Less of self, more of others

Editorial

THE PMV driver draws mindlessly on his cigarette and blows out a fog into the interior of the bus.
He is fully aware of the law though: No smoking in public places including public transport.  He knows from his medical friends that smoking causes many health complications including cancer.
In short, smoking kills.
Even the cigarette manufacture concedes or is prompted by law to offer the warning: Smoking causes lung cancer.
Oh and PMV driver has a knack for cutting in and out of traffic lanes and running the red light without a care.
The betel nut vendor keeps plying his trade and playing cat and mouse with police and the NCD anti-litter squad.
The betel nut consumer continues to litter pavements, shop fronts and streets with the husk and red paste with blissful neglect for cleanliness of
the city and the health of others.
The beer drinker is fully aware that intoxicated he should never get behind the wheel for he risks killing himself and any other motorist or pedestrian.
Yet he drives while under the influence and if he does not kill or maim anyone, he runs down an ornamental tree that has taken some work and money to be placed there to thrive and beautify the city.
The beer manufacturer knows also that drink driving is a huge problem but offers a lame rhyme as a token of social responsibility: Keep your cool. Don’t drink like a fool.
The blatant disregard for the other is like a disease in this so-called paradise.
The obsession with self-centredness is a huge stumbling block to any endeavour aimed at collective advancement and fulfilment, peace and enjoyment of life.
Look around and ponder.  Indications from yesterday are that most of us have woken up this morning
with this one question in mind: What does today
have in store for me or how can I maximise my gain today?
Selfishness has no place in communal PNG and even a modern nation.
The loftiest desire to advance, to battle corruption, to improve world rankings in social and economic terms, must all begin with the basic resolve to put service and the happiness of the neighbour above selfish concern and gain.
This is the law of nature that applies even to the atheist and the agnostic.
It is not dependant on any religious conviction or teaching.
Can PNG do like the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan does by measuring its advancement by what is called gross national happiness?
It is a term coined by the fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the 1970s.
The concept implies that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards notions of progress and give equal importance to non-economic aspects of wellbeing.
PNG’s planners and strategists may have a sense of the modern world and how it functions but unless they themselves are driven by the simple truth of service to others before self, all endeavours would be fraught with problems.
Individualism is starkly contrary to PNG communal living and even modern nationalism.
Might it be time now to change tack and take a different path away from what has been accepted as conventional wisdom in the past 41 years?
For a relatively young democracy, there is time to chart a new development pathway but one that looks inwardly into how individual communities have functioned and thrived over centuries.
There is wisdom and knowledge that may have been overlooked.
The path to nationhood has been laid by the founding fathers; for the past 40 years the nation has trodden on that beaten path.
There is today a need to let go what has not worked well and take on a brave new approach and that must be founded on seeking the greatest good of the nation while shunning any ambition aimed at selfish gain.
It is an inherent trait that needs to be nationalised as the one sure way of bringing out the greatness in this great nation.
The adage that it is more blessed to give than to receive need not be based on religion.
It is a simple rule of nature; what goes around comes around, to every action there is a reaction.

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