A question most people on social media are asking - who is Susan Merrell and why is so concerned about PNG's affairs.
To answer the first question Susan Merrell comes from South Wales in the United Kingdom, she migrated to Australia and is based in Sydney. She is a mother of two sons.
She has a PHD in political science from University of NSW. Her thesis paper was titled "Harri Webb and the Dilemma of Welsh Political Nationalism"
Who is Harri Webb? He a was an Anglo-Welsh poet, nationalist, journalist and librarian. Hardly a topic of significance in the field of political science.
Merrell also has a Masters Degree in Media Practice in French, Media Politics from the University of Sydney (1997-2008) which took her almost ten years to complete. She also claims to have a Bachelors of Arts and Master of Arts in French and Politics.
For those who don't know what a PHD is, it stands for Doctor of Philosophy. It is an advanced degree focused in particular subject matter. It is a research focused degree that takes around 4-5 years to complete.
Persons typically enter into a doctors or PHD program have aspirations of a career in academia or research. This usually includes writing papers on behalf of the university, and attending conferences to present their research.
However there will be some people who pursue a PHD centred on hopes of a higher paid salary and the prestige status that comes with it. With mass education, the number of doctorate holders has increased considerably, so that the elite membership and the high social status of holding a PHD is no longer as prestigious as it use to be. Given the limited employment opportunities PHD holders struggle to find well paid jobs or considered suitable to be offered a position in a reputable university. The reasoning behind this is while they are academically highly qualified they lack real life experience thus their job prospects will be limited.
Merrell considers herself a free lance journalist with a PHD and three degrees - in another words academically overqualified with little or no journalist experience thus little or no job prospects.
Is Merrell respected or renowned within the profession? The short answer is No. Most major news papers in Australia have rejected her work. Given her lack of experience or recognition in the field she has only been able to post her articles on-line public forums and bloggs. Even then she does not make the list of notable writers who contribute to their publications.
So what brought her to PNG?
Ms Merrel has no real history in PNG, she was never born here nor has she ever lived or worked in the country yet she claims she specializes in politics of the Pacific and Advocates against political corruption.
Merrell only connection to PNG seems to be her reporting on criminal trial of Julian Moti in 2010. Up until that period Merrell was unknown in the profession of journalism she was writing for local urban newspapers or on-line community blogg sites. It seems she was desperate to establish her self in field that gives more to journalist experience and less consideration to academic qualifications.
So what makes Merrell an expert on PNG?
In 2014 Post Courier published a feature article on Merrell where she stated "Although not PNGean my academic learning qualifies me to understand most of the political issues that plague and challenge the Country."
Really? So completing a thesis paper on an unknown Welsh-poet nationalist/librarian some how qualifies a person to understand PNG's rather complex political issues? Merrell's view is clearly misconceived and lacks any factual foundation
So what makes Merrell the expert on corruption in PNG?
In the same article she claims she has a rich heritage that informs her on the fight against corruption today and fight for woman's right. She says for instance in 1930's the civil war in Spain many miners from South Wales defied the British Government and fought against the fascist. Further an African American Actor, singer and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson who was vilified in his own country for political stance was adored and welcomed in valleys of South Wales.
Really? So the actions of coal miners from South Wales to fight in a civil war even before she was born and the cause of a black African American civil rights campaigner somehow gives her standing to to be informed on corruption and women's rights in PNG??
It all sounds rather absurd doesn't it? Well its a word that best describes Merrell's and defined as "Ridiculous and that something is fit only to be laughed at."
I first observed Ms Merrell commenting on social media in 2013 for most part she comes off as well articulated person where she goes wrong is on a occasion she also demonstrates a narcissistic personality disorder.
"It is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism."
I'm sure many on social media will agree the above personally traits best describes Susan Merrell.
Now to answer the second part of the question why is Merrell so concerned about PNG Affairs? The short answer is fame and fortune.
Part 2 of this article will provide evidence that suggests Merrell is only in PNG for a free lunch at the expense of our people, we will look at her articles in some detail and explain why they are poorly constructed and lack any factual substance. We will also look at whether she may have a serious personalty disorder the symptoms and the evidence to support it. In conclusion you will be better informed to answer the threshold issue whether Susan Merrell is really a journalist or more an opportunist?

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