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Death so close

Dear TEARAWAY, at the end of last year, in a split second I risked the lives of my brother, my cousin and myself.
I was driving too fast in a car I wasn't used to, along a gravel road. The car rolled and crashed into a tree at the end of a cliff, which also saved our lives.
I came our with only a small cut. My cousin got concussion a day before School Cert, and my brother broke his collar bone in half and had a huge graze across his back.
There is no worse guilt than knowing I could have killed two very important people close to me.
Every day I feel guilty for seeing my brother in pain, knowing it's all my fault. He's not allowed to play any contact sports for a long time, and I know he's not happy about that.
The next time you get into the driver's seat and think it's fun to drive really fast, think about everyone else in the car and what could happen in just one split second - FOREVER GUILTY, Taihape

Only the Lonely

Dear TEARAWAY, I'm a 17 year old girl who came to study English from overseas. I'm pleased about your country, New Zealand. I'm writing my problems which I want you to know. I have been in my college form last April which I am enjoying very much. I'm staying in my college's hostel, though I want to live with a homestay family. But my college hasn't got any families.
I was thinking this year is going to be ok, but it's not. When I came back to NZ from my country after last holidays I was very disappointed, shocked and sad.
Also my reports, th results of exams, and the information about school are always missing somewhere. If I ask my teachers and school office about it, they say 'I don't know. Ask a different person', and I am tossed around others.
Then I feel I should not stay in my college.
Sometimes I miss my family due to loneliness. When I have any problems about anything, I feel very much and cry.
But I never want to give up, I chose my life, and I', thanking my family who was kind enough to understand me. So Iam always trying my best.
If you have any foreign students like me in your school, could you take care of them? And please do not discriminate. We need your help - STRAWBERRY ALLIANCE, Wellington.
P.S. I thank my best friend for being kind to me.

ED REPLIES: Well, Strawberry Alliance, we can't do much about your loneliness, but hopefully the 'surpise' package that's on its way to you, will bring a bit of cheer.

Japan calling

Dear TEARAWAY, I was into TEARAWAY when I was at school. Groovy mag. Anyway now I teach English in Japan and my students want to exchange art work, letter and photos with some Kiwis, so can you help me???
They are funky kids. Their interests are music, baseball, basketball, movies, running, fishing ... and of course Nintendo and Playstation.
Please jack me up some contacts who are into learning about a foreign culture.
Thanks, guys - NIC
ED'S NOTE: You can flood Japan with your letters by writing to: Nicola Finkle, Umaji, Akl Gun, Kochi Ken, 781-6201, JAPAN.

Deaf, or what?

Dear TEARAWAY, Teachers don't listen any more. They often tell me to do something don't listen when I say I have, then make me do it again.
They think I am trying to argue with them. When you ask a question and get an answer that has no relevance at all, there is nothing you can do about it, they just walk off.
It really peeves me off when a teacher tells you off for doing something that you didn't, because no matter who the teacher is they won't listen when you deny ever doing it, it just get you in more trouble.
You can never win with teacher, so don't try unless you enjoy spending your spending your spare time in detention - P JACKSON, Newlands College
ED REPLIES: It sounds like it's time to ask a teacher or two to listen to your gripes. Try asking for a chance to do that, outside class time.
Warning, though - communication goes both way, Make sure you're really listening to their point of view, too.

Pen love

Dear TEARAWAY, About four years ago I ran an ad for penpals, along the lines of 'Bait that hook and drop me a line' (?? - vivid imagination!).
I got 25 - 30 replies, and I still get mail from one person. His name is Arron, and in March I got the chance to meet this guy.
We've basically clicked, and since then have emailed, written and talked on the phone including an EIGHT hour phone call - $2.00 Saturday, saved me ($95.41).
Thank you! If it wasn't for your magazine, I would never have met him and become the happiest person on earth - THERSA

Yupples and chippies

Dear TEARAWAY, What's the haps with you promoting all these yuppies careers, for instance architecture, earth science and environmental science?
When do you cater for us youngsters who aspire to be solid working people like chippies, brickies, and sparkies - all careers which do provide quite handsomely indeed.
Do you want the lot of us to be yuppies who get stupid desk jobs, lose all their hair, and get a bloody monstrous mortgage to but a 4WD Pajero or Landcruiser, when the damned thing doesn't even see rough country unless it rains on the lawn?
It seems TEARAWAY is an advertisement for SELECTED tertiary institutions, when fewer people are attending universities by fees and meagre employment opportunities kater on - RESPECTABLE YOUNG NEW ZEALANDER, Waiuku, South Auckland.
ED REPLIES: Good point! We do need to feature a wider variety of employment options. We're actually in the process of revamping our careers section.
Please note though: we are also very happy to be an 'advertisement' for tertiary study. Thousands of pur readers do want to know about these courses.
By the way, you can't get away from study, with almost any job - and that definitely includes jobs in the building industry.

Surfie chicks

Dear TEARAWAY, Iam a girl surfie and feel there should be more pics and stories written about surfing girlies.
Don't forget, we are out on the bid wide ocean too - KYLIE, Newlands College

Volleyball fireworks

Dear TEARAWAY, Before the holidays the secondary schools volleyball champs were held in Nelson and there were some fly fly-as honeys from across the country, all hoping to get into the finals.
Over 80 schools played over the weeks - but not is it just about playing volleyball - there is a real unity in teams and this makes the tournament the bomb.
In the girls' final Otumoetai (Tauranga) beat Avondale (Auckland).
When it came to the boys' final it was defending champs Aorere (Auckland) and Nelson Boys, and this final was really exciting.
They started with some light fireworks to introduce the two teams, and the spotlight would go on each individual player, and they would call their names out (very professional).
The final went on for a couple of hours but in the end Nelson came out the winners, leaving Aorere very disappointed - but the atmosphere that the other teams created with their chants, either supporting one team or the other, was exciting - LUCKEE, Christchurch.

Old, and good

Dear TEARAWAY, A lot of young people take advantage of the elderly (We're Getting Older, April TEARAWAY).
treating the elderly bad and putting them down isn't gonna do any good!
The elderly have a lot of problems with health and money, and the government is just making it worse.
We do need to give them the respect they need. They do have a lot of knowledge about life. They should teach us what we need to know when we get into the REAL world! - RESPECT EACH OTHER, Sunnynook, North Shore

True fat

Dear TEARAWAY, Our class has just finished reading The Fat Man by Maurice Gee.
Then our teacher read us an artivle about some person saying the book isn't good for teenagers because of the storyline and bad language.
What's wrong with a few swear words here and there? It's not like people our age don't swear once in a while.
The person complained The Fat Man treated his wide and step-daughter badly. What about people who get abused by their family?
The book deals with those issues.
If you didn't notice, life isn't just one big long fantasy, so I rest my case - ANUPA PARMAR, Newlands College, Wellington

Global Voice 'Shame'

Dear TEARAWAY, Your story on the Global Voice conference was quite interesting - but their opinions about poverty surprised and disgusted me - especially their 'finding' that poverty 'does not exist' and 'misuse of money' is the only reason for children going hungry, and not having any clothes.
I don't think any of those 150 people would have experienced being on the poverty line.
The Global Voice conference claims it was the voice of NZ youth. We;;, it seems that it was the voice of 150 'young Nationals'.
They should have spoken out against government policy, such as the Employment Contracts Act, market rents, low benefits, user-pays health, and job destroying tariff cuts - the real reason for kids going hungry - and lobbied for the restoration of the world's best welfare system, free education, and the end to tariff cuts, to create jobs.
Instead the Global Voice conference lost all credibility by just metely agreeing with the National government.
These 150 people should hang their heads in shame - BRENDON MILLS, New Plymouth
The Global Voice Organising Committee replies: Global Voice was a forum of approximately 250 young people between the ages of 13 and 18 years.
Representatives from all schools, a number of TOP's courses and community organisations were invited to attend the forum.
Considerable effort was put into ensuring young people from a variety of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds were represented.
The primary purpose of the forum was to obtain feedback from young people about their perceptions of the impact of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in New Zealand. The forum was not designed to inhibit, constrain or manipulate these perceptions.
The comment that there is no 'poverty' in New Zealand was only one of many comments made by young people in the How Poor Is Poor? workshop.
The comment was clearly a comparison of poverty in New Zealand to poverty in third world countries. Other causes of poverty identified in the workshop included unemployment, discrimination, exploitation and uneven distribution of wealth and power.
Solutions discussed included changes to the taxation and benefit systems.
The committee was both excited and impressed with the quality and ingenuity of the feedback provided by the young people attending the forum. If anyone wishes to see a copy of the full report of the forum they are likely to be available in September 1999.