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


page 4


Letter header with a typewriter with teeth

Malaysian student wants answers

Dear Sir

To keep silence is easier than to unite with others, especially with those who are now campaigning and challenging the injustice and inhumanity imposed by the Malaysian Government. Why? Let all of us think about it.

After I have read through the letters "MSA should make a stand" and "Suggestions for Solidarity Week Organizers" written by "Overseer" and "Yes and Just Action" respectively, several questions that I want to ask that I want to know are as follows:
1.Why there is a disunity among ourselves (Malaysians)? Why there are so many groups existing in this campus, MSA and MSSA, old left and new left and also others?
2.What sort of role can we play in order to help for social-economic-political changes?
3.Is it really true that the majority of our people in Malaysia are being exploited and consequently suffering?
4.How valid it is by saying that 'Political ideology is the main key to a meaningful life"? What does it precisely mean by a "meaningful life'?
5.What sort of things that we have got to understand?
6.What do we mean by "social class"?
7.What do we mean by "to promote social-economic-political awareness"?
8.Is politics really a bad thing?

I hope someone can voluntarily assist me in writing this 'thesis'.

"A. Learner"

"Hungry chauvinists" challenged

Dear Bruce,

I want to entirely disassociate myself from that heartlessly sexist bean bag advertisement in last weeks Salient. I notice that the advertisement claims to be inserted by the Students Association. One Mr Steve Underwood would do well to note that few if any exec. members of the Studass Exec. saw or knew of the advertisement before it was offered up to the hungry chauvinists in Salient.

I intend to move a motion at next SRC calling on this association to condemn sexist advertising and prohibit its use by this association. If you are a woman (or a man for that matter) and you are fed up with the sort of gross insensitivity that is depicted in all sexist ads, then come to the next SRC and help initiate some sadly lacking policy on that subject. Unfortunately it is usually the female sex that suffers most under sexist advertising ... the bean bag ad. will serve only to add to the further hindrance of equal rights and opportunities for women and should never have been permitted through the pages of Salient which presumably purports to have an enlightened view of the world.

As a closing thought I challenge Steve Underwood to insert a similar ad. in next weeks Salient — but one that shows off a sexy guy instead of a sexy lady ... and um, wearing as few clothes as possible eh Steve ... Lotsa nice big muscles ... (perhaps even you could pose?).

Diane Hooper

Editor condemned for sexist ad.

Dear Bruce,

We the undersigned strongly object to the sexist "Bean Bags" advertisement. We believe that all human beings should be treated with dignity and having respect for them as people and not objects. We also protest to the lady and everyone involved in the advertisement for their part in promoting sexist views that pander to the vicarious chauvinistic pleasure of man.

67 signatures attached.

Reviewer reviled, rabid, rapid and wrought

Dear Bruce,

Editing reviews is one thing. To actually change them, however, is an entirely different, and to my mind unscrupulous, thing.

I am referring here to my review of the Split Enz album, to which a number of changes were made which in places completely changed what I clearly meant when I wrote it.

1."And, surprisingly, it was worth waiting for" — I did not say 'surprisingly', I said it was "well worth waiting for".
2.The line "some tight-hit that snare drum hard-drumming" — not having a copy of my original draft I can't remember what I actually wrote here, but I know for sure it wasn't this.
3."The bass should have .... more attention paid to editing" — this really made me wild. May I go on record as stating that I did not write this, and in fact completely disagree with it!!!
4.The paragraph beginning "Side two is very much ...", and in particular the statement in brackets about Phil Judd: I did not say "arguably" as far as I can remember. I flatly stated my opinion that he is NZ's leading rock talent.

And there were several other such changes. Some were Ok, e.g. "welding from seemingly disparate roots something new and refreshing", which put that part of the review better than I did, which was Ok. For the most part, however the changes were not Ok to me, and its not the first time I've noticed such changes in reviews.

I am very glad you omitted to put my name at the end of the review. As as as I am concerned that review of "Mental Notes' was not mine at all, but someone elses. If you wanted these opinion expressed, why not write a review yourself and print them both side by side? That would then have been your opinion of the record. When I wrote my review, I expressed my own personal opinion. It wasn't my personal opinion as it appeared in print, however.


David Maclennan

Filthy, thieving students!

Dear Salient,

Is free enterprise dead on campus? Obviously not as I noticed in the cafe last week. Two fellows positioned themselves at a table close to one of the coffee vending machines and while one stood as a blind in front of it, the other turned the machine off at the wall. These two then sat at their table for about an hour waiting for unsuspecting students to come along and purchase a hot drink. When their money was put into the machine - nothing happened. After quite a large number of students had wasted their 10c pieces the two aforementioned guys got up —pressed the coin return button and collected quite a substantial amount of money with which they went on a spending spree at the chip bar. It seems to me then that higher education does not go hand in hand with higher morals.

'The Observer'.

John Chin's beginning

Dear Sir,

I thank Dave Cunningham for helping to clear up my ideas on the ideology Involved in the question of evolution. I find it disturbing that some of us should spend so much time worrying about where we come from, when it is more important to question where we are going and how we are going to get there. Some people claim that we have a "slimy" beginning, and some like John Chin disclaim this. I think it matters not, so long as we do not crawl before those people in society who regard their fellow-men as being below them, because of their lack of wealth, knowledge or power.

If we study history and look objectively at the world around us, we must inevitably conclude that humans "evolve" in the sense that they are constantly changing the society they live in. For example for a person to be converted to "Christianity' he must overthrow what ideas he has which are not consistent with Christian ideals The Bible itself is a book about change. According to this book, God had to destroy the world in the process of eradicting the evils in it. I refer to the Great Flood and ask Johnny to take note. Further examples, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Jericho etc. All these were supposedly destroyed by God's will because he did not like what the people there were doing to each other. Examples of destruction and violence initiated by God abound in the Bible. In the end our Lord Jesus Christ had to allow himself the ultimate destruction, that of his crucifixion.

What was all this for? Jesus died. But out of his death, there was renewal through his resurrection, an attempt to change man. Right through his short life, Christ attempted to change people. He taught that we should love our fellow-men and to show what he meant he set himself up as an example. He shared his wordly possessions with those who had nothing, he exposed those who fought for the status quo as hypocrites i.e. the Pharisees; fought for the rights of all including women (let those who have not sinned cast the first stone); he taught that the rich oppressed the poor and treated them inhumanely (why did Lazarus have to eat the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table and which even his dogs rejected?); he fought against ideas of greed and profit; he taught that if a man is true to his beliefs then he must be prepared to die for them, as he did himself.

To conclude John, look at the history of the Taipings. The very ideas that activated Christ to change man, gave the Taipings such spiritual force that they could conquer a quarter of old and decadent China, to liberate it from ideas which Christ himself fought against. But in the end evil forces like the Western powers chose to help in the destruction of this just force when it threatened their interests in China. So they did not succeed in liberating China. The lesson is that they should have destroyed these evil powers as well. However, at that stage of history they had not developed the physical powers to do so and hence were destroyed themselves. But their ideas have descended to the present heirs who finally liberated that quarter of mankind. That is change. And I would like to say that the descendants of the Taipings and others who have inherited their ideas live among us today. If the message of our Lord rings true, take heed, this is The Second Coming.

Son of Mankind.

Drawing of a submarine

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.


page break

The plight of public service cleaners

We like to demonstrate, picket and wave placards on a variety of social and political issues that concern us. Some that spring to mind are racialism, the present government in Chile and nuclear testing, to name a few. But all these issues, though important, seem to me to lack the priority that should be accorded the welfare and dignity of our own people.

My point here concerns the female cleaners employed by the government to remove the mess left in Government offices left each by by the thousands of bureaucrats who never think of those who have to clean up their mess. In the past the cleaners have accepted what has been given to them in the way of pay and conditions and because of this they have been taken for a ride. Now they have decided to take action and it is time that those students who are so concerned about the state of our society should involve themselves.

The clearest way of appreciating the plight of those cleaners is to ask yourself whether you would settle for the following pay and conditions, because these are what you would have to accept, as told to me by one of the cleaners:
  • A pay packet of about $1.86 an hour (or $65 clear a fortnight) for working between 2.15a.m.-6.15 a.m. each morning with no such thing as a night rate or overtime rate or any other special rate. Incidentally Post Office cleaners get about $70+ for the same hours.
  • No transport from home or travelling money.
  • No transport between jobs (would you walk between jobs in the city at 3.00 am?).

    No concern by the Public Service Association which is meant to represent them.

  • No information about sick leave, holiday pay, etc.

It seems to me that someone has their priorities wrong. Either it is the bureaucrats in the Messengers and Cleaners division of the Internal Affairs Department making more by sitting on their backsides all day and working decent hours or the Government employing body, the State Services Commission.

Well the cleaners would appreciate any support that can be given on September 30 when they hear the outcome of their negotiations or after that when they might take industrial action

Andrew Wierbicki.


An open letter to VUWSA

This letter is a strong protest note against the manner in which the Wellington Malaysian Singapore Students Association held its so called 'Annual General Meeting' on the evening of September 23, 1975. The meeting was called to order by the President of WMSSA and Mr Bernard Randall was nominated to chair the meeting. A point of order was immediately raised, questioning the quorum for the meeting. According to its amended constitution, no annual general meeting of the Association can be held unless there are 20 financial members present in the meeting or half the number of the financial members whichever is the greater. The Association has 34 financial members and only 13 of them attended the meeting. An extended discussion followed and then the Chairman ruled that the meeting cannot be held as there was no quorum. This ruling was objected to by Mr David Tan and as such the Chairman has to vacate the Chair. Then the President moved that non-financial members are not allowed to vote and fresh nominations for a Chairman were called. This time a Chairperson was nominated and she ruled that the constitution of the Association need not be followed and the meeting can go on even though there was no quorum.

Objections were raised to this ruling. To this the President replied: "Don't you know that we have taken the laws to our own hands?" David Tan has a more ingenious answer: "Who cares about the constitution and the shit-stirrers who raised all these objections can get out of this meeting." On wonders who the shit-stirrers are. The same state of affairs existed in the last AGM.

The matter does not rest here. There was no one standing for the election of committee members and then it was moved by David Tan again that the present committee retain their positions for the next financial year.

The core of this complaint is that WMSSA is an affiliated member of VUWSA and each year valuable funds from the students' pockets were made as grants to subsidise the activities of this Association. WMSSA is an unconstitutional body and its very existence is very much to be doubted. The students of this university could rightfully demand an answer from VUW Students Association as to why they continue to affiliate this association and waste valuable students funds to support the activities of a few renegades who seem to run the affairs of WMSSA according to their whims and fancy. To them the constitution of the Association is a dead letter and it is their wishes that remain the rule of the day.

It is submitted that these matters should not be easily dismissed and they should be considered by VUWSA in their next meeting. An explanation is needed from VUWSA as to why they continue to affiliate WMSSA this year when there was no quorum in their last AGM and if such an explanation is not forthcoming then one should seriously question the actions of VUWSA in continuing to affiliate WMSSA. Every student has a right to see that their funds are properly used.

Yours faithfully,

W. Chang.

Reply to open letter above (WMSA — Pariah Organisation)

Dear Editor,

This letter is intended as a strong protest to the fabricated story of one Mr William Chang, concerning the WMSSA AGM.

Mr Chang, like some of the budding Malaysian lawyers on campus, is particularly adept at a ritualised form of masturbation called constitutional wrangling; small legal minds can go no further.

We were informed by last year's secretary (Y. S. Soh) that there was an error in the wording of the constitutional amendment. The constitutional amendment for the quorum of the AGM should read as follows: "The quorum for the AGM shall be 20 financial members or half the financial members for the year whichever is the lesser."

The WMSSA AGM was conducted with due constitutional regard in the spirit and intention of the WMSSA and VUWSA constitutions.

There were 34 financial members. Three resided out of Wellington and were unable to make it to the AGM and this brought the membership to 31 — half of this being 15. There were 16 financial members present and the chairperson Ms Dawn Clark ruled that the meeting was constitutional and was to carry on without further interruption from non-financial members.

WMSSA has always conducted itself in the appropriate manner. May I remind Mr Chang that it was WMSA which in the early 1970's had to be whipped into line because of its closed and selective membership. WMSA was the pariah (and still is in some respects) organisation which continually flouted the VUWSA constitution.

We don't believe for one moment that VUWSA is going to take any notice of a voice in the wilderness. A hundred letters from non-financial members will not affect the validity of the WMSSA AGM.

To those of you in WMSA who are going to have bacon and eggs with our dearly beloved Prime Minister Razak, I hope you buggers die of food poisoning. To those of you who are having dinner with him beware, there will be live frogs in your soup.

Yours sincerely,

Kelvin J Ratnam

President WMSSA

Not all rosy sunsets with STB

Dear Sir,

I request a few column inches, for the purpose of warning future travellers against trusting any promises or information given by the VUW. Student Travel Bureau. Reasons as follows: — Ticket to Sydney booked with them on July 29th for September 13th, with the request that they provide ticket or inform me of progress well before then, since I am leaving home contact address a week before that date. I hear nothing from them; finally have to ring to find out what is going on. Dear Gyles tells me that nothing is going on: they have my request for a ticket, nothing else By sheer coincidence (naturally) a Telex arrives the following day to say the ticket is confirmed. Nothing like a good boot up the arse, ah, Gyles?

Well anyway (on to no. 2) the Telex said that the ticket would be waiting at the Auckland office. Of course, they hadn't heard a thing, and buckled into hysterical laughter at the mention of Beckford's name. Fortunately they just wrote out a new ticket.

My third complaint is in many ways more serious I asked the S.T. B. several times about flights from Australia to Indonesia. I was told that I couldn't get to Bali from Sydney, but there were three flights a week from Sydney to Jakarta, for which there was no need to book, and the pre-devaluation price was $NZ225.00 (including student discount).

The facts from the Sydney office:
1.There are No regular flights from Sydney to Jakarta.
2.There is a flight to Bali.
3.It costs $A270.00, which is about $NZ316.00.

May I extend a warning to potential travellers that neither branch of S.T.B. seems particularly reliable (I've found from other agents that there are three flights a week, but student discount is available only if you're going to or from your place of study) — check every piece of information with someone else.

Yours faithfully,

Marty Pilott

P.S. Auckland airport ground staff sent my pack to Pago Pago by mistake but that's another story...

Trotskyite replies to "gross falsification"

Dear Bruce,

I wish to reply to the two falsifications printed in Salient's comments on the presidential elections. These are where you claim that (i) my "little activity in the bursary campaign was often spent in attempts to split it" and (ii) "he opposes the tour but also opposes Hart".

Firstly, I fully endorse Hart in its campaign to stop the 1976 tour, particularly its programme of education and protest activities aimed at stopping the tour. To say otherwise in Salient is a gross falsification. In 1972, for example, I was heavily involved in organising a thousand strong march on South Africa Freedom Day, in co-operation with the local Hart and Care groups in Auckland. Again in 1973, I helped to organise a successful mid-day march from Auckland campus to commemorate Sharpeville Day, and oppose the tour.

In 1973 the Young Socialists were opposed to the antics of disruption that Hart adopted but they are clearly no longer part of Hart's approach. In supporting what Hart is planning for 1976, members of the Young Socialists and the Socialist Action League participated in Hart's recent regional conferences held across the country.

Secondly your claims on the bursary campaign Young Socialist members in Wellington, and in Auckland, participated with many other students in building the bursary demonstrations held in the first term, by helping with leaf letting, paste-ups, placard-making, etc. In Christchurch the Young

Socialists were involved in a fight to force the Students Association to organise actions around the bursaries issue. Thus the Young Socialists, both nationally and locally were solid supporters and builders of these marches

If Bruce Robinson isn't referring to this then presumably he is referring to our endeavours to get the Students Association to carry out actions after the STB was announced and its inadequacies seen. If Robinson calls that splitting, he's crazy. What better place than the SRC to discuss how students should respond to the bursary announcements. If making proposals that some of the elected leaders of the Studass disagree with is termed "splitting" by Robinson it only shows up his strange attitudes — if you criticise the leader, you must be wrong, if you want to raise something for discussion, you are out to split the organisation. The only effect Robinson's comments will have is to inhibit students from discussing or criticising present Studass policy a development which would be unhealthy for both students and the Association

Yours fraternally,

Ian Westbrooke

Time to bury the hatchet?

Dear Editor

I would like to congratulate Bruce Robinson on the articles in 'Salient' 22 on the Government's treatment of Tongan workers and events in East Timor. Like you, I feel that the Government's treatment of Tongan workers is an indictment of its immigration policy, and that we should be campaigning against any foreign intervention in Timor.

Your attitude to the Labour Government seems very similar to the approach of the Socialist Action election campaign which sets out to "champion the rights and struggles of working people which the Rowling government is trampling on ... but at the same time challenges the Labour leaders to respond to the demands of working people, and to abolish the power and influence of big business."

Since there is no other election campaign being carried out by radicals, I cannot understand why you refuse to give coverage to our campaign in the pages of 'Salient'. Student interest is also evident. The attendance at two campus election forums organised by the campaign has demonstrated this. We again extend to you the invitation to interview one of our Wellington candidates, Kay Goodger or Russell Johnson, and allow students to judge on the merits or otherwise of our campaign.

Gillian Goodger

Young Socialists

(Your request for an interview with a Socialist Action candidate is declined. My original plans for election coverage had centred around interviews with representatives of the various parties. However the excellent series of forums organised by Kevin Swann have made this task unnecessary and I have concentrated on reports of these meetings as the basis of Salient's election coverage. An article containing a deeper look at the election will appear in next week's Salient and will no doubt comment on the SAL campaign — Ed.)