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Subject: Not PNG culture to rip elders

My Say - The National
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Date Posted: Wed, Apr 18 2007, 12:33:14pm

Not PNG culture to rip elders

IN his Talking Point column on March 14, Dr Michael Unage questioned the leadership of Sir Michael Somare and the coalition government led by the National Alliance (NA).
It is unfortunate Dr Unage used only two cases – the amendment to the NCDC Act and Moti affair – to criticise the Government and to predict that Sir Michael will lead the country into turbulent waters if he becomes Prime Minister again.
The two cases are insignificant when compared to the Government’s achievements.
While I agree that the amendment to the NCDC Act is not within the spirit of democracy, it is far-fetched to suggest that it would cause serious damage to the Government on a national scale.
The National Capital District is not PNG and the Act does not affect every province.
It is not a nationwide piece of legislation but one that is confined to the NCD alone.
Many fear that the Act gives political and administrative powers to the NCD governor but the person who holds the post is not the leader of PNG.
At the end of the day, the governor will still dance to the tune of the national government of the day.
The current Government is a good one and any body part of this government will be good because it is the head and not the tail that leads the way.

The Moti affair is too small to warrant the removal of the Prime Minister and the Government. It is unfortunate that Dr Unage is examining the issue from a purely legal perspective, which is a narrow-minded analysis.
We must have room to consider other equally important facts such as the politics played by our neighbours in the Pacific region.

In international politics, powerful countries always have an advantage over the weaker ones in anything they compete or bargain for.
This is the reality and it is the name of the game.
The Moti saga is not a local issue but an international one that involves four countries: PNG, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Australia which is obviously more powerful than the others. From an international political standpoint, the Moti saga may be a political ploy devised by Australia to topple our Government.

Those who are using the Moti affair against the Prime Minister and the Government must consider whether they are representing foreign interests rather than national interests.

Divide-and-rule tactics have been employed by powerful countries before. We also must bear in mind that the Moti saga has caused all the citizens of PNG to be guilty, including Dr Unage. Only tourists and foreigners living and working in PNG are innocent in the Moti saga.
To say that Sir Michael is no longer fit to be Prime Minister is to disrespect the founding father of modern PNG.
Sir Michael is my father and he is also the proud father of Dr Unage.

In fact, Sir Michael is our father, PNG’s father.
My elders in my village taught me not to mistreat my biological father especially during his old age even when some of his actions are abnormal. I was told to respect and treat him well so that he can die peacefully. If the children mistreat the old man, I was repeatedly warned, then the children can expect nothing but curses. The reverse is also true.

This is part of my culture but I am sure it is the same elsewhere in PNG, if not universal. Respecting the elderly is one of the hallmarks of any civilised and developed society.

We should apply cultural wisdom to analyse the political leadership of the founding father of modern PNG.
In fact, in our national pledge, Papua New Guineans pledged to be united as one nation, and to pay homage to our cultural heritage which is the source of our strength.
If we respect our cultures, we have to respect Sir Michael as our father as our PNG culture dictates. Sometimes, our cultural values may go against the democratic values of the Westminster system of government but we have to embrace our good cultural values against the Western values.

In that light, I would suggest that we let the Grand Chief rule again and if he wants to retire, let him do so freely and peacefully without any force, coercion, or intimidation from his children.

If the Grand Chief is given the proper fatherly treatment in his last years of his political career, then I believe PNG would receive the fatherly blessing to prosper in every aspects of the nation.

Dr Unage went on to discuss the four deputies who should replace Sir Michael after the election. Finding a replacement is a different issue brought forward at the wrong time.

Even discussing a candidate at this stage to replace the old man is an insult to our father. Also, Dr Unage’s hypothesis that Sir Michael is warming the Prime Minister’s seat for his son Arthur is baseless.

During the 32 years of Sir Michael’s leadership, he was never been a dictator. Sir Michael was a victim of democratic process in 1980 and 1986 and he gracefully accepted the defeat which is a testimony to his strong beliefs and commitment to the ideals of democratic leadership in PNG.

In a democratic society such as ours, it is not possible for a father to hand over the Prime Minister’s post to his son or daughter. The decision will be made by the National Alliance leaders in consultation with the coalition partners when the time is right.

If Arthur were to become prime minister, then the position will not be inherited, as done in any undemocratic or totalitarian regimes. It would follow a normal democratic process of forming a government which would subsequently lead to the appointment of a prime minister. Given the above, I reaffirm my position that NCDC Act and Moti saga are insignificant to question or bring down the NA-led government in the coming national general election.
I believe the ruling coalition must continue because there are no better alternative party which can possibly perform its achievements.

Note: The writer is a former research consultant and tutor at the University of PNG and University of Southern Queensland. He is currently teaching at the International Training Institute in Lae. The views expressed here are his own and does not reflect the position of the institute


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[> Subject: Political idols vs democratic principles

Dr Unage responds
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Date Posted: Wed, Apr 18 2007, 12:37:24pm

Talking Point
By Dr Michael Unage
18th April 2007

Political idols vs democratic principles

IT may be odd to do a meta-critic in this column but the nature of the issue demand that I do one.
This commentary is in response to an article in My Say (“Not PNG Culture to Rip Elders, April 13) by Mamando Pain, who teaches at an institute in Lae. Ordinarily, Talking Point is rather silent and learns from constructive criticisms but the article by Pain reflects a mind of a lower bunch which demands a response. The article conspicuously reflects the category in which the scribe is situated.

Indeed, the writer lacks moral and legal sensitivity, thus displaying ignorance to the principle of democracy and good governance, especially in regards to the rule of law.
Furthermore, Mamando Pain is absolutely lethargic to dangerous political trends in PNG and at the same time, ignorant to PNG’s cultural values to which he subscribes himself as an exponent.

He appears obsessed with Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare and it is haunting him. If the reader can juxtapose my article on “The Question of NA Leadership” with Pain’s “Not PNG Culture to Rip Elders”, one will surely discover the shortcomings in his article, which reveals his weakness in politics.

In trying to do a critical exegete to my article, he misses the very import behind it.
He, instead offers an argument which in literary term would be referred to as non-sequitur fallacy, which is the very opposite of logical reasoning.
For instance, to say that Harry should be in politics because he has a good voice is a non-sequitur fallacy. Thus, a good voice is an advantage to a politician.
However, it does not follow that anyone with these characteristics should be in politics.
The non-sequitur argument in Pain can be discovered in what he says of Sir Michael: “If the Grand Chief is given the proper fatherly treatment in his last years of his political career, then I believe PNG would receive the fatherly blessing to prosper in every aspect of the nation.”
What kind of logic does one find in such mumbo jumbo?
For Pain, the Chief is the father of this nation and an elder in politics and, in his view, is therefore politically indispensable.
Thus he calls on the nation to consider the legislative and governance blunder committed by the Government as something very insignificant.
He suggests that everybody in the country should sacrifice their deep-held democratic principles in order to revere his idol.
This is what he says and I quote: “Sir Michael is my father and he is also the proud father of Dr Unage. In fact, Sir Michael is our father, PNG’s father.”
Like many Papua New Guineans, I personally have a lot of respect for the Grand Chief for his personal achievements and political contributions to the nation.
However, that does not mean that I have to sacrifice my democratic and moral values out of a misconstrued filial affiliation as demonstrated by Pain.
While people are concerned over the dangerous trend in PNG politics as reflected by the Moti saga and the amendments to the NCDC Act, Pain sees them as exceptionally marginal.
One wonders if the scribe has any sense of democratic values and the very abuse that will arise.
When the country is calling those issues as foul play, Pain thinks otherwise.
He claims that “the two cases are insignificant when compared to the Government’s achievements”.
For the NCDC Act, he says “many fear that the Act gives political and administrative powers to the NCD governor but the person who holds the post is not the leader of PNG”.
An error can be found in this statement as every leader elected to Parliament is a leader of PNG. He is legally called a legislator.
The 109 MPs make laws for the entire country.
Pain needs to read more into the roles and functions of both the legislative and executive arms of government to make a proper judgment on the issues confronting governance.
Pain says the Moti saga is too small to warrant the removal of the Prime Minister and the Government.
The Moti affair is a crisis of a greater magnitude although Pain may be right in saying that PNG is a victim of international politics.
He also claims that the incident could be a “mickey mouse” game played by Australia.
Fact is, his claims can hardly be substantiated.
Fact is, the Prime Minister, perhaps through his subordinates, may have reacted badly to an issue which could have been handled proactively through diplomatic means.
The tax-payers feel unjustified when millions of their kina have been squandered on the clandestine flight to Solomon Islands, the Defence Force inquiry and the continued technical/legal debate before the courts.
Tax-payers do not see that as ‘too small” a matter.
In his non-sequitur conclusion, Pain insists that the ruling coalition must continue because there is no better alternative party, which could possibly perform its achievements.
Only the voters have the final say on which party should be in government.
In an election, political parties and candidates are given the time to compete.
A democratic election is a competitive election and only those that appeal to the voters can be chosen.
However, two things need to be said. First, many commentators are of the opinion that the current government is harvesting the fruits of previous government’s legislative changes, especially by Sir Mekere Morauta. And if any praise is due to the National Alliance, Bart Philemon would receive the lion’s share of it.
Second, there should be an evaluation of the development goals of the current government.
Do the social and economic indicators say anything about the achievements of this Government?
What are the economic indicators of the export-driven policy?
What about the Government’s commitment to good governance?
Only when the outcomes are measured, we can really know about the Government’s achievement.
Another misconception found in Pain’s article is the failure to distinguish between the respect given to an ordinary elder from a traditional chief.
Respect for an elder is a value in many societies as he mentioned. Nonetheless, a traditional chief or “big man” earns his respect.
Respect is not given to him indiscriminately.
For instance, if a clan leader assists a non-clan member to commit a
sexual crime against a member of a neighbouring clan, people would naturally question his leadership abilities. The leader would surely loose his face.
The predicament endangering political development is people, in the likes of Pain, turning political leaders into idols irrespective of their character and performance.
Finally, I would respond to some particular factual errors in Pain’s arguments.
First, the National Capital District (NCD) is in PNG. It is the heart and the capital of the country.
Thus, Mamando is wrong in saying that NCD is not PNG.
The second factual error is that the country Moti got involved was Vanuatu and not Fiji.
However, what I find strange in Pain’s article is this statement: “We also must bear in mind that the Moti saga has caused all the citizens of PNG to be guilty, including Dr Unage.”
I would reassure Pain that I have no sense of guilt, but am very much ashamed as a citizen by the blunder.
Perhaps, the sense of guilt is a projection of Pain’s subconscious.
He is guilty of the blunder committed by his political godfather.


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[> Subject: Re: Not PNG culture to rip elders

Right on
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Date Posted: Wed, Apr 18 2007, 12:58:09pm

Mr. Mamando's superficially charged and shallow reasoning deserves this beating from the learned and astute - Dr Unage.
Mr Mamando’s blind and unorthodox loyalty to Somare in the manner he did in his article has exposed his weak analytical and objective judgment as an intellectual.

I appreciate Dr Unage for shaming and showing to Mamando that he still has more learning to do.

Great article by Dr Unage.

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[> Subject: Re: Not PNG culture to rip elders

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Date Posted: Wed, Apr 18 2007, 01:57:04pm

It is embarrasing for intelectuals to put up illogical pieces like this for the public to see. One would have thought such articles coming from well-educated persons will contain thoroughly thought-out and substantiated arguments that will inform and convince intellectual readers.

Instead what is written is baseless and fueled purely by emotions. As educated elites our role is to uphold and advocate democratic tenets that are the basis of our constitution and livelihood. We must not shut the other eye if the people we like are seen to be encouraging pratices that are contrary to our democratic values.

In the last 5 years the Somare government has been running my country like a comical outfit. It has made controversial decisions that has made PNG the laughing stock of international communities. Decisions that result in the Moti affair, NCDC Act, hastily allocated 5 million kina in the last minute to study the LPV, political appointments and etc...

The time is ripe! It is time to kick the big bad wolf (or should I say pukpuk) in the butt!!!

To Mamando Pain; Just take back what you wrote! Doesn't make sense....not an iota of sense at all.


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[> Subject: Re: Not PNG culture to rip elders

Mamando Pain is an Idiot
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Date Posted: Thu, Apr 19 2007, 03:04:07pm

Just for all you viewers information:

Mamado pain is dreaming for a good job that NA and Somare will grant him. He thinks that he will get this job by praising Somare and NA. But it will never happen and he will regret.

By judging his writings, he doesn't seem to have any logic and reasoning thinking at all. He is just like Somare and NA who is so ignorant cruel!

This same Mamando stole a huge sum of money AusAID put for a Zoo project he proposed in his homeland Pumas in Enga Provinve. The locals were conned into setting up the Zoo which did not eventuate although big bucks have been granted by AusAID. He is deemed a conmen by his tribesmen and people of Apulin.

SO Mamando, please don't make stupid comments on the media! You are a lunatic and a tea boy for Somare and NA.

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[> Subject: Re: Not PNG culture to rip elders

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Date Posted: Mon, Apr 23 2007, 03:01:11pm

I appreciate Mr Mamamando's effort in writing articles to the National. Though, it is commendable, it is becoming annoying and obvious that most of his assertions and topical issues lack depth and poorly thought out.

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