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30 December 2012


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Well said Michael.

The truth is PNG has many passionate individuals like Jeffrey Febi fighting to fix the inequality, but as Jeffrey himself says, they often end up fighting alone. Sadly, too often because of the intimidation and bribes of the big men that sway those who surrounded the change agents at the start.

The educated and powerful are the big men of the village now. Almost all of them find their way into politics.

To turn the system upside down is a momentous task without resources, without connections, and especially without education. This is perhaps the only logical answer to the question of why education was made so expensive and out of reach of the masses. It is a form of control, of power; a means of maintaining the status quo.

Education and health are critically underfunded by government, and the most pressing needs of the people. There was certainly sufficient revenue through the resources projects to fund these needs, but they never were. There is sufficient money in the Sustainable Development Fund to fix this, but it remains out of reach of the people.

When getting elected becomes a natural result of bribery and intimidation, 'to be elected' requires bribery and intimidation. Until such time as the nation makes the decision that these are traits they do not want in their politicians, these traits will continue to be associated with success, further entrenching them as 'the PNG way'.

Having said that, there are other ways to influence policy and national direction. The history, even recent history of other nations leave many clues. The difference is that the agitators in PNG seem to remain one voice speaking to many, whereas the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement and other examples, are many people ignited to action with one voice. And to this end, I'm afraid John Fowke is right.

Thank you John Fowke, I appreciate your forthright encouragement.

It is true that PNG needs every young active and intelligent mind, male and female, to take up the duty and responsibility of leading PNG into the future.

However, I for one am of the opinion that there are too many men, in particular, trying to be chiefs and not enough braves doing the dirty work.

It's important that we each contribute in the best way we can through the avenues that are available to us.

While Jeffrey's recent run in the 2012 election was a very commendable effort, providing leadership for our people does not necessarily mean becoming a politician.

Sometimes the best leadership we can provide is to do our job to the best of our abilities and make a success of it.

This is particularly pertinent in the public service.

For too long now the basic structures of public office that are supposed to run our nation have been corroded and we all like to blame this on corruption.

I believe solving that issue is simpler than we imagine. But do we each have the conviction to do it?

Out in the deep ocean vast - restless and busy all day everyday; would a tank of red dye change the ocean's colour when its contents are emptied into the ocean? I think not - not in a lifetime.

I witnessed and experienced first hand the hardened walls of ignorance and stubborness the PNG Way has built over the years.

Many like minded are fighting this fight but we're outnumbered in every which way possible. And often one finds his/her sorry self fighting alone - lonely and despodent.

We can only do so much but this much isn't sufficent.

John, I will accept your challenge and do whatever possible to help PNG.

But before I end, I want to say this: this fight will not be won now or in the immediate future. It will take time.

I hope Michael, myself and other like minded PNG'ans are helpng to set the foundation from which a massive offensive could be launched that could potentially eradicate the ills of the PNG Way.

Yes, Mrs Short hits it on the head. Politely but with unerring accuracy.

When will the time for ending the endless talking by the impressive number of the well-educated, worldly-wise PNG'an men amongst whom many like Jeffrey and Michael contribute lots of intellectual value and interest to this website?

This endless talking is of course a very traditional characteristic of PNG's "Way" ever since steel tools and the guns of the Kiaps reduced men from a life as "soldiers constantly on active duty" - the phrase coined by the late Jim Taylor. Or busy felling big trees, making fences and canoes with stone implements- 5 times more labour-intensive than with the new, steel equivalents.

Changes which reduced the bulk of the nation's active male population to largely lazy, frequently dishonest outside the extended family, constantly-talking-not-doing smokers and players-of-darts-for-cans-of-SP under the shade of roadside bamboo clumps.

These "men's clubs of PNG" are to be seen in full swing,seven days a week, along all the major highways and in settlements and major villages.

Men governed by a privileged and extremely selfish group of native aristocrats who manage the nation's affairs from the Royal Papua Yacht Club and Port Moresby's poker-machine-endowed watering holes, or "drinking holes" as PNG knows them. Arseholes in drinking holes rule.

The once active soldiers smile and talk their lives away only getting physical and impassioned under the influence of alcohol. Ladies of PNG, 50%-ers of PNG, tell me, an old, prejudiced white fool, that this isnt so!.

Geoffrey and Michael and all the rest of you, the nation awaits evidence of any conviction and idealism and belief in the possibility of a fully-equitable, fair and healthy life for all.

Grow up and see yourselves as having an inborn duty to the land you were born in and in which your bones will ultimately repose. Your generation has both a duty and a responsibilty.

No more arty-farty talk, please. Get active in 2013. Your natural audience awaits you under the bamboo-clumps across the nation.

Let's be fair. Jeff Febi got very active in 2012, his first shot at parliament being unsuccessful (but not far adrift of the winner) after months of campaigning along the bush trails of his electorate. And Michael Dom, already contributing greatly as an agricultural scientist, is off to Adelaide in 2013 to pursue post-graduate studies. It is far from being all talk for many educated Papua New Guineans - KJ

Thanks Jeffrey and Michael for your comments on the PNG Way of the 21st Century. I have been feeling that I shouldn't comment as it is your problem to solve.

But I still wonder if it will be possible for a group of honest PNG men and women to be elected to positions of power and be able to shame these rich big men and expose them for what they are.

They will need the lawyers and the media, newspapers and the Internet, to help them.

They probably need a leader who will inspire them. Someone who is willing to live on a modest income and work for the betterment of the poorest village people in the remotest part of PNG.

Until this new breed of leaders arise PNG will continue to be "wretchedly poor" despite all the new mining ventures, pouring their profits into the pockets of the overseas investor and the New Rich Men of PNG.

This is not something unique to PNG. I'm sure it has happened the world over.

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