IT IS generally acknowledged that there is an endemic problem of corruption which is deep-rooted at all levels of Papua New Guinean society.
The country’s leaders seem accountable to no one, and this is compounded by weak and ineffective checks and balances within the bureaucracy.
To perfect the democratic representative political system is a multi-generational process, tedious and messy but we need to embrace it.
In the meantime, instead of focusing on this bleak outlook, we can emphasise how our individual efforts can make an imprint on our community.
No doubt hundreds of people with goodwill are doing their share behind the scene to help make PNG a better country.
Keith Jackson, the engine of this forum, and countless other friends who care about PNG and its people are doing what they can.
The likes of Martyn Namorong, Daniel Kumbon, Elizabeth Dumu, Michael Dom and Mathias Kin also graciously shared their personal experiences and their sense of community and nationhood.
We can take advantage of advanced communications technologies to foster wider networks and harness the efforts made by many folk whose hearts are stitched together for the well-being of PNG and its people. The obligation starts with each one of us.
The path I have taken is to make an individual effort and hopefully make a beneficial impact both at community and personal level.
To mobilise community participation, I have organised small groups - but the outcome has been dismal. The efforts consumed time and effort in writing objectives, preparing organisational flow charts and keeping minutes only to mirror a mini Waigani bureaucracy in a rural setting with nothing happening on the ground.
Creating grass roots groups on paper gives a false impression of measurable success.
Instead, I have turned to the Melanesian value of making an individual effort for the collective to makes a difference in someone’s life. This is done by expanding our viewpoint to think about our people as one Melanesian family, not limited to tribal or clan thinking. We have to think we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper.
This requires an action mindset. It means sticking out our necks, taking some risks and allowing ourselves to stand out. It is about engaging in ways that benefit our fellows and allowing our behaviour to engage, involve and inspire others.
It is OK to step in and intervene when you witness a husband bashing his defenceless wife at a market place while tens of spectators stand watching with the look on their faces of “em family problem bilong tupelo”.
It is OK to get involved in situations where people other than our own bros are involved. We are where we are today because somewhere during our journey we stood on the shoulders of our parents, teachers, ol didiman, ol kiap, pastors and random wantoks.
If you have reached the top of the corporate ladder then don’t take the ladder with you. Lower it, reach down and assist someone else to climb up.
Positive approaches are contagious. The people around you will catch the positivity flu. Expand the circle of bros and embrace other wantoks.
Don’t wait for someone else to start. As some wise people have asked, “If not me, then who?” and “If not now, then when?”
Act now in your own situations in life. It does not have to be an earth shattering experience. It might mean helping someone get up at a bus stop, letting someone else go ahead in the line, helping a little child with homework, helping someone with their job application, giving job opportunities to a high school dropout, offering a helping hand to a disabled person or to folks who are not your bros or not from the circle of well connected elites.
Papua New Guineans are good at making individual efforts for the collective good. We need to re-ignite our passion and purposely take this personal journey.
Life is short. This moment is all we have to make a difference, however minuscule the efforts may seem.