I write in response to the letter “Are we ready to slog it out?” (The National, Nov 27) by “Observer”.
Yes, the onus is on us, Papua New Guineans, to stand up and be counted.
But we need time to evolve bearing in mind places like the Highlands has yet to clock 100 years of contact with the outside world.
However, that should not excuse us from our current attitudes; but, it does shed some light on this sensitive issue.
Every country, society and individual has an inherent trait that has evolved from generations of exposure to a certain environment or way of life.
As an individual, it is coded in our genes and passed on from generations; it sets you apart from others.
Communities, societies and countries during their path of evolution, have developed unique ways of life that allow them to thrive in their environments.
In economics, these unique traits are broadly termed as “comparative advantages”.
In nature, if you introduce an exotic species with advanced survival mechanisms into another environment without natural predators; that exotic species will thrive and colonise its new habitat … unless a predator evolves from among the native species; its food supply runs out; or the environment becomes too harsh for the exotic species to survive.
PNG has adopted the Westminster system of government; the English common law; English is our legal language and we have adopted the modern cash economy; and we now live in a democratic society ruled by capitalism.
A far cry from our traditional communal societies based on the barter system.
Because we have modified our environment, we must now evolve as a people in order to thrive in this new environment.
But we must defend against other people that already find this environment conducive to their survival and advancement.
Other people, whoever they may be, have already evolved over time and now thrive in this environment through both sustainable and unsustainable means.
They have a comparative advantage over us as a people.
What we are currently experiencing is only natural with the anti-Asian riots being the rawest of forms, it is like a predator arising form the native species; their food supply will never run out because of our abundant natural resources; and our weak government along with crooked politicians and bureaucrats are offering them the perfect environment to thrive.
If you go to any developed country, you will find that there are laws designed to protect their citizens, their aspirations, future and survival.
These laws extend to trade between other countries, the conduct of multinational corporations and even to all facets of ordinary life.
I’ll sum it up with this analogy.
Your father has planted a mango tree for you in the backyard. Before you can enjoy the fruits, your father will have to water and nurture it, prevent others from stealing the fruits and, most importantly, teach how to plant a mango tree for your children. All these take time.
The answer is not if we can slog it out but when we can slog it out; what we must do to prepare ourselves and how we can protect ourselves until we can slog it out.