Is there any room for compromise to see national unity which is important?

I want to relate to you some true events and happenings which resonate in my mind today after the passing of many years and which, oddly enough, have, perhaps some similarity and bearing on the thoughts and reactions of some of society in today’s Solomon Islands.

Firstly. Let me make clear I am a Christian, a member the Anglican communion, and believe wholly in the Christian teaching when it comes to loving and caring for our neighbors.

That said, it does not say, I cannot condemn outright some of the ways I thought of the Chinese way of practicing communism and I will quote just one or two examples to illustrate my points.

In 1995 I started work as the Senior Legal Administrative Officer for the Minister of Safety and Security, and MLC in the ANC led North West Provincial Government of South Africa, based in Mmbatho.

I had for a number of years prior to my selection and appointment worked as a soldier and subsequently as a Colonial police officer in previously Northern Rhodesia, Swaziland and Hong Kong.

My appointment took me by surprise given my extensive Colonial experience and, quite frankly, I didn’t know what to expect and especially as the Minister, soon to be my new boss, was a serving member of the South African Communist Party.

It turned out he was much more of Christian in his ways than I ever imagined him to be with his roots in communizing.

He demonstrated during my time working with him that he had a deep empathy for people of all walks of life; he worked to improve their welfare, work rights, human rights and work conditions.

At any office function, he always saw that the cleaning staff, generally not part of the official office employees, was invited as guests to any function.

Many years before that employment, I had been working as first a British soldier from 1959 to 1962 in what was then called the New Territories by the British administration, and later in Kowloon and Hong Kong Islands as a police officer.

In the early years in Hong Kong I had many opportunities to look across the grassy fields into Communist China and see the vast rice paddy areas of flat land with hardly a soul in sight.  Today, that once paddy land is part of the giant Shenzen industrial and thriving province of southern China abutting Hong Kong and initially China’s first Economic Zone area.

Millions of Chinese people, formally from the poor farm lands and scattered farming communities have fully paid employment and earn good money in Shenzen today.

This last couple of weeks, I have been following videos posted by the South China Post in Hong which featured really graphic conditions disabled people are enduring in tiny high rise dwellings while they themselves physically handicapped were seen caring for a sick bedridden, elderly father or mother.

Despite such hard and clearly difficult conditions, it was reported the carers do get a degree of state pension from the PRC government.  While not much, I thought it was a sign the plight of those people was not completely neglected.

There is a much bigger geo-political picture that occupies the minds of political thinkers, strategies and countries when it comes to the minds of those considering Chinese involvement in today’s Solomon Islands.

I can understand the concerns, much as I did when taking up work in the ANC led government in South Africa, but perhaps there be some degree of balance allowed to weigh in on attitudes perceptions and outcomes.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short


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