The PNG Way – a paradox, rhetoric and almost bullshit

Tribal fight in the Highlands of PNG

Tribal fight in the Highlands of PNG

This has been our custom – the PNG Way – the way we have been doing our business ever since our Tumbunas understood the advantages of living together in groups – communities that developed ways of doing things that increases their chances of survival.

On many an occasion, I read and or hear rhetoric from delusional leaders, who occasionally emerge from a place where glimpses of almost-insanity tests my belief in our customs. Other times I hear one who actually sound like insanity itself rumbling from its deep and dark enclosure. There are also times when I think I am insane not to have understood their logic or lack of it.

How often does one hear or read of a PNG leader who does not call with a hint of ignorance to the masses to return to ‘our ways’ to sort things out – whether it is tribal fights, political fights, CEOs fights, or any other fight that involve leaders and their equally ignorant die hard supporters?

Somehow, weird though, when I hear a call to return to ‘our ways’ to settle disputes, a sense of assurance, and of confidence in the workings of our ways automatically envelopes and calms me. An inner call that tells me things will be alright when and if we return to our ways to find solutions. And I usually take for granted that our ways will certainly do us good.

Recently however, a call by a ward councilor from Enga province for a certain sitting MP and his runner-up from the 2012 elections to return home to stop the fighting and killings that started after the elections the ‘Enga Way’, got me thinking.

These same two leaders’ supporters fought after the 2007 elections. And they stopped it their way. But this didn’t stop them from fighting again this election, did it?

Having pondered for a long while about this – the return to our ways to settle disputes – I began to realize that our ways never solve once and for all our problems.

The call to return to our ways to settle a tribal fight after many deaths and destructions of properties usually end up freeing, in addition to rapists and torturers, killers or sharp shooters who are likely to find employment as hired guns in other tribal fights. And history records that even after a settlement, apparent pay back killings occur away from home. So essentially, some tribal fights are not stopped; rather they evolve and take another form, and may start again anytime.

So what constitute the Enga Way of solving a tribal fight? And by extension, what constitute our way of stopping tribal fights in other areas of the country where recurring tribal fights are prevalent?

How about this – a person suddenly dies from a mysterious illness. And doctors fail to diagnose a probable cause; and or relations of the deceased decide to ignore the results of an autopsy and return to their villages to find the cause of death ‘their traditional way’? Next we read about an old woman clobbered to near death and dumped in a pit latrine, or burnt alive or of something grotesque. And ‘our way’ helped discovered the cause of death.

Honestly, can anyone recall the number of calls by relevant government authorities and churches leaders for sorcery related killings to be stopped?

Further, after corporatization of PNG government’s business arms aimed at blocking political interferences and increasing efficiency hence productivity; PNG continues to be burdened by corporate liabilities. And there seem to be no end to government rescue announcements.

Who do you find working in those large corporations? Papua New Guineans! And more often than not, bulk of the workforce is Wantoks of respective CEO’s – some of whom aren’t qualified to serve in positions they occupy. And they usually have things their way – the PNG way.

The PNG Way – our way – is in the most part a curse unto itself. It may have served us well in the past but seem incompatible with contemporary PNG. There is an urgent need for change – a change that should happen immediately. Not to do away with ‘our way’ but to modify it to work effectively with current trends. Perhaps, change in mentality – discarding of redundant aspects of ‘our way’ and fusing its good aspects with globally accepted ways of doing business to come up with something PNG flavoured.

Our way is seriously crippling the country’s lifeline – the heart, arteries and veins, and its blood are poisoned. How long does this country plan to use ‘our way’ to manage its affairs?

Recurring tribal fights are testament of the inability and of course uselessness of ‘our way’ to settle problems once and for all. So for instance, just what do our leaders mean by calling to their fellow tribesmen to ‘stop a tribal fight our way’? Do such calls carry an inherent ‘stop_fighting_for_now_until_next_election’ clause? Isn’t our way the way of not settling issues once and for all?

On a brighter note, we’re not lesser human beings – we’re equally endowed with mental powers that enabled citizens of other countries to rise from the dusts of their mistakes to take their country to greater heights.

Many a brother or a sister from another country looks to us with sad envy. So many resource projects, yet we appear wretchedly poor. If and only if we see where our way has taken us and break free from its stranglehold. And no one will save us; it is us who will save ourselves, so let us make the changes our way – the PNG way.

Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2013.

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Easter gift for PNG?

We all have heard of the phrase ‘blessing in disguise’, haven’t we? And often we see the fruits of this blessing sometime later. Then we would reflect on and comment either positively or negatively as per the results.

The way of men is to react to situations. And sometimes, instead of rectifying a problem we contribute towards its magnification. But in the end, lessons; presumably life changing lessons are learned.

In PNG, many now think the government’s actions of late have brought us turmoil. Many wonderful adjectives have been used to depict the gravity of our situation and the hopelessness generally felt across the nation. We’re right to express our dismay and disgust at a bad government; which only recently replaced another equally bad government. PNG is left now with no alternate government that is for the people and by the people. This is all the more reason for fresh elections; and the sooner the better. But hang on a minute!

The O’Neil-Namah government has successfully brainwashed the rural majority as the government for the people and by the people with their free-education policy and the yet-to-be-implemented free-health policy. The word now on the lips of many is; “Peter O’Neill is the right-man and we all should vote for his party this election”. This message has gone far and wide to all corners of the country.

It would take a great deal of time and effort to convince the rural majority that the O’Neill-Namah government is not the right government for PNG. Peter O’Neill has addressed an ongoing problem that has disadvantaged thousands of rural kids from advancing in their studies.

What is the blessing in disguise in the government’s move to defer the election by six months? Please don’t get me wrong! I am not a fan of the O’Neil-Namah government.

The rural majority will vote in new leaders. With the mindset they currently have on O’Neil-Namah government, you can be sure these gentlemen will form the new government. So we need time. We need time to attack the government and the way it does business. We must reach out to the people through some form of awareness programs or other means that can effectively change mindsets and perceptions. A deferral of six months, if the government is adamant, is ample time to damage the government’s reputation. While making noise in Port Moresby is good, it is just not enough to change mindsets in the rural areas. We have to be smart; may be smarter than Mr O’Neill. It is time now to take the message to the masses and let them know who Messrs O’Neil and Namah really are.

So the gift for us this Easter, if the government stands by its decision to defer the election by six months would be ‘time’. Time we will have to tarnish its reputation and integrity. Remember PDM (People’s Democratic Movement)? It only needs time to gradually kill the party.

Cheers all.

The sun has set

POETRY

On the sudden fall of NA government led by Sam Abal; and the ensuing court challenges to nullify the election of the new government.

…..

The continuous sun has set abruptly

While I was slowly preparing to observe

Its final rays attempt to cling on

But devoured quickly coz they don’t deserve

To see another new dawn

Its vast field of long green weeds

Whose eyes are full of love

And hearts are full of lust;

Will ever receive love from above?

Or will they turn to dust?

Will the sun ever rise again for them?

In the field of weeds I’d like to dance

That is no more green and tall

And when wind sweeps, make romance

Over dry and withered who’ll fall.

But now I hear high voices

Bellowing from the mighty house

Whose wardrobes are full of black gowns,

Therein, will there be a rat or a mouse

Who can stop their sundowns?

Will their sun ever rise again?

Dance of the wind, I’d like to see

Over the field of brown weeds.

Blown away until the field is free

Not eve a trace of their seeds.

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