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To the editor:
In the last issue of the Reporter, you featured a photo of Korean Night 2000. The event attracted an enthusiastic audience of over 300 people (Koreans and non-Koreans) who earned an appreciation of Korean dance, martial arts, music and food.
For many, it was their first experience coming into contact with Korea's unique culture. Several praised the beautiful and colourful fan dance performance, in addition to the delicious Korean food that was served at the end. According to Mr. Soo Hong Dho, president of the Korean Seniors Golf Association in Montreal, "This was the best event representing Korea and Korean culture held during these past few years in Montreal."
The aim of Korean Night 2000 was to promote awareness of McGill's Korean Studies Program, a program that is facing an uncertain future.
Promoting Korea and Korean culture at McGill may appear to be a difficult task given the small number of Koreans at McGill (approximately 150) relative to other North American universities.
Nonetheless, McGill, located in one of North America's most multicultural cities, is among the leading universities that holds a distinctively international reputation.
With 30 per cent of its students coming from abroad, McGill has the highest percentage of international students among all Canadian universities. This element gives the University a competitive advantage in recruiting students from varying backgrounds. Therefore, the Korean Studies Program at McGill has a greater opportunity than many comparable programs at other institutions to reach out to students from everywhere.
Although the Chinese and Japanese programs in the Department of East Asian Studies receive significantly more funding and have a much higher student enrolment than ours, the students in the Korean Studies Program form a much more closely knit community.
Korean Night 2000 allowed the students in the program to receive an understanding of Korea and Korean culture that goes beyond classroom material. I believe that most of these students (especially non-Koreans) learned a feeling that is unique to Koreans and Korean culture, a profound sense of attachment, a sentiment that goes beyond words (called "jung" in Korean).
Year after year, most students who have taken at least one course in Korean language or culture are left with "jung" towards their professor, their peers and particularly towards the program. Especially, after Korean Night 2000, I am positive that most of the participants felt their "jung" intensify.
The Korean Studies Program plays a vital role in the academic and social lives of McGill students and contributes to McGill's international standing.
I believe that many people tend to associate East Asia only with China and Japan, and do not think of Korea. The Korean Studies Program gives students an opportunity to broaden their understanding of Asia and to gain knowledge of a country that plays an important economic and cultural role in the region. If the program were to disappear, McGill would be lending credibility to the notion that Korea has only a minimal role to play in Asia.
The success of this event would not have been possible without the cooperation of the students, the assistance of Toby No (coordinator) and the support of Professor Myung Hee Kim and our parents and generous contributions from our sponsors.
Coordinator, Korean Night 2000,
Vice President External
Korean Students' Society, McGill
To the editor:
The latest issue of the McGill Reporter perfectly reflects our University's mosaic by publishing many different opinions.
Thus, thanks to the report about "McGill's shrinking staff," we are now told that in the last six years our staff was chopped almost equally from top to bottom in all categories, but "the only types of staff to increase in this period were middle managers."
The letters section tells us how a typical representative of the middle managers (the University affairs coordinator or a postgraduate senator) is extremely loyal toward this institution. For him, the literal meaning of "the breach of confidentiality" is more important than all the moral and ethical issues involved.
So far, I have seen this sort of servility only among below-average clerks, technicians or professors who, only by politics, have been promoted to managerial positions. With reference to this senator, it is worth mentioning that even the top University officials are playing this case down and do not wish to know who the "guilty" senator(s) is/are.
They are scared, and so we should appreciate all the more The Reporter's earlier publication — so furiously attacked by the one-dimensional senator — of four different opinions about the Senate affair.
The second letter from economics professor Tom Velk, in contrast, shows a healthy scepticism toward our alma mater's system of "topdown mode of operation". His Arts Faculty was treated very arrogantly by the principal after passing a motion which "allows the individual members of the arts faculty to play a greater role in the appointment of their dean".
Now we can understand better why people like Professor Velk want to be in "a cooperative organization, organized from the bottom up".
By way of historical analogy, remember that during the Russian, Chinese or Cambodian turbulence arranged by their Dear Leaders, the number of cut heads from the bottom up to the top also dwindled proportionally. A few ad hoc party activists or army sergeants, who were not too smart or too posh, were given a chance for limited promotion in exchange for servile service to the regime.
(In this contiguity we can) note the nervous reaction of our senior administrators during the Senate's debate when an unnamed professor asked "why there was money to hire additional managers, but not professors". The administrators provided four different answers but it didn't satisfy law professor Richard Janda who complained about "fewer staff in support positions".
The last Reporter's openness to different opinions is put in context by the op/ed letter entitled "Universities imperilled", which was also published in La Presse, Le Devoir and The Gazette. So now we have four great "educational tenors" who are singing the same song in four places at the same time. The only question is, don't we need rather to find good composers (writers) for new songs?
I hope that The Reporter's crew will not be punished (stoned) by our orthodox "coordinators" if they publish my letter, because according to Mr.Déry, the Reporter is "the official voice of the University."
Technician, Department of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering
While, as evident in the last issue, Mr. Déry and I disagree about a few things, I think it's unfair of you to characterize him as displaying "servility" to the administration. His concerns about a breach of Senate confidentiality were legitimate even if I didn't entirely agree with his point of view.
I don't know where you got the impression that the administrators responding to the question about middle managers in Senate were "nervous."
It seems that you share a few characteristics with the Communist regimes you deride — you're quick to divide the world into "black hats" and "white hats," and to demonize ("servility," "nervous") those you disagree with.
As for being the "official voice" of the University, the Reporter doesn't make that claim. We are McGill's official newspaper, and as such, try to cover the views of the administration and everyone else who plays a role in keeping this place going.