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


page 26


Chancellor Puts Record Straight


Victorian woman driving an automobile

In your issue of 20 September there is quite lengthy reference by Neil Gray to a pending appointment of a lecturer in Political Science. It seems to me that it displays a lack of knowledge of how academic appointments are finally determined. An even worse lack was shown in an article about the Sociology Department on page 6 of your issue of 5 July last, when there was reference to "rigged appointments" and to the alleged power of one Professor through "appointments and promotion".

I have no intention of breaching the essential confidentiality of appointments procedures by discussing individual cases and departments. However, your readers may acquire a more balanced view of how the system works if I outline the facts as they apply to Lecturers and Senior Lecturers. All appointments are the responsibility of the Council. Council has delegated its authority in the case of various types and grades of appointments. In the case of Lecturers and Senior Lecturers, current practice is that the power to determine the mailer and to offer appointments is delegated to a committee. A separate committee is established for each such appointment.

Many years ago Council also decided how each committee was to be constituted.

That constitution is:

Chancellor or his deputy as Chairman Vice-Chancellor or his nominee.

One non-staff member of Council, nominated by the Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor.

The Head or Chairman of the Department in which the appointment is being made.

One other professor nominated by the Vice-Chancellor.

The Dean of the faculty in which the Department is located.

There may be other members in particular cases, (eg, two Deans if the Department is a member of two Faculties or a specially qualified person from outside this university if he or she can assist where an appointment is to be made in a highly specialised or professional area).

I hope this explanation of procedure will remove any unwarranted suspicion that any one person or group of persons, whether present members of staff or otherwise, exercise any overwhelming and/or improper influence in the making of academic appointments.

K.B. O'Brien,


Mr O'Brien might be quite interested in reading the Political Science Department minutes of 15 September 1976 where it refers to Professor Brookes screening out the applicants for the lecturing position currently being offered in the Department. Perhaps the Chancellor should do some research on why all the persons applying for positions never all come before the selection committee. - Ed.

Christianity In China

Dear Sir,

Carl Telford's letter in last week's Salient had me in fits of laughter because of the utter naivety of his views. It seems that some Western Christians just cannot understand why everyone throughout the world doesn't leap on the Church's bus as it goes speeding by. Just as many peasants in Asian and Latin America hate resented foreign "experts" coming in and telling them what to do, so the Chinese have rejected the arrogant Carl Telfords of this world trying to tell them of the way, the truth and the life engendered by a hocus-pocus belief that was responsible for much of their acceptance of the old repressive system.

Carl's Western-centred mentality is obvious by his picking out the Christians in China as a good example of a persecuted group. According to Joseph Needham in a U.S. National Council of Churches bulletin the highest proportion of Christian Chinese at any point in the 20th century has been 0.35% of the total population. But, if you're working on the assumption that eventually that 0.35% will convert the other 99.65% of heathens to the right way of thinking then I suppose dwelling on Christian persecution is quite important.

However, because of Carl's obsession with the "red tide" he forgets to analyse the real (and not the imagined) history of the churches in China. Many religions have had an important role to play in the making of modern China. Confuscianism crumbled with the overthrow of the empire in 1911; Taoism and Buddhism were left behind by the less meditative but more dynamic thrust of Western science; Islam survives in a racial minority; Christianity, which many missionaries expected to sail home on the "West wind" of Europe's technological superiority succeeded only in identifying itself with foreign imperialism, and was rejected by a generation that demanded total political [unclear: chan] as the only remedy for China's chaos.

The Christian missions played quite an important role in the formation of modern China, and they still cannot understand why the Communists hate them so bitterly. Did they not run schools, orphanages, hospitals nad other charitable organisations? Did they not do all in their power to relieve the suffering of the poor and the sick, and to educate the people?

To the Chinese, who saw them come in on the apron strings of the foreign powers in their numerous attempts to rob, plunder and exploit the people, they were merely the softening-up process before the permanent bondage set in. This sweeping condemnation was an accumulation of many minor details such as the excessive respect paid to missionaries - even up to 1923 Chinese Christians would prostrate themselves before priests. Other annoyances were the custom Of giving Chinese converts European names, and the fact that European languages were used as a medium of instruction in mission-run schools (similarities with South Africa?)

The obvious conclusion was that through a programme of cultural aggression, the Chinese were being trained to work for Europe and not for China. The Christians in general had supported the corrupt regime of Chiang Kaishek and had acted as secret agents for the Americans (the Catholic Legion of Mary was especially active in this area).

So, when the Chinese had a chance to rise up and to take control of their environment, one of the first institutions to be hit was the church. The Church's power was established under European guns and with European money, and played a major part in the whole humiliating story of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a story that the Chinese never forgot.

The Churches play an objective role in all societies - they can either be promoting the cause of the oppressor, or promoting the cause of the oppressed. When a church has worked in the interests of the oppressors for centuries then it is highly unlikely that it will change its spots overnight. Parts of the Cathollic church did and were subsequently excommunicated by the Vatican for "co-operating with Communists". I do not agree with unnecessary killings and violence in any situation, but in the case of the Chinese people and the Christian Churches I can understand the reasons for it occurring.

So when Carl Telford decides to burble on about "human rights" and "Christians being murdered in their beds" again. I hope he takes some time out to investigate the circumstances that motivated such actions to occur.

Yours religiously,

John McKenna.

Thanks for your letter John. I'd refer Carl Telford to a publication "Christian Faith and the Chinese Experience"published in September 1974 by Pro Mundi Vita.

Collins Attacks Corner

Dear John,

Katy Corner is not only incapable of reviewing LPs, but she is also incapable of understanding criticisms of the silly reviews (which she manages to churn out in great quantity), as can be seen from both her letter (on page 20) and her rock review (on page 13) of the last issue.

The fundamental question that I was asking of Katy and alt your reviewers was "What makes a rock record, a play or a film a great piece of art?". Is this based on personal feelings, such as Katy's comments on "Can't Get Over You" from the NRPS album, or is it based on the part a particular group plays in society? Or doesn't society matter? Are rock bands above the people they're playing for, and are the ideas being communicated through this art unrelated to what is going on in society?

However, I feel that Katy is not even concerned about finding out the purpose of art and trying to access whether any particular piece liver up to that. As she states in her NRPS review the thing she looks for in any particular track is whether she'll be able "to pick it out to play to an interested party when I (rarely) play bits and pieces" or she's willing to play it again for "nostalgia's sake". It seems that the world is experiencing all kinds of changes, revolutions and national passions, but rock and Katy Corner blighly float above them thinking only of keeping up the hip-cool image that is turning sections of rock into the haunt of a pampered [unclear: elite], rather than opening it up to the mass of young people.

Katy Corner's total introversion is seen by her answers to the points I made in my last letter. She fails to see the total inadequacy of her reviews. "Is it just because they're different?" she says innocently. Each review is of a band that has "moved my life so far in what I consider to be a good direction" Tell this to your psychiatrist Katy, I would rather hear an explanation for the popularity of a particular band as related to the social and hence musical conditions of our time.

My heart really does pump custard for you though Katy, for you lake everything so hard. I even sensed a moment of self-criticism when you devulged that "musicis my life", and admitted a lack of specificity, but it was merely to tug the heartstrings for the next plug for US imperialism in the form of your "feelings" about music. If I feel that Abba are good and you feel that they are bad, does that make them good or bad? Surely a question that can't be argued unless you put forward a reasoned argument as to why you feel they are bad, which can be debated out with the contrary argument.

But, nowhere in your latest piece of garbage do you ever get beyond the feeling stage. And so; perhaps you should either take up music reviewing fulltime, or go and work for the Nazi Party - but activities will help to yield the same result. I recommend that you take a packet of American camels and go and race off to the Roval Tiger - at least you're miles away from the Salient review pages.

Rock On Katy.

Robert Collins.

Comments on Bergman

Dear Sir,

A few comments on Simon Wilson's review of Bergman's "Scenes from a Marriage".

This was originally six one-hour plays for Swedish television.

Therefore it has been cut in half for the cinema.

These plays were also shown on British television with dubbing rather than (inadaquate) sub-titles.

The original format gave greater scope and depth to the interactions: there was less head on confrontation between two people.

In shun, as conceived and directed by Bergman the "flawed masterpiece" which Simon Wilson notes was, if not perfect, at least less flawed.


What About Good Old Morality?

Dear Sir,

I find some contradictions in Barry Nonweiler's article Intolerance equals Myth. He tells us that "only the concept of socialism can embrace the returning to them [homosexuals] of their equality." He further says that socialist parties in America, Australia, Britain and New Zealand all help in the struggle for homosexuals 'rights'. So the clear-sighted socialists can see the justice of the homosexuals case, unlike the evil capitalist! However he then goes on to say, well, this is not actually how it works out in practice. The socialists support gay liberation in theory but in Russia, China. Cuba they are not actually given the 'rights' that the socialists promised them.

In case you are wondering why there is this inconsistency between what socialists (i.e. communists) say and do, Arnold Lunn and Garth Lean in their book The New Morality shed light on this.

"Many people have wondered that communism in different parts of the world seem to adopt quite different forms of sexual morality. The explanation is to be found in Lenin's axiom that the morality of communism is "wholly subordinated to the interests of the proletarian class war". In non-communist countries, the communists support all existing tendencies at so-called sexual freedom; they are irreconcilably opposed to all attempts to subject the sexual life to any moral or spiritual obligation, and in the name of liberty and mental health, they demand full sexual information" for young people - simply because they know that sexual knowledge or information, severed from moral obligation, tends to undermine the foundations of democracy.

In communist countries where communism has secured full control, sexual morality is gradually switched on to strictly- moralistic lines.........The communist leaders know the the sexual drive is a force which can contribute in the highest degree to give inner strength to a nation when it is harnessed to an objective which is sufficiently great (if Chinese morality today). To any ideology such as communism it goes without saying that one of the most important motive forces in human life must be exploited in this way to promote ideological ends".

Further Mr Nonweiler blames capitalism for the oppression of homosexuals. My guess is that as much oppression and stereotype of homosexuals takes place in non-capitalist societies. It could just be that man has a basic common sense that-rejects this form of sexual behaviour as abnormal.

Also the family is not a creation of capitalism but rather a necessity in any stable society, as Russia found out after her anti-family excercises after the Revolution of 1917.

Sexuality does not "pre-eminently open up to us the possibility of relief from loneliness". It may for homosexuals, but it is primarily a means whereby a man and woman can deepen their love for each other and express this love in their children.

Mr Nonweiler should look deepr than just blaming an economic system for oppression of homosexuals.

Sincerely yours,

Carl Telford.

Malaysian Law Students

Dear Sir,

The Snobbish Bunch of Malaysians.

Thank God, there is only a small number of Malaysian students in the Law Faculty. Except for one or two, the others are eccentrical snubs. Most of them display extreme or peculiar characteristics.

Besides being arrogant, they try to be dominant as well. Armed with a little "legal" knowledge they try to prove that they know more. At every MSA AGM, this snobbish bunch often tries to drag others into minute argument over trivial "constitutional" principles and the crap. (At the last ACM, there was one who did not even know what he was blubbering about.)

The few female (Malaysian) Law students are no better. None of them is worth a second look. They are either too chubby or out of shape. But, gee, they try to behave like 'peacocks' with their bloody nose in the air! Look at the mirror first, baby.


Mustupha Chew,

Albert Sulaiman.