Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Read Before You Write

Last week we celebrated the National Book Week. To prepare for the week I spent the weekend reading, my friend, Drusilla Modjeska’s new novel: The Mountain, published by Random House Australia. The novel by one of Australian leading writers is the highly recommended Random House Australian book of the month. Its entire setting is in Port Moresby and Collingwood Bay. The story began in the late 960s and works itself to the present time, mostly around characters associated with the UPNG It is a wonderful story written with such fluidity and excellent narrative style that readers will resist the putting down the book. A book with so much psychological drama to physical dramatization of national events in Papua New Guinea seen through the eyes of the main players in the story. 
It is one of the best books on PNG to have come out this year. I will do a full review of the book in a future article.
In the National Book Week I was invited by the PNG Paradise High School to share the afternoon of Wednesday with them. I spoke about the importance of reading books. Most important of all is to spend at least one hour every day for reading only.
The Principal of the Paradise High School informed me that their library is always half empty of books everyday. It is because students borrow books to read everyday. Wow! That is incredible. Well done PNG Paradise High School. I was so excited I read to them some of the poems in my latest collection of poetry Detwan How? Thank you for sharing the National Book with me PNG Paradise High School.
On Friday 10 August 2012 I was the guest of the Jubilee Catholic Secondary school located  at Hohola, National Capital District. This was the closing of the National Book Week. It was a pleasure and honor to be the guest of the school. This is the second time to be a guest of Jubilee Secondary School for the National Book Week. I was pleased  to be a guest of the school again because it is also the school my daughter attends.
The celebration of the National Book Week was fun filled, exciting, and celebratory. The students in paraded in book characters. I spoke about the seven effective techniques exposed in Steven’s Window  last week. I also told them to read to learn the style of writing of great writers like Drusilla Modjeska and Stephen King. It was important for me to mention to them also that spending at least one hour everyday to read will do them so much good and give them reason to celebrate life in its entirety.  People who read have more knowledge and control over their lives and those of others. Without reading many remain ignorant and fooled by the manipulation of others with more knowledge.
The highlight of the closing ceremony was the award of book prizes to students who competed in a writing competition organized for the National Book Week. The winners, including my daughter, Cheryl, were awarded various prizes before we concluded the National Book Week for this year.
The most important advice I gave to students in both schools I was a guest of is the advice on developing reading skills at the high school level. To get to a university students need to do well in their subjects. In order for them to do well they have to read, read, and read more books. Without developing the skills of reading their lives at the university level studies will be one of disappointments.
This advice was given because I have been dealing with students at the University of Papua New Guinea for the last 20 or more years. Students who perform at a higher level in their studies at the university level are those who read, read, and read. It is as simple as that. Reading fills the empty claypot with goodies and wonderful food for thought. Three quarters of the students struggle through their studies because they are not reading or if they are the reading amount is insufficient. No matter how much we stress on the importance of reading our students are staying away from the library and books.
Many students end up failing or scraping through their studies at UPNG with lower grades of Pass (P) or Considered Pass (CP). The simple reason is that scoring that kind of grade signifies the performance level of students in reading and writing. Students failed to read what their lecturers require them to read and also have not taken the initiative to read outside of the recommended readings.
The level of reading and writing is below standard at the University of Papua New Guinea. I bet it is also the same in many of the other universities around the country. Students at the university level are suddenly confronted with the reality that without reading success in one’s studies is never going to improve.
Many courses at the universities are on composition and essay writing. Students have real difficulties in their writing skills that on receiving their papers back from lecturers they are shocked to see the below average score on their papers. Somewhere at the back of the paper there are a lecturer’s comments that the essay lacks sufficient secondary reference and evidence to back up the argument. There are no evidence of library research or theoretical influence. The final mark is based on quality of library research and the ‘proper’ use of language in the construction of the essay. Writing mechanics were not followed. Yeah, and one last advice: avoid quoting from Wikipedia and Encarta. Do the traditional library research. Read more before you write.
I am glad that Mrs. Bernadette Ove, the Principal of Jubilee Catholic Secondary School challenged her school to read more and do more to score high marks in their examinations this year.
I totally agree with her that success at high level of studies begins at the high school level.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Book Week Reading Lessons

At one point I could read 300 pages or more a day. I wish I could return to that period in my life to increase reading up to 500 pages a day. It was the only way I could get through graduate studies in the United States. Serious! No kidding.  
So it seems. Even if I am no longer the master of the habit I still read what is required of me to remain alive, intelligent, and above the challenges before me.  I am the master of my habits. The reading habit has been on my report card for sometime now. I need to do something about it. It remains my chief responsibility to direct my reading habit to work for me. I am the master of my own reading habit. No one can tell me that my reading habit has failed to deliver what I need. 
It is National Book Week. A time we remind ourselves about the importance of books, literature, reading and writing in our lives. It is a time for us to reflect on our experiences as readers and writers of books. Often in this week schools did various activities around the world of books, reading, and writing.
This year I participated as guest writer at the Paradise High School. I was invited to speak about my life as a writer and reader. I accepted the invitation because sharing my experience with young people helps them to stay focused on the most important element in their education: books and reading habits.
There are seven reading techniques I use in my life:
1     1.Skim reading for information I need to equip me for the day. This is a fast reading that requires fast processing of information without needing to grasp the details.
2. Active reading is for me to gain more knowledge or insights into a particular idea, conception, or object. Often in this kind of reading I am making notes on what I need to know that is important. 
      3. Recognize the elements of style and language different writers use to master the graft of writing. Good writing is easier to read and follow. Good writing styles are imitable to those who seek a uniquewriting style.
      4. Reading with a purpose involves reading several books at the same time to cover as much ground and a wider range of subjects in one day. The importance of reading for a purpose is that you can learn as much as you like by reading different subject areas.  The approach here is to read at least 50 pages of several books until you have read 250 pages. Assume that you have five books to read.  All you have to do is decide to read at least 50 pages of one book, then 50 pages of another, and continue to read 50 pages of another book until you have reached the target number of total pages you have to read in a day.  That is your reading goal.
    5. Re-reading is a technique used to re-read books you had read previously, but re-reading again to appreciate the book or article more for what you might have ignored, overlooked, or under-appreciated in your first reading.
     6.  Depth reading is done for the purpose of identifying the buried treasures in the world of books and published literature. Many scholars and writers do this kind of reading. Many Bible readers do this kind of reading.
      7. Reading to learn and be smart is the kind of reading my children do in school or at home. That is the answer I received from them on asking them why they read. This kind of reading is a general reading that is well--general. Many school children and students think of reading in this vague notion that they read to learn and be smart. True, but to be smart and great you need to read using some of the techniques discussed above.

Without reading the way I described my reading habit I always feel empty. Reading any other way gets me no where. The challenge of reading for me is to remain on top of the amount of reading I have to do as a lecturer and as a student of law. Either I am reading books or articles relevant and current in the Humanities and Social Sciences or I am reading cases in law as prescribed by the course lecturers. I know that reading is the key to unlocking the vault of knowledge the text before me conceals. 
It is said reading renders visible the unseen, the unknown, or the deep mysteries of our times. God has buried his deepest secrets in us. Through reading and reflection we can uncover some of these mysteries just so that our human condition is explained in terms of the vast knowledge we have of it.
Reading pays off. Jack Canfield’s advice is “learn more to earn more… People who have more information have a tremendous advantage over people who don’t. And although you may think it takes years to acquire the knowledge you would need to become supersuccessful, the truth is that simple behaviours such as reading for an hour a day, turning television time into learning time, and attending classes and training programs can make it surprisingly easy to increase your knowledge—and substantially increase your level of success.”
We can learn from the advice Jack Canfield received from his mentor, W. Clement Stone regarding the subject of saving time and reading: “You can learn a new language, get superfit, spend quality time with your wife or children, learn to play a musical instrument, make more sales calls, or go back to school and get a degree. But what I most recommend is that you read for an hour a day. Read inspirational autobiographies of successful people. Read books on psychology, sales, finance, and health. Study the principles of successful living.” 
I hope the lessons offered this week will remain a cornerstone of a successful reading life.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pacific Studies in Oceania

Last week I talked about the importance of Asia Pacific Rim. This week I follow up with a discussion on the importance of Pacific Studies in the Asia Pacific region.

It took me a while to really understand the three rationales of Pacific Studies that Terence Wesley-Smith, the current Director of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawaii proposed some time ago. These are the (1) pragmatic rationale, (2) laboratory rationale, and (3) empowerment rationale.

The pragmatic rationale is for metropolitan countries to know the places they were dealing with soon after the Second World War. This rationale is still used for funding of Pacific Studies centers in the region and throughout the world: “With the possible exception of Britain, all the imperialist states that formerly colonised the Pacific have established centres of Pacific Studies, according to late Emeritus Professor Ron C Crocombe (1987: 120–121).

Both the United States and Australia, after the ‘Pacific War’ in the Second World War, deliberately enhanced research and teaching about the islands. American and Australian colonial policies, strategies and diplomatic relations were informed by the advice given by academics. There were instances of colonial administrators becoming academics and academics opting for a career in colonial administration. Universities were recipients of government and private foundation grants, with a mandate to seek to understand Pacific island societies so that islanders could be influenced in ways required by the colonial powers.

In this regard, in 1946 the Australian government established ANU in Canberra as an academic think-tank, amongst other things to inform and advise the government about its colonial and foreign policies. Likewise, the South Pacific Commission was created by the colonial powers to keep them abreast of developments in the islands and also to have a shaping influence on the island nations’ socioeconomic, cultural and technological transformation…. So for the very pragmatic reason of wishing to influence and control island people, centres of Pacific Studies were established in the postwar period. The same rationale also influenced a proliferation of such centres in the rim countries during the more than forty years of cold war. This process was further fuelled by a range of factors: the wars in Korea and Vietnam; policies of strategic denial; nuclear armaments testing including the refinement of ICBMs; anti-colonial movements; and the nuclear free and independent Pacific movement. With respect to the American nuclear tests, scientists— including those working at universities—engaged in experiments with human guinea-pigs in Micronesia” (Naidu 1998).

An entire production of knowledge through research, public lectures,   courses, and publication on Oceania proliferated over the years. The justification for this production of knowledge set in motion the laboratory rationale. Oceania became a laboratory to study human communities in small island societies: “The second rationale for Pacific Studies is that the relatively much smaller and diverse human communities provide a laboratory for the study of the human condition and its transformation. In this view, the microcosmic world of islanders provides manageable sets of information and data to study and thence to make perhaps wider generalisations about humanity as a whole. Thus, two decades ago Oliver declared: ‘I suggest that because of their wide diversities, small-scale dimensions, and relative isolation, the Pacific Islands can provide excellent— in some ways unique—laboratory-like opportunities for gaining deeper understandings of Human Biology, Political Science, etc.” writes Terence Wesley-Smith 1995.

The laboratory explanation is associated with the not insignificant impact that islands and islanders have had on European thinking in the last three centuries. In the natural sciences certain fundamentals were changed as a consequence of the findings of early European explorers. European philosophy, art and literature were affected by the debate about ‘noble and ignoble savages’. Pacific materials have had major impacts on the discipline of Anthropology. Sir Raymond Firth, Bronislaw Malinowski, Margaret Mead, Peter Worsley, Adrian Mayer, the Keesings, Chandra Jayawardena, Ian Hogbin, Jean Guiart, Irving Goldman, John Derek Freeman, Ben Finney, Cyril Belshaw, Marshall Sahlins and Charles Valentine—the list goes on and on of researchers who have been prominent anthropologists with their scholarship firmly grounded on empirical studies of Pacific communities. They have contributed enormously to anthropological materials as well as to the development of the theoretical and methodological dimensions of this discipline,” said Vijya Naidu (1998)

By the turn of the century indigenous scholars found themselves increasingly marginalized in academia and in articulation about themselves against the so-called experts in Pacific Studies. A number of leading indigenous scholars agitated for recognition and to speak about themselves. Pacific Studies became a conduit for political demands for empowerment rationale to emerge: This is more recent and is Island centred: “It has to do with the empowerment of islanders in their efforts to resolve a multitude of social, economic and political—even psychological—problems. Perspectives about the nature of the problems and possible solutions to them are based on a critique of previous colonial and postcolonial policies and practices. Island centredness in history and in the appreciation of cultures that have survived and flowered over millennia, islanders’ strategies for national resource management and conservation, indigenous knowledge about seasons, climate and medicines, their intellectual property rights and the indigenisation of scholarship, and generally, the identification with things indigenous— such are the foci that characterise this rationale for Pacific Studies” (Naidu 1998).

The rationales have propelled Pacific Studies to shift from a research based engagement to development of courses, syllabus, and degree programs. This shift is necessiated out of the need to make sense of roles and responsibilities of different players and institutional demands on relevance and socio-economic and political needs.

The Melanesian and Pacific Studies (MAPS) was set up within the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at UPNG in 2002. I was its foundation director until 2005.  The initial aim and objectives were established, laying the foundation for further development. Since my departure from it some years back the Melanesian and Pacific Studies has taken up new functions and responsibilities to nowhere. Where is it heading to now?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Reimagining Asia Pacific Rim

Oceania, as we know from Epeli Hau’ofa is not just a sea of islands, it is also home to millions of Indigenous peoples with different cultures, histories, and experiences that define them as a unique group of people occupying an imagined geography known as Oceania. 

Movement in and around or outbound are constant and necessary experiences in the lives of Pacific Islanders. Using interconnected networking Islanders are able to move between their homelands and metropolitan centers such as New Zealand, Australia, and USA to participate in global social, political, and economic activities. These movements form new alliances, strengthen existing relationships, and promote peace, goodwill, security, and protection against destabilizing forces. These are best described as imagined geographies and cross-cultural fertilization in Oceania.

Rob Wilson, author of Reimagining the American Pacific (2000) offers a striking perspective that reaffirms the observations we have about the socio-economic and political activities within the Asia Pacific Rim: “The cultural politics of the local are brought to bear against the global in sites in the Asia-Pacific region, arousing what Stuart Hall has called the weight of “a lot of little local politics.”” The local realities are brought into direct contest against the global influences of the postmodern. 

The trend that Rob Wilson lays out on the table is less alarming, especially in relation to “Great Britain’s postimperial decline as global industrial power, given these postwar decades spreading “postmodern global culture” from the USA.”

Citing Stuart, Wilson points out “that erosion of the nation-state, national economies, and national cultural identities represents a dangerous moment: the gobbling up of the local by the national can lead to dismantling those remnants of the local and critical resistance via a process of offshore transnationalization.” Whereby “the core of national identity can be reshaped and crealized in contexts of ethnic difference, both locally and globally, from Birmingham to the ex-British colony of Hong Kong (where new cultural identity rallying around a poetics of the local has begun, against the apocalyptic odds of 1997, to assert itself).” 

A new localism developes from a space that disrupts the local where the local is something that insists on maintaining the purity of the local and status quo as in the case of languages that refuse being corrupted. In Pacific spaces such as those in Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, or Tonga, the post-imperial English is one that is a blend of the local language and the introduced English from a historical past. The English spoken mutates within local registers and refuses to maintain its original form. We could say the English used in the Pacific Islands is a hybrid language within a hybrid space that is to say English is localized within a space of colonial history and one that is postcolonial. 

Rob Wilson argues that: “The identity of “Englishness”—which in its spread through a global empire made “English English” into the world language of commerce, culture, and law—was formed in the prior epoch of international finance when the world market was dominated by nation-states and upper-class culture at the imperial core. This notion of national identity is being undone in a “postimperial” outreach, when London is just one of the global cities consolidating the transnational flows of culture, migrancy, and finance in “regimes of representation” emanating from the metropolitan center.” (Wilson 2000: 261). 

Wilson and Hall declare that “this new kind of globalization is not English, but American” in its mass spread, linguistic impurity, and pop culture—driven cultural hegemony; this time around the empire, the core culture of American globalization is called “the global postmodern” and comes booming out of Holywood, Duke University Press, Routledge, MTV, and Wall Street offices (and garages) dressed in “global mass culture” garb.” 

Indeed, the introduction of mobile phones, text messaging, and Facebook has seen a rise in the use of English that is disruptive to standard, conventional uses that there is an emergence of the resistances to such a development from within the local contexts. 

“If there is an uneven feedback loop circulating mass imagery and mass communication from a high-tech core, this new U.S. hegemony, as Hall notes, takes place and spreads via “a peculiar form of culture and multiplies linkages of capital, and hence embraces the proliferation of contradictions and ethnic/peripheral/marginal difference,” says Wilson.

In essence the Asia Pacific becomes a site of hybridization with a hybrid language of self-regulated significance. There is much blending and reshaping of the local with the globalized language and culture. 

 “Throughout the Asia/Pacific region, we can find evidence of a “counterpolitics of the local” surging up and reaffirming locality in contexts of international influx. Places driven by “Asian-Pacific” dynamics, such as Taiwan and Hawai’i, are reshaping themselves into counternational and subnational entities at the same time, ascending into something transnational and indigenous/local,”  Wilson continues to argue. 

Papua New Guinea as a site in which rapid changes in the last ten years has taken place must consider the wrestling of the transnational and indigenous for global capital, with media technologies influencing such changes at the most localized levels in rural communities.  

Wilson adds: “Given dynamics of high-tech-driven globalization…we can now see unpredictable outcomes, managing chaos and strange weather along the Pacific Rim. Australian cultural critics, confronting the global/local interface of culture down under in the Pacific, are finding their own evidence to undermine the commonplace view that the transnationalization of the media empires leads to a strengthening of U.S. hegemony.” 

The LNG project driven by global capital and transnational companies has propelled the accelerated development of business opportunities in PNG.  With it came large groups of people from the Asia Pacific region as global capital influencing and enhancing the development and capital growth of the Papua New Guinea.  In turn the transformation of local sites and physical landscapes absorb the social and economic pressures this postmodern transformation brings.

Our discussion is to highlight the uneasy acceptance of the view that we are already absorbed into the core of the Asia Pacific Rim socio-economic and political realm.

Writing Technology

Anyone can write what they want. Many books can be written by Papua New Guineans. Papua New Guineans are capturing their experiences in the written form. It is important to write books that inspire people, shape societies, and bring about fundamental changes in our communities. The power of the written word to effect changes in our attitudes is never underestimated. 

I consider writing as an instrument of social and political change in a postcolonial society like PNG. It had been used as a political instrument during late 1960s and 1970s against colonial rule of PNG. Writing as an instrument of change has currency at this time as well. 

A quick look at the different forms of writing people use today reveals that many people are using writing to seek social and political change, but are also using writing to share their experiences. In our daily newspapers many people are using the letters to the editor to speak their mind, offer critique of issues, or even debate on the values of leadership and governance. Others use newspapers to share their views, experiences, specialist knowledge of politics, health, religion, law, and an assortment of journalistic writing. Along came the electronic mediurm with which many people have jumped on board to communicate in public forums set up on Facebook. Some of these forums have generated so much interest that at one point the National Executive Council of the last regime issued warning against those who disseminate public criticism of the government. It came from nowhere, but it sure did raise some eyebrows, especially when the question of freedom of expression was at stake that very moment. Papua New Guineans began to ask: So is it really FREE to express yourself in this supposedly democratic country where exercising such free will makes democracy become fully realized?

I enjoy reading some of these writings in newspapers and on the Facebook. I am someone who began writing before the information technology was introduced to PNG. I still maintain a deep respect for the traditional print matter in books and letter press print media. 

I remain committed to writing books for publication, research and write papers for academic journals, contribute to newspaper commentaries, set up and managed my own blog: where electronic versions of Steven’s Window articles are available to anyone in the world to read. With the accessibility to Facebook through my mobile life is made more fun. I now posts entries from my blog to Facebook for others who have not them in The National newspaper every Friday.

An important reason I use information technology is for its educational value. As a teacher I want to get my students to appreciate and value information technology. I try to encourage students to use my blog as a way of expanding their knowledge base. At this time I am thinking of about posting my lecture notes to my students on their mobiles. So if they don’t turn up for lectures, it’s OK the lectures will appear on their Facebook page whether they like it or not. Then they will have no excuse to fail my courses. In doing so, I save costs of photocopying my lecture notes for hundreds of students. The technology is here for us to take advantage of it to make it work for us without a cost to us. 

There is more we can do with information technology. For example in my blog I list blogs of interest to me, sites of organizations that are important to me, and of course create within my primary blog, a secondary blog containing information about Manui Publishers. In this secondary blog I provide information about myself, what Manui Publishers is, and information about my new books when they are published. I realize that not many visitors to my blog read that secondary blog, so I am contemplating setting up a separate site for Manui Publishers.  The good thing though is that  is still popular with many people around the world.

The gist of this discussion is that while the technology is here for us to take advantage of we must continue to remind ourselves that the traditional printed world of books will not go away. It is one thing to be excited about the fancy information and electronic technologies, but we must also develop the foundations of our contemporary society on traditional printed word. There is no escape here; the hard reality is that the world is still a world of books. 

It is the world of books that Papua New Guineans must take advantage before launching themselves completely into the world of information technology. Reading or writing a book in the traditional sense of it is not the same as reading or writing using information technology. In academic writing for example, there is still the old guard of the traditional printed word represented in print and bound copies of a book. The attitude in academia is that some of the electronic sources available on the internet that are easily accessible by students are not necessarily realiable or from authoritative sources. For example every now and then lecturers at universities around the world remind students that using Wikipedia, Encarta, or other electronic sources are dangerous to quality of student research in the library or from reading authoritative research availble in various academic publications. 

The importance of writing books is what I am raving on about in this column. Many Papua New Guineans do not have access to information technology, let alone internet resources. Writing the traditional book is still the best option we have at the moment if we are to maintain some solid foundation in the way we build our society. 

Information technology is good but we must remain equally alert to the dangers of information technology. With the traditional book printed information we are free to use them in whatever way we like. Printed books will remain the primary source of knowledge and dissemination of information for many societies in the world.

Vote for Democracy

I voted a day late on June 27th in the 2012 PNG General Election at the Waigani Primary School in the nation’s capital. I was among the many voters from the UPNG area to cast our votes on Wednesday, rather than on Tuesday as originally scheduled.

I was in a good mood to vote on the day I voted. I had a bilum full of betel nuts to help me stay focused on the task at hand. It was an important task; an exercise in celebrating free will to vote in a democratic society. Papua New Guineans exercise every five years this right of citizenry.

Everything looked fine without any disturbances at the polling station. There were a few iiregularities. The first problem appeared when a woman used someone else’s name. The election scrutineers were quick to respond to this irregularity, pointing out that the known person of that same name was also in line to vote. The woman with the false name was turned away from voting. The next woman after her was illiterate that on asking someone to help her it turned out she was not on the list of voters eligible to vote there at that time. She was an elderly woman who had been staying with a relative in the electorate. An argument began between the relative of the two women who were turned away and the election scrutineers.

The scrutineers wanted the election officials to correct this mistake immediately. The election officials explained to them that only those listed for that polling area were allowed to vote. The police officer intervened by warning everyone that anyone falsifying their identities will be arrested and locked up. The relative of the two women who were turned away from voting argued with the scrutineers, the election officials, and the policeman.

The false identity and eligible voters discovering their names were not on the common roll were only the tip of the iceberg in this election. At the UPNG campus some drunk students intimated voters at the polling site and voters were double voting in different sites were some of the shocking narratives of people on that day.

Further disappointment was that some of the voters living in the area of voting for as long as I have been around did not have their names on the common roll. I know it must be a disappointment to them as well for finding out that their names were not listed for voting. The reasons for this to happen are beyond me to explain in this column. Since voting began a compound of election related problems began to emerge all over the country. This election will go down in history as one of the most challenging experience to election officials, the candidates, and the voters. Whatever the outcome is for this election we hope the formation of a new government takes place without any eminent constitutional crisis.

The best thing about voting is that a greater sense of purpose and participation in the political process is realized. A concrete sense ofcitizenry is exercised with the consciousness that one single vote makes a difference in the kind of leadership a nation desires. A vote counted towards a collective goal and purpose is the ultimate expression of nation building. There is in that expression the realization that the leader who gets elected to parliament is a manifestation of the people’s imagined community.

It is now up to the elected leaders to realize that the values of serving others before oneself must prevail to the extent that they seek divine wisdom in all decision making situations. As leaders they must shed all individualistic sentiments and various kinds of juvenile politicking for matured, conscientious, and ethical conducts in carrying out his or her mandated duties and responsibilities as political leaders as provided in the Organic Law on Duties and Responsibilities of Leadership. Elected leaders are expected to rise above the fray, to deliver their verdict on what is good for the people and not for self-pontification that comes with insatiable appetite for power.

Voters do not enter the threshold of power. It is the elected leaders who reach that threshold where power beckons a leader to taste its sweet nectar. Political power entices its newly elected members, soothes the pain of yesteryear’s politicking of those returning to parliament, and reinvigorates those who were already inducted into the hall of fame in PNG politics.

In the minds of everyone who voted or were voted the formation of a new government begins with the knowledge that an elected leader must shed the old clothes for new ones in order to become a representative of the people. In the next few weeks the elected leaders must decide who they align with in securing the right to rule.

We exercised the most fundament element of democracy in voting our leaders and our parliament. It is now the job of our leaders to take us to where we want to go in the next phase of our lives in this free and independent country.

It is hoped the new parliament is fresh, fair, and balanced in all aspects. I do hope that both young and old leaders work together to take us further. By the same token I do hope that a good number of women have become part of the new parliament. Our vote is for change in the political, social, and economic landscapes of our country.

A final point that needs to be stressed before the formation of a new government is that a new attitude in governance must guide our leaders. The questions to answer are: What kind of future will I shape in the next five years? What kind of legacy will I leave after the next five years? The burden of the voters is on the shoulders of the leaders.

The democracy we have enjoyed so far made us voted. Leaders must continue to uphold the spirit of democracy for everyone. God Bless this beautiful country.