The following article was first published 25th August, 2012 with the heading – “RESPECT – A “Little” Victory Over a “Big Man” . I have decided to re-publish it here and now as memories are short, especially in the world of politics and the guts of the article I believe to be as relevant, if not even more so than when first published……..

VictoryOnce upon a time, there was a self-proclaimed “Big Man” who thought he could lord it over all and sundry – until he faced the power of some “little people”.

The little story I am about to tell you is “GOLD” and is the absolute truth……..and it’s about a “Big Man” getting his come-uppance………..at grass- roots level. It gave me the chuckles and I hope it does the same for you…..

There’s a little airport (Ulie) near a little place (Sameo) on a little island (Ambrym) in a little Archipelago of 83 islands called Vanuatu a few hours from places like Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.

In fact, this little place attracts tourists from all around the world. Why? Because it usually means the end of an adventure for those same tourists – walking across the island onto and in some cases, into, active volcanos (Marum and Benbow). That is one Hell of a walk/ journey. Even for the fittest, It is physically, mentally and emotionally challenging…..in a big way, so I am told.

A very recent article in “The Independent” quoted – “…the Minister of Education was stranded in the island of Embrym (their spelling mistake, not mine) because he has finished his travelling budget”.

Now let me tell you the truth…..

Earlier this week, a group of international tourists who had pre-booked their flight back to Port Vila Bauerfield Airport, were in the process of boarding when along came a “Big Man” – the Vanuatu Government Education Minister. He insisted that he and his entourage which, included two heavily bejewelled women, a couple of minders and two chickens (?), be given priority passenger rights ahead of the tourists. Apparently, offered up were such options as leaving some behind to catch a later plane or leaving the tourists’ luggage behind to compensate for the weight of the Minister and hangers-on. And then the fight started……….

The tourists (including people in their 60’s) rightfully insisted that they as they had pre-
booked their flight arrange- ments and the Minister only had an open ticket, they should have priority. The Minister thought otherwise and put all sorts of pressure on Air Vanuatu staff and others in an effort to get his way.

End result? The tourists had their way, the Air Vanuatu staff and others who stood up to the Minister’s unsavoury bullying tactics also had a moral victory and the foolish Minister lost…..got his come-uppance!

The moral to this little story is that this was a BIG win by grass-roots people and is a great example of how the “little” people can be BIG champions of decency, common courtesy and most of all – RESPECT.

As you all know, this is just one example of “Big Man” attitude that still prevails in this country as well as in my birthplace (OZ) and other countries.

Hopefully, some of the Vanuatu “Big Men” will read this, reason being that they may choose to follow a BIG piece of advice and go about learning the meaning of the word – “RESPECT” because they sure as hell give the impression that they sorely need some education on the subject.

RespectIf you aren’t a “Big Man”, then frankly, it’s up to you to ensure that they “get the message”, sooner rather than later. So what is “respect”? To quote Wikipedia (any highlights are mine)………

“Respect” gives a positive feeling of esteem or deference for a person or other entity (such as a nation or a religion), and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem. Respect can be a specific feeling of regard for the actual qualities of the one respected (e.g., “I have great respect for her judgment”). It can also be conduct in accord with a specific ethic of respect. Rude conduct is usually considered to indicate a lack of respect, disrespect, whereas actions that honour somebody or something indicate respect. Specific ethics of respect are of fundamental importance to various cultures. Respect for tradition and legitimate authority is identified……as one of five fundamental moral
values shared to a greater or lesser degree by different societies and individuals. In recent times, ‘respect’ has become synonymous with subordination, submission, or obedience”.

The antonym and opposite of respect is CONTEMPT.

Got that? Let’s return for a moment to the Minister of Chickens and others of his ilk, such as the Minister who thinks that he is so important and deserving of “respect” that, with total impunity, he can beat up people whose opinions he doesn’t like and threaten others with violence (such as throwing them out the window) and getting drunk and aggressive in public. Then of course there are the other Ministers who also love being passengers on the gravy train and who also show their outright CONTEMPT for the “little” people and DISRESPECT for the positions of authority that they hold by ripping off the system via providing “jobs for the boys”, dodgy (read – ‘dishonest’) land deals and so on it goes.

At the time that this goes to print, it will only be 66 days to 30th October.

Folks, I ask that you please remember the actions of the “Big Men” at election time. No matter where you live, get rid of any whose traits are to be disrespectful, contemptuous, self-serving, full-of-themselves antithesis of “servants of the people” – as soon as you can.

It’s not that hard! There are some truly honourable, decent men and women waiting in the wings, ready, willing and able to do their bit – for Vanuatu, not for what they can do for themselves in keeping their position at the trough. Pigs at the Trough

May I also humbly suggest that, when you get to cast your vote in a little over nine weeks’ time, you give serious attention to looking at the records of the established parties and their parliamentary representatives.

I have done just that and I must say that every one of them has “come up short”, for one reason or another. Every Party has had and in many instances, still has, people totally undeserving of the “little” peoples’ vote come October. I am referring to the constant “ship-jumpers” and those who speak with forked tongues – the crooks.

SOCIAL MEDIA is, I believe and hopefully not just wishful thinking on my part, likely to have a BIG effect in the forth- coming elections – here in Vanuatu, Australia and the US.

Political DinosaursThose “dinosaurs” who under- estimate its power are doomed to fail – to be replaced by more contemporary-thinking, well- educated, articulate and intelligent people.

It really pleases me to see the high level of activity on social media sites such as Facebook.

 

Youth Against Corruption VanuatuI say this because the posts on sites such as “YACV” (Youth Against Corruption Vanuatu), “YUMI TOKTOK STRET”, “ME HAREM SE ???”, “ELECTION SPOTLIGHT 2012” and “PACIFIC INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC POLICY” are great show-cases displaying the full depth of feeling on issues such as corruption and transparency. It’s terrific to see and be able to enjoy the repartee between serious participants, their impassioned arguments cum discussions about current affairs.

As a constant watcher and user of social media, it’s interesting to note that only one political Party has bothered to keep up with the times – the GRAON mo JASTIS PATI, headed up by the Hon. MP Ralph Regenvanu.

At this point, I need to make something perfectly clear before going any further. I am NOT, I repeat – NOT making a “political statement” NOR attempting to “influence politics” in this country NOR wishing to appear to be recommending any one Party versus another.

However, the very fact that the GJP has its own website is worth noting because as far as I am aware (and I am prepared to stand corrected!), it is the only Party that has one as pro- active, as informative and as transparent (there’s a first for Vanuatu for a start!). Good grief, they even publicize, on their front page, what activities they have been involved in and wait for it – how they have been spending their Ministerial Allocations (tax-payer monies)!

Come to think of it, I cannot recall seeing ANY other website
for any other Vanuatu-based political party! Sacre Bleu!

But “what the heck has this got to do with money?” you may well ask. Well, in a way, it has to do with RESPECT.

If we are to have true LEADERS, then we must ensure that those designate will need to show RESPECT for others, regardless of their social status, their race, their age, colour or religion.

They will need to show RESPECT for the opinions of others. They’ll also need to show that they have the ability AND desire to PRESERVE, PROTECT and RESPECT cultural “kastom”.

Such leaders would inevitably find themselves leading a nation of happy and “life-rich”, enterprising, healthy people.

When people live in such an environment, they tend to evolve and acquire skills that help them make their way in the modern world.

One of those skills is that of MAKING MONEY, having the human and technical resources, ably backed by a healthy living environment in the first instance (clean air, clean water), to develop financially favourable trade opportunities with others, be they local or international.

Nevertheless, MAKING MONEY is one thing. MANAGING MONEY is altogether another matter. The purpose of the MAKING (the betterment of people’s lives – financially and spiritually) can be readily defeated by corruption and greed. We see and hear examples of it everywhere. In the newspapers. On the TV. On the radio. By way of the very efficient “coconut drums” wire.

As we have seen VERY recently, people are becoming more concerned about and conscious of the need for MANAGING MONEY in a no-holds-barred atmosphere of………….

ABSOLUTE TRANSPARENCY & ABSOLUTE PROFESSIONALISM.

To sum it all up and as I’m sure my father would have said –“It takes an honest man to do that!”

POSTSCRIPT: In case you haven’t already worked it out, the “Minister of Chickens” is the same “Big Man” being touted by the Opposition as the next Prime Minister of Vanuatu. Go figure!!!

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Comments
  1. […] Not a stranger to upholding his belief in his own self-importance (see a previous article – “The Minister of Chickens”), his contemptuous attitude is well-evidenced in his recent spending on a junket to the U.S. […]

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