GOLD COAST - There are sometimes times when the mists of myopia clear from our eyes and we suddenly see the world as it is and not as we want it to be.
Without these moments of clarity, it can be easy to lose sight of the obvious if it doesn’t fit the usual blandishments being bantered around.
On 20 September on this blog, Dr Michael Dom offered his views in a post about ex-kiaps and their lamentations over PNG and what could have been.
“When trying to take a middle path through political action, some of us are hamstrung on both sides”, he said.
I suggest that Michael’s statement goes precisely to the heart of the matter that many of us lapun former field staff have been saying for years.
The real issue however is not that we are either right or setting ourselves up as more virtuous than anyone else. The real issue is that either we as a species must either learn from our history or we will make the same mistakes over and over again.
When the acclaimed ‘Father of the Nation’ and the ‘Bully Beef Club’ declared they would lead Papua New Guinea along a Melanesian road after Independence in 1975, the hopes of many rejoiced in a wonderful vision for PNG’s future.
Yet right from the start, the road map seemed to be going in the wrong direction other than to where people said they wanted to end up.
Now there are those who recognise that where they are going is the wrong direction and those who continue to aggressively insist they know better.
It reminds me of the arguments that sometimes take place in the front seat of the vehicle I’m driving. A clear headed, logical person might stop and ask directions or consult a map, these days probably an electronic device.
The result of obstinacy is a belated recognition that, if we had troubled to take some advice in the first place, we wouldn’t have ended up where we didn’t want to go.
So what is the lesson that we need to learn? Surely it’s how we either learn from past experiences or acknowledge that we as a species will continue to attempt to prove we were right all along by doing that which we know doesn’t work. We just refuse to admit we took the wrong road?
So it seems to me Michael Dom has effectively ‘pinged’ the real problem.
It’s not that former Australian field staff and kiaps are being ‘superior’ when they point out where PNG has gone wrong.
It’s that, as a uniquely engaged and concerned group of people who have an abiding appreciation of PNG, we have tried to provide helpful suggestions on how to get the nation and her people back onto the well-known highway and out of the ‘barat pulap lo malum malum’.
So how do we resolve that argument that develops in the front seat of the car when we realise that we haven’t arrived at where we want to go?
Change the driver or suggest the driver to change their outlook.