Hey Rio! Get back & fix your mess
A paradigm shift amidst a pandemic

It’s our attitude; it is us

Alexander Nara - "If we are hit hard, what will be our response if everyone we love starts falling in numbers, leaving behind corpses we are never allowed to bury?"


PORT MORESBY - I find it traumatising enough to think that we may have failed to avoid this fatal breach by death itself into our society, security and sovereignty.

We can blame ignorance, I suppose, which shares the bright lights with our negligence towards Papua New Guinea’s sovereign borders.

It is sickening to imagine what will transpire if coronavirus spreads undetected into our midst.

Around us nations collapse and their money and first class health care programs can do little but research.

Breaking news and unspeakable footage, images and stories rule our news feeds as humanity turns towards the world of science, our hope against the deadly pandemic - this mysterious micro-biological attack on human existence.

In the last few weeks we came to a standstill as our government developed and implemented strict measures to prepare us to counter or contain Covid-19 if and when it steps across our boundaries.

We are again reminded of the forever neglected house rules of hygiene and are forced to put aside many things closely attached to us and our daily lives.

I sit here thinking about the way we share buai, tobacco, food and drink, and the love and security we enjoy of being close together.

You see, our society is founded upon the strong ethos and values where our pasin is living together, loving each other, sharing and caring.

Strong handshakes and bear hugs show the bonds of care and close friendship towards each other. Even death brings us together. Yes, it is us. It is our attitude.

It feels uncomfortable and strange these days when we are not able to do it anymore to people we love, admire and appreciate.

For the first time displa stail pasin na wei bilong yumi that build the fabric of our beautiful young society and binds us together as one nation and one people is forbidden, threatened by this unknown foreign element.

Above all, we will never be able to bury our own mothers, wives, kids and fathers if we continue to say yes it us, it is our attitude.

When world scientists and medical researchers are scratching their balls to find a cure, our herb doctors are promoting their new product brewed from jungle leaves and poured into an empty Coke plastic that is said to cure AIDS and Covid-19. Yes, this is us.

When the house rules of simple hygiene were set down, the Seven Bomb players continued beside the lamb flaps market somewhere in a settlement.

When told to stay at home, we still cross Brown River, hiding from police with our buai bags.

When told to stay away from church but pray, we preach one world order down at Tabari place where a pastor asked for tithes to be transferred via phone banking.

Yes, that is us, it is our attitude.

I find us fascinating but this is no longer funny. This is not a drill. It is real.

When we are told to monitor and report rises in the price of goods during these trying times, we talk about the sky rocketing price of buai.

When government uses Facebook to deliver its messages, we spend hours creating and laughing at spineless meme pages and TikTok characters. Yes, it is us.

Facebook has found warmth in the eyes of this killer pandemic and has emerged as the fastest mode of disseminating information across our society, even across the entire world.

The government has given us the privilege of hearing direct from the horse’s mouth and to respond and to be heard. Not mentioning the bulk of information spilling through the newsfeeds from around the globe.

A very dangerous door of information is left open that can inflict uncertainty in our understanding of how to curtail opportunities for Covid-19 to enter our personal space.

The media is an important information mechanism that must digest and feed society with the truth and not be swayed by an influx of information nor distort the accuracy of information.

Death is staring us in the face and it is a national security issue. A matter of life and death.

If we are hit hard, what will be our response if everyone we love starts falling in numbers around us, leaving behind corpses we are never allowed to bury?

Tell us, government, what will you say in those press conference during that very moment when we are hit hard and you must tell us how we to respond.

This is us. It is our attitude.


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Kenny Pawa Ambaisi

Only the leaders who are responsible are debating and policing the information that is to disseminated to the people. Many of our parliamentarians are ignorant. Just look at how they are reacting in the recent parliament session. Some of them are sleeping, others are sitting there idle and even others are following the wind from the government side. The self-belief that the government or others will do something for us to contain the pandemic is not right. We have to take ownership of our way of doing things especially overhaul our attitude and thus tune it to adopt and listen and follow given advises and rules. No one can help but we can help ourselves.

William Dunlop

Hahahaaaaaaa! Slantie.

Bernard Corden

Dear William,

Canberra will be all right when they finish it.

Philip Kai Morre

Covid 19 brings fear and insecurity into a people who are ignorant and confused and we don't care about security and health regulations.

We need to listen to health professionals to take precaution measures and prevention is better than cure.

Do we need another ears that can hear properly prudent advice or eyes that can see beyond the boundary.

Common sense and logic seemed to disappear and we developed anti social, manipulative and compulsive behaviour that is not in line with accepted norms of our society.

When buai was banned people resort to other things that look like buai and openly chewing and selling them at the market.

People quickly learn new tricks and coping skills to do all sorts of things within the short time.

Coronavirus is not here as yet but we are openly welcoming coronavirus the way we are doing things and going.

William Dunlop

KJ - It's time for you to voyage to Canberra and enlighten the duly elected leaders of this Australian nation on where you think they are wrong.

You can take your left of centre or it right of center ethos with you, B Corden that is.

One thing I've learned of rightists in my long time on this planet: they don't listen to much except the buzzing in their own brains - KJ

Lindsay F Bond

Was it 'trust' that guided Border Force, a nod at a shipment a magnitude more than wooden fisher craft?

Bernard Corden

The traditional leadership model with its hoarding and lording of power has been exposed.

Disparagement of whistleblowers, denial of dissenters and suppression of middle management simply reinforces the sinister nature of such power and makes the manager look less transparent and more threatened or insecure.

In orchestras different instruments occasionally take the lead and shared leadership makes great music.

Dutton and Morrison do not have any vision and are incapable of leading without power. Since leaders are no longer equated with being superior, followers should not be considered as subordinates.

The Stop the Boats slogan from the fecund mad monk, which was relentlessly reiterated by Scomo and Dutton is somewhat incongruous with Martin Buber's philosophy in Ich und Du (I and Thou):


Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions - Edward Murrow.

Daniel Kumbon

And joining Jim Moore's sentiments - here in PNG the government allowed international flights from Philippines and Singapore to stay open. It should have shut them down to isolate PNG but the government failed.

One wonders how many people that one man who came into PNG through Singapore infected. And how many that may be infected along PNG's wide borders.

Alexander Nara, it shocks me to imagine who will bury the dead when people die all around. We hold our loved ones one more time when they die. And bury them properly as a sign of our last respects. Our funerals take several days and even weeks. That will not be allowed.

Our loved ones will be treated like strangers, as the face of death itself. This is the time to love each other more, the time to reconcile and say, 'I am sorry' if we've wronged a relative.

The hostilities must be put aside. I like it when Russia offered aid to USA in its time of need. And hated to see North Korea fire test missiles.

Enga people must put down their arms and face this tiny virus together as it threatens to wipe the whole province.

The over K500 million provincial hospital is not yet complete. There are no medicines and proper facilities in all outlets. The K200,000 given to each province by the national government is not enough.

Lets all wake up to this new reality. All we can do is follow instructions.

Jim Moore

Morrison and Dutton raved about their "success" in stopping boats, but utterly failed to stop the one boat that really mattered.
Neither will ever accept their responsibility for the consequences of their actions, be it with little boats or big ones.

Paul Oates

A good summation of the strengths and weaknesses of our human societies, wherever they are.

The more complex each society becomes, the more complex the challenges it faces when confronted with a threat, in this case of worldwide proportions.

In many ways, a worldwide threat has been only a matter of time before it eventuated. Whether it was a war, a famine, a natural disaster or a plague. It really doesn't matter.

In fact with this current threat, it is a combination of most of the above.

There was a famine and natural disaster in Eastern Africa prior to the arrival of the coronavirus that infects humans and on top of a swine flu that has killed off a huge number of pigs in the world that millions of people depend on for protein in their food.

A cold war between a number of competing nations was at the time, also underway for some time with those competing either making poor decisions or intentional strategic moves behind the scenes.

The essence of whether we can successfully respond to this global challenge as a species rests on whether we are prepared to learn from history or simply just try to reinvent wheel yet again.

Human greed and intentional misinformation or disinformation have in places, combined with outright lies and poor leadership to arrive at where we are now.

A classic example was the arrival of the cruise ship 'Ruby Princess' in Sydney where those who were infected were allowed to disembark and spread the disease into the rest of the community before the true nature of the disease was known.

How each society emerges from this current combination of threats will reveal how well we as a species have learnt from the mistakes of history, albeit however recent they may have been made.

Faith might indeed 'move mountains' but decisions need to be based on proven outcomes. The old 'snake oil salesmen' were very short on proven, factual and freely available information.

In times of stress, humans tend to grab the nearest option that might look like providing a cure. If that cure didn't work, its clear those that bought it won't be around to testify when the salesman arrives in the next town.

PNG Kiaps were in a very unique situation that reflected a streamlined process of decision making combined with in most cases, prior community consultation.

Those alive today who have never been part of this kind of wartime structure in a mostly peacetime environment, find it very hard to imagine how well it worked and why.

In his book 'Collapse', Prof Jared Diamond ponders on just how human societies expand and then collapse when the resources needed to sustain that society then become exhausted.

Perhaps we are at the cusp of a worldwide example of this scenario about to happen?

It has now been disclosed that the R uby Princess had more than 100 on board diagnosed with 'serious respiratory symptoms' when 2,700 passengers were allowed to disembark in Sydney and travel throughout Australia. Over 600 have now fallen ill and seven have died. Presumably many transmissions of the disease have also occurred. Echoes of 'Typhoid Mary'. So much for Morrison-Dutton's border security - KJ

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