Salient. Official Newspaper of the Victoria University of Wellington Students Assn. Volume 40, No. 16. July 11 1977
[Letter from Suaran'n Ra'at to Salient Vol. 40 No. 16 July 11 1977]
To overseas students from SE Asia, most of you will be more of Engineers or Accountants. Engineers are supposed to be better planners scientifically and Accountants in terms of economy
Recently, Japanese-based six billion dollars petrol-chemical industry is going to be developed in the Island of Singapore. The PM, Lee Kuan Yew will be soon signing the deal, in the name of Singapore's economic prosperity and advancement. But one must not forget the consequences that will result out of it in terms of pollution in Air, Water, Sea foods, etc. (which the people in Singapore breathe drink and eat everyday). The pollution created out of such petrol chemical plant is a slow murderous one with symptoms appearing only after a generation, deformed features in parts of the hyman body is a common one. (Although some Singaporean Chemical Engineers to be might desregard this factor because there will be a chance for the field they studied). The price will be too high for the Singaporeans to pay even some may think they are the cream of their country, it will also be too late when they finally find out the murderous symptoms of the disease caused by this pollutant. Have you heard of the Japanese Minamata disease?
Since Japan has become so polluted, the Japanese people can tolerate it no more, it was forced to move its polluting industries to South-East Asia especially Singapore with excellent port facilities and pool of cheap labour. In order not to let those countries learn the technical 'Know-how', the products are usually semi-finished and it is the most polluting part during it's production process. The cleaner part of the job will be done back in Japan to provide the Japanese with employment.
South-East Asians, especially Singaporeans, private or Columbo Plan Scholars, I hope you will share with the Japanese people the following poem written by a sixteen year old third form student after he left his village to study in the city of Kawasaki. Here this Japanese friend, Shinichiro Hogtsu wrote the following poem.
'Japan With No Pollution Hurry up and Come'
I came to Kawasaki a year ago.
Before I lived in Shizuoka.
In Shizuoka the air was clean and I didn't see any pollution.
I knew about pollution reported in newspapers and Television.
But I didn't know it was this fearful.
Because of this pollution my throat hurts and sored.
And caused my headache.
Even people are dying.
And I realised how this pollution is really fearful.
I even think of ways to get rid of pollution.
The first idea was to put all the smoke in a big balloon.
And send it off into the space.
But that idea wouldn't work because some day.
The balloon will burst.
The next idea was to place a long extension on the chimneys.
But this is too expensive it seems.
Please, I wish those who are not sick from pollution.
Would be able to understand those who are sick.
The sooner the day comes that Japan is freed from pollution.
The nicer it will be everyone.
I wish that I could play with the fish and the shells,
like my parents did in the clean clear water when they were young.
written in 1972.
Hope you all students can play your part to help prevent this tragedy from happening in your countries. Think about your further generation. Please be warned by the Japanese example and learn not to fall into the same tragic days at least for your future generations!
Suaran'n Ra'at (Auck.)