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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 22 September 17, 1969

Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor

All Letters Submitted For Publication Must Be Signed With The Writer's Own Name. No Pseudonyms Will Be Accepted Save In Exceptional Circumstances .


It is now clear that under the guise of upholding the principle of justice and equality against the alleged discrimination and racialism in Malaysia and partciularly among the Malaysian students here Salient , either consciously or unconsciously, has been misleading public opinion by misrepresenting or distorting facts about the real situation in Malaysia.

It has been widely published in New Zealand Press and Salient about the Malays students advocating racial war and Apartheid policy against the Chinese, which, as was reported in Salient 20. eventually proved to be unfounded because only a handful of extremists were actually involved.

But damage has already been done because of the reaction by certain group of Malaysians. Public indoctrination has been going on for a very long time in the university newspapers to make a scapegoat of the Malaysian Students' Association in campaigning against the Malaysian Students' Association in campaigning against the Malaysian Government.

For those of you who have been to Malaysia would realise that a vast majority of Malaysians, like New Zealanders. are sane and tolerant peoples. Only a handful are ertremists who are not conned to a particular race only hut from diverse origins.

Salient should be more impartial and positive in reporting various events because it can create a great deal of sensationalism by overemphasising minor events which can make a lot of damage to the relationship between peoples.

We regret that certain individuals have either been terribly misled by certain elements by using unfounded or minor events to prolong a state of tension among the Malaysians as if to show that they are really conscientious about the problem which they know very little about.

Speaking on behalf of a great number of Malaysian students in Wellington, we feel that Salient has put too much emphasis on essentially Malaysian affairs which are of little interest to a vast majority of the students' population here. And we would like that in the future Salient could change Its emphasis as regard to the Malaysian Students' affairs.

James Entika

Secretary, Malaysian Students' Association.

You allege in your letter that:

(1) Salient , either consciously or unconsciously, has been misleading public opinion by misrepresenting or distorting facts about the "real" situation in Malaysia.

Can you give one specific example of one fact which has been distorted by Salient ? Can you give one example of any manifestation of opinion on this subject by any member of the Salient staff in this newspaper this year?

On one occasion only have we published any material relating to Malaysia. In the last issue we reported the activities of a group of interested persons who cared enough about a particular situation to form an action committee to do something about it.

This does not mean that anybody on Salient supported or opposed these students; we simply reported it.

(2) You say public indoctrination has been going on for a long time in the university newspapers to make a scapegoat out of the MSA.

Even supposing this statement were true, something I do not believe, what specific instances support your allegation. In any ease, how do yon suggest I influence the rest of the student press?

(3) You say Salient should be more Impartial and positive in reporting events.

Again, I ask for a specific example to support your case. What was partial or negative about the story in Salient 20 (to which I assume you are referring) which distorted the 'true' situation?

(4) The 'great number' (prove it) of Malaysian students who feel too much emphasis has been placed on 'essentially Malaysian affairs' might be interested to know that there are New Zealand troops in their country. The situation in Malaysia is very much our business, and discussion of the pressures that this situation puts on students at this university is certainly within my sphere of responsibility.


New hypocrisy

Full credit to Jim Mitchell (Liberalism—the New Hypocrisy). It's illuminating when a man can present a totally unreasonable and slanted argumented which reads more cogently and entertaingly than the arguments of the liberals.

Arthur Baysting.

Eng. Lit.

I Would like to express my admiration for Mr. Ian Rush's zeal (Salient 16) apparent in his readiness to study bad hooks so that he will be able to distinguish them from good ones, and for his heroic patriotism manifested in his willingness to read a number of books simply because they were written in this country. I am also filled with awe by that strength of Faith which could declare that set-texts "must be pearls of literature because the department says so".

But I also feel Impelled to make a plea for toleration on behalf of those lesser mortals who. like myself, feel that such acts of supererogation are beyond their capacities and who simply want to read literature which is personally meaningful to them, and on behalf of those (doubtlessly mistaken) souls who find more in the literature of bygone ages than mere nostalgia and who cannot always find the relevance to life in this century which Mr. Rush insists is present in recent science-fiction writing.

Though I had not intended this to be a confession of personal inadequacy. I must admit that Iam a little puzzled by the charge that students are not taught what are literary values; it had seemed to me that any intelligent analysis of a work of literature involved the consideration of this question at its most fundamental level and that consequently the process of teaching literary values was going on all the time.

I am also a little bewildered by the statement that "any literary criticism taught is pedantic and not transferable". The meaning of pedanic is clear enough even if Mr. Rush's admirable idealism leads him to a generalisation which others, just possibly, might feel does not warrant such universay status; however, after studying my train-ticket at some length. I must confess that I am still at a loss to know quite what Mr. Rush meant by "not transferable".

Anyway, it's time I stopped writing and got back to my hooks; I'm re-reading Hamlet at the moment and although, of course, it has no relevance to life in this century, just think of all that lovely nostalgia.

P. Gerard.