Respect our elders


THE National, on March 26, in The Weekender published “Transformation from a colony”.
It was a brief history of a former Finschhafen MP in the Second House of Assembly Meck Singiliong, who happened to come to Port Moresby to attend the haus krai for the late Great Grand Chief Sir Michael Thomas Somare.
After going through the article thoroughly, there are number of questions raised.
Who wrote that article because the old man Singiliong can’t write proficient English?
If he has a namesake then it should have been pointed out from the start.
Likewise, if it was written by a news reporter or a journalist then this should have been stated.
Ninety-nine per cent of the historical story about this Finschhafen patriarch is correct.
I know because in 1970, my father taught at Pindiu Primary School where Singiliong comes from.
When I attended the Dregerhafen High School in the late 1970s, Singiliong was then the deputy interim premier of Morobe.
The interim premier was then the late Pama Anio.
Singiliong’s leadership reigned during the era when the Australian colonial administration was in control. The administration headquarters in Finschhafen including the rural patrol posts of Pindiu, Mindik and Ogenranang had strong government presence including vibrant cash economy, especially coffee, regular commercial and government-chartered flights and thriving retail businesses provided by Namasu, FMDC, and Chee & BC – a Lae-based Asian company.
All these are now history.
These rural outposts are now covered in bushes, just similar to the current DCA site at Gagidu where the infrastructure and beauty completed disappeared.
The deteriorated state of infrastructure and the lack government presence in Finschhafen since Independence reflectthe kind of political leadership the people of Finschhafen have voted for.
How can Singiliong (90-years-old) from a gone era provide competent government and development advices to certain past and present politicians – (Pogo and Paita) especially in the 21st Century as reported in The Weekender?
It is morally wrong, ungodly and injustice done to exploit persons who are vulnerable.
In this case, putting words into another person’s mouth by capitalising on his vulnerability, and furthermore, making him the author of the article as reported and using his pictures and story to gain political mileage is a slanderous act.
The skills to manage people, institutions, government and how to drive and deliver vital socio-economic development to societies and nations have tremendously changed from the 1980s developmental model and paradigm.
To use Singiliong’s standing in the 1970s for personal political enrichment, especially when the national election is just a year away is uncalled for.
He came to Port Moresby to pay respect to his former colleague and not to be exploited politically as portrayed in The Weekender page.
This is not how we treat our elders.
It is very disrespectful.

Emmanuel Allen Mungu