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Salient. Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 25. October 4, 1976

NZ—Malaysian/Singapore Relations and the Cut-Back on Malaysian Students

NZ—Malaysian/Singapore Relations and the Cut-Back on Malaysian Students

[This article is based on a talk given by Dr Kevin Clements (Asian Studies Dept.. Canterbury) at a National Conference of Malaysian students on the quota on private Malaysian students in New Zealand which was held in Christchurch Sept. 18-19].

This article attempts, as Dr Kevin Clements talk did to sketch NZ's relations with Malaysia. It attempts to :
1.Examine the major problems of NZ's formal diplomatic relations and non-diplomatic or people-to-people relationship with Malaysia.
2.Look at the nature of these problems as they exist.
3.Evaluate the decision to cut-back on Malaysian students in the above context.

New Zealanders, individually and as a people, have great difficulty in understanding Asia and Asian people, whether they be Chinese, Phillipinos, Thais, Indonesians or Malays. By and large the average Fred Dagg-type of New Zealanders has a set tourist mentality of Asia which goes something tike this: he does his first stop off in Sydney, arrives in Singapore where it is a question of buying a paper umbrella, flies off to Hong Kong where he goes to a floating restaurant and gets food poisoning and then he finally takes off to England. On the way he picks up some subjective impressions about population pressure in Singapore or Hong Kong, the supposed aggressive nature of the salesman who tries to sell him some Batik cloth or a gold watch.

Ethnocentricity (which is also common in many Asian and African countries) tends to be an impediment and a blind spot in the present government's formulation and implementation of foreign policy, especially with respect to Asia and Africa.