To the Editor:
The big hype about putting a “C” in front of your
MSN Messenger handle is getting tired. Yes, it was nice to
see that people are not made of stone and were compassionate
enough to show their respect for Cecilia Zhang’s untimely
death, but now what? Children die every day, so are you going
to collect ALL their initials to stick in front of your handle?
If you did, you’d have a million letters. Approximately
24,000 people die every day from hunger or hunger-related causes,
and three quarters of these deaths are children under the age
of five. Of the 11.5 million people who die from AIDS in Africa,
one quarter are children. Thirteen million children in Africa
are AIDS orphans, and one quarter will die from a lack of nourishment
If people really did give a shit, they’d get off their
computers and actually do something. Go support Child Find,
or donate money to a charity in Cecilia’s name. If you’re
too broke, do other proactive things like urge for more block
parents to step up in your community, advocate more support
for neighbourhood watch programs, or volunteer for a child
support program in your community. Doing any of these things
is much more worthwhile and meaningful than logging onto MSN
Messenger with a freakin’ “C” in front of
Cecilia’s death was devastating — and we were
all touched by it — but putting a measly letter in front
of your name won’t do anything to help. Unless your compassion
was just for show, get off your ass and find something to do
about it already.
To the Editor:
Can someone please enlighten me as to why this hideous new
trend of wearing a multi-coloured, rainbow-like scarf has
This is probably the most disgusting piece of clothing ever
worn on our campus — why would you voluntarily wear such
repugnant looking material? I’m not a fashion major by
any means, but wearing such a flamboyant scarf is basically
telling the world you have given up on everything that was
ever going for you, and the part of your brain dictating fashion
sensibility has been declared clinically dead. I’d rather
have a psychotic murderer leave me naked than wrap me up in
some Hawaiian punch cloth.
ACS & Philosophy III
Can’t beat the real thing...
Re: “Grad Club/Coke deal spurs petition,” Mar.
To the Editor:
I wanted to laud the initiative taken by the wily and ambitious
graduate students who are saying they won’t play ball
with Coca-Cola and their exclusivity deals. Aside from the
labour practices mentioned in the article, Coke receives
failing grades in most other realms of its business practices.
Firstly, Coke is terrible for your health. Aspartame is a
carcinogenic additive brought to you by Monsanto, the makers
of genetically modified wheat. They waste millions on shameless
marketing irrelevant to the product being sold. They sell school
children poison and bribe their schools with sponsorship money.
They show no concern for sustainable material resource management.
If Coca-Cola were to buy 25 per cent recycled content plastic
bottles, it would only cost about one-tenth of one cent per
20-ounce bottle. The list goes on.
Now, I admit I occasionally enjoy that classic cola experience,
but to have Coke’s wide selection of beverages and flavoured
sugar water (their supposed fruit juices) forced on you with
exclusivity deals is corporate interference of everyday life
to the max. We need alternatives to these kind of products.
I would like to one day walk into the University Community
Centre and enjoy a glass of fresh squeezed apple juice from
orchards 10 kilometres up Richmond St..
Civil/Environmental Engineering II
To the Editor:
I am writing this letter in response to the “protests” that
have been circulating via e-mail regarding the Society of Graduate
Students and the Grad Club’s recently approved exclusivity
agreement with Coca-Cola. One such e-mail, to which the author
no doubt mistakenly forgot to attach his/her name, tossed around
vague and unsupported accusations of Coca-Cola, and encouraged
students to enter into an anti-Coke e-mail campaign and boycott
the Grad Club.
More recently, the Graduate Teaching Assistants’ union
executive took it upon themselves to speak on behalf of some
1,400 TAs in a letter to SOGS expressing our disappointment
in their decision to deal with Coca-Cola and our likelihood
of boycotting the Grad Club. Maybe I was absent or asleep that
day, but I don’t remember being asked my opinion on this
matter, and I’m sure most other TAs don’t either.
I am disappointed by the all-too-common ignorance and hypocrisy
displayed by Western students in their rush to speak out against
anything and everything in an attempt to play the role of proactive,
responsible members of society. My question to you is this:
Have you ever purchased a Coke product? I’m sure you
have. And does that make you a baby-killer or torturer of slave-labour
factory workers in Jakarta? I’m sure it doesn’t.
I am not claiming Coca-Cola is a squeaky clean or even ethical
corporation. But the fact of the matter is that, as a result
of consumer demand, the Grad Club already sells more Coke products
than this contract stipulates.
So, let me get this straight. We all buy Coke products at
the Grad Club but we just don’t want anyone to know about
it? I know anti-corporation protests are popular, but next
time try thinking before you speak.
Psychology PhD candidate
Spoof Issue not a joke to some
Re: “Jesus is ugly,” Apr. 1, 2004
To the Editor:
I’m writing in regards to your offensive remarks towards
Jesus Christ and Christians in your paper. Your printing of
the “Jesus is ugly” letter was disgusting and insulting.
I understand there is freedom of speech, but there are also
boundaries that should not be crossed. You would not dare print
racist, sexist or homophobic comments, so what makes religion
If you noticed, the student body is made up of numerous backgrounds
and religions, and yes, some of us are Christians (and I hate
to break it to you, but not because of The Passion of the Christ
bandwagon). I don’t see you printing material that is
mocking Jews, Hindus or Buddhists (you wouldn’t dare),
yet you print comments about Jesus that are blasphemous and
In the bottom of your editorial, it says “letters...
judged by the Editor-in-Chief to be particularly stupid will
not be published.” I guess the April fool musta let that
one letter slip through by accident.
Editor’s note: So close, yet so far from figuring it
out. It was the April Fool’s Day Issue!
Re: “We’re sorry, so sorry,” Apr. 1, 2004
To the Editor:
My problem with the Equity Issue was that some articles crossed
the line. Overall, it was a funny April Fool’s Day
Issue that had us all snickering at one point or another,
but some of the jokes went too far.
Making fun of the suicide picture was a low point for the
paper. It is obvious that no one at The Gazette has had to
deal with the tragedy of losing a loved one this way, or the
remarks would not have been made because you would understand
how the painful memories can be. To read a distasteful joke
as the pain returns is actually one of the worst feelings in
To say the only reason why the picture should not have appeared
was “because the person in it was flat-chested,” and
that “the lack of tit was reprehensible,” is disgraceful
and socially unacceptable.
To the Editor:
I believe everyone is equal, with their strengths and weaknesses
lying in different aspects of their personality, behaviour
and most importantly, their character. Beauty is on the inside.
In the end, that is all you have left so people should concentrate
on being kind, performing selfless acts and expressing their
true self instead of covering it up with makeup and uncomfortable
Too many people say and do things just because it’s
what seems to be accepted by the general public. If you want
to say something that doesn’t aim to put down another
person or group of people, say it. If you want to do something,
do it. Too often people don’t do what they really want
because they are concerned about the reaction of others. Will
they laugh at me? Will they think I’m not cool? Will
they not want to be my friend? The people whose opinions deserve
to be valued will not reject you for being who you are.
So the best thing to do is be yourself — your true self — not
what you think others want you to be. Don’t conform to
society’s often distorted values. Live according to your
own values. And please don’t listen in silence when people
say racist or discriminatory comments. By not saying anything
you are just letting the problem get worse. If you feel you
should say something, don’t let fear hold you back. Seize
Birthright a cultural experience
To the Editor:
As someone who went on the Birthright Israel program, I feel
it is my duty to respond to the anti-Israeli garbage I am
subjected to on campus. Why don’t we look at the claim
that Birthright Israel is “racist.”
If Birthright were in fact racist, then I would not have spent
a night on a Muslim-Bedouin settlement in the Negev, nor would
I have engaged in three hours of mandatory dialogue with an
Israeli-Arab who criticized Israeli policy. Furthermore, I
wouldn’t have spent a day in a Druze village near the
borders of Lebanon and Syria.
However, there is a more important point. Birthright is a
trip which is funded privately, and since it is a benefactor’s
money, he/she can choose how he/she wants to spend it. Luckily
for Jewish youth, this benefactor has chosen to send us on
free trips to Israel to enhance our Jewish identities. The
trip is not about politics, but rather about Israel and our
connection to Israel as Jewish people.
There are many other trips provided by both Christian and
Muslim groups, which can take you to Israel and enforce Christian
and Muslim identities, although I’m not sure if they
Re: “International robbery,” Mar. 31, 2004
To the Editor:
To decide to study in Canada is not a right but a privilege.
Syed Salman N. Qadri needs to accept and respect the fact
that he is a visitor in this country and will not receive
the same financial support as a Canadian student. It is unreasonable
to expect the Canadian government to assist you in paying
for tuition if you have never paid taxes in Canada.
As an international student at Western, I have to disagree
with his comments. I have held a job on campus for the past
two years, helping me cover my tuition and living expenses.
There are other jobs available to international students outside
of work-study opportunities, and instead of sitting around
and whining he should consider going out and looking for one.
Summer internships are available to international students,
too. While they are on an unpaid voluntary basis, it will provide
you with practical experience.
Instead of blaming Canada for your “misfortunes,” you
should realize there are plenty of opportunities available
if you look hard enough.
To the Editor:
Salman, as a fellow international student, I can sympathize
with your plea of having financial difficulties and having
to dig up more than $100,000 for an undergraduate degree.
I applaud you for voicing the financial plight many of us
international students are facing. However, I disagree with
your comment on Canada having discriminatory rules against
international students. I feel that the critique of lack
of financial support towards international students is misdirected
towards the Canadian state, and ought to be rightly aimed
at our own governments.
Governments were set up to watch and take care of their own
citizens. The Canadian government is doing its job by providing
its citizens the benefits to pursue higher education at an
affordable rate. The existence of loans and bursaries are also
aimed at helping disadvantaged Canadian citizens. These and
other things such as health care and the right to work are
part of the benefits of being a Canadian citizen.
From a political perspective, I don’t see any obligations — nor
reasons — for the Canadian government to provide similar
benefits to non-citizens of Canada. The rules, if they are “discriminatory,” only
serve to protect and maximize the benefits of Canadian citizens.
In all fairness, Canadians are entitled to such benefits from
their own government. It is unfair for them to have to compete
against non-citizens for financial aid or work opportunities
from their OWN government.
I think there should be at least some aid for deserving international
students. It breaks my heart to see brilliant international
students having to stop halfway through their education due
to unforeseen financial circumstances.
I can see the reason for not providing us with loans, bursaries
and limited work opportunities, but on behalf of all international
students, can’t Canada provide more scholarship opportunities
for deserving international students?
In the meanwhile, please excuse me while I cough out blood
trying to find ways to make ends meet for the next academic
Political Science/ Philosophy III
To the Editor:
It is logical to impose 2.3 times higher tuition for international
students. As the government expects, Canadian students will
make taxable incomes for nearly 40 years while international
students are assumed to return to their original country.
However, it is also the case that international students are
making a greater financial contribution to the university.
Again, the problem is how it is used. Although they are making
the extra contribution to the university, they are not receiving
enough extra services to accomplish their academic goals.
Here is an example. Based on its policy, the Writing Centre
does NOT correct more than one grammar mistake in a single
counselling session to encourage students’ proofreading,
though most international students have grammatical uncertainty.
Western’s policy on a student’s English proficiency
is as follows: “Work presented in English... shows a
lack of proficiency in English and is therefore unacceptable
for academic credit.”
But, is it really a feasible goal for ESL students to submit
an essay without any grammar mistakes? Remember, the Writing
Centre corrects only one mistake in a session. Under such circumstances,
is it fair that an ESL student received a 25 per cent subtraction
in essay grade due to grammar mistakes? So long as the Writing
Centre does not provide sufficient assistance, they might hand
in essays with the same grammar mistakes for four years. Although
encouraging self-learning is an indispensable skill, it is
a mere complement of institutional assistance.
The Writing Centre should provide free writing assistance
specially for international students to fully justify the higher
tuition’s. This plan is offered in many other universities,
and I believe it is a sustainable plan regarding the incremental
costs and resources.
Daisuke (Danny) Nakahara