Whistle a happy tune – your future depends on it

By PNG Echo

From the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I comes a song that goes like this:

Audrey Hepburn and Yul Brynner in The King and I
Audrey Hepburn and Yul Brynner in The King and I

Whenever I feel afraid,
I hold my head erect,
And whistle a happy tune
So no one will suspect
I’m afraid.

The result of this deception is very strange to tell,
For when I fool the people I fear
I fool myself as well.

The latest press release from the Office of the Prime Minister puts me in mind of this song. It’s all about perceptions, confidence and the positive effects that flow from the display of confidence.

Accentuate the positive…

In his recent press release the Prime Minister writes:

Our medium to long term economic future will be secured by a mix of responsible fiscal management …strong investor and business confidence and high standing among international and regional organisations and nations we trade with.

Delegates at the recent ACP Meeting – a proud moment when the band struck up the Papua New Guinean national Anthem. ” O arise all ye sons of this land…”

O’Neill goes on to give an assurance that his government will be working around the clock to maximise the benefits that a strong regional and international standing will secure.

The key ingredient to the success of this strategy is confidence.

It is a strong display of confidence that will cement Papua New Guinea as a global force that other countries will want to trade with, invest in and support, and O’Neill has created many opportunities for PNG through the hosting of International events such as the recent ACP meeting in Port Moresby,

Through such events, Papua New Guinea has had the opportunity to show the world what it wants the world to see – but this is not the time for PNG to hang out the dirty laundry for all to see and I fail to understand why some factions, active in the social media, would want that their Prime Minister so shame them.

eliminate the negative

In reality, the international community is not that interested in PNGs domestic issues – except as a warning not to touch the country with a barge pole – so the displaying of them in a plaintive cry for help is counter productive and indicative of a prevailing colonial mindset. The Prime Minister does not do this – he presents a PNG to the world that every citizen can be proud of, and rightly so.

For, perceptions matter and they almost always come from the source.

The story of the Kokoda farce as illustrated by Britain’s ‘Sun’ newspaper

Consider the episode on the Kokoda Track that saw tourists making false allegations of gang rape and more. While it has clearly been revealed as a publicity stunt the question is why did this publicity-seeking couple choose to stage their farce in Papua New Guinea and not, say, in the Forest of Dean in England?

Patently, it would have been totally unbelievable if they’d claimed it occurred in the latter whereas, staging it in Papua New Guinea gave it a real chance of being believed – that’s the power of perception.

The Prime Minister has been presenting a confident and vibrant nation to the international community – the people whose co-operation, friendship and alliance could determine the future of Papua New Guinea.

This he does as an equal partner, bereft of the colonial mentality of those who go, cap in hand, expecting a foreign government to step in and solve PNGs problems by seriously impinging on its sovereignty (Sam Koim)

O’Neill is not lying, he is whistling a happy tune – about time the rest of you did or you’re doomed to be thought of as gang-raping cannibals – and who wants to do business with those?

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7 thoughts on “Whistle a happy tune – your future depends on it

  1. How about the student unrests at present? What level of confidence does that give? We are avoiding the subjects that really matter and trying our very best to divert attention and discussion, aren’t we?

  2. I’m not sure how long you have been covering the PNG scene, Doctor but I recall the same rosy words being said at the opening of the Panguna Mine, and every major development since then. As I have previously mentioned I have been involved in many of them at a grassroots level and to deny as you seem to be doing that most of money that was brought into the country, from those projects and a lot of other ventures such as that from fisheries and agriculture was wasted on non productive activities is nothing short of taking Papua New Guinea’s citizens for patsies. The PM has just celebrated the 200th shipment of LNG, yet through bad management of public finances, not really global economic downturns or lower prices, the country is really worse off economically that it was in the 70’s despite what figures are used to the contrary – there might be more high rises in Port Moresby, for example but how many times will the infrastructure of the Tari area of the Hela Province will have to be re-built after clan fights which date back several generations. My point is the money is not trickling down – the landowners cutting the Hides Transmission Line pylons down after the 2002 general elections was nothing to do with the mine – the perpetrators left notes for us at the bottom of the poles saying that they did not have problems with the PJV, but they were sending a message to the government that they wanted services in their areas, something they had been crying out for for over a decade, and, sadly something they had earlier in the 70’s – I am not and never will advocate going back to those days but I am saying that this is how those people felt – they see aspects of this development and they are left out. You can multiply that in spades, form Misima to Kikori, Simberi Enga, Westem in particular and, really the whole country. If you asked those people to whistle a happy tune, they would tell counter with another Americanism – start whistling Dixie, Doctor because we see none of it.
    It is this which is underlying the unrest, Doctor, and how ever you dress it up it is the classic case of the elite, well off centre ignoring the periphery which foreshadows all civil wars.
    Whistling a happy tune will not stop its inevitable march.
    I hope this is not “moderated” to the WPB.

    • Mr Sandery, I realise when I’m being patronised. Your mocking tone and artifices do not warrant a reply. No, not worth a reply.

      • I am neither mocking nor patronising you, Sinabada, I am trying to explain to you the situation you find yourself in and how to understand it, I have elaborated on this in a in a later post on a later issue and you continue to ignore some vary basic concepts. There is no way your comments will be considered un-biassed by thinking Papua New Guineans until you understand these concepts.
        The fact that my “artifices” by which I assume you mean my examples and the gist of my arguments goes against the very fabric of what you believe does not mean that they are either patronising or mocking merely that they are different from yours. I would have thought that someone so obviously steeped in the Platonic/Aristotelian concepts of academic study as you obviously are would welcome the challenge to refute my artifices. Then again recalling how the Australian academic community treated Bjorn Lomberg recently, perhaps I am indeed whistling Dixie in thinking so!

  3. Not even in the interests of fair and balanced coverage, Sinabada, by the look of things. Looks like I am bang on in the pidgeon-holing business then, doesn’t it.

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