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19 April 2014


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Thanks, Dr Webster. That's straight on.

Thumbs up for you for speaking out especially in your position.
Long live Democrazy!

Great comments on this article by Dr. webster already, can't substract any.

My only addition: It is heartening to observe a national leader like Governor Gary Juffa conduct himself. One character trait I admire is that he does not pretend to be someone he is not; he is the same Gary who was until recently Commissioner of PNG Customs and brings with him the same tenacity and no-nonsense approach to matters and issues before him.

At uiniversity he showed glimpses of that already.

God bless PNG!

Thank you Dr Webster, well said.

Good ideas, like diamonds in the rough, must be cut and crafted, before their inner light is revealed.

In the same way we eagerly flog our mineral wealth, still encased in rock and dirt, we overlook the gems of innovation that might provide real wealth for this nation, if only we expose our ideas to criticism and constructive debate which distinguishes and perfects.

Well done to Gary Juffa, who really appreciates what being a leader means when it comes to taking criticism, good or bad, on the chin: man-up.

A UPNG anecdote.

Thomas Webster was the Director of the Open College at UPNG when I joined the staff. He was instrumental in developing computer learning labs for the Open College centres around the country. He left soon after I arrived to take up a position at the NRI.

His place was taken by Dr. Abdul Mannan - a talented and generous man and I believe the first Muslim to be appointed to a senior academic position in PNG.

I remember travelling to Buka with Mannan (as we called him) to do a quality check on the new IT labs. But it was a Holy Friday in the Muslim calendar, so we had to find some fish for him to eat, as the only dinner at the hotel was pork (which Muslims are not allowed).

We eventually found a great Red Emperor from a local fisherman, which I shared with him, and all were satisfied.

Long live tolerance!

A great article Thomas.

You are probably familiar with the works of Karl Popper - that great philosopher of openness and critical discussion in true democracies. Here's a quote...

"When I speak of reason or rationalism, all I mean is the conviction that we can learn through criticism of our mistakes and errors, especially through criticism by others, and eventually also through self-criticism.

"A rationalist is simply someone for whom it is more important to learn than to be proved right; someone who is willing to learn from others — not by simply taking over another's opinions, but by gladly allowing others to criticize his ideas and by gladly criticizing the ideas of others.

"The emphasis here is on the idea of criticism or, to be more precise, critical discussion.

"The genuine rationalist does not think that he or anyone else is in possession of the truth; nor does he think that mere criticism as such helps us achieve new ideas. But he does think that, in the sphere of ideas, only critical discussion can help us sort the wheat from the chaff.

"He is well aware that acceptance or rejection of an idea is never a purely rational matter; but he thinks that only critical discussion can give us the maturity to see an idea from more and more sides and to make a correct judgement of it."

-- from 'On Freedom' in 'All Life is Problem Solving'

Dr Webster, well said. We are all prone to criticism. As a leader, it comes with the territory.

People will say whatever they want, ranging from outrageous lie to positive factual criticism. Sound criticism is like another knife that sharpens one's edge.

As a leader, I am also criticised frequently. I get criticised for what I did do, or did not do and sometimes even both!

I have learnt, though, that if one focuses on doing what is right and just, and stick to it, you will certainly reduce the volume of criticism significantly.

Draconian behaviour is a worrying development in PNG politics today.

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