Mediocrity throwing a tantrum

By PNG Echo

“PNG is emerging as a cult country for MP worshiping,”

writes anti-corruption (?) campaigner, Lucas Kiap, on a post seemingly addressing the front-page article that appeared in Monday’s Post Courier. (The one that had Governor Wingti declaring PNG to be on track with its development goals.)

Anti-corruption fighter or language murderer?
Anti-corruption fighter or language murderer?

Never to let an opportunity for negativism pass him by, Kiap decided to counter with his own bleak take on the state of the nation.

There was absolutely nothing new in the analysis – just the same old problems of which all are aware and that are the abiding challenges for any Papua New Guinean government.

Besides, if Kiap did have any salient points to make, they were completely lost in the atrociously bad, and grammatically challenged piece of writing that he chose to publish.

In as much detail as I can bear

It starts with the title, where Kiap calls PNG a “cult country” – ‘cult’ being the descriptor for the noun, ‘country’.

The problem is that ‘cult’ is a noun that will not substitute for an adjective – so is PNG a cult, a country, both, what…?

To make the sentence grammatically sound, Kiap needed to write that PNG was a ‘cult worshipping country’ – now doesn’t that sound better?

To begin his posting he says:

Whether you all have realized this or not but I have been slowly observing that PNG is slowly emerging as a country worshiping politicians for delivering of basic services, in the process promoting them as cult figures and not heroes.

There are many problems here – firstly there’s the sheer arrogance of this opening gambit.

Mr Kiap, you’ll be surprised to hear that most of us do not hang on your every word or deed and as such, no, we probably haven’t realized – and I’m not sure that we care.

Then there’s the superfluous use of the word ‘but’ making the sentence clunky, at best.

What’s more, using the word “slowly” twice in the same sentence shows a complete lack of vocabulary skills, imagination, or both.  Besides, was the initial “slowly” really necessary? I mean, how do you observe slowly?

Kiap tells us that something or other promotes them as “…cult figure and not heroes,” while at the very start of the next paragraph he tells us the opposite.  Are you confused now?  Me too.

And I have no idea what a “dumpy God” is.  I wonder whether he does – or indeed anyone, for that matter?

Their actions are like cult figures…,

he tells us.

Maybe he means: ‘Their actions are like those of cult figures.’ Or maybe that ‘they are acting like cult figures’ – but I’m just guessing – trying to make sense out of nonsense.

The law-arkers ...no, that should be law makers.
The law markers …no, that should be law makers.

And while legislators can also be called law makers – they are not law markers [sic] – probably a typo!

Kiap, irritatingly, pluralizes collective nouns like ‘legislation’ and ‘junk’ by putting an ‘s’ on the end.

No, no, no!  The plural of ‘legislation’ is ‘legislation’ and that of ‘junk’ is ‘junk’. (That’s why they call them ‘collective’ nouns.)

And so it goes on, embarrassingly, as he mixes up tenses, uses incorrect prepositions, talks about “ethanic fights” (probably another typo – or could it be auto-correct?) and makes mistakes of which Mrs Malaprop would be proud.

If you want to be a scribe Mr Kiap, learn your craft.  Stop making a virtue out of mediocrity. (And, by the way, what the hell does point 31 mean?)

“I react very badly when mediocrity throws a tantrum of entitlement,” said Lee Siegel, author, writer and cultural critic. And so do I – and that’s what Kiap’s post reads like to me.

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12 thoughts on “Mediocrity throwing a tantrum

  1. Well written article Susan, as usual. These repeated shortcomings when writing ‘the england’ just add to those who insist on writing aircrafts (for more than 1) and storing them in hangers. There never was a letter ‘e’ in hangar for aircraft.

  2. You are taking us back into the classroom…lol…for what? English is just but one of the three major and popular language we use in PNG apart from pidgin and motu. Grammatical mistakes are insignificant. The intent expressed is all that matters. What you presume relevant for us here in PNG is quite the opposite – its just not relevant and insignificant.

    • Perhaps when you lift your standard and stop thinking everything is “good enough” then you may have a chance of progressing. While mediocrity is the goal that’s all you’re going to (maybe) achieve.

  3. The idea behind the publication is pretty much simple, plain and clear as it is pointing to the issues that seem to become an epidemic that does not want to go away at whatever cost. Now, the heightened corruption levels that are known to everyone is tearing our country down in all levels, physical, social, political, socio-political, socio-economical, emotional and spiritual as well. What we want is for our so-called politicians to do more than just what is being done by ridding off day-light robberies carried out at the highest levels. What would be your best recommendations for this country’s developmental progress, Doctor, so to speak after knowing all these issues plaguing our little nation?

    • Well part of the solution lies in this article. Start striving for excellence and stop settling for mediocrity. That would be a good start.

  4. Is this article some sort of joke? You are nit picking at his words and sentence structure when a better use of your time (and the readers’ time) would be to have a discussion about the corruption in PNG and the cult worshiping culture emerging. When asked what would you do, you answer “striving for excellence and stopping mediocrity”, which has to be one of the vaguest answers I have heard from a journalist. One of the ways of striving for excellence is holding your representatives accountable so we can finally start sharing the royalty from the resource industry and investing it in education, healthcare, businesses (through loans with reduced interests) – instead of the majority of those royalties going to politician pockets. So much we can all do, and so much to write about…but yeah, I guess focusing on grammar is easier than investigative journalism.

  5. This article seems like as if we are in classroom. Sounds funny. If the content is plain and clear, we should stop finding a techniques to cover up things.

  6. However and whichever way the statement is written, perfectly or with grammatical errors, the point he was trying to bring across was well understood.
    Surely, it is non-evidentially true that our country (I mean my country PNG and not your country) is emerging as what Lucas Kiap stated.

  7. Doctor Susan,if I may say this. I think you are taking some of this issues to personal,stop for a moment and step back so as to assess yourself..I have nothing against you,in actually fact I admire what you’re doing by trying to knock sense into the heads of some of my country men but please to criticize someone about their grammar ,please Doctor.Like i said,you are taking this matter to personal which is unprofessional..Your stalwart followers may comment in agreement with you, because they are just like a flock of sheep following the shepherd,they(P.N.G people) just sit on the fence,they are not aware of what is happening in their country and even if they did know, they are so weak and afraid to stand up and fight this battle..so please cut with the grammar lessons and focus on the matter at hand..May God bless P.N.G

  8. Dr. Susan, English is one of three main languages used widely in PNG, infact it used mainly in education. English is a 3rd or 4th language to many English speaking PNGans. Therefore, we (PNGans) will never write better english or speak fluently. However, we will always express issues of concern in our mediocrity.

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