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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 6. 1967.

Letters to the editor

page 11

Letters to the editor

Thieves of time!

Sirs,—What is the aim of this university? After only a few weeks here one certainly begins to wonder. I have always been under the impres-sion that an institution of higher learning, for as such most people would define a university, should stimulate creative thought. Thought! What time have we for thinking? No time for any thought that is not related to the next essay.

Some essay topics are highly stimulating: the essay serves merely as an introduction to the topic: it would be interesting to delve further and lead on to other topics from there. But one has to complete the next assignment—often on a completely unrelated subject. One's mind is supposed to be able to jump with great alacrity from one subject to another with never the time to go into each subject thoroughly and deeply. Forget all about each essay as you pantingly hand it in: you can always dig it up again at finals.

Finals! Of course—this is the aim of this university: to produce people with good exam techniques. Writing essays is practice for finals! Finals—the goal for the year's work. Finals—pass and get a degree—all the work was so worth while—you will have "a good job" and the status of letters after your name. Now let's pick the topics to learn —that is a likely question, hasn't come up for three years . Up the good old Kiwi examination system! After all, society categorises one on one's exam results . . .

This is a factory: we are its products. Not creative thinkers but machines churning out essays with monotonous regularity. I am not decrying the fact that essays are necessary; I am only suggesting that their number be decreased.

"But!" cry the departments, "The other departments are increasing their numbers of essays, so we must keep up with them, or our subject will be neglected!" The vicious circle—will it ever end?

"At any rate, if we don't set essays the students won't work, and they will fail"— fail—of course—finals! If we don't want to work that is our misfortune. Those who do want to work would appreciate a little less regimentation of their time.

Time—what about time? That was an interesting lec-ture—made me feel inspired and invigorated, must do some reading on that subject— wonder what my friends think about it? Discussion? Read-ing?—Good Heavens. I'll have to leave it—must write my next essay.

Discussion — Tutorials are for discussion. It's a relief to engage in dialogue instead of being talked at. This method is much more valuable to the student: he can glean the information he really wants from the fertile mind of the lecturer and also share his own ideas. However, usually one spends one's tutorials worrying about the next essay. Fewer essays and more tutorials and seminars please! But of course—the staff shortage.

Enjoy yourself at university. Join clubs, engage in extracurricular activities. Look at the opportunities—Plays! Concerts! Exhibitions! Films! Visiting speakers! Debates! Discussions! Sport! Look at all the "temptations"—for so they are treated—"mere distractions." One feels guilty enjoying oneself when one has essays to write.

What about thought? Good Heavens—you must organise your time. Mustn't let thoughts interfere with your essays! If you must think, set aside a few minutes each day; write it down on your timetable and label it "Thought" —Here's the thought for the day—echoes of Aunt Daisy! I'd better finish this letter now, as I have to go and write an essay.

Sue Cutler.

Gratitude due

Sirs, I find it difficult not to be a little sceptical about Mr. Silver's and Mr. Pirie's professed horror of publicity regarding the Chancellors Graduation Speech, when they have both been at such pains to bring it to the notice, not only of those who also received a copy of, or heard, this speech, but to many who would otherwise not have been aware of what Mr. Pirie regards as an "atrocity" and Mr. Silver as a "skeleton." (Salient. April 14, 1967.)

Mr. Silver's concern for his "beloved university" appears to grant him licence for a childish outburst against its senior officials and a severe rebuke to the Administration. Apparently his concern does not extend sufficiently to encompass an interest in its re-cent progress which was the subject of the Chancellor's exposition. (An interest which the Administration obviously and quite naturally assumed) on the part of the graduates when it circulated the printed speech Mr. Silver assures us that the University has a bad name in Wellington. Surely this type of backbiting, together with Mr. Pirie's casual use of the word "plagiarised," and quibble over the exact amount of gratitude due to the administrative staff, shows a petty and unbecoming re-sentment on the part of, senior students towards the Administration which can only aggravate this notion.

That a man of Dr. Lynch's character and achievement and one moreover who (on evidence of his twenty years' 'service as a member of Council elected by graduates, and of his recent election to the Chancellorship) obviously has the support and confidence of both graduates and Council members, should be subjected to Mr. Silver's and Mr. Pirie's "displeasure" and unnecessary rudeness, verges on the ab-surd.

Susan Moriarty

Elections farcical

Sirs,—Hey ho, and up with democracy.

I made my way to the long table in the Union foyer to record my democratic right. Oh well. I thought. I may as well have a go. Name, she said. Rapp, I said, r-a-p-p. Flick flick. She told her charming friend my number. What's this, I thought as she scribbled my number on the back of my voting form. Just fill that in, she said.

I wonder who he is, I thought, or is it a she? Gager, Rees-Thomas, White, as I scanned the form-idable. Oh that looks easy! Secretary, Rashbrooke and Stenswick, one, two. Good. Now. President, God I don't know. Brackenbury, I just don't bloody know. Oh well—oh there are some photographs on that board there behind the table. Hmmm, that chap's smiling. I remember George Bernard Shaw once said that a politician who smiles on his hustings photograph is no good. I agree, I want someone forthright, with good ideas, not some twit smiling as though he's in a baby contest. Hey, that chap's got a beard; must have some stuff, good strong face too, yea, someone forthright with brains, good administrator.

I voted for him. What's this, preferential voting; oh yeah, you have to go 1 2 3. etc. Look. I just don't know who these Jokers are. I don't want to vote for some twit who doesn't know a bloody thing, do I? I suppose I shouldn't vote really. I suppose.

But they say the poll is hang of a low. I suppose I should really. Don't you know any of them, said one of the girls. What do you bloody mean, I said, snapping back After all, it's a bit of a cheek, isn't it. I thought it was supposed to be a secret ballot My number on the back of that voting sheet, too. Of course I know who they are, I said, and feeling bloody annoyed, I added, what do you take me for? I hoped she wouldn't answer. I was marked now so I just wrote 2 3 4 beside some names, I can't remember them now.

I folded up my paper as the instructions said and pushed it through the slit in the top of the green tin on the table Padlocks! Two of them. Fair go, I thought. What's the use of having a huge big green tin barred to the teeth and your number on the back of the voting sheet you've shoved into the tin. God, I thought, this is bloody silly, a farce even. I walked away furious.

P. R. Rapp.

Pooh Bear at Taj

Sirs,—When, a short while ago. a group of youths and common scunge erected from the student body an edifice known to some as the "Pooh Club." I raised, in the privacy of my boudoir, an eyebrow.

But now, after the latest series of actions of the aforesaid throng I feel compelled to go to the length of raising the other in the public forum of this journal, in the hope that the multitudes will with one Great Clang join me in a communal upthrust of this versatile instrument.

For, sirs, forsooth, the Bear as known by me and others of similar inlook is a bear of innocence and happiness, of; simple things—flowers and friends, honey for tea and a river to dream at.

But alas, Pooh has been dragged, bump bump by his hind feet, up to the Taj Mahal—far far from the Big Forest—where he is used as an unwilling but unresisting (for Pooh resists not, really, he just wonders and hums and hopes things improve) mascot for a political rally.

This, sirs, is not the true Pooh we know, the Pooh whose moods so oft we shared.

I call, therefore, upon those few students who deep within themselves possess the true Pooh to declare the Pooh Club inimical to all that is Pooh, and to suggest that this Club, if it really must, if it can think of nought else, to (for sonority's sake) be yclept "The Followers of Rabbit."

Meanwhile, sir. I call to gather at my own oak all those whose ears, like mine, stream in the wind, who sit, like me. on gates beating time with sticks and doing the tiddley-poms and who. like me, while being a little worried about the jump propensities of paper Tiggers in trees nevertheless can occasionally cry

"look at me . ."

I call them into the Club of Piglet. The Club of Piglet will never meet and never become officered, its members will be unknown to each other except by the occasional glimpse of the eye, or gleam soon gone proclaiming "I too."

Anyone who knows within himself that somewhere a bear, and a piglet, and then friends walk hand in hand through the Big Forest is ipso facto, a member And anyone who cries "Pooh is in!" is, ipso factor, not.

John Pettigrew

Sirs,—Taj Mahal Capping Stunt. So much for town and gown relations phhhht!

M. T. Corkin.


Sirs,—There are two things in this world that I detest most of all and which in recent weeks have caused me some concern.

They are breast-feeding and knitting, especially during lectures and tutorials (or even in the library or caf).

I must be quite honest and say that I have seen very little breast-feeding around the campus—but it still disturbs me somewhat. However, one must agree that with the increasing number of female student pregnancies at Vic. it seems likely that this facet of social contact will increase (not that I expect male students to become p, though some of the wide flying "beer pots" one sees around the place make me wonder!).

However, this brings me on to knitting which one can see in great preponderance during lectures. It churns me up, right down deep, to see these little freckle-faced, be-spectacled and suede-coated "Madame Defarges" hunched up in their chairs (ready for the lecturer's execution) knitting pink bonnets for their children or bed socks for "the old man." and occasionally jotting down a gory note or two, on to their wool and needle stained lecture pad.

Sirs, I say stamp out breast-feeding and knitting in all universities: they are the scourge of our society and the distraction (or perhaps extraction) of all.

One thing in its favour, though—if all female students each knitted two jerseys, six pairs of socks and seven bonnets this year, they might help solve "Kiwi Keith's" wool surplus.

M. Johnstone.

To Fred

Fred, there is some doubt about your bona fides. Besides, your feline nose is never dry.— Ed.