not have been committed.

Interesting that people are getting worked up about polygamy, which is rather less common in PNG than some make it out to be.

Understand this issue in the right context; most PNG men having multiple sexual relationships with different women are not in fact leading a polygamous lifestyle, no matter how they want to paint it. They're just fucking around.

There is a distinct difference and in traditional times this was well established.

A much more common and destructive, corrupted traditional practice in PNG is that of bride price payments.

Understand that I make no claim that bride price is a 'bad notion', only that I believe we're taking it too far.

It is more commendable for Christians to call for outlawing this so called custom which is very commonly being used as a convenient excuse to extort money from families.

The time as come to outlaw the polygamous relationships that have created and continue to cause problems on families.

We are no longer living our traditional societies (setting) and we must move on with the changing world and be ready to let go some of traditions that impede our development and embrace practices and customs which complement our development as one nation.

It would be interesting to know the views of the 'educated women folk' who choose to become the second, or third or fourth wife. And I mean uni graduates here.

Peter - You are right. Almost all of the politicians live a polygamous life. I guess they also get tired of eating the same bread for a long time.

Bernard - it will be an interesting debate indeed, considering how rampant it is amongst PNG pollies. I personally doubt polygamy in PNG is much to do with sex (although many leaders can't seem to keep their sausages in their pants), more to do with power and wealth and the dominance of bikmen.

How can we control human desire?

If a man is not getting the amount of sex he needs at home then the potential to seek other alternatives is there, any one law can not stop such a situation.

Not to mention the cultural point of view.

Having many wives signifies your status in society. One is regarded as a 'big man' or wealthy.

I hope the bill will we be properly debated in parliament.

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