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25 October 2016


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If curbing the urge for rape is a measure of civilised society then no nation appears to have achieved that state as yet.

There was a recent farcical handling of rich young male student at a prestigious US university who raped a girl and got away with a slap on the wrist.

And then there's Trump's "grab them by the pussy" slogan.

Another factor in this debate, especially in relation to rape and men regarding women as property, is the fact that Mother Nature has endowed male animals with an overwhelming urge to procreate, to preserve and perpetuate their genes.

Men, even in the direst situations, will still endeavour to copulate. Children were born in Nazi concentration camps for instance.

Curbing this urge is a measure of how civilised a society is, just like treating their animals is.

Short of castration there is no way to manage such an urge.

Have you ever heard PNG men bragging about their sexual prowess? It's pretty fundamental. Then again so is the bragging by so-called civilised suits like Donald Trump.

Thanks Daniel, some good thoughts and suggestions. When we as a species lived in smaller more self contained groups we knew everyone in the group and inter related to everyone else. People with problems were either sorted out or escorted out.

These days in our global village, many metropolitan dwellers wouldn't have a clue who their neighbors are and never communicate with any of them.

Many of these people have strong personal views but have no idea of how to express them to others and therefore how to relate to others. Humans are basically small herd animals and need to communicate with other humans. How they communicate often basically differs between men and women due to their 'hard wiring' and also depends on their perspectives and upbringing.

Our genetic make up has been determined by the circumstances of our evolution and those who turn their back on this fact are denying reality.

Many episodes of domestic violence could and should be prevented if those involved had others who they could talk to and communicate their frustrations and emotions to.

Unfortunately, in our world too many are too self centered and too busy surviving to think about helping others. Families have been split up and widely dispersed. Our natural outlets for helping others that we had when we lived in small villages and clans are often now no longer available.

Michael has 'fingered' one of the main problems in the lack of any social cohesion in our so called modern societies. Daniel has highlighted some practical and worthwhile initiatives that should be replicated everywhere.

There is only the question of the will to make it happen within each of our own communities.

Daniel - that's good news I recall reading about Enga starting to return cultural education into the schooling system.

While I agree that self-respect is an important step in building character respect for others does not always follow.

Often pride gets in the way or the time and situation is inconvenient, or status and 'keeping up appearances' holds sway over people so that respecting another person seems less important.

Self-respect then becomes, selfish, self-loving egotism, that makes one person or group look down on another, disdain or disregard them as being irrelevant to collective progress.

Even a man in a business suit can be an arsehole, as Donald Trump has so amply demonstrated.

I believe fear will be replaced with self-respect one day.

The book ‘Enga Culture & Community - Wisdom from the Past’ will be launched together with a Teacher’s Guide this Friday in Wabag. Refer to recent PNG Attitude article ‘Past wisdom - cultural values to be taught in schools’

It is a text book to be used in a pilot project to teach cultural values in all schools. It will be incorporated into the syllables of Grade 6-12 students.

It is the first attempt in PNG to encourage students to learn wisdom and cultural norms and practices etc that held society together. It is hoped students will apply it in their own lives as they grow up.

In traditional Enga society, young boys and girls were taught self-respect. Elders knew that if young people grew up with self-respect they would respect other people’s property and life, thus no problems for the whole family, clan and tribe.

If a person looked like stepping out of place elders told them ‘to fold their knees and sit down.’ Thus everybody was put in their place and peace and harmony prevailed.

Children, woman, the elderly and the men themselves were guaranteed peace and security. They feared nobody but only the dark night, the forest spirits and the spirits of dead relatives.

There appears to be no self-respect in modern society today. Those with no self-respect cause fear among all citizens in PNG. It is self-respect that is lacking in PNG.

The PNG government must adopt the Enga Provincial Government initiative as a national education policy to teach cultural values in all schools in the county.

PNG’s answer for safety and security lies in the wise teachings of our own ancestors.

A young woman was stabbed by her husband so her body was taken to the Waigani police station. And that solves everything.


The woman was believed to be 18.

The suspect man was supposedly from Hela.

Good statistics, no?

Don't worry this type of domestic violence is normal everywhere in the world.

It's called a 'crime of passion'.

Ahhh.. Michael. Therein you have isolated one of the most pertinent issues that has to be addressed. Yet who in the political area is prepared to make such a 'courageous' decision?

Many societies have now taken to elect those who are unfortunately not interested or equipped to perform a true leadership role. All they interested in is self promotion and obfuscation to try and get re-elected.

Still, throw a rock into a pond and you will get some ripples. Good ideas come from energetic discussions.

"We must..." wtf?

95% opportunity is dependent on the conducive environment not the abusive person.

Where a majority of people are silent or ignore gender issues such as equal opportunity and cases of domestic violence, and sexual abuse in particular, the door is always open for that 5% intention to strike.

We must education addresses the conducive environment - society.

Laws address the wrongs of the abusive person and defends the rights of their victims.

Is it any wonder we are unsuccessful in PNG when we're only addressing 5% of the problem?

In such an emotional debate as this subject evokes, it would be easy to lose track of the central issue. i.e. Why does it happen at all?

We can debate the esoteric until the cows come home but surely the best way of addressing a problem is to first understand the reason that problem exists?

Then and only then can any solution or solutions to the problem be determined.

All else risks putting the cart before the horse.

Some may say that the law will stop violence but this had proven not so. Some advocate an eye for an eye but this has never stopped serious crime.

I read somewhere that crime is 95% opportunity and 5% intention. In the traditional PNG village, often men and women were separated and led different lives. Was this an answer to men's frustration and a recognition that men and women need to getogether to procreate but often find each others company confusing and dare I say it, boring after the initial bloom of infatuation fades.

Divorce rates in the western world are approaching 50% and in the Muslim world are far easier to effect. The Indian PM has just raised the issue whereby a Muslim man may simply repeat three times, 'I divorce you' and then depart.

Perhaps the traditional PNG village (if there was such a thing), had the answer and yet here we are forgetting to include that proposal in our discussion?

Thurgood Marshall's loose legal philosophy was do the right thing and let the law catch up.

PNG has got some very good legislation, even after the attempts by politicians with vested interests to tamper with them viz the current prime minister. PNG's environmental laws, for instance, are better than anything in Australia.

Unfortunately it all falls down because very little of it is enforced. That leaves ethics as the only recourse.

It is ethics, not law, that needs to be taught to the abusive men in PNG. I'm not aware that any code of ethics in this respect exists in PNG.

Traditional codes of ethics, which are well-documented, have gone by the wayside and there has been nothing to replace them beyond individual convictions about what is right and what is wrong.

The prime minister has no ethics, why should anyone else?

Fear is a terrible thing. It is eventually debilitating. Promoting fear is unethical, never mind the law.

Education is and isn't a solution. Some people are just too thick to educate. People are not created equal.

I don't believe that democracy on its own does not actually provide a useful code of conduct either, it's simply a collection of convenient and workable options that we seem to pick and chose at a whim or with a will, and not often to the benefit of everyone.

The code of ethics in democracy is adopted from human philosophy that is inextricable linked to spiritual/moral teachings and religious text.

The attempt to legislate such a system is sometimes a stumbling stone, since secular opinions always collide with the founding sources.

In short, we have democratically determined that wife bashing is a crime, set laws to protect victims of abuse and talk to each other about the ethics of it.

In the mean time nothing has changes in the attitude of abusive spouses. Especially the democratically empowered police for our laws.

In short, wife beating is a crime - so what, shit happens.

The Seven Virtues of Bushido: integrity, respect, heroic courage, honour, compassion, honesty and sincerity, duty and loyalty, these simply cannot be legislated.

That is not what I was suggesting, and the Bushido code was only an example.

What we need to do more of is work at changing the culture of abusers and not merely try to defend the rights of their victims.

A code of conduct based on cultural values the way Bushido code developed may be something we need to inculcate.

Legislation doesn't go as deep as education.

Sorry Michael, I'm not suggesting anarchy but simply promoting a modern world where we practice democracy and tolerance and abide by an accepted code of ethics and the rule of law.

In my opinion, religion is not the source of spiritual philosophy it is the regulator of human conduct within its precepts.

I resist religion on principle alone but appreciate the value of it. (My faith is my own.)

Paul - your argument almost suggests that we follow no code of conduct and do our best to ignore those who might try to prescribe such.

That borders on anarchy.

Warrior cultures spring from anarchy.

I have not proclaimed Bushido to be the ultimate code of conduct for PNG men to follow but merely that it is worth studying.

What the code represents, and what may be learned from studying it, is that even in a warrior culture that would slaughter its enemies without hesitation, the basic precepts for good behavior and living together were understood and adhered to on pain of death.

I don't believe a code of conduct is established to moralize between what is good and what is bad, I believe a code is established to exemplify what is a better course of action or expected behavior - that it is a practical tool more than a philosophical guide - like the Ten Commandments.

A code acts like a fulcrum that helps each person to determine their personal balance by observing their daily conduct, it does not prescribe a proper belief system for people to worship mindlessly.

I think that was the lesson that the Japanese may have learned in WWII.

I take your point Michael about there needing to be a code of ethics that should be followed. The issue is that it always seems to lead to someone claiming to be able to interpret the code to suit themselves.

No one should claim moral ascendancy using whatever religion or moral code they ascribe to since who can be the ultimate arbiter but history itself?

The point I suggest is not whatever code or religion human laws and legislation are based upon but whether there exists a balance between the good cancelling out the bad traits of humanity.

Both exist and only by understanding and accepting they do can we as a species improve and go forward. When it comes to moralising, surely that ultimately rests in the eye of each beholder? The problem starts when someone begins to tell people what they should believe in and then using violence to ensure their point of view is followed.

It is claimed that Churchill said 'a democracy is the worst form of government excepting all the rest'.

Interpretation of a code, commandment or law for that matter does not nullify it or make it any less valuable.

Paul - WWII was a time when the Code of Bushido needed to expand to cater for a new global paradigm, until then it was mainly a practice understood by only the Japanese.

Today the essence of Bushido remains unchanged. The interpretations have been improved.

By comparison Christianity and Islam continue their reign of terror over the world despite their obvious inculcation into philosophy, social conscience and law.

And yet it was a Christian leader who decided to drop the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The US was following the art of war: The victorious warrior enters the battle when he knows he has already won. Even if they did not know this at the time.

Let's take WWII as a lesson.

and yet Michael, just look at where the Code of Bushido took the conquering Japanese in the 20th Century? Those who surrendered in war were considered less than human and could be dealt with accordingly.

Prior and during the second world war, it is reported that the Japanese slaughtered more than 30 million people including 23 million Chinese. Over 27% of 'western' Japanese POW's died in prison camps as opposed to 4% of German and Italian 'western' POW's in WW2.

The real issue is that the violent part of human nature that allowed us as a species to emerge from obscurity must be kept in check or balanced out with other human traits or else like all demons, it takes control with devastating effect. Human history is littered with similar examples.

It seems that every generation must learn this lesson the hard way. One can't pass on the experience one has to those who are being taught without those who are being trained first having had the experience and maturity to understand what is actually being taught.

Agreed, Phil, to all you've said. Lapieh's poem was very powerful and, to be honest, as a PNG male there was nothing I could not comment about.

Frankly, it's embarrassing to me what my fellows do to our women.

And it is very wrong.

By coincidence this morning I was reading some favoured quotes and came across The Seven Virtues of Bushido: integrity, respect, heroic courage, honour, compassion, honesty and sincerity, duty and loyalty.

This should be compulsory study for all PNG men.

Also one of my new favorite quotes is this simple one: 'Warriors confront the evil that most people refuse to acknowledge' [Bodhi Sanders].

By this definition, there are no warriors in PNG, just a whole bunch of wannabe's beating on their womenfolk.

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