Sound advice Sound advice

Normal, Weekender

Dr Musawe Sinebare’s latest book offers counsel and inspiration to his fellow citizens, writes KEVIN PAMBA

THE erosion of good values and the decline in the quest for an honest living across sections of Papua New Guinea society has been a topic of discussion in recent times.
Just about every Papua New Guinean who is concerned with the way the country and its citizens are faring, talks about the breakdown in ethical and moral standards and behaviour and its crippling effects on the nation and its people.
Hardly a day passes without someone commenting on the effects of the lack of adherence to and respect for the societal values and the rule of law as citizens are disempowered and disenfranchised.
Many lament what PNG would have been like if everyone did the ‘right’ things and respected themselves, their neighbours, the country and its laws.
A well-educated Papua New Guinean, Dr Musawe Sinebare, is one of those people who feel for his country and fellow citizens and cannot stand by and watch.
Dr Sinebare has put his thoughts and vision for his motherland and people into a new book that is a must-read for everyone who cares for a country endowed with natural richness but pillaged by the crooked ones of the world at the expense of the quality of life of the majority.
In Papua New Guinea, Development Strategies for Socio-Economic Empowerment, the academic, administrator and ardent Lutheran Christian provides counsel and inspiration for his fellow citizens. Within the 216 pages of this thought-provoking read, Dr Sinebare shows that doing good and being a good citizen, however mundane that act might be, is without waste but for the betterment of oneself, community and country.
The book is packed with observations and advice on good citizenship and words of inspiration aimed to empower Papua New Guineans. Without being prescriptive, it urges ordinary people to rise up and refuse mediocrity and all manner of lawless and unethical and illegal behavior and better their lot. Much of what Dr Sinebare shares are his experiences and observations from his own upbringing in his home in the Simbu province, education and development as a teacher, teacher educator, administrator at the University of Goroka and in the public service, family man, Christian and a candidate in the 2007 National Elections.
He calls on Papua New Guineans not to despair and tax themselves and their country so hard on all that have gone wrong but look on the brighter side and be optimistic for the future and consider their input.
His is a call for his countrymen and women not to live in the past with despair and regret but to live in the future and aim for a better tomorrow while doing the right things now.
There is something for everyone in this book. From youth and how their issues can be addressed, empowerment of people, marriage, the electoral process and its reform, spirituality and policymaking, Dr Sinebare cuts across the landscape of the big matters of concern and offers suggestions accordingly.
To the youth, the most potent members of society, Dr Sinebare offers this advice: “I am sure, you have decided that school and everything to do with the school is worthless given the socio-economic situation of our country but I am now challenging you to think seriously about that attitude. I want to encourage you to rely on the courage and the wisdom of your elders.”
He is of the view that many social problems are caused by those who have not fully realized their personal potential and developed it.
“People who have not unlocked their personality development or developed their fullest potentials cause many social problems in our country,” writes Dr Sinebare.
“Problems like bribery and corruption, nepotism and favouritism, financial mismanagement and abuse of public resources, armed hold ups, rapes and disregard for law and lawful authorities, white-collar crimes, cyber crimes, laziness, graffiti, greed, vandalism, polygamy, breakdown in family values, poverty, decline in moral values, cult practices, satanic worship, gambling and numerous other heinous crimes are committed by people have not unlocked their PD (personal development) lock.”
Dr Sinebare also calls on Papua New Guineans to adopt self-reliance as one sure way of improving their lot and that of their communities and country.
“Let us use our resources, energy and ability to depend less on others and more on self.”
“Imagine how our society will progress if everyone works towards self-reliance,”
“People who are committing crime neglect the virtues of self-reliance to guide them in life to achieve their needs,” he advices.
Such advice of note is found everywhere in the five parts of a book.
One of the high points of the book is that Dr Sinebare writes in a language that is accessible to the average reader and so it should be for a text that talks about issues affecting the majority.
There are instances in his down-to-earth approach that Dr Sinebare may be seen to be “too religious”  and simplistic by particularly those in the high end of society when he uses Biblical quotes and characters to expound on his points. That, one would think, is purposely done for a text meant for everyone and particularly majority of Papua New Guineans who have come to accept Christianity as the measure of an ethically and morally balanced living.
The five parts of the book are broken down into topics and each topic is completed with a task for the reader to grasp the main ideas or issues discussed.
The Governor-General, Grand Chief Sir Paulias Matane, who himself is an established author and advocate of PNG writing, recognises the value of the book in his foreword note and highly recommends it to Papua New Guineans.
This book follows on from Dr Sinebare’s 2003 title Path to Success.
n Papua New Guinea, Development Strategies for Socio-Economic Empowerment is published by CBS Publishers & Distributors (Pvt) Ltd of New Delhi, India. ISBN# 978-81-239-1760-3.