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Date Posted: Fri, May 18 2007, 08:10:53pm

Predicting the up coming 2007 General Elections in Enga is getting very interesting for which I am sure, we all have our own reasons to why we make such divinations. Predictions to an extent where we zero down options to what kind of leaders we want (interestingly ironic); young & educated, for the people, religious, peace loving etc.
In general, majority of Engans have prematurely concluded that someone who is seen as being wealthy automatically becomes a leader, finally being the ultimatum, a political leader.

Any political leader that contests the up and forthcoming elections and preaches about stipulating services for free or development as never been brought forward by langsyne- politicians is purely trivial. To be honest, as being an Engan, we have heard all these allegiances and if I am not wrong, it’s all been prevarications and diddles, if not all, standard hollow promises.

The power to choose someone who is corrupt, misleading, dishonest, educated, illiterate, presumably religious (which most politicians initially claim to be) or someone who is true, capable, right and is believed to be the chosen one is in each and every individuals hands. Making the right decision, that choice, that self-submissiveness to cast a single vote to elect such a politician is the issue. The Engan way of approaching elections need to come to an end. After the death of the late Malipu Balakau, election back at home has totally dilapidated. Bribery, money-play, empty promises (conning), dishonest vote casting (smuggle ballot papers/boxes), use of firearms, have all summed up negatively, being reflected only by a major setback in terms of development and services in the province. On the contrary, a media embellished Enga becomes the talk of the day in other parts of the country. Very familiar statements that any Engan in other parts of the country will hear at the mention of household names like Peter Ipatas, Don Polye, John Pundari, Masket Iangalio etc, include; Action Governor, Right Deputy PM, Maestro Economist or the most Illustrious Speaker of Parliament. Now, these mentioned heads, to be honest, have basically done nothing for the mother province. If they claim to have done what was/is required of them as elected political members, apparently there is no sign of their inputs or efforts. All that is so evident now is the ‘deprived wealth’ they enjoy.

The Free Education Policy for Enga Students we have in place since 1995 is only a banner for political power and knavish strategy executed by the Ipatas Government. The truth to take note is that, it really doesn’t matter whoever becomes the Enga Governor, the Free Education Policy will still continue. (In my next edition, I will explain, clarify, prove and justify that there are Advantages and Disadvantages of having a Free Education Policy in place, everywhere, anywhere. The extremist of the Disadvantages of having a Free Education Policy as taken its toll in Enga and has gone unnoticed.)

Believe it or not, Enga is crumbling and tumbling down fast. Ordinary lived people back home would not really understand the progressive state of the province as everything seems a norm. It is and will be a complicated swing to instigate a well structured awareness campaign to inform the current ethnocentrism society in Enga that the current problems we have is both directly and indirectly akin to Politics. From an observatory position, it is pinpointing(ly) eminent that once again, politics is the abruptest virus that as infected both young and elderly alike in our society where the essence of infrastructural services (education system, health system, roads systems, communication systems) and socio-economical progress is entirely misconceived.
Why burn down hospitals (aid-posts), schools, remove bridges, disrupt power-supply, tie up pigs in airstrips, assault teachers, and the list goes on………when at the end of the day, the people themselves (we) suffer. A quick look at the last fifteen years in terms of progressive development, Enga Province has semi-achieved what would have been at present be termed as ‘truly well developed province’. The current governor can be criticized for his political role in seeing a wealthy province like Enga so stagnant ‘but’ on the contrary, his efforts whether be the subsiding of school fees, construction of bridges, building of commercial complexes, aid posts, schools etc is only evident of what is done by any politician.

Critical analysis of the reasons to why there is continuous hindrance to any form of appreciated development is simply an Attitude Problem. Paragraph five (5) highlights an ethnocentrism society (belief in the superiority of one's own ethnic group) that is predominantly coexisting as the province is driven in a full – frontal encounter with modernization. Individuals back in the village (especially of this generation), need to be properly addressed and informed to accept the development and services brought to them. In this up coming elections, any politicians contesting is challenged to set up his or her strategies solely aimed at winning peoples heart in changing their attitudes.

It is profoundly complex to convince a single person to change his or her way of thinking, acting and behaving but for Enga to change, all winning politicians must critically have plans to enforce all that is in place to inform people back at home (respective electorates) that the local and political way of thinking needs to come to an end if we are to ever progress at all in terms of development.

Finally, I am of the opinion that once people tend to ‘gradually’ change their attitude (way of accepting changes), then and only then, development and services in the province will last longer.

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Date Posted: Mon, May 21 2007, 12:54:20pm

Very impressive observations Denden. As you pointed out well, the fast influence of the modern society on a primitive society that never had the chance to adjust like Europe, going through different stages of development to that which they are now.

Election is by the way a modern concept and not many people especially in Enga are aware of the outcome of them casting their votes. Many Engan adults dont have the opportunity to be educated with the election process what happens at the end of the day after they make a decision to vote someone in. Voting is not traditional to Engan Society. In actual fact the modern era that has been imposed in the province has not been taken well in the province.

If you take a look around, people dont know how to mix the two different cultures. Most people in the province are opting for the modern influence, which is why there is lots of people who have foregone their gardening habits and waste time and effort in Bingo and Card places where most of their productive hours are wasted just to gamble for a K10.00 for the whole day. People who have opted for the city lights have ended up selling bettelnuts on the streets, living in rat and mosquito infested house, with no fresh water to drink, and sleeping in unhygienic conditions. Compare that with those who are able to work the land at home. They have fresh cold water from the streams, fresh vegetables from home, breathing clean air, no mosquitoes.. etc.

Now, if i was in New York for the first time, i would need a guide, dont i? Without a guide, i would get lost in the big city. Apply the same analogy to the current situation. People who dont know how to survive the Modern world are being brought into a different culture, where they dont know how to live that kind of lifestyle. General Elections are just shoved down peoples neck, without explaing properly what peoples rights are and educting them properly. No wonder we have this big-man mentality, because thats what Engan society preaches, if you have 20 pigs and marry more than 2 wives, you must be a rich man. Well, take a look at the General elections and you see the similarity. Modern Voting systems can not be compared to Big-Man system in Enga. When there is no proper education, the people only know that kind of leadership mode and they just automatically switch their mind to it.

A great example is the Tari people at Gordons market. They are trying to bring their Tari custom to Port Moresby, and surely modern Papua New Guineans find them an eyesore in the city. Lots of other cultures in PNG are facing the same challenge. To be able to survive in this modern PNG, we need to be well educated with the modern culture and hold onto our culture, making sure we apply them in whatever setting that requires us to do that.

I for one see that, awareness is lacking in all aspects of life. If we have to promote some of the good things about western culture, like healthy living, healthy food, exercise, making use of time etc.. and bing productive, then all we have to do is look for ways to educate the people, until they know what we are talking about. It is like that analogy that i refered to earlier on. If i was new in New York, i need to have a guide to show me which places to go. At the moment, the Tari's have been dumped in New York with no guide, so they do their best trying to survive by doing what they know best. I believe the same is happening in Enga.

Education can change attitudes.....

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