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04 December 2013

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A good addendum or counterpoint to this study would be to interview the politicians, public servants, lawyers and business people who practise corruption. They might be a bit harder to find and it might be harder to get them to talk.

However, from what I've seen, particularly among the men with big egos, they are happy to speak off the record. I've found them not to be repentant at all.

In fact most of them seem proud of what they've managed to get away with; the general attitude being "haven't I been smart?" They care not one iota about the people who have suffered because of their greed. I think this has got something to do with the old clan thing - anyone outside the clan is fair game.

The other level that needs looking at is the 'inert corruption'. These are the people who are happy to sit in well paid sinecures and ignore what is going on around them. They know about corrupt colleagues but fail to do anything about it. To my mind this is just as reprehensible as the corrupt people.

Corruption is extremely difficult to understand. Back in the 1970s I worked with Sinaka Goava. He had his own fascinating back story pursuing justice for his father. Sinaka was a very honourable man and as honest as the day is long.

And yet, his son is one of the names on the list coming out of the Finance Department enquiry. How can this be. What turns the son of an outstanding public servant into a crook? It defies logic and is very, very sad.

A recent comment on a Facebook site - Politicians are corrupted because you individuals are corrupted too! Most of you during election elected a leader for your own temporary pleasure and appetite. Now you are going around criticizing politicians. Yes they need to give an account for all their wicked deeds, but lets get the facts right, everything starts with us as an individual on how we think and by living differently !

This is a very good report on research done into attitudes to corruption in PNG. I have been in contact with many of my former students over the past 10 years or so and have found it interesting to hear their reactions to corruption.

They are shocked that it is happening but did not have many good ways of making some form of protest against it. Now they have the Social Media and these Facebook groups give them the opportunity to express their disgust. "Shoot em all" and similar comments are common.

If I looked on my PNG students as my "children" then, at the moment I am contacting some of my "grandchildren". I'm sending them copies of my book "Four Years in the Sepik" by email. I "found" them via the Sepik Region Development Discussion Group on Facebook.

It is a very interesting experience, made possible by Facebook and emails. I am learning about their lives and the lives of their parents, my students. At the same time I'm giving them an insight into the past in the East Sepik Province, 1971-74.

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