The lone and level sands stretch far away
West Papua: first one, then two, now five....

The desperate & deadly streets of Moresby

“I'm afraid to live in this country. Police officers and army men think they're above the law and that they can get away with so many things. Corruption runs rampant in these streets” - Kaliop Ingirin Tomai

Least livable
Port Moresby is considered to be one of the world's least livable cities


PORT MORESBY – I am still on probation in my job and the pay is really not enough to live on. I spend half of it on bus fares to get to and from work.

But who am I to complain or quit my job when so many accounting graduates from the universities are roaming the streets doing nothing.

I was very fortunate to get the job because I only graduated this year from a newly established training institute.

After my probation, my company’s administration will decide whether to keep me and increase my pay or lay me off.

Right now I'm working my guts out to impress my boss so he will keep me.

City life is very hard unlike the Highlands town where I was born and lived.

There, every place was a safe walking distance from school, work or hospital.

Here you have to catch a bus - or walk and get robbed by the raskols.

Port Moresby (Wojciech Dąbrowski)
Port Moresby (Wojciech Dąbrowski)

I've seen men and women murdered when they tried to defend themselves from the robbers.

Some groups literally rob you in the middle of the crowd and passers-by won't try to defend you because everybody knows what these gangs are capable of.

Nowadays the police never have foot patrols in the roads and streets.

They sit with lots of gravity in colourful Toyota ten-seater vehicles, speeding here and there in cruisers they have given names like FOX 203 and THUNDER ONE.

All sorts of names but never seeming to catch the culprits.

In Port Moresby, the price of the food and essential goods has been sky rocketing since the Marape regime was installed.

I'm not complaining really because I can survive, but I can't get a good night’s sleep thinking about other girls like me, or even younger than I am, going into evil ways just to earn a meal for the day.

So I’m trying to form an association which will look for ways to help the youths who live in the same settlement where I live.

I did some interviewing and found that most of those rounding the streets of Moresby and doing all sorts of immoral activities are Highlanders.

I also found out that their situation was the fault of irresponsible guardians or parents.

They don’t ensure these troubled people get even a little education

I know one girl's village because her late father and my father came from the same district.

When I asked her where she’s from she said the name of a district.

So I asked again, are you sure.

And she made a facial gesture, screamed and said ‘I don't know’.

They don’t even know their own village. And if they did return, there would be nothing there for them.

They’re stuck in Moresby which doesn’t car e for them and with no place to go back to.

* This is the pen name of a real person who lives and works in Port Moresby


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Paul Oates

Your last thoughts say it all, Philip. You have encapsulated the issues that seem to lead to a never ending spiral of hopelessness and dismay.

Yet it doesn't have to be that way. Any problem, no mater how vast, if split into manageable sections can be effectively overcome. All it takes are two are two important factors. An effective plan and responsible leadership.

I know that sounds trite and paternalistic but if you look back through human history, that's what works.

The basic problem of human nature is that delusion and false promises can be easily used to confuse the gullible and inexperienced from seeing the truth.

As has been observed before, modern fairly stories begin; 'If you re-elect me....'

Where do people then go for inspiration and examples of better systems of government?

I've suggested there are some examples of government that appear to work. Sweden is one example that appears to work. They have a multi-party parliament and rules that restrict the incomes and power of politicians and these appear to work.

The problem is not finding a system that works well. The problem is finding and electing politicians who are prepared to introduce and vote for sensible change without being seduced by graft and corruption.

Garrett Roche

Sorry to hear about Dominica Are's sad experience in Goroka. A knife to the neck must be a frightening and traumatic experience.

Years ago I used to tell newcomers to Hagen to build up 'local knowledge', i.e., get to know in what places and times one is most likely to get harassed.

But it seems like more than local knowledge is required nowadays if one is to avoid harassment. I am sure Dominica would have known her own area well. Dominica - Sori tru.

Philip Kai Morre

Youth is a time bomb that our country is adding in its drift towards anarchy.

If the government does not focus on the youth population now, our future prospects are doomed to fail.

One way to solve the school leavers problem would be to recruit more personnel for the army and police force.

This way they will earn a living and contribute to the controlling law and order problems.

Youths should also be involved in earning a living in agriculture and small and medium sized enterprises.

We are in the midst of a time of spiritual and moral breakdown. We see the growth of secular humanism, challenges to social cohesion and the decline of cultural values and norms as accompaniments to modernisation and material oriented society.

There are also problems related to a culture of death including drug addiction, gender-based violence, violence related witchcraft or saguma, killings related to elections, killings related to cults, deaths caused by lifestyle diseases, have become bigger and complicated with no known solutions.

Getting caught up and disoriented in this complexity are our youths. They are faced with identity crisis and to escape from it, they resort to problems including alcoholism and addiction.

Basically the root cause of all problems lies within us. It is our irrational thoughts, attitudes and aggressive behaviors that contribute to most of the law-and-order problems that we see today.

Dealing with problems will not transform anything until we restore human beings who create the problems.

In deed this should remain the focal aim of any problem-solving models, harm and crime reduction endeavors.

Tribal fighting also destroys life and properties and displaced people in dehumanized conditions.

Culture of death further stressed abortions, mercy killing, cloning, invitro fertilization capital punishment, and etc. life style diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer is increasing.

Crimes are the symptoms of a society that is sick. Youth problems are associated with alcohol and drug abuse, crimes, violence and poverty, Internet and changes all have causes and effects and also workable solutions. Youths know their problems and they know their solutions but we are not helping them with what they need.

There is identity crisis and a lot of youths don’t really know who they are. Who Am I? Am I a human being with dignity or something else? What is the real meaning of life, my being, my spirituality and personality. Am I intelligent or dull comparing to animals.

There is lack of self-confidence where youths don’t put thrust on themselves, they feel that they are worthless, nobody or feel inferior and hopelessness. They don’t know where they going and roaming around aimlessly
The negative impact on the electronic media and entertainment is another factor that promotes criminal activities and antisocial behaviors

There is competition in education system and education system made us feel neglected and many youths don’t see any meaning in education. There is no fail in life but its the way we think. Negative thoughts produces negative results and positive thoughts produces positive results.

Our traditional values, norms and regulations, cultural beliefs and good heritage is disappearing. Families, kinships and clan mobilization for work and celebrations is dying out.

Today a lot of youths don’t go to church for spiritual guidance or proper moral dispositions to know what is wrong or right, good or bad, evil or holy and etc. Secular humanism has taken over spirituality and moral values and youths don’t seemed to value themselves as human beings who have dignity.

Dominica Are

Tough and scary times are ahead. This grave situation in our country saddens and frightens me.

I have had a knife held to my neck and my bag snatched at 8:30 am on my way to work.

This happened in Goroka, my hometown and a location where I've regularly walked to and from work for some donkey years.

Nowhere is safe.

This is a very sad observation, Dominica. If you can find the time, I'm sure our readers would appreciate an article about this serious issue. You could tell us in what ways Goroka has changed, what have been the causes, what will be the solution, what the authorities (police, hospital etc are doing), how the people are dealing with the dangers and anything else which comes to mind - KJ

John Kuri

Youth are forming groups and mingling around bus stops. They enter a bus, hold up everyone inside while the driver and crew just sit and watch.

This will continue as long as PNG fails to get its act in order and that does not mean building more police stations and recruiting more police personnel.

Michael Dom

Congratulations Robina, you've seen 'the size of the cloth'.

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