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22 January 2016


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Sure, Donald Trump compares well with a modern day Melanesian Big Man. But in the event that he wins the American Presidential race, he won’t make the American people go broke.

America will still remain the power that it is today due to a resilient people who know how to unite and cope come natural disasters, recessions, terror attacks or whatever. The people can even force presidents to resign.

But shame on modern day Melanesian Big Man who want to be like Donald Trump at the expense of the 80% of the rural population.

I appreciate your understanding, Chris Overland, but Trump compares exactly with the current crop of Big Men.

It's well over time that Papua New Guineans realized how our traditional leadership role has been bastardized.

"Real" Melanesian Big Man do not buy the right to to called leaders with money, they earn it through their sweat, blood and heart. To them Power is not and is never their aim, their aim is to earn their society's RESPECT!

It may be synonymous with the Modern form of Big Man system referred to in the current world of PNG Politics and business men but it will never equate with the real Big Man system practiced before and still practiced today in most rural and isolated areas!

Thus its quite way of the mark to compare him to the Melanesian Bik man System!

Now that Trump has that soaring intellectual genius Sarah Palin supporting him, how can he possibly lose?

Who can forget such pearls of wisdom as “How about the rest of us? Right-winging, bitter-clinging, proud clingers of our guns, our God, and our religion, and our Constitution.”

Donald Trump is a very poor example to use in discussing traditional big men.

I say this because achieving big man status in traditional PNG societies required a fairly long period of doing "good deeds" for the clan or tribe to which the prospective big man belonged.

It wasn't enough to be personally successful: that success had to be generously shared around as well.

Trump manifests many of the classic features of a narcissistic personality, with a towering ego and related conviction that he is invariably "the smartest person in the room".

He is wrong, of course, but those who find him beguiling do not understand this because they measure success in life by the ability to accumulate wealth. This is always a very poor measure of both a person's judgement and his or moral and ethical worth.

Many people who accumulate great wealth are neither especially smart nor morally upright: many are cynical and ruthless opportunists who profit from their single minded focus on acquiring wealth, usually at the expense of others.

A true big man was admired for being articulate, possessing good judgement and having a genuine altruistic streak as well. That he might be wealthy as well was not the most important source of his influence.

So, to my mind, Trump does not deserve the descriptor "big man" and is better described as a successful property speculator with delusions of grandeur who may just become President of the United States.

Trump, Clive Palmer and the Robert Mugabe's look-alike in PNG hoard and bash in the same manner and become unpopular.

They all make Fidel Castro, Omar Torrijos and Hugo Chavez saints and martyrs.

"He combines with an ostensible interest in the general welfare a more profound measure of self-interested cunning and economic calculation.

"Through his economic accumulation and redistribution and through the bluster of his talk, the Big Man builds a name for himself, a development that enables him to gain power and achieve political leadership.

"The Big Man's political status, however, is unstable. If he shows weakness or if he is outperformed in the political arena, he loses prestige and power, which means that the Big Man is continuously plotting and scheming, making sure that his big talk performances reinforce his renown.

"If someone challenges him, he will meet that challenge and raise the ante, daring any opponent to meet him face-to-face."

Now, who does that sound like?

Maybe every prime minister PNG has ever had and especially the current incumbent.

What a classic analogy. Trump offers no specifics on how he can fix all the problems he tries to capitalize on.

Now why does that sound so familiar? It sounds like the old (Harold Robbins?) novel and film plot about the classic South American dictatorship where the saviour (El Lobo) who mobilizes the people to get rid of the dictator then becomes the new dictator.

Judge people on what they have achieved and not what they say. Making money through real estate deals (or for that matter selling timber rights and other underhand deals), never qualified Trump or anyone else to run a country let alone a country with such huge responsibilities in such troubled times.

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