Think of the needy, underprivileged


CHRISTMAS is a time of great joy for many Papua New Guineans, especially those who can afford to celebrate this special occasion.
The nation’s capital is teeming with beggars, many of them young children.
These unfortunate kids roam the city streets every day begging for a few kina or leftover food.
Most well-to-do people ignore them, believing that helping these poor and hungry children will only encourage them to go on begging.
But it is sad to see young boys begging for a few kinas at the traffic lights near the Vision City Mega Mall while the well-to-do are busy buying, eating and entertaining in the country’s most modern shopping complex.
For a lucky country such as Papua New Guinea, it is a disturbing trend that reflects poorly on the nation’s ability to look after its poor and under-privileged people.
While the Government preaches about its billion-kina budgets and the billions more it will receive from the liquefied natural gas projects, our leaders seem to have turned a blind eye on helping our poor and under-privileged citizens.
Their attitude seems to be – we have bigger and better things to do than worry about some helpless and hopeless children whose parents should take better care of them.
Unfortunately, the parents are as helpless and hopeless as their children.
For a relatively small country with about 7 million inhabitants, Papua New Guinea has a lot to learn about looking after its poor and under-privileged citizens.
Of course, the politicians will always blame urban drift as the major cause of poverty, unemployment, crime and other social evils that have plagued our cities and towns in recent years. Rural folks who migrate to the cities and towns without proper employment or other means of sustenance risk drowning in a melting pot of poverty and crime that is the norm in cities such as Port Moresby and Lae.
It is easy to preach about poverty alleviation, but to put food on the table for these impoverished people requires more than lip-service.
Archbishop of Port Moresby Cardinal Sir John Ribat, in a Christmas mass, said this was the season to be joyful and to reflect on the work we have accomplished this year in service and commitment to the Catholic Church and for our Lord Jesus Christ.
“It is not about our individual selves but caring for others and having a relationship with our friends, families and God, through the Christian deeds we practise,” Cardinal Ribat said.
Spare a thought on that.
Regardless of one’s religious beliefs or cultural background, Christmas has become a time for all of us to join in helping the less fortunate.
For those who are alone, those who live in poverty, and those who are refugees fleeing conflict, those who have experienced the trauma of loss, the holiday season can be a painful occasion that amplifies their difficulties.
The spirit of Christmas cannot be bought or made.
It does not appear in a stocking hanging over the hearth or come gift-wrapped under the tree.
The true meaning dwells within people’s hearts.
If you celebrate on this day, Merry Christmas.
If you do not, we extend the greetings of your season.