Foreign owned companies serving poison on PNG plates

The world is unfair


An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

AT EIGHT in the morning, I boiled the jug, made myself a cup of tea and prepared for class.

As I looked through the kitchen window, I saw a little girl; less than 10 years old. She wore a blouse over her shorts and carryed a bilum with a single peanut butter container inside. I could see this girl was poor and that she probably did not go to school.

Sometime later, as I looked over some topics before going to class, I saw her carrying firewood and making her way back home, perhaps to prepare a meal for the day or dinner in the afternoon.

The world is unfair.

I walked towards to the library to use the wi-fi and search the internet for happenings around the world. I saw an old man sitting on the stairs at the dental clinic, he was smoking and deep in thought.

I wondered if he was thinking about how to feed the family, how to pay school fees, how to provide his daily needs. I could see by his face that he was thinking hard about something. There was nothing I could do but pray to God to take care of him and his family and to provide their daily needs.

The world is unfair.

One day I was up at 4 Mile, drinking a Bu and telling stories with my friends. There on the street corner stood a young woman in her early twenties. She was standing in the hot sun begging people to give her 50 toea or a kina. As we walked past, she reached out to me and begged me to give her the Bu to relieve her thirst.

The world is unfair.

Everywhere in the street you see women, men, boys and girls struggling with their everyday lives. They sell what they can, do whatever small jobs they can and beg if they have to. At first I used to get mad or wonder what they would do with the money. But now I understand They’re putting meals on the table for their family.

The world is unfair.

On a global scale, I read news about asylum seekers escaping their homeland because of war and poverty and trying to seek a better life but Australia keeps pushing them away instead of opening the door to people in need.

The world is unfair.

You see videos about starving and dying children around the world, yet the rich won’t pay attention; they stash their money in vaults and banks and make more and more every minute. While somewhere in Africa a child is dying.

The world is unfair.

I wonder, like most people in this country do, why are we so rich with resources and yet we are poor? Why can’t our big shots donate how some millions from what they have for the people who have nothing?

The world is unfair.


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Vikki John

"I have a dream" said Martin Luther King.
The Martin Luther King who’ll be on our screens is a memory filtered of its radical light. Particularly in his later life, King had a sharp diagnosis about how the evils of militarism, racism and poverty had a root cause. That cause? Capitalism.

And again, some great Native American Wisdom,
"Only when the last tree has died
and the last river been poisoned
and the last fish been caught
will we realise we cannot eat money".
Cree Indian Proverb

And there is more about the unfair world you know about...
Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men,
we didn't have any kind of prison. Because of this, we had no delinquents.
Without a prison, there can be no delinquents.
We had no locks nor keys and therefore among us there were no thieves.
When someone was so poor that he couldn't afford a horse, a tent or a blanket,
he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift.
We were too uncivilized to give great importance to private property.
We didn't know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being
was not determined by his wealth.
We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians,
therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another.
We were really in bad shape before the white men arrived and I don't know
how to explain how we were able to manage without these fundamental things
that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society.

John (Fire) Lame Deer
Sioux Lakota - 1903-1976

 Lindsay F Bond

Less than of a hoped-for heaven, seven aspects of hurt felt by humans who care, each arrive at a summary phrase, that airs rhythmic with 'share'.
These are touchy issues that Dolorose opens for passers-by to view, sightings somewhat at hindrance in the busy-ness of able and urban living.

Yet what reader response? Declaration of unfairness, of war on want, or of other action?

Imagine a warrior weighed low with waste and war, yet all the while, by bird-watching and gathering plant specimens, refreshes the human endeavour in science and understanding.

Such an example is reported of Frederick Spencer Chapman who wrote to the title “The jungle is neutral”. Chapman is reported as saying 'I don't see why the (invading army) should be allowed to inconvenience me.' It seems that he endured great hardship, yet remain attuned to creation (planet and life) around him, and still held the environment as 'neutral'.

Summation: Unfair, possible. Neutral, possibility.

Barbara Short

I put this article on the Sepik Writer's Club Page this morning and an old gentleman on this site named Melchior Kalit and I have been discussing it.

Melchior said ...Barbara, this is Sunday Morning. The Poem or the insight of what you gave above brings a question to my mind. Why has the World been created by our Heavenly Creator? For His Human race He placed us as Custodian and to enjoy freely and yet we are poor.

The people drifting to Urban areas bring about poverty upon themselves. If they remain custodian of their land they claim birth rights and their family won't live in such life. The world is not unfair.

I replied ...I agree with you Melchior Kalit. A lot of the "refugees" that are in Manus Island are what we call "economic refugees" .. they had the money to pay some "boat smugglers" to take them to Australia, to enter through "the back door" unseen. But it failed.

They had jobs in their own country but thought that Australia looked like a better country. But they didn't want to apply to migrate to Australia. They wanted to "jump the queue".

Over the past year this same thing has been happening on a grand scale between Africa and Europe.

Yes, the squatters in Port Moresby who come from villages that have land for farming can be compared to these "economic refugees" who come from a country where they could work to find a living.

Many hear that in Australia we still get paid when we don't work, so they want to come and live here.

Many people in Australia don't bother to really try hard to find work because the government pays them the Unemployment dole. Sadly many Australian aboriginals seem to be part of this group. It is not a good life. No pride in themselves.

I realize that their race has had this huge problem to face with all the people from other races coming to live in Australia but they need to rise above this and take pride in their race and themselves.

Their ancestors were great hunters and gatherers and fishermen and women. Now today they can be great people in many different ways.

Yes, we are Custodians of our place. My place, Epping, Sydney, at the moment is changing. The beautiful houses are being pulled down. The people, most of whom were of probably descended from early settlers from England, Scotland and Ireland, are moving away.

They are replacing the houses with huge blocks of flats which are being filled with thousands of Chinese people.

Sad! But we all have to face up to life where-ever we are and just get on with it.

I think the world can be full of selfish people who always want more for themselves... so in that respect life can be unfair for the weak. ... the sick, the young, the old, ...I don't like it when the Chinese steal the flowers from my front garden! Now that is unfair! I am Custodian of my garden!

Garry Roche

"Dolorous" (Oxford University Press) = "Feeling great sorrow or distress". From the Latin, "dolor" = pain, grief.

It is a challenge in today's world to see the bright side of life. TV and Internet are often full of news about killings and strife and trouble. Often the most one can do is simply to bring some joy and happiness to those you meet in everyday life.

Philip Fitzpatrick

It would be interesting if you could expand on your comments about the conditions in the hospitals Paulus. Maybe Keith could run an article on it. It is something that needs to be brought into the public arena. Only an insider can do that.

I'm very much in accord with Chris and suffer the same disillusions of age.

For Dolarose I hope you never lose this sense of concern. In the hurly burly of life such things tend to get left by the wayside - all to the world's disadvantage.

Chris Overland

Dolarose is entirely right: the world of humans is unfair.

As I get older my bewilderment grows about the human propensity to acquire and consume wealth far beyond their personal or familial needs, often at the expense of others.

Why do some of us feel so driven to do this even though our better selves know that it is neither necessary nor, in many respects, likely to make our lives much happier?

A recent study in Australia strongly indicated that increases in personal income beyond around $A80,000 pa (which is, by world standards, a very large amount of money) do not significantly increase a person's happiness, well being or sense of financial security.

In fact, in a surprising number of cases, it can make things worse by encouraging consumption patterns that generate more stress than satisfaction.

I suppose this helps explain why Australians are, on a per capita basis, the most indebted people in the world.

It seems that despite our desire to accumulate wealth, it turns out that many of us are actually very bad at managing it when and if we achieve our capitalistic ambitions.

The traditional capitalist view is that an individual's pursuit of personal benefit will inevitably result in an overall benefit to society.

Historic experience suggests that while this idea is broadly correct, state intervention is always necessary to ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth than might otherwise be achieved through the so-called "trickle down" effect.

This is so because, unsurprisingly, the rich mostly do not share their wealth very willingly and thus taxation systems have to be devised to ensure that they do.

In a PNG context, the state has conspicuously failed to protect and nurture the interests of ordinary citizens, preferring instead to favour economic predation upon the national wealth in the interests of a privileged few.

It is not alone in this nor the worst offender: think of Zimbabwe, Zaire, Venezuela to name but a few cases of the nation's wealth being squandered by a combination of incompetence, corruption and ideological idiocy.

So, Delarose, the world is indeed unfair but it doesn't need to be.

You don't have to be a communist to understand that a more equitable distribution of resources is quite possible but it seems that human nature constitutes a formidable barrier to making the world a fairer place.

I have long since given up believing that I will live to see any material change in how the world works. Perhaps future generations will be able to do that which my generation has so conspicuously failed to do.

Paulus Ripa

Dolorose, It is indeed an unfair world. I am afraid you will see more of this. From memory I think you will be doing 4th year in the Medical course now and when do your Paediatric rotation you go to the paediatric wards you will see more of this. In the 2 upstairs wards particularly you will see concentrated the collective misery of Port Moresby and PNG’s underprivileged.

You will see sick children coming from the settlements where families are packed 30 to 40 in one small house where if they are lucky only one or two are employed in menial jobs and the children get the scraps or not at all.

You will see products of broken families and send home children with severe malnutrition who have been fattened up to only return 2 weeks later with the same problem because they returned to the same environment.

You will be angry because some of those children cannot feed and when we try to feed them through tubes you will find that you have had no stock of nasogastric tubes for some time. You will watch them starve to death because some uncaring people further up will have given lucrative pharmaceutical contracts to dubious contractors.

Sometimes if you watch closely, the nurses will dip into their pockets to buy much needed milk to feed the babies. Once or twice I remember this happening when told during ward rounds but having many things on my mind I walked off without thinking and found out later indirectly that the staff (earning a fraction of what I earned) had bought the staff.

There is no easy solution to this and unfortunately we cannot fix society’s ills. However it can be easy to be disillusioned and become either inured to some of the inequalities in society. It can be easy to become an armchair critic and blame the government and everyone else.

But as individuals we can do our bit. I am sure as a doctor you can contribute much and inspire others to do their bit. Wherever inequality and poverty exist disease follows and we health workers will inevitably be faced with it in our workplace. Whilst we cannot fix their societal ills we can give them comfort and healing and whatever is available within our means

When you qualify for instance you can choose to go up to the private hospital behind the campus and work with the well-heeled or choose to work in public institutions which largely serve the urban poor or in the remote areas of this country.

Your earlier post on how you were brought up by your father was moving to me and perhaps people who go through some hardship in life are more sensitive to the difficulties others face.

Professor Vince and I used to have lots of discussions about how we could train good doctors technically and academically but how do we train them to have heart.

We felt the only way was to expose trainee doctors to these environments and allow them to see for themselves the inequalities in society people face. We succeeded in having the students exposed to the remote areas of PNG but to get exposed to the marginal parts of Port Moresby society proved to be difficult due to problems of safety for students.

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