One man’s mission to shine a light on ordinary Papua New Guineans

Papua New Guinea
Captain David Inau was one of 11 army pilots who were trained in Australia as PNG transitioned to independence. People were really hungry for it,” Scott said.”They wanted to read and on the blog stats I was getting an average of 20,000 to 50,000 hits a day, so it’s quite a surprising response I got on the blog itself.”He had provided something Papua New Guineans were desperately seeking — proof that their struggles mattered. For this week, I’m going to do very positive things.”So Scott started a blog about Papua New Guineans who had overcome challenges or whose positive attitude stood out.Not the powerful people who dominate PNG’s often sycophantic domestic news coverage, but the men and women of PNG’s villages, settlements and suburbs.Local heroes, basically. Not the politicians, not the bureaucrats, not the businessmen — just the ordinary, everyday heroes. Photo:
Florence Jaukae Kamel began experimenting with “bilum fibre” dresses 15 years ago. (Facebook: Inspirational Papua New Guineans)
“If you put out the positive and you put that out in public, people will connect the dots and then start demanding better services, start demanding those in power are held accountable for their actions,” he said.Some of the blog’s most avid readers are teachers in the rural parts of Papua New Guinea.They download the posts when they come back to towns with mobile coverage and take them back for their students.Scott would like his material to be given to schools to show their students that there is dignity and potential in their lives.He’s also looking to turn the blog into a book and says he’s been inundated with suggestions of new people to profile.Scott’s desire to do something positive has now inspired countless others to do the same.Someone should write a blog post about him. A journalist in Papua New Guinea has found there’s a hunger for stories about locals who have overcome the difficulties of life in their developing country.Papua New Guineans are used to negative news headlines about their country and hearing that living standards and services are getting worse.But Scott Waide has made it his mission to highlight how hard work and a positive attitude can transform ordinary Papua New Guineans into leaders, and setbacks into successes. (Facebook: Inspirational Papua New Guineans)
In a country with enormous challenges of poverty, corruption and violence, the act of honouring people who succeeded despite their circumstances has started to encourage others to stay positive and work towards a better life.”The feedback that I’m getting is ‘these are the kinds of stories that should be in the schools and it should be broadcast on mainstream media’, but sometimes it’s difficult to do that,” Scott said.”They are identifying with the characters, they feel the pain that this person is going through.”Or they’re so happy with the success that this other person has gone through and they look at where he came from, where he is now, or where she came from.”It’s created that demand for more of such stories.”Using words to bring changeScott has also noticed that pride can be powerful.He says his blog has made people ask why they’re suffering and demand answers from the people in charge. Photo:
Scott started a blog about Papua New Guineans who had overcome challenges or whose positive attitude stood out. Photo:
Bill Cletus Jakanduo is the lone Provincial Labour Officer who established and ran the Vanimo Labour office for over 30 years. (Facebook: Inspirational Papua New Guineans)
“Sometimes I go home feeling very depressed about all the negativity,” he said.”One morning I woke up and said I’m going to do something very positive. (Facebook: Inspirational Papua New Guineans)
Profiling the positiveScott knows about making something from nothing.He taught himself to make pizza in a cheap drum oven and sold it on the street, so he could support his family while his wife studied.Then he built a career as one of PNG’s most experienced and respected journalists, and is now the bureau chief for EMTV in Lae.But the relentless negativity of reporting on PNG’s violence, crumbling infrastructure and poor governance wore him down.So Scott decided to do something positive instead. Photo:
Ruthy Cletus set up a small school for adults who want to learn to read and write in Papua New Guinea. (Facebook: Inspirational Papua New Guineans)
Those who go about doing their work without complaining about issues that affect them, those who accept the way of life and battle on.Scott’s blog is simply called “Inspirational Papua New Guineans”.It profiles teachers, doctors, community leaders, a designer who turned PNG’s ubiquitous woven carry bags — known as bilums — into dresses, a high school student who sold soft drinks to buy a calculator and a man who left a raskol crime gang to become a founding father of basketball in PNG.’People were hungry for it’The themes are consistent — perseverance and overcoming obstacles, things every Papua New Guinean can relate to.Even with PNG’s limited internet connectivity, the blog has reached tens of thousands of people.”After several posts I realised there was a thirst for this kind of material.
Correspondents Report

By Papua New Guinea correspondent Eric Tlozek


March 03, 2018 06:36:30

Scott Waide has made it his mission to highlight how hard work and a positive attitude can transform ordinary Papua New Guineans into leaders. (Supplied)