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COMMENTARY 23 24 26 28 29 30 32 34 36 38 40 43 44


contributors editorial thank you


CAMPUS 06 08 09 10 11 11 12 13 14 15 18 19

first generation, second language life in parkville 8 the simpsons sell their soul suburbia fungi ideological battleground pupils 8 macca's mayhem on the origin of strangeness 8 apocalyptic imaginings broken glass grey matters sad content

news nuggets home system foi(led) again the 'respectful debate' free speech bendi-go away culture shock reno grumble change in the exchange OB reports breaking (the) news unimelb field guide

05 47 49 50 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 60 62 65 67 68

recollections lawson out on the tiles the world is fucked pt. 8 aussie salute cryptid la cathedrel engloutie jesus is delicious! january 2016 february 2006 linus linus linus linus agnus dei posthuman landscape monseigneur chroma for and against: velcro



CONTRIBUTORS EDITORS Alexandra Alvaro Amie Green James Macaronas Mary Ntalianis CONTRIBUTORS Alistair Baldwin Ben Clark Darcy Cornwallis Conor Day Alaina Dean Jocelyn Deane Katie Doherty Tilli Franks Elizabeth Haigh Ashleigh Hastings Elena Heran Claudia Hooper Horatio Scarlet Sykes Hesterman Annie Jiang Asher Karahasan Jack Langan Esther Le Couteur Eponine Le Galliot Jasper MacCuspie Monique O’Rafferty Alessandra Prunotto Elizabeth Thorold Poorniima Shanmugam Zoe Stephens Caleb Triscari Sean Wales Matthew Wojczys Qun Zhang WEB Jenny Huynh Jack Kaloger Cathy Weng

SUBEDITORS Elizabeth Adams James Agathos Lucy Andrews Kergen Angel Harry Baker Amy Bartholomeusz Amelia Bensley Daniel Beratis Sue-Ann Chan Noni Cole Esther Crowley Breanna Derlagen Sebastian Dodds Conor Day Katie Doherty Alessia Di Paolo Simone Eckhardt Victoria Emerson Esmé James Annie Jiang Celine Lau Esther Le Couteur Vicky Lee Maggy Liu Caitlin McGregor Sinead Medew-Ewen Ellen Muller Jeremy Nadel Jesse Paris-Jourdan Ellie Patton Sarah Peters Ed Pitt Lara Porczak Jeffrey Pullin Claudia Seers Morgan-Lee Snell Alf Simpson Felicity Sleeman Reilly Sullivan Peter Tzimos Matt Wojczys Stephanie Zhang Alice Zeng


Charlotte Bird-Weber Ella Hope Broadbent Edie Bush Leung Chin Ching Ewan Clarke-McIntyre Cornelius Darrell Ruth Duffton Anwyn Elise Veronica Fernando Sarah Fang-Ning Lin James Goh Minahil Munir Hamdani Ilsa Harun Myffy Hocking Darus Noel Howard Kyaw Min Htin Carolyn Huane Lauren Hunter Winnie Jiao Clara Cruz Jose Esther Le Couteur Sarah Leong Sarah Fang-Ning Lin Lisa Linton Hanna Liu Eloyse McCall Lilly McLean Rachel Morley Amani Nasarudin Sam Nelson Alain Nguyen Monique O'Rafferty Wasinee Phornnarit (Gwen) Elena Piakis Amelia Saward Nellie Seale Morgan-Lee Snell Sophie Sun Selena Tan Jasmine Velkovski Reimena Yee


COLUMNISTS Madeline Bailey Anwyn Elise Alex Epstein (Radio Fodder blog) Ilsa Harun James Hazeldine Carolyn Huane Claire Longhouse (Radio Fodder blog) Tessa Marshall Harry McLean Matilda Morley (Radio Fodder blog) Monique O’Rafferty (online) Ed Pitt Danielle Scrimshaw Katherine Scott (Radio Fodder blog) Claudia Seers (online) Benjamin Smart (Radio Fodder blog) Linus Tolliday SOCIAL MEDIA Elizabeth Haigh Ilsa Harun Annie Liew Monique O’Rafferty Acacia Pip Ramone Taanya Rohira Mega Safira Maddie Spencer Richard Hinman Sophie Sun


Farrago is the student magazine of the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU), produced by the Media Department. Farrago is published by the General Secretary of UMSU, Yasmine Luu. The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of UMSU, the printers or the editors. Farrago is printed by Printgraphics, care of print daddy Nigel Quirk. All writing and artwork remains the property of the creators. This collection is © Farrago and Farrago reserves the right to republish material in any format.


There were a couple of statistical errors surrounding sexual assault and harassment in the article, ‘Safer Community?’ in Edition 7. We reported 6.2 per cent of students reported being sexually assaulted at the University in 2015-2016. The correct figure is 1.5 per cent. Furthermore, 70 per cent of students did not report harassment, not assault. We’d like to apologise for these errors. We also have an update – as we sent Edition 7 to the printers, the Safer Community team met with UMSU to resolve the issue of the Clubs Welfare training. Safer Communities has still not agreed to run the Club Welfare training. The Safer Community Program will collaborate with UMSU in other ways to make the University safer.


EDITORIAL Pictured above (left to right): Amie, James, Mary and Alex at the National Young Writers Festival, Newcastle. Slightly obscured: James' '90s costume (he intended to dress as the ~passage of time~ but actually just looked like Flava Flav). Also not pictured: Kergen Angel, Harry Baker, Ashleigh Barraclough, Esther Le Couteur, Maggy Liu, Monique O'Rafferty, Jesse Paris Jourdan, Danielle Scrimshaw and Ruby Schofield, who joined us in Newcastle and made it a great time. Alex Guys, I don’t want to sound like a brown nose or anything, but I am endlessly amazed by the things volunteers, like the ones who make this magazine possible, do just for the love of it. I’ve loved getting to know all the wonderful people who wander into our office each day, snatch magazines from the stands and bring the laughs to our events. I will miss aggressively pulling copies of Red Flag out of Farrago stands, stressing over print timelines and complaining about how messy the office is – but that’s a job for someone else now. Future Media Collective, please love and water the semi-deceased tree that sits in my corner of the office. I’d turn that last bit into a metaphor about the future of this magazine and its community but I’m not a big loser. See you later! Amie We really made a splat, just like that sushi roll James and I dropped out the Union House 4th floor window. I’m gonna miss all the humans that I’ve met this year, nothing made me happier than their big smiling human mouth holes. And I’m going to miss all the humans that I haven't met; the readers, contributors and followers of all sorts. Somebody please look after the mouldy dishes I have left in the fridge, drawers and under desks. I luv all my 10,000 graphies, even those of you (most of you) who were always running a lil' late, and thanks for putting up with my confusing emails and wannabe ~aesthetic~ colour schemes. I’m off to start my cat ranch. Bye. James It’s in our nature to cry out. Maybe, in crying out, we shape the world around us. Maybe our future is a song waiting to be sung. Or maybe our future is oblivion by way of space weirdness. Either way, the present moment’s been a wild one, made beautiful by all the crying out we’ve curated into this here publication. It’s been a privilege to helm this behemoth with three distressingly talented people who have tolerated my idiocies and idiosyncrasies with style and flair. Alex, Amie and Mary – it’s been a blast. To all our contributors, all our audience – I can only hope you had as much fun as we did. To all future people, Farragonauts or otherwise – keep crying out. The space weirdness might hear you, but that’s the way it goes. Mary Putting myself forward to edit Farrago was the best mistake I ever made. Not only was it the first place to publish a piece of my writing (see: Untitled, Edition 3 2015), but it also went on to publish the next twenty-something with this, fingers crossed, being the last. Without Farrago I wouldn’t know how to pay an invoice, survive a week on less than 18 hours of sleep or drink an entire bottle of red wine (thanks Wordplay). I also wouldn’t be so goddamn thankful for the people that made this year even slightly easier by offering your advice, taking on extra work and helping me put the commentary section together every edition over late nights in the Media Office. To our readers, keep reading, writing, questioning and empathising. Now I’m off to start a bonfire with the last eight editions of Farrago.



THANKY The Media Collective For being creative geniuses.

Eighteam Ashleigh, Esther, Jesse and Monique – you are golden. Thank you for loving the Media Office as much as we do. You turned our bitter world-weariness into childish enthusiasm and we can’t wait to see what you make next year.

Subbies You quiet achievers, you. We do not deserve your dedication and scrupulousness.

Monique, Ilsa and the social media team For making our platforms boppin’ and poppin’, spoopin’ and boopin’.

Readers For picking up this magazine that we shit out every month and giving it a home in your heart.

Harry Baker For being there when we were freaking out about pushing out three entire publications – you helped us make Above Water fabulous. Hell, without you it wouldn’t have even seen the sun. What a legend.

Our time as Media Officers is up and we have some wonderful people to thank for making our job great.

Contributors To every single person who contributed words and artwork to the magazine this year, who rocked Radio Fodder, who made videos and animations and little bits of this and that – the questions you posed and the creativity you’ve shown is what makes Farrago… well, Farrago, and we would be nothing (nothing!) without you. Goldie Pergl For letting us into our own office when we forgot our keys, for answering all our stupidest questions and for keeping UMSU alive! Proofreaders For dedicating yourselves to our Style Guide and for painstakingly poring over these pages, making sure no sentence was left unturned. Our Radio Trainers To Jack, Liv and Christian for training two entire seasons of radio shows. Radio Fodder would crumble without you three handing down years of experience. You are patient and passionate teachers and we love ya. A.V. Melbourne To Steve, Isaac and Xain for your patience, time and effort, for your selfless dedication to a mad dream and for your good humour and camaraderie. Radio Fodder would’ve sunk lower than the Titanic without you, and that’s the gospel truth. You make microphones cool. Tony Wright For taking the time out of your busy schedule to train our reporters for the budget lockup, even though the government locked us out. Graphies You made the mag beautiful! Nigel For going above and beyond for us – the inimitable Nigel Quirk, friend of Farrago and our print daddy. Jack, Jenny and Cathy You turned our plain old website into a colourful playground with your wicked skills. Treasure them – they are superpowers in this strange, new age. Caleb, Sebastian, Baya, Danielle, Lynley and Martin Your ongoing guidance is everything to us and we hope we made you proud!

Jesse Paris-Jourdan Thanks for giving a shit about Students’ Council when none of the rest of us did. Everyone who read at Wordplay Wordplay wouldn’t exist without your words and we’re forever grateful to you for sharing them with us. Snoopy the indoor plant Snoopy (affectionately known as Spoopy), you came to us on a rainy day when we were feeling low and you changed our lives for the better. You were a malnourished baby tree when you came to us, and now, you are a malnourished adult tree. Our Office Pets To all the people who sit on our couches day in, day out. Especially Daniel Beratis and his chicken schnitzel rolls – we’re so glad you’re going to have your own office next year. Other Office Bearers For chatting, partying and all the rest of it. For finding time for photography, giving statements (even if you went back on them) and being properly helpful when we really needed it. Special thanks to Ryan, for stealing our trolley and letting us steal yours. Above all, thank you for never sending in your reports on time. Stay shiny. Painting of topless Pauline Hanson For haunting our office, you hideous beast. Samuel Condon, you’re a genius. Our old, abandoned office For years and years of memories. No one will love you like we did, you musty, overheated mess. Apologies Sarah Fang-Ning Lin Sorry for spelling your name wrong three editions in a row. We got there, eventually. I.T. Alex used to send an email to Darren from IT once a week and he didn’t get mad even once. Thanks Darren! (Miss u.) Bernie O’Connor Sorry for annoying you so goddamn much.




NEWS NUGGETS CONFETTI EMOJI The Melbourne School of Design has been awarded the 2017 International Architecture Award by the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies.

LATE NOTICE The Graduate Students Association has submitted a petition to the Academic Board regarding the new timely completion policy, which would prevent students from extending their degrees. It was submitted with 1052 signatures. ARTS FEST The University of Melbourne’s Arts West redevelopment project has won two awards as part of the 2017 Victorian Master Builders Association Awards.

DON'T RAIN ON OUR PARADE ‘No’ campaign chalkings were found at the Dr Dax Cafe entrance of the University this month. Students have counteracted the message with chalkings of support.

BIG BROTHER The University has claimed the Cadmus trials a success and is currently looking to move forward with a pilot of the anti-plagiarism software. The University is still yet to let students know how students’ data collected by the program will be used and stored.

MEDIA MONOPOLY With the help of Nick Xenophon, the Federal Government has successfully abolished the 75 per cent reach and two out of three media laws, which prevented organisations from owning too much of the media market.

PULL YOUR WEIGHT A working group on assessment at the University has recommended that the subject handbook display exact weighting and timing of assessments. UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE Universities Australia Chief Executive, Belinda Robinson has attributed a double digit decline in mature age student university applications to uncertainty surrounding higher education reform. “It’s not fair to expect students to apply for university without knowing what fees they will pay in 2018 or even whether the subjects they hope to study will still be available by the time they arrive,” she said.

WORD OF MOUTH The University is looking into the possibility of introducing an oral form of assessment for PhD students.


STICKS AND STONES An altercation between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigning students occurred at USyd this month. It escalated when glitter and hummus was thrown at ‘No’ campaigners.












nd Rape on Campus (EROC) ambassador Nina Funnell has revealed the details of a rejected Freedom of Information (FOI) request she conducted on the University of Melbourne late last

spokesperson said, “The University believed that releasing such documentation would violate the privacy and confidentiality of the individuals concerned.” Following the investigation with Channel 7, this year Nina Funnell and End Rape on Campus asked all Australian universities to openly release their sexual assault complaint data on an annual basis. Vice Chancellor of the Sydney of University, Dr Michael Spence, formally committed to releasing the number of sexual assault complaints the University receives each year. “End Rape on Campus then put out a call for the other 38 vice chancellors to follow Dr Michael Spence’s lead, and Melbourne University did not,” Funnell said. “That, for me, raises serious concerns about how committed they are to transparency and accountability … Students have a right to this information, and they have a right to expect that their University be transparent and accountable.” As of late August, eight universities had agreed to EROC’s request to publish their sexual assault complaint data annually. Among those were the Australian National University, the University of New South Wales and the University of Queensland. A University of Melbourne spokesperson said, “No decision has been made regarding the future release of statistics around sexual harassment and sexual assault… the University has established a Respect Taskforce... [which] will discuss all aspects of its proposals for the future with the University community prior to any implementation.” Funnell told Farrago she was surprised at the University’s decision not to release their data. “We are really disappointed that the University of Melbourne has not considered the safety of students a significant priority to the point that they would be willing to release data,” Funnell said. “It’s a good news story if they commit, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate that they really are genuinely committed to having transparent conversations with students.” Should the University of Melbourne and other Australian universities continue to protect their sexual assault complaints data in the future, Funnell and EROC plans to launch more FOI investigations. “We are giving [the universities] a fair chance to do the right thing and come on board voluntarily, but those that stubbornly refuse, we will absolutely be FOI-ing them, and we will be dragging them kicking and screaming to the table one way or another,” Funnell said.

year. Funnell partnered with Channel 7’s FOI Editor Alison Sandy to conduct what she called “the largest ever FOI investigation in Australian history,” for Sunday Night. The FOI targeted 39 Australian universities, asking them to make their sexual assault complaint data public. “We didn’t want to just know how many complaints there had been,” Funnell told Farrago. “We also specifically wanted to know how many of those were student-on-student assaults versus staff-on-student assaults. We also asked for a breakdown around things … like up-skirting or lewd, inappropriate, non-consensual filming.” Funnell revealed that by the time the Sunday Night segment aired in October 2016, 27 universities had complied with the FOI, providing their sexual assault complaint data for the investigation. The University of Melbourne was not one of those. “The University of Melbourne refused to comply with the FOI, but did provide some very, very basic summary statistics,” Funnell said. According to Funnell, an email from the University to Alison Sandy reads, “Since 2014, the University Security and Transport Division has received 32 reports of harassment, indecent assault, stalking or indecent exposure … Like many other large communities, the underreporting of incidents likely remains an issue … [The University] acknowledges there is more to be done to ensure the institution and the entire sector continues to learn from best practice approaches to these issues." As part of the FOI, Funnell and Channel 7 also investigated how other disciplinary measures with sexual assault cases. “From the universities that did comply, we found they were far more likely to give expulsions over plagiarism than sexual assault.” Channel 7 and Funnell also asked for sexual assault data from the police under the FOI Act. Using street locations close to universities, they were able find the details of sexual assaults at university campuses, otherwise not revealed by university data. “In one case, a female student reported being raped on campus after she met a man through the Tinder app and arranged to meet at the University of Melbourne gates,” Funnell said, reading a police report from last year. In response to the rejected FOI, a University of Melbourne





he University of Melbourne’s Academic Board has issued a statement in support of marriage equality in Australia, after earlier emails from University staff encouraged a 'respectful debate' within the academic environment. In early September, the governing body for academic affairs at the University passed a motion supporting marriage equality in Australia. The proposed motion included preambles reaffirming the University’s Appropriate Workplace Behaviour, Student Conduct and Student Charter policies. This includes “advancing the intellectual, cultural, economic and social welfare of communities” and “advocating and upholding fundamental human rights”. “These values are consistent with the right of all members of the University, and of the wider community, to have their relationships treated equally under the law,” the motion reads. “To that end, the Academic Board proudly supports marriage equality.” The motion was carried with three dissenting votes. Senior figures have sent out emails to staff and students on the issue. Following the motion, President of the Academic Board, Nilss Olekalns, sent an email to staff acknowledging the possible difficulty for the LGBTI+ community during this time. Prior to the passing of the motion, Vice Chancellor Glyn Davis acknowledged the range of opinions on the topic is essential to the functions of a university. “A university campus should be a place where people can debate, bring evidence to an issue, and reflect on the principles involved, all without compromising the courtesy owed to others,” he said. In a separate email sent to students in August, Provost Margaret Sheil provided similar sentiment. “The question of marriage equality is one on which every student will have a view. This institution is committed to democratic values, and a campus provides an important setting for robust but respectful debate,” she says. The ‘respectful debate’ rhetoric has been widely used in the greater discussion around same-sex marriage. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has repeatedly affirmed his confidence in the Australian public to approach this topic with civility. Following the failed High Court case to block the postal survey, the Coalition leader said both sides should be treated respectfully. “I encourage all Australians to engage in this debate, as we do in all debates, respectfully,” he told The Australian.


University of Melbourne Student Union Queer Officer, Blake Atmaja, said the Academic Board motion was ineffective and provided a platform for queerphobic views within the University community. “The general consensus amongst the student population is a vehement ‘yes’ to marriage equality. By holding a vote of the Academic Board to motion for or against this issue, the University is placating those who resist change, much like the government and the current plebiscite itself,” he said. “You cannot expect your side of the argument to be respected unless you respect the other side of the argument and the people who put it.” LGBTI+ advocacy groups have strongly criticised the expectation of a respectful debate. Many have referenced the antisame-sex marriage advertisements on television as evidence of disrespect and intentional harm. Material from the ‘no’ campaign claims that same-sex marriage will allow for consequences, such as polygamy. These claims have not been substantiated. Queer student at the University, Claire Bostock, noted the potential mental health effects of the ‘no’ campaign on campus. “Allowing for ‘respectful debate’ tells people that writing ‘it's okay to vote no’ around campus is okay, when it jeopardises my safety, my mental health,” says Bostock. The University has outwardly supported LGBTI+ Australians within and outside of the workplace setting. Staff and students at the University have participated twice in an organised contingent for the Midsumma pride march held annually. In February, a confidential paper outlining a diversity plan for LGBTI+ employees was tabled and discussed in Academic Board. Despite efforts to provide equal opportunity for LGBTI+ members of the University community, Atmaja believes the recognition of multiple views it not in their best interest. “The University of Melbourne can propose all it likes to having a ‘respectful debate’ around the issue of marriage equality, but allowing such public discrimination to occur doesn’t seem very respectful.” The same-sex marriage postal survey commenced in midSeptember and should be recieved by 27 October in order to be counted. The results of the survey will be published in November.







ensions have flared once again in the ongoing enterprise bargaining process between the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and the University of Melbourne Administration. This time, the point of contention is over how academic freedom should be protected within the University. The issue first came to light when the NTEU published an open letter addressed to Vice Chancellor, Glyn Davis, claiming that protections of academic freedom were being removed from the proposed agreement. It expressed concerns about the possibility of “dismissal of staff based on … publicly expressed opinions or scientific conclusions”. According to the letter, picked up by The Age in coverage the University declared false, academic freedom would subsequently be protected only by “policy that council may change at any time” and therefore “has no real force”. In response, a University spokesperson claimed the University “firmly believes that academic freedom is too important to be governed through an industrial agreement”, asserting that it “would not and could not lawfully dismiss academics on the basis of them making controversial public comments”. Vice President (Academic) of the NTEU’s Melbourne branch, Professor Christian Haesemeyer, is concerned by the University’s proposal. “[University administration] want to make it possible to dismiss academics for serious misconduct [without review] … one form of serious misconduct, according to the Fair Work Act, is actions that damage the reputation of the employer.” “Our interpretation of the proposed agreement by the University is that they could summarily dismiss an academic [for serious misconduct] … including expressing academic freedom.” A spokesperson for the University rejects these concerns. “Academic freedom is not an administrative policy. It is a University Council policy … binding across the University [created by] a body which includes representatives elected by staff and students as well as external members of the University community.” The current policy is not up for review until 2021. One thing both parties do agree on is the importance of academic freedom. “Academic freedom is a core value of the University of Melbourne,” the University's letter reads.


he University of Melbourne is currently resisting the proposal for a new regional medical school in Bendigo, to be jointly run by La Trobe University and Charles Sturt University. Establishing the Murray Darling Medical School would mean that the University of Melbourne and Monash University-run Rural Clinical School would no longer be the only option for medicine students in Bendigo. The Rural Clinical School has provided an opportunity for students to study medicine in Central Victoria for more than ten years. A spokesperson from the University of Melbourne said a new school is not the answer as students who train in rural settings return to metropolitan areas to specialise. “We do not think an additional Medical School is the answer. Our view is that the Federal Government should work with the sector to develop viable postgraduate specialist training programs in the regions so doctors can remain in those settings while pursuing the next level of their career. These programs would need to address the range of reasons that doctors do not choose a career in a rural setting, which are not all linked to where they have trained.” The University has said it will continue to oppose the establishment of the school and continue to work with the government to progress the delivery of “viable” post graduate specialist training programs in rural areas. A spokesperson for the Australian Medical Students Association offered a different solution. “An expansion of specialist and general practice training in rural and regional settings has the potential to both address the current training bottleneck as well as the lack of medical doctors in rural areas," they said. La Trobe University claims the school will help address a critical shortage of regional doctors and has called on the Federal Government to provide $50 million of funding over four years to help get the Murray Darling Medical School up and running as soon as possible. Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of New South Wales and renowned immunologist, Professor John Dwyer, revealed that he is strongly in favour of the Murray Darling Medical School in an opinion piece for The Australian earlier this year. “We know that when students from the country must spend years in major cities to earn their medical degree, the majority do not return to country Australia to practice. This is understandable, indeed predictable," he said.






ing Kwong is proud of her black hair. She’d never thought of colouring it until she arrived in Melbourne from Foshan, China, to study a Bachelor of Arts. Here, she noticed her Asian friends tinting their hair bright blondes and gingers. She decided to try it. “But I told the hairdresser that I want a colour that’s very close to black,” she said. “So she gave me a colour that would stay black in a dark place, but would become brown when you’re outside in the sun.” She associates her dark hair with her Chinese ethnicity. “I chose a dark colour so that there's only a small nuance between my previous and current appearances. My sense of self, including habits and interests, is still very Asian, and I feel a bit uncomfortable making a drastic change in my appearance. I feel that I will lose my own self if I do it.” While studying in Australia, international students often encounter similar issues regarding their sense of self. They’ve moved out of their established social networks, leaving behind long time school friends and family, and stepped into an unfamiliar milieu. They often have to decide to what extent they’ll allow their experience abroad to change their identity. When Indonesian student, Rebecca Orah, arrived last year to study Commerce, she found that there was a sense of freedom in Melbourne compared to her home city of Yogyakarta. “I came from a very traditional country where I have to maintain my family reputation. If I did something wrong the whole city would know.” But even free from Yogyakarta’s gossip, she still regulates her behaviour. Back home, she’s not allowed to have sleepovers, while here she can play PlayStation at her friend’s place and come home at 3am. Even so, she’ll skip the clubbing. Like Wing, she’s navigating a middle ground between acknowledging her new social context and respecting her old one. “I’m being respectful of the freedom that my parents give to me,” she said. For Marcelo Díaz, his time in Melbourne has pushed him to make radical changes. When he first arrived from Quito, Ecuador to study urban planning, he was shy. “I was pretty introverted. I didn’t really like to hang out with people or talk to strangers,” he says.

Upon realising he knew no one in Melbourne, he tried to become more outgoing. “At home, your circle of friends is really narrow. You see the same people over and over again. The main difference here is that you get friends from all different nationalities, from any socioeconomic status. You really open your mind to other ideas, other ways of doing things.” Rebecca says that even speaking in English lets her slip into a different persona. “There’s a different personality speaking English,” she says. “I become more expressive, and I become more confident.” Wing, instead, takes on a more calm persona when speaking English. She puts this down to the vocabulary. “Most of the words that I know are related to academic work, or basic conversation where you don’t really need to show your emotion.” She prefers her outgoing, excitable Cantonese self over her more restrained English speaking one. As academic at the Asia Institute, Dr Claire Maree, points out, “International students will often not be moving just geographically but also in terms of language, maybe using their second, third, or fourth language in their daily life.” This can have unexpected ramifications. “Language identity – what language you speak and how you express yourself – can be very much thought of as central to who you are,” she said. “So when you’re doing that in another language, you have to kind of find the customs, the social expectations, the stereotypes, and see how you can move through them in a way that is going to get you through your day.” But it’s not just about survival. “For a lot of people when you start using a second language it actually gives you an avenue to explore a different sense of self.” The opportunity to explore this has been transformative for Marcelo. “I thought I knew about the world until I came here,” he says. “You realise what you know, what you don’t know. You open your mind to other ideas, other ways of doing things.” And in being compelled to adapt to this challenging new environment, he believes he’s been fundamentally altered. "I know I’ve grown so much,” he said. “To have this experience, it changes you at a really deep level that sometimes you don’t realise.”





HOW UNIVERSITY COLLEGE IS RIPPING OFF STUDENTS “I guess it wasn’t really what I signed up for,” he said. “Even though there were 70 of us at the UniLodge, our rooms weren’t all next to each other. We were on different floors, it was wherever they put us essentially.” Current UC UniLodge resident, Michael* agrees. “When I think about college, I think about living in the same corridor as others and getting to know them, and that becoming a group of people you see every day. [Living at UniLodge], you do miss out on that feature, which is the essential part. It’s the difference between living in a college and not living in a college,” he said. As uncovered by Farrago earlier this year, UniLodge is notorious for its unhygienic living conditions. “You see rats, mice. The UniLodge I’m living in is considered to be the worst in Melbourne. Other than the location, it’s horrible,” James said. The renovations aren’t just affecting those living in UniLodge accommodation. Former UC boarder, Sarah*, moved out in mid2016 due to the disruption the renovations were causing to her study life. “I hated it. It was really loud. It just didn’t feel like home,” she said. She also noted the lack of privacy felt due to the constant presence of construction workers. “Even if I just wanted to have my curtain up during the day, I just felt like I was being watched.” Upon deciding to leave, Sarah said she had to organise multiple meetings so she could get out of paying the exit fee. If she hadn’t pushed, she believes she would have been forced to pay the fee for breaking her contract. Michael noted the college is doing things to make the situation better. Uber rides to and from the campus are reimbursed, and the college often hosts special events for the UniLodge students. Mostly though, students are tired of being lied to about when they will finally be able to move into the main campus. “They never make it clear, that’s the problem,” James said. “If they mess up, they just arrange an event that makes us happy ... to distract us from what’s actually happening.” Head of UC, Jennifer McDonald rejected all requests for comment made by Farrago. * All names have been changed to protect the anonymity of sources.

s many as 50 University College (UC) residents at the University of Melbourne are being forced to live in alternative accommodation due to allegedly delayed renovations to the college. The students are currently living in UniLodge – which they say is a 20 minute walk from College Crescent. They must travel back and forth to eat their meals, go to class and attend social events. Before arriving at the college, students were allegedly promised that the renovations would be completed within a semester, by mid2017. Now, students say they have been told the renovations may not be completed until halfway through 2018. Interstate student, James*, never had the chance to stay at the UC’s main campus. He says he was “suspicious” when the contract he received from UC before he moved to Melbourne detailed a Swanston Street campus. He says he received information detailing the UniLodge accommodation two to three months prior to the start of the academic term. Students also say they didn’t know who within the new intake would be staying in UniLodge until three to four days before offers could be declined. “It definitely wasn’t enough time [to find alternative accommodation] … we weren’t familiar with Melbourne or the accommodation system here. I was just coming back from overseas so there wasn’t the time to find another place to stay,” he said. James says he doesn’t go over to the college to study anymore. Going back and forth between campuses wastes too much time. With his heavy study load, there are plenty of days where he doesn’t go to the main campus for meals or to meet friends at all. “College life is meant to be much more convenient than living by yourself, but at the moment, it’s the opposite.” Students staying at Swanston Street UniLodge aren’t paying full fees. Instead they are receiving a rebate. Farrago has received reports that students could be getting as much as $2,000 back per semester. But students don’t think that’s quite enough. Former UC UniLodge resident Nick* says they should be paying the same amount as non-residential college students, college students who do not lodge at the college, with UniLodge accommodation fees added on. Nick moved out of UC mid-year because he wasn’t getting the college experience he thought he would.






requires time and committment. My friends and I were also surprised by how difficult it was to find a decent yet affordable place to live in Melbourne. Unscrupulous landlords takes advantage of the fact that international students are unaware of the law, therefore the abuse of tenant rights is reportedly common. I have heard horror stories from friends who went to inspections where people lived in unsanitary conditions in the lounge room or even in the kitchen, with 'walls' made of cardboard or tarpaulin to separate spaces. I have found some landlords also do not respect the size regulations for the rooms, or ask for huge bonds, which makes one definitely more wary when choosing accommodation. In my first share house, the landlord got a surprise inspection from a housing official from the city council, who found that the landlord was required to renovate as the house was not suitable for fire emergency regulations. We were given two weeks notice to vacate the property. Fortunately, I’ve now moved to an amazing new house with the most perfect room that one could ask for, so of course not everything is always gloomy. Sometimes the 'drive' to do as many things as possible here is less present. Because I have already had this type of life-changing experience, I have not felt the urge to meet as many people, or see as many places as I did during my first exchange. I love travelling and always will, so I already have a few exciting trips planned to Tasmania and New Zealand. But overall I do not feel the urge to try every single bar or restaurant in Melbourne, or visit the entire state of Victoria. Yet, in my opinion, it's not such a bad thing – rather, it is a different way of seeing the experience. I'm compensating with other things, like more studying and improving my photography skills. Having said all of this, I'm grateful for my experience because I am also a different person to who I was a few years back. It took me a while, but eventually I have come to terms with the fact that Melbourne is a completely different adventure to Bristol, and the two experiences cannot be compared. Although my stay here will perhaps not change me as radically as my first time on exchange, I already feel like it has already made me more empowered.

ife begins at the end of your comfort zone.” These wise words from writer, Neale Donald Walsch, probably resonate with any student who has gone on exchange. The experience is so powerful and unforgettable that it is no wonder it is often referred to as the best year of one’s life – or even a life within a life. It's no wonder some of us make the decision to go back for a second year abroad. However, from my own experience, I have found that a second exchange can be very different than the first. I am from France, and studied abroad at the University of Bristol for one year during my undergraduate degree. To say I had a great time would be an understatement. Everything I expected to find there went way beyond my expectations – a buzzing and creative host city, a wonderful new country to visit, the most perfect and culturally diverse group of friends one could ask for. I changed in more ways than I could have imagined; I arrived there at the age nineteen, as a teenager who had left high school not that long ago, and I left much more mature and resourceful than before. Exchange was one of those life-changing experiences, and I felt the post-exchange blues immediately upon returning. So I made the decision to study abroad again, and jumped at the opportunity to spend a semester at the University of Melbourne. Yet, some words kept popping up in the back of my mind as I was preparing to go. They were those of a university professor, who knew me well and warned me about leaving for the right reason. “You know, Bristol will always remain Bristol, and you will not find that again.” I knew he was right, and came to Australia with this in mind. Yet, as soon as I arrived, I fell into a trap of comparing every single aspect of my new life here to the one I had in England. It's unfolded that my Melbourne exchange has been more challenging than my first study abroad. The most important difference is that I have my final year of studies at stake and a thesis to write. This demands much more time spent in the library than out socialising with people and discovering the country, as hard as I try to maintain a fair ratio of both. The fact that Melbourne is an expensive city as well means that many exchange students have to work while we are here, which




I can’t believe the year is just about over. Where did it go?! This year has been massive for UMSU. We’ve started cool new initiatives like Union House Sleepover, expanded volunteering opportunities and run events to promote diversity. We’ve campaigned on marriage equality and students’ rights at work, lobbied for safety on campus reform and strived to ensure students’ voices are heard in every decision the University makes. Change is often incremental. Each year, office bearers build upon the work of their predecessors in order to improve things bit by bit. I hope the conversations and initiatives we’ve started this year will continue to have an impact after we’re gone. I’d like to give a massive thank you to the 2017 Office Bearers who’ve made this year so amazing. And special thanks to Martin, Ella and Wing – I would not have made it through the year without you. To everyone who reads this – it’s been an absolute pleasure serving as your president this year. All the best to the 2018 team, I know you’ll do a fantastic job!

GENERAL SECRETARY | YASMINE LUU UMSU has been a core part of my life for – wait for it – six years. I am exceptionally excited to move on to bigger and brighter things, but am sad to leave such an important organisation. It's been a difficult but rewarding experience serving as your General Secretary and Clubs & Societies Officer for the past two years and I am grateful for the trust you put in me. From hardcore camp reform to policy frameworks and UMSU Centre Stage, I have tried my hardest for you. It's been a privilege and an honour to work with students from all walks of life with my fellow Office Bearers and UMSU staff. A special thanks to Goldie, Sinead, Ryan, Gavin, Justin, Dee and Rozz for keeping me sane and for all the support you have offered. My best wishes to the 2018 team, specifically Daniel Beratis, your new Gen Sec! Valete, sweet students, valete.

EDUCATION (ACADEMIC) | CALEY MCPHERSON & ROGER SAMUEL So long, farewell. We hate to say goodbye, but the time has come and we’re happy looking back at the year that was. We launched the Counter Course Online, an online handbook for student reviews of University of Melbourne subjects. We’ve been speaking up about what students need across a range of Committees and the Academic Board, contributing to research and reports around assessment feedback, student engagement, and fairer assessment practice. Our SRN has grown dramatically to include new committees and representatives. A few of the key issues we dealt with include: changes to Academic Skills & Careers, the cancellation of the associate degree in Urban Horticulture, FlexAP, Academic Board Review and the resurgence of Cadmus. We’ve continued to crack down on lecture recordings policy evasions, and have been working on tightening the current policy. In essence: it’s been a big year, and we’re glad to have spent it with you.

EDUCATION (PUBLIC) | SINEAD MANNING It has been a good year for the Education (Public Affairs) Department. A new volunteering initiative was established. PEP empowered students to work on multiple proposals to increase access and equity at the University of Melbourne. It was a big year for research. I compiled several reports for presentation to the University on matters such as my.unimelb, student fees and charges, student experience of the Arts Faculty and more. I collected student reactions to the proposed higher education reforms via survey and on postcards; these reactions were included in a report submitted to the Australian Senate. From Women in Higher Education Week to Radical Education Week and back again, I held 'How Privilege Manifests in Tutorials' workshops, EdPub@Pub and made education tarot cards. It's been a pleasure!




DISABILITIES | ALSTON CHU & CASSANDRA PRIGG It's been a year! Auslan classes have wound up, Disabilities Conference has conferred, and collective has had its last meeting. It's been a privilege to advocate for, represent, and serve you. Though we're sure we'll see you all again, it won't be as your disabilities officers. We're really looking forward to seeing where next year's officers take the department, especially having looked at what they've got planned. In the meantime, UMSU's Access and Inclusion Plan will be coalescing to ensure disabled people can be a part of UMSU in the ways that they want. Importantly, the Australian Network on Disability's work with us as an organisation on that will have a pretty big impact on what we'll be demanding as the Student Precinct gets closer and closer to being made figuratively and literally concrete. Thanks again for your support and see you all in the year ahead!


We are finally in the last stages of semester, so I say bring it on! It has been an amazing experience to serve as an office bearer for the Indigenous Department. I hope everyone in our collective has really enjoyed what we have done for you all and good luck to Alexandra and Jenna for next term! You will both be great. Thank you to the committee for putting up with our meetings. Thanks to Goldie and the other OBaes for all their help this year. And obviously thank you to Wunambi, my partner in crime. You made this year a lot easier and much more fun! Much love, Marley. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay updated. /umsuindigenous @umsuindigenous

PEOPLE OF COLOUR | ELLA SHI & HANANN AL DAQQA The final edition of Farrago. The end of semester. The end of the year… but we’re not here to say goodbye. The People of Colour department is just getting started. This year we’ve seen the collective grow. We ran events, workshops and campaigns and gave birth to a new baby called Myriad – UMSU’s first official publication for people of colour. This is the beginning of something special, but there’s still also a long way to go. Shit’s going down in the world right now. A lot of you were – or perhaps still are – uncertain about the term ‘people of colour’. Maybe some of you still aren’t on board with this department. But if we’ve learnt anything this year, it’s that there’s power and comfort in numbers. Making a difference in the world, or even at one university is hard – but you get to meet some pretty amazing people along the way.

QUEER | BLAKE ATMAJA & EVELYN LESH Catch ya on the flip side.

WOMEN’S | HANNAH BILLETT Goodbyes are always hard but they’re also a perfect opportunity to look back and remember. I am immensely proud of the work the Women’s Department has done this year. We have held some of the largest events in the Department’s history, welcomed new women to the University and increased student representation on the bodies that will decide how to tackle sexual violence on campus. All this and more will be reflected on in the 2017 edition of Judy’s Punch, the Women’s Department’s magazine. She is a beauty and full of wonderful writing and art by young women on campus. Thank you to Ilsa and Esther for their tireless work as the co-editors! Be sure to pick it up from the Women’s Room or select stands around campus. It is a perfect procrastination read! Remember that the Women’s Room will be open and available to students over exam period and the summer break. I would also like to wish Kareena and Molly all the best as next year’s Women’s Officers. It's been a great privilege to serve in this role for the past year and I hope they find as much meaning in the role as I have.



ACTIVITIES | JACINTA COOPER & LYDIA PAEVERE WOW! What a year. Enough Activities for everyone! We hope you managed to get a ticket to Oktoberfest, it’s going to be a big one! Thanks to everyone for letting us end the year on a huge sell-out event. Shout out to George Nicholas for being the most amazing BBQ/Bar Culinary Utensils Nutrition Technician! We could not have made it through the year without you! Thanks also to all of our amazing volunteers for helping us run events throughout the year! We hope next year's OBs continue with Union House Sleepover and look forward to their ideas for new events! Also I think this may be the first time we have submitted this report on time (ish) so a big pat on the back to us for finally getting out stuff sorted after a year! Love you all xoxo Gossip Activities

CLUBS & SOCIETIES | GULSARA KAPLUN & KAYLEY CUZZUBBO O Clubs! My Clubs! Our cheerful term is done, the department has weather'd every grant, the wiki you sought is done. The end is near, December I hear, the executives all exulting. While follow eyes the new OBs, Simkiss and his Darling. But O heart! Heart! Heart! O the rotund body of Gunter, where on the egg chair his body lies, sitting ever rounder. Oh Clubs! My Clubs! Rise up and hear the bells; rise up – for you emails are sent – for you committee scolds. For you awards and Policies – for you the Carnivals! For you we call, to the students mass, your eager faces turning. Here Clubs! Dear Clubs! Let your wings spread! It is some dream that on this year. You’ve had us as your head.

CREATIVE ARTS | HARRIET WALLACE-MEAD & SARA LAURENA 2017 – what a ride. We are incredibly overwhelmed with the feels coming from all the stellar art that has been produced this year! Whether it was taking up the mic at our Pot Luck Open Mic night, rocking up to life drawing or presenting an original work at Mudfest, the students in this community have inspired more WOW reacts in our hearts than can be put into words! We don’t believe in making art for art’s sake. We’ve seen and felt the push by student artists to make work that reflects their identities, their fears, their hopes and their resilience in what feels like an increasingly frightening world. We are so grateful for your courage in sharing your voices through the arts. So thank you. For Mudfest, for PLOM and for you being you. Most of all, thanks for making the art that’s in you.

ENVIRONMENT | ELIZABETH NICHOLSON & KATE DENVER-STEVENSON This year, thanks to our lovely collective, we managed to hold: 10 Greenscreens, 12 Play With Your Foods, 24 Bike Co-op breakfasts, 24 Collectives, 6 Vegan BBQs, 24 workshops in the Community Garden, 10 Climates Conversations, 1 Radical Education Week, plant 4000 trees, save 1 coupe from deforestation. We got 32 students attending SoS and 20 students to ASEN Training Camp. There was 1 Musical, 1 Green Washing Machine, 1 giant paper mache bomb, 1 Ethical Sponsorship Policy, 0 Banks at O-Week, 7000 emails. We attended Invasion Day, Roe8, Free Education and Commbank actions, kept the pressure on the Uni with the release of the Sustainability Plan and Fossil Fuel divestment, started fighting its partnership with Lockheed Martin, FOI’ed the Uni and held the BIGGEST EVER Green Screen outdoor cinema. Goodbye!

BURNLEY | JESSICA PEELER Somehow the year is nearly over and it’s time to say goodbye! I’ll miss Burnley’s stunning gardens, plant-obsessed students, and teachers committed beyond belief to passing on their knowledge. It’s no secret that it's been a tough year for Burnley. We’ve lost our undergraduate degree, and the future of our staff and students is unclear. Thank you to those supportive members of the BSA committee (and others) who have done everything within their power to try and save the ADUH. Good luck to next year’s team and campus coordinator James Barclay – you’ve certainly got your work cut out for you, but I hope that you’re able to have fun in between sticking up for Burnley. On a more positive note, Burnley students, make sure you join us in Wilsons Prom for our end of year trip, where we’ll geek out over plants and not think about uni for a while!

VCA | NICHOLAS LAM Smell ya later.






inety per cent of graduating Arts students “just didn’t think this far ahead, honestly", new Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows. Survey respondent Lilly Fairweather, a 2017 University of Melbourne Arts graduate, has finally succumbed to a longsuppressed existential crisis after submitting her final ever university essay. “What now?” she said, genuinely unsure. “Nothing in my philosophy major prepared me for this moment. I have been critically analysing, deconstructing, historicising and contextualising the discursively constructed concept of ‘life’ for three years now, yet I still don’t know what I’m doing with my own.” Fairweather is just one of many University of Melbourne students experiencing graduation anxiety. As the 2017 academic year draws to close, third year students are going to desperate lengths to avoid thinking about their future career paths. Monica ‘Contiki 2k17’ Stewart, for instance, is using her SWOTVAC to plan a European holiday. “I’m going to have a white Christmas in Paris, just to cool off after my hectic semester juggling captaincy roles in both the University of Melbourne Cheerleading Team and Glee Club,” the Toorak-based, former school captain of Haileybury College said. “After undertaking a paid internship at my uncle’s boutique PR firm over the winter break, I have earned enough to spend four months in the Northern Hemisphere,” she said. “Hopefully I can land a job when I get back, preferably as a

social media consultant in the Melbourne café scene. I don’t think my uncle has any more menial office tasks I can do.” First year Commerce student, Geoffrey Spud, on the other hand, is experiencing no such stress, with two full years of study ahead of him. After a big year transitioning from high school to university life, Spud is just glad his unprecedented workload will soon ease. “I can’t wait for the end-of-year uni holidays when my life won’t be so ruled by study,” said Spud, who today watched seven episodes of MythBusters Season 12, masturbated twice and viewed 137 Facebook memes, all to avoid studying for his inevitable exams. “It’s just such a stressful time of year, it will be such a relief to finally put the textbooks away and start living again,” Spud said, finishing his third packet of Cheezels whilst watching an obscure car-wrecking show on 7mate. Meanwhile, jaded PhD student, William McGonigal, laughs sardonically at the undergraduate and Master's students’ existential angst. “Trust me, once you’re knee deep in an 80,000 word doctoral thesis, you cease to feel any human emotions whatsoever,” he said. “As far as I can see, I’ll still be writing this thing when my grandchildren are finishing their bachelor's degrees and I’ve long lost bowel control,” he said. “I don’t even know what the fuck I’m writing about anymore.” 'Breaking (the) News' is Farrago's satire column and is not to be taken seriously.





EDITION 8: THE CLOCKTOWER CROSSBREED (AFTER KAFKA) In the Iliad, there are two immortal horses owned by the warrior Achilleus, who lends them to his Patroklos (his darling) and – even though they are swift and try to protect him – Patroklos is speared and falls limp into the battle-dust. When Achilleus’ horses see this, they stand apart from the fighting and, like gravestones, turn colourless. But their weeping is ‘warm’.

here is an animal who lives on top of the Old Arts clocktower and looks like a horse, but isn’t, because he has leather wings. He also cannot be a horse because he is too skeletal. His legs look like they are too brittle to stand on, and he has no flesh or muscle, just skin that is stretched over his spine, his hipbones. Hunger makes his breathing sore. It makes his lungs feel tight, and metal.

The problem is not that the animal cannot eat, or that he doesn’t want to. It is just that he has forgotten what sort of food he needs. He hopes he is supposed to graze on South Lawn – like a horse would – but worries his teeth are too sharp? If they are for tearing small mammals, he could not forgive himself.

Therma is the adjective that Homer uses, and it is a word often used to describe water boiling, blood, meals, and wood burning. You could translate it as ‘hot’, or as ‘glowing’, (glowing weeping), and somehow it still feels warm amid English. The animal who lives on the clock-tower collects words, and he whispers therma often. It can help when there is sharp wind or if it’s raining. Or when he is trying hard to become better.

Sometimes, while trying to sleep, he wishes his wings were feathered. He would like to have the plump, cushiony sort of feathers that people put into pillows – the sort that you see on swans, and sometimes Renaissance cherubs – but he has wished hard, and his wings are still leather. Years ago, when he still came down from the clocktower, he moved around swift-footed, his knees springing, his mane floating, and he collected the books that people had left around campus. His favourite was a cloth edition of the Iliad he once found in the Old Quad, on account of the horses.


Time for a Spring clean

The City of Melbourne is helping residents clean up this spring – for free!

E-waste recycling day Saturday 21 October, 10am – 3pm Don’t know what to do with old or unwanted computers, printers, mobile phones, cords, TVs, DVD players or other small household appliances? Take your items to Queensbridge Square, Southbank (commercial quantities not accepted) and E-waste recycling experts TechCollect will collect them for free!

Go green and get rewarded, sign up to Green Money and take the Spring Clean challenge at Earn points that can be redeemed for free coffee, discount movie tickets and more!

16607 COM Spring Clean 2017_Farrago_ad_FA3.indd 1

Hard waste collection days Need to get rid of an old fridge, mattress or broken furniture? We’ll collect it for free! If you live in a high rise apartment building, talk to your building manager to organise a collection. If you live in a house, flat or unit, visit springclean to find out more and make your booking.

Visit springclean to find out more and make your booking.

City of Melbourne residents can also book free garden organics collections! Visit to find out what hard waste, garden organics and e-waste will and won’t be accepted. Garden organics collections!

Don’t bin your garden prunings, branches, lawn clippings and leaves. Bundle them up and we’ll collect them for free. This is a regular service available to residents every month, all year round.

Visit or call 9658 9658

15/9/17 2:35 pm





arlier this year, my Grandpa published a book of poetry. It’s a compilation of over 150 poems spanning half a lifetime, a bona fide history of his experiences in China and then subsequently here, in Australia. There are poems about everything, from the flowers in our backyard to my late Grandma. There are even a good five or six poems dedicated to yours truly. And I can’t read them. Not just because they’re written in the lofty, highbrow style of traditional Chinese poetry, or because their abstract imagery and precise phrasing seems baffling to the uninitiated, but because I can hardly read any Chinese at all. My parents emigrated from China when my older sister was just three years old and, by the time I was born, they had been living in Australia for almost ten years. I was born and raised in a regional mining town in Western Australia. I spoke almost solely in Chinese for the first few years of my life, because my parents preferred it and my grandparents spoke barely any English. My parents often tell stories of me as a child, running up to strangers in supermarkets and prattling on in fast-paced, exuberant Chinese; bemused, my targets would smile and nod indulgently at my childish antics. Strangely enough, that habit hasn’t persisted into adulthood. You hear frequently that children’s minds are impressionable. They pick up new skills quickly, and are very adept with languages. I entered school knowing little to no English, and within a few weeks became a total pro, apparently. After that, it became my primary language, my mother tongue retreating into the closed bubble of my home life. Eventually, this started to become a problem. I spoke Chinese fine and could keep up without issue at home, but had never learned to read or write in the language. When I was seven or eight, Grandma took it upon herself to teach me. I remember my first ‘Chinese lessons’, the two of us, bent over some basic Chinese learners’ book, my Grandma patiently attempting to explain brushstrokes and characters to me as I impatiently fidgeted and let my mind wander. Still, she persisted, and I’m glad she did. It’s her – as well as my Grandpa – that I have to thank for the few characters that I do recognise today. By the time I entered adolescence, there was a marked difference in my ability to use the two languages: English I had absolutely no trouble with, but my Chinese, while decent, was somewhat lacking. This phenomenon is more common than you’d think, and it has a name: first language attrition. For immigrant families, it becomes both more prevalent with each subsequent generation. Those like me are called ‘heritage speakers’ as the language my family uses at home is different to the one spoken by the majority of people in our country. Unfortunately, early exposure to a second language (L2) that is more commonly used than the first can often result in reduced competence in the first language (L1). The earlier L2 is acquired, the stronger the effect. My mother says that my English fluency overtook that of my Chinese almost immediately. When I was younger, this never really struck me as an issue. For many years, I figured that as long as I knew enough to be able to communicate with my family, everything would be fine. That was all that mattered. It was during high school that I really began to take notice of the difference between me and some of my bilingual friends. My best friend, also a first-generation immigrant born in Australia (or ‘ABC’ as some call it), spoke Chinese fluently and could both

read and write in the language. She often messaged her friends in China – even wrote them letters – and I looked on, admiring and, admittedly, a bit envious. With time, I found that Chinese didn’t come to me as easily as it used to; I couldn’t express certain ideas as eloquently as I wanted to and stumbled occasionally (read: frequently) with pronunciation and sentence construction. Next to my fluent friends – for whom the language still flowed off the tongue like, well, their native language – I felt clumsy, awkward. I spoke a little less, lost a little more, spoke a little less again – a downward spiral that has persisted to this day. It’s actually not that easy to maintain fluency; studies have shown that knowledge of a native language tends to stabilise around age twelve, so consistent practice and exposure are absolutely crucial, especially for younger children. Even my cousin, who moved here when she was six, says that her foreign accent is sometimes detected by native Chinese speakers. Of course, it’s not impossible, nor even necessarily arduous to get that practice. Many of my friends achieved this by translating for their parents, or by making frequent trips back to China where they had no choice but to speak Chinese. Watching TV, reading books and listening to music. A stronger commitment to my first language would undoubtedly have prevented the deterioration of my Chinese abilities. Hindsight is, as usual, 20/20. It’s engendered a bit of a cultural gap, as well. Language is, after all, an expression of culture. A good grasp of any language both prompts and requires a strengthened and more contextual understanding of the culture that comes with it. It’s why your French professor is so determined to impress on you la culture français, and the reason your Japanese professor teaches you to make takoyaki. My ‘ABC’ friend consumes a steady diet of Chinese pop culture. She is active on several Chinese social media platforms and loves Chinese talk shows. I, on the other hand, am bewildered by the supremacy of WeChat and only faintly remember a few shows that used to blare on our TV. My sister says that she feels her own limited Chinese prevents her from having deeper, more engaging conversations with our family. I feel the same way. But at least with Mum and Dad, I can use English. It’s conversations with Grandpa that really tear me up inside; literally lost for words, I find myself unable to hold a conversation that trespasses the trivial. I don’t know how to express myself. I can’t even tell him about my classes – such a regular, everyday conversation transcends my abilities in the language we share. So where do we go from here? Should migrant children be encouraged to maintain a degree of fluency in their native tongue? Or is this just a natural process of cultural integration? I know that Chinese won’t exactly die out through first language attrition, but there are other, rarer languages that might. UNESCO lists hundreds of minority languages as varying degrees of ‘extinct’, and some suggest that of the estimated 6,000 languages around today, we could be left with as few as 600 by 2115. Then again, all languages transform over time, technically speaking. The English we speak today would be almost unrecognisable to a speaker living 500–600 years in the past. Perhaps it’s just history at work. But we’re still left with this linguistic and cultural divide between a child and their own grandparents, or even their parents, sometimes. As for me, I’ve committed to re-learning my precious mother tongue, so I can one day have a real conversation with my grandpa about our respective lives, or flick through his book and see more than just meaningless brush strokes. In the meantime, I’ll keep frowning awkwardly at the ‘first language’ box, wondering which to tick: the one that came first, or the one that won out.







he Simpsons is perhaps one of the most prevalent cultural icons of the 20th and 21st Centuries. It is both the longest running American sitcom and animated TV show. In its golden age, The Simpsons garnered an average 18-22 million viewers per episode. However, the most recent 28th season reached a mere 4.8 million viewers. This significant drop in popularity results from what is notably recognised as the degeneration of this iconic series to a lifeless and emotionless husk. The Simpsons was established on core principles of antiauthoritarian satire, comedy grounded in character and emotional sentiment. It was an amalgamation of intelligence, humour, parody, pop culture references and heart. The Simpsons was counter culture. It contradicted family sitcoms like Full House and actively mocked the idea of the virtuous American nuclear family. Instead, it concentrated on subjects such as bullying, the struggle of the lower middle class and depression. Its blatant anti-authoritarian nature even attracted comments from former President George Bush Sr., who stated, “We are going to keep on trying to strengthen the American family […] to make American families a lot more like the Waltons and less like The Simpsons.”

Many have tracked the beginning of The Simpsons’ devolution to season nine, episode two – ‘The Principal and the Pauper’. It reveals Seymour Skinner’s true identity to be Armin Tamzarian, a rebellious man who had fought in the army alongside the real Sergeant Seymour Skinner. Though attempting to be a parody of the life of Martin Guerre, the episode created a cheap gag at the expense of a key character. Even Harry Shearer, the voice actor of Seymour Skinner, argued that it was an arbitrary and gratuitous narrative that betrayed not only the audience, but the character too. Skinner was designed as the antithesis to Bart Simpson. He represented authority, rules and hierarchy, as a result of his upbringing by his tyrannical and authoritarian mother Agnes. The relationship between Skinner and his mother was an extended commentary on the effect of authoritarian parenting. The Simpsons goes so far as to allude to Hitchcock’s Psycho and Skinner even states, “I owe everything I have to my mother’s watchful eye.” Ultimately, the writers chose to exchange a character whose personal complexity had been built up carefully over eight years for a celebrity appearance by Martin Sheen and a vapid narrative. The Simpsons punished the audience for their loyalty.


COMMENTARY The appeal of early Simpsons episodes was their ability to produce an explicit social commentary regarding aspects of American life such as healthcare, the penal system and religion, with a sense of humour and sincerity. Jokes were more than just trivial humour, they were a mode of expressing genuine messages. Season seven’s fourth episode, ‘Bart Sells His Soul’, is a valuable example of a passionate Simpsons episode that deconstructs the concept of a soul through humour, satire and heart. The episode follows Bart and his crises after selling his soul to Milhouse for five dollars. Bart’s bout of bad luck, a terrifying existential nightmare and the advice of his loved ones leads him to a pilgrimage. The episode follows Bart as he journeys through stages of suffering, thought and prayer to comprehend the meaning and nature of the human soul. Originally, Bart’s name was created as an anagram of brat and in the peak of The Simpsons he was characterised as a troublemaker with a huge heart. This was seen in poignant and heart-warming episodes like ‘Bart Sells His Soul’, as well as ‘Stark Raving Dad’ and ‘Lisa on Ice’. However, his blatant antiauthoritarian humour and humanity that was prevalent in the earlier seasons was overtaken by a mindless, emotionless, evil agitator. Earlier episodes demonstrated an incredible balance between social satire and heartfelt family moments that was lost in the later seasons. The cardinal rule of The Simpsons’ renaissance was inventive storylines and nuanced characters. Originally, The Simpsons implemented celebrity voices as social satire or to aid the primary character. These cameos were often disguised as alternate characters. This is seen in ‘Stark Raving Dad’, as Michael Jackson voices an asylum patient named Leon Kompowsky who believes himself to be the real Michael Jackson. However, in recent episodes such as season 23, episode 22, ‘Lisa Goes Gaga’, the narrative is stationed as secondary to Lady Gaga’s guest appearance. The innovative nature of their original celebrity cameos is discarded in favour of an active worship of popular media. The episode is centred around Lisa being awarded the “least popular student” award at Springfield Elementary. Lady Gaga’s appearance focuses on her desire to satisfy the needs of confidence-lacking ‘little monsters’. It lacks a genuine study of Lisa’s emotional state and character, instead focusing on Lady Gaga’s fame as the primary subject. No clear resolution is made. Instead, Lisa appears alongside Lady Gaga to perform 'Lisa Simpson Superstar'. The importance of narrative in the earlier seasons is abandoned for lazy storytelling and gag celebrity appearances. The original standpoint that cartoon characters were not mere caricatures, but could express genuine emotions and heart, has now been rejected for the attention-seeking, cameo-driven 'zombie Simpsons'. While The Simpsons had once produced biting attacks on elements of popular media and the institution of fame, it now revels in it. The pop culture landscape that The Simpsons had deemed its antithesis has been annihilated. The Simpsons lost its ability for satire and commentary, and thus became the popular media it originally criticised and despised. In an attempt to change, The Simpsons further categorised itself into the family sitcom genre that follows an idiotic and overweight man. It lost the anti-authoritarian satire, character authenticity and emotional sentiment that acted as the foundations of its enormous empire. Though The Simpsons has deteriorated beyond recognition or repair, in its prime it was an ingenious example of social and political satire that was beautifully and hilariously produced.

This issue was not just limited to the side characters. The consistent characterisation of each member of the core Simpson family was slowly demolished. Homer was once a slow-witted, underdog everyman, who above all loved his family. However, he soon became a wacky cartoon dad whose destructive tendencies lean sociopathic. Homer was reduced to an idiot for the sake of cheap gags. However, he wasn’t the only Simpson family member who had been diluted in an attempt to remain relevant. Lisa devolved from an isolated intellectual and the voice of reason, who criticised the inherent patriarchy that created the talking Malibu Stacy, to a religious follower of popular trends. Newer seasons ultimately sacrificed the foundation of the show’s empire – its characters. In its prime, The Simpsons was awarded a Peabody Award for incredible animation and biting social satire. "At the core of all of Bart’s antics, Lisa’s self doubt, Homer’s indulgences and Marge’s often smothering mothering is a nuclear family trying its best to hold together under the relentless pressures presented by modern life.” they said, summarising The Simpson's success. Mike Reiss, an original writer on the show and now consultant, described the change in The Simpsons as an ageing process. He compares it to the ageing of grandparents who “either get boring or crazy and weird.” Reiss argues that The Simpsons has gotten crazy and weird. The Simpsons’ history of satire regarding senile old people does not inspire much confidence in this comparison. The fundamental change in The Simpsons was the eradication of the popular culture that had shaped its satirical stance. The pressures of modern life had changed, and with it so did the characters.




FUNGI BY POORNIIMA SHANMUGAM A collection of unique fungi images from Tasmania's North West Instagram @poorniima_s






9/11 and other terrorist attacks in the West, while largely ignoring the rising civilian death tolls of our armies in the Middle East? Why do we forget that the West has created most of its own worst enemies? North Korea (NK) is one of those bad guys. I’m not going to defend their human rights abuses, or even list them, because that’s not the point. The point is we forget that the polarisation and isolation of NK originated from the Allied occupation after the Second World War, where Korea was split in two and put under the separate administrations of the Soviet Union (North) and the United States (South). Before that, it was under Japanese control. Is it a considerable surprise that a country passed from foreign occupation to foreign occupation adopts nationalist, radical, or antiWest ideologies? Considering the context in which NK was born, one in which the ideological battles of the world powers played out in their peripheral vision, its aggressive self-severance from the South is less shocking, perhaps more understandable. The West’s fear of communism, combined with the lingering stench of colonialism, wreaked destruction in much of South-East Asia during the same period. From this perspective, even as the Cold War faded into grudging tolerance and globalisation, a country which had no ball to play or dice to role, had nothing to gain and everything to lose by allowing themselves to become a pawn of more powerful states.

hen I was younger, and a good church-attending lass, a phrase I heard a lot was “remove the beam from your own eye, and then you will see clearly enough to remove the speck from your brother’s eye”. At the time, I thought it literally referred to my pupil, and poked myself way too many times in the eye trying to scoop it out (common sense did not come naturally to me). Now, of course, I realise it’s a metaphor for hypocrisy and self-awareness.

Growing up, you always knew who the bad guys were. The communists, the terrorists, the protestors who block the tramlines when you’re trying to get into the city to watch the latest Harry Potter or Marvel movie with your friends. And that’s funny too, because we forget that the characters we fall in love with, who are fighting for a better life and a good cause, are often labelled, by their own societies, as bad guys too. That’s because in real life, the good guys and the bad guys tend to blur. The good guys build empires on the backs of colonised nations and minorities, just dressed up and glossed over in nationalist and feminist slogans. Some of the bad guys don’t bother to hide their bombs, guns, nooses and hate. We conveniently forget that we – the ‘good guys’ – gave them those weapons in the first place. We forget that some ‘bad guys’ aren’t really bad guys at all – they’re fighting the good fight. It’s all about perception and perspective. Because we forget what we owe to some of those ‘bad guys’ too. Why do we owe more to the American soldiers who fought the Nazis than the communists and socialists, labelled ‘terrorists’ of sorts, who recognised evil and struggled against it from the moment Hitler gained chancellorship? Why do we romanticise protestors like the Suffragettes in films, and then mutter about ‘pesky protestors’ under our breaths when they inconvenience us by locking down the CBD? And why do we mourn the loss of life in

Whether or not NK was born evil, or had evilness thrust upon it, its communist reputation is also a legacy of ‘Red Scare’ propaganda. In fact, NK has predominantly anti-communist qualities, like its emphasis on ethnic nationalism, a race-based class system, a neofeudalistic monarchy and an economy that exists on corruption and privatisation. These are all characteristics which are distinctly anti-Marxist-Leninist. However, it’s still seen broadly as an example



injustices which persist in Western countries like the United States and Australia. But I can tell you that it has been estimated that since World War Two, the United States has killed over 20 million people in foreign countries. I can tell you that the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that drone-strikes under Obama – a fabled ‘good-guy’ – have killed up to 807 civilians in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. I can tell you that the conflict in Iraq, initiated by the US in 2003, has seen an estimated total of up to 194,058 civilians killed on both sides. And for what reason? One is definitely because they didn’t fall in line and follow the Western global hegemony. While we may shout all about democracy and fairness, we are still exerting oppressive and damaging control over certain races, and certain socio-demographics. Perhaps our tactics are not as obtuse, as obvious, as blatantly abusive, but we are not better because we have learnt the language of equality and appropriated it to cover our inhumanity. We all fall south on the morality scale as we continue to draw lines around. of communism. The United States likes to label their enemies as communist, and as such, associate communism with fascism, authoritarianism or villainy. It’s interesting how, for example, China is colloquially no longer considered a communist country, as its relationship to the West has improved since its foray into a capitalist economy But while condemning the blatant human rights abuses occurring in North Korea, how is it that we forget or ignore similar abuses happening in the West? We cite NK’s concentration camps as evidence of their cruelty, yet where is the international condemnation of Australia’s treatment of refugees? Are they too not locked up without charge or crime, with no clear idea of when they will be released?

Let us not also forget the injustices of our criminal justice and prison systems. Let us not forget that colonisation is not a distant past. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people make up 27 per cent of all prisoners, yet are merely two per cent of Australia’s overall population. Some academics have astutely observed that as the more overt disciplinary regimes of the colonial state have retreated in favour of an ‘assimilation’ approach, the incarceration rates of the Indigenous population continued to grow. Basically, the regimes and tactics we speak of as horrific events of the past have merely been repackaged and tied up with a neoliberal bow. So, are we really in a position to call ourselves the good guys? This article doesn’t have the scope to address all of the internal








acca's – a word so familiar to the everyday Australian that it's practically part of the culture. Whether it’s ten nuggets at 2am after a night out, an epic 8th birthday party or a drive thru ‘Macca's run’, the Macca's golden arches are universally recognisable. Melbourne hasn’t been voted the world’s most livable city for seven years running because of its public transport system or its thriving arts scene. No, it’s because every street corner in the CBD plays host to those golden arches. And so we, Jack and Monique, put our physical health on the line in order to give you the lowdown on the best Macca's in Melbourne. In a never before attempted stunt, we challenged ourselves to visit five different McDonald's in five hours, ordering a different meal at every restaurant – our very own Maccas Marathon. Here’s what happened. Disclaimer: We are trained professionals. Do not try this at home. Early Bird(shit) Hot Spot Location: Swanston/Flinders Street Time: 10:30am Order: Monique: Bacon and Egg McMuffin, Hash Brown, Choc Chip Hotcake, OJ Jack: Sausage and Egg McMuffin, Hash Brown, Choc Chip Hotcake (with DIY Butter), OJ After a slightly delayed start (we were too busy taking selfies), the first stop on our epic adventure took us to the Macca's right near Flinders Station, just in time for brunch. Upon entry, we were greeted with aesthetic menu boards decorated with Minions merch. The glow from the screens reflected in Jack’s eyes. Having ordered enough breakfast food for an entire day, we weaved through the birds that were dive-bombing the empty tables for McMuffin scraps. Wanting a quiet space away from the avian hustle and bustle of downstairs, we ventured upstairs for some secluded seating. As we walked up we were met with the stone-cold death stares of five school students and one disgruntled manager. We had accidentally stumbled into a job interview. We settled on eating downstairs, on a cute two-person table, decorated with a few piles of bird poop, that Monique unluckily stuck her hand in after mistaking them for choc chips, and tucked into our brekky. Rating: 3.5/5

Riverside Retreat Location: Southbank Time: 11:20am Order: 10 Nuggets, Medium Fries After the long and windy trek from the other side of the river, we arrived at stop number two. The first thing we noticed was that it was Lit AF. No, literally, the sunlight was streaming in (we took advantage of this and took more selfies). Monique almost mistook this Macca's for Vincent the Dog. The decor was stunning – as if taken straight from an Ikea catalogue. The plants mounted on the wall made this Macca's Insta-worthy. The sweet sounds of Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City’s ‘Good Time’ serenaded us over speakers as we placed our second order of the day. And what an order. Our nugs were crisp and golden – a fresh batch. The only downside to this heavenly location was they gave us a single sweet ‘n sour sauce. The audacity! It cost them their perfect score. Rating: 4.5/5



Filet O Fuck Off Location: Queen Victoria Markets Time: 1:45pm Order: Filet O Fish, Frozen Lemon Lime Bitters At the start of the day we had decided that for one meal, we would choose something for each other to consume. It just so happened we had both chosen Filet O Fish, and for the exact same reason – it sounded absolutely disgusting. We entered the Queen Vic Macca's, stomachs churning in anticipation. The Macca's was busy and loud. We ordered our fishy delights from the highly effective but sticky self-ordering screens, resisting the tantalizing option of adding four extra slabs of fish. We sat down, and were faced with square Alaskan Pollock fillets encased in cardboard-like bread, with something that was supposed to resemble tartare sauce smeared across the 'burger'. One bite in and Monique gagged, immediately spitting it out. Jack, on the other hand, powered through and managed to fit it in his mouth in about five seconds. We were left wondering what sort of sick person chooses the Filet O Fish willingly. We washed it down with a lovely frozen drink – the only saving grace to this awful stopover. Rating: 1.5/5 The Belly of the Beast Location: Crown Casino Time: 12:30pm Order: Monique: Grilled Peri Peri Chicken Wrap, Small Fries, Small Sprite Jack: Chicken Caesar Wrap, Medium Fries, Medium Coke The third stop was very hard to find, buried in the heart of Crown Casino. It’s one of those places you can only find by accident in a drunken stupor, after you’ve lost it all at the pokies. We were feeling the effects of our first two meals so we let out a sigh of relief when we saw that this Macca's had plush booths available. A TV playing recent pop hits hypnotised us as we sat in the dimly lit and seedy booth, slipping into delirium in this forgotten corner of the world. Again, Carly Rae Jespen decided to join in on the fun (a paid sponsorship no doubt), with ‘Call Me Maybe’ becoming the backing track for our lunch. The meals on the other hand? One bite into Monique’s wrap and liquid oozed out onto the table. Ew. Every bite was a struggle, as we were close to being sick. After finishing our meals, we slid down the booth and attempted to nap away the stomach aches. Rating: 2/5

Hipsters’ Delight Location: Barkly Square, Brunswick Time: 2:45pm Order: Monique: Large Chocolate Sundae Jack: Malteser McFlurry The last stop on our journey called for a little city getaway, venturing into the inner suburbs. We arrived at Barkly Square feeling very full, and very sleepy. On entry, the cleanliness of the store left a lot to be desired, and the ambience was definitely lacking. It was time to treat ourselves to some sweet servings of dessert. After being tricked into upgrading from a small to a large Sundae, we squished into a small secluded area in the sun. The absence of Carly Rae Jepsen overhead and any TV for entertainment was noted, but our desserts truly satisfied our sweet tooth. While we sat in the sun, we reflected on the past five hours of Macca's mayhem. We had reached the end of our journey. We had survived. Rating: 3/5 This piece is in no way sponsored by McDonald's. We just have no self-control.






s humans, we have always prided ourselves on our rationality. Since Aristotle defined us as ‘rational animals’, philosophers have praised humans for their logic and reason. Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy, christened us Homo sapiens, or ‘wise man’. Some scientists argue that we are so closely related to chimpanzees that we should all be included in the same genus. And yet we still consider ourselves special, separate, standing alone in the genus Homo. It’s more arrogant than Trump thinking he can successfully run the United States. But are we as wise and rational as history would have us believe? And if so, why do we let children die in sweat shops, start wars we cannot end and destroy our climate with fossil fuels? Perhaps most perplexing is that despite humanity’s clear flaws, we are all convinced we are right. Supporters of every political party believe that theirs Research into human is the best option, painting the opposition as immoral behaviour has begun to and incompetent. Advocates on either side are certain of their own position, whether the debate concerns explain this, painting a same sex marriage or euthanasia. People deny very different picture to abortion, climate change, evolution or the efficancy of vaccinations, the infallible ‘wise man’. sometimes at a great cost to themselves and others. I could list dozens more emotive and controversial issues, but it is the same each time, both sides have an unshakable belief in their position. Decades of research into human behaviour has begun to explain this, painting a very different picture to the infallible ‘wise man’ of the 1700s. We are not the rational creatures we thought we were. Behavioural economist and Nobel Laureate, Daniel Kahneman, explains this by identifying two different ways of thinking in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow. Our default thought process, or ‘System 1’, is fast and instinctive. It relies on pattern recognition and intuition to make rapid decisions, often unconsciously. On the other hand, ‘System 2’ is slow, conscious, and relies on logic and reason. System 2 is what we like to imagine determines our behaviour, but more often it is System 1 that makes our decisions. Intuition is fantastic for everyday choices, like deciding whether to buy coffee from House of Cards or Ho Ho’s. It also helps us act quickly to avoid a threat, like campaigners in student elections. But it renders us vulnerable to bias when considering complex issues. Confirmation bias, where we only pay attention to information that supports our current beliefs, is an example of System 1 influencing our rational side. System 1 is also responsible for the ‘backfire effect’, where providing someone with evidence that Unfortunately, our thought contradicts their belief strengthens their view. processes haven’t had time You can show a climate change denier all the evidence in the world, and they will still walk out to adapt to this rapid change, on a wintery day and claim that because it is cold, and we cannot change them. climate change is therefore, not happening. These biases occur because our brains are big fans of ‘cognitive ease’. We are more likely to believe something that feels familiar, is easy to compute and can be incorporated into our personal narrative – regardless of if it is supported by fact. Changing your beliefs is hard, and may require changes in your identity and behaviour. It’s no wonder we stick to what (we think) we know. If these thought processes prevent us from seeing the truth, then why did they evolve? How did the ‘wise man’ rise to power if he wasn’t so ‘wise’ after all? Before civilisation and technology protected us from the dangers of predators and starvation, truth was not as important as immediate survival. Rapid decisions were needed to avoid attacks, obtain food and compete for mates. Our biases exist because they have saved lives, we assume everything has a cause (even when it doesn’t) because it is safer to assume a lion caused that rustling noise than to wait and see if it was just wind. We rarely change our minds because it is safer to appear confident than it is to be right. It is safer to make assumptions than to expend precious energy trying to find the truth. There are still advantages of System 1 in our modern lives. But with such a large population, and such influence on the world around us, the consequences of being wrong are greater now than they were 100,000 years ago. Unfortunately, our thought processes haven’t had time to adapt to this rapid change, and we cannot change them. But hopefully, by learning about our own biases, we can compensate for our faulty ‘intuition’.

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his is not an article criticising the media young people choose to consume. There are plenty of those out there. If you want to hear why the popularity of apocalyptic and dystopian fiction amongst teenagers and young adults is leading us towards a cultural disaster to rival anything seen in books, movies and television shows, just google it. If you want to follow this up with articles about why millennials are ruining diamonds, marmalade and porn, I promise those all exist too, and they’re all extremely entertaining. Many of the biggest films and franchises of recent years, such as The Hunger Games, Divergent and Mad Max: Fury Road, have chosen dystopian futures as their subject. This is not evidence of a decline in the quality of Western media culture, but an inevitable symptom of living in a world which is politically and environmentally unstable, and only projected to become more so in the near future – as the people consuming this sort of media grow up.

Young people are seeking out fiction that reflects the world they find themselves living in and, even more so, the one they expect to live in in the future. The Handmaid’s Tale, a dystopian series based on the brilliant 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, was the most popular thing on SBS On Demand for weeks. The Hunger Games franchise grossed a total of $1.45 billion at the box office worldwide. Jill Lepore’s New Yorker article ‘A Golden Age for Dystopian Fiction,’ published in June of this year, detailed a spate of dystopian novels being released, particularly from the US, as many were seemingly in direct response to Trump’s election. There are different theories as to why exactly these stories are particularly popular with young people. Some believe that it is simply because they tend to be exciting, gripping, and these are qualities that young people look for in their fiction. Others have suggested, far more plausibly in my opinion, that it is because teenagers see a metaphorical reflection of themselves and

their world in dystopian fiction, particularly that which depicts authoritarian regimes and the chaos and violence which occurs under them. Journalist Laura Miller posited The Hunger Games as a metaphor for high school, "Adults dump teenagers into the viper pit of high school ... The rules are arbitrary, unfathomable, and subject to sudden change. A brutal social hierarchy prevails, with the rich, the good-looking, and the athletic lording their advantages over everyone else … Everyone’s always watching you … but no one cares who you really are or how you really feel about anything." However, what is most likely, surely, is simply that young people are seeking out fiction that reflects the world they find themselves living in and, even more so, the one in which they expect to live in the future. Author Paolo Bacigalupi, whose wonderful work is primarily concerned with climate change and its social ramifications, suggested that "young adults crave stories of broken futures because they themselves are uneasily aware that their world is falling apart". "Unfortunately," he writes, "the truth of the world around us is changing, and so the literature is morphing to reflect it. Teens want to read something that isn’t a lie". This makes sense when we reflect that so many elements of our current political system already seem as though they belong in a dystopian novel. In the US, obviously, the election of Donald Trump was absurd and horrifying, the instalment of a wealthy reality TV star in the White House feeling like something from Black Mirror. Yet, here in Australia, we operate off-shore prison camps to torture vulnerable people forced to flee their own countries, a policy supported by both major parties, and accepted by most of the population. Our government plans to give $1 billion in public money to the Adani Group to mine the Galilee Basin in Queensland, an enormous coal deposit which would be Australia’s largest ever coal mine, doubling Australia’s carbon emissions just as we need to be cutting them severely. These cruel and absurd policies already feel dystopian – our refugee policies make the 2006 film Children of Men look extraordinarily familiar – and those relating to climate change promise a future which is even more so.



There are already a number of works that focus on the climate and planet changing, and the political and social impacts of this. Novels such as Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker and The Water Knife, Saci Lloyd’s Carbon Diaries, Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles all explore a changing or changed planet, and none of them imagine anything very good for the humans attempting to live on it. It seems likely that these sorts of works will only grow in popularity as we see more of the impacts of climate change, and look to fiction to help us make sense of where we are heading. And this is where I criticise dystopian fiction. Not because young people like it – again, a lot of people got there before me – but because it probably won’t help.

A tweet by @larsjolsen on 19 July 2017 reads 'well, I’m a millennial, so my retirement plan is basically the apocalypse'. There is already something of a culture of hopelessness amongst young people. Dark and nihilistic humour is common in memes, which is definitely one of the silliest sentences I’ve ever written but it's also true. A tweet by @larsjolsen on 19 July 2017 reads 'well, I’m a millennial, so my retirement plan is basically the apocalypse'. It’s a common attitude, and one that is perhaps not as much a joke as we might say. In the short-term we are worried about employment, debt and the housing market, and looming over these concerns are the long-term ones – climate change, the global instability and mass migration which will result from it, the apparent rise of neo-fascism in response. The future looks to be a scary place. The impulse to seek out fiction that tells us the truth about this is an understandable one. The issue, though, is that dystopian and apocalyptic fiction cannot tell is the truth about specific events and scenarios, because they are fictional, and have not happened yet. They are not set in stone. And while these works may be describing what seems currently the most likely outcome of the situation in which we find ourselves, it doesn’t have to be the only one.

Fiction is how we make sense of the world, how we learn to understand the world around us. Consuming only media which depicts the future as a bleak and awful place gives the impression that this future is inevitable, and that fighting for a better one is a hopeless pursuit. Certainly, we see characters fight, but it is for their lives, or at best perhaps revolution in societies that have already fallen as low as they can. We rarely see them fight to stop the authoritarian regime being installed in the first place. And even more than this, we see almost nothing of what else the future could be – there is little tradition of utopian fiction, little effort to imagine what a world in which we fight and win could look like in the future. Utopian fiction and imagining is a rarity now, but once upon a time it played an important role in inspiring political movements. Naomi Klein, in her recent book No Is Not Enough, described the popularity of Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, a utopian novel describing a socialist society in the year 2000, amongst striking workers in the US in the late nineteenth century, who “dreamed of a ‘cooperative commonwealth,’ a world where work was but one element of a well-balanced life”. The sense of cynicism and hopelessness which has infected much of young people’s political discourse cannot be blamed solely on the media we are consuming, but as Klein put it, “we have collectively imagined this extreme winners-and-losers ending for our species so many times that one of our most pressing tasks is learning to imagine other possible ends to the human story, ones in which we come together in crisis rather than split apart … The point of dystopian art is not to act as a temporal GPS, showing us where we are inevitably headed. The point is to warn us, to wake us – so that, seeing where this perilous road leads, we can decide to swerve”. If we cannot imagine a better future, we have nothing to fight for. Utopias do not exist, and arguably cannot exist, as imperfect humans cannot create a perfect society. In fact, attempts to do so are often the catalyst in dystopian stories. But if I may end with yet another quote, from Eduardo Galeano, “she’s on the horizon … I go two steps, she moves two steps away. I walk ten steps and the horizon runs ten steps ahead. No matter how much I walk, I’ll never reach her. What good is utopia? That’s what: it’s good for walking”.





y partner and I have been together for three months now. He sometimes asks me to tell him about my childhood, and every time, without fail, I’m confronted with gaping years of blankness. There are few stories I can recount from ages one to thirteen – many of them are violent and triggering, and recounting them would be like clicking open a screamer video unwittingly. He has always had a relatively good relationship with his family – they get together frequently and he’s always taking the train back to his hometown to see his parents. He speaks of them fondly, and when he first asked about mine, I could only choke out a cold, “I don’t have a good relationship with them”. He’s always unsure of what to do when I emerge from the bedroom after a brief phone call with my mum, looking exhausted and on the verge of a breakdown. I’ve always known to some degree that my family was dysfunctional. Over the last few years, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety, undiagnosed but frustratingly foregrounded. I’ve been going to counselling for a year now, and have spoken to my sister frequently about our shared mental struggle, but only recently have I realised that the biggest neon sign in my life perhaps is not depression or anxiety, but CPTSD. Complex post-traumatic stress disorder stems from long-term exposure to toxic, stressful environments. For me, there is no beforeCPTSD. There is no sense of self outside of my trauma, because I have only cultivated my identity in the environment of trauma and abuse. How do you negotiate an identity when you grow up

in a household where your parents regularly hurl emotional and psychological abuse? Where sometimes your father raises a hand, or throws the nearest teacup at your head, or tries to choke you on New Year’s Eve (no, Dad, I haven’t forgotten)? What do you do when you realise before you’ve even stepped out into the world, parents will break your heart before anyone else can?

I felt like bits of broken glass crammed together into a thinning body. For the entirety of the first year after I moved out, I had no fucking clue who I was. My mother had crafted a stubborn image of me in her mind, one of a selfish, ungrateful, stupid child that might never live up to her standards. “You know we just want you to be happy and don’t mind if you end up working at McDonald’s, right?” she’d say, condescendingly. I would have absorbed it like a sponge if I were still in high school. I didn’t know who to trust, who I could turn to absorb an identity from, who I could find that might project a character onto me like my mother did. I knew she was wrong, but I could never find the correct solution. The only thing I did know was that I was a broken person coming from a broken family with parents who refused to acknowledge that we were as broken as that metronome my father had smashed against the wall. That one that



I see hurling towards me sometimes when I close my eyes. The only thing I did know was that simple sounds, like the whirring of a washing machine and a soft crack of a floorboard, regularly gave me hour-long panic attacks. That year, I closed myself off. I built walls around myself, letting my trauma take control of my life. I drank, I smoked, I stopped eating and drinking water and taking care of myself and I tried my best not to relapse into self-harm. It got harder and harder for me to meet new people, because I felt like bits of broken glass crammed together into a thinning body; who could love a skeleton with no personality? I didn’t want to have to confront the nature of my identity being built on a foundation of violence, and I certainly didn’t want to face the possibility of my trauma being dismissed again and again with, “they’re your parents, they love you and you should love them”.

I don’t know if they’re really truly abusive, or if I’m just that ungrateful kid that deserves a teacup thrown my way. It seems impossible to me that there are some daughters out there who love their fathers. How do their stomachs not churn at their fathers’ voices? Maybe my deepest secret is that I hate my father – I don’t mean to hide it, but having such a strongly negative


stance on immediate family tends to turn people away. I have a more complicated relationship with my feelings towards my mother – it’s hard not to feel love towards your parents when they’ve been there your whole life. It’s a cycle; I develop an immune system to their manipulation, but once I go home, or even just phone them, I’m back in their trap, struggling to discern my real self from the apparent devil child my mother gave birth to. It’s difficult to always hate them. They’ve financially supported me for two decades of my life, and as manipulative as it is on their part, I truly feel that I owe them a debt. They’ve been generous with their money, and suddenly I don’t know if they’re really truly abusive, or if I’m just that ungrateful kid that deserves a teacup thrown my way. For these three months, I’ve struggled to stay independent from my partner, who has been wonderful in trying to understand my background. It can be tempting to rely on him, place all this empty love on him, and slowly wither away into his shadow and hope for the best. But recognising that I’ve suffered from CPTSD means I deserve more. It means that my identity isn’t just about my trauma. It’s about stepping forward and slowly learning to stand on my own two feet (before trying to walk). It’s about realising, maybe with a bit of pain, that I might not have a self pre-CPTSD, but I can create a self starting now. One that I’m happy with and that is completely my own. I’ll be building walls, not to grapple with my parents’ siege, but to maybe, finally, lock them out of my identity.






vividly remember the first time I saw Piss Christ. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s an artwork by Andres Serrano, formally titled Immersion (Piss Christ) and consists of a photograph of a crucifix immersed in a deep yellow liquid. It’s a confronting image, not only because of its explicit religious connection, but because the title forces us to confront the fact that we’re looking at a lot of urine (in which Christ appears to be literally hanging out). Upon this realisation, most people, myself included, had a little cringe of disgust. That’s piss? The warm, radiant light surrounding our Lord and Saviour, deepening to an amberish reddish glow? Ew. Not that I’m religious. I think my response in that case would have been more along the lines of ‘Blasphemy!’ But there was something instinctively disgusting about looking at so much urine collected in one space. Indeed, for me, the crucifix became secondary; I was consumed by my revulsion for what seemed to me to be an inordinately large amount of piss. But why? It’s a natural waste product produced by the body. Indeed, produced by my own body, the voiding of which is an integral part of keeping me healthy. But collectively we have an instinctive revulsion towards any excretions the body produces, and a social taboo about engaging with any of them.

For many, Piss Christ rejects the appropriate social conduct of faith because it rejects the cleanliness of spirituality. Spit, blood, breast milk, menstrual blood, urine and faeces all inspire this cringe factor when we engage with them. Inevitably, when we come into contact with them outside of their designated – and seldom discussed – environments, there is a sense of deep transgression. Some artists, like Serrano, utilise this transgression in their work. I think this goes deeper than simply a fear of dirtiness, though certainly that’s a part of it. In most cultures there is a rejection of dirtiness, of pollution. It forms a dichotomy with cleanliness; cleanliness is ordered and organised while dirtiness is chaotic, a rejection of the acceptable social state. It’s a form of social deviation. For many, Piss Christ rejects the appropriate social conduct of faith because it rejects the cleanliness of spirituality. Merda d’Artista, the 1961 work by Piero Manzoni, is a tin can supposedly filled with the artist’s own faecal matter. It, too, rejects a cleanly state, and the purity of the gallery and the prim propriety of the art world is brought down and is violated by this filthy material.

It can’t just be dirtiness that inspires our horror, though. Marc Quinn’s Self, an ongoing project first exhibited in 1991, is a frozen sculpture of the artist’s head made from the artist’s own blood. It’s well sealed in a refrigeration unit, and it would be hard to argue that the sanitised sculpture represents dirtiness. Instead, it plays on the deeper transgression – that from the internal to the external. Blood is a giver of life, a liquid with powerful associations for many. There’s the religious blood of Christ. There’s a strong familial or cultural element, such as when something is ‘in the blood’. It is appropriate for blood (and other fluids) to stay inside the body. When they transverse the body they break this boundary, making them a transitional material and thus a transgression of the presumed order of things. Chilean artist, Carina Úbeda, uses her own menstrual blood in her work. The fact that this is a material that normally transverses the boundary of internal and external perhaps explains why there is such a social revulsion towards menstrual blood. Its transgression from internal to external disrupts not the cleanliness of the body, but its order. This symbolic rejection of order is perhaps what creates our discomfort around it.

Think of those muscular classical Adonises, like Michelangelo’s David. These are not bodies that excrete anything. The inviolate body is another broken taboo, that is, the body without an opening through which substances may seep. Think of the classic ‘paint me like one of your French girls’ pose of the odalisque. A woman posed reclining with her body presented towards the viewer. Think of those muscular classical Adonises, like Michelangelo’s David. These are not bodies that excrete anything. Any orifice seems non-existent. They are sealed, perfect and whole. Something breaking through that complete boundary, something filthy and revolting, is perhaps created in our minds as violation of the purity, the sanctity of our bodies. Societal taboos around these materials are certainly changing; the discussion of menstruation and breast feeding has become more mainstream, and thus breast milk and menstrual blood have become less problematic. But the transgressive disruption of order that elicits that cringe is still present. Our bodily excretions still inspire strong reactions when placed out of context, particularly in the prim and ordered world of fine art.







n Tuesday, my sister Sarah came home in a state. Her face was all red and she had been crying. She told me that on the freeway home her radio stopped working and had started looping the first track of Carrie & Lowell, the 2015 album from Sufjan Stevens. She always has it on in her car. Literally for the last year or so, possibly even longer. I had only told her over the weekend that the album was about Stevens’ feelings of depression and loneliness that he coped with in the period following his mother's death. Sarah had never cried to this album before but now, knowing this, she was a teary mess after hearing ‘Death With Dignity’ four times in a row, a song she has heard innumerable times since she pilfered the CD from my room. I have also cried to this album, albeit while drunk and very tired, and I have always wondered why this was the case. It is a very conspicuously emotional album, being the product of Stevens’ mourning and bereavement that followed the death of his mother, the titular Carrie, and it touches on the topics of faith and spirituality, recurring themes in his work.

I was coming to terms with the possibility that I was missing out on great depth and aesthetic appeal in failing to empathise with 'sad content’. However, I can’t say that I’ve ever been one for crying. I remember distinctly coming out of a screening of Marley and Me (2008), surrounded by the three other members of the Day family – all sobbing wrecks – and just not really feeling that sad about the whole thing. A few years later we went to see Les Miserables (2012) together and in the same carpark I once again stood, not unphased, but also not moved to the fits of sobs that the others were experiencing.

Looking back on this, I can’t say I was an emotionless robot, despite what my sister claimed post-Marley & Me. I still understood that the films were sad. I felt pretty down when Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson buried Marley in their garden but I just wasn’t all that moved by it. Even my dad, who like many fathers is not usually one to cry, shed a decent amount of tears on both occasions. So I wonder, am I missing out on something by reacting to sad content in the way I do? People often seem to cite the emotional impact that a piece has as a way to attest to its brilliance and while it is only one barometer of greatness, am I missing out on it? Multiple studies have been conducted into this topic. In 1994, Minet De Wied, Dolf Zillmann and Virginia Ordman, researchers at the University of Alabama, discovered that people experiencing more empathic distress during a film also enjoyed the film more than ‘low empathisers’ did. So am I a ‘low empathiser’? Was my sister right in labelling me an emotionless robot all those years ago? They go on to suggest that tragedy may inspire a more complex response beyond just sadness, including positive emotions, evoking ideas of friendship, love and human perseverance. Additionally, a 2011 study by Tuomos Eerola and Jonna Vuoskoski, researchers at Durham and Oxford University respectively, found that how ‘beautiful’ someone judged a piece of music to be, strongly correlated with how sad they found it and not how happy they thought the music was. So while I was coming to terms with the possibility that I was missing out on great depth and aesthetic appeal in failing to empathise with 'sad content’, I wondered what was different about Carrie & Lowell. In a 2015 interview with Zan Rowe on Double J, Stevens discussed the emotional weight of the album. The songs on the album are obviously emotionally crushing and throughout the 11 tracks on the record, Stevens can be heard grasping at the threads of his tumultuous emotions. In the two years following his mother’s

46 46


death he struggled, trying to decipher a relationship that ultimately didn’t exist. In ‘Blue Bucket of Gold’ he asks “why don’t you love me?” of a mother that abandoned him and his brother when he was one year-old and had struggled with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and substance abuse throughout her whole life – torturing himself for an answer that he simply cannot get.

Through the almost documentarian nature of the album, we see Stevens wading through the murky depths of his own regret. Furthermore, in an interview with Pitchfork in the same year, Stevens explained that in the years following his mother’s death, he endured periods of “rigorous, emotionless work” followed by times in which he experienced emotional paralysis and “cosmic anguish”. Through the almost documentarian nature of the album, we see Stevens wading through the murky depths of his own regret over his maternal relationship and the guilt that stems from this. We also see a real lack of closure that was left by his mother’s passing. In his Double J interview. Stevens raised the “severe … shitty and mundane” nature of his mother’s death, from stomach cancer, as a sticking point in his grieving. Noting the distinct lack of “poetic significance” in her painful end as a real source of discord within himself. While I can’t say that I have lived through the experience that Stevens recounts in this record, I can say that it has messed me up before and I’m sure it will again. While Stevens stated that the process of writing and recording Carrie & Lowell felt “masochistic” and “really false”, he has found performing and touring the record to provide a “sense of catharsis”. In this, I think, lies why Sufjan Stevens makes me cry. In the raw emotion and vulnerability of his creation arises a shared experience, one in which I felt able


to participate and emotionally engage with. I could grapple with the nuances and heartbreaking realities of a deeply dysfunctional relationship between a mother and son. Ultimately, despite my fixation on the crushing sadness of Carrie & Lowell, and despite this album discussing Stevens’ own thoughts of suicide, his struggles with mental health and the destructive wake left by the death of his mother, the album does allow glimpses into the happier and more hopeful elements of Stevens’ fragmented childhood and his present life. In short, I don’t believe that it’s an album of pure gloom and despair. Notes of optimism push through on this record. Stevens’ vocals on ‘Should Have Known Better’ as he sings about his newly born niece echo an acute shift in his own mindset. Towards the end, the song modulates from a minor to a major key, introducing a soft, almost bouncy electric piano. Stevens’ struggles are given almost a resolution in this shift in tone and content, out of a song lamenting his grieving. It must also be noted that this is not a prescription of Carrie & Lowell to anyone who needs a good sob. For people to emotionally engage with a piece, they need to find something to grasp that they can relate to or, at the very least, emphasise with. I didn’t feel sad in Marley & Me or countless other classic sad movies because I viewed them with an indifference that arose from the disconnect I experienced. My sister hadn’t cried to Carrie & Lowell for the last year because she too was consuming the album without the knowledge and context that discerns it from any other guitar filled, soft folk album.






lifesize cardboard cutout is often the logical conclusion of an unhealthy obsession with a public figure – but in my case, Nigella Lawson was a fixture in my kitchen long before I started to love her.

She was a gift from my sister Jess who worked at Officeworks and whose access to an industrial printer was never used for good. I was turning twenty-one ('adulthood') and must have publicly announced my intention to get my shit together, which included learning to cook. At the time I was subsisting on mi goreng, black coffee and a fermented paste I had invented by mixing Metamucil fibre supplement with Yakult so that, at the very least, my bowel movements didn’t look like I was subsisting on mi goreng and black coffee. Jess’ logic was that a towering, six foot Nigella Lawson in my kitchen would shame me into action. Why Nigella? I don’t know. I was only aware of Nigella through pop culture ubiquity - not even her true self, but the aspects of her character ripe for parody – her curvaceousness, sensuality, double-entendres, silky British voice. Oh, and I’d seen her do a couple ads for Twinings. But it could have just as easily been Gordon Ramsay, or Guy Fieri. I have my own theory that, as a style icon, Jess probably picked her because she has the best high-res images on Google. Save for being 2D, she looked startlingly real, and you had to squint to isolate the individual pixels of ink in her face. I didn’t acclimatise to her presence immediately. The first night after receiving her, I zombie walked to the kitchen at four a.m. to get a glass of water and jumped out of my skin when I saw the hourglass silhouette of a mystery woman in my house. That sharp adrenaline spike made returning to sleep impossible – instead, I binged Nigella videos to suck the venom out of her, to get to know her. I was struck by her lack of sentimentality when cooking. Each recipe was simple, packed tight with shortcuts. She jettisoned the ingredients that weren’t worth the trouble they created, that stood between her and enjoying the process of cooking as much as the food it created – onions were subbed out for shallots (‘so much easier to chop!’), mincing garlic subbed out for pre-infused garlic oil (‘who has the time?’). Within a week I had attempted her 'Curry In A Hurry', within two her 'Rapid Ragu' (I soon discovered just how many of her recipes were named for how little time they took). There was something about her presence in my kitchen – I felt at once her desire for me to succeed, and the warmth in knowing she’d still be there if I failed. I tried to explain this to Jess one day after she remarked that it had been six months and I still hadn’t got rid of her. “Sounds like what having a mum is like” Jess mused. “Yeah," I replied, “probably”.











won’t be writing for a while. No need to grieve the loss of such artistic excellence that has surely enriched your fucked up, post-apocalyptic life in some way or another. I’m not even sure what led me to write these last few weeks – an effort to secure my sanity? A documentation of our lives for future historians (if the world recovers enough)? So that if the world does recover enough and society becomes normal again, my journal could be adapted into some glorious theatre production involving interpretive dance, glitter bombs and a disco soundtrack? Maybe I just wanted to write about my feelings. After Mordi was burnt down by the YOMG kids, George, Mum and I went to live with Hazel and her jazz bandmates in Macca’s. Hazel realised early on that you had to form your own new world with whatever you could find and so, instead of ransacking stores for expensive designer clothes or the last scraps of fresh dairy and meat, Hazel scavenged for seeds, fertiliser, art supplies and a shit load of batteries. She grew and created a new world for herself. I spend most of my time in the garden now. Maybe that sounds stereotypically feminine, but I like it – it’s peaceful, and the garden encompasses the Macca’s wreckage in this weird juxtaposed way, with fruit trees climbing up the sides of the walls, hanging over fields of potatoes, strawberries, pumpkins and a lot of green stuff that I can’t name. “It’s too bad we only learnt to appreciate Mother Earth after climate change got the better of us,” Hazel had said, presenting her work. “No, but, aliens attacked us,” insisted George. “It wasn’t climate change.” “Are you serious? We were nuked.” He’d looked at me as if I were an idiot. “Yeah…by aliens.” “Aliens don’t have nukes.” He scoffed. “And how would you know that?” George says a lot of weird things. They’ve become weirder now that he’s started bonding with Axel, the conspiracy theorist of Hazel’s band. I think I heard them discussing the prospect of writing a zine together, to expose 'the truth' behind the Apocalypse. I asked how they’ll distribute their zines, and Axel insisted that Hazel’s carrier pigeons will deliver them. I wasn’t that surprised to learn that Hazel had trained wild birds. As for Mum, she’s been learning how to play bass guitar with the help of Hazel’s other friend, James, so I guess we all merged into the new community pretty well. Hazel found me in the garden this morning, pinching snow peas and flicking bugs off the strawberries. She sat down by my feet and then grabbed my hand, tugging me down as well. We sat in silence for a while; she looked down at our hands and smoothed her thumb over my palm.

She sighed. “This place makes me feel too…settled. Do you get that?” I shrugged. “I mean, I love it,” she continued, “I grew all of this and I love it, it brings me so much Zen…but I got such a thrill being out there with you that day.” She grinned, looking past me. “It was so exciting.” I frowned. “It was kinda traumatic for me.” She blinked. “Oh. Yeah. Obviously…but you’re all good now, aren’t you?” I looked back down at our hands. “I guess I get what you mean.” “You do?” I nodded. “It feels too weird. I haven’t been scavenging in over a week and I’ve been getting this itch. I think I’m actually getting a rash from being stuck here for too long.” “Oh, nah, that’s probably the tomatoes.” She jumped up, hauling me up after her. “I’m gonna go grab the ute. We can do anything. Go bush, drive across the whole country, collect all the stray dogs we can find and raise them in a field, grow more farms for other survivors, go on tour with my jazz band, make lots of shitty art, revolt against The Sanctuary like the radical peasants we are at heart!” I stared at her. “Whoa. Where has all your chill gone?” I hadn’t looked too closely at her herb garden but began wondering if ‘herbs’ were more of a euphemism. She cupped my face in her hands and pulled me close to her. “I have the best vibes right now.” In a flash she leaned forward and kissed me, before spinning around and running off towards her ute. I stared after her. Someone gagged and I turned around to see George, walking up to me with a pigeon in his hands. “Why are you carrying a pigeon?” “His name is Yorick and I swear to god if you abandon me for your funky herbal girlfriend he will shit all over your bed.” I laughed. “Remember when Tony Abbott punched you in the face? I’m not going to miss the next time that happens because I’m too busy picking blueberries with my funky herbal girlfriend.” He side-eyed me for a moment before shrugging it off and asking me to tie his zine to the pigeon’s foot. So that’s the end, I guess. For now. I’ll start writing again eventually but I’m starting to get some seriously bad hand cramps as it is. I don’t know if anybody will make any sense of this, or if anybody other than myself – or George, if he steals this while I’m sleeping to find out if I’ve misrepresented him – will read these ramblings. Maybe it’s just nice enough to know that no matter how fucked the world gets you can always work with it to bring some good. I hope I can at least do that. I hope you can at least do that.




The flick of your wrist looks druidic, a ritual to dispel black invertebrates that whizz past your ears, buzzing about miserable things you pretend not to hear. They treat themselves to salty emotions secreting through your sweat and tears. Sangria is sweeter, it oozes from wounds in your tough exterior.

When you sleep, fully-grown flies crawl out your nose, and swarms of thoughts come roaring back, fatter and louder than before, darting black bullets that you can’t dismiss with a flick of your wrist.

One fly squeezes up the hairy nasal cave to your brain. It savours the protein-rich mucus and nestles its progeny in the trenches of your memory. For an entrée, the larvae nibble on your first kiss, then feast on long-lost friends for dinner. Dreams of being a musician dribble down their chins. Their chewing rattles your cranium like a machine gun. They graze on stray thoughts – shopping lists, birthdays, names of trees – one by one, until your mind is Swiss cheese. They leave behind only the crumbs of your insecurity.



CRYPTID WORDS BY MATTHEW WOJCZYS ARTWORK BY NELLIE SEALE Goosebumps ripple your skin as you duck low in the early morning mist. The buckshot echoes a warning and flocks of waterfowl honk into the prehistoric sun. One was struck, whistles like a bomb as it dives into the bog. Your stubby fingers wring its neck like a Neanderthal playing clarinet. Overhead, emerald wings wink, taunting you to waddle after them to where shrubby hands tend

the bones of bullockornis, deep in the wetlands. Commonly known as the demon duck of doom, a relic that preceded the Anthropocene. Its stony bill could crack a skull easily as an egg. Its legs could breach earth’s crust with each footfall. Thunder resembles its call as the sky remembers a flightless fowl. Back home, you pluck your game, the Pacific black. You fry its heart in butter and thyme, add its breast to risotto and throw its bones in the compost. You give its treasured feathers to the kids. They flap in the backyard, trying to fly, as far away thunder catches you off-guard.





Jesus tasted so Good: all umami Multitudes enfolded In a meat-loaf one Devoured with big, Faces – snake-wideSaying – “This Is ours now. You Were a whale, Oh Man. – A purse of deep space sheltering nothing − before you Beheld...” his huge palms spread. Converging, we made black pudding of his blood, distributed through Borough markets, unbuttoned − tender − his chest with our teeth, sticky and red, fraught with roses under a skinny loam. − Take, eat- we mouth lips, Our middle and forefinger spelling A smile on dark beard-line with Braille delicacy − This: Is my body Give freely It mouths licking away.



2016 WORDS BY ESTHER LE COUTEUR ARTWORK BY MYFFY HOCKING My child dad cracked walnuts in half and made boats for candles for the Austrian kindergarten teacher who told him love and then walked out into the sea.

The lioness in the tiles and I’m crying or at least making myself cry for the later memory of the it and that there taints it and so instead I think of some rat running over a pile of garbage against a yellow wall.




one summer holidays pom bought us a blue box of coco pops that were all shaped like bart simpson's head she gave in and they all left geelong after us forgetting them in march when we ate the stale things watching atomic betty on a tuesday after school handfuls of barts and not one lisa in the dirt garden where i ate roast beef using only two forks and my godfather broke the stilts





o here it is – the big one. A film written by me, starring me, about me fucking me. We open on the average, humdrum and entirely unsatisfying life of Linus; working, shopping, feeding his four pet iguanas, sleeping and repeat. On the coldest day of the year, during a monster storm, Linus’ routine is disrupted when he sees his doppelganger on the way to work. Brushing this off as a coincidence, things become strange when Linus continues seeing this doppelganger at the same place every day for the next week: the neighbourhood sex shop. After a few days, Linus decides to follow the doppelganger down a rabbit hole that leads to an underground lair crammed full of Linus-clones, all having sex with each other. Linus discovers that there is an Evil Overlord Linus, who has cloned himself hundreds of times for his own depraved sexual pleasure. But there’s another, even darker twist waiting in the wings; our sweet, dear, darling protagonist Linus is a clone who escaped and had repressed all memory of Evil Overlord Linus’s lair. Now is Linus’s time to fight for the freedom of hundreds of Linus-clone slaves in this politically charged allegorical tale about something important, I’m sure.





ALL Linus! Linus! Linus! Linus! Linus!

LINUS Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus.

LINUS Linus, Linus, Linus. Linus?

LINUS Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus.

LINUS Linus Linus Linus …

LINUS Linus Linus; Linus?

LINUS Linus.

LINUS Linus Linus Linus, Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus. LINUS Linus, Linus! Linus Linus Linus! LINUS Linus Linus, Linus, Linus Linus Linus Linus. Linus Linus! Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus, Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus – Linus Linus Linus.

The FARRAGO EDITORS enter. EDITORS Linus, could you try writing something that isn’t entirely about you? There’s only so much ego we can fit on the page and it’s reserved for us! Chef Linus pummels the editors with a rolling pin.

Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus. Linus Linus Linus.

LINUS Linus! Linus! Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus.



4 LINUS Linus Linus, Linus Linus Linus Linus – Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus, Linus. Linus Linus Linus, Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus!

LINUS Just you wait till you see what we’ve done to Grant Denyer. LINUS Linus Linus Linus, Linus Linus! Linus Linus.

Linus Linus Linus Linus. Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus. Linus, Linus Linus Linus, Linus Linus Linus Linus.

LINUS Linus Linus Linus, Linus Linus? Linus? Linus Linus Linus?

LINUS (CONT’D) Linus! Linus Linus Linus Linus.

Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus, Linus Linus. Linus Linus Linus.

LINUS Linus Linus Linus, Linus?

LINUS Linus Linus Linus Linus! Linus Linus, Linus.

Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus.

EDITORS We’ve created a monster!

LINUS Linus Linus! Linus Linus Linus Linus, Linus? Linus Linus. Linus Linus Linus Linus.

LINUS Linus Linus Linus.

LINUS Linus Linus! Linus Linus Linus Linus! Linus Linus Linus Linus! Linus Linus Linus, Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus.

EVIL OVERLORD LINUS strokes his erect, thorned, 17-inch penis in the background. EVIL OVERLORD LINUS Let the games begin...

Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus Linus.




Cold specks of rain cutting through the air like little sparks of nerve-ending freeze the city in motion sting my face and arms carve a window in the air drape themselves in sheets about me Oh my Lord, have mercy on us, have mercy Eeeingghughurttttgh shouts a tram Eeeingghughurttttgh as it draws a death rattle from its metal lungs. We see it all, My Lord, my Lamb, my Lord, we thaw this city’s frozen heart. We stone the Whore of Babylon, or Iraq, some fucking place, at any rate: “I don’t care, just don’t want them here!” screams the well-informed gent on the steps of the State Library who hates the towel-heads and the fags and the feminists. He’s a nothing, but a vast one. And I wonder from whose fount of wisdom he’s been drinking, my Lord? I really wonder. What’s this? A great heaving Mass, a breathing mess of youth: placards and cries fire and righteousness so many hopes, and even more fears. What would they know, my Lord, what would they know, the silly things, being scared of what each day brings. Besides, we know what they really chant, don’t we, my Big Guy? We hear what they weep as they hold themselves or each other at night: Dona nobis pacem. Dona nobis pacem. We hear their whimperings, we hear what hot mouths beg in the dark, we hear them Lord, if others won’t: Dona nobis pacem.



I searched through the broad streets, Lord, for the one I love: she was not there. I searched for the one I love with her mouth full of sheep: she was not there. I did find a Minister without a face being unspeakable with Beelzebub in a bar full of suits, though; career politician that he is, he hopes to cuddle Satan soon enough. I searched through the broad streets. Ubi caritas et amor …Deus ibi est? Yeah, that’d be the fucking day (no offence, Lord). Youthful tears on a pillow beg for mercy, for their creator, or someone less fortunate, or for the middle-class demons breeding in our minds. I think my love (not you, Lord, the other one) who wafted into my life like a pillar of smoke and who smiles with fear every day, I think she might be the one drenching me in this cold, grey rain now. She sings so sweetly, Lord, and I can only chant after her teeth like flocks cresting a bloody wave. So anyway, weren’t you meant to take our sins from us? They seem to be breeding all around, incubating in the glowing fuzz from cameras carried by neurotic kids who salivate at mirrors made flesh in the avant-garde millionaires who are so outrageous– and let’s not get started on the things that dance in my skull. Dona nobis pacem dona nobis pacem pacem Eeeingghughurttttgh My tram! I have to run, my Lord, I have some pretty pills to eat. So it’s goodbye, farewell, and






POSTHUMAN LANDSCAPES BY QUN ZHANG "These images have been abstracted from a series of line works created with a industrial robot arm (AAB robot). Various subtle imperfections arise when the robot is placed under duress which then gives clues to the abstraction."



Instagram @qun1992




damn damn the voices bumblebees in bubble bath smack percussively against the sides IT’S A PARTY CRATE. bring it to your party we will all know you’re a wild and crazy guy. so well-adjusted this weekend evening is a winding-down while winding up like tin toys. begin again catch the tram to work with legs like scissors a honking laugh and a small trim beard “why yes, I am a HETEROSEXUAL.” a swan modestly under wing neat lined A4 LOOK children this is how you live. I need to take a nap




69 69





elcro is just a revolutionary hook-and-loop fastener standing in front of the world asking us to love it. But the world is being naïve and childish, refusing to give Velcro the love it aches for. We’re just, you know, talking. The world needs to grow up, stop ghosting Velcro and publicly embrace it for the strong independent piece of biomimicry it is. Velcro has to realise that it’s not love it needs, but some goddamn respect, because Velcro has done more in its short life than the button and the zipper combined ever have. In the first ever artificial heart transplant, Velcro tenderly held a beating human heart together as surgeons prodded and poked within the empty chest cavity. Velcro was there when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out onto the lunarscape in front of millions of home viewers. Velcro has been the best friend of kids with underdeveloped fine motor skills thrust too early into the realm of lace-up Clarks. Velcro is selfless and always puts others first. All it wants in return is for the world to hold it tight during the night. It took its Swiss inventor 14 years to perfect the Velcro design in the '50s, and since then it has flirted with international popularity. It has appeared on the catwalks in Paris and Mulan, on Orlando Bloom’s gorgeous feet and has been splashed across thousands of Pinterest DIY boards.

Velcro has managed to produce the best video on the Internet –‘Letterman in a Suit of Velcro’. Velcro is also a handy household item, holding cushion covers closed, electrical cables neat and tidy, and can even hide the spare key under the verandah instead of in the pot plant by the doorbell. Yet Velcro is relatively shunned from everyday street wear as it’s still associated with kindergartens and camping trips spent playing GripBall with the kids from the other side of the caravan park. Velcro is struggling to find its footing in this new millennium, and the debacle with the US Army incorporating it into its uniform without considering the dangerously loud rip of Velcro isn’t helping its plight. But for all its perceived daggy-ness, Velcro has managed to produce the best video on the Internet – ‘Letterman in a Suit of Velcro’ – and for that it deserves both an accolade and a declaration of love. So world, if you’re listening, it’s time get down off your high horse and take Velcro home to meet your parents – it deserves nothing less.



’m just going to come out and say it – Velcro should have a world-wide ban on it. Besides being one of the ugliest materials to have ever existed, it also makes one of the most annoying sounds in the world. Originating from Switzerland in the ‘40s, Velcro has been nothing but trouble since its creation. Once a revolutionary new product, it’s now an annoying material which makes a sound irritating enough to make you want to surgically remove your ear drums, just so you never have to hear it again.

Velcro hoards glitter and doesn’t ever let it go. Velcro literally sucks the glitter out of life. Have you ever tried to clean Velcro? No? That’s because it’s IMPOSSIBLE. My first realisation of this was when I was seven, and my parents used to have those soft padded things that wrap around your seatbelt to make it more comfortable – mine even had a smiling shark on it. One day I realised that there were bits of glitter in the Velcro, and in my vanity, I spent the entire car trip trying to get them out. It turns out you can’t – Velcro hoards glitter and doesn’t ever let it go. Velcro literally sucks the glitter out of life. We also need to address the use of Velcro in fashion. It’s simple, DO NOT WEAR VELCRO UNLESS YOU’RE FIVE. It’s time to learn how to tie your shoes people, and leave the annoying, slowly losing their stickiness, Velcro shoes to the children who can’t spell their own names. And it’s not just shoes that Velcro is used on, oh no, it is also used as a replacement for belts in pants, and I have even come across Velcro replacing zippers on dresses. It’s time we all stop being lazy and spend an extra three to four seconds zipping that zipper, or buckling that belt. Velcro is also unreliable. This seemingly convenient material is just like a bad relationship. It starts out all shiny and new, and you wonder how you lived your life before you met Velcro. But slowly and surely it begins to lose its stickiness and you’re left with an uncommitted piece of Velcro that is tired and doesn’t want to be there anymore because you’ve taken it for granted. Please, everyone, stop using Velcro. The sun rose before we had Velcro, and it will still rise the next day, even if we all get together and communally burn every piece of Velcro into dust.



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UMSU and the Media OďŹƒce is located in the city of Melbourne, situated at the heart of Wurundjeri land. A key member of the Kulin Nations, we pass our respects on to the Wurundjeri elders, both past and present and acknowledge the land we are on was never ceded.

2017 Edition 8  
2017 Edition 8  

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