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Garden Meditation Day








Cinco de Mayo




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World Otter Day




National Space Day (US)



International Nurses’ Day

National Volunteer Week begins




World Tuna Day

9 Mothers’ Day



International Day of Families



World Bee Day

World Tea Day




23 World Turtle Day



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EDITORS’ LETTERS According to legend, a goat herder in either Ethiopia or Egypt observed that his goats became uncontrollable and frisky when they ate the berries of a particular bush. Confounded, the herder tried the berries himself, and was discovered by a monk who marvelled at the affects these berries had on the herder. The monk tried the berries himself and was astounded, they kept him awake so that he was able to pray all night—or so the story goes. This is believed to be the first time coffee was consumed in history. In the millenia since, the “coffee cherries” have been processed and served in countless different ways. Coffee houses were established in the 17th century and were places rife with debate, where strangers could meet and discuss ideas—much like the wonderful contributors in this issue of Grapeshot. In these early days the taste was described as “unspeakable,” before someone had the audacity and ingenuity to add milk. Now coffee is beloved the world over, there’s even an espresso machine on the International Space Station. Australia’s iconic coffee export has been the flat white, my personal favourite coffee order and the theme for this year’s Australian issue of the magazine. Flip through these stunningly designed beige pages and read about life from a land down under. Our Creative Director Sam van Vliet used real coffee to create the coffee stains you will find sprinkled throughout the issue. To dive deep and read about what it’s like living in and commuting from the Central Coast jump to Mykayla Castle’s ‘You Are Here’ article in our Regulars section. Curious to find out what it feels like to cut caffeine for a week? Harry Fraser bites that bullet in his ‘Challenge’ article. Sip this issue page-by-page and enjoy all our delicious Grapey content! Jodie, Editor-in-Chief

Not going to lie. I don’t think I’ve ever actually had a flat white. I’m more of a vanilla iced latte girl – I know, a true coffee connoisseur. And as fate would have it, I haven’t even had an iced coffee since late last year following a spur of the moment decision to limit my caffeine intake for reasons I still don’t really understand. I have learnt quicky that quitting coffee means I think about coffee a lot. Like way more than the normal person should think about a drink. Whilst my coffeefocused thoughts have definitely increased whilst editing an issue of its namesake, I think it was worth it as this Aussie themed issue really is a good one. The Grapeshot crew and all of our amazing contributors have created an issue that really delves into the complicated ‘Australian’ subject, taking on all things Aussie. Tori takes us through the complicated representation of Australian history, Nikita investigates why young Australians are so fascinated with American politics and although I have never seen an episode of Neighbours or Home and Away in my life, Harry’s pop culture rewind of dramatic Aussie Soap storylines has made me question if a career in screenwriting is in my future. During the 16th century there were calls from Catholics to ban coffee, calling it the Devil’s beverage and Satan’s drink (has a pretty good ring to it). As pressure grew for Pope Clement VII to ban the drink, he insisted on trying some before casting his call. After realising just how good coffee was he attempted to ‘cheat the devil’ by baptising coffee. Whilst I’m not too sure how factual this story is, I do not doubt for one moment the power of a good cup of Joe. So settle down with a nice cup of coffee and enjoy issue two of Grapeshot Magazine. Madi, Deputy Editor


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Zoe Carroll, Angus Dalton, Tiffany Fong, Franz K, Jean-Jacques Kickham, Topsy Kretts, Amy Lamont, Jennifer Le, Rojina Parchizadeh, Navishkar Ram, Ella Scott, Shinae Taylor, Jamie Tyers,

COVER ART Sam van Vliet

SECTION OPENERS Kathleen Notohamiprodjo

EDITORIAL REVIEW BOARD Neenah Gray, Marlene Khouzam, Amanda Mathews, Jay Muir



Mariella Herberstein

Melroy Rodrigues

GRAPESHOT acknowledges the Wattamatagal clan, of the Darug nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and meet. We acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceeded, no treaty was signed, and would like to pay our respects to Elders, past, present and emerging. We would like to extend those respects to all First Nations people reading. Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.




Celebrating Pride Amidst A Pandemic Mardi Gras 2021 was most definitely different to any other Mardi Gras held before in Sydney Australia. The pandemic obviously threw a spanner in the works and divided this year’s celebrations. Some celebrators were fiscally fortunate enough to buy a ticket to the pink-washed SCG parade. While others came out onto the streets to protest. In the city, I spotted the occasional 14 to 17-year-old girl group in party hats. Were they there for queer liberation or passion pop in the park? I guess we will never know. The SCG was graced by many performers including Rita Ora, Montaigne, G Flip, and Electric Fields. Rather than having floats, the parade had a greater emphasis on costumes, dancing and props. Earlier that day on Saturday 6th, activist group Pride in Protest marched down Oxford Street after being granted a public health exemption. The march went ahead on Saturday at 2pm, with hundreds of people walking down Oxford Street towards Hyde Park, waving flags in support of LGBTQI rights and setting off pink flares. Friends who attended the event posted pictures on their Instagrams of them dressed up, still in Mardi Gras style with sparkles and sequins, which was wonderful to see. The protestors claimed that Mardi Gras has become corporatised and has moved away from the original movement’s roots in 1978, when the first parade was held. A banner was held at the front of the march declaring: “No pride in police, stand in solidarity with over-policed communities.” Some of the other demands include #KilltheBill which refers to Mark Latham’s proposed transphobic bill that bans educating children about transgender people amongst other things. They called for justice in #BlackLivesMatter, #NoPrideinDetention, #DecriminaliseSexWork and #LegaliseAllDrugs now. NSW Greens MP Jenny Leong earlier addressed the crowd, expressing her support for trans and sex worker rights as well as refugee and Indigenous rights. However, Leong was also spotted with green poms poms as she marched in the SCG. I suppose to be a politician is to accept it is a fine balancing act. Hopefully the parade will return soon to its full, free glory. Despite this year’s different celebrations and events, it is great that many people were still able to honour the spirit of Mardi Gras.



Monday the 8th of March was International Women’s Day. On this day to celebrate women, Professor Magnus Nydén, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering of Macquarie University, made some controversial comments that indeed “generat[ed] discussion” as he had hoped. Firstly, as many may already know, Professor Nydén said that, “a woman is biologically wired to be more concerned about people, and men about things,” in the context of gender suitability for different types of occupations. Subsequently, Professor Nydén apologised to the staff through an email, stating that he was “absolutely supportive of women’s careers in STEM,” and that he wanted to “unequivocally apologize” as it was not what he meant to communicate at all. He continued, stating that the view was “very dangerous” and was instead “aimed at exposing such views and generating discussion.” Further attempts to receive additional comments were made by the Grapeshot team, but without response. Consequently, there has been a split view on the apology: one being to accept the apology but implement educational strategies to prevent recurrence, and the other being that the professor’s statement held no fault; he was merely stating facts. Regardless of personal opinion, this event has reflected the continued existence of genderist topics in today’s discourses that project black and white views on males and females, their strengths and weaknesses. In a broader context, such discourse is inevitably linked to the perpetual gender struggle; women must survive in a male-dominated world. By continuing Professor Nydén’s “discussion,” a 2017 survey conducted by the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation and Science clearly suggests severe gender imbalance in STEM, with only 20.8% of Australians who completed tertiary education being women.


Likewise, such disproportionality has been manifested amongst victims of sexual assault. Relevantly, the Christian Porter scandal has “generated discussion” amongst many Australians about this large gender discord. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in 2018, there was an average of 154.4 reported female victims, and 23.5 reported male victims per 100,000 Australians aged 15 and over. For children, this was recorded to be 266.2 female victims and 72.2 male victims per 100,000 children aged 0-14 in Australia. Additionally, offenders were predominantly male, with 55.2 males to 1.4 females per 100,000 Australians in 2018. These statistics therefore expose the underlying misogyny which requires such genderist discussions to continue today. However, there have also been significant improvements for women over the past century, with women slowly obtaining fundamental human rights. A landmark moment for women was the passing of the Sex Discrimination Act in 1984, which imbued the legal system to treat women equally. Despite this, it is much more difficult to remove deeply entrenched discriminatory values from people than to write words on a document. Hence, the “discussion” continues. Conclusively, Professor Nydén made a comment about the biological differences between men and women with respect to jobs which received much controversy as it reflected “very dangerous” beliefs. As a controversial conversation starter, it received substantial backlash, especially as society continues to be male-dominated, not just in Australia, but globally. Perhaps that would be a discussion to bring to the dinner table instead…


It is close to the middle of the semester and we all know we haven’t watched a single lecture after Week 1! Fear not, as the mid-semester break is the perfect time to catch up on all those missed lectures, and to help you with studying, check out our curated list of where to find the best coffee no matter where you are on campus! And if you still haven’t joined a society or club, check out some of them below to see if anything catches your eye! Contact me at or to get your society or story in Grapeshot. Got any news? Tell us!

Campus Coffee Spots Find the perfect flat white at any of the following locations on campus: • • • • •

St Laurent, found in the ICC food court. Cult Eatery, found in the Arts Precinct, ICC or in the Media department (5% for Muls members). Soul Origin, ICC food court. Library Cafe, location: library. Taste Baguette, check it out in the ICC food court.

• • • • • •

Crunch Cafe, found in the Macquarie Sports and Aquatic centre. (BREW) us, location: MGSM. 4RPF Cafe, location: 4RPF. Piccolo Me, found in the Australian Hearing Hub. Chatime, found in Central Campus. Pablos, found in Wally’s Walk.

Walanga Muru Walanga Muru is a program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The program is run by staff with strong educational qualifications who encourage students to grow academically, personally, and culturally. This intellectual environment is driven by Aboriginal values, perspectives, and knowledge; the guiding values are Respect, Relationships, Responsibility and Reciprocity. Walanga Muru means ‘follow your path’ in the language of the local Dharug people. Walanga Muru strongly believes that the success of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students is achieved through a holistic approach that recognises cultural differences and experiences. Find out more information about Walanga Muru through the Macquarie University website.

Central Campus You might have seen the new Central Campus. Fresh green lawns to lounge on and soak up the sun. Beloved Boost continues to live on at Macquarie in the ICC and we have new additions like Chatime! Life is sweet... The main new building, the ICC, offers three levels. The first level is where many fooderies can be found. Pool tables, vending machines, fun lighting and as you walk through to the back of the ICCs first level you can find Macquarie’s iconic Ubar. The other levels offer study areas, classrooms and verandahs where you can overlook over a horizon of beautiful green trees.


UBAR The new Ubar is a nice, open, and new space with a great view of the lake. The atmosphere is lively and vibrant. The high ceilinged terrace and large space definitely beats the old Ubar shipping containers (not that they were not lovable). With this new space it seems like Ubar will be hosting a lot more events which is exciting. Over the opening of session 1 Ubar offered 20 deals in 21 days of specials. Students and staff could purchase $1 coffee, $5 El Toro pizzas and discounted cocktail jugs. Ubar also hosted a hilarious comedy night. The night included comedians such as Frenchy, Kyle King, Steph Broadbridge, Tom Armstrong, Sam Kissajukian, and Nat Damena. Cork & Canvas taught a night of Paint and Sip! Carmeli Gonzalez, an MQ student who attended the night with her friends said she enjoyed the night: “It was amazing. We ended up creating a great piece... it was step by step and the instructor encouraged creativity.” Catch the Sunset Sessions as well each Friday from 4-6pm. Live music, sunset views over the lake and an extended happy hour! Find out about these events and specials on Facebook (@Ubar) or Instagram (@ Macubar).

But ... what happened to MUSE? While the ICC and Ubar are great facilities, other spaces on campus have been neglected such as MUSE. The MUSE building is next to the ICC. The second level is open which includes the MacShop, Student Engagement and a small study area. Once you walk up the stairs and turn left you can find the Women’s Room and the Macquarie University Queer Collective’s Queer space. These two rooms are incredibly important safe spaces on campus for students.

WoCo’s Women’s Room As Libby Payne, WoCo’s President explains, “The women’s room allows women identifying and non-binary people a space to relax, study, sleep, pray, breastfeed, and socialise. This space also offers free tampons, pads, and condoms, which aren’t available for free anywhere else on campus.” The space also offers valuable information “for survivors of sexual assault, and domestic violence, on where to go to seek help.” The room is maintained by the Women’s Collective but the safe space is open to all female and non-binary identifying staff and students regardless of whether they are a part of WoCo or not. The Women’s Collective hosted a Whine and Wine event to kick the year off. We gathered at Ubar to meet other MQ women, chat about our lives, and discuss politics. There was also an online Tea and Chat event. WoCo also hosted a film screening to celebrate International Women’s Day. The Macquarie University’s Gender Studies program joined with the Women’s Collective, the Sydney Feminist History Group, and the Faculty of Arts to present a screening of Brazen Hussies. Directed by Catherine Dwyer and produced by Andrea Foxworthy and Philippa Campey, Brazen Hussies tells the story of a revolutionary chapter in Australia’s history: the Women’s Liberation Movement (1965-1975). Catherine Dwyer also attended the Q&A after the screening!


THE CAMPUS LOWDOWN WoCo also hosts a number of contingents to social justice protests. Recent contingents include Youth Survivor Speak Out: Stop Sexual Violence – Stop Christian Porter Now, Global Day Of Climate Action, Pro Choice Rally, speaking out against Staff-Student cuts at Macquarie University, STOP BLACK DEATHS IN CUSTODY, and Trans Day of Visibility. The Macquarie University Women’s Collective is a great group of strong, intelligent, intersectional feminists. Stay updated with their events through social media. Their Facebook page is Macquarie University Women’s Collective and find their Instagram at @mq.woco!

The Macquarie University Sustainability Society (MUSS) The Macquarie University Sustainability Society (MUSS) is a student organisation that advocates and engages in environmental sustainability on campus and in everyday life. This group cares for climate justice. To advocate sustainability MUSS recently participated in Clean Up Australia Day. Tyra, the president of MUSS iterated that “Clean Up Australia Day is important for MUSS as we strive to encourage environmental sustainability.” Clean Up Australia Day highlights how problematic single-use plastic is. As Tyra envisions “We hope for a single-use plastic free future, and therefore use the Clean Up Australia Day to reiterate the hazard of single-use plastic to staff and students on campus.” MUSS is a relatively new student group and an incredibly important one. As the need for climate justice becomes increasingly apparent, it is paramount to have environmentally conscious groups making efforts to make the planet a healthier place. “MUSS values the Clean Up as it can help create a new “normal” around being environmentally conscious” Tyra tells us; let’s hope for many more “normals” when it comes to saving the planet and making greener choices.


THE CAMPUS LOWDOWN Uni Students For Climate Justice (USCJ) MQ Uni Students for Climate Justice took their fight straight to the bosses on the 5th of March. Literally. They occupied the lobby of Glencore. Glencore, as a corporation, has plans to destroy Aboriginal Heritage sites in the NT and is one of the biggest producers and traders in the world of seaborne coking and thermal coal. This social activist group plans to keep on fighting this great fight. The students will be partaking in the next global protest for climate justice to take a stand against corporations that seek to destroy the planet for profits.

Macquarie University Musical Society (MacMS) MacMS presented Worlds Away Worlds Away which was a collection of three short 30-minute musicals. Each musical explored a unique perspective on being worlds apart – or Worlds Away – from those around you, and the differences that can exist in how each of us view our experiences. The show was very creative and the singing was excellent! MacMS puts on lots of shows throughout the year; find them on socials to stay updated with audition notices and show releases!

Macquarie Socialists Capitalism is a system rife with injustice, oppression and planetary destruction. Billionaires increased their fortunes by $10.2 trillion dollars during the pandemic as unemployment numbers skyrocket. The explosive movement for racial justice, Black Lives Matter, was a response to ongoing systemic violence against people of colour around the world. An unquenchable thirst for profit drives fossil fuel companies to catapult us toward climate disaster at an alarming rate. We urgently need a socialist alternative to capitalism but we need to get organised if we are ever going to be able to win one. The Macquarie Socialists is an anti-capitalist revolutionary Marxist group who believe in the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism by the working class. We run political meetings and organise protests around a number of issues such as the environment, workers rights and LGBTI+ liberation. On campus we are leading the campaign against the attacks to staff and university courses by Macquarie Uni management. We organised protests last year against over 200 units and 300 staff cuts in the name of profits and this year we are organising against the forced redundancies of a further 80+ staff. Students need to organise and fight because the only way that we can make changes in society is through protests. Education should be a human right not to generate profits for university bosses. Find out more about the campaign by liking the page on Facebook: Macquarie Students Against Uni Cuts. The Macquarie Socialists are also a part of organising the Marxism Conference, a massive five day gathering of the left dedicated to radical politics. It features impressive speakers who’ve been involved in radical struggle, such as Gary Foley, a veteran Indigenous activist who was part of setting up the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. The Conference is a space for left wing people to come together, get to grips with socialist ideas and organise with others who want to get rid of this barbaric system. Find out more and grab your tickets at: So if you are a radical anti-capitalist, now is the time to get involved with the Macquarie Socialists! Find us on Facebook @Macquarie Socialists or contact Kim at 0411 095 982. 10


It’s a short walk from the central courtyard through the copse of eucalyptus trees that screens the Chancellery from student view. But by the time I reach the building that houses Macquarie University’s head honchos my back is slick with sweat, courtesy of the early January heat rebounding off concrete planes of brutalist architecture. Stepping through sliding doors, my sweat turns icy; the Chancellery has the controlled temperature of a museum and the death-quiet to match. A receptionist directs me to a chair that faces one of several huge, desert-coloured artworks. I wait for thirty minutes. Then a large, bespectacled man I recognise from headshots splashed across the university website is striding towards me. I was ready for the bald head, hooded eyes, wire-rimmed glasses and that signature bow-tie (today it’s striped a vaguely patriotic yellow, green, and white). But I didn’t expect to be eye-to-eye with Macquarie University’s fifth Vice Chancellor – at 6’7, I’m usually looking down, not straight ahead, when I shake someone’s hand – nor did I imagine the rumbling timbre of Professor S Bruce Dowton’s voice as he apologises for keeping me waiting. It’s low, quiet, resounding, and – if I may indulge myself for a second – a bitch to transcribe. Dowton’s office isn’t overly ostentatious. It’s about half the size of your average tute room, filled by a large desk, a glass lunch table, and some shelves lined with hardcover books and a few polished fossils. It is, however, one of the only offices on campus with a waterfront view; beyond a small balcony, the lake gleams dully in the sun. When Professor Dowton gestures to four identical chairs facing each other over a small coffee table and tells me to take a seat, I pick one at random and begin to pull my notebook out of my bag. I’m excited for the strict 30 minutes of interview time I’ve been allotted with Professor Dowton, and to experience a slice of the “highly engaging personal style” that has apparently hallmarked his Vice Chancellorship so far. “Why don’t you sit somewhere else,” he says, frowning at his phone. “That’s where I sit.” *

This article was first published in Grapeshot Magazine in March 2017. We are re-running it so that new students can learn about our famous, bespectacled, vice-chancellor, warts and all.

Macquarie University’s founding Vice Chancellor, English lit graduate Alexander Mitchell, ran the University for its opening decade. Under his leadership, Macquarie became the first university to send students their exam results privately rather than printing them in the newspaper (god, the horror) and began production of the Macquarie Dictionary. In 1986, he handed the reins to biochemist Edwin Webb. On Macquarie’s website, Webb is remembered as a “down-to-earth, approachable” leader who shepherded the university through dark, defunded years. But according to a member of staff who worked in the Council Building during his time, the second Vice Chancellor had an egocentric streak. Webb apparently signed all of his official documents in green ink, and didn’t want his underlings to be afforded the same choice – he instructed his secretary to march through the entire building and confiscate every other green pen. Webb summarised his decade of leadership grimly in 1986 with, “We survived.” Australia’s first female Vice Chancellor, Professor Di 11

Yerbury, spent the next 19 years rapidly improving Macquarie’s rankings and enrolments until it became the least dependent public university on government funding. But when Steven Schwartz succeeded Yerbury in Macquarie University’s top spot in 2006, things got

$50 out of an ATM. But considering the Professor’s humble beginnings, perhaps he has every right to be pleased about his current position of power. Stephen Bruce Dowton was born in 1956 to a surveyor and the daughter of a grazier in the tiny outback town of Ivanhoe, NSW, which according to the 2011 census had a population of 200. A year and a half later his family moved to Dubbo to access better schooling and services.

ugly. Fairfax Media reported that Professor Yerbury demanded another $500,000 on top of her $1 million departing settlement. The university had due reason to withhold further payment: Yerbury had accrued nearly $50,000 on her university credit card after stepping down as Vice Chancellor. She continued to employ a University driver and a weekend secretary, and, according to Schwartz, dissolved into tears when she wasn’t able to book her own travel using University money. It’s an allegation she fiercely rebutted in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald: “I would rather die than cry in front of Steven Schwartz.” Her departure was further complicated when $13 million worth of university art – including a nude by artist Clifton Pugh that Yerbury herself had modelled for – was seized by Schwartz, who alleged that Yerbury had unethically combined the University’s art collection with her own. After publicly lambasting Professor Yerbury for her misuse of university funds, Steven Schwartz ran into unwanted national attention when it was reported that he was receiving the highest salary of any Vice Chancellor in Australia. In 2012 alone, Schwartz received a $1,184,661 salary plus another two bonuses worth a combined $462,240. This followed a controversy that sprung up when the media caught wind of a rumour that staff who worked under Schwartz when he was Vice Chancellor of London’s Brunel University nominated him for a reality TV show called Britain’s Worst Boss. After he was succeeded by S Bruce Dowton in September 2012 one sentiment of Schwartz prevailed, summarised here by Sydney Morning Herald journalist Paul Sheehan: “Schwartz, 51, has become associated with the trend of treating universities as the last bastion of socialism and turning them into University Inc.” * “We are now, for the first time, over one billion dollars a year turnover as a university,” S Bruce Dowton says, now seated in his preferred chair, the lake’s fountain spurting over his shoulder. “So I am the CEO of a billion dollar a year corporation. Essentially.” He announces it in a way that I read as somewhat smug – legs crossed, slight smile, slow blink – but if he’s trying to impress me, he’s failed. I’m baffled trying to even comprehend that amount of money. Even considering that the man in front of me received a salary of $880,000 in 2015 – admittedly, a whittled-down sum since Schwartz’s era, yet still double what the Prime Minister receives – is a little brain-boggling for a student who feels baller on the odd occasion he’s able to coax 12

“It was a great town to grow up in,” he says. “Safe, clean, easy to live. Bit sedate, bit quiet. But moving to Sydney was wonderful. Suddenly my eyes were wide open to a much wider world than I had appreciation for when I was growing up in Dubbo. I think I’d been to Sydney maybe twice before I moved here – I came from a working-class family, so there wasn’t a lot of to-and-fro.” At 18 he became the first in his family to attend university. Dowton graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery (with Honours) in 1980. As a geneticist and paediatrician, he has published over 80 academic papers, watched children succumb to genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis (and helped save the lives of many others) and worked all over the world, most significantly in the US. He’s held high-profile leadership roles at Washington University in St. Louis and at the Harvard Medical School in Boston. He reviewed a national health system in the Caribbean and launched a medical school in Kazakhstan. He partnered with an oil company to develop a national response to chronic diabetes in Libya; over a three-year period, Dowton was in and out of the North African nation 18 times. “Myself and the chairman of a New York oil company flew on a private jet from New York to Tripoli to meet the oil minister and the health minister,” he recalls. “I was in Libya up until just before the Gaddafi overthrow. It was a very interesting country to work in.” Gaddafi had seized power over Libya in a military coup during 1969. As Gaddafi neared his demise decades later, Libya became a volatile workplace for an outsider. “Everything was bugged – including the hotel rooms – so you couldn’t have conversations with your office and talk about individuals without talking in code,” says Dowton. “One man with whom I had a lot to do, a senior officer in the Libyan Jamahiriya, ended up assassinated. He was a Gaddafi person, so after the downfall of the government he ended up face down in the Danube River in Vienna, where he had fled.” This anecdote makes Professor Dowton’s life more comparable to a 007 film rather than one steeped in academe. After a world-spanning career, in 2011 he was headhunted by Macquarie University and offered the role of Vice Chancellor. What made him decide to give up his work in international health and set his roots in a Sydney university? “This University has such potential to soar. That’s what drew me back. I think Australia very much needs to diversify universities. All universities here sort of look and feel vaguely the same. We’re on a pathway here to try to be different.”

* Professor Dowton has preached openly about his disdain for our current obsession with the ATAR marks. Reducing two years of work into a single ranking is a “patent nonsense” as far as he’s concerned. But one thing Australia has right, he feels, is the HECS system. “I think the HECS system in Australia is one of the fairest systems for higher education that I have seen working in the world,” he says carefully, after I ask whether he believes university should be free. Australians who holler for the free higher education of the Whitlam era (of which Dowton was a beneficiary) don’t necessarily understand the value of a university degree, he says. “The reason why HECS is a very good system, I think, is that it’s at arm’s length. It’s deferred liability, so you don’t start paying it back until you hit a certain earning power, and it’s guarded from your taxation. You never see the cash. It’s sort of a non-monetised value. I don’t think Australians value higher education as much as they should, as an intrinsic good to the person and society. So do I think it should be free? There’s no free lunch. It’s just who pays for it, and how.” And to what kind of “intrinsic good” does Dowton refer? “I am very much committed to the notion that universities are good social enterprises for society,” he explains. “Societies will do well if you can make wise judgements and be well informed whenever confronted – as I was recently whether to vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.” Double take.

work, to make money to support a party-living high lifestyle. Is that an accurate reflection?” “Uh-” “I think it’s a big change from the days I was a student,” he continues. “Most university students were full time students. When they worked outside work, it was really work to support themselves. Not necessarily in a high-lifestyle way, or a partying way, it was just to get by.” There’s that phrase again. “What do you mean by ‘high lifestyle’?” He shrugs. “Lots of eating and drinking out.” * The only long silence in our interview occurs immediately after I ask what students would be surprised to learn about Macquarie’s fifth Vice Chancellor. “Well that’s a provocative question, isn’t it,” he says. Eight seconds grind by. “It’s probably obvious that I like to eat,” he says finally. “But what students may not know is that I like to cook as well. I actually love dessert. I’ve been known to construct a very decadent white chocolate mousse bomb. It’s got a homemade jam roll over the top. Brandy flavoured glaze on the outside with very rich, kirsch-flavoured white chocolate mousse on the inside. It’s quite elaborate to produce.” Bruce regularly grabs lunch at the Campus Hub – a surprising habit given his apparent zest for fine cuisine – and butts in on conversations between unsuspecting students. “It’s where I get my best intel,” he says wryly.

“You got to vote?” He nods. “I’m a dual citizen with the United States and Australia.” “And was that a difficult choice?” “It was not a difficult choice at all,” he assures. “I have no hesitation in saying yes I did vote; it was quite an arduous process to get my ballot. I voted in a blue state, and I have no responsibility for what happened.” Despite an obvious engagement with modern-day politics, Dowton wasn’t involved with student groups or activism during his time as an undergraduate at Sydney University. He quickly dispels my romanticised imaginings of campus life in the seventies rife with hippies, long-haired folk musicians jamming in the courtyard and placard-wielding protesters bellowing chants of dissent. “Most of us had our heads down, studying hard,” he says. Dowton actually thinks the culture of student societies and clubs is far more robust nowadays than it was in the seventies – the problem is, no one spends all that much time on campus. “To me, today, you try to plan your timetable so you can cram as much of your university time into three or three-and-a-half or four days a week, so you can preserve time for paid, outside

Despite these frequent interactions with students, no one seems to have contradicted Dowton on his view that most of us dodge time on campus in favour of funding our partymanic lifestyles. He says he’s never been shocked by what a student has to say. As I step back out into the heat and cicadashrieks after our interview, I think of mates working shitty jobs between classes and unpaid internships to keep their heads above Sydney’s heinous property prices and high-cost living, or kick-starting their careers to begin chipping away at already staggering HECS debts. Given the opportunity, most people I know would leap at the chance to devote more energy to university and campus life. All things considered, Macquarie University’s fifth Vice Chancellor seems an impressive, altruistic leader, and – given his widely praised commercial savvy – a worthy man to be in command of a billion-dollar cash pot. He’s certainly less controversial than his predecessors. But if you’ve got any bones to pick – perhaps you’d like to inform Professor Dowton that university life ain’t no white chocolate mousse bomb – look out for him at lunchtime in the Campus Hub. The bow tie’s a dead giveaway. by Angus Dalton


STUDENTS FIGHT STAFF CUTS! As Vice Chancellor Bruce Dowton continues to push for a university system driven by money rather than quality education, MQ Students Against the Cuts continue to fight the battle. Once more, the Macquarie University management are on a warpath against our education. A human number has been put to the previously announced $25 million academic staff cuts: 82 staff will be sacked all for the profits of this university!

gotten rid of 16% of BA degrees and 22% of Masters degrees; why they’ve slashed 48 courses and 203 course components, rather than dipping into their $3.557 billion in assets or even their $183 million in cash reserve.

For the staff who will be sacked, this means that their livelihoods will completely disappear, in the middle of both a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic and what is predicted to be the largest economic recession in decades.

These attacks on education are not just limited to Macquarie University. The university bosses association have announced that 1 in 10 staff members are projected to lose their jobs right across the sector, as bosses everywhere scramble to push the cost of the pandemic onto the livelihoods of university staff.

This means that the workload for the staff remaining at the university will be massively increased. Macquarie University already has one of the worst staff to student ratios in the country, at 1 staff member to 68.9 students, and these cuts will only intensify this pressure! (Just compare this to the average Group of Eight university, whose staff only manage around 22 students each). An example of this increased workload is the change in time allocated to marking assignments; it has been halved so will now sit at a dismal 30 minutes per student. To mark an assignment in this amount of time is an impossible task, and will undoubtedly lead to hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime for staff to properly mark students’ work. Macquarie University already has some of the lowest standards of education in the country, and these staff cuts will only worsen that fact. As the classic student activist slogan goes; “staff working conditions are student learning conditions.” An understaffed and overworked university will mean more reused course material from prior years, more classes being pushed online, more ballooning class sizes and even longer wait times to receive results. University management say that they are forced to make these cuts. The budget loss since COVID-19 stopped them charging international students enormous amounts of money for a subpar education has been (supposedly) too hard on their wallets! But the ‘crying poor’ of management falls flat when we take a brief look at Macquarie’s recent history of neoliberal reforms. In late 2019, Macquarie came after Human Sciences, successfully dissolving the entire department and causing many staff redundancies. In early 2020, the MQ2020 plan pushed through major cuts to the Arts department that resulted in the slashing of tutorials and drastically increased class sizes while at the same time cutting down on staff. Austerity is the Macquarie University model. It is not something that COVID-19 has unwillingly forced upon university management. Their response since the beginning of the pandemic is to take advantage of the circumstances to do what they have wanted to do for years: to get away with restructuring Macquarie further and further into a degree factory run for the profits of the university bosses, rather than a place of education. This is why we have seen in the last year the sacking of 300 staff through voluntary redundancy schemes; why they’ve completely


But we’ve also seen student activists fighting back right across the country. Here in Sydney, a wave of student protests at USYD braved police repression and violence to stand up against the attacks from the Liberal Government and university management. These protests, as well as the courageous acts of LGBTI+ protesters at the end of 2020, won back the democratic right to protest in New South Wales. MQ Students Against Uni Cuts are fighting back against the neoliberal logic of our university. We demand the immediate reversal of the cuts at Macquarie – sacking staff, destroying our standard of education and staff working conditions are never a justifiable action. Management wants nothing more than for students to keep our heads down and accept austerity, which is why we have to do the opposite! Join Macquarie Students Against Uni Cuts to join the campaign to defend our education on campus! We are fighting to rebuild a sense of confidence and resistance on campus, so that next time management tries to attack our education for the sake of their bottom line we’re on the best possible footing to push back against them. That’s why in 2020 we organised a 300 person strong protest and marched straight to the millionaire Vice Chancellor’s office to demonstrate that staff and students refuse to let our education be discarded. But we are not just fighting to reverse this round of cuts, we are fighting for a radical transformation of the education system at Macquarie. Education should be a right, not a privilege for the wealthy or simply to upskill the Australian workforce. Students should be able to study what they want and get a high quality education doing it. It is only through protesting and actions like these that students can save the education at Macquarie University! Join the protest and find out more information on our Facebook page: Macquarie Students Against Uni Cuts. by Amy Lamont and Jamie Tyers


While Beth Harmon may not have received the memo, the benefits physical activity loans to mental acuity is well known throughout the chess world. The rise in physical activity to aid strictly mental performances is steadily extending its reach throughout many industries specifically in higher education. And let’s face it, if the health benefits (particularly the mental health benefits) of physical activity could be packaged into a transparent gelatine or plant polysaccharides cap, psychiatrists would rule the world and perhaps you’d be a world chess champion too. So, why are we still treating mental health and exercise as mutually exclusive practices? Particularly when the argument can be made that physical activity does more for the mind than it does for the body. Despite the fact that we will all soon be immunised to not only COVID-19 but also to any further pandemic-induced mania, now more than ever, we need to look after our minds. Be it for academic, performance, or trivial pursuits, we could all use the psychological and emotional boost that comes from exercise. There is research to suggest that lifting weights helps memory and performing cardio stimulates creative thinking; anaerobic activity increases blood flow and response time; regular exercise increases the thickness of the cerebral cortex; and the list continues…

For those more inclined to share their dopamine hits with a friend, this can be done in any capacity you desire. In Group Fitness, whether you’re jumping, lifting, or flailing your way through a class, you’ll always find somebody in the same boat as you, as happy to see you as you are happy to see them. There’s no need to further bore you by unpacking the social benefits of physical activity in a gym… you can google all of that if you’re still unaware. What you may not have known is that the social opportunities of working out are an entirely slidable scale that is predicated purely on the size of your headphones and your willingness to point to them. This is a universally spoken language that has no direct translation but means entirely the same thing. So please, world champion pursuits or not, please do yourself a favour and feel good again by visiting your Macquarie University Sport and Aquatic Centre. As a Grapeshot readers only exclusive offer, your Macquarie University Sport and Aquatic Centre is offering you a 10 Visit Health Club pass for only $50.00. Scan the QR code to activate this exclusive offer and start feeling better today!

But, does that really matter if we still feel rubbish? What isn’t up for discussion is that exercise delivers a truckload of dopamine and serotonin to the doorstep of your brain. And, makes you feel better about your future, feel better about your flatmate who hasn’t showered in three days, feel better about your upcoming exams, feel better about your impending study, feel better about not studying, but most importantly feel better about yourself!



BEHIND THE FACEBOOK NEWS BAN Breaking news. Or more accurately, a lack of news. On the 18th of February, Facebook had banned all news within Australia from being shared, which affected media corporations yet also many government and not-for-profit pages. Even Grapeshot’s Facebook page was caught in the onslaught. Unsurprisingly, there was a nationwide outrage as the unsettling smog of a lack of freedom of press drifted. Yet, what was the reason? On the 9th of December last year, the Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2020 was introduced to Parliament. This is commonly known as the News Media Bargaining Code which compels Facebook and Google to pay media publishers for sharing their content. According to the Code, its purpose is to “address the bargaining power imbalance that exists between digital platforms and Australian news businesses” and therefore “support public interest journalism.” Furthermore, after Facebook’s last-minute act to salvage any concessions, the Australian government made an amendment to the proposed bill. The main change was for the Treasurer to first take into consideration whether a commercial agreement had been reached with news companies.

Isn’t Australian media “free”? Firstly, the decline of the general public’s interest in the news during the social media age has perpetuated the deterioration of news companies. In return, the quality of journalism has decreased, which can be physically reflected by reduced newspaper thickness. Secondly, with the Murdoch media empire owning over half of Australian media companies, the issue of media uniformity already exists. Here, according to Professor Simon Wilkie, the Head of Monash Business School, if the funds from Google and Facebook can be funded towards small to medium public interest news producers, there would be greater media diversity in Australia for a healthier public interest media landscape. However, the new Code fails to address whether larger media companies would convert greater funds into higher quality journalism.

Why is media diversity important?

What does “public interest journalism” mean?

Media diversity is vital for consumers in order to gain multiple perspectives and maintain an open-mind towards public interests. This is because each company has their own set of values, which are normally manifested through the types of articles produced and perspectives they are written from.

As the term itself is vague, public interest journalism basically means the disclosure of information journalists pursue that they believe the public ought to know and would otherwise be swept under the rug. Therefore, the Code aims to invigorate the freedom of press as a reflection of our democracy.

Summarily, the Facebook news ban was a last resort to win concessions against the News Media Bargaining Code before it was passed in the Senate, which was passed on the evening of the 23rd of February, 2021. Simply, Facebook took action to avoid forking out money, of which many Facebook users were ‘zucced’ into. by Olivia Chan


FREEGUIDES: EXPLORE LIKE NEVER BEFORE Amidst the frenzy of adjusting to the ‘new normal’ and coping with uncertain vaccination plans, travel has become the least of people’s concerns over the past year. With travel bans, spiked flight prices, and lengthy quarantine periods still in place, people are seeking local experiences and adventures like never before. By understanding the value and importance of exploring areas and sights around you, even before the pandemic, Founder Daniel Wasilewsky birthed the idea of FreeGuides – a platform where anyone can find experiences near them and create experiences for others while earning money. On the FreeGuides app, there are a plethora of experiences to choose from no matter where you are. Whether you enjoy dipping your toes in the arts or savouring fine dining, FreeGuides provides perfectly curated experiences for everyone. It enables you to connect with other like-minded people by creating an experience of your own. And, if people like the experience you have created on the platform, they can pay you to show their gratitude. Imagine a free walking tour, but make it virtual – with images and videos and voice notes. Taking a ‘tour’ of 25-year-old Daniel Wasilewsky’s life, the inspiration and motivation for FreeGuides can be understood even better. Daniel explains, when asked about how he became the person he is today, “I have always been entrepreneurial from a very young age. One weekend when my parents were away in Year 9, my sister and I wanted cookies, so we decided to go to Woolies and buy some cookie mix. She thought the cookies tasted really good, so the next day I took the leftovers and sold them to the kids at my school. It escalated till year 11, where I had a ‘full-time employee’ who was selling my cookies out of his locker on a commission basis. “We were making 100 cookies every day and selling them for 1 dollar, with the cost of each cookie being only 11 cents. That’s when I realised my true passion was making something that someone would actually be willing to pay for.” While Daniel may have experienced luck in the cookie industry, his urge to constantly innovate and build new things has not necessarily always resulted in success for him. Studying a first-time offered undergraduate course in Creative Intelligence at UTS, Daniel was encouraged to take part in numerous competitions and projects. While often commended for his presentation skills and pitching techniques, sometimes his ideas were one all-important inch away from perfection.

FreeGuides, the “Uber for free walking tours,” was not any different, as Daniel describes what inspired him to start the platform, “I was in New York for a month for an internship, and I wanted to be able to explore the city as much as I possibly could. I looked up free walking

tours around me and found there were 18 tours available. “I did 8 out of the 18 walking tours, and that is when I knew I wanted to create a platform so people can express their voices in a way with which others will empathise. So, I started mapping out what a walking tour app would like.” It was the constant conversations and discussions about the progress of how FreeGuides was going that led to Cameron Wasilewsky becoming the Tech Co-Founder and joining his brother Daniel on the FreeGuides journey. It was also the moment when the brothers recognised the need to expand the team, and brought along Jairaj Sharma, Chief Technology Officer of FreeGuides. With a dream team and an insight into how the platform had to be, Daniel converted an Instagram page, controlled by a bot, into a holistic mobile application. However, after spending a whole year working on the application, it was not until the end of 2019 when Daniel and his team took their first guided tour on FreeGuides and realised they hated it. Not too long after, a pandemic reverberated around the world, and that was when Daniel gained clarity and understanding of his product. He decided to transform the platform into one of completely selfguided tours, which enabled you to hear your virtual tour guide’s voice and allowed you to experience the adventures in your local area in an entirely new way. “We knew that we had to include every type of media possible, which meant video, text, or audio. And we found this by discussing it with our guides, because we wanted to make a product that people would actually enjoy and get the most out of,” Daniel had realised. After the launch in January, FreeGuides is now available for people to use and experience all over Australia, with prospects of launching in different countries all over the world. “FreeGuides is not just a product. We have found a way to digitise the free walking experience. With the pandemic and experiencing the product first-hand, my biggest takeaway is to not worry about the risks and just act on my plans. It is important to not wait for an external stimulus and just make the decision. We made the decision to change the platform after listening to our guides and it’s been the best decision.” So, whether you want to know where to find the best margarita in Sydney, or you want to guide others to the greatest chai latte you’ve ever had (and have the opportunity to earn money from sharing your knowledge), FreeGuides is what you’ve been waiting for. Visit www. for more information, or download the FreeGuides app from the Apple or Google Play store. by Saliha Rehanaz


Climate change is rapidly accelerating, with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) reporting that the global average temperature in 2019 was 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels. This steers dangerously close to the 1.5°C set by the Paris Agreement. In fact, the figure below made by the Climate Action Tracker warns that if the world continues to rely on its current policies, the earth will warm by 2.7-3.1°C by 2100. While the majority of people accept that we must act on climate change, there has been little to no legislation that would meaningfully address the issue. The question is, why? It is difficult to address why we aren’t acting on climate change without discussing the mechanisms of our economy and how they contribute to climate change. Our economic model stresses providing goods and services because they are profitable. We measure the growth of the global economy through the growth in annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which encapsulates the market value of all goods and services produced in an economy. Therefore, in order for our economy to grow, producers must produce more, and consumers must consume more, emitting more greenhouse gases.

WHY WE AREN’T TACKLING THE CLIMATE CRISIS Rojina Parchizadeh discusses the importance of taking action for climate change and how we are failing as a society to prioritise our planet because of our greedy economy.


Growth in consumption is the culprit of climate change. A 2015 study found that production and use of household goods and services contributed 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions. A UN report found that the wealthiest 1% of the global population emits double the amount of greenhouse gases than the poorest 50%. Evidently, wealthier consumers have a greater net impact on the acceleration of climate change because they are consuming more and consuming inconspicuously. However, the revelation that we need to consume less to combat climate change conflicts with our economic model and how we measure its success. Therefore, companies divert the conversation to recycling more, consuming ‘sustainable’ products and increasing efficiency in production even though they know these measures will not address the problem. Dittrich (2012) found that even if producers adopted best practice in efficient resource use, resource consumption would rise to 93 billion metric tonnes per year by 2050. This amount of resource consumption far exceeds the

‘sustainable’ limit of 50 billion metric tonnes per year. Therefore, no amount of technological efficiency can successfully counter climate change. Similarly, marketbased mechanisms on their own such as a hefty carbon tax would also be ineffective in significantly reducing carbon emissions.

subsidies annually. In 2010, Kevin Rudd proposed a mining super profits tax. The mining industry responded by spending $22 million in advertisements against the tax, claiming jobs would be cut and the economy would be devastated. Afterwards, Kevin Rudd was replaced and the tax was never considered again.

However, this does not stop companies from greenwashing and manipulating consumers into purchasing more of their products. Below are some examples of companies making false claims that their products are sustainable or eco-friendly. For example, Nestlé claims its cocoa beans are sustainably sourced when the key ingredient of its products is driving mass deforestation in West Africa.

While states have tried to provide incentive for individual households to install solar panels, electricity usage in industry is almost triple the amount of residential use of electricity. Similarly, transport makes up almost 19% of total GHG emissions, emphasising the need for us to create a systematic change rather than an individual lifestyle change.

Unsurprisingly, excessive corporate influence is an obstacle to effective environmental legislation. The biggest corporations mostly trade carbon intensive products and they have vast amounts of political power. Not only do these corporations ensure their interests are protected by the government through lobbying, they also largely control the public discourse around climate change. Since the 2015 Paris Agreement, the top five oil companies in the world have spent over a billion dollars on lobbying, marketing and greenwashing. In fact, large pollutants such as Air France, EDF, Renault-Nissan and BNP Paribas paid for 20% of the funding needed for the Paris Agreement. The question becomes, how does Australia compare? Despite what the Federal Government says, Australia is projected to far exceed its Paris Agreement target in 2030. The target recommendation during the Paris Agreement was a 45-65% reduction in carbon emissions compared to 2005 levels. Australia pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 26-28%. Moreover, Australia has been reluctant to phase out coal because it is too profitable for the economy. The vast political influence of fossil fuel industries in Australia is astounding. In 2018-19, fossil fuel companies donated almost $2 million to the ALP, Liberal and National parties, ensuring their interests are protected regardless of the majority party. Even more discouraging is the fact the true figure could be 5-10 times higher given the amount of untraceable ‘dark money’ donations. The Federal Government spends an estimated $12 billion on tax based fossil fuel

Earlier in this piece, I mentioned that climate change reflects a structural problem of our reliance on overconsumption and consumerist culture. Wiedmann et al. (2020) reported that consumption of affluent households worldwide is the greatest predictor and accelerant of climate change. The study also warns that climate change will continue as long as the global north continues to consume beyond what they need. However, this does not mean that we will have to live hard lives. Trainer (2019) found that Australians will be able to maintain a decent living standard with approximately 90% lesser per-capita energy use by phasing out positional goods (goods that are expensive and signify social status). Even though transitioning to renewables and better technology are part of the solution, we must radically change our lifestyles to save our planet. There is a possibility of degrowth, which can be done through mass organisation. The earth will continue to exist in the foreseeable future. The only question is, will we survive with it? by Rojina Parchizadeh


‘SHOOT TILL THEY ARE DEAD’: BEHIND THE MYANMAR COUP An image can speak a thousand words, yet it doesn’t seem like enough people are talking about the confronting photo of Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng kneeling in front of policemen in the town of Myitkyina. “I begged them not to shoot the children” she later remarked, “I told them that they can kill me, I am not standing up until they give their promise that they will not brutally crack down on protesters.” But even after receiving assurance from senior officers, the sounds of gunfire rang out.

Myanmar’s November parliamentary election saw the National League for Democracy (NLD) reach another influential victory, awarding Aung San Suu Kyi a second term as President. The landslide victory saw the military backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) demand a re-vote, citing claims of bias and unjust campaigning. In conjunction with the military, the USDP have repeatedly disputed the vote, claiming that over 10.5 million votes were fraudulent. Demands were also made for final polling data to be made public immediately.

political parties were banned, the constitution was suspended, and the newly established Burma Socialist Programme Party established the Burmese Way to Socialism ideology.

By March, the military were in power and announcing a year-long state of emergency. Suu Kyi and other cabinet members were detained. Whilst it may seem as though the country’s political environment was abruptly thrown into upheaval, Myanmar’s political history has been anything but steady.

In May 1990, the military led council allowed the country to hold multi-party elections. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won, however the military refused to hand over power. Once again, the country was under military regime and Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest, only to be released almost 15 years later.

Previously known as Burma, Myanmar was a province of India under the British in 1886 and has a long history of political resistance. Resentment to British rule saw the British destroy entire villages and British governance favour certain ethnic groups throughout the end of the 19th Century. Student-led protests in 1920 saw a new wave of resistance against British rule, with Buddhist monks leading numerous armed rebellions. Suu Kyi’s father Aung San was a prominent figure in the movement for national autonomy. He was seen as an independence hero who was eventually assassinated in 1948. Following the devastation of World War II, Myanmar became independent from Britain, deciding to not join the British Commonwealth and a brief period of democracy followed. By 1962, a coup was staged and the country’s military dictatorship remained until 2011.

This tumultuous past is important when understanding Myanmar’s present situation, with many similarities between both past and current events. Following her release, Suu Kyi led her party to victory in 2015 at the country’s first openly contested election in over 25 years. Whilst she became an international symbol of peace in her effort to bring democracy to Myanmar, her image has recently suffered due to the country’s treatment of the Rohingya minority.

Throughout this period of military dictatorship, the country was closed off to the rest of the world. Opposition


In 1988, large numbers of demonstrations broke out across the country and in retaliation troops began firing into the crowds. Over 3000 people were killed. Amidst the chaos Suu Kyi became an international symbol of non-violent resistance in the face of oppression and a key figure of Myanmar’s democracy movement.

She is however still hugely popular amongst the majority of Myanmar’s population, which is why it was unsurprising when her party once again saw victory at the voting polls late last year. But now the military is once again in power with leadership in the hands of Army Chief Senior General Min Auung Hlaing. Once again Suu Kyi has been placed under house arrest, alongside the other members of the NLD party.

The timing of this military coup coincided with the first session of parliament post-election and the military quickly seized control of Myanmar’s infrastructure. The coup was announced on the military operated and owned television station, with presenters reading the 2008 constitution which allows the military to declare a national emergency. A night-time curfew was enforced, and troops patrol the streets. Television broadcasts have been suspended, both international and domestic flights have been cancelled. Commercial banks have been closed, telephone and internet access is down in most major cities. Whilst initially the coup saw peaceful protests break out, February 20th saw the protests quickly turn deadly. Two protesters were killed by security forces, with one of the protesters only 16-years-old. The protests have become increasingly violent with the military deploying soldiers in riot gear and reports of snipers stationed along protest routes. Myanmar’s repeated history of peaceful protesters meeting violent ends at the hands of the military has seen tensions rise. More than 60 people have been killed, with 38 of them dying on March 3rd alone. Over 1800 people have been detained and many more injured protesting. Reports have emerged of police orders to shoot at protesters in an effort to disperse them. One nowresigned officer was given orders by his superiors to “shoot till they are dead” when patrolling protests in the town of Khampat on February 27th. As the political situation becomes increasingly volatile one has to ask, what comes next?

The military has announced a one-year state of emergency but what will come after that? General Hlaing has since tried to justify the coup, urging the people of Myanmar that the military are on their side and would seek to form a “true and disciplined democracy.” The military has also revealed the plan to hold a “free and fair” election once the year-long state of emergency is over but only time will tell. Looking back at the country’s history it is clear a familiar pattern is emerging. Globally there has been less outcry than expected following a military coup. Whilst the UK and the US have responded with sanctions and numerous countries have condemned the military takeover, the UN Security Council failed to reach a unanimous agreement on a statement to condemn the coup, only threatening to consider “further measures” and calling for restraints by the military. Neighbouring countries have also taken little to no action. China urged both sides to “resolve differences,” whilst Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines have chalked the military coup up to an “internal matter.” As political tensions continue to escalate and protesters meet increasingly violent ends, it is clear Myanmar is in dire need for peace. Whilst one can hope the military will follow through with their apparent intentions, only time will tell if the country will break free from military dictatorship. by Madi Scott





GOING CAFFEINE FREE WRITTEN BY HARRY FRASER Willkommen and bienvenue, this is Harry Fraser, the Regulars Editor for Grapeshot Magazine. For the Challenge this issue I will be giving up caffeine for a week, because it seems the Australian population and economy relies on some brown beans that are ground up and supported by foam art. Before I launch into it, a brief disclaimer: I don’t really drink coffee anymore (besides the occasional yet welcome Espresso Martini) because it has previously made me rather anxious. But before everyone cancels me for writing an article about giving up caffeine despite not drinking coffee, take a sip of your almond iced lattes with one pump of vanilla and pipe down. I am an avid tea drinker and if 2020 left me with one thing, it was a newfound appreciation for Matcha Green Tea Iced Lattes. They have become my weakness but I’m not ashamed. I love the flex of strutting around sipping something green from a Starbucks takeaway cup. It looks like I know what I’m doing and where I’m going in life. Picture me at work on my 15 minute break, taking the lift down to the food court where I involuntarily feel the magnetism of Starbucks pull me in. I know I shouldn’t spend $7 on some ice with a side of matcha but there is a little voice in the back of my head saying, “it’s green tea, what could be healthier?” and “saying Grande is fun.” And my inner demons are right: saying Grande really is the best. I saunter up to the counter, feigning my perusal of the menu as though I don’t already know what I want: a Grande Iced Matcha Latte with half ice, oat milk and one pump of syrup. “A name for the order?” they ask me. I almost always forget how they ask that at the end. “Harry,” I manage breathlessly, before moving aside to await my beverage. Based on that dramatic rendition of my Starbucks order you might already have a sense of my week long suffering. The Iced Matcha has taken on an almost sultry presence in my consciousness with its marked absence, enticing me with her green tea goodness. My week without caffeine was mild and mediocre. In my mind I expected cold sweats, trembling hands and

oppressive drowsiness. In fact, the only effect I can attest to experiencing was some mental lethargy. Even then such symptoms could be attributed to lack of sleep or uni workload, or some other facet of the working uni student’s life. What I noticed most was when I would sit at my desk at home to do uni work, my instinct was to brew a cup of tea to nurse as I headed over to Echo360. During lockdown and spending much of 2020 at my uni desk, it became a helpful habit to make some tea before I sat down to work. It gave me routine and some structure around work time vs break time when the entire day stretched before me, uninterrupted by things like leaving my house and being social. Hence, despite a significant return to normalcy on the uni front, i.e. on campus tutes, my quarantine at home study routine is here to stay. A big part of that routine was tea and what was most challenging this past week was not the lack of caffeine (although I’m not exactly doing a scientific study here, so don’t quote me on that) but the disruption to my routine and my process. It felt perverse and unsettling to plonk down at my desk without having first put the kettle on and set my timer for three and a half minutes, while my Melbourne Breakfast teabag sat in the mug (I’ve since graduated to loose leaf). I keenly felt the absence of my little green mug on the opposite side of my desk to my laptop (some close calls there), where I used to check to see if she was too hot to sip. Again, sensual dramatisation aside, I felt the absence of caffeinated drinks mostly in the disruption to my routine and not necessarily the lack of caffeine itself. I wonder if this is part of the reason why people become reliant on their daily beverage of choice. It gives them a sense of stability and normalcy in days that can go off the rails or be filled with unknowns. No matter what may happen that day, at least you can always get your morning coffee. There is something to the physical act of holding a drink and repeatedly sipping from it and the comfort that it brings. Almost as though coffee (or any other daily beverage) is to adults what comfort toys and blankets are to children. BTW this is based off no scientific expertise, just straight up overthinking, which I wish I could say was due to the lack of caffeine but I would be lying. I’m always overthinking. ANYWAY. I’ve been going without caffeine for 6 days strong and I haven’t had any visceral cravings, night sweats or trembling hands. Sometimes when I sat down to do uni work and I was feeling tired or unfocused, I wanted to grab some tea to help me concentrate. Honestly, I think



this had more to do with procrastination than anything else. I managed to get my work done when I actually put my mind to it. Perhaps the hot water itself was what perked me up. Full of scientific based and well-researched hypotheses here folks. It made me wonder what caffeine actually does to us though and here is where I sought proper, qualified opinions. So, I googled it and went to the first site that looked like it had a nice name with pretty vibes. I wanted to compare the amount of caffeine in tea and coffee to see if I was being unfair in my characterisation of quitting caffeine as relatively easy. This was news to me but apparently, caffeine is NATURAL and is found in over 60 plant species. Who knew? Of course, the amount of caffeine in any given beverage is vastly different, but I already knew that. Obviously large doses of caffeine can cause serious health concerns but then again when did taking massive levels of stimulants ever turn out well? In large doses caffeine has been known to cause anxiety, restlessness and difficulty sleeping. If you already have crippling self-doubt and imposter syndrome to keep you up at night a coffee habit might not be the best investment. Some studies have even shown caffeine to cause migraines and headaches (yum). Not to mention my favourite part, caffeine is mildly addictive. I don’t know whether to focus on the ‘mildly’ or the ‘addictive’ part of that sentence, so I’ll leave that up to each reader. Although to be fair, every individual is susceptible to caffeine’s addictive personality traits in different ways, that is, some people are more likely to develop a caffeine habit than others. I feel like this is an important, albeit late, time to point out that these are simply the musings of your average peasant, with no authority to recommend or advise on any healthrelated matter. If you do have any issues with caffeine, please seek a qualified health professional, not me. Cheers. Back to the various drinks now, I had a look at tea first. Black, white and green teas are all prepared from the same plant (I don’t believe that, idk why) but apparently black tea leaves are oxidised and harvested at different times. While this fact makes sense, I want to keep the fantasy in my head alive that all the different teas come from unique plants, I’m talking plants named after my tea: English Breakfast, Earl Grey and New York Breakfast. That’s where they come from and don’t try to tell me otherwise. Now the average cup of black tea (237ml) has 47mg of caffeine but can have up to 90mg. Compare this to green


tea with 20-45mg and white teas with 6-60mg. Okay, but what does this mean? I think we’ll know more when we look at the coffee. Matcha tea (you remember, from earlier) is supposedly a high caffeine tea with 35mg of caffeine per serving. I feel attacked, but not as attacked as the people who think they are drinking caffeine free tea. I’m not about to blow the lid off the caffeine-free tea industry but according to the few sources I found, there is still a small amount of caffeine in them. But they do say that it’s considered a negligible amount, which is a good thing apparently. Turning to coffee, the average cup (237ml) contains 95mg of caffeine. Doesn’t seem like enough, at least not compared to tea. But here’s where it gets interesting— in an espresso shot, the caffeine is more concentrated; in just 30ml there is 58mg of caffeine. Pop off sis. Most standard coffees are made with two shots, that’s 116mg. Considering that some people have ‘strong’ coffees with three shots, as well as potentially multiple coffees per day, these numbers start to add up. If HSC General Maths serves me well, that amounts to a lot of caffeine for some people. I shouldn’t just bash the coffee drinkers, I’m sure that even though I would rarely have more than one tea per day, there are many tea drinkers out there that have similar habits to coffee drinkers in terms of multiple cups per day. We all have a vice, it’s just that some roast dead beans while others boil dead leaves. The lesson here is that we all put our pants on one leg at a time. But I will say that coffee does contain more caffeine than tea (and don’t forget it). So, if it was a competition and I’m not saying that it is, but if it was, tea would win. It confirms what I felt in my waters, that tea really is superior to coffee. I knew it, just like how November, the number 7, and brown are the same vibe. There are no words, only vibes. To conclude readers, you can see I have attempted to emulate a peer-reviewed medical research paper, minus the peers and the medical research. What we are left with are the rantings of a man who hasn’t had an Iced Matcha Grande with one pump of syrup, oat milk and half ice in almost a week. Let’s just say I’m feeling the absence of caffeine, but only low key. I wouldn’t recommend, mainly because it was inconvenient, rather than unbearable. But if you feel like some drama in your life, it’s always worth creating problems for yourself in ways that don’t alienate family or friends and this could be a way to do that.


AUSSIE SOAPS: CRAZIEST PLOTS WRITTEN BY HARRY FRASER For this issue’s Pop Culture Rewind, we are looking back at some of the most cooked soap opera storylines that had us gooped and gagged. We all thought the devil worked hard but let me tell you, these screenwriters work harder. Focussing on Australia’s stalwarts of soap television, Neighbours and Home and Away, I’ve compiled the best moments from the many decades of these iconic programs. Starting with Neighbours (which is into its 36th season), I can say that this was the first and only soap I ever got into. I remember vividly awaiting the return of the season in early January to find out if Summer had been burned alive in her house and whether she and Andrew would get to be together despite Tash’s teen pregnancy. But I digress. I will preface this article with a warning; some of these storylines have not aged well and are highly problematic but that is what we came here for, whack-ass tomfoolery. A bomb goes off at Erinsborough High Amidst a police search of the local high school, students are tasked with picking up litter as ordered by the legendary Susan Kennedy. While picking up rubbish, one student refuses to do Mrs Kennedy’s dirty work, “if it bothers you pick it up yourself”. Somehow Pooja made a guest appearance in this episode. Meanwhile two male students talk about the possibility of a bomb on the school grounds. “Maybe in the Middle East” one boy answers. I thought the bomb was the real explosion, but it really was the racism. For all that hype of racism and Pooja-like confrontation, a puny explosion from a bin is all we get. 2/10 Julie accuses her Chinese neighbours of eating her dog The title says it all. I have no words except that the writers must have been on meth, although sadly, the only thing they were on was white supremacy. Mrs Lim is just going about her life (as a queen should), when crazed little Julie demands she confess to what she did. When I say Julie does not hold back, I mean she left nothing unsaid, “I don’t know what you do in your country”, “we just don’t do that in aUStRaliA” and finally “how will I tell my daughter her pet was barbecued”. THE. ACTUAL. FUCK. -3/10 Most of the cast gets on a plane destined for the bottom of the ocean This was INTENSE. There are too many fan-made music videos of these crash scenes to count. More than half of Ramsay Street board a flight that crashes into

the Bass Strait. The Bishop family is wiped out, which didn’t really bother many fans. Susan and Harold almost died but they somehow made it. A whole episode full of tearful goodbyes and cowardly actions, this crash was spicy indeed, not to mention the production value – they made the seats shake and the cast had life jackets and everything. Based on the drama alone. 7/10 The evil son of Paul Robinson, Robert. That’s right, Robert ‘Rob’ Robinson, one of Paul’s triplets, was a legendary villain with a name to fit. A sociopath right off the bat, Rob posed as his brother Cameron after putting him in a coma before trying to murder everyone. Remember the aforementioned plane crash? Planted by Rob. Rob tried to gas his dad’s gf Izzy (played by Natalie Bassingthwaighte), plants another bomb in his sister’s car and finally, ties his dad up in a mine shaft before collapsing it. The toxic man we wanted and the one we deserved. 8/10 Mark finds Jesus on his wedding day This one is just straight up fucked but high key outstanding. Mark and Annalise are at the alter about to get married before it goes off the rails. Before he says his vows, Mark catches sight of the statue of Jesus and the camera zooms in on the Saviour’s face. Cut back to Mark’s sweaty and conflicted expression and it’s all over for Annalise. Mark decides then and there that he MUST become a priest and cannot marry Annalise. Period. Sorry babes, Jesus got me with those washboard abs and sexy scruff. 5/10 Paul Robinson murders Gus and burns down Lou’s restaurant to open his own restaurant/bar Lassiters We’ve heard about Paul’s psycho son Rob, but the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Now I don’t know much about business, but I’m not sure the free market endorses arson. But what do I know, money isn’t even real. The only thing standing between Paul and his dream of opening Lassiters is pesky Lou’s place and Gus. These are obstacles easily overcome with murder and fire. I admire the audacity, not the murder. 9/10 Susan miscarries her daughter’s surrogate baby and her son-in-law doesn’t realise because he’s on his iPod This one takes the cake. At this point Queen Susan is no longer a spring chicken, not the ideal candidate for her daughter’s surrogate. No shade Susan is elite, but I don’t see a doctor approving this. Ethical considerations aside, Susan and Dan (her son-in-law) have a fight in the bush as one does. Dan is uncomfortable with the thought of his mother-in-law carrying his child and tells Susan as much. A fair point I reckon. Both say harsh things and Dan storms off, and Susan gives chase, only to stack it. She cries out for Dan but it’s too late, he already has his earphones in.


POP CULTURE REWIND The creativity and absurdity. 10/10. We now turn to Home and Away. I never got into this one personally, but some of these storylines are next level and I feel like a better person after knowing about them. CONTENT WARNING, the next part of the article addresses sexual assault.

drugged and forced into having a baby with the son of the cult leader Jonah. We later find out the baby’s father is Tash’s bf Robbie because Jonah is sterile. Wild. It was the pig Latin for me. 12/10

Martha becomes a pole dancer Soap operas claim to address the big issues facing the average person. The writers refuse to shy away from these hot-button issues and respectfully represent diverse experiences. This is not an example of that.

Saul telling Selina he can reincarnate her dead child Continuing in the cult vein, Selina had just suffered a miscarriage but found hope in cult leader Saul. Saul believed that if Selina slept with him her baby would be reincarnated. Pretty standard.

Martha, the typical ‘girl-next-door’ has an abortion which triggers a downward spiral. This spiral ends with Martha becoming a pole dancer/stripper. A few things to address here.

Selina shockingly finds out its absolute shite and gets tf out of that cult. But that’s not it. SELINA FINDS A BABY ON THE BEACH. Must be fate she thinks.

Firstly, becoming a pole dancer is not rock bottom, but it does require rock hard abs. Secondly, it is unhelpful to characterise an abortion as the first step in a path towards throwing your life away, which actually generates more stigma around the subject.

You’re in a cult, call your dad. 8/10

The weirdest part however, in my mind at least, were the scenes of Martha at the pole dancing club. Martha was literally spinning around a pole fully clothed, which kind of didn’t make sense. High-key cooked. 4/10 Kirsty dates her sister’s rapist (TW) Zero chill here readers. This storyline is fucked and cooked to the max and viewers were very concerned even when it first aired. Kane had a thing for Dani, but this obsession proved violent when he raped her at her house. If you thought it couldn’t get worse, think again. After tearfully apologising for his actions, Kane leaves The Bay. I personally would have preferred a prison sentence, but this is Australia and rapists seem to escape consequences here. I’m sorry to say, but it gets worse again. Kane comes back. This again was SPICY and the audacity of the writers is clearly showing. Kane tries to make amends (do you think he’s heard of the criminal justice system?) with Dani and take the natural next step of DATING HER YOUNGER SISTER KIRSTY.

Vinnie’s resurrection It’s about as cooked as it sounds. Vinnie is carted off to prison where he later dies in a prison fire (better than death by chicken wire). We’re upset for his wife Leah but she and the viewers get over it. Leah moves on with Dan only to have VINNIE show up at Vinnie Jr’s birthday party. Truth is, Vinnie was never dead but that’s right, he was in witness protection. Not only does Vinnie show up to the party but he comes dressed as a giant teddy bear (witness protection policy). Vinnie want’s Leah and Vinnie Jr to come with but Leah is like, “yeah soz”. Witness protection is so 1998. 1/10 John’s brain tumour turns him into an arsonist I mean, where to begin. I love a bit of true crime but it has to be TRUE. There is some evidence that tumours can alter people’s personality, but this is something else. Not only does John start to light fires all over the place, but he also dons a black raincoat to I guess make him less suss as he skulks around The Bay. This one is more far-fetched than the pig Latin.

Not okay. -1000/10 Light it up bitch. 2/10 Shane gets killed by chicken wire In true soap opera fashion, Shane suddenly drops dead in the middle of a wholesome family holiday. It is later revealed that Shane quite carelessly cut himself on some chicken wire and his wound went septic, ultimately leading to his untimely death. Kind of random. 3/10 Tash gets caught up in a cult Tash as a character is just gold. She grew up as the child of Y2K doomsday preppers and her parents later died in a bushfire. Washed up on a beach only speaking pig Latin (!!) Tash’s entry was nothing if not soap opera worthy. Joining a cult is probably the wildest of Tash’s plotlines, but I am here for it. The craziest part of the scenario was Tash being


I think we can agree that soap opera writers have quite the imagination. Something so simple as logic or science cannot stifle their creativity and innovation. Some might say soapies are a form of social commentary that question societal norms and values. Those people are liars. If these storylines tell us anything, it’s that the sky is the limit when it comes to drama. And yet, these shows still aren’t as bad as Riverdale.


TALL POPPY SYNDROME WRITTEN BY TORI S. BARENDREGT Though I have lived in Australia my entire life (save one year I spent abroad), I did not hear about tall poppy syndrome until last year when I was reading Ashleigh Kalagian Blunt’s book, How to be Australian. I was alarmed when I learnt what it was and that it is an intricate part of Australian culture. A tall poppy is a term used to refer to high achievers and For those ofsuccessful people. Interestingly, tall poppy syndrome does us fortunate ornot refer to tall poppies themselves as people who let unfortunate enoughsuccess get to their heads but to people who ‘cut down’ to hail from thetall poppies, to the people who can’t appreciate others’ Central Coast, it’sachievements, big or small. The metaphor refers to the an hour and a halfbelief that poppies should grow together at the same car ride on the M1rate, remain the same height, and if one grows too tall, or a one to two hourthen it should be cut down to the same size as the others. train ride into MQTall poppy syndrome, then, refers to people who criticise that we have to looksuccessful people because their success makes them forward to. It’s beenstand out. known to be as long as three hours inFor Blunt, she first encountered tall poppy syndrome bad weather— shoutwhen she was struggling at university. She had always out to Sydney Railbeen a decent student and didn’t understand why she was for that. We’re easystruggling. When trying to explain this to her advisor, she enough to spot—mentioned how she won the gold medal back in Canada friendly, but with aand her advisor found this remark off-putting. While I foot out the doorbelieve humility is a desirable quality and don’t particularly of any compulsorylike arrogance, I did not get this from Blunt’s remark. To class the instantme, she was not bragging. And I don’t understand why it hits the hour, anpeople shouldn’t be able to talk about their achievements. eye on the clock and the Opal App, delighted to complain about the travel to you privileged Sydney folk who don’t know how

The Tallest Poppy was a study led by Dr Rumeet Billan in partnership with Thomas Reuters and Women of Influence in 2018 in Canada into tall poppy syndrome and its effects in the workplace. The survey covered 1,501 respondents across a range of industries with 87 percent admitting they felt their accomplishments were undermined in the workplace and 81 percent recalling that they experienced open hostility for their success.

Tall poppy syndrome in the workplace can create a toxic environment and can seriously impact employee satisfaction with their work, colleagues and themselves. The Tallest Poppy revealed that while employees often felt their accomplishments went unacknowledged, they were also afraid of acknowledgement due to how their co-workers might react. Respondents reported that when their accomplishments were acknowledged, their success was devalued by their peers. This can come in many forms including pointing out flaws, criticising minor details, social exclusion, jealousy, snide remarks and jokes, and downplaying achievements such as suggesting there is another reason for their success besides their own hard work. As a result of tall poppy syndrome in the workplace, high levels of distrust can occur between employees. The victims of tall poppy syndrome have also reported feeling disengaged from their work, decline in productivity, mental breakdowns, self-doubt, fear of favouritism and depression. There is an overall loss of morale which can have an enormous impact on individuals and a company’s business success as well. Essentially, when tall poppy syndrome goes by unaddressed, it is normalising harassment and discrimination. Though this is a Canadian study, tall poppy syndrome can be seen reflected in Australians. The 2018 CGU Ambition Index reveals Australian’s negative attitude towards success. Seven out of ten Australians fear being seen as braggers when talking about their ambitions and so they prefer not to. Many Australians also don’t act on their ambition either for fear of reaction if they were to make a success out of themselves. This further demonstrates the limitations tall poppy syndrome puts on ourselves, holding us back from our dreams. And tall poppy syndrome isn’t just limited to the work environment but can occur anywhere between anyone with similar effects, as Blunt’s experience demonstrates. It might be difficult to believe that this can occur if you’ve never experienced tall poppy syndrome yourself. Or maybe you haven’t noticed because it is a part of the culture you grew up in. While Australians pride themselves on their laid-back, down-to-earth attitudes, practicing tall poppy syndrome is overkill. The more I’ve thought about it, the more concerned I’ve become. I’ve noticed myself that Australian’s often talk down and can be deprecating to themselves and others in everyday situations. It’s not just a case of deflating someone’s over-inflated ego but a normalised practice practiced on everyone that has a serious mental health effect. Repeated exposure to this, especially when someone hasn’t grown up in such an environment (or even if they have and just don’t realise what it is and what it is doing), can seriously impact their sense of worth and purpose.



WHAT YOUR COFFEE ORDER SAYS ABOUT YOU WRITTEN BY JODIE RAMODIEN ILLUSTRATED BY SAM VAN VLIET Latte from St Laurent Coffee Hordes of overeager first years frequent the new campus hub and buy their coffee from here before being seduced by the wonders of day drinking at the bar close by.

Cappuccino from Pablo & Rusty’s on Wally’s Walk This is a popular cafe due to its central location and convenience. The students who order this beverage breeze through campus in tights or sweats and ask questions like “how is it already week 9?” as they are habitually late for class.

Long Black from home Living the true life of a starving uni student, these stingy caffeine addicts won’t waste money on milk or waste time waiting in lines. They watch their lectures at double speed in the name of efficiency.

Flat White from Cult Eatery in the Arts Precinct Likely to be an overstressed, neurotic, egomaniac that will absolutely dedicate an entire issue of Grapeshot Magazine to their favourite coffee.

Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiato These students will make the 20 minute walk to and from Macquarie Centre to satisfy their craving, and will flaunt their MULS hoodie like it’s an achievement the entire way there.




WRITTEN BY MYKAYLA CASTLE For those of us fortunate or unfortunate enough to hail from the Central Coast, it’s an hour and a half car ride on the M1 or a one to two hour train ride into MQ that we have to look forward to. It has been known to be as long as three hours in bad weather – shout out to Sydney Rail for that. We’re easy enough to spot – friendly, but with a foot out the door of any compulsory class the instant it hits the hour, an eye on the clock and the Opal App, delighted to complain about the travel time to you privileged Sydney folk who don’t know how good you have it. For those of you curious about how the commuter crew lives outside of the multicultural melting pot of Sydney, here’s the rundown. Where do people live? Though you could easily divide our suburbs into beach and not-beach, there’s as clear a hierarchy up here as there is between St Ives and Parramatta down there. Our equivalent of St Ives is the lovely and leafy fields of Matcham, where established families settle into large houses on beautiful properties and enjoy ‘the good life’ only five minutes from the Coast’s major shopping centre, Erina Fair. On the other end of the spectrum are our ‘up and coming’ suburbs – Wyoming, Woy Woy, Springfield, and Wyong, are the remnants of the Coast’s lower economic profile in action. As someone who’s lived in Springfield myself, I feel comfortable in saying that these suburbs are a little less ‘up’ and a little more ‘coming,’ with a respectful nod to whatever arsonist decided that my Council Clean Up was an excellent bonfire opportunity. However, most of our neighbourhoods are tucked away into the bush, with sprawling backyards and a generally peaceful atmosphere. Kids run about, dogs bark, and the general ruckus of life goes on. Our crowning jewels are absolutely our beaches, our top three most popular being Wamberal, Avoca, and Terrigal. If you’re wondering why Wamberal sounds familiar to you, it may be due to it making the news last year when “freak storms” hit the shores and almost took out a whole row of beachfront homes – the ocean really took ‘eat the rich’ literally. The beach itself is the other side of Terrigal Beach, and has waves where Terrigal has none, making it the place to be for surfers. If you’re looking for peak beachbum territory, this is it. You’ve made it. Avoca Beach is the quietest of the three, tucked away behind a headland and boasting a great fish and chip shop and a classic ‘beachside town’ experience, albeit with fancier houses than most. The heart of the sun and sand life, Terrigal plays host not only to a collection of contemporary restaurants and a fantastic ice creamery, but also to the Crown Plaza, the most prominent luxury hotel on the Coast. Because I know you’re all alcoholics at heart, I’ll go right ahead and tell you

that this is also where the majority of the Coast’s party population goes for a Sunday night out at a place locally known only as the Beery. The truth of the Central Coast, though, is that it’s a very different place to Sydney. Most of us in the younger generation who’ve grown up on these beautiful shores and bushy hills are incredibly aware of the old world values of the place that we live in – a euphemism for both racism and charm, if you could believe the two coexist. It’s difficult to be proud of a place where one minute you’ve overheard someone comment about “those Asian people” moving up from Sydney, and the next you’re invited to Sunday lunch at their house. In the manner of small towns everywhere, the Central Coast manages to be incredibly welcoming and insular at the same time. Coasties move slower than city folk – it’s as true of our lifestyle as it is of our politics. But we do move. A new park has just been opened on the prominent Gosford Waterfront, transforming a run down oval into a playspace that celebrates Indigenous culture in a way that has been altogether absent from the coast. Local councils and regional development corporations worked with the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council in the design process, actively creating a space that is inclusive, enjoyable, and community based. The Waterfront, and what takes up space along it, has long been a subject of local discussion, from high school persuasive writing to Facebook posts arguing for diverting the highway around the back of Gosford entirely, to bring back the natural beauty of the area. The blandly named Leagues Club Park is a small cog in the larger wheel of cultural change that people have been calling for, and loudly. Another avenue of change is something you might already be peripherally aware of: the slow but steady move of Sydneysiders deciding to commute to their city job from a nicer (and cheaper) house up here. Let there be no mistake, there’s been grumbling about that. I find the majority of the nervousness surrounding the exodus of long term Sydney residents lies in the divide in values – the ways in which, in many ways, being more country than city actually appeals to a lot of people who live on the Coast. The Coast is a comforting mix of endearingly derelict and increasingly modern. The roof of our single biggest shopping centre may still leak in the rain, but under it you’ll see more diversity than you did even only three years ago. Delicious new cuisine has begun to settle next to the old options, and Friday nights are suddenly full of possibility. This is a wheel that’s still turning, still settling and deciding, but it’s been in motion for as long as we’ve been alive. I, for one, intend to enjoy the ride.



FREE WRITTEN BY ZOE CARROLL I would like to take the opportunity of this platform to spread awareness of the deeply rooted racism that is embedded in Australian culture towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. During my life I have been on both sides of privilege and oppression and whilst I cannot speak for everyone, I can spread awareness based on my experiences. Please acknowledge that this is addressed to the people who constantly join in on the racial profiling of Indigenous people and that I do not intend on depicting everyone as such a person. I am a proud Anaiwan woman with my mob originating in beautiful Anaiwan country near the Armidale/Nundle region in NSW. Despite my physical attributes, I didn’t question who I was or where I was from until I was around 9years-old. At this time, I lived with my father who was a proud Indigenous man who unfortunately passed away at the age of 33. The emotional turmoil I experienced at this age was suffocating and my struggle with mental illness was prevalent from this point onward. I moved away from my father’s family which made connecting to my culture difficult as I did not have aunts, uncles or elders to pass on our ancestral stories which left me feeling very lost. I was relocated 4 hours away from my hometown and had to focus on making new connections, navigating school and transitioning into a completely different family life. It was here when I first started experiencing the racism that is embedded into Australian culture. When I started at my new school I was treated like any other student, nevertheless when my school mates discovered that I was Indigenous I started getting treated very differently. “You can’t be Aboriginal, you’re white.” “You must be like what… 1/18th?”


These comments were coming from primary school children. How did the idea that being Aboriginal meant you needed to be dark in skin tone be so prevalent amongst primary school children? Peoples’ attitude toward me after finding out where I came from was like whiplash. From here on out I continually questioned who I was and if my cultural heritage was real. I struggled with the idea that I could or couldn’t be an Indigenous person because of the way I looked. I was always searching for someone to validate who I was and I always searched for my father’s presence to ask for answers to all of my questions. When I got to high school the comments got worse. “You’re just ticking the box that says Aboriginal right?” or “what free stuff do you get because of that box?” People were so quick to throw away my culture and question my integrity as an individual because I identified as an Indigenous woman with white skin and green eyes. As you can imagine, it didn’t get any easier when I went into the workforce after high school. I was called a “boonga,” asked if I “sniffed petrol,” constantly asked to “prove my Aboriginality” and have been told that I was “painted the wrong colour.” I used to let these comments go, laugh it off and pretend like it didn’t affect me because it was something that was accepted by wider society. It became so normal to demoralise my identity as a result of comments that I now understand are baseless and historically exhausted. I have lived in constant fear that someone would take my culture away from me. That I didn’t deserve to be who I was because of what I looked like. That my ancestors would be ashamed of me and agree with the claims that these people were making against me. I was so lost. It wasn’t until I had a conversation with a strong Gamilaroi woman that my perspective about my Indigeneity changed. I asked her if I was ever going to be able to be an elder and if my children would ever be recognised as Aboriginal because of the adopted view that Indigenous lines will cease.

MOB This woman who I look up to with respect and admiration said to me “this idea that you have is so whitewashed and incorrect, being Indigenous isn’t as much about blood anymore, colonialism made sure of that, being Indigenous is who you are, its what’s inside you and it’s what you choose to pass on to your family. You will be an aunty and so the hell will I.” I didn’t realise until this point that my own idea of my Aboriginality had been so influenced and tainted by the white perspective of what being Indigenous should be. My identity had been so influenced by the racist remarks that I had experienced from a young age which I never escaped from until that moment. I am through with sitting down and being quiet about comments that are made on a daily basis within this country to many young Indigenous Australians. I am done letting people decide who I am based on skin colour. I am done sitting down and letting people walk all over others because of the dated and disgusting idea that to be Aboriginal you need to have a particular look or skin colour. You don’t get to choose. You don’t get to decide the way we think, feel or act on our culture. You don’t get to decide if we’re so-called ‘halfcaste’ or ‘quarter caste.’ People like to play on our culture and judge our integrity about whether we are actually Indigenous or not. Do you really think this is the way we wanted it to be? Do you think that if we had the choice to live the way our ancestors lived, we wouldn’t take it? People say that being Indigenous is just a box that we tick to get all of the ‘free stuff.’ It’s YOU

who put us in that box. It was colonisation that required there to be a box in the first place. Next time you speak to an Indigenous person have a think about the cultural struggle they experienced based on many years of oppression and deeply rooted racism that is still ridiculously prevalent in Australian society. Think about the intergenerational trauma we experience and the genocide that our people faced. Our Aboriginality is not up to you. To the young Indigenous Australians who have experienced this, I hear you. I feel your pain and I fight alongside you. Your voice is valued and it is important. I hope this world is kinder to you and that you find your place within our culture. You are your ancestors’ dreams and they are so proud of you. To the ignorant who have perpetrated this, understand that it is unacceptable to make comments like the ones mentioned above and that your opinion on other people’s cultural background and heritage is completely irrelevant. Please understand that you’re further damaging Indigenous people’s identity and there is no excuse for racism. This isn’t a joke, it never has been. To the allies, thank you for supporting Indigenous people in whatever capacity that may be. You’re an important part of Australian society and only with your constant support can we truly step forward together and make a difference. Keep fighting deadly fight.





REPRESENTING THE PAST TO REPRESENT US In Australia we proudly boast values of mateship, multiculturalism, humility and sincerity. We are known for our easy-going, down to earth, friendly attitude, giving the idea that we can get along with just about anyone. But the expression of our nation’s history, in schools and everyday public life tells a different story, a story dominated by the white coloniser with a set of different and outdated values. There are a few people who don’t understand the nature of history. Simply put, it is the expression of the past. But some people figure that the past is the past, what happened, happened and there is no changing it. So why dwell? Unfortunately, history is not static. It exists in a dynamic relationship with present society where it shapes us and we in turn shape it. On one hand, everything that has happened in the past has culminated in the world we live in today, explaining how we have gotten to where we are, it shapes us. But on the other hand, we have a power in shaping history. The first and most obvious way is that we create a past, we leave an imprint on the world through our actions. We are the catalysts for events,

wars, movements and developments that forge the trail for the future world. The second way is through how we communicate that past. This is how we use the past, how we write about it to tell a certain story or create a specific portrait. The Chinese historian Bai Shouyi, offers an interesting definition, claiming that there are two strands of history: objective and subjective. Objective history would be the thing that happened and the people involved or the substance of history. Subjective history would then be how we interpret that substance, what we say happened. This is ultimately the only history that we have access to because as soon as we put words to what happened it becomes tainted by our perspective. History is always promoting a viewpoint. This becomes problematic because when we first start learning about Australia’s history, we are not aware of this and in any case, we are too young to even begin to comprehend it. We accept what we are told as real. This level of thinking is only accessible as we become older. But then history is only mandatory from kindergarten through to Grade 10 and it is all 33

taught the same way, and repetitively too: one linear story, highly veiled through a European perspective. I remember in primary school learning year after year about how Captain Cook discovered Australia, how Governor Arthur Philip colonised Australia, settling the First Fleet and establishing civilisation. I remember learning about their hardships as they battled the land and Indigenous population for survival. Later in Australian history, I remember learning about the Gold Rush and World War I and the ANZACS. But from primary school the only thing I remember learning about in Indigenous history was The Dreaming, the sweet creation stories of an old culture. High school was a little better. I remember learning about the Stolen Generation and the Lands Rights Movement. That cast white Australia in a different light. But it didn’t feel connected. I think a lot of the problem was the way the content was delivered. I learnt from a textbook and the occasional film. And there was no argument between Aboriginal history and the heavily mythologised telling of European history that had been ingrained in my memory from primary school. It was as if they were separate and distinct, distances away from each other. The heroes we learnt about in primary school were not of the same people of the villains that took Aboriginal children away from their families. Then there was the additional problem of minimal connection of the past to the present and no analysis or criticism of how those two pasts were told, or how they continue to be told in society and what effect it has on us as people today. Not everyone pursues further education in history and do not consider exploring the other side of the story. They do not always develop high-level critical thinking towards history and revisit what they were taught in their formative years. They may not even be aware of how powerful the expression of history really is. This is why public history is such an important field in historical delivery. White privilege is established through knowledge construction. Primary and secondary Australian history education favours the white coloniser. They are given a special place in history, treated with near reverence, telling us something about the people descended from them. Then, after school people mostly encounter Australian history through popular or public mediums such as television, film and memorials. The Black Lives Matter protests brought attention to this in June 2020. It started in Britain when protestors toppled a statue of slave-trader Edward Colston and dumped it in Bristol harbour. In Australia, various statues of colonial figures became 34

targets of protesters, calling for their removal due to their racist connotations. Furthermore, every year protesters march on 26 January for the Change the Date campaign for Australia Day’s insensitive historical connections. Historical expressions such as these are saying something about Australia. Their continued presence or continued celebration reinforce this particular version of history in the present-day mind. They continue to promote a white Australia — the white coloniser as making Australia — ignoring the oppression of Indigenous and other cultures that make up our Australia today. These protests then can be understood as protests against the way we as nation remember our history and what it promotes to our present society. Though not a physical manifestation of history, Australia Day is rooted in a historical event, connected to the First Fleet when Arthur Philip raised the British flag at Sydney Cove in 1788. It is remembering the beginning of white Australia and the catalyst of a history marked by white dominance and oppression to Indigenous Australians and nonwhite immigrants. And this occurs every year. Meanwhile, statues remain permanent markers on public display that promote Australia’s white history and outdated values along with it. An inscription on the statue of Captain Cook in Hyde Park reads, “Discovered this territory / 1770,” recalling terra nullius. Terra nullius was overturned. The White Australia Policy was abolished. But historic markers such as these make it difficult to move on. Such expressions of our nation’s past have a persevering, prevailing, and continuing presence in Australians’ minds, either on public display or celebrated publicly by the entire nation. What do these things say about us as a nation today? Do we still believe in such ideas? An entire history cannot be captured in one source but the aspects of Australia’s history that are captured in mediums such as these can send the wrong message as clearly demonstrated by annual protests. These aspects of the past may no longer be acceptable to be displayed in this way, unregulated and unchecked. While Britain is important to the making of Australia and should still be taught, Captain Cook and his like have had their time celebrated in the spotlight. Now it is time to consider them in today’s landscape and moral framework. The statue of Edward Colston was replaced by that of a Black Lives Matter protestor Jen Reid, better reflecting the values that present-day Britain would like to promote. Australia is a multicultural society and public history can be used to promote that idea. by Tori S. Barendregt

YOUNG AUSTRALIANS’ FASCINATION WITH AMERICAN POLITICS We’re a few months into 2021 and like everyone else, I’m questioning how the year has already flown by so fast.

And inevitably, our inconsequential opinions on different popular figures were expressed.

But for me, it doesn’t feel like 2021. I mean, what defining event was there that not only brought in the new year, but demonstrably cut off the old one? There wasn’t one. The Coronavirus pandemic didn’t stop waging its war just because the year ended. Climate anxieties were not sated, even though government officials were repeatedly pleaded with to do something. The world didn’t stop spinning, though it felt like it might. It feels like the events of the hellish memeyear called 2020 never really came to an end, even though fireworks and ridiculous televised events told us otherwise.

When we turn our discussions to politics why shouldn’t we be discussing our own politics? Instead of Trump, why don’t you tell me your thoughts on Jacqui Lambie?! —Actually, I take that back. Please don’t.

I look back at 2020 and remember a petrifying pandemic, lockdown after lockdown and the use of medical masks stepping into the Western consciousness. But I also remember something else which defined 2020: the American Presidential Election. During that time where Americans faced their obligations to vote, it felt like us young’uns in Australia were the ones providing answers and sharing information on our Instagram stories, speaking out against the spread of misinformation that was inciting violence on a level we couldn’t really understand from our isolated island continent. We were sharing posts about the significance of the electoral commission. We were looking at Biden’s administrative policies and condemning Trump in every conversation that would almost inevitably turn to politics. At one such conversation with friends, I was struck by what felt like a thunderous and significant sense of resistance to this topic of Trump’s eternal immorality. Why did we care about these things? “We are not Americans!” I thought. “This shouldn’t be our problem!” But inevitably, my conversations with friends, family and even strangers, continued to turn to the state of American politics.

But more than that, why does my belief that Australians should be more invested in Australian politics seem like a political statement in itself? So, my central question is: why do young Australians care more about American politics than politics and government structures back home? I’ve come up with some theories. Maybe it’s because we want someone who looks at the world with the same anxieties that we do, someone who knows how to use the technology that we grew up on to connect with us. Maybe we want our own version of someone like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. We want someone like Cortez who constantly asks, ‘What if a better world is possible?’ Cortez, or ‘The Notorious AOC’ as she is colloquially nicknamed, is an out-spoken, articulate congresswoman for the Bronx and Queens in New York. She is significantly younger than many congresspeople and she is an educated, culturally and self-aware American, who has made a career out of her empathetic identity. Cortez is the Gen-Z favourite on a global scale. When I interviewed Macquarie University students about their thoughts on this, one response I received was as follows:

Q: Do you believe that young Australians know more about American politics/government structures? A: “Young Australians (and really everyone) are more interested in the identities of politics. […] Biden is just another cis-gendered, straight, centre-right white man in power and if he keeps his head underwater (like our good friend Scomo palming off 87% of questions asked to him to other MPs) then


people won’t know about the damage he causes.” - Dom Serov (5th year B Arts / B Laws) I mostly agree with Dom on this point. I think a huge part of connecting with young people is connecting through identities — our lives are so centred around showing people who and what we identify with immediately, whether that be through our Instagram bios or Tinder profiles. We need politicians to connect with us on that more immediate level, like AOC does. Problem is, I can’t think of an Australian version of AOC. We want people who are invested in our youth, because we are the youth! Our politicians need to tell us upfront the policies they support and those they don’t and we want them not to be afraid to go for what they think is right. We don’t want reticent politicians mucking around, refusing to condemn those who are doing the wrong things —I’m looking at you, ScoMo.

Q: Do you believe that young Australians know more about American politics/government structures? A: “Yes, I would say that most young Australians definitely know more about American politics due to the increase in online engagement and entertainment largely influenced by the American media. Social media algorithms and owners of news services have a large influence in the exposure of politics and its reports. For example, tweets and comments made by American politicians are dramatised, become ‘viral’ and provide entertainment for young Australians to comment on due to their belief of not being affected.” - Anonymous (2nd year B Laws / B Social Science) This was a recurrent theme in my interviews with students. The main point of contact we have with public figures is online. It grants access to people that were once inaccessible. But maybe this is part of the problem, maybe this global social environment is too large. As this student said, American politicians are definitely more centred in media algorithms. Are we or are we not affected by this? In terms of online engagement, we definitely are.

Q: Do you personally have a bigger investment in American politics/government policies than Australian politics/ government policies? A: “Personally, I do my best to keep up with a lot of what is going on domestically however, Australian politics is not as accessible for young people as American policies and government are. It is easier to understand and follow American politics when global news and media focus predominantly on that area.” - Madeline Franjic (2nd year B Laws / B Environment)


As a law student myself with many significant gaps in what I feel is primary-school-level knowledge, I must admit that I have had to re-educate myself about Australian policies and government structures over and over again. Even though understanding government is a significant part of my degree, it hasn’t been seared into my brain the same way that American government structures have. Media exposure of American politics may be too bright it seems. Think about it this way, knowing basic information about American politics seems normal to the average Australian. But can you imagine the average American knowing anything about the politics of any other country? Didn’t think so.

Q: What is a significant societal/political issue in Australia that is not addressed enough by young people because they are more invested in American politics? A: “A great example of this investment in American issues is racial inequality and systemic racism. The Black Lives Matter movement highlighted the injustice still faced by POC, particularly in America. In Australia, this issue was not addressed with the same vigour and investment that young Australians were able to contribute to the American protest movements, despite systemic racism being incredibly prevalent here and impacting our First Nations communities detrimentally.” - Madeline Franjic (2nd year B Laws / B Environment)

This is the biggest point of contention for me. Shouldn’t the inequalities and injustices faced by our First Nations peoples be one of our biggest national priorities? Why doesn’t this subject attract the most amount of attention in our daily media? Probably something to do with the Australian peoples’ hidden biases and collective intent to ‘sweep it under the rug’. Here are my main take-aways from my interviews and ruminations on this subject: firstly, I think we need a greater national concentration on teaching our young people about Australian government structures and politics and secondly, it seems clear to me that the ‘apolitical’ young person doesn’t exist, only an oblivious one. by Nikita Byrnes

VOTE OF OVERCONFIDENCE Our nation’s leadership is in shambles and plagued by controversies. As we look at our government which we love to hate it’s valid to ask yourself, how did we get here? Why are so many of our politicians not only unbelievably incompetent but repulsive men? Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic actually wrote a book about this topic, he brings up the fact that if you google the search phrase “my boss is…” almost every recommended search will be negative. As odd as it is to consider, people have a tendency to hate authority figures. We hate our bosses and we hate our politicians. They are rarely famous for their integrity and good leadership skills, they are famous for their negative qualities and their stupid decisions or statements. From his data analysis, ChamorroPremuzic found that the number one reason we elect or promote individuals is for their perceived confidence. Whilst confidence is a good quality on its own, often overconfident individuals rise to the top. Associated with this are qualities we can unanimously agree are bad; arrogance, delusion and reckless decision making. In Australia and in most countries around the world we elect men who embody these negative characteristics, they don’t do self-reflection and they have a level of entitlement which is out of this world. Wiebke Bleidorn conducted a study of almost one million men and women from 45 different countries asking them to rate their confidence

and found that universally women will rate themselves as being less confident than their male counterparts. In Western developed countries such as America and Australia, the confidence gap was even more pronounced, women thought less of themselves compared to men. Bleidorn believes that the reason the gap is bigger in Western countries is because in egalitarian societies men are still paid more than women and have more successful careers, which leads women to compare themselves more often, wondering why they aren’t as successful and therefore often have lower confidence. When the world looks equal on a superficial level women often experience feelings of inadequacy as there is no clear reason why they aren’t as successful. Because we love electing confident people and there is a clear confidence gap, women are underrepresented in areas where we value assertiveness, mainly management and politics. Further entrenching inequality is the fact that overconfident men seek more overconfident men to join their executive boys’ clubs, furthering the cycle of male dominated government and management. Research by Natalie Galea and Louise Chappell found that men take on attitudes of denial, insisting that women are simply not interested in working in certain industries or in positions of power. Having such a lack of diversity in government especially, where our leaders should act as role models has created a level of entitlement 37

and exceptionalism. Incompetent men are arrogant men who believe they can get away with anything. This has serious ramifications, especially surrounding occurrences with Christian Porter. Larissa Andelmann and several other lawyers argue that there is a standard in workplaces— an independent inquiry into the rape allegations facing our Attorney General would not be the same thing as a criminal trial which determines guilt. Rather an inquiry simply looks at the probability that something occurred without any legal consequences for the individual. Workplace investigations are commonplace for any allegations of misconduct and in any other office, one would occur. But because Christian Porter embodies male privilege as do his many of his co-workers, he somehow views himself as being exempt from such proceedings. This isn’t an uncommon attitude for our government, with MP Claire O’Neil writing about how she has found parliament to have more male entitlement than any other workplace she’s experienced. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised, we know successful leaders are often bad men, it’s their awfulness that enables them to rise to the top and our male dominated government is what happens when you cram an institution full of toxically masculine people. It is jarring when we have to face these issues in our own government. To look at the people who represent Australia and to realise how embarrassing they are. To look at people who should be model citizens and visionary leaders, but instead have proven themselves time and time again to be morally bankrupt. Think of Robo Debt, an initiative Christian Porter was behind which led to people committing suicide after receiving their debt notices. The government was fully aware of the fact the scheme was illegal and were warned about the legality countless times. But ultimately, a bunch of privileged white men saw their opportunity to profit off of our most vulnerable populations and knew there would be no consequences for them personally. We are watching the facade drop from our parliament. But perhaps the worst part is that we know similar things are occurring outside of government in every industry and even at schools and universities. To pretend we don’t teach male entitlement from a young age would be a lie, especially now seeing Chanel Conto’s petition and thousands of testimonies from schoolgirls emerging. Their experiences show that from a young age girls are continuously victimised by boys who view themselves as superior. When we look at the horrific stories shared by what should be our most safe and protected group, we can see not only girls who 38

will carry lifelong trauma with them but boys who have been massively let down by their families and communities. We need to stop blaming women for being too quiet and encouraging them to adopt negative masculine traits. Time and time again young women take part in leadership programs which encourage them to be assertive, to speak up and to ask for promotions and pay rises. Most men don’t ask for these things, they just receive them. Furthermore, when we know the issue is that men speak over women and dominate conversations, why is it that we place the blame and onus for a solution on women? Surely we should be telling men and training boys not to talk over women, not to interrupt them and not to ‘mansplain.’ We have acknowledged that these stereotypical masculine traits of overconfidence and arrogance are bad things, therefore it is bizarre to encourage women to take them on. If we know that arrogant leaders are bad leaders then we should not be telling women to pick up these qualities, we should be telling men to abandon them. One study showed that women only applied for jobs when they felt they had met 8 or 9 of the 10 requirements, whereas men applied when they had met 2 of the 10 requirements. The solution here is not that women should be applying for jobs they aren’t qualified for, it’s that employers need to stop hiring unqualified men. On the other hand, we live in a society that clearly rewards negative leadership qualities and as long as we keep electing overconfident men, women will need to adopt these characteristics in order to succeed. One issue with consistently telling women to “be more confident” is that it’s a double bind. If women take on a ‘masculine’ trait such as overconfidence and arrogance they will be judged far more harshly, with female CEOs 45% more likely to be fired than male CEOs. At the same time, if women are not assertive then they will fall behind and won’t succeed. If the option is between no female leadership or bad female leadership then how can we hope for a gender equitable future? Business and politics being dominated by men has always been an issue, one we consistently identify but fail to solve. Maybe now as we see the brutal outcomes which are a direct result of our support of odious men, we as a society will act to find a solution. And maybe, just maybe, it will be a solution which doesn’t blame women for the actions of incompetent men. by Eleanor Taylor

CALL ME BY MY NAME AND NOT BY A NICKNAME SOLELY FORYOUR CONVENIENCE In 1948, professors at Harvard studied whether names had any bearing on academic performance and found that men with uncommon names were more likely to have symptoms of psychological neurosis than those with common names. Thus, leading to the beginning of our fascination with names. Almost 60 years later in 2004, the National Bureau of Economic Research sent out 5000 resumes in Boston, where half were given a ‘white-sounding’ name and others were given a ‘black-sounding’ name. As all BIPOC already know, the CVs with white-sounding names received more call-backs and not just by a small margin but by 50 per cent. This is further supported by later research which found that people with easier to pronounce names — by Western standards, were more positively evaluated compared to those with harder to pronounce names. Names are undeniably a part of a person’s identity. When asking someone to introduce themselves most will begin with their name, no matter what the context is. However, names are more than just a jumble of sounds used to identify ourselves and other people. Our names give away information about our ethnicity, our religion, even our socioeconomic background. More personally, names carry family history, culture and traditions with them. In Chinese tradition, names are picked with great care and are imbued with a parent’s blessings for their child’s life. Days, nights, weeks, months are spent thinking about the meaning of each character, how they sound when combined, their interpretations, even the number of strokes are counted to bring the best fortune. Unlike with English names, it is rare to find individuals who share exactly the same name as parents aim for uniqueness. Which is why it is essential to pronounce names accurately and correctly, all names carry months of deliberation. My full name consists of my dialect name and as a SingaporeanChinese, this is my Chinese name. When I first migrated to Australia I wrote my Chinese name phonetically alongside my English name, only to have several classmates butcher the pronunciation of my name and laugh at it. Within a singular moment there was a dismissal of not only my identity but also the significance and meaning of my Chinese name. Feeling ashamed and ridiculed I halted the practice of writing my Chinese name and kept to my English name, grateful to my parents for choosing one. It was not until several years later that I re-examined my feelings towards my Chinese name. For many with non-English names adopting an English one is a means of assimilating into a new country. For others, it is a matter of convenience, it is easier to choose to go by an English name than to deal with people making little effort to pronounce their names accurately or, even worse, arbitrarily assigning them a nickname without permission. Much better to maintain agency through choosing their English name rather than to have their name that contains history, culture and tradition be dismissed without a second thought.

Despite having an English name, Singapore’s arrangement of names also posed a challenge when I moved here. My official documentation in Singapore places my English name first, family name second and finally my Chinese name, following the conventional structure of Chinese names where the family name precedes the given name. The issue in Australia is that my Chinese name effectively becomes my middle name. Yet, rearranging my name to conform to Western naming standards presented its own set of problems. Once, while opening a new bank account I produced my Singaporean passport as proof of identity and when I filled in my last name as ‘Fong’ — my family name, the banker stated that it was wrong, insisting on placing my Chinese name as my last name. I explained Singapore’s naming conventions but the bankers’ insistence on my ‘error’ was annoying, if only due to the idea that a stranger knows the structure of my name better than me. But names are not only important to people but they are also important to locations too. During NAIDOC Week in 2020, Australia Post supported Rachael McPhail’s campaign to include traditional place names as part of mailing addresses to recognise and celebrate Indigenous people, challenging the prevailing narrative of terra nullius within Australia. By including traditional place names in addresses, it is a step in recognising the rich culture and history of Indigenous people in Australia prior to colonisation. Furthermore, to rename a place is to erase its history and its cultural significance. Uluru contains sacred sites that are culturally important to the Anangu people. When renamed Ayers Rock, it perpetuated the narrative of Australia being ‘discovered,’ effectively robbing the Anangu people of their historical connection with the land. In 1995, the national park’s name was changed to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National park to acknowledge and respect the Anangu people and honour their relationship with the land. Names are important because they identify. They make something significant. In a world where the rich are naming their children with increasingly obscure names — *cough* Elon Musk *cough* — the notion of names being uncommon because they are ethnic should be challenged. Names should not be assessed based on how hard they are to pronounce, once again, by Western standards or by how unfamiliar they sound. Instead, a name is a signifier of a person’s identity and the history that they carry with them. In high school, I had a conversation with a (white) friend who politely asked if I had a Chinese name and if I would be willing to share what it meant. She repeated it carefully after me, unsure of the tones but treating it with care. Address people the way they have introduced themselves. Ask them for clarification on the pronunciation if you are unsure. It is better to try and be wrong than to not try at all. by Tiffany Fong


SEX SELLS, BUT AT WHAT PRICE? We’ve all heard the expression ‘sex sells.’ In fact, it’s most likely too familiar for most of us. Every day we are bombarded with sexualised images tied to often unrelated products and services. Objectifying depictions of women are used to sell everything from car insurance to web software and even fast food. Brands are increasingly using women’s bodies and to lesser extent men’s bodies, as commodities in the pursuit of high profit margins. For most millennials, this exposure to sexualised images takes the form of model-filled Instagram feeds, suggested content and ads that seem to follow you around the internet. At times, it feels difficult to escape the constant barrage of body-focused advertising. As most of us probably already know, these sexualised ads carry more harm than just being annoying. Countless studies have associated sexual objectification in the media with body image issues, decreased self-esteem and eating disorders. Scarily enough, new research shows that this is even beginning to affect the way that children see their bodies. In a 2014 study of 4000 Australian children, kids as young as eight or nine years old expressed feeling unhappy with their appearance. Unsurprisingly, the dissatisfied children had higher levels of emotional and behavioural issues than those who were happy with their bodies. Clearly the commodification of bodies in advertising is damaging the way we view ourselves, but what can we do about it? Firstly, we should understand how cultural depictions of bodies translate to insecurities, particularly in women. There are a few interesting psychological theories that explain how images in the media shape our self-identity. One of these is the Objectification Theory, which proposes that girls and women are raised to internalise an “observer’s perspective” of their bodies. We view ads where women’s bodies are used as props, objects of sexual pleasure or even represented as a collection of disjointed body parts such as legs and breasts. After being exposed to these images over a long time we start to see ourselves through the same lens.


According to Joan Chrisler, a well-recognised contributor to feminist psychology, this act of self-objectification leads to a kind of dissociation between the body and the self. In other words, the more we see ourselves as objects, the more we become detached from what’s really happening in our bodies. This is probably the most disturbing impact of self-objectification. By losing the ability to recognise natural processes, women are at higher risk of missing vital symptoms and body cues indicating a health problem. If that’s not bad enough, the act of self-objectification has unsurprisingly also been linked to low self-esteem, sexual dysfunction and higher levels of anxiety. Some studies have even induced self-objectification in participants and noticed that it decreased their verbal, math and spatial abilities. Self-objectification therefore not only impairs intellectual and creative abilities, but also acts as an immensely powerful force that shapes our consciousness in ways in which we are not always aware. A similar approach, Cultivation Theory, sheds some light on the relationship between exposure and body image. The more body-focused images you see, the higher the risk of self-objectification. Furthermore, by consuming a lot of appearance-focused media, the pursuit of the ‘ideal body’ becomes normalised as both an attainable target and a commendable hobby. In other words, if you are only exposed to images of the ‘perfect body’ on your Instagram for example, you’re more likely to start seeing your body as an object. The high density of fitness products and various ‘diet tea’ items intensify the idea that your body is a kind of project to be worked on, perfected and improved to the point of emulating the ‘ideal.’ In the case of platforms like Instagram and Facebook, a good strategy for avoiding harmful body norms would be to unfollow influencers and brands that use body-focused images to sell products. Of course, this is not as simple as it seems. Blocking out models and sexist ads can minimise your risk of self-objectification, but it doesn’t change the fact that women’s bodies are being appropriated for profit. While social media is undoubtedly a major source of objectified images, we need to recognise that ultimately it is pre-existing ideas and cultural norms that determine how we use technology.

For this reason, it’s worth considering how women’s bodies became the advertising industry’s favourite commodities. In her 2017 article, ‘Between innocence and experience: the sexualisation of girlhood in 19th century postcards,’ Elodie Silberstein challenges the idea that sexualised imagery of girls and women is a new phenomenon. She points to the establishment of the Universal Postal Union in 1874 as a catalyst for kicking off a European postcard craze. Postcards may sound innocent, but the industry quickly took a dark turn. Soon enough, some of the bestselling postcards were those that featured girls and women posing in suggestive and provocative positions. It’s important to note that the Industrial Revolution, the backdrop to the postcard frenzy, dramatically changed the way people lived and experienced the world. As factory jobs became the norm, young women began leaving rural areas for work in the city. This migration made them particularly vulnerable to physical and economic exploitation. Postcard companies, taking advantage of these conditions, successfully profited off the ‘virtuous’ and ‘vicious’ dichotomous depiction of female sexuality. While this two-dimensional view of women had long been present in art and literature, the postcard craze was the first time that businesses were able to exploit women’s bodies on such a wide scale. Although the Victorian period seems far behind us, this example shows that commodification of the female body is nothing new, but as Silberstein argues, a “socially ingrained phenomenon.” It might not sound like a big deal but acknowledging the economic and social factors behind the commodification process is an exciting step in the right direction. Of course, what that direction looks like is still hotly contested. One writer suggests that advertisements containing women should focus on body areas that are not usually sexualised, such as hands and feet. This is an interesting suggestion but at what point does it become a form of censorship of sexuality? This idea is addressed in a 2012 article ‘Should girls have to choose between being a ‘tramp’ and being ‘good’?’ by Amy Shields Dobson from Monash University’s Centre for Women’s Studies and Gender Research. Responding to public outrage towards Target’s ‘sexualised’ children’s clothes, Shields Dobson argues that journalists, commentators and researchers involved in the media discussion inadvertently stigmatise the healthy expression of female sexuality. She laments the fact that so often “clothing, dance, or any possible kind of sexual expression by girls” is viewed through what she described as the “lens of a media and market-driven sexualisation.”

objectification, stigmatising female sexuality is far from helpful. At this point, it’s clear that self-objectification is a loselose situation for women. Not only are they pressured into internalising body norms, but when they embody the attributes used in the commodification process, they risk being ‘slut-shamed.’ Thankfully, a 2019 study by the University of Basel provides us with some hope. When shown sexualised imagery in advertising, female participants had a negative reaction when the female models featured appeared to lack a sense of agency. This opposition increased when the female model was seen as being manipulated and when the model was viewed as relatable. This shows that there is an increasing awareness about how women’s bodies are being exploited in ads, but perhaps only with women who appear to be like us in some way. Furthermore, while ‘sex sells’ is a popular expression, some studies show it might not even be the case. According to a 2017 University of Illinois study, sexualised ads did not increase recall of the brands or products being advertised. The ads that did feature sexual imagery even evoked a negative response from female participants. Similar studies have been done and produced the same result. This raises an important question: if objectifying women does not increase sales, why is it such a popular advertising tactic? Rosa Louverture and Alison Pennington present a convincing response in their 2013 article. “Sexism,” they write, “is the product of a class-based economic system that gains and prospers from underpaying, or not paying, stereotyping, belittling and sexualising women.” Given the susceptibility of the human brain to internalise cultural norms, challenging our preconceived ideas about our bodies seems the best step forward. In doing so, we are reminded that social norms and culture are indeed dynamic and thus our attitudes towards ourselves and each other are products of specific economic, social and political factors. It also gives us hope to believe that meaningful change is not only possible, but well within our reach. by Shinae Taylor

Central to her argument is the idea that the adults who are so concerned about protecting girls can actually cause more harm. By using negative language to describe female sexuality, these adults reify the ‘tramp’ vs ‘good girl’ dichotomies. Although Shields Dobson is specifically speaking about young girls, it does raise questions about the kind of language that’s attributed to women who do embrace the clothes, make up and attributes which are sold via the commodification of women’s bodies. Considering the physical and psychological harm caused by self-


CELEB SPELLCHECK, AUSTRALIA’S VERY OWN GOSSIP GIRL Celeb Spellcheck here, your one and only source into the scandalous lives of… Australian B-Grade celebrities? If you’re an avid Instagram user like I am then there is a high chance that you’ve heard of celeb spellcheck, an Instagram account dedicated to catching Aussie celebrities out for spelling errors and other social media mishaps. Launching at the beginning of 2020, the account has gained a whopping 130 000 followers and is growing each day. However, with its rise to fame like everything and everyone else, the account has been subject to a lot of criticisms online. For example, Ex-Love Island star Tayla Damir recently spoke out on her Instagram story about personal ‘attacks’ on her from the account, stating that she is a victim of bullying. This came after celeb spellcheck reposted a photo from her story in which she misspelt the word ‘tournament’ as ‘tornament.’ The caption attached to the post quoted Natalie Imbruglia’s iconic song Torn, “Nothing’s fine I’m torn.” And come on, you can’t admit that isn’t funny. But what’s even funnier is that just two weeks later, in the popular podcast Shameless, Tayla admitted that when she gets hate messages from her followers, she replies correcting their spelling errors, “the ones that have so many spelling errors, I feel like it’s my human duty just to tell them.” So here’s a crazy idea, perhaps Tayla has been our Gossip Girl all along and was just covering her tracks? In the last few years social media has been under siege for its superficial representation of life. Even influencers have jumped on board, posting photos before and after editing, as well as showing the ‘power of the pose’ to shed some light on the inaccuracies of social media representation. Celeste Barber for example has been an icon for this kind of exposure, as she takes the piss out of ‘picture-perfect’ photos and videos of models, celebrities and influencers. Her iconic comparison of ‘Instagram’ vs. ‘reality’ shows the truth behind these idealised images of perfection, showing that in reality most of us can’t live up to that standard and how that is completely normal. And she’s genuinely just fucking hilarious. So if we’re embracing the imperfect, why should a couple of spelling errors be an issue?


In saying that, a lot of celebrities do play along with Celeb Spellcheck and have a bit of a laugh at themselves in the comments of their posts. Back in January, Lorinska, one of Australia’s Yummy Mummies, was outed for misspelling the term wedding ‘vows’ as ‘vowels’, which I only know because I had to read the comments after getting frustrated because I couldn’t figure out the error, something that I admittedly do with a lot of their posts. A friend who featured in the photo commented on their post saying, “WE MADE IT!” in excitement, with Lorinska replying “we did we did.” But the big question remains, who is this secondcoming of Gossip Girl? Many have had their guess on who the elusive celeb spellcheck is, including The Sydney Morning Herald, Pedestrian, and even The Daily Mail UK although it seems that all points lead to the same guess. Two women who work as publicists for the Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne were apparently caught discussing the account in detail at a Piper-Heidsieck event. Celeb Spellcheck quickly shut down these rumours, stating that they were false but hey that’s what you would say if it were true, wouldn’t you? But why do we need to know the who? Once we do, it will most likely just shut down and then what will we laugh at on our prolonged ‘bathroom’ breaks at work? While we may think we want to know, I will leave you with one piece of advice. Just remember the disappointment of 2012 when we FINALLY found out who Gossip Girl really was. Remember that pain. So, thrive in the mystery of it all and keep sending in your tips. You know you love them, XOXO Celeb Spellcheck by Ella Scott

AUSTRALIANA MY QUESTIONS FOR AUSTRALIA Context: I am Irish, born in London and raised in Sydney. But I still consider myself an outsider. I’m technically an Australian, but I’m not a ‘true blue Aussie’ and I am not Indigenous. So, in the sense of my perception of ‘Australian,’ I am not. And as such, I have ten questions for anyone who believes themselves to be Australian. They go as such: 1. Why the hell is Vegemite an Australian icon? Seriously... that’s what you chose? Lads, ladies and theys, it’s a spreadable yeast infection without the fun of obtaining one. 2. As someone who’s country was also invaded by the English, why is the Queen still the figurehead of this country? Does she not represent the death of a people, a culture? Does she not represent the creation of this country as a prison colony? 2.1. If she doesn’t represent any of those, then what does she represent? 2.2. Is she a lizard? Like seriously. Surely she’s older than the dinosaurs, isn’t she? 3. Why is every woman called a ‘Sheila’? An old family friend from Ireland, called Sheila came over and was exceptionally confused as to how everyone in Broken Hill and Dubbo got her name right. Where did this come from? Is everyone lacking creativity when it comes to naming kids once you pass 100km from the nearest coastal CBD? Or is the goddess Sheila just the creator of all women? Always found this fascinating. 4. How does one properly do the nut bush and why don’t I remember it from primary school?


5. Who truly is Healthy Harold? And why are we taken into a van with him as children?

5.1. Why do I also not remember this from primary school? Did my school just hate us and want us to be dance-less drug addicts? Or do I just have a terrible memory? 6. Why did you kick out a PM who wanted to help Indigenous Australians and start reconciliation in the 70s but let Nero go to Hawaii while his Rome burned? That seems a bit back to front to me. 7. Why is the inventor of the Zooper Dooper not the richest Australian to ever live? 7.1. Why is the richest Australian instead someone who looks like someone Google-searched ‘Karen’ and then made them a tax avoider with daddy issues? 8. Where did Harold Holt go? 8.1. Did Liz take him? 8.2. Was it the Russians? 8.3. Aqua Man? I need answers, people! 9. How many times have the promised taxis actually been called when someone drops a glass in a pub, restaurant, or bar? I always feel like they should be paraded out of the establishment into an awaiting cab, however I have yet to witness this. Most disappointing. 10. And finally, cricket... why? I was forced to play when I was younger for a season and my only memory of it was waking up stupidly early to stand in a field to get heatstroke for four hours, then going home and dying on the couch. With baseball at least there’s more movement. But in cricket, unless you’re one of the four people they chose to bat, bowl, or stand on the side where everyone hits the ball, you feel about as useful as the Microsoft paperclip. I understand why the British love it, its standing around doing nothing whilst looking like a Muppet — it’s what they’re best at. But surely we can do better as a country. AFL makes sense, so does rugby and soccer. But cricket... it’s just wrong. And there we have it folks, my ten (and a bit) questions for Australians. If you have any answers please let me know. I’m not sure how you’d do that but hey, give it a go. by Jean-Jacques Kickham




DAWNING You leave the Air B&B early—almost too early, really, but you weren’t keen on running into Amar this morning, not with how you’d left things yesterday. The sunrise would be good for you—a fresh start. A clean slate. Last night could evaporate with the ocean mist. God, what had you done? It spun around your ears like vertigo, all the way from furtively shoving Nikes onto your feet in the early gloom to the spiderwebbed cracks of the poorly repaired street. The thought that they really should do something about that crossed your mind, before being violently displaced with the blaring panic raging through you. Shit. You really did sleep with your boyfriend’s brother. Kicking a pebble down the street, you make your way to the beach. Collaroy is a beautiful place, even now, with the streetlights clinging to the last traces of shadow and the road ever running with exhaust fumes and over-it commuters. That was why you’d all chosen to go there for a week, a quick summer getaway from the stifling suburbs of the inner west before uni went back. Maybe if you’d gone camping instead this never would have happened. The beach is across the road, behind these two ugly apartments that must be relics from the 70s, judging by the slanting metal writing on the side and the exposed brick. Your legs get whipped by beach grass, but you relish it, the sting on your calves strangely cathartic. You pause, before you hit the sand. Great, you think. You’re becoming a masochist. How could this day get literally any worse? You have several ideas as to how that could happen, and they’re intimidatingly realistic, so you take off your shoes and forcibly evict all avenues of thought, heading to the water. The worst thing about beaches these days, anywhere, is that no matter when you go, there’s always people. You don’t know why you expected to be left alone on your depressive stroll, before the sky had really begun to lighten in earnest, but crossing the beach turned out to be a two-lane affair. You stop to let a jogger go past, hurry to beat a slow-moving man, and dedicate a solid thirty seconds to smiling at the border collie that dashes first one way, and then the other, ball in mouth and tail wagging. You feel slightly better, and then immediately crash right back into guilt. The water was cold. “Cute dog, huh?” You almost die, right there, on the spot. The girl who’d appeared beside you grinned, as if she knew the dire straits you were in and decided to hassle you into a heart attack despite them. Sometimes, you really hated the beach. “Yeah,” you say, and stare resolutely into the horizon as the ocean sucks at your feet. “Rough morning?” Yeah, you hated the beach. You don’t answer, but the girl goes on anyway. “You look like you’re having a rough morning. Did you know your shirt is inside out?” Shit, it is. You briefly consider, in a moment of insanity, taking it off and putting it back on, but you haven’t actually gone mad, despite what recent events might indicate. The girl waits for your answer though, like that was the normal thing to do when you accost strangers at the beach with invasive questions. “I had… an interesting morning,” you settle on. “This beach has seen plenty of those,” she says. “Really?” you ask despite yourself. She points at a hill in answer, and you squint up at it. There’s a series of distant, chunky looking blocks in various shades of concrete and red brick. Having your glasses would probably help here. “Up there used to be a big building—a white cylindrical house, occupied by a man who once owned a lot of land around here. He was a master builder, and circular rooms were kind of his thing. There’s still a lot of his work around, actually, repainted or replastered circular sunrooms. It was a while ago, now, but I’ve never forgotten the story.” You glance at your watch, but you’ve got nowhere to be. Really, nowhere you want to be. If you’d hoped to be distracted from your mistakes, you guess this was the world’s way of giving you exactly that. The girl tips her head in a quiet question, birdlike, and you resign yourself to the situation. “Shall we…” You gesture to the sand up further. She sits with you there, looking over the rolling blue. “So, this man?” “He had a wife,” she continues, “a really lovely lady, I think. I’d like to think. I don’t know much about her. The builder, though—I heard a lot about him. His son, or the son after that, told me that he spoke seven languages and was a Russian tour guide, and an Olympic boxer, and a fruit and tea salesman.” That, frankly, was ridiculous. You tell the girl as much, and she laughs. “Believe what you want, then! I never met the man myself, so I wouldn’t know. All I know for sure is that his name was John, and fishermen here used to chart their courses by his house on the hill.” “It was that big?” “His family didn’t call it the Citadel for nothing.” That was… almost impressive. “What happened to it?”


She frowned across the ocean, a lighter shade of pale as the morning light grew. The ocean simmered at the shore, white noise. “It was torn down for concrete cancer in the 2000s. Really what’s interesting is what happened to him. His wife had a sister, you see—and she came to stay with them. In those days, it was difficult to find a place of your own as a woman. The man fell in love with her.” Suddenly, you found it hard to swallow. “His wife had a child—a son. And in between then and now, he kicked out his wife, and her sister took on her name and her place in his life, and together they raised a family, had children. The oldest had no idea until years and years and years after, when his mother was already dead. His wife told him the truth, but she’d already known it, and kept it secret. This beach must have seen a lot of it, I think.” She looks at you then, and your face must have been doing something awful, because she stood up. You scramble up after her. She must know. Somehow, she must know what you did. “I—” “You.” “I didn’t—! How did you—are they even real? What kind of twisted game—” “You’re going to miss the sunrise if you keep shouting like that.” Words stuttering to a halt, heart beating loudly in your ears, you can’t look anywhere but at this girl. She’s impassive, even in the face of your outburst. She knows something. Maybe she knows him. “Are you going to tell on me?” The beach kept doing what beaches do, but it seemed so distant to you, suddenly. You could lose everything. It stretched out before you, in the dawn-bending time, the heartbeats in-between truths. An event horizon. “I don’t even know your name,” she says to you evenly, as cold and clear as the air before dawn. Relief sinks in, dizzying. You were safe. She wasn’t going to— “But you do.” You pause. “What?” “Your name. You know it.” A bolt of light hits your eyes, and you cringe away, before realising the sun must have come up. You turn to it, squinting, and the tiniest sliver is a pool of gold in the distance. It’s almost enough to cling onto. But her words echo in your ears, and you turn back to ask— She’s gone. Spinning around, you can’t see her—a pod of beach walkers, three surfers, a clutch of coffee-cup-carrying commuters at a distant bus stop. What the actual hell? Did she just… leave? A spy, your brain supplies helpfully. No, you think back absently, and glance around your feet for a hint in the sand. There are no footprints. Not even a trace of where she sat. Your butt-print, unappealing and oddly squished by the way you were sitting, is exactly where you left it when you freaked out on her. A trail of your meandering footprints lead to and from the water, a blank gap where the ocean had smoothed them over. For her… nothing. You sit down hard, and, wow, your tailbone will regret that later. The sun rises over the ocean, sharp and bright and stinging. Digging your fingers into the sand, you clench them just for something to hold onto. Something real. Did that conversation even happen? Are you hallucinating, now? That would really be the cherry on the cake of today, you think, and glare at the sun. It’s hard to look at. This whole morning has been hard to look at, that’s nothing new. But it’s different to the dawn around your house, sheltered as you are by a bowl of mountains. This is a great expanse of flat nothing, a broken mirror, fractals of light sharp and scattered, shifting on the morning tide. You can’t look at it directly, you realise, and hate the notion. Why shouldn’t you? Why shouldn’t you know where the girl went? If she’s even real? Why shouldn’t you look the sun in the face? Hell, why shouldn’t you yell at it, scream, ask it the questions you desperately wanted to ask her—what have you done? You blink, and it clings to you like ocean spray. That question didn’t sound like it was for her. It sounded like it was for you, except… You know what you’ve done. The sun comes up slowly, after that. You stare at everyone who goes by, looking in each of them for the face of the girl—but you can’t remember what she looks like. In each of them, all you see is the story she told you. All you can see is yourself. When you leave, later, you take a chance on a passing fisherman and ask—did he know of a building on the hill, a white cylinder, possibly called the Citadel, by chance? He cracks a craggy smile. He did, he said, and knew the son of the man who’d built it. A good man. The eldest of several. Dawn settles between your bones, burning and warming all at once—a realisation. You thank him politely and leave. A girl watches you go, though you don’t see her. Sun-bright, she smiles, and vanishes with the tide. by Mykayla Castle


BEDROOM/VENGEANCE I am a girl of the inner western suburbs. Too posh for Blacktown but too anxious and annoyed for Town Hall. I could never walk through the shopping centre without shoes on and materialism was bred into my middle-class blood. I grew up in public schools – it’s my fucking terrible language that gives it away. Step through the door of my nostalgia (my bedroom) and you will find I was brought up by a television, a thousand books, and the internet. Here, I collect postcards to remind me of the places I want to go but probably never will. Here, I keep a broken honey pot to remind me that the things I want won’t always be useful in the future. Here, I keep a hundred glow-in-the-dark stars to remind me that I am almost nothing in comparison to what lies beyond the clouds in our daunting sky. I hope, when the time comes to take them off, they rip away the paint. At nighttime, my bedroom (which is merely a room in a house) screams recklessly in my ear and I’m afraid the neighbours hear it holding me back. I won’t forget you. But I wish you would. The soft toys under my bed scream for a better home and oxygen amidst the dust but how could I let go of them when they mean(t) the world to me – once? I’ve tried, so I can tell you, that taking photographs will never capture the life I’ve lived in between these walls. You would never believe the things they could whisper to you. by Nikita Byrnes


OH, HOW YOU LOVE ME Every night, like clockwork, boiling water carefully bottled and brought to my cold feet, hiding under soft crisp blanket

Rainbow platters of fruit brought into my room sliced into petite identical shapes Never missing a day. Your consistency never failed, You made sure I knew I was loved

Warmth running through my soles to soul Never a night I am not devoted For this reminder, that you still love me

The calluses on your parched hands The sore of your legs, back, arms, feet, neck The dust on your lifeless uniform Its monotony evaporating your brilliant glow Though, never a complaint

The words “I am proud of you” were rare Sealed away for exceptional occasions. I worked so hard just for a taste of this modest pledge Then I realised, your love language was contrary

The sacrifice of your laborious body For the fruits of your children Good girls birthed into an affinity with studies Wishful hope and yearning that at least we will breathe an easy life in promising Australia. by Jennifer Le


WHITE SAILS White sails A flag planted A people deceived False promise made

God Their language Their culture Their way of life

Wagon wheels Expansion by the gun And the sword And through plague

War Off to fight in our way Dying for a country that is not theirs Still not human

The gun Shoot them in the back Drown them in their homes Drive them out

Families Missions became home God became the schoolmaster Language and culture, forever eroded

Disease Give them false hope Blankets that carry death Food that rots them

From white sails To war and famine Come pain and suffering And yet

Chains Like dogs Tie them up and take them Hold them in cages

We ask them to sit quiet We ask them to watch on As we celebrate the destruction of them And their bodies

by Navishkar Ram





Bump brings in the new year with intersectional resolutions right when we’re ready to finally and forever drop 2020 in the dumpster, Bump kicks off with an unexpected sorpresa. Perhaps it’ll even presage a third wave of successful Australian cultural-clash-themed comedies; from Fat Pizza (2003), Looking for Alibrandi (2000) and The Wog Boy (2000) all the way back to They’re a Weird Mob (1966). But right now the best part of our latest multicultural mélange is the way it dares to delve into intersectional feminism without sacrificing a scrap of mainstream audience appeal. Taking a brief step back, the first thing we learned in Macquarie’s introductory Gender Studies unit was to question that well-known feminist trope – the kind of stereotype that YouTube psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson sold his online audience on to propel himself to popular stardom (see ‘The Problem with Jordan Peterson‘ by the David Pakman Show). Series writer and former Sydney Morning Herald journalist Kelsey Munro is clearly aware of the power this persona holds over the wider populace, embedding its Gen-Z incarnation into her protagonist, Oly – emotional support stuffed animal included. The comedic potential is thus already high, and it only increases from there. After getting us giggling at her sheltered and quirky personality, Munro drops this year 11 student straight in the deep end of every educated white girl’s worst nightmare (half-spoiler: unplanned teen pregnancy). Despite treading the treacherous path of an education in gender, the most I’ll ever manage is a feminist alliance as a queer non-woman. Thus I must confess to feeling more than a little guilty pleasure at seeing this fictional future Friedan in the throes of that one thing an education fails to teach: lived experience. Also, the series came out after I opted out of USYD Gender Studies, a place where a wealthy inner city kid like Oly would undoubtedly thrive – and maybe we’ll see

in an already approved season two. Potential spoiler: it’s an ethereal realm where trailblazers like lesbian astronaut Sally Ride are summed up as mere metaphoric representations of a corrupt capitalist culture, backed up by outdated research so dusty that even the author had to replace it. If all that seems a bit stuffy, that’s the point. Bump brings biological reality back to our heady young feminist before she gets too swept up in the kind of lofty dreams that remain about as accessible to the rest of us as a trip to outer space, and it feels like intersectional justice has found its way into the safe space of this future social justice star. Another upside to Bump’s humored approach is that, unlike with recent dramas like Batwoman (2019) and Billions (2016), fully fleshed out character development can be sacrificed in favour of a series of light-hearted cameos. Where queer characters in the former series seem to suffer from a lack of deeper understanding of our experience by the writers, Bump serves up a much wider and more diverse menu without dwelling overlong on anyone in particular. It’s more inclusive and leaves you hungry for more, so hopefully season two will offer added screen time for Oly’s Muslim BFF, her Asian-Australian boyfriend and spoiler alert: their new gender-bending buddy. I’ve already reached the limit of what I feel qualified to speak about (along with the spoiler limit), so check it out on Stan to hear what the show’s Chilean feministas think of Oly. For my part, I reckon she’s the feminist hero that we all deserve AND need right now – privilege included. by Franz K.





7AM This one is a short, yet informative news and current affairs podcast produced by Schwarz Media, the same company that publishes The Saturday Paper and The Monthly. Released on weekdays, 7AM episodes usually don’t go for longer than 15 minutes, so this is perfect for a quick update on a current issue. Rather than giving a brief overview of everything that happened in the last 24 hours like on the radio, 7AM gives you an in-depth snapshot of one news story. Some of the latest episodes cover internet censorship laws, the rule of law, and the NSW floods. This podcast is for those who want a deeper understanding of topical news stories but don’t have the attention span for it.

Australian Politics Hosted by the phenomenal Katharine Murphy, a seasoned political reporter from Canberra and the political editor for The Guardian, Australian Politics gives you somewhere to go for in-depth long-form reporting on interesting and controversial political issues. One thing about this podcast that sets it apart is the range of views that appear on it, owing to Murphy’s status as a highly respected reporter. There are episodes with other reporters, MPs from most political parties and those with other important offices. For example, recently Murphy had the Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins on the show to talk about her work as she begins her investigation into parliament’s workplace culture.

Full Story Produced by The Guardian, Full Story again will give you good reporting in episodes that rarely exceed 30 minutes. Hosted by Laura Murphy-Oates, Full Story has high quality reporting that relies on an experienced team of journalists and experts to offer a bit more insight into Australian news. Similar to 7AM, Full Story drops an episode every weekday, so if you have a commute in the morning or in the arvo, this one might work great for you. A great episode that breaks down a fairly cumbersome issue is the episode ‘The Attorney General v The ABC’ which covers Christian Porter’s defamation case against the ABC.

Diplomates – A Geopolitical Chinwag This podcast is hosted by the extremely knowledgeable Misha Zelinsky, who sits down with experts, politicians and even former Prime Ministers. If you are looking for a deep dive into the biggest issues facing Australia, then this podcast is for you. Zelinsky is the Auspol nerd you didn’t know you needed in your life, asking the big questions that need answering. Diplomates’ most recent episode featured Malcolm Turnbull on his life before politics and the future of politics, leadership and governance. by Harry Fraser

horoscopes by Rayna Bland




It is Aries season baby! Happy birthday you wonderful, go-getting, fire-starting individual. The sun is in your segment of the sky and this shines a light on the gloriousness that is you. You are unique, hard-working and fiercely loyal to your friends. Take some time as well to give yourself the time you deserve. Self-care. You give generous amounts of time to other people, why not give some of that time to yourself?

Taurus, the Aries sun season calls on you to be adventurous, let your impulses out and be okay with rebellion. Of course, we know you can not wait to act like this – so – do it! Create art, go on a hike, party at a rave or join a swingers club. Take a chance and release your great spirit!

Hey there Gemini! How is all the uni work holding up for you? I feel like half of the Geminis reading this will be behind by at least two weeks, surviving on caffeine or nicotine but caught up on a new Netflix show. Do not stress young Gemini. You are intelligent and more than capable to handle all that life throws at you. Just find the time to take a breath and maybe hit pause on the Netflix.




Wow. We get it. YOU ARE AMAZING AND POWERFUL. Cancer as a Zodiac sign is controlled by the element of Water which means you are creative, intuitive and in touch with your emotions. Think Katara from The Last Airbender. If you are a Cancer you most likely get along well with Scorpios and Pisces (as they are the two other water signs). Take a moment of gratitude for your tribe. As a Cancer you most likely have a great friend that is also an Aries, make sure to wish them a Happy Birthday but being the good friend you are I am sure you already have!

ROAR, goes the Lion. Can I just say, the Leo Zodiac is ruled by the element of hair, which is obvious because YOUR HAIR LOOKS AMAZING. Leos are glamourous, beautiful, charismatic, and warm. Often thought to be conceited but really Leo’s just have a lot of love to give… especially to themselves. As a Fire element you most likely find that you get on well with the other Fire signs, Aries and Sagittarius. So find your Aries friend and wish them a Happy Birthday!

Virgos, the self-depreciative humour is hilarious. People love you for the grounding effects of your humour. On the flip side of this we know that the inner critic and your lowkey self hatred fuel this hilarity. Just take a moment to know that you are lovable, perfect and beautiful. Everyone knows it. Take this Aries sun season energy and initiate something new in your life to find the serenity you so crave! You might find delight in organising your wardrobe, uni notes or creating a new playlist curated to your needs. Take care of yourself Virgos.




Libras you help make the world the wonderful place it is today. Great conversationalists, seekers of justice, and gifted storytellers. However, do not let the Libra scales fool you. While the scales may appear to represent fairness and balance do not forget that when scales are used they move out of balance! That is the whole point. This means sometimes your scales may be skewed or tipped in a way that might not be true or working the best for you. Take some time to reflect on what you are currently balancing on your scales and whether the weighting is right.

Scorpios! Take this Aries season and use its powerful starting energy to initiate or revitalise a passion project you have been working on. Maybe it is a shitposting meme page, maybe it is writing for Grapeshot, maybe it is reading, maybe it is campaigning for social justice. Connect with the great power that exists within you and use your energy for the things in life that give you the heart to live. Live and swim in your passions; keep your heart happy for the best version of you.

When is your next adventure Sagittarian? A defining feature of all Sagittarians is your sense of adventure. The Sun is currently in Aries which means it is the perfect time to start planning your next adventure! Maybe it is a day at a waterfall, a bushwalk in the Blue Mountains, a road trip or even take a walk around campus to find one of the many new study spots to procrastinate at. The little adventures that Life has to offer you will bring you great joy. Seize the chance to escape and do it!




Oh Capricorns... Powerful, ambitious, loving, caring and sometimes just a total loner – which is fine! You are good at prioritising putting your energy first and knowing your value. I do not have much advice to give because most Capricorns have their act together. PSYCHE. Most of you just appear to have your act together. Shit happens and that’s okay. Just know that you have lots of people you can reach out to and talk to. You are well loved and received by the world. Open up to this love from others and watch as the blessings pour in.

Hey, Big Brains – how does it feel being so cool? You Aquarians are socially innovative and destined to shape the 21st Century in a hugely significant way! Keep doing what you are doing. Keep grinding that grind and being the smarty pants you are. The world needs it.

Pisces… it is time to stop being so scared. You got this! While the world is full of noise and challenges, it is also full of opportunity, excitement, and love. Chase what you desire and if you do not know what you desire that is okay! Just keep swimming and you will find your way, after all your sign is a fish and they can track water for thousands of kilometres!

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