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17 January 2017


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Even though we live in a whiz-bang world of high tech we are all still basically cavemen and women. We only began cultivating crops and domesticating animals about ten thousand years ago.

This is easy to demonstrate when you look at Australian Aborigines. They were isolated from the rest of the world for 40,000 years but when we first encountered them they turned out to be, apart from a slight colour difference, exactly the same as us with the same DNA.

Our present sophisticated state is merely a blip on our history and regressing is, therefore, not surprising.

Feed a bloke a few beers and you can see him regressing right before your very eyes.

Feed a politician a few bribes and he will regress just as quickly.

When you have the army, police, the electoral commission and the state coffers at your disposal, what do you worry about?

You can do anything under the sun to get power back. This is the sad most worrying picture I am seeing in the 2017 election. God save the motherland.

Like many before me I approached old age with some trepidation. When I was a young person, elderly people were given some respect and in many cases, deferred to as a source of wisdom or at least, a repository of experience that could be useful to those who needed some assistance in navigating life’s highways.

Slowly but inexorably, the experience and knowledge of our seniors has now been discarded in favour of a glut of information, readily available from handheld electronic devices. Senior people are denigrated if they aren’t ‘on line’ or ‘up to speed’ with the latest ‘App’ on the newest electronic gizmo.

Yet what hasn’t changed at all is basic human nature. What has changed is an almost total disconnection between the so called older generation and that of the younger people. Families are today often split up due to work availability or opportunities. Continuity of family information and knowledge of individual experience has now been effectively severed in many cases. The very useful lessons directly applicable to our very individual make up of DNA have been in many cases lost or left behind.

How do younger people therefore know what information and advice is directly applicable to themselves? The arrival of ‘mass disinformation’ has arrived.

In today’s PNG, where the over half the population are under 19 years old, what chance is there for young people who are now about to vote in the first election in five years, what or who to vote for?

Similarly, if those who voted in previous elections apparently got it wrong, why listen to them anyway?

So here we have the current dilemma confronting young people and especially young people in PNG. The deficit in collective memory that beer and lamb flaps produced the wrong answer nearly five years ago seems destined to come into operation again. That is, if a intending candidate can come up with a large lump of deposit or ‘gris’ their wantoks to contribute to their being elected.

I have slowly come to believe that the real issue is one of design. We seem to be constantly trying to ensure a square peg will fit a round hole if only we keep hitting it hard enough. Today’s PNG does not fit the complex and finely balanced Westminster system of government. It simply isn’t and doesn’t work.

What has essentially happened is a full turn of the wheel. Much of the work undertaken by Kiaps and others in PNG over fifty years ago has now been cast aside. Yet what appears to have actually happened ins a slow but steady recreation of a updated version of how things were before ‘Pax Australiana’ was imposed on PNG.

Instead of bows and arrows and spears there are now modern high powered weapons. In the Highlands over fifty years ago, clan warfare was the methodology used to resolve disputes over almost everything. We now seem to have automatically slipped back to what was in existence previously. To use an old aphorism, ‘Old habits die hard.’

Perhaps an equivalent of the Kiap with his loyal police detachment should be recreated? The difference will be however that where we were responsible and accountable to our government through our chain of command, our seniors were also accountable to the government to act in a lawful manner.

The rule of law has to be fairly and uniformly maintained or there is demonstrably no law at all. What guarantee is there that that situation will happen again anytime soon?

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