While PNG has readily recognized the achievements of sportsmen and women in PNG, recognition in other areas have been non-existent. We have high achievers in other areas but I think they have not been given the recognition they rightly deserve.
PNG has distinguished authors – the novelists, the essayists and short story writers, the poets and dramatists, the critics and biographers. We have filmmakers, musicians, whose work has received international awards yet are not known in their own country and appreciated. Recently Miss Anne Kajir won the prestigious 2006 Goldman Environmental Prize in recognition for her fight against illegal logging in PNG.
In the areas of sciences and technology this has been the same story. In my field, medicine and medical sciences, including clinical practise there have been many distinguished achievers that have not been formally recognised. With due respect for the annual Queen’s awards that are given I feel there should be other ways, uniquely Papua New Guinean to recognize individuals for their effort.
While I realize that funding for such recognition may be the main determining factor, nevertheless some effort must be made. I think Papua New Guineans (maybe not all but seem be a catch phrase in media reports) are using this word, becoming a catch phrase now actually – “lack of funds”, as an excuse for peoples’ laziness and lack of forming innovative ideas!
Who should recognise high achievers in PNG?
I think the recognition should start from professional organisations before the government does. Having said this, I think it all goes back to how we are organizing our own professional societies (eg PNG Medical Society, Writers’ Society and others). The concept of an Alumni seem to have no appeal for Papua New Guineans. Tribal linkage and commitment toward groups or organizations from the same province (or speaking the same language) is more appealing. Probably because this kind of groups provide care, social support and a sense of security to its members compared with professional societies. I am going off track here.
So as I was saying, high achievers in PNG need to be given proper recognition. We all like to have a pat on the back once in while for our effort. This is just the same.