OnPoint by Keith Ng

Dem krazy yoofs

It's still raw, says ex-Scarfies, when they talk about the "Wheelie Bin" incident. In 2001, two 19 year-old Otago students - boozed off their faces - rode down Baldwin Street (aka. "The steepest street in the world") in a wheelie bin. They crashed. One died, the other suffered serious head injuries.

The DomPost has already concluded that Daniel Hansman's death is a result of our "deadly binge-drinking culture". It seems callous in a situation as sensitive as this one to jump the gun in lieu of, you know, evidence, but they do have a point.

Extrapolating the drunken behaviour that we see every weekend (and many weeknights), it's perfectly plausible that someone - anyone - in that state could have fallen into the water and not be able to get out. Even if it wasn't what happened with Hansman, doesn't it indicate that it's unwise to get into that state in the first place?

I think, in the case of student binge-drinking anyway, ALAC is missing the point. It is not that students engage in risky behaviour because they binge-drink; the binge-drinking is part of a wider culture of risk-taking behaviour.

Sure, a sober individual would have known better than to ride a brakeless, rudderless plastic box on wheels down an extremely steep road, but the point is that binge-drinking occurs in the context of "Hey - let's get really drunk and do something really stupid!".

Alcohol is simply one of many means.


Since Tze Ming is overseas, I'll express appropriately angry outrage on her behalf as the Herald writes:

International students from Asia are turning away from kidnapping and extortion to selling hard drugs..."

Raa. Angry.

At least The Press was good enough to point out that it was "Asian student felons"/"Asian student criminal" who were more interested in dealing drugs than kidnapping these days, rather than *all* "international students from Asia".

Out PCed by The Press? Burn.

It's pretty straightforward, really - not all international students from Asia are kidnappers/drug dealers, so, pretty please Mr Subeditor-Man, don't imply it.


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