Wara kalap
What we lapuns know and why we care

The gullible masses are not raising their voices


An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

OUR country is ruled by tyrants who have completely wrecked the national economy and have run up debts amounting to billions of kina.

Corporate greed thrives in Papua New Guinea simply because the masses are not raising their voices against the perpetrators who are dipping their fingers into the public coffers.

PNG is probably the only country in the world where corporate criminals and despots walk around freely without having to look back over their shoulder.

Almost two weeks ago, a group of university students marching to parliament house was shot at by police.

The city of Port Moresby was immediately gripped by terror. Whilst wounded students were rushed to the city’s hospitals, the nation’s capital was charged with trepidation.

At the Waigani market, the Wabag and the Simbu mothers selling ice blocks scrambled for space on the PMV buses to return to the relative safety of their homes in the settlements.

As ambulances scurried back and forth, some people across the country were expecting the worst. Some said that Governor Powes Parkop’s beloved city would burn.  Thankfully it did not.

The students were traumatised by the shootings but the majority decided not to relent in their determination to rid this country of a very corrupt government.

PNG tertiary students are demanding the immediate resignation of prime minister Peter O’Neill. They are willing to sacrifice their education and their future in order to ensure his removal.

Whilst most of us try to employ non-violent means to bring about positive change in PNG, excessive use of force by the agents of the state goes to show that our democracy is eroding.

Students at PNG’s three major universities have raised their collective voices against the avarice of the current government but sadly they are a minority in a country of seven million people.

Their best attempts to effect positive change are not gaining momentum because the gullible masses are not also raising their voices. The masses are not taking a bold stand to rid this country of a corrupt government. They are doing nothing or next to nothing to fight corruption in this country.

They are a naive lot whose ignorance can be irritating. I feel we are not doing enough to awaken the collective consciousness of the people to the bleak realities confronting our country.


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Lindsay F Bond

Firstly, encouragement goes to Paul and all who enter for the 2016 Crocodile Prize.

Secondly and likewise to encourage: Paul poses that 'we' are not doing enough. Can it be doubted that Paul is calling on PNG's informed citizens to step up effort in alerting more or most PNG folk?

Thirdly, though supporting the notion of identification, an observation on a collective: 'gullible masses' may convey thoughts unintended in reference to PNG folk. Will there emerge a catch cry that identifies dignity in unawareness, while in proportion drumming upon unwillingness?

Paul Oates

And yet Peter, Santa Ana marched into Texas and fought and won against the little group in the Alamo at San Antonio where Davey Crockett and Jim Bowie were killed.

He then had only an ineffective Sam Houston and his militia to defeat but he climbed a hill one day and got homesick and just decided to go home.

Hence the then fledgling US now controls the ground down to the Rio Grande and now builds fences to keep the Mexicans out.

Paul Oates

Paul Waugla Wii writes above: 'the gullible masses are not also raising their voices.'

This phenomena is not anything new or indeed entirely restricted to PNG. The reasons why some of us marvel at how easily the corrupt have taken over the PNG government is the question that perhaps should be asked?

I can't answer for others but I can provide some observations from I've have seen over the years in various locations.

The critical mass has not yet assembled. The real tipping point has not yet arrived. When you boil a kettle you first get it to 'sing' in increasing volume until you hear that the water finally boils.

What we are hearing at the moment is the kettle 'singing' perhaps with increasing volume. What we haven't yet heard is the boil over.

The reason some of us lapuns who metaphorically stand with one foot either side of the Torres Strait is our knowledge and some understanding gained through practical experience.

The essential elements that is lacking so far is effective leadership and communications. This is the difference between those of us who have seen effective national leadership and those who still only see the potential for limited leadership based on merely tribal grounds.

Some of us were able, albeit for a brief time, to practice a form of effective leadership in PNG that essentially was based on a national level. We now marvel at how that can't be done again. Maybe it can but unfortunately it will take the use and rule of force to effect this.

In Australia, tribalism is mostly only state based and only comes to the fore when football or parochial government funding is debated. Effective communications makes it possible to quickly inform most voters and influential bodies if any leaders are caught stepping out of line (mostly).

The issues for PNG are therefore the absence of effective national leadership and good and comprehensive communications at the lowest level.

Any leader who wants to get PNG back on the rails must learn to conquer those two issues before there will be any real change.

Peter Sandery

Keep the faith, Paul and remember that Santa Ana of Mexico had ten tries before he became President of that country - there are others that had to try many times to achieve the ultimate, but for me that bloke was the one!

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