Today, exactly twelve years ago on 25th November 2009, I left Sibu, Malaysia for Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, arriving on 26th November 2009. It is a land that the locals call Land of the Unexpected, and indeed, that is the case. A land full of surprises with its own cultures, traditions and a different era which will take another generation or two to catch up with the rest of the world. It is a land that is very isolated. Belief in Sanguma (sorcery) permeates society and tribal fights are frequently battled out in settlements in cities like Port Moresby to settle scores. It is just a tribal thing and this does not mean that the people are dangerous and will harm innocent foreigners. Instead, they are very friendly but yet, crime rate is very high. Street justice is frequently meted out to those caught on the wrong side of the laws.
These twelve years in PNG has been life-changing for me. I could only thank my Executive Director for giving me the opportunity to join the company in PNG. Though this city is rated as one of the most dangerous cities in the world, the additional compensation package that come with the job has allowed me to travel around Asia and provided me with a new home and I am forever grateful for that.
It is time for me to bid farewell. Working here is a challenge as the attitude of the people is different. The wantok (one-talk) system has created a society where family members and relatives rely on one working family member for support. There is no motivation for family members to find work as their food and shelter are taken care of by the employed family members. There is also no motivation to keep their jobs for those with jobs as all their saving would be squandered by other family members or relatives. Indeed, many men don't work to support their families. It is the women who work to support their families. Many men work for the income to afford them their fortnightly drinking habits. Working discipline is very poor. They don't really care if they lost their jobs. It is a society that keeps everyone unmotivated and poor.
Today, my successor and my department held a simple farewell tea to bid goodbye to me. Thank you all. The farewell photos taken shall hold the last memories of my time with my team. It has been a challenging twelve years in Port Moresby.
The Malaysian High Commission is organising a chartered flight on 10 December 2021 to Kuching and Kuala Lumpur. I would be on that flight, barring any unforeseen circumstances.