The National, Tuesday March 4th, 2014
I THANK the people who competed in designing the Hela provincial flag and the selectors for choosing the winner.
Different Hela elites will have their own views about the design.
Firstly, I work for an organisation which emphasises on and advocates gender equality.
I believe in it and have carefully studied the flag.
I find no representation of our mothers, daughters, sisters and simply no womenfolk in our provincial icon.
To me, it is a slap in the face of women. Consider their contribution to our provincial development either traditionally, socially, spiritually or economically.
I know in Hela culture, womenfolk are treated as second-class, but let me remind all that this is something of the past.
Secondly, every Hela person knows the cultural and historical background as well as the significance of the Hela wig itself.
The flag was designed in a way that a man is in his full traditional attire, with bilas on the wig, including parrot feathers.
No woman has access to those wigs and dressing; it is highly respected and kept by the men.
Even the two stone axes in the background are also kept special and bears historical significance.
In addition, PNG women like wearing laplaps with the PNG flag design and women from other provinces wear them.
I wonder if educated or uneducated Hela womenfolk would want to wrap laplaps with a face of the Hela wigman with full traditional attire below their waist, let alone sit on it.
Is it appropriate in the context of respecting cultural heritage?
It is something for our womenfolk to think about.
Tom H Tabe