I AM a proud Papua New Guinean studying at the University of Brigham Young in the US, altogether with other students from 72 nations.
Despite the multicultural differences, people get along well and enjoy the international atmosphere.
PNG culture is the most unique.
The fact that we have more than 700 languages is itself of big interest to the students. Some who are studying culture and anthropology are placing more focus on PNG.
An American doctor friend visited PNG in 1985 and although he witnessed tribal fights and other social clashes, he never forgot the superb experience he had at the Goroka Show and the friendly reception he received from a certain village in the Trobriand Islands.
He still values and treasures the pictures he took on the trip, which hang on the walls of his private clinic. To this end, everyone should feel obligated to preserve one’s culture, including the rich virgin botany of flora and fauna, for generations to come.
The danger confronting our society is that the current generation has grown up speaking English and pidgin. We must teach children our native languages.
The government should establish schools that only teach native languages and cultures. An example from the US is the Hawaiian Immersion Programme, which seeks to prevent the Hawaiian language that is dying.
The languages that we speak define and reflect our cultural identities and segregate us from others. It brings pride, confidence and satisfaction.
A careful research can reveal that most of the people from around the world verbalise just one or two vernaculars; unlike hosts of multilingual flooding our shores. As such, we all have a duty to keep the pinnacle of our cultures from perishing.