Well-articulated rant #1

18 Jun

This week, ElevenHoursAhead will be publishing the thoughts of current and former students on the real value of the student allowance system. Here is today’s personal reflection from Kiri Stevens:

When does that moment come when a parent looks at their children and says “Stupid socialists, dumb communists…I’ve got a f***ing living to make, I had to pay fees too and now I have to work to pay them off!” Okay so maybe the person who said this doesn’t have kids but he did yell this at some Auckland students protesting the changes to the student allowance. When I read that I felt pretty upset – like the comments were directed at me, and since when did it become okay to swear at a bunch of young people. Actually when did it become okay to swear at anyone? But as I read, I was only to become more upset when another bystander was quoted as saying “There are ways to be political and blocking other people is not one of them…[a]nything that doesn’t inconvenience other people would be better, they’re disguising their selfish naivety as noble.” Hang on now, when did protesting become about making sure you are NOT inconveniencing people? Perhaps this guy should have a yarn to um, I don’t know, Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Te Whiti, all those peeps in east Germany in 1989, Egyptians, Tunisians, Burmese, Chinese at Tiananmen square, the millions that took part in Occupy worldwide … So okay, the things that us students are protesting are almost embarrassing to say when viewed in this company, but people protest when they feel like they aren’t being listened to, that their everyday life, however lived, is somehow being judged as not as important as someone else’s. I have got through University relatively unscathed. With the help of a student allowance my student loan is only $20 000. I pity the students that fill my space in the University. Someone just told those future nurses, doctors, teachers, council workers or, dare I say it our future political leaders, that they don’t care. Which is a shame, because us students – well we’re you’re future.

(Which actually as your future representative in parliament – could become a real bummer for you when we decide to cap you superannuation at three years, or four for life lived with honour).

Kiri Stevens

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