PNG indeed a paradise in hell for ordinary people

Letters, Normal

The National, Friday 14th of March, 2014

I NEVER realised that PNG is a paradise in hell until sometime ago in 2011 at Ela Beach when I saw two  old men fighting over an aluminium can.
One used his walking stick to hit the other on the forehead, causing blood to drip  and cover his face.
Among the large group of spectators gathered around, some felt sorry and threw coins at the injured man.
I asked the bystanders, “Why are you feeling sorry for the two aluminium can  collectors?”
One of them answered with a question, “Do you not feel sorry  for  old people fighting over one aluminium can?”
I realised that I, too, was poor like the two old men, although I was  not a can collector. I would do it too if  it  were  the only way to survive. I value life and I value people.
When I see people suffer, it tears my heart into pieces. But there, I  was  confronted with emotions as I tried  to  understand my own  life  in  the two  men.
Although I am educated and employed with a good salary, I cannot afford to rent a good home in Port Moresby.
The cheapest place to live is in the settlements.
I cannot even afford three meals a day and I sometimes send my kids to school without lunch.
Living and working in Port Moresby is to struggle to live in one of the most expensive, unsafest cities on the planet.
Though PNG is rich and we call it a paradise, we struggle to survive in our own rich country.
Every  business opportunity is taken away by foreigners, all prime land in the city are bought off by foreigners and our natural resources are exploited by foreigners.
We  have  become spectators, slaves and beggars in our own rich country.
On the other hand, our MPs go overseas for shopping, send their kids to the best  schools  overseas, seek medical treatment in some of the finest clinics overseas and invest overseas.
They wine and dine in expensive hotels and restaurants, and drive around in expensive cars.
When they do visit their electorates  once   a  while, they hire choppers.
PNG is indeed a paradise for MPs, corrupt government officials and their cronies.
But  for  the  ordinary people, PNG is a paradise in hell.

Lucas Kiap
Port Moresby