Initially, I had reservations on whether or not Hayes’ travel article was just a poorly written satire of an unworldly North American traveller, as noted by Warbanski. After reading a more tasteful and constructive travel piece by Shin Yi Siew as well as Features Editor Gendron’s defence for Hayes’ quality of writing , I feel compelled to write to The Concordian.
While I agree that the primary purpose of the Travel feature is to share travelling experiences over promoting social awareness, two points should be made. First, imagine watching serious travel and leisure shows “informing” viewers of how to find the cheapest drugs, the kinkiest and youngest prostitutes, the most deathly-looking poor. Hayes’ sheer ignorance, lack of objectivity, and cultural insensitivity contribute to poor reporting. Second, and perhaps more importantly, his article deemed as not sexist by Gendron because “it does not show hatred or intolerance” reveals that there’s an urgent need for The Concordian to establish better editorial standards of what is considered discrimination.
Simply standing by “honest” reporting – as I suppose that’s what Gendron considers Hayes’ piece to be – without evaluating neither its substance nor style makes even poorer editorial judgment and is thus more irresponsible than Hayes’ actions.