Thursday, March 31, 2011



Crossing Yanang creek at Raroge, and walking to Malam village – ples bilong mi


Mr Sam Gogey, Malam Village


Traditional Dancer, Malam Village


Traditional Dancers, Malam Village


My aunt Julie, holding a joey caught during a hunting trip, Malam Village- Western Province, Papua New Guinea


Women and children, Malam Village


Women and Children at MALAM Village


Bituri creek, Limol Village, Western Province, Papua New Guinea

Copy (2) of IMGP4004

A boy in a dug-out canoe, Bituri Creek


@ Malam. Game caught during hunting – a wallaby and a snake


@ Malam. My  cousin (in purple shirt) and I planting sago


Shredding the inner pulp of the sago palm


Squeezing the starch out of the pulp


Cooking sago at Wim Village


The main street that runs through Malam Village


A house a Wim Village, South Fly District, Western Province


Yam garden at Wim Village


South Fly District Office, Wipim


Wipim Health Center- notice the empty drug boxes


Fish at Wipim


The dirt road along the TansFly Region, near Wonye Village. The tractor broke down and I walked from Wonye to Oriomo.


Wonye Village


That’s me walking the dirt road to Oriomo to catch a dinghy to Daru


A widow wearing traditional mourning dress. This is a dying tradition – no pun intended. KUR village



Barramundi caught at the mouth of the Oriomo River, Western Province


The Oriomo River


Travelling the Oriomo River


Sunset at Oriomo


My cousins at Daru, Western Province


My brothers and I at the waterfront at Daru, Western Province, Papua New Guinea

Transparency International (PNG) Grows

Speaking during the Annual General Meeting held yesterday the Chairman of Transparency International (PNG) Inc. Lawrence Stephens, revealed the increase in membership and funding of the organization. In 2010, TIPNG had 167 individual members representing a 66% increase. Corporate membership also increased to 38 members from 31 the previous year. He however highlighted the need for more membership. "Given the number of people who talk about transparency, we should have more people," Mr. Stephens said.

Mr. Stephens spoke highly of the contributions of staff and members of the board. He said he accepted the role of Chairman after Mr. Peter Aitsi stepped down because of "the strengths of the people who support the role." As a citizen, Mr. Stephens said he was appalled at the accumulation of wealth by individuals and organizations via corrupt means.

He's sentiments were supported by TIPNG Director, Mr. Richard Kassman. Mr. Kassman said that fighting corruption was risky and the staff were doing a brilliant job. Mr. Stephens also stressed that a lot of work is being done and needs to be done. He said many individuals who didn't have the courage to speak out against corruption applauded the work of TIPNG.

Several resolutions were then passed at the AGM. First, the amendments to the rules of association concerned the holding of the AGM and changes in the address and registered office. In explaining the shifting of the date for the AGM, Mr. Kassman noted that TIPNG, being a small organization was unable to get an audit of its books before the AGM. The auditors were unable to do so due to the workload and demands from larger corporate clients. Changes to the registered office were necessary as TIPNG had moved from the Moguru Moto building in Town to the IPA building at Konedobu.

Due to the unavailability of audited financial reports, it was suggested by Mr. Kassman that a motion be moved for the adjournment of the meeting. Mr. Kassman argued that as institution promoting good governance, it was incumbent on the Board to be able to present audited reports to the members present for their consideration. A motion for the adjournment of the meeting was moved and passed by the members. Matters relating to the appointment of Auditors and the Election of the Board were thus forwarded to the next meeting to be held on the 29th of June this year.

Mr. Stephens asked members if there were other matters to be discussed. Members noted the need for TIPNG to explain its role as an advocate for good governance working in partnership and alone to promote that cause. TIPNG they said was not there to police corruption the responsibility of which, lies with relevant state agencies. In agreeing, Mr. Stephens told a story of two drunks arguing with each other and one drunkard saying to the other "I'm going to report you to TIPNG!"

The challenge posed by the 167 individual and 38 corporate members of TIPNG is for everyone join the fight against corruption. Mr. Stephens's reason for fighting corruption was simple and patriotic. "I'm a citizen of Papua New Guinea; I'm not going anywhere else." He said.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


This is my last blog post for the Month. I have written a lot more this month than any other month before. It has been an expensive exercise. I make about K20 per day selling iceblocks. The betelnut and cigarettes and other stuff are actually my mums. It costs K12 to buy ice-block cups and cordial and K5 for 13 megabytes of data. I am therefore left with K3 which I use to buy phone credits. So in the end of the day I got nothing.

Yesterday evening as I was drinking the left-over iceblocks and counting the coins I asked myself –QUO VADIS? Where do I go from here?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What I would do as Prime Minister

I do not know if Camilo had heard of Danton's maxim for revolutionary movements,

"Audacity, audacity, and more audacity."
__Che Guevara


The office of the Prime Minister is established under s.142 of the Constitution of Papua New Guinea. The role and responsibilities of the PM are further discussed in the sections that follow up to s.149.


In the unlikely event that I was to become Prime Minister I would deliberately work towards bringing to the surface the latent nationalism that exists with-in the masses. One only sees this outpouring of national pride around independence celebrations or when the Kumuls are playing. I believe most Papua New Guineans are disappointed by the many failures of the nation - not just the loses of the Kumuls. However, somewhere under the 'I don't give a damn about this country' attitude, there is a sense that things need to improve. Herein lies the potential to mobilize the citizens of this nation to improve our current situation.


How would I bring positive change in the lives of the citizens? Before I outline my plan let me set out the context of that plan. I will use as my guide the factors that the Chinese General Sun Tzu identified as crucial for consideration. In The Art Of War Sun Tzu writes;


The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

These are: (1) the Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) the Commander; (5) method and discipline.

  • The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.
  • Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons.
  • Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death.
  • The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage and strictness.
  • By method and discipline are to be understood the marshaling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure.


Let me now consider each of the factors with-in the PNG context.


1. Moral Law


Sun Tzu is referring to the Bases of Legitimacy as identified by Max Webber i.e. legitimations of the sovereign state based on tradition, charisma/faith and by legal statute. Taken with-in the PNG context the idea of the Moral Law would refer to the legitimacy and relevance of the State in the lives of the citizens. No-one in PNG questions the relevance of the state. That is evident in statements typified by 'gavman mas wokim dispel samtin', etc… where there is lacking, people assume that by default it is the states responsibility to fill in the gap. This is consistent with Edmund Burke's statement that "the state is a contrivance of human wisdom for the fulfillment of human needs".

By acknowledging the existence of the 'gavman', do the people therefore legitimize its existence? I beg to differ. In my opinion, the people question the legitimacy of the state. For example, there is a difference of opinion over the common law principle of crown ownership of natural resources. For a Papua New Guinean, wanem samtin stap antap o aninit lo graun blo mi em blo mi. This is the basis of the conflicts between the state and the people beginning with the Bougainville crisis and currently manifested in the Southern Highlands. The defiance of court orders and the lack of social cohesion and social order illustrate the crisis of legitimacy.


The crisis of legitimacy arises from the fact that the basis of legitimacy of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea is what Max Weber described as 'domination by virtue of legality.' In the words of Buri Kidu in Supreme Court Reference No 2 of 1976 "The Constitution came into effect on 16th September 1975, and cannot have a retrospective operation; it created a new order…" Therefore, the basis of the legitimacy of the new order is the Constitution since it is the Constitution that created the new order. The state is legitimate so long as the people are willing to obey the Constitution… see my blog article titled The Seventh Parliament.


2. HEAVEN & 3. Earth


Heaven and Earth signify the environmental variables that influence progress or the lack of it. Papua New Guinea is a geologically young country having being formed 12 million years ago by the collision of the Australasian and Pacific plates. It is a tectonically active region due to the subduction of the Pacific Plate by the Australasian. It is subject to atmospheric conditions generated by changes in the Southern Oscillation Index resulting in La Nina and El Nino weather patterns. Being located near the equator it has a tropical climate – equatorial towards the north and monsoonal in the south-western region. It is biologically diverse and environmentally challenging. Warm tropical seas host multiple coral reefs and tuna spawning grounds. There are massive flood plains surrounding the Fly and Sepik rivers with a large delta region in the Gulf of Papua. Tropical islands are scattered along the Louisade and Bismarck archipelagoes. A central spine of mountain ranges runs along the major island of New Guinea.


Development plans must take into account these realities. Geological forces and geographical features of the land and sea will influence development outcomes. It is not just about preserving the environment as directed by the Fourth National Goal and Directive Principle (Natural resources and environment) but also the consideration these variables when venturing on any developmental project.




What Sun Tzu is referring to is the Tok Pisin term "Pasin".
Pasin does not just refer to attitude rather more importantly it stresses values. It isn't a moral code but it concerns social etiquette. For example, if a Highlander/New Guinean does a big favour for you he expects no less 'compensation' than a pig. If you do not give him a pig he would say 'em nogat pasin yah, pipia man/meri'. Luksave is also a social etiquette term. Yu mas luksave lo ol lain. It is about acknowledgment of people.

In order to motivate and mobilize the nation these social skills must be utilized by agents of the State. The aspirations of the people and the general will must be expressed in policies and plans. Papua New Guineans are currently treated not citizens but subjects of the state by agents of the state.


The treatment of teachers by the Education department illustrates the lack of luksave lo wok ol tisa I mekim na wankain tu lo Helt department na pasin em mekin lo ol dokta.


These Papua New Guinean ways are called for by the Fifth National Goal and Directive Principle (Papua New Guinean ways)


The State missed the plot in Bougainville when it didn't understand the social/cultural context of the people, especially the fact that land is passed along matrilineal lines. The state continues to fail in its understanding of traditional Melanesian Pasin. It isn't because the agents of the state are culturally illiterate although some may be; it is largely due to greed and pursuit of individual ambitions over the common good.


5. Method and Discipline


Method and Discipline are described in this account Ssu-ma Ch`ien (c. 145 BC – 86 BC). According to the account, Sun Tzu was asked if he could test his theories on women. He said yes and so the emperor brought 180 women from the Palace. Sun Tzu allocated them into two groups and gave them simple commands to follow. When he commanded the women they just giggled. Sun Tzu ordered the beheading of the leaders of each group. After that he appointed new leaders and gave the commands. This time the ladies obeyed his commands.

Sun Tzu said; "If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, the general is to blame. But if his orders are clear, and the soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers."


That is the nature of the problem with this nation. A poorly educated population is unable to meaningfully participate in the modern state. Being disenfranchised, there is a tendency towards chaos and disregard for the commands of the state. The general is to be blamed because the orders do not resonate with the masses.


This brings me back to my original question; if I were Prime Minister, How would I bring positive change to the lives of the citizens?


In my article The Political economy of Everything that is wrong in developing Papua New Guinea, I argue that the education system disempowers many by not providing the necessary tools for survival in either the cash economy or the subsistence economy.


I was surprised to find out last night that actually, this was pretty much what Adam Smith talked about in the first few paragraphs of the introduction to his work titled AN INQUIRY INTO THE NATURE AND CAUSES OF THE WEALTH OF NATIONS. Adam Smith states that "Whatever be the soil, climate, or extent of territory of any particular nation, the abundance or scantiness of its annual supply must, in that particular situation, depend upon those two circumstances." The two circumstances he refers to are;

    1.    "The skill, dexterity, and judgment with which its labour is generally applied"

2.    "The proportion between the number of those who are employed in useful labour, and that of those who are not so employed"


If I were to be PM I would ensure that education up to Year 12 is free and compulsory. There wouldn't be any grade 8 and grade 10 exams, however students would have to pass an end of year exam set by the school in order to move to the next grade or else they repeat a year. By the end of Year 12 each student should have a trade certificate along with the Higher School certificate. The aim of educating the population would be to prepare them to meaningfully participate with-in the modern economy and society.


In order for Papua New Guineans to meaningfully participate in social, political, employment and business opportunities they must be adequately trained by the education system. The current lack of participation of Papua New Guineans in all these areas stems from the capacity constraints they feel as a result of being insufficiently educated.


Secondly, I would improve the communications systems and infrastructure. In 2009 the Lowy Institute published a paper concerning economic issues and poverty in PNG. The paper highlighted amongst other things the need for better linkages between centers of economic activity and the rest of the population. Poor transportation networks are a hindrance to trade and labour mobility. Rural people have enormous difficulty moving goods to and from markets and accessing essential services such as banking and healthcare. The type of transportation each region needs would depend on the geographical particularities of that region.


Having access to accurate up to date news and information is also vital. Access to Market news, health/educational information, financial services, etc… depends on a cheap, efficient and reliable communications network. This also improves the data collection capacity of state agencies ensuring far more accurate information about the country. There needs to be more competition in the mobile phone and internet market to ensure this becomes reality.


A sound and efficient communications network serves as the plumbing for the movement of labour, capital, goods and information as well as the mode of transmission of power and influence of the state.


Thirdly, investing in good governance by enhancing the capabilities of institutions of Accountability will restore order in the current chaos. Funding is needed to enhance the capacity of the Law and justice sector to ensure the upholding of the Law. As I mentioned earlier, the modern state of Papua New Guinea is a product of the Law called the Constitution. The legitimacy of the state is therefore dependent on obedience to the law. It is therefore imperative that there be investment in the institutions, techniques and instruments that ensure subjugation to the law.


Thus investments in education, communication and governance are important empowering tools that enable the population to participate in the social, economic and political life of the nation. Every other function of the state depends on the governance/security of the state, the communications network and an educated workforce to discharge the duties of the state. I am aware that the major disincentive for government services reaching the vast majority of our people is the remoteness and isolation of the communities and the lack of security.


Through education we empower more people and by ensuring non-corruptible government systems we ensure equal opportunity for everyone. Good communications networks ensure people have the necessary information to make good decisions and are able to move to seek better opportunities in life.


Clausewitz warns "All things in war are simple but even the simplest things are difficult because of the concept of friction". In PNG, FRICTION arises as a result of conflicting parochial interests. For Sun Tzu, friction is avoided by eliminating the cause of the friction. In a democracy, politics doesn't work like that. Weber describes 'politics' as "… striving to share power or striving to influence the distribution of power, either among states or among groups within a state".

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Phone-ographic Affair

Dedicated to THE-ONE-i-NEED, _____ mi vida eres tu

"Hola, como estas?" the message flashed on my mobile phone screen. "hola amigo, muy bien y tu como estas?" I replied. "soy de Panama y tu?" came the reply. "soy de Papua New Guinea y tu que hace" I responded. That was last year when I used to chat with a lot of Latinos online picking up a few spanglish phrases along the way. I accidently dropped my phone and broke the screen and that was the end of that.

Since the introduction of mobile phones in Papua New Guinea there has been an acceleration of the sexual liberation began by our famous 'dokta koap,' Dr Clement Malau. Dr Malau shall go down in history as one of the greatest social reformers of our time.

I wonder if the eighteenth century English poet William Blake was referring to the mobile phone when he wrote;

"To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour"

It is amazing how micro-chip smaller than a grain of sand reveals a colourful world in the palm of your hand via your mobile phone.

In a country where opportunities in life are scarce and social interaction is limited to those with-in ones ecological niche the mobile phone has expanded one's reach. Whether its arranging 'dinau koap' or just phone-sex the mobile phone has become an indispensible tool for free loving.

I suppose for many, the mantra is "it isn't illegal unless you get caught." I received a text the other day that read: "welcome to digisex customer care, lo lainim lo we blo mekim bebi pressim 69, lo lainim lo we blo mekim love pressim 43, lo kisim moa toktok pressim 32 na holim blo yu yet." Obviously each of the numbers means something explicit. Thus the CREDIT ME function becomes useful when one doesn't have phone credits to call and text. 24 means I got no credits, 99 means good night and 60 means hurry up and 10 means thank you.

In chat rooms provided by a mobile company, numbers are publicized for anyone wanting private conversations with the advertiser. Most people are just looking for fun – a casual experience with no strings attached. Things can however get serious and there have been numerous reports of marital problems due to cheating via the mobile phone.

There's a girl who sells betelnut on the opposite side of the road from where I am street vending. She was flown into Port Moresby by her phone pal. She thought he was a single young man. Tasol nogat, em bin marit man yah! He was a married man and the relationship never worked out. She seems to have settled in well on the other side of the road.

In 2009 the headmaster of the largest primary school in Papua New Guinea - Wardstrip Primary School - admitted during the graduation ceremony that mobile porn had was rife at his school. It is no secret that many children with internet enabled phones are downloading, watching and distributing pornographic material. If you notice boys or girls congregating around a phone or portable media player they're mostly likely to be watching porn. Anything from rape, incest, child pornography, bestiality, gay, bi and straight porn is viewed.

I have a more pragmatic approach to the situation. When boys watch porn at my buai maket, I engage in nonjudgmental dialogue instead of trying to take a moral high ground. Instead of acting holier than thou, I prefer discussing issues around sex such as safe sex, HIV&AIDS, biology of sexual reproduction, family planning, etc… Obviously, the conversations are very explicit and no one feels as if it is outside their comfort zone due to the context of the talk.

I also warn students not to save any of the incriminating evidence on their devices. I remind them that the internet is always available so they shouldn't risk getting caught by cops or suspended from school.

The fact is many young minds are being corrupted. I try to give those who I interact with a more rounded perspective on sex. Some key points I try to get across include the distinction between love and sex. In any relationship sex doesn't equate to love. I tell them that two porn-stars do not have to be in love to be having sex. Thus I remind those in relationships that they do not necessarily have to have sex with the one they love just to prove that they're in love with each other.

Another point I make is that sex does not equate to making babies. One can have great sex without procreating. This is where advice on safe sex and family planning come in to play. I find many of the boys very receptive and respectful of my opinion. Boys who see the hardships of urban dwelling respond well to my advice on limiting the number of dependents. I explain in detail the various contraceptive methods and the practicalities of using any one of them. One question I'm regularly asked is whether there are pills to prevent guys from procreating, to which I reply –NO.

I find that pornography is fulfilling the gap in sex education for many of our young people. Today's kids are more tech-savvy and knowledgeable than the previous generation. Unfortunately, they do not have filters to separate facts from fiction. As children, they are more gullible and take everything on face value. They want to know more about the science and art of sex.

I got a brilliant text message a couple of years ago that said;

    Sex is an art when done with a lover,

Business transaction when done with a whore,

Family obligation when done with your wife,

Charity when done with a widow,

Sacrifice when done with your hands


Just recently, I was told that I now have a nickname- DOKTA BRAINWASH. I'm glad it isn't dokta kondom or dokta koap like the Secretary for Health.



It is amusing to see doctors having to go on strike over pay. Pay strikes are not necessary if union leaders do their job well.

All matters regarding payments come through normal budgetary allocations in the National Budget. The Budget is a legal instrument enacted by Parliament, regarding the DISTRIBUTION OF NATIONAL WEALTH.

Union leaders must ensure that any pay rise negotiated is adjusted for in the National Budget by the relevant state agencies. Thus, the Union Leaders only need to check the Budget papers to see if pay adjustments have been accommodated for.

Failure to do so only perhaps underscores a lack of understanding of systems and processes of government. Blind leaders then lead blind union members on a merry-go-around.

The folks who understand budgetary process know that no pay rise is possible unless it is allocated for in the Budget. Doctors won't be getting a pay rise if the adjustments aren't in the 2011 Budget. Now they have to obey a Court order slapped on them by the clever people at Morauta Haus.


Em ol bata stret


Aste ol boi blo group

Kisim wara lo street

Na Ol i tok nogut

Em ol bata stret


Ol bin kisim sans

Lo wanpla coffee punch

Ol i serim cup

Na ol i sindaun stap


Behain wanpla tok

Skwad coffee i no wok

Yumi painim stim

Na yumi olgeda drin


Ol i pekim scrum

Na wokabaut i kam

Ol i walks mentol

Na kar i bamin ol

Friday, March 25, 2011


Divine conversation

Waiting for the call forever

And never stop hoping

That Today will deliver

You from your aching

Coz when all is gone

You feel dumb and numb

As a little weak pawn

Crushed to tiny crumbs


Checking through your messages

And flipping through the pages

For a little ray of sunshine

But there is ne'er a sign

Dejected, is this for your sin

Rejected, tossed into the bin

What have you done?

My lost and lonely son


Father, I've written words

Mightier than swords

Of I feel for my brother

And my love for another

That keeps me sane

Through all my pain

I write for empathy

Not for sympathy


So tell me Father

How much more further

Till I see green pastures

When, in future?

Will pawn be king

Rejected be accepted

Retrieved from bin

And at Your table be seated







Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Living in different Worlds

Ask any Papua New Guinean about the type of future they envisage for this nation and the general response in of a modern developed state. Then ask the same group of people if they wish to do away with many of their traditional practices and there is an emphatic NO! The popular belief is that the nation can be modernized whilst keeping its cultural baggage.

I guess the issue for me is that how do you decide what to keep and what to let go? On the other extreme shouldn't we just do away with our cultural baggage and move on into the 21st Century? The most fundamental question that has remained unanswered is "how do we define a modern Papua New Guinean state that is relevant to all ethnic and cultural groups?"

To illustrate the conundrum facing this nation one has to look at how our country is represented to the outside world. Apart from the flag and coat of arms, there is obvious lack of clarity over symbols that give meaning to the name of our nation. Thus in some international sporting events we want to copy the kiwis and put up a war dance similar to the haka. Last year you couldn't even identify what "national dress" Miss PNG was adorned during the Miss South Pacific Pageant. Someone described Mss PNG's costume as a "Sydney Madi Gras Outfit." Should Miss PNG have worn a meri blouse and laplap or six-pocket cargo shorts and Mur Iau jersey of the Rabaul Gurias?

Edmund Burke writes that "one of the fundamental rules of civil society is that no man shall be judge unto his own cause". This is contradicted by Thomas Paine's argument that "a man, by natural right, has a right to judge in his own cause." And the issue is somewhat settled in The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau states that "social order is a sacred right which serves as a basis for all other rights."

Thus we can now see one critical factor that is grossly lacking in Papua New Guinea – the maintenance of social order. Clearly, the state has lost its bearings over this issue thus the citizens are deprived of their rights. We are a nation of people who live in fences like farm animals and convicted criminals. There is very little cross cultural interaction that is necessary for creating a national conversation and a national psych that may lead to a national consensus on defining our national identity. Only the state can maintain social order because it alone has coercive powers.

Why do I believe having a national identity and symbols of that identity are important? I believe having a sense of what it means to be a Papua New Guinean is the basis of identifying with the issues affecting the country and becoming responsible for addressing them. What we have currently is tribalism and neo-tribalism.

The chaos we see in the corridors of power and the battlefields in rural and urban areas arises from a lack of luksave long ol narapela bikos mipela ino wanlain [a national bond between people]. Without a common identity, I cannot see how ethnically diverse people with differing/conflicting interests can work towards achieving common goals such as the Vision 2050 without first serving their own selfish interests.

There are already secessionist rumblings from various corners of the country including comments by prominent political leaders. With the prospect of Bougainville becoming independent, is the Balkanization of Papua New Guinea inevitable?

Letters for the thrash can


"MAN was born free, and he is everywhere in chains" Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)

It has been a challenging couple of years for me so far. And yes, one does feel the enormous pressure of not being able to fit into people's preconceptions of success.

In Swan Lake, Tchaikovsky questions reality as perceived by an individual – the perception of self and the world around. This bipolar and schizophrenic masterpiece unfolds with magnificent choreography.

I send a lot of job applications out. From the outset I assumed I could be a shoe-in for a lot of what I had applied for. Well, it aint the case. Over time reality sets in and I realize I am no match to many other contenders. The tone of my letters changes and all my eagerness and optimism turns to pessimism. Obviously, I tried to couch my pessimism in various terms. However, recently I probably was at one of my low points when I sent this covering letter;


Dear Sir/Madam




I am writing in response to an advert placed in the Post Courier newspaper on the 28th of January 2011, regarding the recruitment of xxxxxxxx.


I probably don't have much of chance being recruited so I won't give you a load of bull about how good I think I am. You probably wouldn't care less anyway.


Basically, I dropped out of Medical School after 4 years of studying to be a doctor and am faced with the grim reality of having to start all over again. I need to restart somewhere-somehow and so when I saw your ad in the paper I decided to apply. I'd be really grateful if you pick me - maybe it's just wishful thinking. I applied because I wouldn't want to go to my grave regretting that I never tried to take every opportunity.


I hope you give me a chance to prove my worth to society. To me this isn't about 'getting a job', it's about being a productive member of society, earning some respect and getting over my inferiority-complex. That's not to say I'm dispassionate about becoming an xxxxxx I just don't want to be overly optimistic.


I am keenly looking forward to an interview and/or deployment at any time convenient to you. I hope you consider my application favourably.


Attached are relevant documentations for your consideration.


Kind regards



Martyn Namorong (Mr.)

NB: I've written so many application letters in formal English with zero success; my informality does not in any way intend to belittle your cranial capacity. Writing unsuccessful job applications in impeccable English when the applications may have ended up in a trash can, has been a sobering experience.

Like all my previous letters I never got any response. The letter lies somewhere in the thrash if it hasn't already been shredded and burnt.

The only thing I have is hope. I just have to continue patiently climb this mountain of mine. As the poet William Blake wrote; "GREAT things are done when men and mountains meet." And perhaps it is also time to switch off Swan Lake and listen to Bach's Brandenburg or Handel's Water Music.

Population Pressures

My mother groan'd, my father wept;

Into the dangerous world I leapt,

From Infant Sorrow by William Blake



Life is about survival of genetic material. Procreation is the act of propagation and perpetual continuation of genes. The body is just a construct of genes that the genes use to ensure genetic material is transferred. Once transferred the gene no longer needs the body. The body ages and withers while the gene has ensured its survival through the offspring of the deceased.


Childhood is supposed to be a wonderful carefree experience. I certainly had a wonderful childhood. Growing up in the bush has its risks but communities are smaller and everyone knows everybody. I loved fishing, canoeing, and collecting jungle fruit. Most afternoons were spent in rivers, creeks or swamps in the Western Province. Even sago, which I find unpalatable now used to taste so nice.


For many city kids this is not the case. I guess I am stating the obvious so I won't dwell so much on the issue.


My concern is that even with our high infant and maternal mortality rates the population is growing rather unsustainably. This is typical of Third World nations but that is no excuse for not addressing the issue. It is estimated that the population growth is between 2 to 3 percent annually.


This growth now manifests itself in various forms. In rural areas population pressure has triggered disputes over land and access to resources. Land disputes are now prevalent in almost every community. Questions over ownership linger and frustration boils over into violence. Indeed, much of the land dispute is centered within families, clans and tribes and not necessarily with the neighbours.


Many physically matured people still think like kids when it comes to sharing of resources. Individualist consumerism is taking over from our previous communalist existence. This is compounded b the lack of social cohesion especially in urban centers. Are people being selfish or is it self-preservation – the rat race for resources.


Our cities and towns now have gangs of very young street kids particularly boys who scavenge and beg on the streets.


I even link my current circumstance to this trend. I become more Darwinian in my outlook on life. The uncertainties I have of my future prospects has made me form the view of myself as perhaps being the weakest of the species. This also challenges me find an ecological niche for me to survive in. Each year higher education institutions pump out thousands of graduates with degrees, diplomas and certificates. The labour market is very competitive and some of us without tertiary qualifications don't stand a chance. Natural selection has a cruel way of filtering out the weak.


Humans are as altruistic as they are selfish. Population pressures are bringing out the animal in many people in this nation. Self preservation means serving one's own selfish interests. Ensuring the continuity of the genome manifests in providing favours for the offspring by using ones position of influence to serve the family interest viz securing jobs for the boys, spaces in academic institutions, etc… Thus the coach's child makes the team, the Lawyer's kid becomes are lawyer, etc… This is the current trend in Papua New Guinea.


There has to be deliberate intervention to arrest the potential consequences of an unsustainable population growth. The answers lie in the stories of the decline in population growth in developed countries.


Education is key, particularly educating adults and adolescents. By making people understand the consequences of their actions one can get across the message of family planning. This is easier said than done. Besides, why do we have to state the obvious to people? If you have a chocolate bar you could eat it whole yourself. But as you add more mouths you have to start dividing the bar amongst those mouths. The more mouths you have the lesser the amount of chocolate each mouth has.


I find the cognitive dissonance ridiculous. Every year we see letters in the paper moaning the high cost of living or the high cost of school fees. For goodness sake, why cannot people think about these factors before bringing new mouths into the world? Why procreating when you are incapable of providing for those added mouths?


I am not trying to absolve the state off its social responsibilities but I do believe that some of the burden needs to be carried by the people. People need to understand that their actions have consequences. And for every action, there's a reaction.


Monday, March 21, 2011


"And if your Magnificence from the summit of your greatness will sometimes turn your eyes to these lower regions, you will see how unmeritedly I suffer a great and continued malignity of fortune."

Nicolo Machiavelli's dedication of THE PRINCE to Lorenzo Di Piero De' Medici


I received two emails regarding the recent NRI spotlight article I had only briefly mentioned in my article in PNG Attitude Friday (18th February 2011). The NRI article titled "This PARLIAMENT – AND THE NEXT?" highlighted many issues we are all familiar with.

These issues include matters relating to the election of Provincial Member of Parliament including representatives for the new provinces, the election of female representatives, the role of MPs and the sitting days of Parliament. The paper also warns that time is of the essence as the Elections are just around the corner.

While the Legislative matters highlighted can be addressed by Parliament one issue that sets a very bad precedence relates to the days of this the Seventh Parliament of Papua New Guinea has sat. Whether by coincidence or design the Parliament has consistently sat less than 63 days each Parliamentary year.

The table below summarizes this discrepancy


SC Reference No 3 of 1999; Re Calling of the Parliament [1999] PGSC 55; [1999] PNGLR 285 defines 63 days as the minimum


35 (7 weeks)


40 (less than 8 weeks)


31 (6 weeks)


30 (4 weeks)


What will the Government and Parliament choose?

(Source: Macpherson et al, "This PARLIAMENT – AND THE NEXT?")

Section 124 of the PNG Constitution states;


(1) The Parliament shall be called to meet not more than seven days after the day fixed for the return of the writs for a general election, and shall meet not less frequently than three times in each period of 12 months, and, in principle, for not less than nine weeks in each such period.

(2) An Organic Law shall make provision for the calling of meetings of the Parliament.

(3) Subject to Subsections (1) and (2), an Act of the Parliament or the Standing Orders of the Parliament may make provision in respect of the sittings of the Parliament." [Emphasis mine]

The Supreme Court in Supreme Court Reference No.4 of 1990 summarized the above section as follows;

1.       When the Parliament shall first be called to meet after a general election;

2.       The frequency of meetings in each period of 12 months; and

3.       The duration of the meetings in each such period of 12 months.

The Parliamentary Year of the current Parliament begins in August and lasts for duration of 12 months as defined in Supreme Court Reference No.4 of 1990. In his reference to the Supreme Court, Attorney General asked the Supreme Court's "opinion concerning the meaning of requirements of s 124 of the Constitution." This was in response to National Court proceeding taken by the Opposition regarding the adjournment of Parliament.

The Court held that;

1. "…the first period of 12 months should commence on the day after the return of the writ after a general election".

2. "The requirement in s 124 that the Parliament meet not less than nine weeks in each period of 12 months applies "in principle" only. "…and any lesser period must "not be inconsistent" with the requirement of nine weeks."

3. "No duty is imposed by s 124 on any person, office, or institution to ensure that the Parliament complies with the requirement to meet three times in each period of 12 months."

However in Supreme Court Reference No.3 of 1999, the Ombudsman Commission asked the Supreme Court to interpret section 124(1) of the Constitution following the adjournment of Parliament that would have resulted in the Parliament sitting on 20 days in that Parliamentary year after having sat only 40 days the previous Parliamentary year.

The Supreme Court held that the Sixth National Parliament was in breach of Section 124(1) of the Constitution. It further ruled that "The words "shall meet" are also applicable to the requirement for the Parliament to meet "in principle, for not less than nine weeks in the period of 12 months." This means that during each Parliamentary Year Parliament must now meet for a minimum of nine weeks or be in breach of the Constitution.

The ruling of the Supreme Court in Supreme Court Reference No.3 of 1999 was challenged by the Head of State in Supreme Court Reference No.3 of 2000. The Supreme Court's decision was handed down in 2002 keeping intact its original decision in Supreme Court Reference No.3 of 1999. Amet CJ as he was then and Sawong J both dissenting.

Thus, is the current Parliament in BREACH of the Constitution? In Supreme Court Reference No.3 of 1999, the Ombudsman Commission asked the Supreme Court to define whether a breach of section 124(1) of the Constitution had occurred and when. The Supreme Court replied "The breach has occurred and is continuing." The Supreme Court held that "The breach may be remedied by sitting the required period if there is time within the 12 months period. … The power to remedy the breach by ordering the Parliament to meet by a prescribed day is to be found in s 23 of the Constitution."

Obviously, Parliament cannot rewind time and sit in the missing days of past years unless someone decides that we start using the Islamic Calendar.

There are some (including former and current Members of Parliament) who do not agree with Supreme Court's interpretation of "in principle" to mean "shall" with regard to section 124(1). They argue that this section sets out a non binding guide as to the number of weeks parliament decides to sit because of the use of the qualifying adjective "in principle". Furthermore, they dispute the Supreme Court's interpretation of 9 weeks to mean 63 days (7 days x 9 weeks = 63 days). They argue that Parliament only sits 4 days a week (Monday to Thursday) thus nine weeks could mean 36 days (4 days x 9 weeks = 36 days).

In Supreme Court Reference No.3 of 1999 the Supreme Court held per Kapi DCJ as he was then, that "To give effect to this principle, s 124 requires the Parliament sit in principle for duration of not less than nine weeks to perform its constitutional functions. To come to a contrary view is to fail to give effect to the intention and the underlying philosophy of the Constitution. If the Parliament loses its focus then it is the duty of this Court to point the Parliament in the right direction. The Court is duty bound to do this within the terms of s 124 and the enforcement provisions under s 22 and s 23 of the Constitution."

If the Seventh Parliament is in breach of the Constitution, is its existence unconstitutional and illegitimate? What can be done to remedy this breach?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Conversations on Death

This morning I received a phone call from a concerned neighbor. She was shocked to see me.

"Martyn, are you Ok?" she asked. "Yeah, I'm Ok, why?" I replied. "No, you look sick," she said. "Aunty I'm not sick. May be I'm dying." I laughed and reassured her that I was Ok and thanked her for her concern. "Please send me some credits!" I quipped and ended the call.

I was horrified. I went into my room and looked in the mirror. I had definitely lost a lot of weight. The two main factors I identified were diet and stress.

Ever since I dropped out of medical school I have been depressed. I feel ashamed to use resources at home. I feel that I've wasted a lot already. I can't chat with my mum and dad or look them in the eye anymore. I am a disgrace. I've just wasted a lot of his money. What a horrible waste of resources I have been.

I don't ask my parents for money. It's shameful. That is why each night I make ice blocks to sell. In the morning I sell betel nut, ice blocks and cigarettes on the street. In between I write my blog posts.

There are days when I get into arguments with my mum. They're horrible. I never feel good about them. I know she loves me but. I can understand her frustrations - I am a liability at home.

Then there are moments each day. I see people and cars passing by to work and I reflect upon my pathetic state of affairs. I know I cannot sell betel nuts forever and my parents won't be around forever either. I just cannot see anything for me in the horizon. It's like being caught between a rock and a hard place in the dark. The future is void and formless.

In this state of decay, I believe my body is shutting down. In biology there is a process called apoptosis- programmed cell death. Each cell in the human body has a lifespan after which it shuts down- it commits suicide. When for some reason the cells become immortal this is referred to as cancer.

I also recall a recent incident in Afghanistan where a bomb detecting dog was said to have died of a broken heart after its handler died as a result of an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) explosion. While I do believe it would be unscientific to correlate this event with what I'm experiencing, it is a sobering thought.

There are many things about nature that science has yet to understand. What is life? Science has not defined what life is. Death on the other hand is the absence of life. What causes inanimate matter to be animated and maintain a homeostatic state? What creates order out of chaos? One thing I do know is that my life is in chaos and the chaos may reach its climax sooner rather than later.

Te Amo Tanto


You said I was THE ONE

Who'd always be your Sun

You said you needed me

You said forever we'll be

You took a step to me

A step to eternity


I said you were THE ONE

Who'd always be my hon

I said I'll walk with you

I'll never say adieu

I took a step to thee

A step to infinity


We said we are THE ONE

I'll always be your Sun

You'll always be my hon

When all is said and done

A step from you and me

Two steps in unity


© 2011

Martyn Namorong

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stephen Pokawin’s Challenge: Bigger is better

I attended the National Research Institute's launch of its latest Spotlight Publication titled "This Parliament – and The Next?" Present to launch the publication was former Chief Justice and current Attorney General Sir Arnold Amet along with his National Alliance colleagues including Mr. Pokawin.

After a rather dull presentation of the paper by the Authors, I raised my hand first during question time and raised the issues presented in my previous article "In stato totalitario". The academics seemed lost in translation but Mr. Pokawin stood up and revealed NAs challenge. Speaking about parties vying against NA for power, he said that they needed to band together. In his opinion, smaller parties do not have the capacity to battle against the party machinery of the National Alliance Party.

I found that these two gentlemen truly understand the issues facing PNG. Perhaps better than the academics whose paper I won't discuss. The Attorney General was very revealing in a lot of what he said. His remarks were off the cuff and most of it meant to be off the record.

What the AG did say was that several constitutional amendments were due to be tabled in Mays sitting of Parliament. These relate to amendments to the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government elections and the election of Women representatives for each Province. These pieces of legislation would have to be passed before the deadline set by the Electoral Commission - August this year.

I had the opportunity to speak to the AG. One thing he did say that made me smile was that he didn't read blogs.

My Greatest Pain is I Live in Vain

I walk alone

I honestly don’t know
Where this journey ends
In a world without friends
I don’t know where to go

The only thing that’s certain
Is that the long hanging curtain
That split in Christ’s temple
Will cover my body mortal

Each night that I sleep
Draws me closer to my Maker
I am stalked by the Reaper
Digging my grave deep

Life becomes meaningless
When you cannot see a future
And you’re in distress
Coz all you can see are vultures

Father why hast thou abandon me
Take this bitter cup, O Mercy!
Am I just a babe?
Or am I Fortunes slave!

Every night I cry
I ask myself, WHY?
My greatest pain
Is I live in vain

© 2011
Martyn Namorong

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


"Scalpel!" the surgeon commanded over the beeping sound of the ventilator. A resident medical officer handed him the blade and he began to divide the skin. The operation to insert a chest drain had commenced. Dr Ericson the surgical registrar, Dr Alois the anaesthetic registrar and a team of theatre nurses and fourth year medical students were racing against time to save his life.

Lying unconscious on the operating table was a 15 year old Papuan male, Corey. He was draped in green cloth with his chest washed with iodine and exposed. An oxygen mask covered his nose and mouth and a blood pressure cuff was wrapped around his right arm. Ground wires were attached to his thighs to conduct static charges and his right index finger had pulse-oxymeter probes attached to monitor pulse and blood oxygen levels.

He had been rushed into theatre from the accident and emergency department of Port Moresby General Hospital. Corey suffered blunt trauma to the left side of his chest causing soft tissue damage and two broken ribs. The chest x-ray also revealed bleeding into his lungs.

Corey's woes began earlier. There was excitement amongst the Wardstrip Primary School boys as they walked down to Gordons one Friday afternoon. Word had spread like wildfire throughout the school that boys from Coronation Primary School were going to fight them at Gordons. Corey began to rally the troops as they walked down. "Ol mangi kisim any kainkain something na yumi go!" he yelled above the choir of boys singing the school song as they do during every battle. "Ol Coronation ol warawara yah!" the boys shouted. "Ol Coronation packim scrum na ol laikim yumi go kar bump lo Gordons!" Corey voice boomed above the din.

The Wardstrip students got as far as the school gate of Gordon Secondary school when they were dispersed by the SSD Southern Command from Macgregor Police Barracks. Corey ran like a coward. He a couple of boys decided to head back along the road past Wardstrip Primary School towards the Australian High Commission. They would catch bus number 7 to Gerehu, at the bus stop located in the shadow of Somare Foundation building.

As Corey and mates headed towards the bus stop he heard someone call him from behind. He turned and saw his skwad Lewis. Lewis had finished grade 8 at Wardstrip Primary School and was selected to do grade 9 at De La Salle Secondary School. Corey was a year behind.

Corey told the others to move on while he waited for Lewis. "Batz yu tok, De La olsem wanem?" he asked Lewis as he approached. They shook hands and Lewis began to recount his adventures at Secondary school. "Em orait chol. Las week ol testim bros blo mi." He unbuttoned his blue uniform shirt to reveal the marks on his chest.

Lewis had joined a cult at De La Salle Secondary School. During his initiation into the cult, he had received blows to his chest from initiated members of the cult.

"Honest bata, mi filim bigla pen stret!" Lewis continued. "Sampla ol ex De La mangi bin stap na traipla han blo ol pas lo bros blo mi but mi no krai," he boasted. Lewis could see the awe in Corey's eyes as he unfolded this gory tale. "Kaksy!" Corey exclaimed. "Yeah bro, tumoro bai mipla ol De La mangi spinim baket na kisim wara wantaim ol Marianville meri," Lewis smiled as he spoke to Corey and they both laughed and hi-fived each other. They knew what would transpire during the binge drinking session between the boys and girls of De La Salle Secondary School and Marianville Secondary School. This was the ultimate reward for being a member of the school cult.

As they arrived at the bus stop Lewis offered to buy a betel nut and smoke for his friend. They both walked across the road and bought their smoke and betel nut from a vendor from Tari. They chewed their buai and lit up their spear before walking back to the bus stop. There Lewis said to Corey, "bats yu mas kam skul lo De La."

Corey woke up and saw two creatures dressed in white. "Am I in heaven?" he asked himself. Then he heard a man talking to one of the creatures. "You may now present this case to me," the man said. The creature dressed in white opened a book and began:

"This is Corey a 15 year old Papuan Male attending De La Salle Secondary School. He presented at the A&E with chest pain and shortness of breath and haemoptysis (coughing blood). He is believed to have sustained chest injuries as a result of ritualized chest beating also known as "testim bros". He has no significant past medical history. He smokes and chews betel nut. He's parents are divorced and he lives with family friends. On examination he was pale and in severe distress. His pulse was 140, respiratory rate was 40 and blood pressure was 90/50. There were bruises to his chest and the left side was very tender. Auscultation of the chest revealed crackles around the left lower lobe. Chest x-ray showed haemothorax (blood in chest) and two fractured left ribs. All other systems were normal. A large bore i.v cannula was inserted and a litre of normal saline was infused. Corey was rushed to the theatre where a chest drain was inserted to remove the blood. Social workers have been informed to assist in handling this case."

"Thank you", the man said to the creature. Dr Ericson and his team had stopped by in ward 3B to review Corey. He had been assessing the case presentation by one of the year 4 medical students. "Don't be involved in cult practices kid," Dr Ericson said sternly to Corey. "Mi testim bros blo yu lo theatre na yu fail," he smiled and moved on to the next patient.



Tok Pisin



"Ol mangi kisim any kainkain something na yumi go!"


Boys, pick anything and let's move


"Ol Coronation ol warawara yah!"


The Coronation Primary School boys are weak.

"warawara" literally means watery but in this context its means weak


"Ol Coronation packim scrum na ol laikim yumi go kar bump lo Gordons!"


The Coronation Primary School Boys have mobilized come and fight us at Gordons.

"packim scrum" literally means to pack a scrum and refers to mobilization

"kar bump" literally means car crash and means fight in this context


"Batz yu tok, De La olsem wanem?"


"Bro what's up how is De La Salle Secondary School?"


Em orait chol. Las week ol testim bros blo mi."


"It's OK. I had my initiation into the school cult last week."

'chol' is a variant of the word 'tasol'. They both mean "only"


"Honest bata, mi filim bigla pen stret!"


"It was a very painful experience!"


"Sampla ol ex De La mangi bin stap na traipla han blo ol pas lo bros blo mi but mi no krai,"


"My chest was beaten by some ex De La Salle Boys but I didn't cry"




The work "Kaksy" is derived from the Motuan word Kakana which means big boy. It is used as a compliment to tell someone he is cool.


. "Yeah bro, tumoro bai mipla ol De La mangi spinim baket na kisim wara wantaim ol Marianville meri,"


"Yeah bro, tomorrow we De La Salle Boys will be binge drinking with the Marianville girls."

"spinim baket" means making and drinking homebrew

"kisim wara" means drinking alcohol


"Bats yu mas kam skul lo De La."


"Bro, you must attend De La Salle Secondary school"


"Mi testim bros blo yu lo theatre na yu fail,"


"I've tested your chest in the theatre and you've failed"



Mobile phone

It is always buzzing

Coz they're always texting

Clich├ęs, jokes, gos and more

Every night its text galore


I love the jokes

Sent by sick folks

They're clean and dirty

And always witty


I hate chain massages

Coz they're outrageous

Totally meaningless

And downright useless


If you want to flirt

I'll always chat

But credit me

Then talk to me


Talk don't scream

It's just a screen

Don't punch the air

Coz I'm not there



Thanks for texting

Charging and recharging

Connecting and interconnecting

Downloading and uploading

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Addressing healthcare in PNG

5W's of health diagnosis: event (what), person (who), place (where), time (when), and causes, risk factors, and modes of transmission (why/how).


The Goilalas of Central province are some of the most marginalized in Papua New Guinea. A popular song in the late 90s had the catchy line that epitomizes the prejudice everyone else has towards the Goilalas. It goes "Goipex 105 ol I bung long haus kalabus" – the Goilalas are in jail. The Goilala are commonly referred to as Goi thus the number 105 means Goi (Goipex 105). The general perception of the rest of Papua New Guinea towards the Goilalas is that they are notorious criminals.

The Goilalas are not unique. Each Province in Papua New Guinea has its las lain (marginalized people). Western has the Bamu (whom I grew up with), Gulf has the Gwaribari (these folks ate Rev. James Chalmers including his boots apparently), East New Britain has the Baining, Madang has the people of Rai Coast (my people on my dad's side), etc…

This paper reflects upon the lessons they taught me. They appeared to be shy people, not proud to identify themselves as Goilala. Unfortunately for them , some of us can identify the ethnicity of any Papua New Guinean based on their phenotype. However, they were easy to identify simply because of the destitute state in which they presented themselves at the hospital.

It is an absolute guarantee that should anyone randomly visit Port Moresby General Hospital in search of a Goilala patient; they shall find one in all wards.

Here is a generalized Goilala patient profile. Infants and children would commonly present with gastro-intestinal diseases, skin infections and TB. Adult females would present with tuberculosis in the medical ward or complications of tuberculosis in the surgical ward. Adult, adolescent and juvenile males would present predominantly as trauma cases in ICU or the surgical ward.

For many hospital staff, such patterns of presentation have become so routine that once you've identifies a patient as being from Goilala the diagnosis almost come automatically even before a patient has described his or her presenting complaint. Usually the presentations are late for various reasons. Those who come from the rural areas have logistics issues while those in urban settings have financial considerations that prevent them from getting early treatment.

One other feature amongst children was that many had previous admissions for the same complaint. From reading clinical notes from previous admissions, one could detect the despair expressed in the notes. Many seem to blame the mother's carelessness for the child's bad health. Once I asked a mother where she got her drinking water. She told me that she bought drinking water that was sold on the streets [for those who aren't familiar, Port Moresby's finest tap water is sold by street venders in used plastic bottles]. If she didn't have money the family drank un-boiled water from the Laloki River. I advised her to boil the drinking water whether it was from the streets or Laloki River.

I could see links between the social context and clinical presentations. Men presented with trauma cases due to fights or being wounded by Police. Tuberculosis was spread easily in overcrowded homes. Gastrointestinal diseases and skin infections were a result of poor sanitation and lack of access to safe drinking water. Most adults were illiterate and could not even speak tok pisin thus making it difficult to effectively communicate health messages.

Most readers are aware of these links but the gravity of the matter cannot be appreciated until one faces the victims of this injustice.

I began to realize then that clinical medicine was a waste of time to a certain degree. It is preventative medicine or Public Health that would better address much of PNG's health woes. Access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation would eradicate waterborne/related diseases. Access to income earning opportunities along with food security would ensure a well nourished community. Income earning individuals would have better things to do than be involved in petty crimes and get gunned by the Police. Proper housing would help reduce the spread of TB.

Thus in a strange way I concluded that PNG's health problems can be addressed but not necessarily by Doctors and the Department of Health. Whose role is it to build transport infrastructure so that our pregnant mothers can attend antenatal clinics and deliver at a health center thus reducing maternal mortality? Better roads and shipping would assist health outreach programs that provide childhood immunization and health awareness. An educated population will be more receptive to health messages and to do own research on health topics of interest. Economic policies that ensure a stable economy would ensure there's money to match health needs. You get the drift…

Essentially, it is the economists, stock brokers, bankers, engineers, pilots, boat captains, political scientist, teachers, politicians, district managers, etc… who have a far more important role to play. What has been lacking is strong leadership at all levels. State agencies seem to be isolated and out of sync with each other such that they do not all seem to be working towards achieving universal goals. It is also in the interest of the private sector that thus nation has good national indicators all round as this reduces the risk of doing business in PNG.

This year a new 10 year plan commences implementation. Let it not be a failure like all previous health plans. Good lessons can be learnt from the private sector's response to HIV/AIDS. Let's face it folks, doctors and other health workers have been fighting a losing battle to improve the health of the nation. Each year the stats look bad. Its time others join the battle.


As an Argentine medical student famously wrote " It is not necessary to wait until all conditions for making revolution exist; the insurrection can create them"... Che Guevara in Guerilla Warfare