PORT MORESBY - Facebook is the most dominant social media and networking site in Papua New Guinea as it is around the world.
You can use Facebook to build your profile or destroy your reputation as a person, professional or leader.
Fifteen years ago when there was no Facebook (it was launched on 4 February 2004), we wrote letters or occasionally encountered men and women along paths, at meeting places or on PMVs and exchanged phone numbers before parting ways.
With no Facebook, we respected one another because our weaknesses were not on the radar, as it were, so no one was able to know our full character.
Now with Facebook, we know who is an educated eunuch, mediocre mind, big-headed bigot, pompous public servant or a putrid pimp.
And, in contrast, people’s language and manners on Facebook can also reveal their education and their decency.
In PNG Facebook, our ‘leaders’ love to take a selfie with a stubby or a wine bottle while others are seen buying lunch for a pale security guard or paying school fees for a tribesman. This is an effort to create the impression they are kind-hearted and altruistic.
And each time this ‘good deed’ is posted, the ‘leader’ soars with ego.
The sad thing is that he or she has no insight that there are many humble people who have done more decent, less self-centred charitable work and never posted on social media.
Another ‘leader’ preaches about the many wives he has and wants the whole Simbu Province to think he is a man of immense importance like a King Solomon or a Caesar who can make women melt like butter in the sun.
Still another gives a sermon to a crowd of village folks and gets a pimp to take the money shot and upload it so the whole Simbu can say he is the sole leader and rival tribesmen and women are pretenders. This ‘leader’ will subsequently belittle every other person who expresses a contrary opinion.
The other clumsy Facebook cultural quirk we notice is that aspiring politicians praise the educated eunuchs rather than correct their error and arrogance that inundate the social media forum. We readers know they are more worried about securing votes than anything else.
We also know that true leadership demands truth not falsehood.
For their New Year’s resolutions, some of these Idi Amin characters needed to resolve to change and become credible people by sidelining their egos and respecting Simbu and other Facebook members. In fact collective humanity demands these small but shiny egos be shrouded and swapped for civic virtue.
By the same token, those few followers who continue to praise them and give accolades to whatever they post on Facebook need a new year resolution to show other members of the forums that they are critical thinkers and can make rational contributions rather than being sponges that absorb any liquid and squeeze out gunk.
Simbu and Papua New Guinean society needs all and every trade, skill and profession to build a decent society.
If you think you need only lawyers and accountants to build a decent society then you are at fault because lawyers use electricity, shower, eat and use the toilet. And of course sleep in a house and so need electricians, plumbers, cooks, carpenters and so forth. The same applies to the accountant.
Social scientists emphasise the importance of functionalism, or the organic model, where every able bodied man and woman plays a role in society for a society that is vibrant and healthy.
As such, the legacy of Simbu men’s houses demands that these egocentric frauds shroud their stockpile of ego and clothe themselves with civic virtue so becoming decent and respectful members of an egalitarian society in this new year of 2019.