Header Ads Widget

aim ol misis na sinebada igo pinis yumi olgeta meri lais liklik

IN ANY society there are both overt and subtle influences at play which determine how a society works and evolves.
A good example of an overt influence is television. Like it or hate it, television is a purveyor of ideas. It would not be stretching a point to claim it has been a key shaper of cultural development wherever it has permeated.
Radio and newspapers have had the same role. Although it looks like we’re about to see the end of the latter.
While these and more recently social media have been key proselytising agents for the commercialism and sensationalism that pervade our lives, they have also been liberating forces for people by opening our eyes to other possibilities.

Another overt influence in the PNG context was the influence of expatriates.
In the years before independence, it was fashionable to blame the ‘left wing’ for the political evolution that was occurring. Fingers were pointed at the disruption to an easy colonial life caused by those Hawaiian shirted and besandaled ‘leftist’ elements roaming around the education system, particularly the University of Papua New Guinea.
Many Australians, and a few Papua New Guineans, credited the rise of the ‘radical’ Pangu Pati on such people.
The hard men of the Australian administration, especially in the top echelons of the kiaps, and the fat cats of the plantation class were vociferous critics of teachers, lecturers, journalists and like ‘subversives’.
Pangu was not radical in any sense of the word. Its policies were moderate and its members, many of whom were students, were just interested in exploring ideas. The teachers and lecturers provided that opportunity; the same thing was happening all over the world.
That is one example of a perceived overt expatriate influence in Papua New Guinea.
The subtle influences are much more difficult to pin down because they are more nuanced, commonplace and unremarked.
In those same pre-Independence years there were many expatriates living with their families in Papua New Guinea, around 40,000 at Independence. While the men worked, the women and children interacted with the community at another level.
There is a kind of urban myth that many of these women cowered behind closed doors in isolation and frustration but that is far from the truth.
The expatriate women were amongst the people, occasionally in paid work but more often immersed in community activities and causes. Their children had Papua New Guinean playmates.
The influence of those women and kids on PNG society was si.gnificant and mostly for the good.
If you come to the present you will see, except in the bigger towns, that the expatriate presence in PNG is predominantly male. Since 1975 the presence of European women and children has diminished considerably.
Those expatriate wives of ol kiap, ol didiman, ol liklik dokta and ol tisa interacted with local women in towns and remote outstations, taught dressmaking and cookery and initiated sporting contests and socialised with local women. This is mostly now a distant memory.
As the families of expatriates left PNG en masse after 1975, a great and positive societal influence was subtly lost.

Post a Comment