GOLD COAST - Henry Thoreau (1817–62) wrote: “If a man does not keep pace with his companions it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”
I was once a kiap and from my experience, kiaps mostly were those types who, if they lasted longer than the first couple of years in the service of the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, did march to a different drum.
And the people of PNG knew this. Phil Fitzpatrick recently referred to the highlander who told him kiaps were ‘narapela kain man’, that is, misfits.
My own experience of being recruited as a junior kiap by the then Australian Department of External Territories was that the process was slanted towards selecting suitable young men as assessed by senior public servants who hadn’t successfully undertaken the role.