I read with interest some comments made by the publics of this paper regarding the SIG USP sponsored students' living allowances. But the most interested one is the one by Linda. By reading Linda's first advisory comments to the USP students regarding the use of their allowances, I instantly thought it was a piece of motherly genuine advice; but her second one portraits a tarnishing impression of her personhood.
But first, let me say that the fact that the USP Vice chancellor has already spoken out and requested some increase for the USP related support finances following the devaluation of Fiji dollar, his call has indirectly justified the students plea for an increase of their allowances. With that I do encourage the SISA to follow up and press on with the student's collective request and continue to dialogue with the government on this. The Solomon Islands High Commission office in Suva should be the point of facilitation, where by the needs of our students would be assessed and from which the submissions are to be made. That office is the legitimate Sikua government agent in Suva despite whatever diplomatic level or status that office assumes there. So I see no point to delay the student's allowances but keep the pressure professionally high, not with abusive force but a dignified one. I do hope the government would listen and act accordingly if your case is presented respectfully with dignity.
Secondly, regarding the use of student's allowances, I see no reason to justify the reduction of students allowances based on whatever electrical appliances or useful tools a SI students shipped to Honiara upon his arrival home. I don't think it's good to terrorised or penalised the students upon what they see fit to bring home as gifts for parents and relatives in Honiara or in their respective villages. I heartly embraced the logic that they do deserve it by the merit of being there as SI academics. Last year my uncle took home a 40watts solar panel and currently bought from his SIG allowance. Today the solar panel has been used by the whole village to charge up their private solar batteries to light their homes at night. This can be seen as a simple, but a huge gift for the whole village to improve of their village life. So I see no reason to weigh criticisms on some one that looks after his or her own allowance well enough to buy a 42 plasma TV or a 100 watts solar panel to bring home as a gift for mum and dad or for the whole village. That is a good sign of accountability.
Thirdly, in saying that my advice for our USP students would be to encourage them to manage their allowances properly as they have rightly explained, so that the money would equitably cater for their social and educational needs, as well as thinking about something to take home for mum and dad. For students whose parents are living in rural villages without electricity, I encourage you follow my uncles legacy- buy a solar panel and a small TV to bring home. That is a good one! It will encourage the village school children to work hard in their primary schooling so that they could live by the memory that one day their hard work in schools would earn such valuable items for their parents.
For those who are can socialise with social drinks, that is not too bad. A few bottles of Fiji Bitter with BBQ fish on Friday at home with SI schools mates won't be a harm knowing your aim to be there as professionals and the small plan to bring a gift home during Christmas holiday. The saddest thing a parent can see is to realise that his daughter or son hasn't got gift for them on arrival while students do have gifts brought from Suva for their parents or relatives. So bear in mind that piece of advice.
In retrospect, I must say that I find Linda and Melanie's counter responses to USP students as "degrading Other". Is it because they studying or living in Australia that they see potential to brag to let others know that they are different and far advance that those students at USP? Professionals and academics don't allow good-selves to be robbed off their dignity as such. What makes good professionals is the manner they correlated their public speech and academic status intact with humility, and not -for tokotoko tumas olsem pwapwa blong long home wea any thing kam pass mas took go nao. To request the USP student's personal budgets or to label someone as an average block is too much. If I am an academic like Melanie or Linda, I would have responded positively by posing constructive points to stimulate the discussions with embracive languages to place the debate on track and not to digress. It's normal for such harsh response as seen in Danny Asa responses to Linda to be uttered. He is part of the victimised community so it's painful to get good advices when they are rubbed in carless languages as the ones from Linda and Melanie. But I like Danny's response to Linda's wild response. The real qualifications is what makes out of the paper qualification.
I salute all the SIG USP students and wish that their humble request for an increase of their current living allowance be resolved soon. BUT remember my advice, a gift for mum and dad for Christmas is important; a symbolic mark of their hard work.
Bring A Gift Home for Parents - USP Students
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of Charisma Wate and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.
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