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11 January 2018


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It is impossible not to notice that the stomachs of most of PNG's politicians, and many of its senior policeman, are so big they must spend a long time indulging in fine food at a very expensive trough.

This can be read as a metaphor for very obvious moral corruption and PNG cannot thrive while this self-centeredness dominates its administration.

Government through the kiap system was made easier (as well as effective)because their white skin underlined the obvious neutrality that helped them overcome many of the obstacles to unified national ambition that were a natural result of PNG being the world's most multi-cultural society.

Kiap successes were also reinforced by a strong public service ethos that was, and still is, embedded within Australia's civil administration system.

Development through non-national neutrals cannot be replicated so if PNG is to overcome its corruption sickness a multiplicity of internal forces will have to combine to force through similarly strong public spirit at political and national level.

The Papua New Guineans who detest corruption could begin their search for a "narapela kain manmeri" by publicly mocking the "bikbels" that dominate their government.

Metaphorically speaking their "narakain manmeri" will be strong and slim, not fat and gross and the "bikpels" will be ousted.

You have said it Phil: greed, self-centeredness, and lack of will and foresight.

We don't look to the future and have a regard for others. It's me and what I should get out of any situation now!

Shameful, but its a reality and a far cry from those kiap days.

Dear Phil,

The work of Ferdinand Tonnies from 1925 and discerning between community (Gemeinschaft) and society (Gesellschaft) is worth a read.

Gemeinschaft is characteristic of small scale localised communities where social bonds are personal and direct with strong shared values and beliefs, much like the wantok system.

Gesellschaft refers to complex impersonal societies.

The work of Martin Buber (I-Thou) is particularly interesting, especially concerning leadership and ethics and challenging the leadership hero myth, which disregards the contribution of followers and often ignores the intricate leader-follower relationship.

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