I would be grateful if you would publish this article in reply to Felicia K's response to my previous article on the above subject. Firstly, I'd like to say that it's nice to know that Felicia is happy that someone is reading and is fascinated by her article; it was my pleasure Ms. (Mrs.) K. However, before going any further, let me make a few things crystal clear so that assumptions are not made and so that this discussion can be constructive.

It was never my intention to imply or say that it is wrong for Solomon Islanders, whatever generation they may be, to settle for something or anything less than what they hope for. I also don't have anything against student Teachers who are demanding an increase in their allowances nor do I want them to shut up and accept whatever they are not satisfied with; I am only startled at the increase or amount they are demanding. Do note that this was not about aspirations as far as my previous article was concerned; it was simply about being rational in our demands.

Just to put all of this in perspective, my point of view was that an increase in the allowance received by SICHE student teachers might be necessary but to demand an increase by 1000% all of a sudden will make anyone, especially Solomon Islands' Economists, cringe. If analyzed, you would also note that my last article was based entirely on the inferences or suggestions Felicia made in relation to the studies done and also her choice of words in her discussion.

My simple reason for questioning her article is that in times like this we don't have the luxury to use "anecdotal evidence" to make arguments or demands but to be realistic in our own situations (country's economic situation) and be constructive in what we want or need from our government.

Reading from the reply, clarifications, explanations and so forth; it is obvious that Felicia's arguments are in support of the student's demands. Please note that I'm not saying it is wrong, what I'm saying is that it is not realistic economically and even logically. Let me clarify my discussion to Felicia or whoever "did not get the full meaning" of my article; we are in an economic crisis (Felicia conceded that) and it is only logical that as students we should be the ones who understand, what the government is going through and what is required of us as citizens in these economically trying times. By demanding an increase of the allowance in the tune of a thousand percent (1000%) will only require the government to dig deeper into a pocket that is already stretched thin by other National needs and the global economic crisis.

Personally I think that an increase in 1000% is too much and though I'm not putting a value on it, something a little less than 1000% would be reasonable and one which I would support(last paragraph of my previous article). My reference to the past student teachers who graduated should be corrected in light of the ($300 deduction) information stated by Felicia, however, don't you think that a 1000% is still a bit too much to demand? Furthermore, is it too much to demand in such short notice? I mean, you do the math, do you really think our government has that much financial clout to pay for something that is not budgeted for? And importantly, who do you think will fund the government coffers to meet these demands? These are pragmatic questions, ones which I think we should ask ourselves. Ms (Mrs.) K, that, was the "crux" of my discussion and my article.

By the way, I was never in any way complaining when using my own case and the 20% devaluation to my allowance. Rather I was using it as a point on how, personally, we can help the government in these economic hardship, instead of demanding an increase of 20% in (my) allowance which would have been a possibility.

Oh and to Tiona who asked if this was the same song or tune that the USP students in Fiji were singing last year; this is probably the same "song" (as you like to put it) Tiona. The difference is that it was a lot less than a 1000%, it was "composed" before the global economic crisis and it was "sang" before the national budget was drawn up, which reminds me; it would have been a lot easier if you used that same approach (though it is too late now especially after what happened globally) to allow the government to plan on how your demands can be met.

P.S. Due to the upcoming exams here in Suva, I won't be able to reply to this discussion until after the 18th of June.