DAVID Nalu’s “Values of Viriolo” evokes poignant memories of life in many villages closer to Port Moresby in the yesteryears (The National, Jan 29).
This way of life is fast disappearing with the ebb tide of commercialising the old ways of life.
I recall when the community cared for one and other, and took great pride in it. Fishermen, in the case of coastal villages, would haul up their double hull canoes on the beach after returning from long fishing voyages, and immediately start distributing their catches to those who were gathered at the beach upon their arrival.
They already accounted for these groups. They would separate their catches for family consumption, distribution to relatives and the needy, and for bartering with neighbouring villages for garden produce.
Today, the Western influence of an individualistic way of life seems to be the norm in many villages, especially those closer to urban settings. Catches are locked up in the Esky well before the dinghies land on the beach. The Eskys are whisked away swiftly, under the cover of darkness, before anyone comes in sight, and compels them to share.
Money is influencing the way the village functions these days. As a result of this, people are starving. Begging that was once unknown is becoming a norm in many villages. Worse still, stealing from other peoples’ gardens to survive is becoming a big problem.
One other important point mentioned in that article was the discipline instilled in the younger generation, as well as the utmost respect for the elders and the line of command. Many young people are flouting those values and indeed loosening the threads of the social fabric that holds societies together.
Perhaps village-based communities need to re-evaluate their way of life and perhaps return to the old ways of sharing and caring, as well as showing respect for one and other. That is indeed our way of life, the Melanesian, Polynesia, and Micronesian way of life.
Is it difficult to reverse the culture and mindset? I think not.
Bhubu Lavi Davee,