TUMBY BAY - Finding words to describe how I feel about the current state of Papua New Guinea is proving particularly difficult.
I guess the first word that comes to mind is frustration. How can a country with so much promise and so many natural assets end up the way it has?
Writing as someone involved in launching the new nation to independence, albeit in a tiny way, this turn of events somehow needs a much stronger word.
Perhaps an adjective or two needs to be added. How about ‘extremely frustrated’ or ‘totally frustrated’?
Nope, that doesn’t cut it by a long shot.
Part of the problem I think is that the whole sorry show is ongoing. When you think it can’t get any worse, some stupid politician will up the ante with another atrocity.
This adds another aspect - anger. Sometimes intense anger. If he was within reach the temptation to grab him by the throat and strangle him would be overwhelming.
But there are so many of these politicians. How can you strangle almost a whole parliament? They really need a solid cement wall and barred cells.
And I’m a self-avowed pacifist and vegetarian. How must other people feel?
If you read the articles and comments on PNG Attitude they are replete with disappointment and words that convey that anger and disappointment.
“It is with dismay I note….” “It saddens me to read.…” “Can’t stand up against a greedy system….” “My response to this story was a combination of dismay and anger….” And on it goes.
It’s all so depressing.
Then there is the hopeful optimism, a lot of it from Papua New Guinean commentators who blithely set out what needs to be done to fix the problems. “The government needs to do this” or “we need to change this” or the ubiquitous “they must.…”
Who the hell is “they”? Does anyone know? If we knew maybe someone could pay them to get stuck into it. No one else seems to want to bite the bullet.
“There are lots of good people in Papua New Guinea”. That’s a comment you see frequently.
If they are so good why don’t they do something about the state of their country and its people? What actually does it take to motivate them?
After a while the only resort is cynicism. When you read the comments of the ancient fraternity of kiaps, this seems to be the overriding emotion.
No matter how good the news is out of Papua New Guinea this cynicism now invariably kicks in. “What is this bloke really up to?” “What’s in it for him?” “Is this just another scam dressed up in fancy words?”
And when the scam is exposed we nod our heads and descend deeper into our cynicism.
It appears that multi-billion kina circus APEC forum was just a big scam. If the politicians can pull off a swindle of that magnitude, and it seems they’ve got away with it such is the apathy, what other gigantic atrocity are they now contemplating?
Coal mining it seems. Or another big loan to be creamed off. Or a new gas deal that benefits the few and further impoverishes the many.
If the country’s leaders can rig a general election and get away with it (indeed get applause from the Australian government), what hope is there for the poor mug in the street or up in the mountains eking out a living without infrastructure or support?
How do you describe the people who perpetuate these scams and atrocities? It’s a whole new word game. “Suckholes, fuckwits, monsters.…” I can’t think of a word offensive enough.
Words, words and more words. The pen is mightier than the sword. Not in Papua New Guinea I’m afraid.
It needs a lot more than words.
In Papua New Guinea words have become an excuse for doing nothing.