TUMBY BAY - The massive scale of wastage by failed politicians in Enga, as reported by veteran journalist Daniel Kumbon, is simply stunning.
If similar wastage has occurred in the other province, and there’s no reason to believe it hasn’t, just imagine how catastrophic this has been for Papua New Guinea.
And yet, as Daniel reports, nobody seems to care, least of all the successive governments that provided the funds in the first place.
Shaking my head at these unbelievable revelations, I then watch a theatrical press conference held by lawyer Paul Paraka to announce his plan to sue his way through a slew of politicians and public servants for an incredible amount of money ostensibly for the loss of reputation and income caused by questionable government legal practises.
While my opinion of lawyers and politicians has plumbed new depths, I couldn’t help but feel for the ordinary people of Papua New Guinea.
Those ordinary people taught me a lot when I was a kiap and in the years afterwards. One of those things was the abhorrence of greed and unnecessary waste.
As a young kiap conducting patrols into remote areas I often saw people carrying away the bottles, jars and tin cans that we discarded. To them these were still valuable and useful items too good to waste.
Since then I’ve had extreme difficulty throwing away such things. I religiously clean glass jars to use for other purposes, storing screws and nails in my shed or off to the local craft shop for the ladies to use for their jams, pickles and relishes.
I even wash out tin cans before I put them in the recycling bin along with the newspapers and cardboard I have collected.
From my experience as a child in the 1950s, but more so after seeing life in the squatter settlements and on the streets of Port Moresby and other Papua New Guinean towns, I also abhor the wastage of food.
When I take my grandchildren out to eat I find myself either finishing off their casually abandoned meals or carrying them away for the dogs and chooks to eat. I religiously eat everything on my own plate and if I can’t I take that away with me too.
Despite the looks I get from waiters and other diners I don’t think I’m mean or miserly, it’s just that life has taught me the value of certain things, how lucky I am and how unlucky are so many other people.
It is ironic, I think, that I learned these valuable lessons largely in Papua New Guinea, a place where greed and wastage on a grand scale now seems to go unnoticed.