The human canines of Chimbu stalk working class men & women
03 December 2015
KELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN
IN the Papua New Guinea’s highlands province of Chimbu, a new wave of community misbehaviour is besieging the length and width of the region.
The tribal people, especially the lazy buggers who the educated call human canines, place a lot of economically irrational demands on working men and women.
The human canines cower on their bums as their main activity each day and seem to be convinced they have a right to a share of the earnings of educated Chimbus.
They come uninvited to wine and dine or arrogantly demand large sums of money for ‘compensation’, guns for warfare and other filthy behaviour cultivated for their own benefit.
Their stunted minds perceive contemporary PNG politics, governance and capitalism as a cargo cult and its employees as synonymous with money rightfully to be directed to human canines.
Such pathetic behaviour is not only cultivated among the men. Women canines – they who claim to dream dreams that can foretell if an aspiring political candidate will win or lose - are also growing in number.
Their vocabulary has shifted from the rational to be replete with words of flattery and demagogy.
If 20 aspiring electoral candidates from a district visit one of these women canines, as they often do, they will be told individually of the inevitable victory should they contest.
The aspiring candidates, thus assured of victory, shower the women canines with store goods and money and brag of their anointing.
The women make much money from this crop of gullible would-be politicians.
Anyway, to remain a tribal citizen, a working class man has to uphold the community’s economically irrational demands in his daily chores.
If he earns say K30,000 per annum, the human canines want him to spend K60,000 and the vulnerable man – embedded in tribal loyalty -has to labour to meet the expectations and take on the consequent financial pressures.
Those working class men who aspire to contest elections have to deceive. They need to show the human canines, concubines, pimps and tambus that they have more money than a bank vault and more degrees than a thermometer.
When an educated man wises up and control his spending, the community will gossip and offer offensive name tags such as pipia man, fish noga and other countless slurs.
Even, the catechist and the maria ekopne will join in smearing the good name of morally upright working class men.
Most educated men I know, fearful for their lives in the aftermath of these impossible demands, have left their tribal lands for urban areas so they can be safe from the scourge.
A few have forfeited their tribal citizenship and affiliated elsewhere. Some of my educated tribesmen have been crouching on the fringes of Kundiawa town for 15 or even 30 years.
Kundiawa is only a four to five hour walk from our tribal land; or by car a one and a half hour drive. But working class men and tycoons have stopped going back home.
When they die, the working class men are buried in their wife’s tribal land, or the corpse sent home no longer able to be plundered.
Having realised that the working class men now refrain from returning to tribal lands during festive seasons, work leave or eve n in death, the human canines now opt to move into towns and force themselves into people’s homes.
They use coercion and threat to remain and demand food and drink. As life in town toughens, these human canines force young boys to pickpocket and shoplift whilst daughters are told to flirt with working class men.
Most of these human canines smoke marijuana and their fingers itch to kill their own kind as retribution for any small violation or opposition to their lifestyle.
Their craving for thirst-quenching grog and gut-satiating lamb flaps make them lose sight of the long term gains of working with and not against the working class men and women.
Churches and other influencers in Chimbu have a duty to teach the people the socio-economic benefits of allowing the educated elites to return to their tribal lands and to settle there as working citizens.
While most of the human canines don’t go to church, the priests and ward councillors can find ways to condemn this filthy and irrational stalking of working class men and women.
In pre-colonial PNG, virtually everyone lived within a social structure where reciprocal obligation was a cardinal rule.
This made perfect sense in a society where everyone within a given group had roughly equal access to resources and were almost invariably related to one another, whether directly or indirectly.
PNG has now been catapulted into the modern world which is dominated by the capitalist model of economics, with its heavy emphasis on individual reward for effort.
Advanced economies try, with varying degrees of success, to ameliorate the worst excesses of capitalism by providing free or heavily subsidised access to certain "social goods" like education, health care and income supports of various types.
The aim of this policy approach is partly altruistic but, importantly, is designed to reinforce social cohesion by avoiding creating a desperately poor and sometimes criminal underclass.
After all, as the French, Russian, Cuban and Chinese revolutions graphically demonstrated, the rich can abruptly be rendered poor (or even dead) at the point of enough rifles held by the members of a poor, disenfranchised, angry and radicalised under class.
To date, PNG seems to have transitioned to what might be called a "robber baron" version of capitalism, as practised in the USA through the 19th and early 20th centuries and, some would argue, even today.
There is a great deal of inequality, with a sometimes yawning chasm between the haves and the have nots.
In such circumstances, it is unsurprising that the traditional wantok system is being perverted by those who are "losers", so that they prey upon the "winners".
Unless and until PNG can create a society which provides more equal opportunity to access both paid employment and to social goods and services, I would expect that this will continue.
The alternative is to turn to crime, be it through participation in the "black market" for certain types of goods such as buai, or through straight out crime.
I cannot see any immediate or simple solutions to this problem, which springs from the combined effects of a residual tradition and an especially pernicious version of capitalism.
Posted by: Chris Overland | 03 December 2015 at 08:44 PM
The clergy could surely do more from the pulpit and among their congregations.
As for the leaders, they come from among us - we choose them, by the Democratic Melanesian Way, I guess Phil.
While some of our leaders say we are a Christian country, I think there's very little doubt that most of our people need Jesus!
Sick society = sick leaders.
We're heading to a crisis point - brace yourselves.
Posted by: Michael Dom | 03 December 2015 at 07:38 PM
A cutting observation, written with precision by a pen dipped in real-life experience. Well done Sil, your forthrightness is admirable. Your article speaks intimately for those who are under the yoke of 'hausline' expectation. Some may say it is an issue prevalent in many parts of PNG. Failures by successive national and provincial leadership to provide economic opportunities for village folks and employment for the increasing youth population, together with the ever increasing unequal distribution of wealth from resources further escalate these trend. We pray change is possible.
Posted by: Bal Kama | 03 December 2015 at 12:14 PM
bro Joe Sil, very well written. Yu write na mi tingim mi yet! And the educated mostly settle in the urban Port Moresby and other cities, even buy blocks among their country men in 7, 8,9 mile, ATS etc and even in the Waghi valley and other area of PNG. They are far removed from all traditional and village obligations and their children only speak pidgin and English. This is a worrying trend, but I guess this comes with development.
Posted by: mathias kin | 03 December 2015 at 10:49 AM
Mr. Ramoi, thanks for expressing your opinion.
I am saying at the end of this descriptive article that there are heaps of socio-economic benefits if people stop pestering working class men and women and allow them to live in the community.
I am looking at the important stakeholder in the province, the Catholic Church, to advocate on the gains of the social capital if the educated people are part and parcel of it.
Phil, we have ploughed through such pestering but we need a team of educated people. We are trying to bring back the Galkope of the diaspora to the tribal lands to diversify the local livelihoods and produce peace.
Posted by: Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin | 03 December 2015 at 10:15 AM
The Attitude of both the Canines of Chimbu and the writes midset is indeed worrying. It is the role of the educated to lead their people and tribe by empowering them economically so they can have self respect for themselves. This is done not through handouts but through hard work.
Posted by: Gabriel Ramoi | 03 December 2015 at 08:49 AM
Sounds like you might have been done over by a mob of wantoks Sil.
Posted by: Phil Fitzpatrick | 03 December 2015 at 08:22 AM