By CHARLES MOI
CHRISTOPHER Yowat has always wanted to be a soldier.
He was born in Port Moresby on Oct 6, 1992 to Philip Yowat and Julie Posing from Manus. He remembers his early childhood at the PNG Power Ltd compounds at Saraga Six-Mile and Boroko in Port Moresby.
“My neighborhood was filled with fun and laughter. It was great growing up in such an environment.
“I spent time with friends doing what all teenagers like to do. But I enjoy going to school the most.”
Christopher is the youngest in a family of eight – two sisters and six brothers.
His role model is his dad.
“He is always happy regardless of the challenges he is facing. He always has a smile on his face and loves to take care of others.”
Chris began his education at the Bunai Primary School in Manus. He completed Grade Two there in 2002 before attending the Kreer Primary School in Wewak for grades three to six from 2003 to 2006.
He moved to Port Moresby in 2007 and attended the Coronation Primary School for grades seven and eight.
Yowat was then selected for grades nine and 10 at the Tokarara High School (2009, 2010) and the Port Moresby National High School for grades 11 and 12 in 2011 and 2012.
He attended the University of PNG in 2013 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Political Science in 2017.
He then worked for The National newspaper covering courts.
“I was fortunate to work with some of the best journalists in the business.”
“ I joined the defence force not only to protect PNG but also to help people who are weak and in need, in the area of humanitarian assistance (especially during natural disasters).”
He remembers a court story he wrote about a father and son on death row who were later acquitted by the Supreme Court.
“I was happy because I knew that my article would inform their family of their release from prison. That was when I realized the beautiful side of journalism.”
But always lingering at the back of his mind was that desire to be a soldier. He therefore applied and was recruited by the Defence Force in 2018 under its officer training programme.
“I joined the defence force not only to protect PNG but also to help people who are weak and in need, in the area of humanitarian assistance (especially during natural disasters).”
After passing the recruitment stage, he and his group of cadets were sent to the Joint Forces College at Igam Barracks in Lae to begin the officer training programme.
In 2019, he was picked with four others for training at the Royal Military College in Canberra through the defence cooperation programme between PNG and Australia.
Other PNG army officers had attended the same course.
“It’s a very nice country. I’m not surprised many people around the world want to go live there.
“I also made good friends during my time at the college, friends I believe I will meet again being in the military.”
One of the biggest lessons he has learnt is to respect others and to always have a positive attitude.
“Everyone in Australia respects one another. When someone does something wrong, others will correct them – but in a respectful manner. That is something I learned and would definitely hold close to me.”
Of course, there will be more lessons to learn down the road for the young commissioned officer. For now, Second-Lieutenant Christopher Yowat is happy to be living his dream.