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William Shakespeare and Tupac Shakur may have more in common than first thought, see page 6

The Melbourne University Law Students’ Journal Issue No 2 Semester TWO 2010 With Contributions By ... Romy FAULKNER ... Rebecca KOH ... Sarah LAN ... Charlie SHUTE ... Laura MYER ... ANON ... Li-Xia TAN ... Nick COXON ... Nuwan DIAS ... Jennifer LIM ... Simon BREHENY

P URELY DI C T A Edition No TWO 2010



Design and Layout Tarang CHAWLA


The views and opinions presented in this edition of Purely Dicta are those of the individual authors. They are not indicative of of the Editors’ opinions, nor the opinions of the Melbourne University Law Students’ Society or their sponsors.

CONTENTS The rose that grew from concrete

ROMY FAULKNER explores the origins of hip hop music and finds that playwright William Shakespeare and rapper Tupac Shakur have much in common.






a cautionary tale


much ado about style


my two cents


on the descent of man: musings from a lawyer


teach for what now?




the ‘i’ of the storm




JENNIFER LIM’s is petrified of air travel and argues that we should all learn to keep our feet firmly on the ground.

SARAH LAN recently visited the Shanghai World Expo and offers us her experiences.

ANON’S spotless track record continues with another brilliant piece of prose.

REBECCA KOH muses on the elusive concept of ‘style’.

Rob Oakeshott likes to talk. Just how much? We’ll show you.

charlie shute on the great middle-class tradition at the Edinburgh Fringe.

li-xia tan and NICK COXON share an exciting career opportunity.

SIMON BREHENY takes aim at the burgeoning organic food industry.

nuwan dias engages with the interface between feminist and masculinist theory.

laura myer reminisces on her attachment to Melbourne Law School.




elcome to Edition Two of Purely Dicta. This edition will also be available online at our blog (www.thepurelydictablog.blogspot. com). We would like to thank all of our contributors for their hard work and creativity.

Our philosophy has always been that Purely Dicta is a forum for students to write about whatever they like. Our contributors for this edition have certainly taken that message on board. We take great pride in presenting an inspired, if eclectic, set of articles. Have you ever wondered what William Shakespeare has in common with legendary rapper Tupac Shakur? We haven’t, but may we suggest you read ROMY FAULKNER’s account of hip hop music and culture in the United States (p. 6)? Fancy something a little more introspective? Why not try ANON’s cautionary tale (p. 16)? We hear he’s quite the prolific writer. Elsewhere, NUWAN DIAS presents a feminist critique of gender identity (p. 36). Germaine Greer would be proud. Aspiring fashionistas among you may want to try REBECCA KOH’s style musings on for size (p. 18). If travel is what floats your boat, visit CHARLIE SHUTE’s article on the Edinburgh Fringe (p. 26) or stop by SARAH LAN’s account of the Shanghai World Expo (p. 12). Foodies may wish to sample SIMON BREHENY’s exposé on organic food (p. 32). If you happen to be a fan of organic asparagus, you had better have a strong stomach, it’s not pretty. If you’re a Twilight fan, close the magazine now. There’s nothing in here for you. For everyone else, it has been a pleasure compiling Purely Dicta over the last year. We hope that you continue to enjoy it in years to come.


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ROMY FAULKNER explores the origins of hip hop music and culture in the United States of America, discovering there is much in common between one of the world’s greatest playwrights and the late Californian rapper Tupac Shakur.




here is something that attracts me to the hip hop culture. Watching a street ball game in Harlem one night, I revel in the free expression (pump-up music after a hoop is scored), the free movement (two groups start a danceoff from opposite sides of the court) Yet when it comes to drugs, violence and quality of life, it seems many of the hip hop family have very little freedom. Half way through the match, a man runs onto the court, clearly on drugs. People either laugh at his lack of coordination or make nothing of it – it is nothing unusual for them.

societal problems. Tupac Shakur was a poet. His poetry may have been very different in style to that of Shakespeare, so it might surprise some that he derived inspiration from the great playwright. However, Tupac and Shakespeare were perhaps more alike than they first appear. Just as Shakespeare exposed and criticised any number of societal flaws in his plays, Tupac took the hardships that he and others around him experienced and shared them with the world, through rap. His eloquence might not have derived from metaphors relating to Greek mythology, but his verbal imagery and lexicon formed as much an accurate mirror of his world as Shakespeare’s did in the sixteenth century.

Music oozes from the cracks in the footpaths of Harlem. Beats refract off the concrete walls. Sheets of butchers’ paper line the Apollo Theatre walls, carrying thousands of scribbled messages to one of the theatre’s great legends, Michael Jackson. A man approaches me on a street corner, trying to sell me his rap crew’s CD, assuring me that part of the profits would go towards community projects, not drugs.

Raised in the Bronx and Harlem, Tupac said that he intended to die by the sword before the age of thirty, a feat he achieved in 1996 when he was murdered, becoming somewhat of a martyr in African American culture. In his early years, he wanted to be an actor to escape the realities of his life – a mother addicted to cocaine, an inability to fit in among his peers, limited options to crawl out of a black hole of poverty and poor education. Tupac took the most sinister problems of his life and articulated them via violent, contemplative art that resonated in the African American community and the world.

*** Hip hop is a product of unhinged, post-civil rights movement America, when traditional barriers to the American dream were broken down, but the nation was faced with a host of new problems: the legacy of the Vietnam war, drug abuse, capitalist greed, a growing gap between classes, more subtle de facto racial segregation, and poor education, to name a few. Many Americans are deeply disturbed by the dangerous nature of hip hop culture and ashamed of the high incidence of crime and drug abuse associated with it. Yet hip hop has not been imposed on American culture by some external source, its roots are in the dysfunctional aspects of the country’s own character. Hip hop is an edgy musical and cultural expression of America’s


Tupac paints a world where sixteenyear-olds are shot by classmates. A world where children grow up despising authority because it is the ‘po-lice’ who put their fathers, friends or themselves in jail when they have tried to teach somebody a lesson about honour. Tupac was a victim of the gangster warfare culture, yet his interaction with it seemed somewhat confused. Whilst he had ‘outlaw’ and ‘thug life’ tattooed on his body, seem-

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The Constitution, Yo, it don’t apply to me Lady Liberty still the bitch lied to me ... ingly encouraging outdated revenge philosophies that empower gangs, he also urged his people to give up such a dangerous system of honour: I’ve been trapped since birth, cautious, cause I’m cursed And fantasies of my family, in a hearse And they say it’s the white man I should fear But, it’s my own kind doin’ all the killin here …Recollect your thoughts don’t get caught up in the mix … Ain’t no such thing as self-defence in the court of law Tupac’s words not only reflect life lived on the edge of death, but also on the edge of society. He spoke up for the inequality he saw in the treatment of African Americans, and the failure of the government to combat high poverty rates in a caustic message to America: … they say this is the Home of The Free But if you ask me it’s all about hypocrisy The constitution, Yo, it don’t apply to me Lady Liberty still the bitch lied to me … I charge you with the crime of rape, murder, and assault For suppressing and punishing my people I charge you with robbery for robbing me of my history … Now every brother had to smother on the welfare line The American dream, though it seems attainable They’re pulling your sleeve, don’t believe Cause it will strangle yah … I am


America’s nightmare I am what you made me … America, You reap what you sow Deep fault lines in American history, politics and culture were brought to the surface by Tupac, and other ‘legends’ of hip hop. Tupac uses verse to articulate the fall-out of the American dream which is often swept under the carpet. Not only are they political statements, but expressions of solidarity to all the people living ‘afloat a current of sadness’ as Tupac himself did. There has been some antagonism towards Tupac’s expressions of discontent, even from the African American community. There are some who believe that art which explores the aggressive and problematic aspects of African American culture only feeds the agenda of white oppression, and the appropriation of hip hop culture as a national scapegoat. However, the problems are institutional, and should be ameliorated through base-line policy change. Tupac’s artistic lobbying can only be an encouragement of such change. In a country experiencing accelerating rates of change in some areas, music can also be a way of ‘keepin’ it real’, keeping in touch with one’s identity and community, by sharing frustrations, hopes and dreams. That is, after all, the essence of hip hop music. ▲

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ello, I am Page Nine. Nice to meet you. Do you know that ever since Amazon released the Kindle I’ve been so lonely! I just want to get inked. They say print is on the way out, like a pair of acid wash jeans that went out of fashion in the 1980s. They say it’s dead. Dead! Like Mark Latham’s chances of maintaining some dignity. Truth is, you can’t help with that, no matter what you got for your Political Science essay or your Constitutional Law exam. But, you can make me feel better. And you can save print! Next year, write an article and print won’t have to die. You know that moment in movies when the ECG shows that a person’s heart rate has started up again and they are coming back from the dead? That will be me, Page Nine. All thanks to you. Send holiday submissions to


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JENNIFER LIM reveals her newfound fear of flying and argues that we should all keep our feet firmly on the ground.

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lessons from zeppelins


n a 55 minute plane flight over the Mediterranean Sea, I developed a fear of flying. This was despite being perfectly sound of mind on a previous 22 hour flight from Melbourne to Athens and countless other trips made in the past. It wasn’t the turbulence. It wasn’t the jiggling of the overhead luggage compartments. And it wasn’t the seatbelt light or the insidious smell of fuel barely masked by floral cabin deodorizer. It was a vision in my mind’s eye set on replay as I looked out the window the propeller jamming and the wing snapping in half as the plane plummets left and we fall from the sky like a dead bird. And I came to the realisation that if it wasn’t any of these things, it was instead conscious thought that triggered my aerophobia. That’s the trick of the aviation industry who convince millions of people to board planes every year, lulling them into a false sense of security that numbs the mind from inquiry. In an A380 Airbus with personalized on-demand entertainment systems and showers, who will remember that they are 40,000 feet in the air aboard a 300 tonne flying machine? A machine reliant on continual and perfect maintenance by fallible humans. This was the way of the Zeppelins - giant alloy cocoons swollen with helium or hydrogen, lighter than air and capable of circling the globe with impressive speed. The darlings of 20th century Germany enjoyed unabashedly luxurious cabins, complete with real cutlery and Egyptian cotton sheets. ‘Progress!’ they yelled as they floated across the sky, until the Hindenburg crash killed 36 in a ball of flames and the public deemed it a shiny death trap. The reign of the Zeppelin lasted over 50 years. Planes have been around for up to 100 years (and counting). No gas, but rather monster engines, luggage limits and smiling

stewardesses to propel them forward. Not to mention aerodyne, combustion, engine thrust and a multitude of other painstakingly scientific explanations. But no amount of science can explain away the fact that I was hanging in the air in a metal machine designed to emulate the earth’s surface lying 10,000 metres below me. Or that there was nothing really to save me in the event of emergency. The brace position and safety card just won’t cut it. And even if you do survive a midair malfunction, and then manage to escape a plunging and possibly burning aircraft, there’s only a one minute reprieve from death by freezing or anoxemia. There’s even a physics argument that the sheer velocity of your fall, about 193km/hr from a normal commercial plane, is enough to kill you. The chances of surviving all these factors, as well as the impact, are slim to none. There are around twenty legitimate free falls (pure falls without the use of debris or any other item) recorded on the Free Fall Research page, the majority of whom are trained military personnel. Your chances as a civilian require a miracle. The Gods were certainly smiling on 17 year old Juliane Koepcke, who on Christmas Eve of 1971 awoke to find herself in the Amazon jungle after her plane was struck by lightning. Extracting herself from a pile of wreckage and Christmas presents, she roamed the jungle for ten days eating only the candy she had from onboard, before finally being rescued by Peruvian lumberjacks. If not for an unusually well developed knowledge of rainforest ecology, she would not have survived - however she had also been wearing her seatbelt. So strap in if you dare. But consider that humans weren’t made to fly, and that airplanes are a brilliant and beautiful conspiracy that obscures this fact. If you’re not scared of flying ... you just haven’t given it enough thought. ▲

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A brilliant way to travel the world: shanghai world expo

“taste the chocolate from Beligum for free ...”


espite the humid hot weather in Shanghai during July and rumours about people having to wait long hours to get into some of the popular Pavilions, I was still really excited about exploring this fascinating event during the winter holiday. To me, it is a great opportunity to find out more about countries that I am interested in, experience diverse cultures and traditions and have a taste of different authentic cuisines prepared by experienced chefs from around the world and getting souvenirs from different countries without even going overseas. As the Expo covers an area of 5.28 square kilometers with more than 200 participating countries, it would take days and even months if you wanted to see every single bit of it. However, here are some of the highlights that you surely do not want to miss. Firstly, make sure you get an Expo Passport before you start your visit. Most of the pavilions have their own specially designed stamps. At the end of each visit to a particular pavilion, you will have a chance to get a stamp from that particular country or city. And, at the end of the trip, this would be a great souvenir evidencing your footprints at the Expo. Secondly, the China Pavilion is definitely a must-see. However, remember that without an appointment voucher, you will not be able to get into it since it is extremely popular among visitors. If you are an early bird and were lucky enough to be at the front of the queue of one of the main gates, you would have had the opportunity of receiving an appointment voucher to the China Pavilion which

will guarantee your entry on that particular day. However, the number of those vouchers is very limited each day. So unless you are extremely lucky, you probably won’t be able to get a voucher by being at the very front of the line. You are probably thinking ‘what should I do if I really want to check out the China Pavilion?’ Don’t worry. Let me show you how – pick up this booklet called ‘City Business Card’ at the Expo, collect 15 stamps from various city pavilions (This shouldn’t take too long since there usually aren’t queues for the city pavilions). Then you will be able to use the stamped booklet in exchange for an appointment voucher to see the China Pavilion. Easy! One of the highlights in China Pavilion was the section called exploring ‘oriental footprint’. The wisdom that the ancient Chinese used to develop cities will be showcased with programs of different styles in this section. A video played in the multimedia exhibition will tell stories about China’s enormous migration from rural to urban areas over the past 30 years of reform and opening-up, people’s passion for building better cities and hope for the future. The famous painting of “Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival” will also make its appearance in the China Pavilion to illustrate the charms of ancient Chinese cities and it is definitely something that you have to see with your own eyes. If you are a chocolate lover, then a visit to the Belgium Pavilion is definitely a must. The visitors will be able to view the chocolate-making process and even taste the chocolate from Belgium for free. If you are fan of Italian handcrafts, then a - 13 -

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“travel across time and experience stories based on petroleum...”

visit to the Italy Pavilion will definitely make you pleasantly surprised. Italian tailors, blacksmiths and violinists will show off their craft at the pavilion. I have to say that the Italy Pavilion is one of my favorite pavilions at the Expo because you can absolutely see the amount of work which has been put in to impress visitors and it surely has paid off. Riding a cable car in the Switzerland Pavilion will be a perfect way to relax if you are tired from all the lining up. Visitors can get to the roof for a sightseeing experience emulating classic Swiss scenery. The chairlift takes visitors from the ground floor where the exhibition focuses on Swiss urban civilization, to the roof where a tranquil space close to nature and far away from the crowds is provided. I am sure that you have had the experience of watching 3D movies as they are getting more and more popular these days. Well, what about 4D movies? Visitors can travel across time and experience stories based on petroleum in the eight-minute films played in the modern 4D theatre in Oil Pavilion. This is one of the most exciting experiences you get can from the event! If you are tired from lining up and checking out pavilions during the day, you can rest and enjoy a performance at the World Expo Cultural Centre at night. Tickets are free when you present your Expo entry tickets to the staff. The performance featured Indian dancing, Irish lap dancing, Egyptian dancing,

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traditional Chinese singing and so many other brilliant cultural events. Just remember that before you go, make sure you have a look at the official website of the Expo ( since it has a lot of useful information you may need. Why miss out on a world carnival?! It is a shame that most of the pavilions will be taken down after the end of the event (October 31, 2010). So if you’ve got plans to pay a visit to the Expo soon, I hope you will have lots of fun there. If you can’t make it because of constraints on time or money but are still interested in finding out more about the Expo, there is something for you – an Expo visual tour online which would enable you to experience the Expo without even stepping outside your bedroom door: Check it out and have a fantastic time! ▲

A brilliant way to travel the world: shanghai world expo

Sarah captured this photograph of the China Pavilion at the World Expo. She says the little rabbit is the Macau Pavilion. We thought it was Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion ...

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If Anon’s track record is anything to go by, this article will be brilliant ... - EDITORIAL NOTE


however, can I recall a dream. This one in particular belonged to that most common variety which leaves a passing sentiment of enlightenment but reveals no detail of its epiphany.”

longhaired rabbit, replete with twitching nose and knowing gaze hops leisurely alongside the jungle snail. It is the Jungle Snail, rather than a Jungle Snail, as in these parts there are simply no others like it in the forest. The snail is a veritable mammoth, carrying its enormous shell with the graceful form one usually associates with a diver. The rabbit is also of formidable size and, one suspects, an impressive age. Turning to the Jungle Snail, the rabbit says:

A faint smirk erupts on the jungle snail’s face as the rabbit searches for clues in his responding gesture. Once the equilibrium of his moustache has restored itself, the Jungle Snail says: “Law students truly are the worst kind of beast. Avaricious and unreflecting pissants sucking on the Earth’s teats with the kind of infantile singularity of mind that makes the thought of an angry, twenty-foot baby, so deeply terrifying.

“Our bodies are in space. My liver occupies particular co-ordinates, as does your hair, our spleens and toes. And they are carried, or stuck together somehow travelling through space and time. That is the conventional story of our corporeal existence and the convenient orthodoxy that has shaped our scientific thinking.”

I suspect their awesome ignorance is surpassed only by their awesome privilege and it is this alone – the even keel of a well-defended status quo – that prevents their names from falling into deserving obscurity.”

The jungle snail, keeping an open mind, communicates in silence to the rabbit her full attention. And following a brief pause the rabbit continues:

The rabbit gives an all-knowing look. “Well, that is true.” ▲

“But I know the truth. And it was revealed to me in a dream. Rarely,

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REBECCA KOH, of, is on a mission to photograph stylish people around Melbourne. Read her musings on style with a little Miley thrown in for good measure.

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much ado about style

“Fashion fades, style is eternal” - YVES HENRI DONAT MATHIEU-SAINT-LAURENT (1936 - 2008)


And all that pointless jibber-jabber leadeth to the ‘Hello Captain Obvious’ question – ‘Um…so what is it ... and why do we care?’

tyle. Panache. Chic. So many names, one divinely funny little creature. It’s different for everyone. Yet not everyone has it.

Simply put – style is about you! Uh…yeah it really is that simple. Style is about embracing yourself. Thoroughly. It’s about having a ball. Every day. Doing something inappropriate. And not caring at all. Laughter. And lots of it. At jokes that no-one else ‘gets’ or which are just a tad ‘gutter’ for the well-heeled bourgeoisie. It’s about making every day just that little bit more theatrical. Wearing something a little pointless just because it makes you feel fantastic. Breaking the rules. Doing what isn’t ‘done’. And why? Well, just because. Swapping roles. Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls. Senseless decadence. Dancing by yourself (possibly in the buff…) Having lovers. Or multiples. Playing the vamp or the ingénue. Being melodramatic. Or gloriously nonchalant.

I pursue it religiously. It’s like my personal quest for the Holy Grail, but better … because it possibly entails having a professional hairdresser come to cut my bangs daily and getting away with wearing thigh-high leather stripper cuissardes when I am nearing 60. This enigmatic concept of ‘style’ is oh-so-much more than a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” (as hilarious as those are – I must confess to loving a good dose of ‘Go Fug Yourself’… B-grade celebrities … they really should be punished for raping quality pieces of rag). It is infinitely more than a guide to ‘What’s in and what’s out’ (the only painful joke slightly more vomit inducing than the sight of Miley Cyrus in a Herve Leger dress is the concept of the “trend”… there is a reason why most of that shit just ends up in a bin…) And, before you scream ‘elitist bitch’ – it really isn’t about the labels (well…mostly anyway)

It’s really about personalities. Memorable ones. Think Chanel - it wasn’t just about delicious tweed jacket ‘ladies-who-lunch’ suits, pearls and of course ‘every- 19 -

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It is about being inspired by past stories and creating your own ...

girl’s-first-heirloom-piece’ quilted 2.55 bags – but rather, about a woman who broke about every single rule in her time. Borrowed from her English lover (quite literally) and who refused marriage to the Duke of Westminster on the grounds that there have been ‘many Duchesses of Westminster, but there is only one Coco Chanel.’ When I don a tuxedo – it’s all about Monsieur Saint Laurent – the lanky Frenchman who redefined the concept of sexiness. And his legendary muses like socialite Nan Kempner who famously responded to the ‘no women in pants’ rule at a hoity-toity restaurant by swiftly removing the pants half of her ‘Le Smoking’ ensemble. An everyday pairing of the simplest of white t-shirts and some pale blue jeans is a slight homage to Jane Birkin – the lanky, tomboyish English lass who became adopted French royalty and the name behind Hermes’ most covetable of totes – and her equally Anglo-Gallic chic scion. She who turned heads, won hearts and scandalized the public with the legendary Serge Gainsbourg. Leaving us with the eternal mystery of ‘Were they or were they not actually making very raucous breathy love while recording Je T’Aime, Moi Non Plus?’ I’m still puzzled on that one, despite having listened to the song too often for my own good. It is about being inspired by past stories and about creating your own. Channeling the muses of the past but adding your own little twist to things. Turning everyday life into an imaginary drama. Wearing nought but an oversized shirt and a perfect pair of leather sandals (made in St Tropez) to walk out your front door. It’s part Mrs Robinson and a little Brigitte Bardot. Leaving people guessing

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about where you’ve been and what scandalous things you’ve been up to. Do I have an interesting life? You’d love to know. I’ll keep you guessing. Sometimes, it’s the songs you listen to. A sultry crooning soundrack predominantly composed of Nina Simone would just go oh-so-well with a retro-dramatic red lip. And polished, perfectly groomed, Mad Men-esque chic. And how could you listen to Hendrix without wanting to jump into your favourite pair of pre-loved cut-offs. Playing the air guitar in the rain. Maybe it’s the words you live by. Carpe Diem is my personal motto for the year – what’s yours? Diana Vreeland enthralled a whole generation of Vogue and Bazaar readers by her famous quips starting with – ‘Why don’t you…’ (one of my favourites goes something like this – ‘Why don’t you paint a map of the world on all four walls of your boys’ nursery so they won’t grow up with a provincial point of view?’). Often it’s about playing dress-ups with family heirlooms, skeletons and tales. A father’s wedding ring that he no longer wears which has lost a few diamonds but none of its allure. A grandmother’s mink collection (Anna Wintour would be proud) – the totally un-PC luxury of which hints subtly at days of forgotten glamour, smoky jazz clubs and oldschool quality. It’s about anything and everything. And why do we care? What place does style occupy in your world of Seven Seeds coffee, clerkship interviews and heavy law tomes? The answer, kids, is as simple as they come. It just makes the world a prettier, more fascinat-


It gives you something to dream about, somewhere to escape. It’s all about sartorial fantasy.

ing place. It gives you something to dream about. Somewhere to escape. It’s all about the sartorial fantasy. Maybe an escape to another era. Or another place. Dedicating oneself to the goal of living life in an aesthetically beautiful manner. It’s about making one’s existence amount to so much more than mere survival. Being a true bon vivant. Even if it’s not for you, you have to admit that people who embody style - that ‘clique’ of people we call the ‘stylish’ – kind of make life just that little bit more interesting. As friends, they’re just fascinating folks in general. They tend to be a little left of centre. And they definitely come prepared with a tale (or many). Or if you don’t know them, they’re just fun to stare at (yeah…that totally did not come across as stalkerish at all…mind you, I do have a badge of pride regarding my achievements in that arena…). Because you just have to take a second look. There’s something just a little out of the ordinary about them…

No soul on this planet (yes, not even Anna Wintour) can tell you how to get it or where to find it. But it’s somewhere in each and every one of you (Nawwww…how nice and soppy does that sound?)

And so, my lovelies, I think that is a rant sufficient to blow your pretty little brains. Your head is probably pounding from the fact that this tirade made zero sense whatsoever. Ah, the wonderful absence of logic! I thus leave you with the following tres shallow but perhaps kind of perceptive ‘deep’ thoughts –

I continue my epic quest to find all things and people stylish on the streets of Melbourne. I’m usually accompanied by my family of knuckledusters and big black shutterbug affectionately known as Ursula. I’m more than happy for other groupies to jump onto my happy, virtual Koh & Co. bandwagon ( Say ‘hello’ or ‘bonjour’ or ‘hola’ sometime. Because I really don’t bite despite the occasional judgmental Wintour-esque stare and am apparently quite a lovely (if somewhat risqué and long-winded) coffee companion. Did I mention, I also know many a good alleyway obscured coffee haunt around and about town? No seriously – really. I do. ▲

At the end of the day, there is no such thing as a definitive set of ‘rules’ on style. Such rules were meant to be broken. Fabulously. Yes, there are glossy, beautiful guides (I personally subscribe to about a million of such monthly bibles of goodness – if you want a tip – you know where to find me…). But their words and how-to quips are far from set in stone.

For my part, I’ve given you a bit of a trippy road map. Start at any point you want or even go completely off the map. But really, you’ll have to find your own way. And that, I think, is the best part of it all… Keep stylish my kittens! Lots of love, Xx Bec

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my two cents: the robERT JAMES MURRAY oakeshott way

hank you to everyone for giving us the grace of what are we up to, 17 days of trying to work out a wicked dilemma for Australia. And like Tony I would also like to very much thank the good faith and good nature of the negotiations that have taken place between Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and Tony Windsor, myself and Bob Katter.

I think I can speak on behalf of the three of us, now two of us, that we have generally come to a pretty similar conclusion that I suspect that plenty of people that went into the ballot box on August 21st and that was being thoroughly unimpressed with the state of play of major party politics in Australia today. We are no different in that. And again this has made this a difficult decision to make.

They would both be good Prime Ministers, there is no question about that. And if anything that has made this decision all the more difficult for me and I think on behalf of both of us and for Bob as well, a more difficult decision.

We are all proud and strong independents and in fact that’s why there’s all this interest in us. We do value our vote in the parliament and our communities recognise that and we will commit to maintaining as much as possible full voting rights on all issues before the parliament. That is important to us and the way we represent our community and represent our country through the parliament.

They both, in this parliament where it will be a different parliament, will contribute fantastic things for this country. And I hope whichever way this ends up going that they renew their friendship, they talk and they do work together as much as possible in the national interest. It does matter. Also can I say some thanks for some other people who’ve been involved, Bob Brown, Nick Xenophon, various senators have been involved. New colleagues in the lower house Andrew Wilkie, Adam Bandt and Tony Crook. This will be a different parliament. They all have contributed in various ways and even some long-term members and senators, I’d even thank Bill Heffernan today. He is a good man fundamentally. And again that’s what makes the journey of the last 17 days tricky and the decision we’ve had to make, difficult. This is not a mandate for any government. We should have a great big swear jar for the next three years and if anyone uses that word mandate they should have to chip in some money. No one party has dominance over the executive or the parliament, that is the reality of the way we’re going to do business for the next three years and that is a good reality. Nor is it an endorsement of any philosophy, of any brand, of any campaign. In fact in the discussions we’ve had over the last few weeks,

I would hope that over the next three years that regardless of this juicy and sexy decision that everyone’s waiting on that there is this recommitment to the 150 members of parliament, the role that they play and the importance as the foundation blocks of our democracy and all the support we can give to people if at times that they need to break ranks with their political parties, to achieve what they believe is in their community’s or in their country’s best interest. So what this is, is a hard decision, there is no question about that. And at my end it’s been an absolute line ball, points decision, judgement call, six-of-one, half-a-dozen-of-the-other, this could not get any closer. In fact, what I think you’ve seen this afternoon where we’ve dropped one of the three amigos exemplifies just how tight this election has been and how tight this decision is for the country. I’ve got splits in my community, I’ve even got splits in my own family, my four-year-old and six-year-old are split on this decision. When the gong is given at the end of these words, there’s a job to do and a first job to do for a new prime minister and to some extent the opposition leader, and that is to bring Aus- 23 -

purely dicta tralia together. It has been 17 days where there’s been lots of interest in this creeping number count, it has engaged the Australian community. Australia is engaged but Australia is also divided. And so I would plea that the first job is not to have a unity government, but if we can have a country that, as much as possible, unifies on the back of this decision, then that is a good first job done. This two-and-a-half-week period has really asked me to drill down on my own comments as to what I mean by this best interest test and that has required a lot of thought. It is not shaped around this political party prism, that I continue to see some media outlets report. It is something a lot deeper than that. And it is back to those words I think around stability and outcomes. That is the best interest test of this decision. Which of the parties will try and keep this parliament running for as long as possible? If we are talking about stability that has been a key consideration at my end as to how we can do our bit for the Australian people and keep this parliament alive for as close to three years as possible. I did not try and just make it all about today and my wants and needs. This was a decision through what I call the “eyes of my children” test. This is the 20-year decision. Through the negotiations I think we’ve got a good local package for a local member to go home and talk to his electorate about. That’s good. We’ve also got I think a regional Australia package that has never been seen before and will turbo-charge regional Australia. It has been good work by Tony, by Bob, by others in pulling together a really important package for this country. And as Tony said, we’re not asking for over and above, no one in any city needs to be scared. We are asking

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for equity. Equity has not been delivered to regional Australia for too long and that is now about to change. There has been an offer come in to drive that at a different level and whilst no decisions have been made about that and I have wanted to keep that separate from any decisions today. I do want to go home tonight to my wife and kids and actually talk it through over the next couple of days but that is there for open scrutiny for all. So that will be considered over the next few days. We’ve grabbed this opportunity ... to achieve a couple of cracking outcomes. We have now got a tax summit that this country needs. By June 2011, we’ve got a commitment to have the Henry Tax review thrown into the public domain with full recommendations from government and a fair-dinkum open debate in this country. That is a good and big outcome from this process, and one that hopefully demonstrates this is not going to be a weak parliament, this is going to be a strong parliament. This will drive outcomes for this nation over the next three years that are better than ever done before. We’ll see a referendum question put at the next election on Indigenous recognition in the constitution. Something that is part of the social fabric of this country that has been left behind for too long. The big sticking point for us in regional areas were the broadband issue, and the climate change issue and a crisis in regional education in Australia today. It is a disgrace that regional education has been left behind in this country. We think there would be less interest in a Labor minority government going back to the polls quickly than there would be for a coalition minority government going back to the polls quickly. I don’t think it matters who would win as a consequence of going to the ballot ... they are two different things in my thinking. ▲

KE$ha on oakeshott

Meanwhile, Ke$ha adds, “Yep, so like, I heard this speech, like, totally and was so like, “Blah, Blah, Blah, so, I, like, totally wrote a song about it. Like, totally. It’s called Blah Blah Blah. Like. Yeah.” “P.S. Did you guys totally, like, have, like, a hung, like, parliament or something? How hung was it? That’s, like, SO HOT. The only hung things I like are the black Old Spice Guy and like... whatever.”

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purely dicta

ON THE DESCENT OF MAN: MUSINGS FROM A LAWYER ON THE FRINGE CHARLIE SHUTE finds the great middle class tradition at the Edinburgh Fringe strange. He ponders, ‘What brings them there? What keeps them going back?’

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Chaos, not order, is the norm.


here is a great middle class tradition at the Edinburgh Fringe. To me this seems strange, as the world’s largest arts festival is not a place where I could imagine the largely middle class contents of the Melbourne Law School and its global equivalents being very comfortable at all. Chaos, not order, is the norm. The forgiving environs of the lecture theatre are replaced by the barren landscape of the dark, steamy, sticky-floored theatre space. And the metaphorically nauseating, high achieving lecturer is swapped for five literally nauseating Scots loudly vocalising their inebriated belief that they should have gone to see someone off the telly. Yet we go there, and we persist in going back. We of the middle classes, who pour into the Athens of the North every August in search of a laugh, only to pour out again as broken shells, sobbing into a pint that, when you think of the exchange rate, probably cost more than your house, continue to return. Fringe after Fringe. Year after year. I recently came back from my second Fringe, and I still can’t fully feel my face. But right now, from my Melbourne writer’s desk, I would happily jump over my own grandmother to see a third. This piece attempts to explain why I, and so many others like me feel so, when all that Law School Logic says that we should not. When I first felt the beer-soaked grasp of the Festival Circuit – somewhere outside the Melbourne Town Hall at about age 16 – I thought I was strange. I thought that no-one

would understand. That no-one could possibly feel the way I felt. But as I got older, and slipped deeper into the smoke-wreathed arms of the Goddess Comedy, I realised that there were others like me. And that lots of them were lawyers. From Melbourne Law (almost) alumnus and rising superstar Sammy J to Edinburgh stalwart Stephen K Amos to Perrier Award winner Demetri Martin, comedy CV’s across the Fringe and around the comedy world see “LLB” and “JD” written large next to “HAHA”. And the permeation of the seething middle classes into dingy comedy clubs which would ordinarily offend our finely crafted sensibilities does not stop with the lawyers. Indeed you are just as likely to associate even the earthiest of comics with “BA (Hons)” as you are with “Best of the Fest”. It is put succinctly by 2007 if.award (Edinburgh’s top comedy prize) winner and not-so-proud Australian Brendon Burns, who is proud of his family’s pedigree: ‘My brother is a respected chemical engineer, my sister is a Waverley Prize winning artist, and I am possibly the world’s greatest yeller of ‘cunt’.” Strong stock indeed. Tim Minchin sings that “while (he) tries to be all grungy and cool, (he) spent eleven years at a private school”. What is it then, that draws these respected members of clan Burns, clan Minchin and, dare I say it, clan MLS, to such a den of iniquity, where all that awaits are lonely walks home clad in a shirt stained with broken dreams? Myriad answers spring to mind. An urge to rebel? An inherent desire to feel how the

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purely dicta

We burn to let loose on a world where nothing is planned and where chaos reigns ...

other half live? An uncontrollable, primeval urge to get something truly foul on those spotless designer shoes? Perhaps a combination of all those things and more is the answer, linked together by something deeper. I think that deep down, all of us who inhabit the academic and social ivory towers necessarily constructed through life at this esteemed institution secretly yearn to tear them down. We burn to be let loose on a world where nothing is planned and where chaos reigns. And where better to go than a place, in the heart of what for the rest of the year is a cultural Mordor, in which performers who are among the most respected in their industry endure, nay, relish, the opportunity to descend into the depths of Comedy’s lair to be booed, teased and heckled by Her disenchanted, drama-student minions? I have been there, twice, and can assure you that there is no greater place in the world. We seek chaos because it breeds memory. Just as we are all-too-willing to forget he basic tenets of contract law as we step out of the Royal Exhibition Building in June or November, those of us who have braved the gloriously sinful depths of the Edinburgh Fringe are prone, years later, to joyfully blurt out an obscure line of comedy, without a modicum of concern for those around us, who clearly think us insane. All of us, my middle class brothers and sisters, not just the comedyobsessed, seek to find anarchy in the finely constructed walls of the University which is our home, and to break the bonds of our ingrained sensibility, through laughter and the emotional rollercoaster of the Festival. - 28 -

The Edinburgh Festival is indeed a trying time, and indeed from the descriptions I have given you would be forgiven for asking why anybody in their right mind would go to such a place. And that is the answer. We go to such a place to leave our right minds behind. By the end we resemble lunatics, just as likely to laugh at anything as to laugh at nothing ever again. We wind up completely mad, our tiny, regimented minds torn asunder by the strange sensation which arises when a month-long perpetual hangover clashes with unparalleled joy. Madness rules in Edinburgh, and we of the middle classes crave it. They ought to be a guilty pleasure, the feelings that we of the middle class feel in a place like Edinburgh. And for the most part, they are. They hide away in a tightly regimented compartment of our beings, silently flickering as we walk the corridors of our reconstructed ivory towers, waiting for those four fateful weeks to roll around again. You can see them sometimes, behind the meeting eyes of those who were there. Dancing. Giggling. Waiting. So to those who insist on remaining trapped behind the walls of middle class Melbourne University sensibilities I give you this advice: What you are feeling is perfectly natural. Give in, and I’ll see you on the Fringe. ▲


A GUIDE TO HAPPINESS IN THE DIGITAL AGE Dance like the photo’s not been tagged / Love like you’ve never been unfriended / Tweet like nobody’s following.

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purely dicta



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teach for what now?

“... while playing ‘spot the gay’ with the Mad Katter ...”


s I sit here in my plush swivel chair in the law school, tapping away on my laptop, twiddling with my mobile, alt-tabbing between Word and Facebook, and barely listening to some pedigree lecturer in bad loafers, I think I might be having an existential crisis. Or maybe I am just mindlessly bashing at the keys, pretending I am listening to Professor Hush Puppies, and this is just a load of bollocks. Mostof the twenty-five sitting around me have undertaken a seasonal clerkship, or have Articles next year. So why does the thought of all that in 2011 make me want to shove the Constitution places the wide ambit of the law can’t reach? I’m 23. I’m young and not balding. I’m not yet ready to lay down my sword of social justice or chastity belt of change and shackle myself to a desk looking at Excel Spreadsheets for the next 40 years. In fact I’m certain Bill Gates designed Excel to be so mind-numbing that people would go out and buy an X Box 360. But on the flipside, I don’t fancy the idea of joining some namby-pamby charity to braid hair and sing kumbaya around an open camp fire. I approached the Careers Service and looked at the options for ‘Alternative Careers’. They all sounded plain crap. Too commercial... scroll... seen it... scroll... rubbish... scroll... too big... scroll... too small... Teach For Australia? What for what? it sounded like some nationalistic political catch-cry that would have us tattooing the Southern Cross around a picture of Steve Fielding on our

ankles, while playing ‘spot the gay’ with the Mad Katter in North Queensland . Such a salacious image deserved some rapacious investigatory journalism. I discovered that this Teach For Australia tomfoolery was actually interesting. Concept: Uni students who are the shiznit but with no education degree getting top training and plonked in Victoria’s most needy schools. Summer Heights High, anyone? The more I read, the more I felt like Pat Rafter stepping into a pair of really comfy undies. It fit. It was different. Dynamic. It had a quantitative vision of success, rather than just ‘that warm fuzzy feeling’. Snug in all the right places, yet I could hear a satisfying snap of professionalism around its corporate waistband. Teach For Australia? Yes, please. Yet friends I tried to talk to about it met my excitement and over-dilated pupils with confusion, a resignation that I was on drugs, or that I was the crazy. It appeared Teach For Australia wasn’t very well known. Somehow that added to the intrigue. It was the nonchalant stranger, purveying the sweaty dancefloor of gyrating corporations trying to pick-up grads, while its fellow non-profits without a corporate pass waited outside in the rain. I was hooked. Existential crisis over. For now. This program has got me excited. Google it. But don’t apply so I have less competition to get in. ▲

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purely dicta


SIMON BREHENY challenged the validity of homeopathic medicine in our last edition. Forever sceptical, this time he’s taking aim at Organic Food

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the great organic swindle

“The implication of this organic propaganda is that conventional food production methods use dangerous chemicals...”


e’re often told that organic food is good for us. But not only is it good for us, it’s claimed, it’s also good for the environment. Well, I decided, in my sceptical way, to do some investigating, and the results, especially for those willing to pay premium buck for their organic brown rice protein concentrate, were not particularly positive. And when I say ‘not particularly positive’ I mean that I should be thoroughly embarrassed to own up to the NASAA-certified asparagus in my own fridge. According to the Australia Certified Organic website, ‘[o]rganic systems work in harmony with nature, keeping harmful chemicals out of our land, water and air, creating a healthy environment rich in wildlife, woodlands and nutrients.’ Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? However, dig a little deeper and the story becomes a lot less rosy. It does sound, when one listens to the claims of those peddling organics, as if no chemicals are used at all in organic food production - no pesticides, no fungicides, no herbicides - but that’s simply not true. The key word in the passage above is ‘harmful’, and there are no prizes for guessing who determines just which chemicals fall under this definition for the purposes of organic certification. Often, organic famers use copper-based fungicides that are outdated and relatively unsafe because they leave traces in the soil for years. Of course, the implication with all of this organic propaganda is that conventional food production methods employ the routine use of dangerous chemicals. One claim is that the ‘cocktail effect’ of pesticides is leading to an epidemic of cancer.

The only flaws in this assertion are that cancer rates have dropped in recent decades and farmers, who you would expect to suffer most severely from this cocktail effect, experience lower rates of cancer than any other group in Australia. But the problem is not just with definitions, certification, and the use of chemical pesticides. The real issues are whether organic food is the healthier option for people and the environment. First, to the claims of organics being a healthier option for humans than food produced using conventional farming methods. The claims in this area usually come down to either general statements about the high quality of organic food or the specific claim that organic food is more nutritious. Unsurprisingly, the substantial claims made by organic farmers and other organics supporter groups go way beyond any evidence that might support such assertions. On the contrary, the evidence goes considerably the other way. For instance, large studies conducted across several countries have shown that food-poisoning bacteria, such as salmonella, is found in 100 per cent of organic chicken flocks, while only a third of conventionally reared flocks contain the bacterium. Similar studies have also shown that the common organic farmer’s boast of not using antibiotics and other medicines on their animals is nothing to be proud of; 25% of ‘organic’ pigs were found to have pneumonia, while only 4% of ‘conventional’ pigs had the condition. As a result of higher levels of disease and the general poor health of organi- 33 -

purely dicta

“It shouldn’t come as a surprise that organic farming is worse for people, animals and the environment as a whole...”

cally reared pigs, their piglets die twice as often. So much for the link between organics and the humane treatment of animals. In fact, the most common cause of the difference in weight between conventionally raised and organically raised animals (on average, organic animals weigh only half of what conventional animals do) is disease. The other claim that is bandied about is that organic food is higher in nutrients than conventional food. It is often asserted, for example, that organic milk contains more omega-3 fatty acids. Another common assertion is that organic tomatoes contain higher levels of vitamin P (or flavonoids). Well, that may be, but research shows that vitamin P is found in higher levels of concentration because tomatoes produce it when under a great deal of stress; organic tomatoes are deficient in nitrogen and instead of putting their energy into making flesh they put it into creating defensive chemicals. Much of the time the higher nutritional content is due to dehydration and disease. So it’s not beneficial to your health but surely organics are good for the environment? In 2008, the UK government sponsored a large body of research in this area which found that organic milk and dairy production is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Organic milk production requires 80 percent more land than conventional milk. Organically reared cows also burp twice as much methane as conventionally reared cattle - and

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methane is 20 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Another myth is that organic farming is more sustainable but a piece of land conventionally farmed will produce 2.5 times more potatoes than the yield of organic farming in an area the same size. Organic tomato yields, where the tomatoes are grown in heated greenhouses, are 75 per cent that of conventional farming and they use twice the energy. Organic tomatoes also use 25 per cent more water, a luxury this country can ill-afford. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that organic farming is worse for people, animals and the environment as a whole, because ‘organic’ is code for outdated, outmoded and superseded. Conventional farmers moved on from these practices because there are now better ways of increasing crop yield, more effective methods for protecting against fungi, insects and disease and safer techniques for looking after the environment. So when you’re next at the supermarket, deciding whether to spend your hard-earned extra dollars on the organic option, think again. ▲

the inevitable chemical reaction when you enrol to study law

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purely dicta


NUWAN DIAS explores the fluidity and dynamism of female sexual identity in patriarchal society, while contextualising recent debate in a hierarchy of feminist theory. In particular, social and media representations of the feminine form are impugned, recognising a niche for the renaissance of Irigarayesque portrayals of gender and identity. The lugubrious narrative tone reflects the engendered repression of female selfactualisation, ultimately concluding that it is the pervasion of masculine narrative form, rather than abstract ideals, which forms the core of sexism.

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the ‘i’ of the storm

“Feminism is itself a discursive phantasm, engaging intercorporeality as a performative space whilst reifying the oppressive modalities of heterosexual normativity.”


ne stormy night as all of the lights were about to turn off a homeless cow walked down the streets. It was 12:04am in the night. The cow gave out a loud “MOOO(!)” as She walked along. The wolf heard the noise and started to drool. Wolves like to eat cows. The cow backed off but the wolf was right at his heels howling... The Girl and her brother Michael were playing on their Nintendo when they heard the noise of the howling wolf. The boy opened the window to see what was happening. Soon he saw the cow running along with a wolf at his heels. The boy did a somersault out of his window and ran out of his backyard. The boy caught up with the wolf and caught it by the leg to stop it. The cow ran away but the boy held firmly to the wolf. Suddenly the boy saw his mother. “Can I keep him?” asked the boy. “On one condition,” said the mother, “you have to take care of him”. So now the boy had a wolf as a pet. But he did not take care of him. Soon the wolf had run away. As soon as the boy noticed that the wolf had vanished he called his mum and his sister. he cried out really really loud, “NOOO(!)” The mother said that he should have taken care of him. The boy started crying again. “NOOO(!)” he said. The sad look on the boy’s face made the mother say (even though She did not want to), “We will try and find it”...

The wolf was walking along the path when he suddenly saw another wild dog. By now the wolf was very very hungry. So he asked the wild dog if he could help him find some food and water. The wild dog showed him where some water was and found him some dead birds. The wolf thanked him and the wild dog asked him if he wanted to stay at his house (or den). The wolf said “Yes please” and soon they were in the wild dog’s den playing games. First they played Forrestball. Then they played battlesticks. They played and they played and they played. While they were playing they met another wild dog. This dog was wearing a collar. “Such is life” said the collar. he suggested they inhale a bag of mushrooms to keep things interesting. So they did. They were having so much fun they did not see a wolf catcher walking up to them. Wolf catchers catch wolves. The wolf catcher saw the wolf and jammed a net over him. The wolf howled, “HOOOWL”. The wild dogs jumped up at the wolf catcher knocking him to the ground. They bit the wolf catcher in the arm and blood went everywhere. Then they bit the wolf catcher in the face; in the spleen; in the rotator cuff of his right shoulder and in the leg. There was lots of blood. The wolf catcher was alive the whole time screaming “RAH RAH RAH RAH RAH(!)” (dogs cannot understand wolf catchers because they do not speak human). Then the dogs ate him and he died. The wolf broke free from the net and they all ran off to live happily ever after!!! THE END ▲ - 37 -

purely dicta


LAURA MYER thought she would never find walls familiar, but is now a tad melancholic about leaving Law School

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wall attachments

“What have these walls seen and heard? Probably more than I care to imagine in that unsupervised area on Level 1!”


long time ago, on my first day of entering an educational institution like that in which we sit today, I heard the memoirs of a previous student reflecting on her time at the school. Her piece opened with the words, ‘These walls are familiar. They speak to you as you pass by.’ In my foolish naivety as a 12 year old, my friends and I laughed and jeered at such a prospect. How could one ever grow ‘familiar’ with walls let alone hear them speak without suffering some form of psychosis?

constancy during a time when we have gained wisdom and responsibility much faster than we cared to attain it. So from my time here, I conclude that these walls have indeed ‘become familiar’ (despite their more recent makeover!), and I hope that you too have had the opportunity to experience this ‘familiarity’(keep it clean kids!) and develop your own unique form of inanimate-object-attachment psychosis. ▲

Yet less than a decade later, when I myself am about to leave the comfort of such an institution, after which we all independently embark on the unknown journey of ‘professional life’, that I have been able to finally appreciate this student’s sentiments. What have these walls seen and heard (probably too much than I care to imagine - especially in that unsupervised area on level one!)? They have witnessed the transformation of generations upon generations of young, eager minds developing into sophisticated intellects, who have gone on to shape the future of this country and others. They have heard the daily triumphs and anguish which accompany the seemingly repetitive student life. They have listened to our fears and hopes for brilliant careers and aspirations of happiness. And finally, they have provided comfort and

Editorial Note: It took us a little while to understand that Laura was writing about the sorts of attachments people make to the feeling of the walls of an institutition, like prison, or in this case, Melbourne Law School. We initially thought it was about attractive lighting fixtures at Beacon Lighting...

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