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Monday, February 22, 2010

Side tracked by the Condom

The condom is stretched to snapping point

THERE is a reality known as a personal encounter with God. 

Millions around the world have had such instances in their lives and there are countless volumes of literature on the subject.  Forget what the atheists might say - to them this is nonsensical, pure imagination or an escape mechanism from the troubles of this world.

The thread that runs through all these experiences is that from such a defining point, one's whole view of life takes a complete new turn for the better.

This is the truth Paul talks about in his epistle: "Behold, the old is gone; the new is come." The shackles of the old self are shaken off and man experiences new found peace. 

In this Christian country, one who has found God personally has found potent ammunition and trustworthy defence in the battle against HIV/AIDS.  Again forget about those who may brand this as religious gibberish.

One might ask, what happens if one contracts the virus before they find God?  Well, they would have found strength to help them live normally with the virus and would not dare pass it on. Simplistic maybe, but true if that person remains faithful to his conviction.

The debate on the use of condoms in the fight against HIV/AIDS rages on.  The poor object has been figuratively stretched from both ends by those for and against.   It has reached its breaking point and will snap any moment, so to speak.

Our war on the virus and the related debate have largely been 'condomised' and about the use of millions of kina in donor funding.  The latex has been promoted as not the safest but the best available protection against the spread of the virus if one discounts abstinence and faithfulness.  Churches and some common people are vehemently against its use because it promotes promiscuity, they contend.
Stop for a moment to consider a world without the condom. 

Remove the condom from the face of the earth and the Catholic and all those churches preaching a nominal, half-hearted message from the comfort and supposed sanctity of their pulpits will be faced with a world in which they have to work twice as hard to save lives.

Doubtless the church, both Catholic and non-Catholic, has been successful with all the social services it has provided around the world.  It seems, however, that same church has shied away from the more difficult task (which is its original, if it can be said that way).  And that is leading the human soul to an intimate life-time relationship with God - the God of purity and holiness.

The church's care-giving and counseling efforts for AIDS sufferers are commendable but are akin to an injured animal licking its wounds.  We would rather see a head to head confrontation between the church and the devil.  Let the war begin from the church and spill out onto the streets!

The cultured, 'refined' and well-educated may rely on his or her upbringing and social circles to make well-informed decisions and arguably avoid the risks of HIV infection.

The less sophisticated, run-of-the-mill citizen needs God.  In the absence of the stringent cultural taboos of old and a strong attachment to God, the average human being is left at the mercy of the devil and the lure of the world.

Talk to an addict, a drug user or any other 'moral weakling' and they will tell you they have the backbone of a jellyfish to stand up to the lusts of this world. 

They therefore need God.  Rather, they need someone to introduce to them to God.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Kapris story nears the climax

THE STORY gets better by the day!
Our source states that William Kapris had actually named two State Ministers who helped with K25,000 to arrange his escape from Bomana prison.

You can't get any harder story than that to show the world there is an underworld of PNG politics and its links to big time crime.

But for heaven's sake, this has got to be the figment of Kapris' imagination. He ought to have even been hallucinating after being given a rude awakening by policemen barging in and disrupting his blissful slumber in the lodge he was nabbed in.

Politicians, big businesses and even the common citizens go to great lengths to project a positive image to the rest of the world. And as responsible citizens, just as much concerned about the country's name and reputation, this newspaper too is mindful of the pitfalls of sensationalism in its reporting. But this is a story that was waiting to be told; in fact it was being played out as in a stage play with one scene closing for the entry of another.

And this has got to be the climax. It may in fact be the anticlimax as what follows from here is either a confirmation or denial of these allegations and prosecutions or referral to a leadership tribunal if there is some truth found.

Once it gets to that stage, it would be one man's word against another's.

The revelation in today's story further confirms rumours that have been circulating ever since the bank robberies a few years back.

We have paused to ponder whether to publish and be damned or not to publish (and be damned all the same).

We chose to publish because indications have been there all along - from a purported correspondence from behind bars to a justice of the National and Supreme Courts to the man's threat to spill the beans in a police interview.

Police Commissioner Gari Baki revealed on Friday that there was a near clash between policemen who arrested Kapris and a unit from Mc Gregor Barracks late night on the Saturday Kapris was arrested.

The policemen who arrested Kapris seemed to have forgotten all process and protocol by not taking Kapris to Boroko police station and locking him up.

He was told of the arrest couple of hours later and by three different sources.

He said when he learnt that Kapris was not at Boroko police cells, he directed Mr Huafolo and the Director for the Mobile units, David Manning to look for the unit which was driving Kapris around and have Kapris taken to Bomana.

When Mr Manning's unit approached the vehicle with Kapris, guns were pointed at Mr Manning, resulting in a near shootout.

That is yet another scene of this play starring Kapris touted as the country's most wanted man - a celebrity of sorts.

An epilogue to the Kapris story would detail why the two ministers would want the prisoner out, for whom he was carrying that side arm plus where the loot from the robberies was deposited.

Only then would PNG know whether Kapris was the true mastermind or simply a pawn to someone higher up.

But his revelation already of names of those higher up must have got somebody twitchy and will cause him or them to lose a good night's sleep - if there is any truth in them.

It is tempting to pity those involved with or through Kapris to rob and terrorise or help in his escape from lawful custody - all for the love of money!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Education woes persist and worsen with time

IT MUST have been a chaotic week one of term one of school year 2010.  The normal activity and mad rush and long lines at the start of the school year are nothing new.

But judging by reports so far this school year is commencing with another lot of problems apart from the usual hassles expected.

Problems encountered at the start of the 2010 academic year are varied but these are among the worrying ones that need special remedial action: There have been two different student selection lists for tertiary education institutions; elementary education is still to be paid for despite the government's free basic education initiative announced toward the end of last year; and schools have simply run out of space to cater for transferring students. 

The anxious moments may run into a second, possibly third week while school administration scramble to find solutions before students are settled into classrooms and dormitories.

More drama is expected when university classes commence in a couple of week's time and especially at the University of PNG which has raised its tuition fees. The move has irked students as well as parents and guardians.

The line of communication between the Measurement Services Unit of the Department of Education, the Commission of Higher Education and a number of secondary level institutions who graduated students from grade 12 in 2009, has not been kept clear of distortion. 

Two different lists of schools examination marks and information emanating from secondary schools to the MSU has resulted in a number of eligible students being denied places in tertiary institutions and government scholarships through the tertiary education assistance scheme (TESAS).  When final marks on higher school certificates were compared against the listings of universities and colleges, much did not make sense to the many students who were expecting to be on the lists.

The Director of the Office of Higher Education (OHE) Dr William Tagis explained at a press conference this week that OHE was not involved in selecting and admitting students into academic and training programs but facilitates the national selections.

He said however, that those deserving students will be catered provided for under some arrangement with higher learning institutions concerned.

In the NCD, a directive from the district education office has stopped secondary school administrations especially from enrolling any students transferring from other schools either within the district or from elsewhere in the country.

This drastic measure is a direct result of a lack of classroom space at schools that has been left to worsen over the years.

District education officials partly blame the schools for failing to maintain existing classroom facilities or build new ones for the increasing student population in the city.

The shortage of space in schools is not something peculiar to the NCD but school administrations and planners in this expanding city have been slow in realizing that they have to regularly adapt to and cater for the growing population.

With the hype about the mega resource developments and the expected influx of other Papua New Guineans into the city in the next few years and decades, time is surely against our education planners and institutions.
The instruction from the NCDC education office to halt enrolments of transferring students is one based on the reality of the situation at hand but it may also be indicative of a lack of creativity and innovation.

Yes, we have a space problem but can we not work around it?  This may be the time to implement that shift teaching concept proposed at the 2009 national education conference in Alotau. Rather than stopping schools from getting in students, let each school administration use some creativity and deal with the demand in the best way available to it.