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UBC Publications

The Ubyssey Mar 22, 1996

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 Makinj
ftofanashint
Political poetry breathes Fire Power
The acclaimed and often
controversial writer Chrystos was
at the First Nations House of
Learning last week to read from
her fifth book of poetry, Fire Power.
Chyrystos spoke with Jenn Kuo
about some ofthe issues close to her
heart—including Native rights,
racism and feminism.
Chrystos is often billed as a Native
lesbian writer, but she shuns the
label. "If Norman Mailer is just a
writer, then I'm just a writer. They don't
ever say Norman Mailer is a white,
heterosexual, wife-basher writer. Why do
I have to carry labels?"
Despite her resistance to this kind of
typecasting, Chrystos is proud of being
both a First Nations woman and queer.
"I have to claim those labels because a
lot of people can't. A lot of First Nations
people can't publicly be queer, so I am
the front line and they can kind of be
there, but they don't have to risk losing
their jobs or family support."
Chrystos' writings reflect her own
personal growth. By her own admission,
she was an angry, uncompassionate and
humourless young woman when she wrote her
first book.
Humour has now
become a way for her to
"talk about oppression,
racism, and all the different
ways colonizers have
attacked us." With humour,
she finds the people she
writes about are often more
willing to laugh at themselves than when attacked
head on with the facts.
She also doesn't shy
away from her reputation as
an "in-your-face writer;"
Chrystos attracts criticism
like a lightening rod. "I find
that just about every place
■*      f *»"V-»'w. t . *.i »  r.*  '
I go, certain poems get the audience all
stirred up. What I've understood is that
white is normal and white is status quo, so
that when you point out to a white person
that there is another reality of which they
have no understanding whatsoever, they get
angry because they've been brainwashed to
believe that they are the centre of the
universe."
The daughter of a Menominee man,
Chrystos has avoided writing
about her Native culture through
traditional stories—her father told her they
should be kept within the family. "What
happens when you tell those kinds of
stories is that they become appropriated
by Caucasian people."
While she wants the elders' stories kept
alive, she doesn't trust the publishing
industy. "I am half white [her mother is
Lithuanian/Alsacian], but I have a certain
responsibility to traditional people to try
and protect them. I need to be kind of like
a front line warrior, being an interface
without giving away important spiritual
information. [This] makes space for
traditional life to continue."
Racism is a big part of Chrystos'
thoughts, and she's currently writing an
essay about it. "I really think that a lot of
the racism against Native people is the
jealousy [of not being able to keep one's
culture and language] and also fear of the
fact that this is our land.
"Oddly enough, Native people have
something in common with white people
in that Native people have had our
languages stripped from us and our
children taken in attempts to destroy our
culture. The so-called white people in this
culture have all lost their languages and
cultures. [They] cannot speak their
ancestors' language and [don't] even know
sometimes where their grandparents are
from. Their children live in a sort of
I Wonderbread world where they are really
^unconnected."
Chrystos' out-spoken views on
feminism have also earned her
some critics. She sees the feminist
movement as having taken some
"disturbingly non-crucial" directions in
recent years. She says it's hard for her to
focus her concern on abortion rights, for
example—though she believes abortion is
every woman's right.
Chrystos is more concerned about
issues closer to home like lesbian
battering, an issue seldom discussed even
in the gay community.
Chrystos sees two issues at work in this.
"Since lesbians are already hated, for us
to admit that we do anything wrong within
our own community is extremely
frightening and could be used against us.
The other issue is that a lot of the time,
battering happens around issues of race
or class differences which are other silent
topics. If you acknowledge battering, then
you have to acknowledge class conflict,
which is something buried and not focused
on, and race conflict."
Chrystos believes lesbians don't want
to talk about battering because ofthe myth
in the lesbian community that all women
are strong. '"We take care of ourselves and
we are so great, so to admit that you've
been battered is to admit that you're
helpless. And, of course, if you're a
feminist, you would never hurt a woman,
so therefore to admit that you're a batterer
is even more difficult to do."
She also believes battering is partly
attributable to "internalized homophobia"; it often occurs when someone
unhappy about being queer takes this
frustration out on his or her lover. "It's
someone close, someone handy, and
they're not going to tell on you. You beat
up on your lover who has no power and
can't do anything about it."
The first ten to twelve years of Chyrstos'
lesbian relationships involved battering.
It wasn't until a therapist told her she
didn't have to be beaten to be loved that
she understood. "It never dawned on me
to recognize that because I had been
battered throughout my childhood, I
understood love as violence."
Even after this period of physically
violent relationships ended, she spent
another ten years in emotionally abusive
ones. "It takes you forever [to recover from
emotional abuse]. I think there's a lot of
emotional battering in lesbian relationships.
I really see that what we need to talk about
when we talk about lesbian ethics is how
we treat each other. I want to address how
we can be respectful to one another."
Chrystos read at UBC as part ofthe
Gay and Lesbian lecture series.
"Going to a queer event was not
necessarily comfortable [for me. My] first
identity [is] as First Nations, that's where
[I] place [my] heart, and then after that
I'm a woman, because I see women as an
oppressed class in all cultures as we live
today. Next, I see myself as a poet, and
the last thing I identify [as] is a lesbian.
"I have been a lesbian for such a long
time now-it's been 31 years. In being a
lesbian all those years, I have not suffered
so much for being a lesbian as for being
First Nations, for being a woman or for
being a political poet. All my struggles
about ethics are within the lesbian
community and I am very profoundly a
lesbian, but it's not really my first identity."
Chrystos is encouraged by the news that
her biggest fans are under 25, because it
is the young people who will be carrying
the world forward. "I want to inspire
people to demand to be treated with
respect. Each of us [has] a human right to
be treated with respect."
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Call The Ubyssey
culture
Presidents with whimsy in '96!
The Presidents
ofthe USA
Mar 20 at the
Commodore
by Bryce Edwards
One day in the misty,
distant past, Dr. Seuss and Johnny
Rotten had a love child. And they
named it The Presidents of the
United States of America, for it had
three heads. And it was good, and
brought joy and silliness to all
whom it touched.
The Presidents visited Vancouver on Wednesday, the first day
of spring. How fitting, as they are
one of the more refreshing bands
making noise these days. Everything about them is spring-like:
their sunny-side-up lyrics, the
frolicking guitar licks, the frisky
bass lines, the invigorating lack
of depth ... oops. I didn't mean
that. Well, not in a bad way. But
it is time we serious pop culture
critics admit one of the basic
truths that make our lives so damn
miserable: shallow is fun. There,
I said it. Shallow is fun, but we
have to pretend to be disgusted
by its lack of thought, carefree
effort and cheap reliance on trite
sentimentality.
The Presidents take shallow to
a new level, however, so we can
escape the trap this time and say
they engage in ... whimsy. Yeah,
that's it. Whimsy. The Presidents
of the United States of
America brought their
homespun hurricane of image-heavy, content-light
whimsy to an adoring crowd
at the Commodore. Good.
About here is where the Presidents duck-walk onto stage.
Imagine Tony the Tiger saying
"they're grrrreat!" and you will
have the right mental image for
the Presidents. They are, simply
put, a grrrrrreat live band. They
are one of those rare bands who
genuinely like their audience, instead of holding them in a kind
of flirting disdain. Granted, it may
be hard for rock musicians to love
crowds who, whenever they look
up, stretch fifteen hands towards
them grasping for... what? A guitar pick? A high-five? Their car
keys? The mind boggles. But the
'Dents ate it up.
Guitarist Dave Dederer let the
crowd play his guitar. If you've
been to a rock concert this century, you will understand the kind
of love, trust, confidence and stupidity it takes to do something like
that. And the crowd loved them
right back. In fact, the Presidents
were so charming no one really
noticed that they were playing
the same three songs all night. So
who cares?
Really, what it comes down to
is that you have no right not to
like the Presidents. They're not
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BRITISH COLUMBIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
'tween classes
March 15 - March 22
AMS Galler
"All in Place" presents prints and
print-installations by four UBC fine
arts students Alice Koan, Tanya
Salas, Jacqueline Weston, Victor
Wong. Monday - Friday 10:00am-
4:00pm.
March 18 ■ March 23
A Woman's Corned1
Presented by the English
Students' Society of UBC.
Vancouver Little Theatre, 3102
Main, 8:00pm.
March 19 - April 3
Festival of One-Act Plavs
From the theatre 400 class. All
shows in the Dorothy Somerset
studio at 12:30pm.
Friday, March 22
Chris Ballew is one of the jumpier Presidents of the USA.
Let's see Clinton do this with his sax! chris nuttall-smith photo
epic grandstanders like Meatloaf,
or annoying like the Bare Naked
Ladies. They're fun, great musicians, catchy as all hell, considerate, amusing, the list goes on.
So they may be trifling, but there
is always room for dessert. Besides, when all the bands in Seattle were becoming millionaires
singing things like, "I don't mind
stealing bread from the mouths
of decadence," the Presidents
blissfully responded with "millions of peaches, peaches for
free."
Peaches may have a short shelf
life, but a little syrup goes a long
way.
Policy Analyst
ALMA MATER SOCIETY
UBC STUDENT UNION
The Position:
Reporting to the President, the Policy Analyst is an informational resource lor
primarily lire student Executive, hut also Student Council, student societies,
representatives, and students. The Policy Analyst keeps track ol relevant
issues and news items, takes on research projects, researches and writes policy, assists the student Executive and cultivates external communications   and
answers questions from both inside and outside the University.   Working
hours and job tasks are demanding yet flexible.
Qualifications:
Candidates considered for the position of Policy Analyst will have at least
two years of post-secondary education. They will have excellent information-
gathering and writing skills, and have the ability to communicate well on all
levels.   They will have extensive experience with Student Government,
detailed knowledge of the 15.C. Post-Secondary Education system, a strong
understanding of B.C. and Canadian politics and proven ability in strategic
planning. Computer literacy and familiarity with the Internet and other information technologies are definite assets.   The ability to sort and organize
information is essential.   Applicants should be adaptable and quick to learn.
Please send a resume in confidence, no later by March 27, 1996, to:
Search Committee
c/o David Borins, AMS President
Alma Mater Society of UBC
Room 238 - 6138 SUB Blvd.
Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z1
The Alma Mater Society is an equal opportunity employer.
Association.
Final Bzzr Garden
Put on by GLBUBC 4:00 - 8:00 pm
inSUB212A.
Monday, March 25
GLBUBC Lunch Social
12:30 in SUB 125N (down the
stairwell next to The Ubyssey's
office).
Ooen Forum on Taiwan   ■ Jim Hayhurst readin
3:00 - 6:00 pm in Angus 210. With
UBC professor Dr Diana Lary and
Joseph Lee, Public Relations
Consultant of East meets West.
Sponsored by the UBC Taiwan
12:30 pm at Vancouver Public
Library, 350 W Georgia St, Alice
McKay Room.
GLBUBC Discussion Grou
5:30 - 8:00 pm at the Grad Students
Centre penthouse library.
Russell Thornton readin
7:30 pm at Vancouver Public
Library, 350 W Georgia St, Peter
Kaye Room.
Tuesday, March 26
Walkina Enthusiasts!
Slide show on walks through
Tuscany with lecture by Susanna
Bertoia, BFA. 7:00 pm at Open
Road Travel at 3415 W. Broadway.
Admission is free but RSVP 732-
9559 as seating is limited.
The Ubyssey
Friday, A/larch 22,1996 news
Administration according to Jennie Chen
by Janet Winters
Why does the Student
Administrative Commission have
meetings behind closed doors?
a SAC has had most of the
say in administrative
going-ons around here and most
ofthe time they don't want to be
coloured by the political aspect.
They want to remain as administrative and sort of distant as
possible...it makes it more free for
discussion, so people can voice
their opinions...it provides them
with a more open atmosphere.
How could going in camera
possibly encourage student discussion
or involvement?
The members of the Student
Administrative Commission...
They're appointed to this
position... In order to work
properly, to function without that
political aspect, they want to go by
what they determine as the rules.
Would you like to see SAC have
less meetings behind closed doors?
UI usually have no
problem with students
coming in and listening in but
sometimes, especially when the
subject is more political than
administrative, I think it is at
certain times necessary to go in
camera.
Are you going to ask intramurals
to leave the SUB?
We are, to be perfectly frank...
They have an entire building.
The intramurals are an asset to
the university. I just feel they're
in a building and we need space
desperately for clubs and for
bookings.
Is Colour-Connected going to get
their own office?
Yes...usually the moving time
is around the end of August or
the beginning of September.
If the rule worked against the
student, would you be more of a rule-
follower or a rule-changer?
U I'd like to work pro-
student, but rules are
JENNIE CHEN—settling in to her new
Administration.
there for a reason. I'd probably
go for the rule-follower unless it's
repression or things like that.
What ever happenned to the four
year renovation plan for the SUB?
U Apparently the negotiations fell through due
to money so right now we're
trying to restart negotiations with
the university.
So is the original four year plan
dead?
I would say so, yes.
What kind of leader will you be
for women on campus?
I'd like to show that women
can go far. Three out of five
[AMS] executives are female, and
that's great.
How would you encourage more
women to seek political postion?
I've found there's quite a few
women. You've seen Janice
[Boyle] around here for a long
time...these days I feel there's no
stopping us.
What do you think about Glen
Clark's promise to freeze tuition?
role as the AMS' new Director of
RICHARD LAM PHOTO
a I'm of course delighted,
but reservedly so...this is
probably more of an election
ploy than anything. But I have no
complaints, I'm just worried what
will happen next year, and I'm
also worried about where the
money's going to come from.
How are you going to vote in the
upcoming provincial election ?
I haven't really thought about
that...I'll probably lean towards
Glen Clark.
As a student leader, what are you
planning to do beyond your por folio ?
I'd like to encourage more
people to get involved... If we
make the effort to reach out to
them, I think it really makes a big
difference.
What is the most important issue
facing students today?
Ult is tuition, I think.
There's also quality of
education. Tuition increases, to
tell you the truth I think that's
inevitable. The role of the AMS
is to soften the blow and make
sure the quality of education is
maintained.
Why are tuition fee increases
inevitable?
I look at the Canadian
economy, look at our debt. I
think everyone has to put in their
worth. Tuition [increases], of
course, I'm against them. I think
education should be open to
everyone, but this is reality. We
just have to deal with it, and I
think Allison [Dunnett] is doing a
good job; she'll do a wonderful job.
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Friday, March 22,1996
The Ubyssey Panhandlers, pedestrians and politicians
What is it like to he homeless in Vancouver?
Is welfare really a disincentive to work?
Patti Sonntag spent three days and three
nights living on the streets to find out.
D
. o you have any spare
I change mister, do you
have any change? Have
a nice night. Do you have any
change, do you have any spare
change? Have a nice night.
I learned to do this by sitting
beside a girl as she panhandled.
She was too shrill. I can do better.
I mention change casually, not
grating so hard on people's
sympathies. My tone doesn't say,
give me money, you bastard.
-Are you cold?
A man stops in front of me.
He frowns when he notices my
plastic Safeway bag stuffed with
clothes.
-Are you hungry? Come with
me. I don't have much to do.
Two hours to kill. It's a good way
to spend them.
He speaks sofdy, embarrassed.
""ubyssey
has a few compilation
CDs to give away ...
Elastica, Stone Roses.Fiter, Weezer,
Flaming Lips, King Missile, Sonic
Youth, Sloan, Porno for Pyros, etc,
plus the never-before-released
Dinosaur!, cover of The Cure's
JUST LIKE HEAVEN,
I am wolfing down cheese
pizza in the back of a dark
room while he watches. I
am silent.
-I'm a graphic designer. It's
not a bad job. I draw things,
business cards, stuff like that
Do you know what a business
card is? But enough about me,
what about you? How did you
end up out there?
To him, I am Patti, twenty
years old, quit school in grade
nine. I have travelled over
Canada so many times I forget
where I've been. I lived in
Calgary for four months.
-Do you want another
piece? There's not much
difference between me and
you. There is something
wrong with this country, when
people slip through the cracks
and don't come up again.
When people like you are
slowly being pushed over the
brink.
He looks at me closely,
checking to see how far over
the edge I have gone. I wrap
up the remnants of the second
piece of pisjsa with a paper plate
and put it in my pocket—in case I
need it later.
-Our children will never see
social programs like the ones we
knew. But I'm boring you. Can
you read? Do you have a place to
stay? You can sleep on my couch.
It is raining on Granville, but
the sidewalk is busy. A man
walks up and down, begging bus
transfers from people, then
selling them for seventy-five
cents. Another sits under the
Cheese Pizza sign, covered by
a blanket with a hole in the
middle. He always smiles. There
are two young girls with
dreadlocks and body piercings
who sit together, rarely
speaking, drugged. There is a
group of men who stand at the
corner selling drugs. Two boys
glare as they ask passers-by for
change.
Pedestrians wear coloured
raincoats. The homeless wear
gray.
I walk to Salvation Army,
looking for a place to sleep.
They tell me to call the
Women's Emergency Shelter.
The woman who answers
sounds angry.
-How do you spell it? And
what's your social security
number? From Calgary? When
did you get here?
Patti Sonntag, social security
number unknown, destitute.
Then you're going to have to
go back, Patti. There are new rules
now, and they're very strictly
enforced. If you stay, you will have
to take care of yourself. The Fine
Day house will take you for a
night, but I told them to check
your ID. And they'll have to call
your parents to confirm your
identity.
Parents?! look for other places
to sleep. But I don't know where
to!
t
thin like death.
-You've been working 'ard.
He tells me he knows a place
we can afford. His name is
George. He is homeless. He
knows what to do.
I am found.
- oncem over the debt has been
growing since the 1980s. Politicians
such as Ralph Klein and Mike
Harris base their campaigns on the
claim that they will eliminate the
deficit. They say that welfare and
social programs like Medicare are ihe
main contributors to a problem
which undermines the future ofthe'
country and drives away potential
foreign investors.
Andthesocialprograms, says Klein,
are harmful to the country's work ethic:
the Canadian system creates welfare
bums, who don't work because they
don't have to.
$
'2.00 beers.
say that the debt problem is
exaggerated and welfare is being
unfairly targeted as the cause. They
point out that 50 percent of debt
accumulation was due to huge tax
breaks to the wealthy and to large
corporations. According to them, only
about four percent of welfare
recipients are actual abusers ofthe
Be
'enoit is sitting next to me
while I panhandle. He has been
living on the street for as long
as he can remember.
-While I was in court, they all
had to run to the bathroom.
They were puking. They had
not accepted that I was the son
of God, and they all had to puke.
I am the real judge. They were
all puking. Jesus was not the son
of God. He was the son of the
Devil. He is my enemy. I am
the real son. See, here on my
passport: my name - le Fils de
Dieu. The son of God, it means.
My father, he lives here in
Vancouver. You can meet him.
I did not know that he was my
father, at first. But then I know.
He is le pere de Dieu. My
mother? I hate 'er. She is Lucifer.
She was sent to test me.
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It is one o'clock in the
morning. I have fourteen
dollars.
A man who has been
sitting on the other side of
the street walks over. He is
The Sunseeker — $1520
G eorge and I sit in a bar with his
friend Andi, drinking watery
beer. They are both from
Montreal. We ran into Andi by
accident. We can sleep in his
room.
George and Andi smoke
constantly, cigarettes and pot The
bar has crumbling black walls, and
the barmaid is a silent old man
who walks in a circle around the
bar, emptying ashtrays. Most of
the younger people are French
Canadians.
Andi turns to me.
-We are 'ere every night
Destitute?
We stay until the bar closes.
i^ome government watch groups
who advocate the rights ofthe poor,
such as the End Legislated Poverty
Attention: BA Graduates of '96
system, and cutting social programs
will, in the long run, lower
Canadian living standards. There
is a need, they say, for the rich to
support the poor and for equal access
to health and educational services.
Not everyone agrees, however.
Frank Tester, professor in the
department of Social Work at
UBC, advocates higher taxes in
Canada, especially for the
corporate sector. He says that in
countries like Sweden and Holland,
where social programs are thriving
there is a different work ethic that
accepts high levels of taxation in
order to keep up general standards
of living.
"It's a question of what do we
want? Do we want Canada to
reflect our social and personal
values, "he adds, "or do we want
cities like Vancouver to
look Hke the bombed-out
inner city ofL.A. ?"
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A
: Andi's room, we sleep on
the floor. He lives in the basement
of a house. There are four of us
lying in a row. We sleep in our
clothes. I am the only person who
does not speak French. I do not
know where I am.
In the morning, George, Andi
and I buy stale bread, peanut
butter, eggs, juice. I wheel
George and the groceries home
in a cart, through the rain. He
sparks another joint.
We are broke and frozen, but
George is laughing.
-In the summer, we do
squeegee, uh?
I ask what squeegee is. When
we get home, Andi runs
downstairs, brings me pictures
of last summer. They show eight
people in their early twenties
washing cars, crammed into a
room above Granville that they
all shared.
-With squeegee, you can make
$ 100 a day. Good money, that But
this summer will not be as good
as last one.
I ask why.
-New rules. Less people will be
here. Three months before you
can get welfare, you know?
u
nder the new BC benefits
program which came into effect Jan.
1, 1996, employable youth were
docked $46 a month from their
welfare checks. A monthly $200
deductible for working welfare
recipients was eliminated. The
amount of allowable assets for single
welfare recipients was lowered from
$2500 to $500; for families, from
$5000 to $1000. Job training
programs will be implemented in
September to help those effected by
the cuts to develop marketable skills.
l^oyouhave any spare change?
Do you have any change, sir?
Have a nice night
Only men give me money.
Never women. Young women,
near my age, sometimes
apologize for not giving me
anything. Women over 30 give
me nothing. Poor people give
me money. Native people give
me money. Homeless people
give me money.
Middle class white kids ask
me for drugs.
The coins and bills mean
nothing to me now. $3.00,
$2.25, enough coins and I can
eat. They fall through my fingers
onto the counter at Subway. The
sandwich disappears before I
can taste it.
vJ eorge and Andi introduce
me to Chris. They tell me we are
going to eat at the Hare Krishna's.
Free meals.
We have to sneak onto the
skytrain, but there is an official
standing at the top of the stairs.
We start asking people for their
passes. We get none. A man walks
over to us. He sells stolen, unused
bus transfers. For homeless people
they are free. He looks at the
tickets judiciously, tears them and
gives the stubs to us.
I run onto the skytrain. Fred
and Chris run with me.
I mareKrishna. Hare hare krishna.
Krishna krishna. Hare hare. Hare
Krishna.
People dance in the
temple around us. Some
jump up and down crazily.
But we get free food.
George looks at me.
-There is a place in
Victoria, you can stay a
month for free. Two meals
a day. All for free. Want to
come with me?
I imagine George with
two meals and a dry bed.
Happy. A whole month
of it.
11 is after two am. Troll has
a stripe of hair on top of his
head. I see him move as he
settles his head into his army
bag to sleep.
I ask him if he ever found
ajob in Vancouver.
-Sure. Once.
Construction. I was lucky. I
walked up and asked and
they gave it to me.
-Ever      tried      the
employment office?
-Yeah. But don't bother. No-one
can call you to tell you to come
work without a phone.
He settles his head into his
army bag to sleep.
We are in the basement of an
abandoned building. There are
other people in the room, but I
can't see them. I am afraid. I
sleep holding pepper spray.
^incejanuary 1,2000peoplefrom
out of province have been refused
welfare. The provincial government
claims that, since transfer payments
from the federal government have been
reduced, BC cannot afford to provide
welfare far the rest ofthe country 'spoor.
When asked, most homeless people
say they come to BC because it's warm.
I knock on the door of the
Fine Day Emergency Shelter.
A lady with an Italian accent
lets me in.
To her, I am Sarah Mansfield.
Born April 15, 1975. SIN #727
327 840 (invalid). No ID.
Withdrawn, silent, hostile.
She phones the central
exchange and confers with a
clerk. She says I can stay the
night, but I have to go to the
welfare office in the morning.
-Sarah. Sit down. Do you
know where you are, Sarah?
This is an emergency shelter.
We take people in crisis. Do
you have anywhere else to
stay? Sarah, do you understand? Sign here.
T
I he room I am assigned to has
two other women sleeping in it.
I lie on the bed fully clothed,
with my plastic shopping bag of
clothes next to me on the bed. I
fall asleep with my arms
wrapped around it.
go back to Calgary.... The
bureau might help you pay for
a bus ticket. It's up to you.
I use my two dollars to buy a
bus ticket to my apartment At
my door I dig among the clothes
in the shopping bag for the key.
I look around at the white
walls and three rooms and feel
how the air is dry from central
heating. It is over. I survived.
I grieve for George, Troll,
Andi, Benoit, that they have no
key buried in their bag.
In the morning, I tell the
worker that I am going to the
welfare office. She unlocks
the door and repeats my
name to me over and over.
A
#»t the welfare office, the
worker looks at my form,
then looks at my plastic
shopping bag;
-Do you have any money?
-Two dollars.
-You have to live in B.C.
for three months before
you're eligible... you should
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The Ubyssey
Friday, March 22,1996
Friday, March 22,1996
The Ubyssey opinion
If you're serious about eliminating racism
One day racism will end. One day," says a pamphlet prepared by the committee for a culturally inclusive campus in celebration of
March 21, the International Day for the Elimination
of Racial Discrimination.
We wonder, though, if this is anything more than
tokenism—a gesture of good will replacing real will to
create change.
There's more to racism than slurs and insults. To
truly eliminate racism, we need to understand that we
are dealing with a complex problem.
Change comes with the realization that we live in
a country founded on racist principles; a country that
criminalized the Native way of life and that has allowed
Native peoples, who make up two percent of our population, to become 20 percent of our prison populations;
a country that trades with dictators all over the globe;
a country that has benefitted from the exploitation and,
to some extent, has helped create the poverty of Third
World countries.
A country that, to this day, refuses to implement
Native self-determination.
This is not a guilt trip.
Rather, it's an appeal to create change, true
change, which cannot be realised by ignoring our past
and present policies. To do that would be to whitewash the issue.
To create change, we need to understand that
when we discuss the Indian Act, we are not talking
about remote injustices that took place in the past and
that have no relevance to our future. We need to examine how our past affects our present. And more importantly, how we benefit from that past.
We also need to examine the context in which this
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is taking place. We need to ask ourselves, really,
how committed are we to ehrninate racism?
We live in a country that has once again reduced
its international aid. We are members of a community
that questions the very need to have affirmative action
programs, thus refusing to acknowledge that racial discrimination even exists. We are also members of a
university community that is sweeping allegations of
systemic discrimination in its Political Science department under the rug.
So we ask again: how committed are we to eliminate racism? Are we going to go to an anti-racism rally
and then carry on with our lives, having done our part,
or are we going to start working towards creating real
change?
As Malcolm X once said, you don't stick a knife
in someone's back seven inches, pull it out four, and
call that progress.
We hope March 21 is only a start, a means not an
end.
We hope that that one day, the day to eliminate
racism, is NOW.
the
ubyssey
A/larch 22,1996
volume 77 issue 46
Perspective
The Ubyssey is a founding member of Canadian University Press.
The Ubyssey is published Tuesdays and Fridays by The Ubyssey
Publications Society at the University of British Columbia. Editorial
opinions expressed are those of the newspaper and not necessarily
those of the university administration or the Alma Mater Society.
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today went on record as the weirdest day ever, the return of the
wanderer was marked by fanfare and fruit grenades, while sarah
o'donnell trilled a siren song of hot cocoa steam into scott
hayward's helpless ears, matt thompson traced lazy holding patterns in janet winters' sand box -while patti. sonntag returned wi th
dermatological souvenirs from atrip through joe dark's oyster
patch, federico barahona and wah kee ting constructed Ihe completed works aided only by glue, scissors, alison cole and a copy
of jenn kuo's latest tide chart while chris nutall-smith frantically
dialed the "Witless Protection Program and peter chattaway and a
lam-lam-laminated richard lam puzzled over the riddle of the
sphincter, siobhan roantree danced through the swirling bubbles;
ben koh and bryce edwards did not
Editors:
Coordinating Editor: Siobhan Roantree
Copy Editor: Sarah O'Donnell
News Editor. Matt Thompson
Culture Editor: Peter T. Chattaway
Sports Editor: Scott Hayward
National/Features Editor: Federico Barahona
Production Coordinator: Joe Clark
Photo Coordinator: Jenn Kuo
Teaching English in Eastern
Europe
Approximately two and a half
years ago, I sat at my window in
Gage, staring outside and wondering what the heck I could do
with the B A that was due to come
my way shortly. Opportunities in
Vancouver just didn't exist, but I
had heard crazy stories about
others like me who went abroad
and began teaching English.
Could I do that? Well, I spoke
English, so I guessed I could
teach it. Sure, no problem. Piece
of cake. The next day I set out
on a research expedition, and in
a few weeks a total of 62 letters
were flying all over the globe requesting work. In only a few
months, I was certain, I would
be agonizing oer decisions of
whether to take Tokyo at $60
grand a year or Poland at $20
grand.
Actually, only about fifteen letters received replies, including a
telephone interview long-distance from Taiwan the day before I was due to leave for
Prague. The Czech reply was one
ofthe first, offering me a one year
contract in a town I had never
heard of.
I took it. I wrote to accept the
job, booked a flight to Prague at
Travel Cuts, and in August the
headmistress's husband, who
spoke almost no Englsih met me
at the airport transferred me to
my flat in this town 100km from
Prague. It was a nice flat, furnished, and two rooms plus a
bathroom. Prague is different.
On the subject of actually
teaching, I had expected a little guidance. After all, I had
told them I had no experience. I got no guidance.
"Last year's teacher," I was
"have gone" and "went," or
"much luggage" and "many
suitases," could you explain it?
If you are thinking of teaching
English abroad, and you can't
answer these questions, you're in
for a rough time. A book from
the VCC ESL bookshop will
make life a lot easier and may
even save your job. A BA in
English literature is NOT enough
to ready you for teaching this
twisted tongue.
If you do decide to go ahead
without experience, get an
idea first of the students'
abilities with a few tests.
"Write a famous fairy tale
told, "recommended this (fRSfl?CJlV£ in English" will produce
textbook for this year. No, we howls of protest but you'll
don't know if she used it last year.
Any other questions? How to
teach? Oh, you'll figure it out.
Don't worry."
So it was in at the deep end,
eyes closed. The textbook
proved useless and I made up
most ofthe lessons myself, leaping back and forth to whatever I
thought the students needed
most help with at the time. This
was really tough, because at the
time I had no idea of English
grammar. Think about it. If a student came to you and asked
about the differences between
get a very good idea of what
needs to be taught.
If you are thinking of teaching
in Eastern Europe next year,
here's a litde advice which may
help to smooth the way.
1. The market for teachers in
big cities is now getting saturated.
You need experience in that
country, or a TEF1 degree and
experience, to get a decent post.
If you don't have contacts or experience, your best bet is to request a post outside the cities, and
then try to move in as soon as
possible. There's quite a lot of
work in small towns, and the cost
of living is lower, too.
2. Czech, Polish and Hungarian are very difficult to learn.
Don't count on picking it up as
you go along. And a basic knowledge of the language makes it
much easier to understand the
students' problems with learning
English. You don't need fluency;
you do need a basis.
3. Eastern Europe is still quite
cheap to live in for a Westerner.
Because of this, a really good
strategy is to come in April or
May to the area of your choice,
and start pestering schools in
person to hire you for the next
year. When you have secured a
job, you can "do the Europe
thingf' for a few months, then
return. But don't arrive penniless
especially in August expecting to
find work immediately. The customs people might not even let
you in-
To finish, remember this. If you
decide to come to Eastern Europe to teach, it could be unpleasant, miserable, and difficult. But
it probably won't, certainly not
if you put some effort in, and I
guarantee that, whatever else it
is, it'll be interesting.
Kathy Panton received a BA in
English from UBC in 1994.
LETTERS POLICY: Letters to the editor must be under 300 words. "Perspectives" are opinion pieces over 300 words but under 750 words and are run according to space.
"Freestyles" are opinion pieces written by Ubyssey staff members. Priority will be given to letters and perspectives over freestyles unless the latter is time sensitive. Opinion
pieces will not be run unless the identity of the writer has been verified. Please include your phone number, student number and signature (not for publication) as well as your year
and faculty with all submissions. ID will be checked when submissions are dropped off at the office of The Ubyssey, otherwise verification will be done by phone.
The Ubyssey
Friday, March 22,1996 '¥mil
Musicolumn
Carolyn Arends — I Can
Hear You [Reunion/BMC]
I first saw Carolyn Arends some
five years ago at Langley's Club 88.
At the time, shortly before her runner-up victory in CFOX's Demo Listen Derby, rumour had K that producer Brown Bannister <the guy who
gave Amy Grant her headstart) was
in the audience to check her out.
He must have liked her. Now, at long last, we have the
album-an uplifting and soul-stirring medley ofthe triple-
A variety. Overall comparisons vocal and musical to the
likes of Sheryt Crow and Indigo Girls would not be out of
order, though Arends gives her songs a uniquely personal
spin. She's at her strongest when she crafts stories and
images that evoke a childlike sense of cosmic awe, as in
'Reaching': "There's a time I can recall /Four years old
and three feet tall / Trying to touch the stars and the
cookie Jar / And both were out of reach."
Unfortunately, the album's latter half drinks a mite
deeply from the well of cliches: the lyrics to 'Home Fires
Burning* and 'All Is Welt' barely rise above their titles. But
when Arends sets her mind to it, as on This Is the Stuff,'
she can fill the trftest of sayings with personal reminiscences and heartfelt emotions that make the old and
banal sound positively fresh. Let's hope H doesnt take
five years for the next album. - Peter T. Chattaway
Henry Pureed — A Collection of Ayres for
recorders [Virgin Veritas,]
This 27-track CD definitely bears repeated listening,
but I have to say my initial exposure to this collection of
Purcelfs baroque recorder music immediately left me
mesmerized.
Performed by La Symphonie du Marais and directed
by Hugo Reyne, this disc consists of three baroque recorders, the theorbo, guitar, harpsichord, organ and the
now-extinct viola da gamba. Nothing could be more representative of the Baroque period than this ensemble of
traditional period instruments playing the works of the
English baroque master.
Each track is an attractive variation on the same
charming melodies, moving from light, upbeat and confidently articulated suites to slower-tempoed, serenely
flowing sonatas. This collection of ayres includes all the
baroque recorder's many aspects: birdsong, pastoral,
atmospheres, shepherds, love and also death and the
supernatural.
Delving into the Baroque period's vast volume of music presents something of a challenge in terms of choosing uniquely appealing undiscovered works. And what
could be more gratifying than the sounds of beautifully
performed baroque melodies? -Alison Cole
^VUN6 THE ST0*te„
TOGETHER
PASSOVER
EASTER
'",s* * Christian P^6*
Wednesday, March 27,1996 5:00 to 6:00 PM
At HILLEL HOUSE on the UBC Campus
More Info 224-4748 Or 224-3722
SPONSORED BY THE UBC CHAPLAINS' ASSOCIATION
culture
Batty old men
and mental indigestion
Lamerica
Mar 22 - 28 at the Ridge theatre
by Tessa Moon and Sam Arnold
Take a would-be international swindler and a temporally dislocated batty
old man. Throw in several large handfuls of disturbingly true-to-life refugees. Garnish with a dash
of dirt and a pinch of rubble, and toss it all together
in the devastated landscape of post-Communist Albania. Then sit back and watch as youthful sleaze
grinds itself against a broken country in Gianni
Amelio's Lamerica.
The plot is colourful, the characters off-kilter. Gino
(Enrico Lo Verso), an Italian fraudster, arrives in
Albania in the true spirit of neo-mercantilism—to
create a dummy company to use to milk the Albanian government and economy. Spiro (Camilo
di Mazzarelli), the Albanian septuagenarian chosen to be the figurehead president, is a few
pancakes short of the stack; he believes himself to be 20 years old and possesses a homing instinct which persistently (if somewhat misguidedly) calls him toward Sicily.
MORE FACTS
OLIVER STONE
MISSED:
Writers CS. Lewis
and Aldous Huxley
also died on
November 22,1963.
Coincidence?
When Spiro makes off in the general direction of Italy, Gino sets off in
pursuit, and promptly proceeds to be
ground into the backdrop of unadulterated filth and poverty. The Albanian government discovers the swindle and confiscates Gino's passport.
Sans identification, he melts into the throng of
refugees battling to board outbound ships. It is here
that Gino re-encounters Spiro and is treated to a
renewed deluge of capitalist dreams that somehow
fail to warm the heart.
No one could accuse Amelio of sweetening his
films. Lamerica is all jagged edges and fraying
nerves—a stark snapshot of worlds unraveling, minus euphemisms. The sheer alienation of human
nature, as portrayed in this film, delivers a startling thump upside the North American head.
The setting is unremittingly ugly: there are no
bouncing bambini, bright-eyed hopefuls or studied elegance and nobility amidst poverty.
Lamerica is not for general consumption.
Viewers should be warned of the dangers of mental indigestion and upsets of complacency.
Resume COPIES
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Friday, March 22,1996
The Ubyssey sports
Annual relay event takes campus by storm
JEFF CHANG—helps Shawna Pentland onto the wall.       scott hayward photo
ute nu* society
Mar.22-24 Fri. to Sun., "Norm" Theatre in SUB
7:00 Jumanji
9:30 Get Shorty
UBC Film Society
Check for our flyers
in SUB 247.
film
$3
For 24-Hour Movie Listings call 822-3697
by Scott Hayward
The smell of wood chips
lingering outside SUB is a sign
that winter has turned to spring,
and that students are about to
climb all over each other
Storming the Wall.
The annual five-member team
relay race consists of a 275 yard
swim, a 450m sprint, a 2.8km
cycle, a 1km run and the
storming of a twelve foot wall.
Now in its seventeenth year, the
competition has remained close
to its 1980 roots, except for some
minor route and order changes.
Executive Director of Intramurals Kirstin Andrews says it is
the event's unique style that
keeps drawing a crowd. "People
come out and sit on the hill and
we get easily 2000 spectators,"
she said.
This year's event will attract
about 500 teams. "That's about
2500 people, plus there are the
ironpeople who do it by
themselves, and there are about
30 of them right now," Andrews
said.
Shawna Pentland and Ross
O'Neil are participating on a co-
rec team again this year. "You're
watching all week and you get
involved. Everyone's watching
you, it's exciting," Pentland said.
"It's something you've got to do."
Each team uses a different
strategies to get up the wall. "I
think we've got the best way for
ourselves. It's about 40 seconds
so we're pretty happy about
that," said O'Neil.
Their team sends Jeff Chang
and Jeff Beselt up the wall first.
Then "[Pentland and Sarah
Gibson] go up on top of me," said
"Some guy came
along and did it
by himself—ran,
jumped, grabbed
the top of the
wall in one jump
and hauled
himself over."
—Intramurals
executive director
Kirsten Andrews
O'Neil. "They both go up one at
a time on me, and then Jeff Beselt
comes back around and I go up
on top of him."
In addition to the serious
squads, there usually a few gag
teams. Andrews recalled one
team several years ago where
"the women had dresses and
heels on and the guys had tuxes...
They had a ladder and they
climbed up to the top of the wall
and they had a big lunch and
champagne glasses."
The ironpeople do all four
relay events themselves; at the
wall and they've got a helper.
"For the women, they've got a
female helper who is at the base
of the wall...the males have a
male helper and they're at the
top ofthe wall."
This year there is also a super-
ironperson category where the
women have a helper on top of
the wall, while the men have no
helper. "We used to just have the
ironperson, then some guy came
along and did it by himself-ran,
jumped, grabbed the top of the
wall in one jump and hauled
himself over," Andrews recalled.
"Because of him, we had to add
the [super-ironperson] category.
We've got two guys signed up
and three girls."
In its first year, the wall
was toppled and destroyed in
what Intramurals Coordinator
Nestor Korchinsky called
"completely undisciplined student behaviour." The wall,
however, was back the next year
and has continued to usher in
spring on the Point Grey campus
ever since.
You are cordially invited to attend the Pacific Northwest's premier event
IHE TIGER BALM INlERNAllOiiAlS at UBC War Memorial Gym., March 22 & 23,1996
TIGER BALM &TIGER LINIMENT
FOR PENETRATING RELIEF OF MUSCLE ACHES AND PAINS
18g
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* Natural Son reed * Alcohol Free
57 ml
The next time the aches and pains of the world get to be too much, turn to the world's
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Made from an ancient Chinese formula with ingredients that warm up, soothe
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"Nin Jiom" Herbal Cough Syrup has been trusted for
generations by millions of families throughout the world for
relief from productive coughs due to colds and allergies.
With its unique, proven and time tested Chinese herbal
formula, "Nin Jiom" is a herbal expectorant remedy that works
28 ml to help clear chest congestion, and because it contain no
sedatives or alcohol it won't cause drowsiness. Made with 7 natural
source herbs including mandarin orange, japonica and Chinese licorice,
all blended in a honey base to give a honey-sweet flavour, "Nin Jiom" Herbal
Cough Syrup is a pleasant and natural way to congestion relief for both
adults and children. Unlike other thin chemical based syrups, "Nin Jiom" -
with its thick herb & honey composition, coats an irritated throat better for longer
lasting soothing relief, it is also highly recommended for singers, speakers and
smokers. Look for "Nin Jiom"
next time you are in a leading *j yOl/J? tp»
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Sole Agent: Le Kiu Importing Co. Ltd. Fax: (604) 681-4356
IsAVE   TIGER BALM &      ■ I   SAVE
I  ^([(f   TIGER LINIMENT   I I   £;(W
■ s    ' "■   v 0n«,8gortwoSgTig*rBa.ni, I I     »_J Vt
■ NOW ON      or on* Tlg«r Unlmwit (28ml or 57 ml) ■ I
I
* Trusted and selected by
millions of families from the
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NINJIOM
Herbal Cough Syrup
The natural way to congestion rmiiat
Coupon nxhemal&onty at pantepattogphamrncJa* and aupemmketa
TO THE DEALER: U Kki HiportUg Co Ud.il latmcuee ihe tea vaJu* of th* coupon pan our
ff*a hanging I— pfovMfcg yoo accept I kwn your cuetomer on puritan ot the Imti apodead.
nee ptachaeed In tie pnvtoue 90 d*yi k> cover coupon* pnmM ■* void coupon*. Gen**™ *
mUed becom* our property ReMweemanl «■ ba ma* orty to ratal dMtxeon who redeem
coupon GST oredl at fctctudad In coupon valua wnara appecabl*
Le KJu Importing Co Ltd.
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II
Coupon tadeemabh only at partk^atktgphamucim and supennan^
TO THE DEALER: Le KJu Importing Co. Lid wM mhtmna lha laca valua of coupon pkM our spec- I
Had handing lee providing you accept I from your cuatomar on purchase ol Nam apedfled I
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property Reartiureemenl an ba made ofvy to n
credl la Included In coupon valua nvhaia applcable.
For
HERBAL
couch svm*
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ICouponupiiydatK                   HI ILIll 1LI IU|) Jill III    I     ■   Coupon .«t*y da»: III I J 111IINJ|  L
Dac*mbar31.igK 5 O 3 O i 2 0 O II   DM"** Jt.UBJ 3850221
HERBAL
COUGH SYRUP
ifcUPJCrtOTNTI
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Available at UBC Pharmacy - 5754 University Blvd., open 7 days a week; and leading pharmacies and supermarkets
The Ubyssey
Friday, March 22, 1996

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