Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 22. 14th September 1972
It is an interesting reflection on the social conscience of some of the teaching staff at this university, that it took an open challenge from a student to provoke Professor Philpott to benefit non-Economics students with an outline of his views in Salient. Peter Wilson was chided by Professor Philpott for not reading the whole of Philpott's speech to the Institute of Management Convention. Perhaps if Professor Philpott thought of education in terms of the whole of society and not a privileged few, more people would have the opportunity of obtaining access to his views. One might even be excused for thinking there is something subversive about economists' opinions, when they are hidden so well from the vast majority of society.
Professor Philpott described Wilson's letter as a 'tirade' and then went on to express himself in a way more befitting the discharge of a public sewer than teacher writing to a student. I was quite frankly amazed by his tremendous conceit and self-righteousness. All the people Wilson quoted were dismissed by Philpott out of hand. Ernest Mandel, I learnt, was 'wrong'. Presumably Philpott thinks he is right. What really got me was Philpott's statement towards the end of his letter that "the function of the University is to explore and propagate truth and reason.........." That doesn't quite square with his arrogant dismissal of those whose views he dislikes, and it makes me wonder how much exploring of the "truth" goes on in the Economics Department. — Just by the way, if Ernest Mandel is "wrong", then Professor Philpott should write to the United States, West German, French, Swiss and Australian Governments to tell them they need not bother banning Mandel from their countries any longer because he's "wrong" (not that I would expect Professor Philpott to be at all concerned about the suppression by five governments of Mandel's academic freedom!).
Unfortunately Philpott found it necessary to launch into an incredible argument that an older generation fought for, paid for and achieved for Wilson the right to attend this university "in economic conditions far more rugged than any you've experienced and without any sign of 'alienation' on our part." This argument is used in a patronising fashion to denigrate Wilson's arguments and as such should be rejected. Of course an older generation had to fight for better conditions for their kids. But it is quite patronising to use that fact to denigrate young critics today. And surely the real point is that some of that "older generation" went on fighting for better conditions and still are. I refer to people like Dr W.B.Sutch, whose constant fighting for a better society impresses me far more than all the academic criticism of him poured out of the ivory tower university Economics Departments.
Finally Professor Philpott talks in his letter about the backing of "demonstrable accomplishment." In my book "demonstrable accomplishment" means the guts to get up and say something's wrong and fight to change it, however unpopular the issue; rather than the "demonstrable accomplishment" of a fat bank balance, a long list of academic letters and volumes of wordy, unintelligible academic publications combined with silence about the atrocities of war and exploitation all round the world. What is more important in seizing the ear of the "Establishment" Professor, "demonstrable accomplishment" or "demonstrable subservience?
— Peter Franks
Lead Ping Pong Balls
Every Malaysian student on this campus is aware of the sedition act which is presently in force in Malaysia, not withstanding the Internal Security Act and the prohibition of questioning special Malay rights even during Parliamentary debates. So it is understandable that the attitude of radical Malaysian students to Kiwi radicals is largely coloured by envy. But the Malaysian dissenters and radicals who have been arguing so vigourously their grievances in Salient recently, are demanding precisely those freedoms of speech and thought that local revolutionaries despise as irrelevant.
Malaysian students take note: Although we enjoy the so-called privileges of freedom of speech, thought, and protest, this does not mean that we(revelling in the freedoms of a capitalist bureaucracy), have no legitimate complaints in the matter of freedom. The machines of capitalist governments in the west have long ignored the voices of protest movements and of their citizens. So it is naive of Malaysian students at home or abroad to demand free speech and thought as a preliminary condition for political action in Malaysia. Indeed, in New Zealand these preliminaries no longer open the channels for action, and the exercise of these freedoms are meaningless exercises - (as evidenced by the utter futility of the anti-Vietnam and anti-French Test protest marches.) Malaysian radicals wake up! You verbalize so radically, but you talk only of fighting for bourgeois-democratic "freedoms". You have sought and found an escape in the murky climate of debate, but when democratic freedom comes to Malaysia, your children will learn less brutal yet very decisive experiences in political frustration.
— Gary Griffiths.
Mssa Sell Out?
The rather long reply of MSA secretary seems to tell people implicitly that the "Peace Loving Malaysians" may possibly involve a few members from MSA otherwise he need not take so much trouble to explain so much so long because the letter of "A Sympathizer for Overseas Students" did not allege that the "Peace Loving Malaysians" were members of MSA. However, it is hoped that the VUWSA and NZUSA will investigate further the matter. The open threat of "Peace Loving Malaysians" is intolerable within the campus.
The reply shamefully argued that it was quite legitimate for the members of the staff of the Malaysian High Commission "to look after the welfare of Malaysian students" apart from their diplomatic and official business. The letter then accused that"it is far more reasonable to suggest that the Singapore Government more than the Malaysian Government would have spies around the University campus." it is common knowledge that both the Singapore and Malaysian Governments are birds of the same flock. This argument only confirms that both governments are conducting syping activities on the campuses in New Zealand.
The letter appearing in the MSSA critique indicates that there are spies if we can find out the real names of the "Peace Loving Malaysians." Again, it is interesting to quote from the MSA reply that "If in fact there are such activities taking place....." which implicitly indicates there are likely spies around the campus. Would MSA have the courage to help investigate the real persons of "Peace Loving Malaysians"? Also, the "Peace Loving Malaysians" are likely to be a few of those frequent visitors to the High Commission judging from- the threatening language they used. The long reply avoided to mention the names of "Peace Loving Malaysians". The reason to visit the High Commision of given by the MSA secretary are merely making more stories.
|1)||It is rather strange that students will go to the High Commission to obtain advice relating to university courses. This is really a big joke.|
|2)||Suddenly the High Commission seems to have a lot of academic materials for research available for students. This is total nonsense. It would be interesting if the High Commission can make a full list of useful materials for academic research available at its office. This rather new story has never been heard before. Someone enquired several times whether any materials were available and finally ended up picking a few tourist guide leaflets with pictures of sexy girls I have also contacted the university staff concerned whether they are aware of up-to-date materials on' Malaysian politics, Malaysian Government Administration, Economics and Foreign Policies, Malaysian Public Policy-making and Asian Studies available at the High Commission. Interestingly enough, none of them managed to explore this source before.|
I would like to challenge the High Commission to give the number of users and the list of materials used by the students. They are liars! So far how many students have gone to ask the High Commission to order materials from Malaysia? The answer is simple: None! Also the staff of the University Library will be very surprised to learn that the High Commission is much more efficient than the University in regard to library services.
It is vital to point out that the High Commission may have committed a breach of diplomatic agreement by purchasing stuff for others and sending it through a diplomatic mail bag. It is rather strange the High Commission becomes an efficient library overnight after being accused of maintaining a security service network spying on students in New Zealand.
One will also very much suspect whether the reply was written under the instruction of the High Commission as half of it madly explained what kind of extraordinary services (such as the illegal and possibly corrupted diplomatic mail bag service) could be offered by the office of the High Commission. It is astonishing to learn that students visit the office to obtain research materials. It is hoped that the High Commission will set up a centre for Malaysian Studies for advanced research in near future.
The reason why the MSA leaders have never heard of Malaysian government spying activities at the universities is simple. No one would take the risk to speak the fact in front of the government-backed MSA leaders in fear of revenge taken by the Malaysian authorities. Meanwhile, there are a few students who would possibly voluntarily or involuntarily directly or indirectly report to the High Commission. The political threat of "Peace Loving Malaysians" is a typical case. How do the MSA leaders know that the staff of the High Commission haven't had close contact with a few students?
The real story of some students applying for membership to the MSA is entirely not a direct reflection of their backlash sentiments against the recent excellent articles published in Salient, but a premeditated coup by first infiltrating into the MSA and later overthrowing the present dying MSA leadership. This is rather the reflection of discontent towards MSA leaders. However, they are also waiting for the MSSA leaders to fall into their trap - to get rid of MSSA under the pretext of merging two organisations into one. One can predict that both will be "winners" - collaboration of two groups of reactionary student leaders.
MSSA leaders have recently busily visited students to round up their supporters under the slogan of overtaking the MSA with the aim of future collaboration with MSA reactionary leaders. This is a union of just a handful of MSA and MSSA reactionary leaders. This is ful of MSA and MSSA leaders who are either aware or unaware of the direction coming from the High Commission of Malaysia. The willingness of MSSA leaders to surrender can also be proved from their editorial "The Only Way" "The desire for national unity continues to dominate political and economic developments in Malaysia." This is the basis of political philosophy of MSSA leaders to sell out their organisation and members under the name of 'unity' of Malaysian students. They decide to collaborate with the few MSA leaders who are the running dogs of the fascist Razak regime.
No matter what is the outcome, the final result will be the merger and MSSA will have to go. The shameful admittance of backdoor negotiations between MSA and MSSA leaders for a 'united' Malaysian student body shows that MSA and MSSA are the same stock which cannot be trusted. The plot of overtaking is only a smoke screen to create illusion among the rank and file members and other students. Such arrangement is a ususal farce among those student scabs. All students must learn from this and expose such fraud.
Student Movement Onlooker.
The Yellow Pimpernell
Mr Thomas Ibo (sec. MSA) claimed that the allegation against the Malaysian government's spying activities is not true. He regarded the allegation as 'a mere collection of slogans which neither help nor guide Malaysian students but only confuse them.' For his information and benefit (as well as for the students of this campus) we have obtained information from reliable sources in Kuala Lumpur, that the Malaysian Security Services keeps dossiers on Malaysian students (in the country as well as abroad) who are opposed to the policies of the Malaysian government. In fact the Malaysian Securitiy Service has dossiers on a few of the Malaysian Students on this campus.
Mr Ibo must be naive if he thinks that the Malaysian High Commission would inform him, the MSA or anyone else about their spying activities.
Counter Secret Agent No. 5.
P.S. The other day a man was seen going into 175 Taranaki street from a car with a D.C. plate flying a Malaysian flag.
Non Peace Loving Malaysians
The statement of the MSA secretary had explained but nothing but simply tried to cover up the bloody threat of those student rascals — so called "Peace Loving Malaysians". Why did the MSA secretary not condemn the damned threat of "Peace Loving Malaysians"? Why does his letter avoid to discuss the bloody crime of "Peace Loving Malaysians"? Does he think such political blackmail is not important or does he try to help "Peace Loving Malaysians" out of the attack? Doesn't he consider "Peace Loving Malaysians" as spies? Unless MSA takes a firm step to condemn "Peace Loving Malaysians" openly, and further demand the University authorities to find out who are the "Peace Loving Malaysians" and expel them from the University, one can only suspect MSA leaders and "Peace Loving Malaysians" are either close collaborators or the same persons. All students know that MSA is financed by the Malaysian government. It is a tool of the Malaysian government to control the students here.
Kick the spies.