People will always remember the bad things you did and always forget the good things you’ve done.
People will exalt and celebrate your good deeds for a while and when things start to decline, your best moments are forgotten and people will to start pick on your delinquencies and inadequacies. Soon the bad will start to out-edge the good and belittle your achievement.
People quickly forget the man who molded, coached and led a band of unrefined outfit from our country’s semi-professional rugby league in the Queensland Intrust-Super Cup, the second-tier of the world’s most competitive and best-run rugby league system – Australia’s National Rugby League. Against surmounting odds Coach Michael Marum took the PNG Hunters straight into the Intrust-Cup finals in 2013 just in their first appearance and in any measure, they made a grand entrance.
Consistent in hard work and discipline, the Hunters remained in the top 6 of the competition for four straight years to win the NRL-sanctioned Queensland Intrust Super Cup in 2017. Marum became the most-celebrated coach and was even asked to coach the PNG Kumuls in the Pacific Cup and other follow-up matches.
With the departure of the Hunters core team, like in the two halves pairing of the Watson brothers Ase and Boas, and their Guria partner and Hunters’ dummy half Wartovo Puara and the enforcers in the forwards department to the British Super League, Hunters lost its strike power. It would now take Marum to find the right combinations and a great deal of time and effort to polish and gel the newly drafted players into the single fighting unit our Hunters have become to be known.
Criticisms have already made their rounds to try to put our best-performing coach on the spot. Many have gone as far as to disapprove Coach Marum’s methods and the structures he has developed and tested. Some are even calling for the axing of Michael Marum himself.
We Papua New Guineans care about the immediate and not the important. We don’t see the hard yards Marum and his coaching staff are putting in to create a team that we will all like.
All our focus is on resolving the immediate issues facing us. We don`t worry too much about the important issues that could bring in long-term impacts and/or prevent long-term crises.
Just a few years ago, the country was in the grip of repression that inflicted pain right across the country. Power was central within a family and a closely knit cabal of 11 men dubbed as the ‘kitchen cabinet’ who determined who gets what from logging rights to billion-kina agreements in mining, petroleum and liquefied natural gas (LNG).
From these agreements they siphoned millions in kick-backs and sweet-deal arrangements with banks and international financiers, plunging the country into a spiral of debts. Even jobs ranging from tea boy to department secretaries and heads of statutory organisations became a tsunami that went to one particular ethnic group.
The family and 11 wise men had tentacles woven into every State-owned enterprise and money-making entity, making them their milking-cows.
Dislike and hate of the Somare-led National Alliance regime swept across the country and a nationwide revolt was imminent.
People demanded through their elected MPs to change the government and finally on August 2, 2011, the hour of reckoning came. Every elected MP, even members of the ruling party and senior government ministers, abandoned the regime – leaving only 39 MPs, including the 11 ‘wise men’ – to form a new government with Peter O’Neill as its prime minister.
A constitutional crisis ensued and O’Neill won that struggle and remained in power after the court ruling. It laid the foundation for his dominance in the PNG political arena.
Somare did not admit defeat. The 2012 election, however, gave a clear victory to O’Neill. Somare accepted the outcome and he even supported the election of O’Neill as prime minister.
We now have a very responsible government. At the helm of navigating a country plunged by high inflation – coupled by rising debt – as a result of low commodity prices with export returns so low Prime Minster O’Neill is confident of weathering the economic storm.
Indications are that PNG’s revenue base is solid enough and capable of providing long-term repayment of the country’s debt. O’Neill sees that more foreign investment will create more jobs and drive growth. This is from his belief that if the country continues to invest in the right infrastructure, deliver the right social services and create opportunities and jobs for the people then PNG can be able to service its debts.
O’Neill’s vision is simple – broaden our revenue base, live within our means, continue to make better use of our domestically produced resources, and continue to improve our resilience to economic shocks.