Rugby league is an important educational tool in PNG
Another stunning PNG writer hits the ground running

We are worth a lot. Do not sell ourselves cheaply


An entry in the 2015 Rivers Award
for Writing on Peace & Harmony

AS a woman, should you sell yourself cheaply to the age-old trade of prostitution?

The economic boom in Papua New Guinea has seen prostitution twirl out of proportion. Women and girls wanting to share the good times and becoming susceptible to prostitution.

The result is not only apprehensive parents, there is also a feeding of the fiasco of violence against women and girls in our country.

There is so much noise on the airwaves, in the daily newspapers, and on social networks about the deteriorating social paradigm and our law and order farce.

The noise surpasses that of an animal circus. It never stops. It moves on and keeps on moving, leaving in its wake spiralling civil despondency and indifference toward civil society. There’s an immorality conundrum as the country shudders with change.

As a mother, I question myself about what my children’s future.

I’m just an ordinary person. But I have access to this medium, the internet, to contribute to positive change. I have that chance.

So I’d like to share what I was told by a mentor who played a crucial role in my own life just before I embarked on a journey to another country for university studies.

“Girls, don’t ever sell yourselves cheaply,” Dr Garua Peni advised Estella Cheung and me. My initial thought was, “What do you mean by that? I’m not going there to sell myself. I’m not that stupid!”

As our conversation continued, the three of us headed up the single flight of stairs toward the immigration counter at the Jacksons International Airport.

Estella and I were excited that we had been chosen for a University of Ryukyus Student Exchange Program scholarship sponsored by the Japanese government.

We were also apprehensive of the adjustments we’d have to make in a new country; and that we would be leaving behind our accustomed ambience, families and friends.

We were on our way to Okinawa to study Japanese language and culture for a year.

“Girls, I would like to leave with you this story and don’t tell me what you think of it now,’’ Dr Peni said. “Think about what you would want for yourself in the future.”

And she related this tale.

In a brief conversation, a man asked a question of a woman he was pursuing. “What kind of man are you looking for?”

The woman sat quietly for a moment before looking him in the eye and asking, “Do you really want to know?”  The man paused, and said “Yes.”

The woman began to expound. “As a woman in this day and age, I am in a position to ask a man what he can do for me that I can’t do for myself.

“I pay my own bills. I take care of my household without the help of any man…or woman for that matter. I am in the position to ask, ‘What can you bring to the table?’ The man looked at her, thinking that she was referring to money.

Realising that, the woman added, “I am not referring to money. I need something more. I need a man who is striving for perfection in every aspect of life.” The man sat back in his chair, folded his arms and asked her to explain further.

The woman said, “I am looking for someone who is striving for perfection mentally because I need conversation and mental stimulation. I don’t need a simple-minded man. I am looking for someone who is striving for perfection spiritually because I don’t need to be unequally yoked. Believers mixed with unbelievers is a recipe for disaster.

“I need a man who is striving for perfection financially because I don’t need a financial burden. I am looking for someone who is sensitive enough to keep me grounded. I am looking for someone who I can respect.

“In order to be submissive, I must respect him and vice versa. I cannot be submissive to a man who isn’t taking care of his business. I have no problem being submissive, he just has to be worthy. God made woman to be a help mate for man. I can’t help a man if he can’t help himself.”

When she had finished, she looked at the man. He sat there with a puzzled look on his face and said, “You’re asking a lot.” She replied with a smile, “I am worth a lot.”

As a woman, I cannot control the milieu of expansion and transformation within our society or country.

The conversion of our traditional society and country is at constant and neck-breaking speed, with negative and positive consequences.

However, as a mother, I can propagate a godly, constructive and enduring environment for my children to absorb and cultivate individualities that will sustain them as they grow to adulthood.

I would like to think I am advocating the same message as Dr Garua Peni. That, as women and girls of this beautiful nation, we are worth a lot.

We can revolutionise the brutal social paradigm and social injustice if we educate from the cradle. Every woman is worth a lot! If we only knew how much we are worth.


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Philip Kai Morre

Bessielah David is right, human values worth more than anything else. Even a million kina is not enough. Women and girls should know that someone already paid you with high price, he suffered and died for you and redeemed you and that person is Jesus Christ.

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