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Letters to the editor:

by Archives September 27, 2006

“Stubbs provides history of ‘Our Game'” Sports: September 20, 2006

My thanks to Cari McGratten for her kind, generous review of my new book Our Game: The History of Hockey in Canada.

Most gratifying at two book signings this month was meeting fans of all ages, every one of whom had a story to share about their involvement in or love of hockey. That, and the grandfather who asked that the book not be signed to his grandson, but to himself. That showed me that the game, and my study of it, has great appeal not just to kids, but to the long-time fans who remember a six-team NHL, and learning to skate outdoors, their cheeks chilled by a winter wind.

Dave Stubbs
The Gazette

Travel: “Laos and cambodia” Features: September 20, 2006

This letter is in regards to The Concordian’s new column by Jimmy Hayes, on Sept. 20. I would like to register my personal contempt with the printing of racist, classist and sexist comments and ask why this uniformed article ever made it past the editor.

Consider the following excerpt:

“.people in Laos are poor. But not like a ‘fun’ poor.” Since when is it fun to be poor? Have you ever had the pleasure of having your belly eat your insides because of the lack of food? Do you remember that wicked-awesome time you had had to wear those tattered clothes until they literally fell of your body?

And then this wonderous gem:

“I suppose genocide does that to a population.” In that same vein of logic, I suppose imperialism and French colonialization result in women and men (young girls and boys too) using their bodies as currency to negotiate poverty in order to survive, hmm?

Am I reading this piece right? Should I be taking all this Orientalism with a grain of salt? If this was a “joke” then it should’ve been prefaced with some kind of disclaimer. And what an inappropriate joke, at that!

Lina Harper
Women’s Studies/Communication Studies

Dear editor,

How about a little bit of cultural sensitivity? The article on Laos and Cambodia shows nothing but the ignorance the average North American traveller brings
overseas. According to your writer, Jimmy Hayes, Laos is boring because the women don’t solicit sex on the streets. I don’t know about you, but I am encouraged when women are not forced into the sex trade-an industry worth billions annually-because of poverty.

“Child sex tourism,” as the Department of Foreign Affairs calls it is a crime. This industry takes in over a million children-often by force-each year, by some estimates. It is not the “fun poverty” that your writer describes, but rather abuse, exploiting the poor and powerless.

We do not tolerate such activities in Canada and it appalls me that this is what our own citizens consider entertainment. “I suspect the Cambodians weren’t feeling frisky at the time,” Hayes writes, explaining the lack of people born in the ’70s. Is this any way to write about the results of genocide? You would never get away with writing about the Holocaust like this. And it is unacceptable. While lapses in better judgment happen to all of us, I am concerned none of your editors questioned the appropriateness of this article. It worries me that this travel segment will be making a regular appearance in your paper. My student fees help fund your paper. I wish you would use them for something educational and meaningful, and not to perpetrate insensitive views of the world.

Misha Warbanski
Journalism/Political Science

Kudos to Hayes for taking a trip to Laos and Cambodia so to inform us his following insights about the two nations:

-Laos is simply dull, heavily lacking in quality drugs (why fly halfway across the world for the stuff when Vancouver boasts some that’s world-class quality?), Asian-dominant peddling and sexual solicitation, and the “fun” impoverished;

-Cambodia’s “entertainments” of shooting up, molesting children, and reckless driving behaviours are encouraging as “no one’s going to stop you.”

Moreover, Hayes’ modesty is so profound that he allows us to humbly remind Concordian readers that the genocide he had so-briefly mentioned – which, incidently, occurred in 1975-1979 and killed almost a third of the entire population – may have played a wee role in the lack of people existing in his age group.

While the original purpose of Hayes’ trip was not explicitly clear, I’m sure the above-listed wonders of Laos/Cambodia will provide ample heartfelt material to his script about “a very weak man”…especially perhaps if he can personally relate to his character.

Thanks, Concordian, for making good use of students’ money and publishing Hayes’ enlightening piece in your travel section. It has really opened my eyes to the quality of your writing.

Name Withheld

Unions speak out against Dawson administration Opinions: September 20, 2006

As a relatively recent graduate of both schools in question and a one-time DSU member, I must say that the ludicrous reactions on the part of the Dawson Student Union only serve to further prove the irresponsibility, indignance and ignorance of the student movement.

I was at Concordia at the peak of tensions in 2000-01 and I was thoroughly embarrassed by the CSU’s actions at the time. The union came across as a vehicle for protest, rather than as a tool for positive change.

With its denouncement of the Dawson administration, the DSU has taken this same approach to confront rather than to try to work with administration, and it’s sad. Ridiculously low voter turnout clearly indicates just how unimportant the student unions of both schools are to the general population of both Dawson and Concordia. Yet, the shameless, high-horse-riding, anti-everything scoundrels that are elected to student office somehow feel legitimate in their mandates and use this self-fulfilling legitimacy to denounce administration at every turn. Next up, the DSU and CSU will blame administration for potholes and bad weather, too.

Dawson administration should be applauded for not letting its school fall apart over the last couple of weeks. Dawson students should be applauded as well for standing up for their school. Student union representatives, however, would probably better serve us all by simply shutting their collective trap and letting the adults run the school.

Noah Sidel
BA Journalism, 2004

You may have misunderstood my intent in publishing this article. The Travel section’s purpose is not to raise awareness for social problems but rather to be a forum for travelers’ experiences. Unlike Ms. Harper claimed, Jimmy Hayes’ piece is not racist or sexist as it does not promote hatred or intolerance. I wish to state for the record that nowhere in his piece does Hayes condone the things you mentioned, nor has he displayed ignorance of the culture of the countries he visited. While I thank Ms. Warbanski for her input over what’s “appropriate,” “acceptable” and “meaningful” to print in my section, I stand by the quality of Hayes’ writing and the editorial integrity of our paper. You may not agree with Hayes’ words, but they were true to his experiences and, well, the truth is not always sunshine and roses.

“To hear one voice, we must have freedom to hear them all.” -Kerry Brock

Melissa Gendron
Features Editor

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