Govt continues to neglect rural areas

Letters, Normal

The National, Monday, May 23, 2011

I WAS amazed yet sad to see the picture on the front page of The National last Wednesday about the locals in a remote area of PNG building an airstrip.
Being brought up mainly in the urban areas, I was shocked to see the locals in that area are still wearing their full traditional attire and using traditional tools to build an airstrip for better access to basic services.
Two issues popped up in my mind as I read the article.
Firstly, the author of that article finds some humour in mentioning the primitive tools used!
Mind you, the primitive tools in the picture are not different to those used more than 40,000 years ago by our ancestors in the highlands.
At that time, the white men were still living in caves while we had the most advanced agricultural systems the world had ever seen thanks to those primitive tools highlighted.
It is obvious these locals did not have space-age tools.
So please mind the language used because as a native of this land, I will gladly stand with those locals and use their tools as they are my people too.
I would say those tools were appropriate.
I am of the opinion that the writer is not one of us and so has no idea of where we come from.
I am proud, however, of the locals and salute them for their initiative.
Hopefully, they can maintain their culture even when they have access to better service.
Secondly, after 35 years of independence, is this all we have to show for development?
How sad.
I wonder what the MP is doing and, for that matter, the national government.
The picture said it all.
It could have been taken anywhere in PNG.
The message is obvious: Simple people turning out as a community, in their simple clothes with their simple tools, to build something for themselves. 
It just reminded me of the First Contact documentary when the white man first visited the highlands.
But this is the 21st century, 35 years after independence.
The age of the computer, ATMs, iPods and microchips!
The government has detached itself from the people when “the go­vernment is the people”!
Our silent majority out there conti­nue to be overlooked.
There is no medicine or doctors to treat them when they are sick while the big shots go overseas for medical treatment.
The bottom line is this is our land
We need to change in our attitude and help our people in order to move forward.
Otherwise, we will not see progress.
It does not matter if we have all the oil, gas or gold in the world, we will still be poor still.


Port Moresby