OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF MONTHS I have been experiencing some problems in posting comments in PNG Attitude. Thus, I have taken the liberty of writing my comments as opinion or reflective articles to keep the conversation going.
In that way different individuals can look at the issues and ideas highlighted in the various articles from different perspectives in order to promote a sound understanding.
I started off by discussing Garry Juffa’s article about stability and then moved on to Sil Bolkin’s ‘one day millionaires’. My intention thus far is not to discredit what my fellow writers have expressed but solely to keep talking about what they have written.
I write in my capacity as a social commentator, since that tag was given to by Ben Yamai in one of his many articles. As well, I write as a concerned taxpayer keen on seeing some tangible changes in Papua New Guinea.
The article I want to reflect on today is Martyn Namrong’s ‘PNG at 38’. The article has the ‘Namorong touch’ to it, straight to the point, clear, and with a concise style of writing.
In the article, Martyn hints to readers that his life has changed greatly. From the buai market to sipping wine with diplomats and business leaders, he is and will be in the years to come a force to be reckoned with.
Martyn has been a yardstick ever since his rise to fame thanks to the power of the internet. Last year, I advised my students to emulate Martyn when we wrote a critique of his revolutionary article ‘The political economy of everything that has gone wrong’.
Also, after Martyn gave a talk to my class about the Ramu nickel mine, I encouraged the students to write more about issues affecting PNG because their degree is called Bachelor of Arts in PNG Studies. Thus, Martyn’s literary feat is a challenge to them as students of PNG.
I challenged my students to be opinionated, mirroring Martyn. Being opinionated will help transition them from the old teacher-centered learning to a student-centered learning style in higher education.
During my time as a lecturer, students have been more tuned in to teacher-centered learning, meaning they come into class, sit down and listen - the banking concept. In the banking concept, the teacher is the knowledge bank which the students gain from.
With the current transformation from teacher-centered to student-centered learning, opinionated students are ideal students. Being opinionated means asking more questions and making comments to challenge what the teacher is sharing with them in class.
I can stand in front and mislead students based on my own understanding of the world around me. If they lack the ability to read and compare different world views in order to develop their own, they will gullibly take for granted my perspective.
The new trend in PNG’s higher education sector goes well with my personal philosophy that “No one has monopoly over knowledge”. In the 21st century a teacher is not the only giver of knowledge or does not have monopoly over knowledge. Knowledge can be gained via books, websites, blogs, social media, main stream media and other sources.
A few months ago, senior academics got tired of me and others bickering in written form about political and social issues on the Divine Word University electronic staff broadcast. The broadcast is an online forum where staff communicates notices and discuss issues on cyber space from the comfort of their office.
The odd thing was that the senior academics used Martyn as a case in point to indirectly tell us to use other avenues to broadcast our political activism and leave this particular cyber space for issues to do with the university or that are in the university’s interest.
This was slap on the face as well as a wakeup call for those of us who are political junkies. I live and breathe politics, whether international or domestic. My sole intention of writing in that particular space was to collect the view of other academics or to see what they have to say about matters of national interest.
The somewhat negative feedback challenged me to rethink my input on the forum and to focus on what I did before. That is blogging on blogs and the twitter sphere, with the aim of building up my knowledge.
Sharp Talk, the much talked about Facebook group in PNG, started gaining prominence when EMTV reporters got snippets of information from different political post and broadcast it on the evening news. The newspapers could not avoid writing about the new social media phenomenon that was taking PNG by storm.
Following the conversation on #SharpTalk38 last week was very interesting. It was good to see Papua New Guineans venture out of cyber space and organise something of magnitude. It shows that the group has the potential to communicate both in written form and verbally to address issues of interest to the nation of PNG.
On numerous occasions, I read comments like ‘Toktok tasol, samting tru yu ino fit lo wokim’ (you cannot walk the talk) and other comments of a similar nature on Sharp Talk and other PNG discussion groups. Sharp Talk in this case was referred to as a gun without a bullet or a warrior without a sword.
Well, with that seminar, this tag is now history. To read on Masalai blog about the participation of PNG Attitude regulars like Ganjki Wayne, David Kitchnoge, Nou Vada, Lydia Kailap and of course the illustrious Martyn Namorong, demonstrates the fact that Sharp Talk is not just restricted to cyber space but has the potential to go viral outside cyber space.
For me, such developments are reasons for celebrating the Independence Day because I know that these new players will determine the destiny of PNG in the coming years. This was evident in the type of discussion they had and the points they discussed. Hopefully, I get to attend SharpTalk39 next September.