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25 December 2012


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We need more awareness and literacy programs in the rural areas to educate them in pidgin about the reasons for voting and the whole electoral process.

The fact that the bulk of the population are uneducated, it is easy for 'modern big men' to manipulate their uneducated minds.

Some days ago, I was in the village and one young man who just graduated from grade 12 advised me to talk more to the villages and share my knowledge, not with the intention to help them but to position my self as a big man.

However, I disliked the idea because I do not want to be a talker.

Michael, the actions of 'modern day big men' who more often than not, as you've said, 'use their wealth' to gain leeway, by being 'Charitable' directly promotes and enhances the Cargo Cult Mentality.

You see crowds, especially 'young warriors', aimless and lost in transition most of the time, being used to great effect.

Beacuse of the apparent loss of respect for the elders, these 'rasckals' ensure their 'givers' visions are accomplished. Even if it means using unconventional methods. Because there is a prize - win favour 'modern big men'.

Usually you'd hear one (young warrior) complain if not being compensated fairly well.

And I have begun to wonder whether the masses participate in the electoral process because they want change in status quo or because they just do it for their 'modern big men'.

I think the number of people who genuinely participate for the sake of change and progress is sadly relatively less.

Jeffrey, I am liking your statement that "many a brother or a sister from another country looks to us with sad envy. So many resource projects, yet we appear wretchedly poor."

I have seen this look of 'sad envy' too many times already and I'm not even half way through my life!

There is a consensus on the relative truth of this statement among PNGians, even though we observe so many brand new Toyota Land Cruisers on the roads these days.

Certainly there is a more perceptible gap between the rich and the poor, which will eventually create far greater strains on our so called 'PNG ways'.

Our Melanesian society has always been egalitarian but now men of modern wealth are able buy their way into power and influence during special feasts or other customary occasions, often times without having made contributions or taken active part in the day-to-day struggles of their people.

Some may do so through third parties representing them in the village and this seems to have been blindly accepted as being okay by most people.

But this is not the same 'way' as before.

In traditional times the rise of a leader was observed by all within the community. All his/her actions or in-actions, triumphs and failures were witnessed by his people first hand.

Not through some proxy with vested interests. There was a degree of transparency, albeit one that was guaranteed by physical boundaries of the tribal zone.

It was precluded that for a future leaders star to rise he/she must align himself/herself with the elders of the clan and tribe who's character and leadership had been tested by time and who had brought the community to where it was at present. There must be respect based on non-monetary indications - values, speech and actions.

Not so today, where the elders are almost totally ignored, especially by the younger male 'warriors' in favour of richer big men who are able to supply them with the pay that they desire; money, alcohol, women, vehicles, guns, a chance to travel and have access to other opportunities including education and employment.

By insidiously subverting 'our ways' the modern day big men maintain their strangle hold on the wealth of this nation.

Their methods keep the rest of the population poor while seeming to dole out wealth to those who support them or more commonly by providing some 'Christian or charitable' donation/service to other groups who then become their lackey's, since 'bekim dinau' is also part of the PNG Way.

There's a lot more to say on this topic. Thanks again Jeffrey.

What a wonderfully reflective article. I leave it to Papua New Guineans to pick up the threads of Jeffrey's thoughts to weave a better future for the people of PNG.

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