Everyday People PNG: Doreen Philip

I grew up as a planter’s child. I made gardens back in the village and this was how I learned to value hard work, determination and resilience.

My father had a no-nonsense approach to life and we were all taught to value education and discipline.

If you don't work around the house, you don’t deserve a meal.

And this has taught me to not take things for granted.

There was no TV in the house. I like to say dad was the chief censor.

He scrutinised all reading materials to ensure there was no explicit content for consumption.

I buried my head and heart in English literature and spent time listening to the Beatles to master English for communication.

Dad was the ace English teacher at home; he would edit all my writings and educate me on the use of words and content.

On the weekend, we had adventures of watching soccer at Sauruan and Ragidumpiat in Markham district, Morobe Province. And that’s where family and responsible living surfaced to me.

We get to meet families and share food and good memories of the rich village life.

I grew up with the best dad who knew what was best. He would tell me that if I go to school just to look for a boyfriend, I would end up in a kiss of death. But if I study and work hard, I could find a gentleman if not in Port Moresby then it could mean Sydney, Berlin, Tokyo or Moscow; and that’s perspective.

I am now an Assistant Researcher at the Institute of National Affairs (INA).

I work with a team on a research project that is aimed at promoting transparent and accountable governance in Southeast Asia by countering the impacts of corrosive capital, especially in project financing support provided by authoritative regimes like Soviet Union and China to new and emerging democracies in the region, like Papua New Guinea.

There is a difference between reality, priority and expectations. Working for a think-tank, I’ll buy into advising the government of the realities and best way forward surrounding development agendas in PNG as compared to priorities, which is a talk along the corridors of Waigani that does not translate to realities on the ground.

My biggest achievement was working for ExxonMobil PNG where I was introduced to best practice across all business lines from public and government affairs to engineering and shipping. It was there that I realised I had a passion for teaching and I’m very appreciative of this experience.

Prior to that, I joined the public service after graduating from the University of PNG.

During my tenure in the public service, complacency and toxic work culture almost killed my enthusiasm.

I took criticism as a challenge to do my homework and prove that I can work anywhere. There were colleagues who recognised my talent and encouraged me to follow my passion, which influenced my decision at that time.

I’m also grateful to my big brother, Chris Tataeng’s guidance and mentorship, on HR best practice. He has inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and make the best of any opportunity.

Like my father, I’m passionate about educating young people to embrace agriculture as a sustainable lifestyle in a country like PNG where majority of its population is rural based. It is my hope to change this misperception that agriculture is only for the poor and elderly.

Every girl must have a goal to complete education and lead a self-fulfilling life; one that is built on the fundamentals of responsible living, self-belief, confidence and an independent and free thinking mindset.

Every boy must learn to say please, thank you, excuse me and be made to hold the door.

Young Papua New Guineans must take criticism as a challenge and do your homework because success is mostly disguised as hard work and most people don’t realise this.

Commit time to read and learn from others. In this way you can put things into perspective and respect people’s opinion on certain subject matters.

Most importantly, always have gratitude and respect for others.

Gratitude is key to honouring people who have been a part of your collective success and that’s where your blessing comes from.

Carmella Gware