I have reason to celebrate this Independence Day
16 September 2019
KUNDIAWA - In the last eight years, when other Papua New Guineans celebrated their country’s independence anniversary on 16 September each year, to me it was just like any other day.
I didn’t feel anything special about the occasion. Independence was meaningless and unimportant to me.
Although 2016 had been a special year, in that I spent one week in Australia and attended the Brisbane Writers Festival, and in 2018, PNG hosted the historic APEC meeting in Port Moresby, when it came to 16 September there wasn’t any special feeling in me.
I didn’t know why and there was no urge in me to bother about it.
But yesterday on the eve of the 44th Independence anniversary, as I sat in my favourite spot under the mango tree in front of the gate at Sir Joseph Nombri Memorial Hospital in Kundiawa and watched young and old passers-by attired in the national colours of red, black, white and gold, I felt an urge to have a cold SP export lager that has the rare beautiful bird of paradise on the label.
I don’t like drinking this beer. Whenever I feel like drinking, the SP brown stubby is my favourite. But yesterday, I felt very much compelled to drink the beer that has the national bird, the Raggiana, on it.
So I sent a young man to TNA Coffee Shop and he brought me back two SP export lagers.
I opened the beer with a loud popping noise, punched the air, gave myself with a happy Independence greeting and gulped the beer.
It was around midday and the cold beer tasted refreshing in the sweltering heat.
After I drained the first one bottle, I nursed the second one, my mind wandering back in time like watching a movie.
All the significant events of the past seven years streamed vividly through my mind.
Surprisingly, my thoughts swarmed with more bad things than good.
Of prominence were Peter O’Neill’s unconstitutional thieving of power from Michael Somare, O’Neill’s disbandment and elimination of the champion corruption fighter Investigative Task Force Sweep, O’Neill’s arrest warrant saga involving the infamous Paul Paraka case that never saw the light of justice, O’Neill’s scandalous signing of the UBS loan after villainously sacking Don Polye and replacing him as finance minister, the indiscriminate shooting of protesting university students by police, O’Neill’s people of the Southern Highlands malicious burning of an Air Niugini Dash 8, the agony and hardship of earning money to pay for basic necessities and much more.
As the reminiscences wound towards their end, I felt a kind of joy I had never felt in those eight long years. It flooded my mind.
Then it dawned on me that I had good reason to celebrate this independence anniversary.
The long and difficult war against greed, selfishness, power-hunger serial lies, tyranny, extreme corruption, venally-motivated education and health policies and a foreign debt driven economy had finally come to an end.
Victory is at hand for our motherland, which is often described as a poverty stricken shithole.
A country so rich in resources yet so poor because of gross mismanagement.
I feel that this description can now change for the better.
The welfare and future of my children and their children are in safer hands.
Not only my children but every other child.
Including those of well-to-do parents, orphans, the disabled, the can collectors on the streets and so many others are in the hands of the visionary, passionate and patriotic James Marape, a leader who we can look upon as saviour and a beacon of hope for a prosperous PNG.
I started celebrating yesterday and I will finish it off today, 16 September 2019. God bless PNG.
Francis - Great to read that you enjoyed the independence celebrations.
Besides the celebrations, you also still have concern for the future of this country.
James Marape has promised an honest government and only time will tell. We wait and see.
Posted by: Kenny Pawa Ambaisi | 17 September 2019 at 11:25 AM
Francis - Enjoy both froth and fond memories.
Sobering is my summation of politic PNG, but celebratory that civil dysfunction is capable of being reeled in, a grand catch (and cache?) from the seas of endeavour and enthusiasm.
Posted by: Lindsay F Bond | 17 September 2019 at 05:39 AM
Danny - I had no plan for celebrations but it was a surprise compulsion and yesterday I had a great time with Simbu historian Mathias Kin traveling up the Simbu-Madang Highway that Keith and family travelled when they visited Kundiawa.
Today I am celebrating with Dr Aiwa Moses. As stated, I was prompted to celebrate the victory and tomorrow, I will be back to the routine.
Yes, I enjoyed my trip with my family (including Uncle Francis) along the Highlands Highway in 2017. The photo at the top of the blog was taken at Daulo Pass during that journey - KJ
Posted by: Francis Nii | 16 September 2019 at 04:29 PM
Francis - I feel like having a cold one too in this Port Moresby heat amidst all the frantic independence activity, but 'maski.'
I vowed to give it up so I'll stick to my promise.
Vows are important.
Leaders ought to honour their vows too because they swear before God to serve the people.
In the last few days, I did not attend any of the attractive Provincial Days celebrated here, not even Enga Day.
And I won't even attend official celebrations today either. I have been celebration such activities for the last 44 years.
I adorned myself in traditional dress twice on such occasions.
Let the younger people enjoy and be proud. They should know the future belongs to them. They know what is happening today.
I plan to see everything on TV. And read about it tomorrow in the papers.
What I will do today, PNG Independence Day, is stay at home and read all the articles and poems published here in PNG Attitude and read what people say on Facebook.
Tomorrow, I plan to go on a road trip to Kerema, a part of our country I'd never been to before. I will write what I see in PNG Attitude, the papers and on Facebook.
I have come to a stage where I begin to worry - not for myself but for my children.
And you know, grandchild number 13 has been added to my family while I’ve been here in Port Moresby.
My unnamed bubu boy was born six days ago. We are thinking of giving it a suitable name when I go to Wabag.
Nobody told me to bring forth all these children into the world but they are here. And I constantly worry for them.
But I am comforted by the fact that tomorrow can take care of itself.
What I must do is to make sure I facilitate for their future well-being. I must make sure they all receive an education.
I know I have land at home where my siblings can fall back to if they can’t establish themselves in the urban centers.
But will they go to the village?
I have no answer for this question nor should I worry about it for it’s the government’s responsibility.
And like you, Francis, I believe in James Marape too.
First impressions count and I have been following what he has been saying.
He only needs to be surrounded with like-minded leaders - leaders who have a heart for the well-being of this country.
I am happy, Sir Mekere Morauta, Bryan Kramer, Kerenga Kua and others like Governor Garry Juffa have joined government ranks. They bring hope to our people
Most of our people are rural based.
So long as they are provided with the basic services and infrastructure, like proper roads and bridges, health and education facilities.
So long as the government is transparent, honest and remains 100% committed to the people PNG can prosper.
I believe it will happen.
But I hold my breath these early days.
Posted by: Daniel Kumbon | 16 September 2019 at 10:00 AM