I asked myself if the column I created is of any value to me as a writer. I have given a lot of thoughts about it. At first I wanted to close the window for ever.As it turned out the loyal followers of Steven’s Window seem unrelenting in that the window must open again.
I did resist the temptation to open the window last year. This year is a new chapter in our lives. We have to pick up from where we have fallen and move on. The world is changing every second.
So many things happened in the year 2011 that were not brought to those who follow Steven’s Window column. I was unable to contribute anything for the column. I watched, the world go by, beginning with the political whirlwind and change of regimes in the world: Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Lybia; USA captures and executes Osama bin Ladin, earthquake in Christchurch, then Japan’s worst Tsunami and near nuclear disaster, and at the home front, the change of the guards between the Somare group and the O’Neill group, and the worst ever plane crash in PNG. It was a year of change that history books will return to time and time again.
As for me I had to operate in two different countries in 2011. The first six months was spent in Hawaii, USA and the next six months in Papua New Guinea. I had to teach in two different universities with two different systems in one year.
The first six months I held the Arthur Lynn Andrews Chair in Pacific and Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii. This position was held within the Center for Pacific Islands Studies (CPIS). The CPIS is part of the School of Asian and Pacific Studies. I was also a Visiting Researcher with the Pacific Islands Development Program within the East West Center.
Holding the Arthur Lynn Andrews Chair was the most important thing in my life as a writer scholar within the Pacific region. I was the second Pacific Islander to hold the personal chair. The Andrews Chair is one of the top awards made to an outstanding scholar of indigenous origin in—someone who had produced new knowledge to further the understanding of our people and society. In the USA such an honor is given to few outstanding individuals.
I had completed that assignment in May 2011 before returning home only to go straight into teaching courses at the University of Papua New Guinea in Semester 2 of 2011.
It was an interesting year for me. I learnt so much in a space of twelve months. In the next several articles I will share with the follower’s of Steven’s Window some of the inspirations I gathered. So many people have been asking me one question: So will the Steven’s Window open again? It is now open again for your indulgence.
As the days reeled to the end of last year I thought about many things that this beautiful country of ours has been through since the last 36years of Independence. We are enjoying the fruits of the hard work our pioneer leaders had cultivated in their effort to break free from the shackles of colonialism. The path we took has many interesting curves and bends, but we have remained steadfast in our resolve to maintain democracy at all cost.
Today the generation I went to school with is running the country.Today we are making a mark on the national political scene, in the bureacracy, and in the business world. Yet, as I reflect on this I realize this country is built on the shoulders of every Papua New Guineans who sacrificed themselves, who had faith in this country, and pushed on to get here. Everyone has contributed a pint of salt for this country.
PNG goes to the polls this year. Intending candidates and political parties are preparing their road maps and master plans for the 2012 General Elections. Many LLGs and wards are responding to the approaches of intending candidates. The campaign has started in many areas of the country even though the law says something else.
In the last several weeks leading up to the Christmas and New Year period Papua New Guineans showed the most resalient character of ourselves as a nation by observing the test of our Constitution and the parliamentary democracy we are proud of upholding since Independence in 1975. Whatever people thought, felt, and experienced since August 2011 remains safely locked away in their mental chest as moments they can return to in future if a reference is needed.
The only catch to 2011 is that I discovered Face Book. So did many Papua New Guineans. Now you can follow everything happening in the world just from your mobile. Like many others I ended up signing for my own Face Book. Papua New Guineans are using Face Book to discuss, send comments, provide commentaries, and make the social network become an agent of change. Many like me were following the news feed from Malum Nalu and the NBC reports on the latest development on the political stand-off between Somare group and the O’Neill group. Many of these moments are now Face Book history.
A commentator in one of the newspapers said it clearly: The debates in the Parliament on the destiny of this country is limited to only few leaders, but the debate in the public on electronic media is vibrant, democratic, and is the simple, ordinary people’s voices.
In the years ahead the electronic media will either strengthen or bring to end regimes that are popular or unpopular to the masses. Some of our leaders are already on Face Book—just wondering whether they are reading what the PNG public and the world is saying about them.
In opening the Steven’s Window for the year 2012 I am reminding readers that you can follow me on my blog: www.stevenswindow.blogspot.com and on Facebook. Look beyond this window to a future only you can have.