TUMBY BAY - If you were born in Papua New Guinea after 1975, especially if it was in Port Moresby or one of the other big towns, you would have grown up in an entirely different country to the one your parents knew.
Even if you were born in a village after 1975, unless it was extremely remote, the same circumstances apply.
Those of an unkind demeanour might even refer to it as a mongrel or hapkas kantri. A bit of this and a bit of that but neither one nor the other.
Apart from the physical and material differences between the old world and the one into which you were born there were also two entirely different mindsets at play.
As the years wore on after 1975 the old mindset from the colonial period was slowly overcome and lost its power. With it went bad things but also good things.
A similar thing happened in western nations in the 1950s and 60s. Those born into a previous world that had to struggle with a deep economic depression and then a highly destructive world war were slowly overcome by offspring nurtured in a time of rampant optimism and economic expansion.
That’s the world into which I was born.
Very few of those people who were adults in Papua New Guinea prior to 1975 or adults in places like Australia prior to World War II are alive today.
If they were and you could talk to them you would be surprised at how different to you they were, not just in appearance but in the way they thought. You would find much to admire in them but also much to abhor.
Their views about many things but especially about the material world and such things as race would surprise and shock you. To your eyes they might appear to be a completely different sort of human being.
To them, once they had gotten over the whiz-bang irrelevancies of the modern world, you too might appear as something just as alien.
They would ask themselves, “Is this what we spawned, is this why we struggled through all those dreadful years, to produce these selfish and mindless people?”
That is the nature of generational change, the old gives way to the new ad infinitum. It is something that we erroneously call progress.
It has always had a cyclic element about it. Good times precede bad times in rapid succession. Just as we are getting comfortable and complacent disaster strikes. It has always been thus.
We are currently on the verge of another one of those disasters. Our footing is slipping on the edge of a cliff and we are about to plunge into a terrible and unknown future. Dominoes are beginning to fall every which way and we don’t know where we will land.
One thing is certain though. Whoever survives and comes out the other end will be completely different to those who plunged over the cliff.
As they pick themselves up and shake off the dust they will need to readjust the way they think and react. To survive they will need to be different human beings, just as those who were born after 1975 or World War II had to become a different type of human being.
It is too early to predict how the new world will look after Covid-19 and the massive economic collapse and collateral damage it will induce.
It may be that those in western nations like Australia will need to learn to live with an autocratic Asian nation as the new super power.
That is going to be very hard for them because no matter how much they say otherwise they will need to suppress their innate discomfort at such an idea simply to survive. An idea inculcated over the years as an image of an encroaching yellow peril pushing aside falling dominos ready to swallow them up.
Those of us of a certain age can see what’s coming but we know that any imprecations we make will fall on deaf ears.
And by the time it comes to say, “We warned you” it will be too late and we’ll all be dead.
Such is life.