Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Backward?

A few Sundays ago, we had a missionary to Papua New Guinea visit our church. He and his family are among the few missionaries that our church supports.

He had some really interesting tales of life in Papua New Guinea. There was one occasion when he was in a boat with some locals trying to get to an island when a storm came up. They got lost in the storm, but he had his GPS with him and he knew exactly the location of the island that they were heading for. He explained to the locals, that even though he had never been to that island, just trust him when he told them to go a certain direction. The locals marveled at his knowledge! Heheh.

A few days after that missionary's visit, I happened to flip through the channels on TV and settled on the Travel Channel. It was one of the most amazing sights I had ever seen! The featured country was Vanuatu, in the South Pacific Ocean. Vanuatu is not that far away from Papua New Guinea and the people of these two countries look like they are of the same racial stock.

I got to thinking that the missionary did not tell all there was to know about the lifestyle of the people that he ministered to. From the TV program on Vanuatu, the people still walked around almost naked .. all they had was a bamboo sheath around their private parts, for the men, and the women wore grass skirts and were topless.

The sight that almost made my jaw drop was that of semi-naked men belonging to one team playing soccer with another team who had their soccer jerseys and boots on. Boy, could they play soccer well! I was so tickled by the sight that I just couldn't help marvel that there are still people in this world where time almost stands still, while for the rest of us, time marches on with all the technological and medical advances.

But who's to say which of us is better off? Those people in Vanuatu seem happy enough. Fish is plentiful and they are well fed. They don't have to get up every morning and join the rat race. This particular tribe that was featured on TV was determined to maintain their traditional way of life.

But at other times, I wonder how it is, that in some places of the world, there are still no peace, no stable governmnet, people are still foraging for food in the wilds, no running water, no proper housing, no education. Who is to blame for this? Those in power seem to have and enjoy all the amenities that the wealthy have but for the rest of the their citizens there is none. I see this injustice and wonder about when the poverty and hardship of these people will ever end .. if ever in their lifetime.

For a country to progress, there have to be a stable government with good governance, some form of democracy, and people allowed to own land and property. I think these have to be the basis, and then comes education, exploitation of natural resouces, and capitalism allowed to flourish without much government intervention. Heheh, I am not an economist, but those are my observations. :-)

1 comment:

  1. We are Lucky then, living in Malaysia we have start education early. As a former land that ever conquered by British Imperialisme, colonial, the British were ifluence the way of Malaysian comunity lifestyle so much, especially in social life, law, politic and goverment also education. emmm I think the tribe in Papua also from the same genecology as dayak in kalimantan, they are austronesian. so we are the same, but sure Iban have different custome but in many other way of life there are silimar to Iban.

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