Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sharing with less fortunate brings human fulfillment

This article is published under the "Letter from China's" Sunday Chronicle column. I would like to thank Madam Elizabeth Momis, wife of PNG ambassador to China His Excellency Ambassador John Momis's wife for contributing to the new column.


WE know this popular phrase. “Behind a successful man is a hard working woman.”

Fathers and husbands have vivid opinion of the phrase and know well that most of their down falls and weaknesses are uplifted by their wives.

When I talk about PNG women, the immediate conclusion to my mind is that they are the mothers of PNG.

Some women, or should say mothers have done tremendous work in making sure their husband fulfill the responsibilities bestowed upon them by the government of PNG, specifically the tax payers like you.

One such mother and wife is Madam Elizabeth Momis, wife of PNG’s ambassador to China, His Excellency Ambassador John Momis.

I first met her on Friday June 5, 2009 at China World Hotel in Beijing during the 2009 Charity Gala of the Commonwealth Society in China.

Madam Momis is the current President of the Society. She was voted in September 2008 and her term expires September 2009.

The Commonwealth Society in Beijing was founded in 1993 by a group of ambassadors’ spouses from Commonwealth Member Countries represented in Beijing.

It is a non-profit organization run by diplomats and female spouses from Commonwealth member states who voluntarily offer their assistance to organize and implement different activities during the year.

The main aim of the Society is to raise funds for donation to Chinese charities where the major fund raising function is the Annual Charity Gala.

I was invited by the Ramu NiCo (MCC) Management Ltd to attend the gala with them as Ramu NiCo was one of the major sponsors.

When I saw Madam Momis, she reminded me of any other humble PNG mothers. She is down to earth and the first word she spoke was, “son, how are you?”

A mother says son and for most of the PNG students studying in China have seen Madam as a mother in Beijing, far from rest of our mothers back in PNG.

As the President of Commonwealth Society in China, Madam Momis has huge task in organizing events aimed at enhancing the less fortunate lives.

In an e-mail, she mentioned that she organizes two meetings, one for the executives and other for all members. She also organizes excursions, and social activities and Charity Gala which is one of the most important events of the year for raising funds.

Madam Momis’s contribution and experiences is not only in China or PNG but she has engaged in other activities overseas.

She participated at international conferences and seminars especially in Bangkok, twice in Thailand on women issues. At the Australian National University, she gave a seminar paper on “Indigenization of the Catholic Church in Bougainville” including other occasions, both in PNG and abroad.

Those who have been through St Mary’s Provincial High School in Bougainville between 1983 and 1989 would recall her leadership when she was the principal for seven years.

And when ambassador Momis was the Governor, Madam Momis, as the wife supported him through various women’s activities and networking women organization in Bougainville and PNG.

She is a real professional woman as well as mother and encourages other women from behind the scene in various activities, including writing articles about women and Bougainville women’s’ role during the Bougainville Crises.

In an e-mail, I asked her to briefly explain her experience. “Very innovative and creative in approach to life and work. An accomplished administrator and sees job through,” madam replied.

She graduated from UPNG in 1980 in absentia but she is adamant that education still continues. She now studies towards her Masters in Development Studies, apart from all her busy schedules as the wife of PNG ambassador.

Her thesis paper is on, “Youths in Bougainville – Youth Development and Empowerment.” The findings of her thesis will be of tremendous help towards policy formulations to see not only Bougainville but PNG as a country.
Given her vast experiences and exposure, I also asked the best advice she could offer to PNG women? “Let us go forward in harmony, to promote women statutes, development and women empowerment.”

On that Friday evening, Madam Momis stood tall before the hall filled with foreign ambassadors with their spouses.
Also in the crowd were sponsors and individuals who are always around to help the less fortunate.

As the President of the Commonwealth Society, she delivered her speech. Tthe essence of the speech can also guide PNG towards helping the less fortunate.

“Excellencies, other distinguished guests, sponsors, ladies and gentlemen,” she continues.
“This evening, as President of the Commonwealth Society in Beijing, I have great pleasure in welcoming you and in expressing our sincere thanks to all of you for your support and contribution towards the Commonwealth Annual Gala which is the society’s most important event of the year.

The main objective of the society is in fact the organization of events throughout the year for the purpose of charity.

The events also serve as a focal point for our members. It gives them a feeling of belonging and a mission when they are so far away from home.

It enables them to make contact and friends with people from countries which have some common values despite their different cultures.

We have many friends from the Commonwealth but we also have with us many friends from other countries who may not know what the Commonwealth really is and therefore I would take this opportunity to say a few words about it.

The Commonwealth” comprises 53 independent states working together in the common interests of their citizens for development, democracy and peace.

It includes nations from the 5 corners of the globe from Asia to the Americas, Europe, Africa and South Pacific.
Nations as diverse as Malaysia, South Africa, Guyana, India and Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Papua New Guinea and so forth. And in this diversity lies a great strength and potential.

The fundamental political values of the Commonwealth include democracy and good governance, respect for human rights and gender equality, the rule of law and sustainable economic and social development."

As we gather here in the China World Hotel Grand Ballroom to enjoy the good food and drinks and the company of one another – it behooves us to remember those who do not have access to the things that we have in life.

As man pursues his legitimate aspiration of human fulfillment, he cannot ignore his responsibility towards others, especially those who are less fortunate and those who have least access to power.

There is something deep down in us that beckon us to rise above our own personal needs and commit ourselves to uphold and promote the good of others.

Your presence and contribution here tonight demonstrates your response to that call and commitment to the principle of equitable distribution of power and benefits.

This international event, whilst it provides an opportunity for us to enjoy the good food, music and company of each other, challenges each and everyone of us to give from our hearts to make a difference in the lives of those who have been marginalized.

According to all major Religions of the World as far as I know, our responsibility to promote our own good must be matched by our responsibility towards the good of others.

In other words, the one is not exclusive of the other. Each and every one of us is called to uphold the common good of all – including the less fortunate.

In 2008, all proceeds went to the earthquake victims in the Sichuan Province in China which was devastated by the earthquake.

This year we will give the proceeds to three needy charities, Children Hope International (CHI) Foster Home, Bethel Foster Home for Blind Children. And “Adopted” the Shi Ba Jia (18 Homes) Village, all in China.

I am encouraged as a person from a third world nation finding myself in the midst of a multi-national and multi-cultural group of men and women bonded by a common spirit of sharing to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate.

Our Society will give a special recognition to Ms Pauline Gordon of Jamaica in absentia for her remarkable spirit of support and diligence as the former Treasurer of the Society.

As the President I would like to express my personal profound appreciation to the Executive and Committee members of the Commonwealth Society for their hard work and perseverance to make this event a great success.

Finally our sincere thanks go out to all of you, including those who could not be here tonight, for your tremendous contribution,” she ends.

Madam Momis’s message was simple with depth. Give to the less fortunate and make this world a better place for us all.

Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Limited, the company managing the Ramu NiCo Project in Madang is one of the major sponsors in this Charity Gala with RMB 8000 (K3, 115.) and 400 hand bags.

Madam Elizabeth Momis thanked the sponsors, including Ramu NiCo for giving to the community of underprivileged.
Last year, a total of RMB 170,000 (K66, 201.80) was raised and all proceeds were donated to the earthquake victims in the Sichuan Province in China. Ramu NiCo also sponsored this fundraising.

Note: “Letter from China” is a new column written by PNG students and staff in China. Articles reflect on their daily encounters and experiences. For inquiry and comments, email Mathew Yakai on or call: 15116988560

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