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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 37, No. 7. April, 17 1974

The guts on Malaya

The guts on Malaya

Dear Roger

A friend of mine who returned to Malaya recently wrote a letter which I felt might interest both New Zealanders and overseas students particularly from Malaya. Part of the letter is quoted as follows:

"......after several years away from home, I

find that not much has changed at my home village. Most young people swarm into the cities hunting for jobs. Soon after I arrived home, I felt instantly the serious problem of inflation. The prices of almost every commodity have been increased but the workers' wages do not seem to have had any substantial rise. The living conditions of the labouring people are increasingly difficult. The price of food has shot up three or even four times higher. The situation in Singapore seems worse and more serious from what I have seen there during my brief stay...."

"Another distinctive phenomenon is that the number of beggars seems to be greater than in the past. During my stop-over in Kuala Lumpur, I saw a couple of Indian children begging for money from Customers at the roadside foodstalls, I gave them some coins. Within a short while, about a dozen other children surrounded me begging me for money. I gave away all the coins I had. Later, more and more children came and surrounded me. Finally my friends and I had to leave the place Some of the customers laughed over our behaviour and some showed no sign of sympathy. Most of these beggars are Indians."

"The Chinese Club of Malaya University together with more than 40 other cultural organisations throughout Malaya, organises a cultural concert to raise funds for private secondary schools which have long been suppressed by the government. The concert will be on stage from April 28 to May 10. The concert was originally planned to be held at Negara Stadium. However, the show is forced to change the venue to the Assembly Hall of the Chinese Association which can only accommodate a much smaller audience. The government would not allow the concert to be held at the Negara Stadium under the pretext that it warned to use the place at the same date and time. This is in fact a means of oppression by the government which tried every possible manoeuvre to stop the concert. One of the organisers was arrested. The Hai Yin Choir of Chin Chow Association was blamed for taking part in the concert and their cultural activities were banned due to the pressure from the government."

"It seems that the government is exerting great pressure to stop the staging of the cultural concert. Whether the concert will be allowed is in doubt. However, my friends told me that the concert was strongly supported by the Chinese Schools Board of Directors and Teachers' Association. I believe the concert will be successfully held as planned with the support of the people and with the determination of the cultural organisers and workers....."

It should be pointed out that MSA always claims to represent Malaysian students in New Zealand and if its existence is not serving the reactionaries, it should stand firm and condemn the government oppression of cultural activities in Malaya.

Yours sincerely,