Friday, August 22, 2008

PNG student in China, Gene Drekeke Iyovo in his room, admiring my website where I post all my commentaries published by Sunday Chronicle in PNG and Island Sun in Solomon Islands.

The First Anniversary

By Mathew Yakai in Changchun, China

DURING the Cold War period, Washington used either “engagement” or “containment” policy towards countries that were not following the “American Way”. China was one.

China learnt from Moscow’s collapse and drafted foreign policies that benefited its domestic polity, while actively engaging in regional and international forums, through “multilateralism”.

Multilateralism works well for U.S., as in the ongoing Six Party Talks, as opposed to “unilateralism”, as unilateral attack on Iraq.

Washington thinks that “engaging” China in regional and international forums will convert the communist state to a full democracy. But Washington bites its own tail now.

The Middle Kingdom progresses economically, depicting that communism can serve the needs of the people. Meanwhile, whatever china engages in: ‘multilateralism on win-win situation with non-interference in others sovereignty is upheld.”

Given China’s vast landmass with 56 different ethnic groups, the South China Sea issue, the recent Tibet upraises and the Taiwan Strait issue, China’s foreign and domestic policies is geared at addressing these issues through established forums, let alone issues concerning its sovereignty.

The post-Mao leadership, under the tentacle of Deng Xiaoping with other cadres of leadership, China discarded its hard line communist ruled mechanism that starved the economy into an open state since 1978.

Today marks its 30 years anniversary, boasting one of the fastest growing economies ever experienced in human history.

Coincidently, the ongoing Beijing Olympic is a welcoming party in the spirit of sportsmanship.

Given China’s rapid economic growth that has made Beijing’s “regional power” and “world presence” known, I have tried to depart China’s economic, political, spiritual and social developments.

The Western powers came, divided, ruled and left the sub-Saharan African countries, Central America down to South America and to Oceania. All they left behind was the ruin of colonialism and Eurocentric idealism, frustratingly insane and unique to the already existed social strata and norms.

China is no exception as it was humiliated by the western powers. But Chairman Mao Zedong stood up and fought aggressively, and today China is a proud Motherland.

Every Chinese leaders and policy makers are vary of policies or advise from foreign elements because they were once humiliated by the same. Any policies to be considered must be “home grown” with domestic flavor. No wonder China is growing today.

When this commentary started on August 26th last year, it gave prominence to how and why PNG and Oceania should learn from Beijing, given the fact that it is the world factory next door.

Since commencing, overwhelming responses were sent by keen readers, both in and outside PNG.

Though 26th August falls on Tuesday, I bring the anniversary forward and share with you the responses.

The distinguished comment I received was from the Chinese ambassador to PNG, his Excellency Wei Ruixing, an email dated January 30, 2008.

‘I am writing to commend your efforts in writing articles (commentaries) published on Sunday Chronicle, which were very informative to PNG readers and constructive for the mutual understanding between the peoples of China and PNG.’

‘I read almost every article you wrote, from which I also learned something new in my own country. I wish to express my appreciation to you for your contributions to the promotion of mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples and our two countries,” Ambassador Ruixing stated.

Former politician and banker, Clement Nakmai also commended in an email dated Tuesday 20, 2008.

“Dear Mr. Yakai, Let me congratulate you for having educated us back in PNG on our emerging economic power within the Asia Pacific Region-China.”

“Your regular articles have been very informative and I believe many of our citizens change their perception on the various aspects of our relations with China. Certainly for me it has changed my understanding of China; and I can only see many opportunities for us in PNG and the Pacific if we think and re-engineer how we can harness much strategic trade, investments, educational and other aspects of engaging with China”.

Douglas Kera with the Foreign Affairs Department is a close follower of my commentary.

He sent an email on March 28th 2008, “Bro I have been following your column and begin to learn things from it. Please keep it up.”

Foreign Affairs Department with its Ministry maintains and promotes relationship between major international relation players. Receiving comments from an officer who hails from such organization is encouraging.

For the record, Douglas has gone through a short term Chinese language studies in Beijing and knows the economic prosperity of China and the benefits that lies ahead for PNG and the regional governments.

Keron Kilip, with Investment Promotion Authority, Port Moresby, sent an email dated May 21st, 2008 “….your interesting articles from Sunday Chronicle is never missed out reading...”

She sent the comment during one of her emails to find out on the situation of Papua New Guineans in China during the recent devastating earthquake. What a caring sister and Papua New Guinean to check us out!

Meckles Poya, lecturer at University of PNG highly commended the commentary saying that the commentary is enriching Papua New Guineans on the real aspect of China and the role China can play in PNG and the region.

Mr. Poya encouraged me to keep contributing given the fact that I am doing something that others can not do as they have their own responsibilities.

Peter Kinjap, one of the commentator with Sunday Chronicle said on the phone at 1:23am on Monday 18th August that my commentaries are outstanding and not only appealing to Papua New Guineans but the region as a whole.

Amos Kafare (AK47), former Aiyura National High school teacher back in 1995 sent an email, “Mathew, I saw your article on the paper and am very proud of you. It seems that you are doing a lot of research to write as such. Keep writing.”

Roger Ku Kaku with Fincorp said, “Your commentaries are very “powerful” and can not be missed reading.”

Comments were also received from Papua New Guineans abroad after accessing my blog

From Qatar Power Transmission System Expansion Phase VII (Substation) Project, Doha, Middle East was a lone Ialibuan from Southern Highlands, Samuel Kakeiye dated August 17th, 2008.

“I am a regular visitor of your blog as I find your articles being comprehensively presented.

Well researched with qualitative and quantitative data. Very informative and interesting…provide a range of intuitive options to consider with much relevance to the issues at present to the Asia Pacific. I suggest one can read to understand.”

“Your articles covering the insights of China's culture, economy, governance and its extended missions to the Asia Pacific provides many lessons. Extensively bringing to the limelight of some issues of importance.”

“I wholeheartedly commend you for the brilliant initiative in maintaining your blog. Keep up the excellent work. Please do not take leave posting more articles, I can not wait ages to read the next article.”

Albert Tobby, a PNG student in Beijing also applauded my commentary after reading them on my blog.

“As a Papua New Guinean, I’m grateful for your publication. On behalf of the other Papua New Guineans who don't have such privilege to comment on your publication, I would humbly say...thank you very much Mathew …for helping us understand a country that is fast becoming an economic super power.”

“In the last two decades since the reform and opening up China's socialist structure has scored massive achievements that attracted world attention.”

“However given the large population and weak foundation and unbalanced development it still remains the largest developing country in the world. This means that there still remain a lot of rooms for development.”

“Thus the scenario implies that China's economic growth and dominance is inevitable. All CEO's, Presidents, Prime Ministers and Chancellors should be aware that China is a must strategic ally in development in this rapidly changing global community.”

Albert said it well. I should take this opportunity to commend Albert with rest of the PNG students in Beijing with the PNG embassy staff for showcasing PNG in various forums and activities.

Gene Drekeke from Asaro, Eastern Highlands Province at the Microbiodiesel Engineering in China sent me another fascinating email.

“I find your blog very interesting. Being in China now for one year, I have seen and witnessed a nation that has a rapid economic growth, infrastructure development and very good transport and communication system. A country of unique and strong traditional role model.”

“Your site is taking a voluntary role to tell the rest of Pacific island nations and the world about these facts. I see your site voice a lot on Asia and Chinas’ facts to the rest of the world”.

“I take time reading your site, update my knowledge on China and Asia. I believe rest of us in PNG and other Pacific Island nations can learn a lot from your writings. Keep up the good work,” Gene said.

For the benefit of PNG, Gene is a young promising scientist currently conducting research on biodiesel, an alternative fuel source for PNG.

Gene is a firm believer that if PNG can invest millions of Kina in a biodiesel project today, the country will progress economically.

I pray that PNG government recognizes the effort and desire of people like Gene in his research work.

Comments never came only from Papua New Guineans. Yaqin Zhang, Professor of dermatology at Jilin University in China and a medical expert on skin disease read my articles on my blog and sent her comments.

“I saw your articles on your website, you wrote a lot …hahaha…you are diligent, intelligent and humorous person I think.”

“If you want to know China better, I would like to tell you.”

On Wednesday 20, Yaqin and son Billy visited me at my hotel. They later invited me for dinner at an Indian restaurant after our short conversation.

The Indian spicy food was a perfect match to celebrate the first anniversary of this commentary.

China has a big land mass with large population of 1.3 billion and 500 years old history and currently experiencing rapid economic growth. Amazing, isn’t it? That’s what I will share with you in my coming commentaries.

Note: “Asia-Pacific Perspective: China +” looks at Chinese society, culture, economy, governance and China’s role within the Asia-Pacific region and the world over. It mainly focuses on how Oceania can learn from China’s experience. The writer is a PNG student in China