Monday, March 08, 2010

PNG Needs More Awareness about China for Constructive Engagement

By Albert Tobby in Beijing

JUST few days after the Chinese vice Premier Li Keqiang visited Papua New Guinea in November last year, a fellow Papua New Guinean raised the following questions via an email correspondence:

What does PNG Government need to know about China? What do you and I need to know about Chinese companies, businesses, be their customers, vendors, or partners, employees, etc...? Who are the Chinese and What is their world view? What do they see as the proper process for making decisions? What are the goals of China's approach toward the Pacific and PNG in general?

These are billion dollar questions, in the wake of the global financial crisis when the world is in threshold of major shifts in economic power structure and polarity. PNG is not alone in the quest to know China. The world is. Even in China itself, heated debates among Party think tanks and officials about the political and cultural ramifications of their growing influence and status in the world.

To answer those questions appropriately is of great significance to PNG’s development in such a time like this when speculations of ant-Asians are filling the atmospheres of conference rooms in Waigani to dinner mats in Vidar (North Coast, Madang) and even flooding email gossips of corporate agencies in Downtown, Port Moresby to the betel nut tables in Kamkumu Market in Lae.

As it appears occasionally in the media reports, the fate of PNG’s future engagement with the Chinese and the Asian communities would lie in the Parliamentary Bipartisan Committee’s report that was disbanded. However all responsible Papua New Guineans and genuine patriots should make it their business to search for the truth and go beyond the traditional means of information gathering in order to establish proper understanding of the Chinese people and their businesses practices.

The Chinese are not new to the Papua New Guineans. The Chinese or “Kongkong” as most Papua New Guineans referred to, have been here since the WWII. However, whether it is by design or coincidence, our knowledge about China is very limited. This may probably depict the limit of our exposure and access to information on China and Chinese.

A brief explanation about our education system may shed some light on what I meant in the sentence above. We’ve read western literature since elementary all the way to university and little did we know about China.

From history to law and religion to physics, all we know about is western invention and civilization. Almost absolutely nothing about China. Some can be tempted to say this is by design. That is to say that, the world history and the current international system is the design of the victors/rulers (i.e. west).

Have you ever thought for a moment, how the world would be today had the Japanese won the world war two? Would it be better or worse?

It is an irony that, even though China has the oldest civilization in the world and were the first to initiate vital inventions that literally transformed human civilization, yet little is known about them.

Take for example some earliest Chinese inventions and contributions to human civilization are such as the printing machine, gun powder, seismograph, wheelbarrow, kite and compass, etc. All these were first invented by the Chinese. Sadly Papua New Guineans were never told that it was Chinese invention. We were told they were invented during the Greco-Roman Empire or during the Industrial Revolution.

Let’s narrow it a little bit closer to take the case of gun and gunpowder. Because of the early date of the European bottle-shaped gun and a lack of Chinese evidence until a little later, it was once thought that guns were a European invention, made in response to the invention of gunpowder and any similar Chinese weapons came later. With the discovery of gun barrels in China dating from 1288 and 1332, this view is no longer credible.

Another interesting case to take note of is the invention of world map, compass, shipbuilding and ocean navigation. Europe’s Christopher Columbus circumnavigate the globe only once in the1490's but Zhang He a renowned Chinese scholar and diplomat made about seven voyages to Africa, India and Vietnam starting in 1405.

While theories of early world map vary from early Greece, Spanish, and Chinese civilizations, Zhang He's voyage to Africa affirmed earliest Chinese world view.

In spite of having scores of undisputable evidence supporting Chinese earliest civilization; China has been a closed society since the opium war (1840's) and have been systematically subjected to foreign invasion and humiliation.

That is why, we know very little about their way of life. However, this doesn't mean that their way of life cannot be practiced anyway in the world. Chinese way of life has stood the test of time for more than 3 millennia as compared to only few hundreds of the American and Australian way of life.

I recommend that instead for Papua New Guineans to view the western way of life as the prototype, we should open our minds and exercise flexibility to accommodate China's way of life. It is discriminatory to highly value one particular culture and despise the other which is direct violations of the UN declaration of Human Rights which we are a signatory to.

It is about time Papua New Guineans both the government and civilians stop listening to the western jargons and rhetoric about China and form our own independent views about China. This will be particularly difficult because PNG's mindsets especially the literate (alas the illiterate) for generations have been trained to think the exact opposite.

Our (PNG's) current perspective of the world (including China) is the one shaped through our past 17 plus years of formal education in PNG. Even the present means of information in PNG is mesmerized by pro-western feeds.

On the other hand, China's business internationalization is very young. They are the late comers to international business arena but within less than 30 years, they've shaken and transformed global business practices.

That is why everyone is making a big fuss out of China's rise. Papua New Guineans, instead of joining the tide of skepticism and making foul cries, we should re-adjust our world view and engage pragmatically and constructively with the Chinese in a way that best suits our national and local development needs.

In a recent debate about the growing influence of China in the world, London’s The Guardian newspaper, British journalist and author Martin Jacques said the following:
“It is now widely recognized that the balance of economic power is shifting from the rich world to the developing world. Indeed, the role accorded to the G20 rather than the G8 in seeking to tackle the financial crisis is a vivid illustration of this. But what is not recognized – and has been barely discussed – are the political and cultural ramifications of the rise of the developing countries. That, I (Martin Jacques) suspect, is because there is a deeply held western view that they will – and should – end up as clones of western modernity: in other words, there is only one modernity and it is western. This is a fallacy. Modernity is a product of culture and history as much as markets and technology. The central question here is China: will it end up like us (the west) or will it be something very different and, as a result, change the world in very fundamental ways?”
In Martin Jacques’ view, there is not a chance that China will become "western". Of course, it will be influenced by the west, as it already is, but it will remain profoundly different. To think otherwise is to believe that western norms are a universal pre-condition for successful modernization. This is a highly provincial, and hubristic, mindset.
Papua New Guinean’s should by now graduate from the imposed traditional world view of seeing western norms and institutions as the universal pre-condition for successful modernization, and engage with our Chinese partners for an independent world view. Or better spell-out, our very own Melanesian way as foresighted by our founding fathers and stipulated in our very own mother law.

I acknowledge that, Papua New Guineans (government and civilians) need to know more about China and Chinese and vis-à-vis can engage in a mutually beneficial way. Perhaps it is time a proper awareness program about China's political system, economy, business practices, history and culture etc, should be conducted among the civil institutions such as schools and churches to educate the ordinary citizens of Papua New Guinea. This might help instill some perspectives to genuine patriots and set a good platform for constructive engagement in the future.

It will be much better for the Government of Papua New Guinea to start contemplating to establish a school of Confucius in the major Universities in PNG. This will help ease the cultural and language barrier between Chinese and Papua New Guineans.

Many developing countries around the world, especially African countries realized the benefits such establishment will contribute to their countries development. Today Africa has about four schools of Confucius.

Exchange in culture and education among young people will serve as a bridge to promote better understanding between our two peoples and a major driving force for a healthy and stable growth of SINO-PNG relations.

Note: Albert Tobby, a PNG postgraduate student at Tsinghua University in Beijing contributed to this article. For comments, contact him on email: or Mathew Yakai on The article was also published by Sunday Chronicle newspaper in Papua New Guinea.

Action speaks louder than the words

By Serena Heptol teargun in China

AT a restaurant we go to often, we tried to pay for a stranger’s dinner. This is not acceptable in China. The Chinese people need to save face. They want to look perfect in front of every one.

That means they do not want others to think they need help. They think if some one tries to help them they are looking down at them because you think they are poor. The man refused our kindness.

Sometimes people accept and sometimes people do not. I think though it’s best to try if the Spirit of God is leading us to do something. It is better to obey God and be rejected by man than to be rejected by God and accepted by man.

The staff we asked to pay his bill was very surprised and happy we would do such a thing. They commented that no one in China would ever do that. Our actions were very strange to the local people. Money is their god.

They believe that as much money should be taken from people especially foreigners. The owner of the restaurant said she thought we were special people with a good heart.

She asked us why we came to China and we replied that Jesus had told us to come to China. She explained about how she believed in Buddhism because the government told them too.

There are three types of ways to do Buddhism: the first where you say you believe but do not really in your heart, the second where you be kind to others and thirdly where you are concerned about your spirit.

When we told her how Jesus sent us to China she was not surprised and said you are concerned about your spirit. She later gave us a free drink and a very large discount off our bill which was very rare.

The lady we buy our vegetables from enjoys when we go to buy from her. Her very small shop is made from plastic sheets and bamboo and is very cold in minus 30 degrees Celsius.

She makes me sit down very close to her. We communicate the best we can, me without Chinese and her without English. She shows me the cross stitch she is making. She knows that I love and respect her.

I think that she over charges me for veggies but for the sake of the Gospel this is the one and only time I do not say anything. We sit close together and we communicate with our actions.

She too knows that we believe in Jesus and was not surprised when we told her of our faith in Jesus. When I was teaching in Dalian my students often asked me 'Serena why are not you like a normal teacher'

I would smile and say, 'normal is the failure of potential'. They would walk away confused and come back in a week and ask 'why are not you like a normal teacher' as they are standing on their table answering the question I have asked them.

One day when they asked me what I did on the weekend I said that I go to church. They said 'ohh that explains it'. They then understood why am not like other teachers.

In China, to be a Christian you can believe but not share your faith with non believers. I have to be very careful. I am monitored in every class at every school I teach at.

The Chinese government knows everything. Each province is different in their level of strictness. In Shenyang where we live is very strict.

Late last year the Shenyang government tightened the laws more. Thankfully with the Spirit of God in me is obvious. What I believe and my actions back up the living Spirit in me. I do not speak Chinese very well but when I walk down the road people wave hello. I say hello to children and occasionally give them lolly pops.

One young girl who does not speak English, I would stop by say hello and in the end I would open my arms with a big smile. I would hug her all the while having a big smile on her face.

In the end she would do the same waiting for me to hug her. The people know I love them because my actions show them. A smile, saying hello, spending time with people, giving what you can is saying “I love you and you are valuable to me”.

The owner of the restaurant said she knew we were Spirit people. Spirit speaks to Spirit. People know you by your actions.

Jeffers' (husband) mother knows I love her like my own mother because of how I treat her even though I do not speak Enga language (I will learn it much nicer than Chinese).

To be agents of change we must first pray. A praying country is a changing country. However our actions are the words of our heart. Jesus said you shall know my disciples by their fruit (John 15:8). I know a mango tree because it has mango's.

Born again Christians are of two worlds because we live in the physical world. However we are children of the highest King. We inherit the Kingdom if we produce fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:21).

Those who are born again believers are born of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5:23).

This is how we should be acting. We should act them out in our lives. These are the character traits of one who has committed themselves to Jesus. Are you kind? Are you patient? Do you have self control?

Just because you go to church and say you’re a Christian does not mean you are doing these things. I can go to Big Rooster but it does not make me a chicken. People know you by your actions.

Do you act with fits of rage, jealously, selfish ambition, impurity in your thoughts, words or motives, drunkenness. Do you get drunk, dissension. Do you gossip?

Most Christians share other people’s information under the false pretense to pray about it. You do not need to know the need of some one else, pray in tongues for them and let God be God.

Do you envy? Are you sexually immoral? (Galatians 5:19-21). These things are at the opposite end of where God lives. Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom (Galatians 5:21).

God is a God of Grace. We do not deserve to go to Heaven but Jesus dies for us while we were still sinners. Jesus came to earth to be the word in flesh (John 1:14).

He is the fruit of our salvation. A country that is different to what it is now can only be different if the actions of the people change. Actions make a country what it is. People who are corrupt make the country corrupt because of their corrupt actions. People who show the fruit of the Spirit will make the country that way.

To have a changing country, action must follow prayer. God will do His part but you must do yours. You are messengers of God. You have your instruction manual, the Bible and you must talk to the commander, God.

You must do your part. You are His hands and feet. Being a person of the Spirit is hard work if it goes against our sinful nature.

I am the most impatient person on the planet. I grew up with the idea that time is money. Waste time and you’re wasting money. I have to control myself when I am waiting in line or walking behind someone who is slow.

I pray in the Spirit when I feel like I want to get angry or am being impatient. I remember the person in front of me is made in the image of God. Jesus died so that God could restore relationship between God and people and people with each other.

China is teaching me patience. There are people everywhere so I am always waiting. God does not just hand us the fruits of the Spirit into us. God gives us opportunities to grow the fruit so that we can be made into His image.

We will never be perfect at these things. It takes a life time to master. I am more patient than I was a year ago but each and every one of us needs improvement especially me.

Being people of the Spirit is a huge responsibility the effects will last for eternity. Your actions can lead a person into the Kingdom of God but your actions may also lead them out of the Kingdom of God.

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you ask what ever you wish and it will be given to you” (John 15:7).

If you produce good fruits and ask God to clean your country of corruption, so that PNG will be known as the country that glorifies God. GOD will give what you ask. Guaranteed!

Note. Serena Heptol Teargun contributed to this article. She lives in Shenyang with her PNG husband, Jeffers Heptol Teargun. The article was also published by Sunday Chronicle newspaper in PNG

Sino-Pacific Relations: Levels of Localisation, Aid and Investments

By Bernard Yegiora in China

THE highly publicized pre-eminence of China is captivating for analysts all around the globe, who are watching with anticipation, criticizing and praising every move, China makes daily in its path to become a developed nation.

The central idea behind this writing is to conceptualize what localization means. Furthermore, how the concept is promoting peace, stability and cooperation through aid and investments in adherence to China’s foreign policy.

Localization in this context means the harmonious co-existence of China in a foreign setting, and is categorized into three separate categories to enable an accurate analysis.

Firstly, at the macro-level is an analysis of China’s approach to the South Pacific region. Secondly, at the mezzo-level is an analysis of China’s approach to Papua New Guinea (PNG). Finally, at the micro-level is an analysis of China’s approach to local communities.

Macro-level: The Chinese government’s ability to ‘diplomatically romance’ countries in the South Pacific with gifts of aid in the form of cash with no strings attached, along with strategic investments has definitely helped in trade relations, gaining recognition and creating markets.

Traditionally, the South Pacific region has been the back yard of the West, strictly controlled and monitored by claimed Middle Power and America’s ‘Deputy Sheriff’ Australia. But China is knocking on the door challenging America and its regional allies Japan, Australia, New Zealand and France in matters of trade, investments and development cooperation.

Thus, is China using untied aid and investments as a tactic to localize? In the pacific the ‘boomerang tied Australian aid’ has been a highly debatable issue where intervention and influence have tempered with the sovereignty of the weak states.

The opposite approach of China in devotion to its foreign policy against intervention is changing the view of Pacific states. Although not publicized, they are now more inclined to the respect that China as a rising power has for their domestic affairs.

According to Jian Yang’s (2009) article “It estimated annual aid to the region is somewhere between US 100 million and $150, which represents a rapid increase although it is much smaller than Australia’s over $400 million”.

Moreover, he notes that Chinese official statistics show that China’s trade with the 14 island states that make up the Pacific Island Forum excluding Australia and New Zealand has increased from $121 million in 1995 to $1229 million in 2006.

Likewise, investments like the $625 Million nickel and cobalt mine in PNG, and millions to reinvigorate a Cook Islands Fishing and procession plant epitomizes the type of investments in the Pacific.

China is “providing much needed investments for the aid-reliant South Pacific”. Per se, the investments in the pacific have a similar impact as aid and is playing a pivotal role in the localization process.

In consequence, evolution is working in favour of China with its ever increasing hunger for natural resources, bid for legitimate recognition regarding the ‘One China’ policy and need for markets, the 21st century is inevitably the Sino centric Century in the Pacific.

Mezzo-level: Today China is the second largest aid donor to PNG. China took over Japan and US who were the traditional aid donors. In 2008, China’s Official Development Assistance to PNG was more than US$500 million.

While last year in early November during the official visit by Vice Premier Li Keqiang, PNG has signed two major pacts worth a total of CNY 830 million in a state grant and a China Exim Bank loan.

In addition to its already existing assistance, PNG will also receive extra financial support to build a state-of-the-art international convention centre in Port Moresby, and assistance to develop socio-economic projects in Madang Province.

Apart from other diplomatic reasons China is conscious of the growing anti-Chinese sentiments brought about by the influx of Mainland Chinese especially Southerners from Fuijian Province in a new wave of migration according to James Chin (2008), evident in the ‘May Mayhem 09’ where shops own by Chinese entrepreneurs were ransacked and threatened in the major towns and cities across the country last year.

As such, this visit and the gifts given are a symbol of China’s friendship and interest in developing the economy of PNG.

To China, localization is very vital in the protection of its national interest and Chinese citizens. For this reason, the visit was strategically planned and is a mind game aimed at assuring the PNG people that China is interested in PNG’s economic development.

Psychologically, this will have implications in the way Papua New Guineans view Chinese entrepreneurs post ‘May Mayhem 09’ and will help soothe the tension. In this context localization means embracing China and the Chinese as friends to walk hand in hand in the path towards development, or to harmoniously co-exist.

Micro-level: At the micro-level, it is impossible to find a British, Japanese or an Australian successfully running a fast food or retail outlet in a small town in PNG. According to Chin (2008), in comparison to their predecessors the Old Chinese, the other new ethnic Chinese from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, the new southern migrants from the Mainland are ruthless.

They know the art of localization, acclimatizing and surviving. They can eat anything, sleep anywhere and regardless of the language barrier excel in what they are doing. Simply, they are good at learning and adapting.

In my community when a person dies as a sign of respect we have what is called a ‘haus krai’, a house or place where people go to show their respect and sympathize with the relatives of the deceased.

In that event goods and food stuff are exchanged by the different groups of mourners to cater for other mourners who attend the ‘haus krai’. There was a particular Chinese businessman who operated a retail outlet in town where he traded those typical Chinese made goods.

Upon the death notice of one of the Province’s prominent leaders he mobilized his national workers, bought a substantial amount of goods and proceeded to the‘haus krai’. His unique approach demonstrates the ability of the Chinese in localizing.

In addition, Chinese state owned entity Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) has changed the formerly isolated lives of the Rai Coast villagers. Known as ‘the largest non-ferrous resource project that China has taken on anywhere overseas’, the Company has linked Rai Coast with China by building a huge wharf to ship the nickel and new roads connecting it to the main highway.

The company has done what the PNG government has failed to do for the past 4 decades that is bringing services to the people of Rai Coast.

This outlook was expressed when local leaders and Ramu NiCo Management met in May 2009 to negotiate peace after there was a deadly clash between PNG and Chinese workers that resulted in mass damages to properties and injuries to some workers.

Both parties expressed their sympathy and disapproval of what had happened, leading to a presentation by the local community of a slotted pig to the management as a traditional sign of saying sorry and appeasing the tension.

The villagers realized the importance of the company and its investments, making them feel as part of the community was high on their agenda.

Conclusion: At the macro-level China’s bid to localize in the South Pacific region is causing paranoia. Others are watching with eagle eyes the dragons thundering movements across the region.

While at the mezzo-level China is like the concerned friend who is eager to assist wayward PNG with its economic development and change the mind set of suffering common citizens.

Whereas, at the micro-level China and the Chinese have already managed to localize and harmoniously co-exist with the locals but the ‘May mayhem 09’ has a residual potential threat effect.

The nature of Chinese aid and investments regardless of the various reasons for giving has greatly helped in the localization process. The ability of China to respect the domestic affairs of Pacific states will have a long term effect in how localization takes place at the three different levels.

Chinese aid and investments is directly proportional to localization, the more China gives the more it will be accepted as a local and a friend.

Note: The article was contributed by Bernard Yegiora, a graduate student from PNG studying at Jilin University, China majoring International Relations. For comments, contact him on email: This article was also published by Sunday Chronicle newspaper in Papua New Guinea.

John Momis: A Role Model Leader

John Momis: A role model leader

THIS article is the account of my personal experiences of knowing John Momis for the past two and half years in Beijing as a PNG student in China and as an intern at the Embassy of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea in Beijing.

I am aware that the timing of this publication may seem controversial given the looming election of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. It may seem obvious for one to view this article as a political tool to advance John Momis’ election campaign for the presidential election in Bougainville.

As such, many will be judgmental and skeptical about the sincerity and authenticity of this article. Therefore at the outset let me say that the views in this article are purely my own, about someone whom I felt strongly that many young Papua New Guineans should know and learn from.

I have learnt a lot by just observing and listening to him. I therefore wish to genuinely share my experience with the millions out there.

The contemporary PNG societies today are at the crossroad of leadership crisis, starting from the village meeting hall to the National Parliament in Waigani. This is evident in the recent lawlessness in both the rural villages and urban centers including the disgraceful selfish acts of individuals occupying some of the highest public offices in Waigani.

Many of these social-illnesses are due to absence of transparent and good leadership, which either directly or indirectly fueled insubordinations within and without an institution or community.

Village chiefs and elders whom few years ago usually enjoy a commanding authority in fostering social peace and harmonies are no longer enjoying it. Members of Parliament are booed at and stoned or even sidelined by their electorate or provincial subordinates.

There is a growing “who cares” and “what’s in it for me” culture. “If the big people up there are doing it, then who am I to abstain from it?” Such sentiments transpired from continuous bad leadership and systemic and systematic corruption in PNG.

Many independent observers and studies from Australia, US, EU, ADB and others have consistently trumpeted this problem in their publication; yet, Papua New Guineans seemed complacent of the status quo.

We are living in a period where role model leadership is fast disappearing, and the younger generations today are in desperation of role models to measure up to.

Without hesitation, I am humbled to mention here that H.E. Ambassador John Momis is someone, we the young people can lean upon and learn from.

Firstly allow me to clarify to the readers my relations with H.E. Ambassador Momis. I hail from Gunangi, one of the remote areas of Sinasina District in Simbu Province. Did my primary to secondary education in Simbu Province and completed a four year bachelor program in Divine Word University from 2002 – 2006.

Though I have seen pictures, heard and read a lot about John Momis, I have never met him in person until the evening of 16th September 2007 in Beijing. Even at that evening we never get acquainted to each other, because there were many Papua New Guineans and other nationalities, including members of the diplomatic community in Beijing.

We only had a brief handshake during which I introduced myself as a first year PNG students, at the Beijing Language and Culture University.

I have heard few respected people in PNG, calling John Momis as the Father of PNG Constitution and Father of Decentralization and Provincial Government System in PNG who is responsible for setting up the 19 provincial governments when he was the minister of Decentralization in 1977.

These views are also widely published by authoritative source on Bougainville and PNG such as Sean Dorney, Douglas Oliver and Edward Ted Wolfers. I also believe that these are undisputable facts held by many Papua New Guineans who have lived through and witnessed the short political history of PNG.

I am therefore very privileged to have met and known one of PNG’s and the Pacific’s renowned leader of his time and is still today, John Momis. His leadership legacy speaks for itself and those who have worked with him and have known him personally have fully grasped that.

I can only say that John Momis is a man of principle and a role model leader that the millions of young and aspiring leaders of PNG and the Pacific Island region need to learn from.

I am therefore humbled and at the same time honored to share my take on his leadership legacy for my generation and the generations to come.

I have known John Momis as a PNG student in China and as an intern at the PNG Embassy in Beijing and as a close friend over the past two and a half years. The rest of this article will explain some of the great leadership principle I have learnt from just observing and listening to him in various context over the past more than two years in China.

Despite of being well known and respected figure in national and regional politics, John Momis remains one of the most humble and very considerate people I’ve ever met. For example he would have time for any individual that comes to his attention despite of their race, gender, social status, religion, qualifications or age.

I have observed him listening attentively to simple young Papua New Guinean students who wanted to share their take on PNG’s political or economical development. The way Momis responds to these students is encouraging in such a way that usually adds insights and value onto the students.

It makes us the simple young students feel important and assured that our views are equally significant to any policy makers or development practitioners in PNG.

From many Pacific Island students who have listened to John Momis and at least engage in dialogue with John Momis, all felt elevated and valuable in their own right and to their nation.

A Fijian Civil Engineer whom we studied together here in Beijing was amazed that Ambassador Momis was able to remember his name and call him by name even though they’ve met briefly only once. He said that his country’s own Ambassador in Beijing doesn’t know his name even though he has been to their Embassy a hundred times and met him in several occasions.

Such is the value of a person who has the interest of the people at heart. Momis makes it his business to know his people and engage with them appropriately at their level, in order to add value to them and make them see themselves as equally important in the community. This is a great value that every young and aspiring Papua New Guinean leaders should learn from.

Momis is a very considerate person. He knows when to say “yes” and when to say “no” even to his very close friends. Despite of him being in the position of great authority and responsibility which demands high level of subordination, he would at most times consider his subordinates views on critical issues before reaching a consensus.

Even though he may already know the right thing or way regarding the issues at end, he never reached a decision alone. He is a great believer of concessional and consultative approach to decision making.

This is a value which I believe Momis has developed in the early days of his political career when he was the De-facto Chairman of the Constitutional Planning Committee (CPC) that is responsible in formulating PNG’s Constitution.

Momis pushed for a participatory and concessional approach and during those early days, he led the CPC into almost all the different areas of PNG either by land, sea or air, to document PNG’s Constitutions.

By doing so they are able to get collective views to come up with a Constitution that is vibrant and strong that defines PNG’s identity as an independent and sovereign state that stood proudly among the global community.

Therefore despite of being geographically rugged and ethnically diverse and dispersed PNG still remained intact as one nation amidst the increasing challenges of globalization and other development challenges.

The principle of participatory and concessional decision making is a great value that many young and aspiring PNG leaders need to learn from John Momis. By being considerate and involving everyone in the decision making, we minimize the potential for any future disagreements at the outcome of the decision reached. It also makes everyone take ownership of the outcome of the decisions and deal with it appropriately.

I am also impressed and challenged by his firm believe in God. Being an ex-priest, John Momis faith in Jesus Christ as Savior of the world and believe in upholding Christian principles is outstanding.

That is depicted in almost all the social gatherings such as Christmas dinner or independence anniversary, he hosted as PNG Ambassador to China which we would open the gathering with a word of prayer usually lead by himself.

I strongly believe that it was his firm faith in Christ Jesus that has developed all these unique and valuable leadership qualities that any Papua New Guinean can learn and emulate from.

I am truly humbled to have met John Momis and to learn these leadership qualities from him. I wish I had more time with him; however his people in Bougainville realized his qualities in such a time of leadership crisis as an asset and have called him back to Bougainville to contest the coming ABG election.

I wish John Momis all the success in his Presidential election and the people of Bougainville prosperity and success in this new decade.

Note: This article was contributed by Albert Kaupa Tobby in Beijing. It was also published by Sunday Chronicle newspaper in PNG