An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism
ALCOHOL provides an escape from reality for many young Papua New Guinean males. I would be toxically depressed had it not been for alcohol. The insanity of many young guys who become schizophrenic after consuming too much marijuana makes sense to me.
Several weeks ago I bought pizza for my dear brother Nou Vada and we talked shit about the shit that’s happening in this country. Nou told me how his Facebook inbox got clogged after news spread I was working for [Opposition leader] Namah. We both laughed about it.
The truth is PNG doesn’t need Martyn Namorong and Nou Vada. We are obstacles to progress. We are stopping development from happening.
Well, that’s according to how everyone defines progress and development. Nou and I talk about bagarapment. We do odd things because for us there is no box. We’re crazy guys who accidently happened to have brains.
Nou understands why I worked for Namah. I don’t expect anyone else to understand me as well as Nou does. After all, it was Nou who introduced me to the concept of ‘corrupting corruption’.
Nou understands why, during the political impasse of 2012, we were on opposite sides. I supported Tiffany Twivey and prime minister O’Neill at that time because I felt the constitution of Papua New Guinea could not adequately address the excesses of the Somare regime. Indeed, I was hoping Twivey could lead a revolution but that did not eventuate.
This might give some context to folks who might be surprised by the assistance I provided to Namah.
Just as I wanted to counter the excesses of the Somare regime, I wished to counter the excesses of the O’Neill regime. That is the realpolitik of PNG that an uninitiated observer may not be able to contextualise when passing judgement on current issues.
The principle of corrupting corruption is something not widely understood but applicable to the PNG context.
After all, there are very few clean hands in this country so one has to be a little bit more pragmatic as opposed to being ideologically entrenched.
That is what Nou and I understand and so, despite being at opposite sides of a debate at some times, we have a mutual understanding of where we’re coming from.
Papua New Guinea is a land of abundant opportunity. There are good prospects for this great nation of ours. The challenge for us is to convert these opportunities into the realisation of the dreams and aspirations of our people.
This is a difficult task because those who have been entrusted by destiny to lead the people continue to selfishly accumulate wealth.
Nou and I are lucky people who have had the opportunities that someone in a remote hamlet in the Owen Stanley Range hasn’t. One day I hope Nou becomes prime minister. He is a man of intellect and integrity who I have enormous respect for.
The day a boy from Hanuabada become prime minister will be the end of colonisation. The PNG flag will be raised at Hanuabada to replace the Union Jack that once flew there 200 years ago.