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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 38, Number 25. 2nd October 1975

Yes, no, or maybe???

Yes, no, or maybe???

Dear Sir,

As an observer among the many observers during the Solidarity Week meetings, I read Mr Yes' lecture on how to win the revolution with serious misgivings. His criticism was confusing, contradictory, ill-conceived and mischievious.

In the first place he failed to distinguish and state clearly what he meant by saying whether that there would be no long term effects in what the organisers did during the week and the exhibition itself. He began by saying that because of the "hot" methods used in organising the week, there would be no long term effects and did not specify what they were. There are two main contradictions in his criticism:
1.If by "hot" methods he [unclear: meast] "red", then he defeated the purpose of his letter by using the same methods in argument. This is obvious right through his letter.
2.If it is true that there will be no long term effects, he did not explain how he measured this, while going on to contradict himself in a rather self-indulgent praise of the success of the exhibition. If the exhibition is a success then surely it implies that Solidarity Week has some long term effects. He forgot to congratulate the organisers for this.

Not knowing what methods the organisers used it would be arrogant and presumptious for anyone to claim "it was too 'hot' for the masses". Are the masses that dumb and timid that they have to shut their eyes and ears to what was happening and could not choose for themselves what they want?

Mr Yes in advising the organisers what to do was perhaps a bit too ambitious in trying to associate his revolutionary political ideology with those of the organisers. Who are we to say definitely that they think the same way as he does? It is irresponsible to put them in an invidious position when we cannot be sure that everyone involved in organising Solidary Week think in exactly the same manner.

The other thing which is separate from this argument is that if we are to understand the nature of Malaysian society, it only befits Malaysians to intelligently listen and learn from people with differing ideas on how they explain Malaysian society and what solutions they offer. It is then up to Malaysians to make their own choice, whether "white" or 'red".

Solidarity week may be seen as an occasion where this can happen as an alternative to the opportunity offered by the MSA.

Mr Yes thought that the word "Solidarity" was too "hot" for Malaysians and Singaporeans. It would be if these people insulate themselves from reading more widely than their text books. But if they are not as dumb as Mr Yes implied, they would know that the Malaysian Government often uses this red word in haranguing its own masses.

One could just imagine what would be running through the minds of the organisers about Mr Yes' pronouncements on them. He appeared so patronising, that perhaps he could be told to organise the next Solidarity Week the way he wants it. If he knows them personally then I would conclude that he was not being honest in not criticising them privately instead of having to cover himself up with an "open approach".

Whatever it might be, his criticism may have the effect of alienating the masses" from the organisers, thus defeating their purpose of trying to offer an opportunity for Malaysians to discuss their society. There are some explanations for this:
1.The writer did not realise that his letter may produce undesirable results.
2.He wrote it deliberately with the intention to alienate the masses.
3.He is an agent provocateur who is trying to create disunity and distrust among Malaysians. If the last inference is true, then Salient is contributing to any disunity that may arise. Whether it is conscious of this or not, would be irrelevant as it has taken upon itself the responsibility of promoting debate among Malaysians and is therefore careless in printing letters that are potentially dangerous in this sense.