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Continuing the discussion

July 10 2004 at 11:05 AM
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Mangi Nating 


Response to The place of women in modern PNG society

Hi Ralph,

I must apologize for going off topic here but I feel that this ‘discussion’ we are having is too good to stop. It is rare to find other people interested in such things, especially on general forums, so you can understand my joy at realizing we share some interests. This is not to say there aren’t others here who don’t enjoy this sort of discussions as well, I know there are and I hope they join this discussion.

You are quite right, that it is only ideas that count. I have always favoured the "Think Tank" approach.

I really believe such a thing could work in PNG, and I would be wrong to say that there aren’t any currently in the country because there are, and KSI is one that comes to mind at the moment. What bothers me about our ‘think tanks’ (the organizations) is that there is so much emphasis placed on positions within organizations. It seems that so many of our people want to be leaders, they love the adulation, the pecuniary benefits (that especially) and the feeling of control. I think this is where many of our organizations become ineffective; they lose sight of their purpose and get bogged down in the particulars of running the organization, internal politics and so on. I am not referring to KSI here; I think KSI is an excellent idea.

If one is going to read nonsence, let it be witty nonsense.

My sentiments exactly, and if one is going to watch nonsense, let it be witty nonsense, which is why I try to avoid American sitcoms, and stick to the British.
Regarding Napoleon & History, I love reading about great men (& women) of the past. I don’t know much about Napoleon except that he was Corsican (?) and imprisoned in St Helena etc… As much as I enjoy European history, I think it is important to also read the histories of our own people, and as our history is oral rather than written I have to rely on my people to tell me. I think this generation should start thinking about writing down the myths, legends and histories of our people. For too long we have let Anthropologists and Missionaries write our history, and I believe some of it may be skewed.

What is quite interesting to me at the moment is whether or not Egypt was black. This is a contentious issue, no doubt, but it is important for me to find this out. I feel Hollywood did (and continues to do) a great disservice to the world by presenting Cleopatra as a European (Elizabeth Taylor), Moses as European (Charleton Heston), Jesus as European (James Caviziel) etc… What it does for our youth especially is tell them that all achievements in history have been done by Europeans. Of course someone may counter by saying Hollywood should not be a source of one’s history, but most people take what is shown to them at face value. I don’t think I need to convince you of the effect Rambo had in PNG when it was released. Even to this day you can see some of our criminals try to emulate him (or the Terminator).

It will be intersting to see what forces eventually shape PNG's history.

It’s good that you think forces can shape our history. I believe it is possible for PNG to become an industrialized nation in a fairly short period of time. I don’t think there are any bounds on what we could achieve, and our physical size is no limiting factor.
As to how we can become one, is what I am hoping we could discuss and then implement. Regarding this, Hernando De Soto’s book The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism works in the west & fails everywhere else is an excellent starting point I think. Very briefly, he argues
- for the need to make Law conform to reality as it is on the ground
- for the establishment of property rights over land and houses
- that we should bring the extralegal sector (informal businesses) into the formal sector.

(In vino veritas) - OK yes, I guess if you look at that saying in that way, it is true. I think the infamous Mujo Sefa tapes & Bill Skate are the only warning we need of the dangers of drinking when one is in a position of responsibility.

Yes, you are right, I am in Aotearoa, one of the most beautiful places on earth, and I’m assuming you are either in PNG or Australia. As to going back home, I’m definitely excited about that, although I feel a sense of sadness at leaving a society which I feel has got it right in some respects. I don’t wish to air our dirty laundry from back home out but there are some attitude problems that need adjusting. One particular habit, and you may consider this being petty, is spitting betelnut everywhere. I think this shows a complete lack of respect for one’s environment. It just shows the lack of pride our people have and the apathetic outlook on life they have ‘absorbed’. This can be remedied though, and I’m hopeful when I look at how Singapore developed under Lee Kuan Yew. There are so many ideas (many probably impractical) that I would like to discuss with others here concerning development which I am sure we can put to use in PNG. Chief among them at the moment is the federation.

As to my philosophy, I don’t have anything fixed at the moment. It would be foolish for me to think I knew enough about something to say that was the end of the matter. I admire the German Idealist Kant and am reading around him, getting to grips with his basic ideas. Also Hegel, although I must admit, I don’t read their texts, just commentaries (and very basic commentaries at that). So my view of the world is being shaped by these authors. I am a Christian and believe that there is a God (the trinity) and that Christ is the only truth. But I am willing to listen to what others have to say concerning their beliefs. As to evolution, (and even theistic evolution) I think what underlies these worldviews is not so much a quest for ‘the truth’ as it isjustification for one’s lifestyles. If one can show there is no God than it means one is not accountable for what one does. It always tickles me when people just echo that evolution is purely scientific when they haven’t even bothered to study the facts themselves. They take by faith, what they have heard without realizing evolution is just a theory and there are flaws in its argument. The fact that other people mention it as fact does not make it a fact. I don’t think I could convince you there is a God, and I have heard the arguments that man ‘created’ God and religion is a farce because it is about manipulation etc… but I still think most of this wailing against God is really self-justification for the wailers. One can only know God through the experience of conversion, without the conversion experience, it is like learning to swim without having ever been near water.

What nationality are you? I’m guessing you are German; I would like to learn the language, if only to access the great works of German literature in their original. I have read some Goethe in English, but I don’t think the translation did him justice. If you learned German, perhaps you could guide me as to what books to use.

Before I finish I must admit, I do sound pretentious at times, but believe me I am being sincere. It would be insincere for me not to say what I do.



 
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