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  • Yes indeed.
    • Ralph Hamilton
      Posted Aug 30, 2004 6:46 AM

      Hi MN,
      I sgree. My opinion of Malaysia and Indonesia is coloured by the utterances of the press, and various politicians. Along with ny belief in nothing, I have a motto I live my life by. "Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see."

      You are correct also about our lack of a culture in Australia. That is one of our great problems. It was foisted upon us by the way we were established. I am a fifth generation Australian. My Grandfather's Grandfather came over from Scotland, and established Tambo property, in the central-west of Queensland. My family has always had a great regard for tradition. But let us not discuss Australia's problems, unless they impinge upon PNG.

      Our lack of "culture" does not make my remarks any less true. Shooting down the messanger, does not negate the message. I am aware of the PNG adaption of Reggae music. It is just the wholesale importation of American culture, that worries me. Not just for PNG. Our Aboriginal youth is adopting American Rap. The seem to love the term "motherf*cker" repeated AD INFINITUM, ET AD NAUSEUM.

      Yes I have met many Australians who do not speak well of PNG. Many of them know nothing of the country, and little of the customs. Despite the fact, that many of them lived there ten or fifteen years. I ignore those people, and I tell everyone I know, to ignore them too. Their favourite description of PNG people is "rock apes". You have no foubt come across their ilk.

      Most of those people lived in PNG when the Kina was woth AUD$1.58. (Not so long ago.) That is why they went there. Job K40,000 or more - house supplied and a car - plus expenses where applicable. They set themselves up for life, in ten years or so. Yet had no regard for the country, or its people. I know this is subjective - but the most racist people I met in PNG, were white NZ women. I found it necessary to take one to task one day, over something she said to a young Papuan lady. I made sure I spoke loudly enough, to be overheard by the lady concerned.

      Once more I agree, over the term "Masta". I refused to be addressed by that term. On my first trip to Goroka, I was called Masta, by a PNG guy who was probably as old as I am now. When I mentioned this to Benny Elefay, (the local tech from Lae). Benny said. "It is best he shows you some respect.". My reply was. "The Lapun is much older than me - I should be showing him respect." As this was only my first or second visit, my attitude to these things won me some kudos, and eventually Benny's friendship. It only requires the ability to read and listen, to absorb some of the cutural nicities, of the country you are in.

      The remark "Why should the common people know about the ECP? It is costing them nothing." I dismissed that out of hand. I thought it was too frivilous to comment upon.

      However, I do still think you are generalising about white people too much. If a white person is a citizen of PNG, and meets all residential requirements. Why should that make them ineligible for the top job? Lady Carol leaps to mind of course, but there are others. Whlist I do not believe they would do a better job than a PNG National, at least the "wantokism" charge, could not be levelled at them. This charge is often used without grounds, but the mud sticks all the same.

      Until everyone thinks of themselves a PNGians first, and Goilans, Simbus, Motuans, etc, second. This accusation will always stick. This will require a paradigm shift in the national mentality. Perhaps opening the OZ borders, and allowing a work exchange program for young PNG people, may speed that process up. At the worst, it would do no harm. I however, would prefer to see a time limit set on it. That way the young people would go home, to contribute to their country. There are problems with your status within your village, because of your long absense, during the critical years of establising your position among your own people. You are no doubt aware of this problem. I think this accounts for a lot of the students, not wanting to return.

      Hopefully we will meet in PNG one day.

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