My fellow Papua New Guineans,
A very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.
We have come to the end of yet another year and with it, as usual, the festive season a time in which we all look forward to spending time with our families and loved ones throughout our beautiful country.
This has been an eventful year. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a noticeable impact on us this year than it did the last. Many of us have lost loved ones to the dreaded virus and many livelihoods have been greatly impacted. We have had to adapt to the changes brought forth by the COVID19 and for many of us, the changes have not gone down well. Adhering to the ‘Niupla Pasin’ and the public’s overwhelming reaction to vaccination for the coronavirus continues to challenge our way of life and the way we view medicine and medical and scientific information on health matters.
I must also add that this year, we have seen an increase in lawlessness with reports of various types of crimes been reported on a daily basis. Not just in the nation’s capital, but right across the country. The perpetrators of these crimes are mostly youths and the very young, including women and girls. Sadly, our safety and security is constantly at risk from opportunists who show no regard for fellow citizens. It is indeed disheartening and reflects the kind of society we live in.
As we look towards the future, as a nation, we must take stock of our actions and chart a path forward away from chaos and lawlessness. It starts with each of us individuals. We take stock of our own behavior and attitude. Adjusting our individual attitude and behavior to reflect our Christian values is an admirable trait and one that we should all strive to pursue and practice.
On many an occasion during public speaking, I have often pointed out that one of the root causes of lawlessness and disorder we see in our society is due to lack of discipline at home. Yes, it is the responsibility of parents to teach and discipline their children from an early age. Granted it is no easy task, and often it is easier to turn a blind eye to a mistake or a problem than to confront it and institute discipline. But, if we constantly put forth the effort to teach our children right from wrong, eventually it will become their way of life and they will grow up to become productive, responsible and decent citizens of this country. As the Bible book of Proverbs 22: 6 says, “Train a boy in the way he should go, even when he grows old he will not depart from it.” If we want to see our future free from lawlessness, we must take seriously our responsibility to raise the future generation in our care.
It does take a lot of courage to do the right thing and to resist the temptation to engage in illegal activities that could earn us vast sums of money, material possessions or fame. But sticking up for what is right no matter the cost will reap far greater benefits than the temporary riches of today. We can all agree that having self-respect, honour and integrity is better than been regarded as untrustworthy, dishonest and corrupt. As the saying goes, “Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain.” Those who choose integrity over personal gain experience a greater sense of satisfaction, peace of mind and a clean conscience.
My fellow Papua New Guineans, the unpredictable nature of the COVID19 pandemic we experienced this year demonstrates the unsteady times we live in. It gives us all the more reason to be more mindful of our individual health and wellbeing and to demonstrate care to our loved ones and strangers alike. A simple gesture of kindness goes a long way in restoring faith in the goodness of humankind and can impact for the better, the attitude and behavior of others. Let us appreciate one another and show our support whenever we can.
As culturally diverse and varied as we are, we are bound to have different opinions and may not always agree on a particular matter concerning our health such as the COVID19 vaccine.
We demonstrate maturity when we respect the opinions of other and the choices they make regarding their personal health and wellbeing. We refrain from imposing our opinions on our fellow men and making negative statements when the choices they make is contrary to ours. Instead, let us strive to live in harmony and at all times uphold the rule of law.
My fellow Papua New Guineans, as we end this year and welcome the new, may we all resolve in our hearts to show empathy towards others and demonstrate greater care also for our ever fragile environment. The effects of climate change is real as experienced in many of our coastal villages and island communities. Rising sea level and high tides are destroying food gardens and water wells that many residents depend on for their livelihood. Our forests, flora and fauna are our precious resources let us do all we can to protect these from further destruction and exploitation. Where possible, it is also worthy to consider technology that utilize natural sources such as solar and seawater to generate electricity and clean water. It is imperative now more than ever that we take the necessary action to save our environment and natural resources. Our lives and that of our future generations depend on our actions now.
As we gather together to celebrate Christmas and welcome the New Year, may we determine in our hearts to do what is good toward all and take positive steps towards building a better future for us, our children and generations to come.
Lady Emeline joins me in wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year!