by Ephraim Curtis
Different people have different perspectives. I have watched as some of my friends have applauded the new highrise apartments popping up in Moresby even though the rents they charge is out of reach of most Moresby residents. They have also gazed with approval when the new roads and Kumul flyover were built though they will certainly never own a car, they make to little money.

These same people approve of the changes to the city only because they think someday the change will reach them. As for now they have no money to pay admission to the various festivities that the NCDC has put on. They have been to Vision City now and again just to look because they have no money to buy. They dream in the hopes there will be change in their life. The dreams become more important as they look around them and see that they are being left further behind each day.
I do not live in a settlement, instead in a government house. I am a lucky one although the wealthy people living in the new highrise apartments would probably look at my house in disgust. I have friends in the settlements. Many have jobs a few are very well educated. They try their best to contribute to the building of this city. it seems they give and give and never receive.

One of my dear friends really struggles in his life. Each day of work he walks from the settlement he grew up at near Gordons market all the way to Badili. Badili is where he works at a menial job. He is worried about the future of his small house made of salvage materials. He wonders when the bulldozers will come. His wife sells betelnut as that is one of things poor people can earn good money at. She has to leave the settlement to sell her product. She worries not only about the police appearing and kicking her buai away. She also worries about them kicking her face in just because she is powerless and poor.

For at least 15 or 10 years after Independence you never saw a beggar in Port Moresby. It was a small town back but amongst nationals equality was visible just as it was back in their villages. There were no nationals driving in expensive tinted glass vehicles. Many of the expats lived fancy and some of them disrespected nationals. Those of us who remembered the days before independence assumed that Independence would bring a new level of equality. We were very wrong.

Instead the separation between rich and poor got worse. We can say correctly that rich are getting richer and poor getting poorer in Port Moresby. We should write a song about it because it is our reality in this city. Black masters replaced the white ones. Difference being that the black masters are filthy rich on a level we never saw in our white masters. How wanskin brother could trick and cheat another brother like we see today is a mystery. The poor people in the settltements are stressed out. They do not know when the bulldozers will come. Pushing away their simple houses so a new building for much richer can be built.

There is something wrong with this picture. In our traditional ways we never pushed aside or stepped on top of our bratas and sistas to get ahead of them. This was not the melanesian way. I do see our city leaders talking about traditions and melanesian ways. Hwoever it all seems to be like a show. Tradition seems to be nothing but traditional bilas today. Our traditional values are thrown aside. Our traditional bilas is one way to try to pull money out of the pockets of visitors. It is all about money in Moresby these days. Only problem is that too many people are lost in the crush. Talking about money and APEC and specials on furniture at Home Centre is meaningless to them when they have only a few kina in their pocket.

This new attitude in Moresby goes against Melanesian values and also against what we were all taught in church as we learnt from the Holy Bible. We never got taught we should bulldoze the houses of our neighbours. Never were instructed to do anything a visitor wanted, whether making singsing for money or undressing to have sex with a stranger all for money. We dreamed of a better world than a kind of earthly hell we have today in our capital city. It is like hell in that we see wealth all around us but for the majority of population it is unreachable. Temptation that we could not fall victim to even if we wanted.

This is not the Christian way. Yet we have a famous Bible now in our city, the King James. It says the same thing I guess as the Bible I have in our house. Nothing in that Bible seems to praise what I see about the life today in our capital city. We say we are Christian country and have Bibles we can show any visitor but it does not go beyond that. Our street preachers seem afraid to preach the truth about the kind of life many people are living. They talk about avoiding evil ways of living yet say nothing about how so many people have fallen into evil ways because of the feeling of hopelessness. A hopelessness that comes from being at the bottom of society and straining to look upwards into the bright sun.

So much change taking place in Moresby. Thats what we all wanted and most of us like looking at all the new stuffs. All the changes seem good except that most people in Moresby get no advantage from them except to look. Looking and looking but not participating in this change. This seems to be a government program to change Moresby as a place for the rich and starve out the poor. The poor, who in most cases did not ask to be that way.

Go to one of the Friday night discos and you see how many people seem to be living a life without spirit. The street preachers always say that about those who have not found God but these people are different. They were taught God's word yet they live the life of the devil. They fell into a trap because of all the changes that bright city lights bring with it. They thought they were moving upwards but spiritually they move backwards.

The change in Moresby is a change of lifelessness. The new roads and sports stadiums that the government wants us to celebrate have no life to them. They are concrete and timbers. Yet that lifeless infrastructure seems to be sucking the life out of to many people around them. It sucks hope out of the poor people who come to Vision City just to look, never to buy. It sucks the spirit out of the poor mamas from the settlements who will work a lifetime, never get ahead. They cannot go back to the village. Maybe it would be to shameful. Maybe it is because they are being pulled like a magnet by the lifeless infrastructure. Addicted to a change of lifelessness.

Our capital city was always changing but never so fast. Never in such a way that the well off people seem to be benefiting the most while the poor people are being pushed aside like unwanted flies on the watermelon. A government that promotes and creates such change is not a government of traditional ways or Christian. They of course pretend otherwise. I see nothing but evil in them because of the way they are destroying so many innocent lives. Jesus aided the poor and spoke out against the greed of the rich. The leaders of NCDC do the opposite in action. They carry out programs that kick aside the poor while rewarding the rich. The rich drain the shops at Vision City and the poor look on.

This NCDC government gives false hope to the people. That is how they hope to win elections. Empty promises, false hope, which will lead to broken dreams of the people somewhere down the line. It is an ugly picture, not one of humanity. It is a picture built on Money as God.
It will not be a happy Christmas for so many people in our capital city. They will see the lit up Christmas trees at Vision City but it is only an illusion that their lives will change for the better when their houses are bulldozed in the name of progress.

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