Powes Parkop: Let Your Poppies Grow Tall

“You cannot strengthen one by weakening the other. You cannot add to the stature of a dwarf by cutting off the leg of a giant”

Benjamin Franklin Fearless President of the US Steel Corporation in 1950.

It is called the “Tall Poppy” syndrome! A worldwide phenomenon but particularly so in Papua New Guinea where envy and jealousy keeps many communities and people thinking small and staying in our comfort zone. A sure strategy to keep everyone failing.

It is practiced everywhere in PNG but worse in some parts of our country like Morobe Province particularly around Markham Valley, Central Province, Madang Province and some parts of the Eastern Highlands Province.

It’s a phenomenon where no one dares to dream and grow big. Everyone think and stay small because they are afraid of criticism and attack. Those who dare to break this cycle are thrown upon and brought down directly or indirectly until they relent and give up their dreams and join everyone else in playing small and being mediocre.

Late Prime Minister of United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher when asked to comment on this when visiting the US before she became Prime Minister said “Let your poppies grow tall”! An assertion she made to acknowledge that it was a big problem in the UK and the only way to treat or counter this syndrome was to focus on success strategies and greatness and not to succumb to envy and jealousy with the aim to make people fail and cause problem to everyone around.

The tall poppy syndrome has taken a new height on social media and applied by some members of the opposition is clearly, no matter how you look at it, is intended to bring failures, destruction and chaos for our people and our country.

Whether this is a conscious plan or not, the approach that is currently being taken to shoot each other down by subjective and unrelenting criticism with negativity and name calling just to pull our leaders down into smallness or if possible give up altogether will not work in the long run. Is our purpose just to shoot each other down? What are we fighting? We are not fighting corruption we are fighting ourselves!

Today the elected members on the Government side are coping the flank and the onslaught. Those who are mounting the attack will attract the same type of low level onslaught and attack if somehow they find themselves in Government or decision making situations.

And time and time again it is proven when the attacked strikes back it might be merciless or worsened. What you do to others you invite others to do the same to you! And the cycles starts all over again. Who wins at the end? Who pays the price at the end? When will this cycle end? When will our people learn to support, come together as one people, one country and give time for your elected leaders to do their job and deliver?

Four years from now if some members from the Opposition maintains this strategy of knocking and rubbishing everything Government does and denigrating everyone in Government they will only remain in Opposition! Nothing will change and any fault or under achievement that is committed by the Government will not be corrected.

I hope, Government Ministers and the Government themselves will not succumb to the negative onslaught of this tall poppy syndrome and think and play small, play safe and please everyone.

I urge all Government MP’s, Opposition MP’s and everyone who has been subjected to these attacks including women who have also been subjected to mean sexist comments to remain steadfast, dare to push the boundary and be strong to think and act with courage and self-belief. We don’t have to be subjected to these unfounded rumours and adjust our life because we are afraid of what people will say. Be proud of who you are as an individual, as a family, a community, a city and as a country.

Constructive criticism is good for all and should be welcomed. It can act as a good feedback on how we can grow and learn to be better.

In politics, criticism should be based on alternative policies and strategies. It is better if it was offering solutions rather then merely denigrating, rubbishing and criticising with an intention to bringing a person down and the issues downplayed.

A responsible and credible Opposition is very important to maintain checks and balances of the Government. It would be good if issues are discussed and MP’s from both sides engages in a debate and convince everyone that they have a better policy, a better plan and strategy.

Inciting public to boycott or to strike without a clear alternative of what will happen next is the height of irresponsibility that does no good to a country, its people and it’s future generation. Why are we choosing a failure strategy? Are we morons? Are we not thinking about our children? No one wins and no one gains. We all lose as a nation.

Let’s us stay strong on the eve of our country hosting a major event. This is the time we must come together with pride to showcase who we are as a nation. Bring all issues into parliament so it can be effectively addressed and all matters brought to question in an appropriate manner.

The Time is NOW Papua New Guinea. Put our differences aside and stand strong as One People, One Country. One Nation.

May God Bless our beloved Papua New Guinea and may we have have a successful Asia Pacific Economic Corporation leaders summit.

“You cannot strengthen one by weakening the other. You cannot add to the stature of a dwarf by cutting off the leg of a giant” Benjamin Franklin Fearless President of the US Steel Corporation in 1950.

It is called the “Tall Poppy” syndrome! A worldwide phenomenon but particularly so in Papua New Guinea where envy and jealousy keeps many communities and people thinking small and staying in our comfort zone. A sure strategy to keep everyone failing.

It is practiced everywhere in PNG but worse in some parts of our country like Morobe Province particularly around Markham Valley, Central Province, Madang Province and some parts of the Eastern Highlands Province.

It’s a phenomenon where no one dares to dream and grow big. Everyone think and stay small because they are afraid of criticism and attack. Those who dare to break this cycle are thrown upon and brought down directly or indirectly until they relent and give up their dreams and join everyone else in playing small and being mediocre.

Late Prime Minister of United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher when asked to comment on this when visiting the US before she became Prime Minister said “Let your poppies grow tall”! An assertion she made to acknowledge that it was a big problem in the UK and the only way to treat or counter this syndrome was to focus on success strategies and greatness and not to succumb to envy and jealousy with the aim to make people fail and cause problem to everyone around.

The tall poppy syndrome has taken a new height on social media and applied by some members of the opposition is clearly, no matter how you look at it, is intended to bring failures, destruction and chaos for our people and our country.

Whether this is a conscious plan or not, the approach that is currently being taken to shoot each other down by subjective and unrelenting criticism with negativity and name calling just to pull our leaders down into smallness or if possible give up altogether will not work in the long run. Is our purpose just to shoot each other down? What are we fighting? We are not fighting corruption we are fighting ourselves!

Today the elected members on the Government side are coping the flank and the onslaught. Those who are mounting the attack will attract the same type of low level onslaught and attack if somehow they find themselves in Government or decision making situations.

And time and time again it is proven when the attacked strikes back it might be merciless or worsened. What you do to others you invite others to do the same to you! And the cycles starts all over again. Who wins at the end? Who pays the price at the end? When will this cycle end? When will our people learn to support, come together as one people, one country and give time for your elected leaders to do their job and deliver?

Four years from now if some members from the Opposition maintains this strategy of knocking and rubbishing everything Government does and denigrating everyone in Government they will only remain in Opposition! Nothing will change and any fault or under achievement that is committed by the Government will not be corrected.

I hope, Government Ministers and the Government themselves will not succumb to the negative onslaught of this tall poppy syndrome and think and play small, play safe and please everyone.

I urge all Government MP’s, Opposition MP’s and everyone who has been subjected to these attacks including women who have also been subjected to mean sexist comments to remain steadfast, dare to push the boundary and be strong to think and act with courage and self-belief. We don’t have to be subjected to these unfounded rumours and adjust our life because we are afraid of what people will say. Be proud of who you are as an individual, as a family, a community, a city and as a country.

Constructive criticism is good for all and should be welcomed. It can act as a good feedback on how we can grow and learn to be better.

In politics, criticism should be based on alternative policies and strategies. It is better if it was offering solutions rather then merely denigrating, rubbishing and criticising with an intention to bringing a person down and the issues downplayed.

A responsible and credible Opposition is very important to maintain checks and balances of the Government. It would be good if issues are discussed and MP’s from both sides engages in a debate and convince everyone that they have a better policy, a better plan and strategy.

Inciting public to boycott or to strike without a clear alternative of what will happen next is the height of irresponsibility that does no good to a country, its people and it’s future generation. Why are we choosing a failure strategy? Are we morons? Are we not thinking about our children? No one wins and no one gains. We all lose as a nation.

Let’s us stay strong on the eve of our country hosting a major event. This is the time we must come together with pride to showcase who we are as a nation. Bring all issues into parliament so it can be effectively addressed and all matters brought to question in an appropriate manner.

The Time is NOW Papua New Guinea. Put our differences aside and stand strong as One People, One Country. One Nation.

May God Bless our beloved Papua New Guinea and may we have have a successful Asia Pacific Economic Corporation leaders summit.

Commentary by Hon. Governor Powes Parkop, National Capital District

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on Wednesday, October 31, 2018. Filed under allLetters .

About Us

Welcome to WordPress. This is the first post of this blog, installed today 19 November 2018 in Port Moresby, the capital city Papua New Guinea, the biggest capital city of Melanesia.

I am Wewo Kotokay, as a result of recent discussions with various netrepreurs in Port Moresby, I am launching this blog particularly to

  1. Spread the news and information on Walk-4-Life launched by the Honourable Powes Parkop, the Governor of National Capital District (NCD) Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
  2. Encourage the practice/ walk for life across Melanesian peoples, start from the Four-Kings Islands of West Papua to Wallis-Futuna Islands on the easternmost part.

Through this blog, I invite all of you to participate in spreading the information, and inject the virus of “healthy life” by “walking”,and yes, “just by walking”.

We Melanesians remember well, our parents in villages live much longer, much healthier, much stronger, not because they eat modern rice, bread, butter and vegetables, not because hamburger and Kentucky Friends Chicken, but primarily because “They WALK”, and they do so ALL THE TIME.

I am encouraging all of you to set up “Walk for LIfe” in the following cities

  1. Walk-4-Life Port Numbay
  2. Walk-4-Life Port Moresby
  3. Walk-4-Life Port Vila
  4. Walk-4-Life Suva
  5. Walk-4-Life Noumea
  6. Walk-4-Life Honiara

Finally we will celebrate in a big events across Melanesia called “Walk-4-Life Melanesia”

 

PS:

  • This blog is my MELANEISA.ONE Project. I want all of us Melanesians look at us ourselves, self-identify ourselves, know ourselves, self-develop ourselves, by setting aside our habit of “mimicking” the West and hating the East, avoiding ourselves declaring as Christians and therefore automatically we are western allies, forgetting that Jesus and Christianity and Westerners are not the same at all.
  • MELANESIA.ONE project is a way to “decolonize” and “deconstruct” our paradigm and mindset about ourselves, and therefore to see the world around us according to our true and real eyes.
  • Thus, MELANESIA.ONE project is way to respect ourselves, and then develop ourselves, not in reaction or response to or follow up of anyone or anything, but because WE Melanesians want and like to do whatever we want to do.

Settling as an expat in Port Moresby – a personal account

When we started making plans to relocate as a family from Port Vila in Vanuatu to Port Moresby, the overwhelming reaction from our expatriate friends was one of negativity and caution (“it’s too dangerous there”, “there is nothing to do in Port Moresby”, “how can you do this to your children?”) and I had to combat the occasional feeling of guilt, given that the Happy Isles of Vanuatu had indeed been a wonderful place for us as a family. As I gathered more information about our new temporary home, I found that Port Moresby is considered the third least liveable city out of 140 cities worldwide, ranked just above Damascus and Dhaka. Port Moresby’s overall liveability rating was 38.9 (anything under 50 reflects a situation where most aspects of living are severely restricted). After arriving here in early July, briefings on the security situation organised by my husband’s employer and accounts by expats who had been living here for a while further increased my sense of unease, fear and anxiety. At expat get-togethers stories of violent car-jackings and robberies are popular conversation topics. As a result, I envisaged myself spending most of my time at home, afraid to leave except for the most essential trips to the supermarket or to school. Fortunately, the reality quickly turned out to be rather different.

Bushwalk in Port Moresby Hills (2)There is no doubt that our daily lives are considerably restricted by security concerns. A thriving security industry employing thousands of people is concerned with the security of expats and comparatively wealthy Papua New Guineans. This security industry has a strong interest in maintaining the present perception of a high level of security risk. We have received a range of security devices that we carry around and keep in the car, we have adjusted our driving style, we use an armed escort for trips in the dark or into unknown areas, and we do not walk in public areas. In addition, we avoid certain areas within Port Moresby altogether and on the few occasions that we have traveled out of town, we have done so in a convoy of many cars. Our house also has several security features, in addition to its location in a secure compound. In other words, the actual risk of becoming a victim of crime can be reduced, while it is still possible to participate in outdoors activities. The terrain around Port Moresby lends itself to unforgettable bushwalking experiences with frequent panoramic views of the Coral Sea. These walks have to be done as part of an organised group, not only due to the security situation, but also because of the lack of signposts, and the fact that landowners’ prior permission is required. While some people might consider this restrictive, there are few capital cities in the world that offer similar bush-walking opportunities in their vicinity. In addition, there are snorkeling and diving opportunities just off Port Moresby – evidently, one needs access to a boat or has to join a group, but again, how many capital cities even offer the opportunity for snorkeling or diving day trips?

Apart from the natural beauty around Port Moresby, there are several other positive living aspects. The range of grocery products available in supermarkets is impressive, with some of the supermarkets looking more like an Australian Woolworths than supermarkets in developing Pacific Island countries. The local fruits are excellent. There are cinemas, shopping malls, and a good variety of restaurants. Compared to Port Vila, Port Moresby’s climate is very pleasant and the risk of natural disasters is considerably lower. In addition, lots of developments are currently underway in connection with PNG’s hosting of major regional events, including the 2015 Pacific Games and the 2018 APEC summit. Indeed, Port Moresby’s cityscape has been transformed substantially since my last visit in 2008 and now features many characteristics of a truly big city, both in the positive and negative sense. At all levels of the housing market rents in Port Moresby have gone through the roof, but, in contrast to many other developing countries, quality housing is available for those willing to pay exorbitant rents.

Ela Beach Craft MArket (3)Probably partly as a result of the admittedly challenging living situation in Port Moresby, the expat community is welcoming and helpful. There are always social events happening and newcomers are quickly integrated. Everyone’s paths cross regularly at the few venues frequented by expats: the Saturday morning craft markets with their amazing collection of paintings, carvings, woven articles and other craft items from all over Papua New Guinea and live entertainment with music and dances; the Royal Papua Yacht Club; Vision City and the Waterfront; as well as The Ela Murray International School for families with children.

One fact we appreciate about Port Moresby is its proximity to Australia. Our children grew up in the Pacific and Israel/Palestine and we are happy that they are now exposed to and can participate in an Australian way of life to a greater extent than in any other place where they have lived, preparing them for an eventual return to their country of birth. Australians are the dominant group of expats. The shared history and geographical proximity between New Guinea and Australia is very pronounced. Some places in Port Moresby look like they have been taken out of Australia and planted in Port Moresby – the Yacht Club comes to mind – other places are significant for the psyche of both nations – Bomana War Cemetery and Owers’ Corner, the southern end of the Kokoda Track. The landmasses of New Guinea and Australia became separated only when the area now known as the Torres Strait flooded after the end of the last glacial period. As a result, the two countries share a similar fauna with kangaroos (tree kangaroos in PNG’s case), wallabiespossums and cuscuses, echidnas, and cassowaries to name but a few. On a practical level, there are several flights a day from Port Moresby to Cairns and Brisbane.

Loloata Island near Port Moresby

Some expats choose to spend a few years in Port Moresby for the additional allowances that most companies and organisations pay their employees as compensation for living in such a challenging place. There is also a sizeable group of expats roaming the Pacific, working for regional organisations or companies with branches in various countries, many of whom will sooner or later end up spending some time in PNG. We know several expats as well as Papua New Guineans, now living in Port Moresby, who used to live in Fiji or Vanuatu at the same time as us. And then there are those who have fallen in love with PNG and with what makes it such a special country: the diversity of its people, the dramatic landscape, the beautiful fauna and flora. A few weeks ago, we were privileged to witness the week leading up to the Independence Day Holiday with its associated events and performances. Many Papua New Guineans display two or three different flags of their ancestral provinces and wear costumes and colours from all corners of the country. The rich culture and enormous diversity within the population is difficult to grasp and is part of what makes Papua New Guineans enormously proud of their country and the political independence gained from Australia 39 years ago. Accordingly, the greeting around the Independence Day Holiday is “Happy Independence”, rather than the expected “Happy Independence Day”.

Economically, there are challenging times ahead for the PNG government, most importantly the question on how to translate the country’s wealth and rapidly increasing government revenues into social development at the grass roots level. I feel privileged that I will be doing research into exactly this question as part of my attachment with the National Research Institute as an ANU academic. The population of Papua New Guinea is several times that of all other Pacific Island countries taken together and the scale of issues is vastly different. I also feel privileged to be based in an institution staffed by Papua New Guineans, and to have an opportunity to learn from my colleagues over the next couple of years. In contrast to the doubts before moving here, I now look forward to what awaits me in this extraordinary country.

Carmen Voigt-Graf is a Fellow at the Development Policy Centre, and a Senior Research Fellow at the National Research Institute in Papua New Guinea.

Important Points Presented in this article

  1. This security industry has a strong interest in maintaining the present perception of a high level of security risk.
  2. Indeed, Port Moresby’s cityscape has been transformed substantially since my last visit in 2008 and now features many characteristics of a truly big city, both in the positive and negative sense
  3. Economically, there are challenging times ahead for the PNG government, most importantly the question on how to translate the country’s wealth and rapidly increasing government revenues into social development at the grass roots level.

 

Hundreds Participate In PNG ‘Walk Against Corruption’- Transparency International PNG organized annual event

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 27, 2013) – The Ombudsman Commission has urged all citizens to report and break the cycle of corruption in society.

This was the main message from Acting Chief Ombudsman Commissioner Phoebe Sangetari when addressing participants at the Jack Pidik Park at 5-Mile for the annual Sir Anthony Siaguru Walk Against Corruption in Port Moresby yesterday.

The walk was facilitated by Transparency International (PNG).

Sangetari told participants not to turn a blind eye on corrupt practices anymore.

“Report corruption, for too long we have turned our backs on corruption. You can be the part of the solution to break the cycle or be part of the cycle.”

“You as an individual must make a change and everyone else would want to follow you. Your behaviour and attitude will affect the others around you.”

She encouraged individuals to be role models in the communities by being the change.

“You be the beacon of hope and together we can fight corruption and do more than just take part in this walk.”

She said the first and most important step to take against corruption was to say no and to act on what each individual believed in a transparent society.

The second step she pointed out was for individuals to respect and enforce the laws that were in place.

“PNG is filled with laws yet we take shortcuts and we don’t follow them. This disease is eating all the fabrics of society and affecting every walk of life.”

“The fight against corruption should not be left to TIPNG, Ombudsman Commission and the police, it’s everyone’s business.”

TIPNG chairman Lawrence Stephens stressed that corruption has caused disharmony in society and prevented basic services from being delivered.

“PNG wants to say no and I hope we will continue to say no (to corruption),” he said.

More than 350 people took part in the annual Sir Anthony Siaguru Walk Against Corruption in Port Moresby yesterday.

[PIR editor’s note: Another 500+ people participated in the first Walk of Corruption conducted in Lae.]

The Transparency International (PNG) led walk was into its seventh year this year with the theme “Be the Change!” which calls for individuals to be the change in their communities.

The purpose of the walk was to create awareness of corruption, provide citizens an opportunity to demonstrate their opposition to corruption and raise funds for the Siaguru Endowment Fund (SEF).

The SEF is a back stream of funds which would ensure the future operations of TIPNG in the event that donors cease their support towards the institution.

The Jack Pidik Park at 5Mile was filled with various teams from government departments, schools, civil society organizations, business houses and families all in their uniforms and carried banners with anti corruption messages.

The walk began after six thirty in the morning led by acting Chief Ombudsman Commissioner Phoebe Sangetari and TIPNG chairman Lawrence Stephens followed by teams chanting their war cries to weed out corruption.

The walk began at the park, then through Boroko Drive, past Kaubebe Street, to Lahara Avenue then out to the Hubert Murray Highway and back to the starting point.

The event was also held in Kokopo, Kimbe, Madang, Alotau, Lihir, Kavieng and Lae on Saturday and yesterday of which more than 6, 000 people participated.

Source:

  1.  http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/2013/May/05-28-13.htm
  2. https://www.acc.org.bt/?q=node/671