Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 3. 14th March 1973
Gutless Wonders Unite
It was most embarrassing to read in Mr Rotherham's letter (an open letter to students dated 6th March) about Mr Lee's appalling behaviour in the university cafe on the 5th March. The embarrassment was felt, not so much in the local student community, but especially among the overseas Malaysian student community.
I whole-heartedly support Mr Rotherham in that Mr Lee thinks he is the anti-tour movement and that to Lee the democratic rights of other students are not important. My own observation has shown me that Lee thinks of himself as gods-gift to the cause of non-violent demonstration. But by some strange paradox he chose to demonstrate his views in a physically violent manner to a fellow student who held differing views on the anti-tour movement. The Exec, should discipline Lee for his arrogant behaviour.
However I also understand that the Department of Labour and Immigration have given Mr Lee notice to leave the country as he has not fulfilled the conditions of stay in his students permit. If this is the case, then we won't have to put up with Lee who has become a pain in the neck on campus and is a liability, rather than an asset, to the cause of Hart.
Yours sincerely,A Malaysian student.
P.S. Dear Mr Editor I would appreciate it if this letter is printed in the next issue of Salient without being edited. Thanking you.
(Your letter is printed unchanged, as you request. We were, however, tempted to alter your signature to 'A Gutless Malaysian Student'. H.T. Lee had the courage to state his opinions openly and boldly, even at the risk of isolating himself from fellow Malaysian students and incurring the wrath of the Malaysian and New Zealand Governments. Last Friday Lee was thrown out of New Zealand by our racist Government which was embarrassed to harbour such an outspoken opponent of a 'friendly' government. If you and other Malaysian students had been less gutless and stood alongside Lee, the Malaysian and New Zealand governments would have found it more difficult to persecute him. You and Rotherham show your true colours by using an insignificant incident as an excuse for personal attacks on Lee. How courageous and principled to attack him as he was just about to leave the country. We hope you are proud to see your contemptible letter in print. As far as Rotherham is concerned he can display his hypocritical snivelling in his own paper, there is no room for it in Salient — EDS.)
Staff Seminar defended
The Editors would presumably be disappointed if someone, with the confidence of the thick-skinned, didn't grasp some of the nettles wrapped up in the Editorial of "Das Salient" last week (28.2.73). So would I, as one of the organisers of the recent seminar on "Learning and Teaching in the University Community" which, we were told, sent "everyone away feeling a lot more depressed than they had been before".
I haven't yet had a chance to check on this as there were 150 people at the seminar, but I already suspect the editorial assessment. Like the Editors, I have no reliable means of knowing what the "real results" of the seminar were, but I believe more was achieved than they conceded. It is no insignificant fact, for example, that so many of the academic staff were attracted to a conference which directed the focus of its attention at the learning and teaching processes.
Unquestionably, some left disappointed that the timing and short duration of the conference had made it difficult for many students to attend and limited the depth and practical content of the programme. Others, however, left as they had arrived — "depressed" that the learning and teaching business is so complex, but "anxious" too to understand some of the associated problems, for learner and teacher.
Various possible approaches to understanding were considered including "dialogue" (between staff, students and administrators) and "community development" in the university, discussion of which allowed Rob Campbell and Peter Wilson to foreshadow many of the issues raised in the Salient Editorial.
I accept, of course, that the relations between the university and the society outside it are supremely "worthy of discussion and action" and other seminars will be founded on that assumption. But the very function of the "learning and teaching" seminar was to examine some of the comparatively "less important" matters - like assessment, teaching methods and aids, the contribution of the supporting services and so on - which, nevertheless, are of immediate importance if there is to be improvement in the quality of educational practices at Victoria.
The University has recently made practical expression of its concern over this area of its activity by appointing a Director to develop a new Teaching and Research Centre. It seems a constructive step and it could be far-reaching, at least as long as we see the university's role as largely an educational one. As long as that role embraces the transmission, evaluation and extension of knowledge and ways of knowing, the skills of learning and teaching will be worthy of development and discussion. In the end they will contribute not only to the stock of talents with which the university community (present and future) can "get out and work" but also to the discernment with which they can "question the nature of our present society".
Allan Laidler,Secretary, Lecturers' Association.
University Serves Business not People
Why are so many students disillusioned by university 'education' and disappointed at the whole atmosphere? So many students are cracking up at the tension, the sterility of university life, that we can't go on as we are.
The universities in this country have become part of the industrial apparatus — they are only degree machines. The real purpose of the university has long been elbowed aside by the demand for manpower to feed industry and commerce. These interests demand that the university manufacture people to their specifications. The university might produce skilled scientists, economists etc. for the market, but have these graduates grasped any human values? Experience proves otherwise. Lawyers have never been in the forefront of social reform doctors are noted for their compassionless and clinical practice of medicine; it's still hopeless to try to get science students to participate in an anti-war or anti-abortion march.
The university should exist to cultivate the students' minds and broaden their outlook. But the natural urge to examine and discuss the most profound thoughts and greatest aspirations of man is quickly extinguished by the compulsion to make immediate and carefully regulated preparation for an occupation. The atmosphere here at Victoria is conducive only to the intense cramming of the mind with facts. We may as well wave good-bye to our imagination and creativity. Little that is forced upon us is relevant to our own personal lives. Studies carried out in the barren isolation of this factory will not help us to arrange our lives in a more human manner.
It is imperative that the curriculum be expanded to allow for studies of immediate relevance, e.g. the need to have women's studies. The staff will have to show themselves true scholars. Instead of being moribund 'professors' they will have to enter the community more and be prepared to take part in public debate. Students too will have to more obviously show that they regard a wider knowledge of man of more value than a quick return, success, power and a comfortable life.
Out of a reconstruction of the university's methods and the rediscovery of the true principles of university education, staff and students will come to a better understanding of man as he is. Our demand is for the complete overhaul of university education. Think of the atrocities committed in the name of knowledge. The university is, at present, a crap-out. Narrow-minded economic interests rule.
Effusion of Christian Smut
I find it rather amusing in your last edition to read about — 'a student who has found christ', and his/her opinions of this paper!
'It' audaciously proclaims, "why don't you take all your communist shit, and stick it up your greasy type-writers". Then later advances by saying, "Boys and girls should come to study and to find the blessing of Jesus in their hearts".
Firstly — if this pseudo-christian would step down from that bloody pedestal he's standing on, and think a little about the christian dogma, he would see that [unclear: e] attacking people—such ways, with such unchristian effusions of smut, is directly [unclear: e-] against christian principles, i.e. love thy neighbour, tolerance and all that 'wank-age'.
Secondly — who the hell uses Christianity as a 'yardstick' for the judgment of 'decent people'?
Finally — just because you've grasped onto something that gives you a 'pious-trip' every Sunday, along with other 'boys' and 'girls' (lovely, so sweet and adolescent!!), don't try to 'stomp' on the ideas and feelings of others, who feel just as strongly about their ideas as you bloody well feel of yours !!
P.S, If the student feels so strongly of his/her convictions, why doesn't he/she commit her name to print, as Christ committed his blood for mankind?
I must complain, not as a member of Ecology Action, but as a student concerned about the proliferation of pamphlets on the campus. The Socialist Action League are by far the worst offenders. The amount of litter caused by this group is disgusting. The cost in cleaning up these pamphlets is a significant portion of each student's fees. We must stamp out this scourge.
Franks Fails Smear Test
I would like to draw to the attention of all humanitarians, radicals, revolutionaries and all women (who for one reason or another are not already included in any of these categories) — the 2 reviews of a book in the first Vol. of Salient for 1973.
These, I believe, are the people interested in a book having the entrancing title "Sexist Society". "Sexist" could be a new word to some of these people although they may be well aware of all the implications of the word "racist" (doesn't it have something to do with football?)
Could anyone fail to notice the rather different opinions of the 2 reviewers? The same "personal approach" which is to [unclear: D] Donna Hedgeland "Simple, direct and alive, the words of Dr Fraser McDonald bringing "sweet music to her ears" and "personal relief from guilt to many women" — all this to Don Franks "a messy piece of work","20 odd hard-luck stories and 7 fairly forgettable essays". It is "lazy and irresponsible". He would in fact scrap it in favour of "Social Surveys" and political treatises on "the relationship of the economic base of society to its cultural and political superstructure".
Don Franks need not fear that he will ever be one of the thousands forced to bear an unwanted child, or have the experience of begging a panel of wise men for an abortion — or be butchered by a back-street abortionist — because he is a man. It is most unlikely that he will ever be imprisoned in suburbia, on duty 24 hours a day, as a househusband — without any childcare centres to relieve him from the continual care of small children. Nor will he ever be paid less than his due just because he is a woman — because he is a man.
If living in a Sexist Society "results in immense pain and suffering", Don Franks has not noticed it — personally — he can afford to wait fairly comfortably for his revolution. But, if nothing else "Sexist Society" does demonstrate that many people do experience immense pain and suffering because of sexual discrimination — and as Donna Hedgeland says — although the book has its limitations — it will certainly not bore you. In my opinion it is far more likely to arouse political consciousness and Action (at least by that notoriously unrepresented, misrepresented and repressed 51% of the population — the women) — than are reams of political cliches or surveys.
The Price of Betrayal
To all Smokers
Anarchism vs Commie Crap
I am interested to note the comments from your court reporter at the bottom of the article which he wrote for the last Salient. If this is his commie crap I'll have none of it. The idea of equality before the law, even with a new set of laws, a new court structure, and a wholesale reconstruction of society is nothing but Marxist-Leninist piffle.
Perhaps, however, Don Franks thinks that it is possible for all men to be made the same. Because, until all men are the same in their mental, physical, and social makeup, the suggestion that equal justice can be obtained from law is farcical. In the meantime, for as long as people are different from one another, and therefore have different responses to stimuli, and different skills, tastes, and intelligence, we must struggle against all laws and justice, which are only means for the perpetration of injustice.
What is the answer, then? Do we try to make all men the same, or do we encourage the survival of individuality? Do we express our social relationships and responsibilities in laws or in what we feel to be right? For it seems that Don Franks needs reminding that laws require someone to make them, and therefore we are inevitably faced with the situation of the self-satisfied authoritarian who thinks that he knows what is best for everybody.
The answer to injustice in our courts is not new and better courts and laws. That is a bit like saying that the best solution to suburban neurosis is in better mental hospitals. The answer to injustice is the destruction of the means of injustice: let us have no laws or courts at all!
Racism Thriving in N.Z.
Recently I had occasion to ring New Zealand Breweries on behalf of an Indian friend who is hoping to be sponsored by an employer here so that he can immigrate here. He is a fully trained hotel steward so naturally I thought to ask at NZ Breweries. I was referred to the Employment Boss and we chatted on famously until he said "what colour is he — is he very dark?" Try describing the colouring of one of your friends in one word to a complete stranger — it isn't easy. I wavered between burnt ochre and dark tan, but before I could reply he hastened to assure me that "it wasn't discrimination or anything like that — a lot of foreigners work in our hotels — it's just that. . . "But then, just to lighten the burden of his rascist embarrassment, I pointed out that my friend hailed originally from Mozambique and wasn't an Indian citizen. Relief whistled down the wires; "Oh well, yes well I'm sure he could get a job with us". In this way their own ignorance defeats the bosses, because if he'd known that the average citizen of Mozambique is as black as coal, he wouldn't even have stopped to say cheerio. So, folks, colour discrimination is alive and thriving in New Zealand Breweries, as it must be at many similar institutions.
Attitudes to Alcoholics
The article on alcoholism by Gyles Beckford in the last issue of Salient is misleading in at least one respect. It can also foster attitudes toward the alcoholic and the treatment of alcoholism which he deprecates and wishes to change.
He says, "there are two kinds of alcoholics in this country" and he classifies them as the affluent alcoholic who lives in a place such as Karori, and the 'skid row' alcoholic who sleeps out at the Basin Reserve. However, almost nothing is known about the social and economic characteristics of the estimated 50,000 alcoholics in New Zealand. The evidence which exists suggests that alcoholism is not confined to any particular social group, and it is generally accepted that alcoholism is no respector of persons. The fact that alcoholics might, for example, be faculty members, students, typists or gardeners at this university, is not considered by the classification Mr Beckford offers. Yet, I, together with several other alcoholics, work here and none of us conform to the description he offers. In giving his classification he is trading on a popular and ignorant stereotype of the alcoholic which does nothing to assist the alcoholic in general, and certainly does not assist the skid row' alcoholic who is his concern.
His misidentification of alcoholics led him to a narrow account of treatment facilities for alcoholics and to gloss over the complexity of treatment. The programmes and referral services which exist (for instance, at Queen Mary Hospital, King-seat Hospital, Alcoholics Anonymous and the National Society for Alcoholism and Drug Dependency) may be poorly staffed and inadequately funded but they do represent a more accurate description of available resources than the reference to the Wellington City Mission and "a few church bodies".
Gyles Beckford Replies.
Mr Wainwright seems to have been remarkably short-sighted in his reading of the article. Firstly Karori etc. served only as examples of locales where people drink because of the social pressures. I maintained that a broad distinction can be made between those alcoholics who attempt to hold down their job, keep their family together, and do it all behind a facade of middle class respectability, and those who have no job, no family, and no home and to whom drinking is their life.
Secondly, the article did not try to give a broad coverage of the different means for, nor places of, treatment. Salient received certain allegations from both alcoholics and non-alcoholics about some of the practices of the Wellington City Mission concerning the handling of the Social Security benefit of these men. The article was primarily aimed at giving a voice to those alcoholics who were dissatisfied, and also showing that there were places other than the established centres, which were helping in some way towards alleviating the problem. The scope of the article precluded reference to Alcoholics Anonymous, the NSADP, and other services.