TO ALL those who have never visited Madang, here are some facts to add onto your knowledge about people and places….
The biggest Chinese investment in PNG, Ramu Nickel Mining, is found in this province.
All the stores in Madang are owned by Asians except for two: Christian Books Melanesia (owner unknown ) and Yoko Trading (a very small store owned by a Chimbu fellow). The most (seemingly) expensive building in Madang, they call it "glass house", is owned by the Chinese state-owned MCC (China Metallurgical Group Corporation).
The biggest fishing cannery and the largest number of fishing vessels in Papua New Guinea are owned by Asians.
The vast Trans-Gogol Valley and Ramu Valley, home to virgin rainforest and tropical hardwood, is logged by Asians started by Japan New Guinea Timber (JANT) decades ago and now continued by other logging giants.
I have no intention of being racist but the list (and I could go on) is phenomenal. One wonders if there are any politicians in Madang who realise these facts and might be responsive to the plight of the vulnerable.
Foreign policy pursuits these days do not necessarily reward but offer costs that are detrimental.
Only in Madang have I seen headlines about politicians winning elections while in prison, driving on to runways to stop moving planes, driving bulldozers into settlements, and arriving in prison for failing to control violent supporters.
In a few months’ time, Madang’s long-awaited and much-anticipated Pacific Marine Industrial Zone will commence - built by Chinese using Chinese loans for Filipino companies and their PNG cohorts to excel whatever they do best in. What’s left of Madang? And what’s left for it?
Ironically, for the first time in history, the flying foxes have deserted the tourist town for destinies and reasons known only to Mother Nature.
With good manners, they have paved way for new migrants to conquer the town under the watchful eyes of all the Matus and Kukurais, the so-called chiefs.
Only God will save Madang from Asianization but in the meantime, let us ponder on where exactly has our foreign policy gone wrong.
Samuel Roth is a Lecturer of International Relations & Politics at Divine Word University in Madang