The National, Thursday July 4th, 2013
THE insistent clamour of Lae’s ever-expanding industrial sector for better infrastructure and more land has muted other important cries of the city for years.
For starters, consider the thousands of little children in this industrial city who need safe and well-equipped playgrounds and parks to have fun and spend quality weekend hours with their parents.
The Hilma Wong Park at Voco Point is a commendable initiative but it is small, under-equipped, isolated and overrun by petty crime.
There was also a gruesome murder there recently.
The Lae Botanical Garden is now more of a war relic and a scientific study in botany than the weekend getaway for families it once was.
Social life is humming along at a subdued level, dampened by the absence of good nightclubs and a reliable taxi service to cart late nightclub patrons around the city.
The two hotels and three motels provide light entertainment but the hours are limited and the elitist clientele discourages the increasing working class population from joining in.
It is regrettable that crime continues to discourage a night life for this city, which is otherwise part of the landscape of any city in the world. A market is an area of extensive social interaction but apart from the city’s main market, the many smaller markets that riddle the city in every conceivable location are crude, unhygienic and unsafe.
Lae has no social life, culture and etiquette of its own.
It is strictly an industrial hub that is insensitive to the human need for social interaction, expression and development.
A city, any city for that matter, is as good as the people living in it and Lae has to seriously consider the social development of its close to 200,000 residents.
It is fair to note that when decency is meted out, it is always reciprocated with decency and it is well past time that this city acknowledges this fundamental fact of life.
With the local level government elections this weekend, it is important that residents vote conscientiously and consciously for the best possible person for the Lae lord mayor’s post.
History has repeatedly thrown it in our face that voting along family lines and for selfish reasons never pays off in the long run.
The incoming mayor and the Lae urban local level council, will be well-advised to employ sensitivity to the social needs of the hard working residents of this city and their families.