WHILE I support the notion of holding on to our cultural roots, we do need to be conscious of those archaic mentalities that may at times bring us down.
One such is the dual notion of the igat/nogat trap.
By this I mean cases such as igat Toyota Landcruiser, nogat piped water.
We think it’s alright for our MP's to rock up to the village in the latest five-door while we go to the bush for a shit and our women fetch drinking water from the stream way down there.
Another notion is, lusim ol kisim - igat planti moa stap. Don't worry about a bit of arboreal plunder, we have lots of trees.
What do trees have to do with our culture? And who really cares about the lintel above the Parliament Haus doors?
Here’s another, giraun i stap iet. For example, lusim ol kisim diwai/gol na salim, bihain bai mipela igo bek long gaten. A few trees won’t hurt, we’ll always be able to go back to our gardens.
The notion that giraun bilong mi stap iet na bai mi go bek long ples sampela taim(I can always return to my land at home) is no longer tenable for many people. What does this mean about their culture 30 years from now?
I believe we are mistaken to believe that our cultures - which were moulded over thousands of years for very different constraints, challenges, opportunities and philosophies - will necessarily help maintain us through the 21st century.
Let's be realistic.
The very societies from which our 700 plus cultures gave us are under enormous pressures, whether external (e.g. consumerism, Western entertainment) and internal (education, employment, the search for a better life).
We have pride in our cultures, but let’s not be blind about the realities in today’s society.
What we must be conscious of is that our village lifestyles need to be improved and maintained by better roads, health services and schools, basic needs such as clean water and affordable transport for commodities.
While we want to promote our cultures, we seem to forget that these cultures essentially developed 'in the bush'.
If we want to maintain them, we have to protect and provide for our bush, our land and the people who still thrive there.