THE OPPONENTS OF THE REMOVAL of carvings and art work at the National Parliament under the direction of Speaker Theo Zurenuoc have ignored two important facts in their arguments.
First, the National Parliament is not a museum. The right place for the preservation of historical relics, carvings and all kinds of cultural heritage is in a museum and not the National Parliament.
All the carvings being taken down can find their rightful place at the National Museum and Art Gallery which is nearby. No problem.
Parliament House is a modern structure based on modern political ideology and as such the structure and the face of it can be altered at any time to suit development and change.
In fact the idea of removing all those ugly, scary, evil looking idols is not new. It has been mooted by parliamentarians, civil society and Christians for some years and it is so happens that the practicality of it has eventuated during the tenure as Speaker of Theo Zurenuoc. At least he had the guts to sanction the project.
Secondly, I wonder if anyone has seriously thought about the meaning of tambaran and its attachment to the National Parliament. Tambaran is the Tok Pisin word for evil spirit or demon and all the bad connotations associated with it.
Why is the National Parliament called Haus Tambaran – Haus of Evil Spirit? The National Parliament is a noble and honourable institution that operates on Christian principles, or is supposed to be, and it should never have been called Haus Tambaran.
The answer lies with those fierce carvings perceived to guard the entrance of Parliament House and the Parliament itself. It is those evil depictions that give us the description, Haus Tambaran.
It is proper for the name Haus Tambaran and all its associations to be uprooted and erased from the face of the Parliament and in the minds of the people. The Speaker has done the right thing.
Papua New Guinea as an independent nation has declared its allegiance to the Jehovah God, the God of Israel, and the significance of it is manifested in the preamble of the Constitution and the Constitution itself which is based on Christian principles.
The National Parliament, the country’s most important institution, should depict Christianity from the entrance into the interior. The entrance should have murals of archangels with swords in their hands guarding it and not all those fierce and scary idols. They should be guarding the entrance of the National Museum and Art Gallery and not Parliament House.
Furthermore, the greatest teacher of all time, Jesus Christ, said about the power of spoken words: You speak words and they will come to pass. We call the National Parliament a house of evil and truly it is full of evil – extreme corruption. The evil will continue to reign if we do not do something about it. What the Speaker is doing is right.
Of course we all want our leaders to change their attitude and mindset to God fearing and accountable in managing the affairs of the country. However changing the attitude and mindset of our leaders directly is not so easy and even a small project such as this can be a stepping stone towards evoking changes and making difference.