SIL BOLKIN’S ARTICLE The gullible one-day millionaires of Simbu highlighted two important social scenarios in Simbu: the breakdown of traditional values and the art of exploitation by deception by wily wantoks practised against unsuspecting working elites on vacation.
These are social problems not only experienced in Simbu but in other parts of PNG as well. They are by-products of westernisation that we cannot avoid. They are inevitable as we continue to embrace more and more modern technological, social, political and economic change.
The incident of becoming an incredulous one-day millionaire through deception by wily wantoks is generally confined to aspiring politicians.
The moment one opens his mouth about contesting an election, he invites hordes of human flaws into his life. He exposes himself to craftiness, deception and exploitation not only by wantoks but others.
Which brings me to the Simbu Children Foundation, a charity which has been indirectly evoking a number of important changes in the lives of Simbu elites, including thwarting con games by wily wantoks.
SCF has more than 200 members comprising mostly Simbu elites working in the public and private sectors throughout PNG and overseas. We have members who are from other provinces and countries. We also have a number of student members who are the main force who will sustain the spirit and operations of SCF in the future.
December is the time the organisation hosts its major fundraising ball night at the Mt Wilhelm Hotel in the heart of the Simbu capital, Kundiawa.
On the appointed day, the program starts with SCF members meeting with the sick children at Sir Joseph Nombri Memorial Hospital Kundiawa and presenting them with gifts - toys, dolls, sweets - and cutting the Christmas cake. Sometimes we prepare a barbecue in the hospital grounds for the sick children and their guardians.
The main event takes place at night in the Mt Wilhelm Hotel primarily because of the space - it can hold up to 400 people, much more than the Backpackers and the Kundiawa Hotel.
We have been doing this hospital visitation and fundraising for the last four years and it is now an annual event on the SCF calendar.
All SCF members are notified starting as early as April or May through the organisation’s monthly newsletters.
Since the formation of SCF and the starting of the annual fundraiser ball night, we have been indirectly promoting or evoking a number of important changes and adjustments in the lives of Simbu elites.
First, the SCF fundraising program dictates the timing of vacations of members. Most members work outside Simbu and their vacation plans revolve around the SCF program. This includes some members of parliament who are avid benefactors of SCF.
Secondly, SCF evokes the heart and propagates the culture of charity. The financial support each person renders SCF to accomplish its mission at the fundraiser speaks of everybody’s preparedness and willingness.
Thirdly, SCF evokes respect for fellow Simbus among the elites. SCF unites Simbus from all creeds, tribes and walks of life and as they come to know dignity and respect for one another.
Fourthly, SCF members are prevented or thwarted from falling into the exploitative snares of the wily wantoks when they are on vacation.
The coming to Simbu of SCF members has a special purpose apart from their vacation plan. They come for raising funds to help and save sick and disadvantaged children of Simbu. Most arrive in Simbu one or two days before the ball and there is no time and room for the con relatives to crowd around and play their wily parasitic games.
Even so, most arrive in groups and it is not easy for wantoks to execute their crafty ploys.
Moreso, before they touch down, they are in touch with SCF members on the ground and the President Jimmy Drekore.
As soon as they arrive in Kundiawa, we pick them up and take them to a convenient location where they are briefed on the preparations for the hospital visitation and the main event in the night. We get them involved in the final nitty gritty. They are kept busy and away from the con artists and their snares.
After the ball they go home and enjoy their vacations with their families before returning back to work waiting for the next event.
There are Simbu elites both working in the province and coming from working outside who choose to play the big men’s game with their exploitative wily wantoks. It’s up to them.