FATHER Christmas is a personification of British folklore. A legendary old man with a long white beard who, dressed in garish red clothing, bring presents to little children.
The concept has interested me since I observed an elderly man confronted by bystanders, probably his friends, who insisted he buy them drinks.
He objected, replying, “I am not Father Christmas”.
As I attempted to understand the meaning of the term ‘Father Christmas’, I noticed how his friends were just standing around doing nothing.
The context provided the definition. A ‘Father Christmas’ in the sense the elderly man used the term meant he was not a person to entertain free riders or to adopt a free hand-out attitude.
As an educated person, reflecting on this concept of Father Christmas, I was shocked.
Father Christmas is an attitude which is breeding into Melanesian society, probably dating back to colonisation.
Looking at it closely - in the context of family, community and the nation as a whole – the Father Christmas attitude has increasingly been eating away at PNG.
In the family sphere, even though the when sons and daughters marry, they continue to depend on their family to support them.
Sons and daughters completing their education still hang around the house without doing anything. Yet their parents are feeding them.
Young people in relationships put pressure on their parents for more remuneration to feed the relationship.
I think this is one of the chief contributing factors to divorce and other family problems, when the partner realise support has been cut off.
Looking at the community, the people’s mentality is that the leader is the one who will provide them with everything. So, when the leader does not do anything in their favour, they destroy public property in the community.
They forget it is their community which they are responsible for. So we see communities disintegrate.
Look at the nation. We claimed that land is the source of PNG livelihood. Yet we have a lot of people on the street begging and attacking others to survive.
Children who grow up with a Father Christmas view of life are weakening the country.
As the children grow up, the parents realise they cannot afford to meet their demands. The kids look for an easy way out. Girls turn to prostitution and boys get involved in criminal activities.
If you trace it back, they were taught to be fed and not work. They were not being challenged, instead they found Father Christmases.
Look at the way our leaders behave. They provide free handouts by giving people money. People have no reason to be industrious and creative. They are not challenged to be initiators, instead they wait for leaders to come and give instead of creating something for themselves.
Looking internationally, our leaders receive free hand-outs from foreign donors. They are being Father Christmased by foreign powers who pursue their self-interest. Not surprisingly, multinational corporations and powerful institutions derail and displace the principled functioning of the country.
This attitude of Father Christmas is killing enterprise in many young people in both public and private spheres of life.
For almost 39 years now we’ve been contaminated by the lofty do-it-for-me culture. It’s a mentality we need to change.