Winter Issue 2022

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FAST FOOD CULTURE:

//JESSIE DENG

DESIGN//LYNN HE

//CANVAS//UNSPLASH

ONE TRUE TO ITS NAME

Fast food: food that can be prepared quickly and easily and is sold in restaurants and snack bars as a quick meal or to be taken out. Culture: the total system of ideas, values, behaviours and attitudes of a society. Internet, air travel, e-commerce, next day delivery, drive thru, …. In the past century, numerous inventions have been made with the goal of having higher efficiency and speed. Along with this rapidly evolving world, there comes a trend called fast food culture. The word may be foreign, but its presence is one we see on a daily basis. At first sight of the term “Fast Food Culture”, McDonald’s, KFC, or Subway might come to mind. Go to a drive thru, order from your car and receive food in your hands in less than 5 minutes; our traditional view of fast food. With the emergence of these restaurants, hardly anyone goes to a fine dining restaurant for a burger. Being fast and accessible, fast food quickly rose in popularity soon after its initial creation in 1921. When one goes to McDonald’s to pick up a burger combo, it’s hard to imagine that along with the rise to fame of fast food, followed an entire culture.


In the 21st century, as our lives become even more fast-paced than those of previous generations, our attention spans shorten and we tend to seek out things that pique our interest at first glance; a primary reason for the trending of fast food culture. Scroll through a feed full of memes on Instagram, put away a book and opt for The Office on a free night, read the abridged version of a book; you’ve had your contact with fast food culture. For me, fast food culture took on the form of web fiction, an electronic literature well-known for containing short chapters and dramatic twists. It was on my phone 24-7 and eventually occupied my entire reading list (unsurprisingly). The rationale behind the rise of the culture is not difficult to understand: picking the seemingly more eye-catching, more entertaining, the easier choice. Despite being convenient, hypertext fiction and many others alike, have led to a society where consumers are more shallow-minded than ever. Once there has been an initial contact with it, many people find it difficult to resist the temptation. Our brains are simply not able to reject what it has to offer. In order to adapt to the consumer demand, producers have to keep in mind that being eye-catching and entertaining are critical factors for more views and increased popularity. So evidently, the market sees more of the desired contents being made, ignoring the fact that they are probably not the Characterized by its convenience and efficiency, fast most beneficial products for consumption. The boom food culture provides instant gratification while saving us from the time-consuming process of of these fictions, reels, focusing solely on the navigation, thus taking away the opportunity to amusement aspect, starts by taking bits of time and evolves to take up immense amounts of our lives that immerse ourselves in thoughts. Its ability to provide instant returns, often in the form of happiness, tempts could otherwise have been spent on much more meaningful things. Sometimes after scrolling through people to go for a quick treat instead of taking the Tik Tok for hours, I realize that nothing really stays at lengthier process — even if the end result is more the end of the day despite the amount of information beneficial. that my brain lets pass. The guilt of wasting three precious hours of study time ultimately comes to haunt While there’s nothing wrong with indulging in a burger every now and then, being overly obsessed me. with it can inhibit the normal development of our The advantages of the components of this culture, the minds, the same way consuming too much junk food hinders physical fitness. So next time before scrolling fast food and similar products offering instant gratification, are precisely what makes it detrimental to through your social media feed, consider a healthy break from this trending culture. us and our society.


Authentic. That is the feeling seeping into every choice The Walking Dead’s first season makes. The first season was adapted by Frank Darabont (known for The Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption) from Robert Kirkman’s comic of the same name. The premise is simple: after the dead start coming back (with passionate, decayed groans and drunken stature), a group of survivors must fight to live.

Characters and relationships in the season are handled with care, turning their deceptively simple roles into nuanced and complex. For example, the leader of the group, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), is a deputy that has been in a coma during the fall of humanity. He is introduced as someone who should be situated comfortably between the nuclear family and Norman Rockwell: a gun-slinging, hardened cop who gets the girl and kills a few walkers on the way. However, the writers avoid this path, instead characterizing him as a man displaced in a world that did not stop for him, desperate to see that his emotionally distant wife and innocent son survive another day.


Such vulnerability and subversion are sewn into other characters presented as well, such as the emotionally distant yet stubborn wife Lori (Sarah Callies), youthful and wide-eyed boy Carl (Chandler Riggs), cautious housewife Carol (Melissa McBride), and volatile Daryl (Norman Reedus). This is also to mention the diversity of the survivors, each of which come from varying racial and economic classes, though all of which leave that aside to focus on the task at hand.

It is these elements which cause the plot within the season to not only feel natural, but impactful. While Rick tries to help his family feel a semblance of normalcy, he needs to convince them to push further into the apocalypse to find the CDC for safety. While weary yet capable father Morgan (Lennie James) teaches his son that good can still thrive, he must also stay vigilant and realistic about the evil that is exposed in times of desperation.

It is this character-driven duality that makes The Walking Dead’s first season a masterclass in television.


AA N N ee w w PP aa ii rr oo ff BB oo oo tt ss

The cold gets to him first. It’s been raining for a few days straight (how many, he’s lost count since his watch broke), the chill soaking through his thin coat and torn boots. He got both from his overseer back when he first started, alongside a warning that, “These aren’t built for lasting.” That was a lie, though, like most things he was told back there, through the deserts and tundras he’s managed to cross so far. The coat served him well enough, helping him ward off too harsh a sunburn and too strong a case of hypothermia. The boots, however, tell a different story. Their soles have almost completely been ripped off after his encounter with a bear (and he assumed humans were the most vicious animals he had seen), and their leather is a scratched, soggy reminder of how far he’s gone. How far gone he is. The scar spread across the right half of his face still stings: he was told it was for his desertion attempt, but he knows it was more so for getting caught. He presses his open palm to it as he continues forward, the snow kissing his fingertips and nose, urging him to fall. The ridges ground him, as does the burn of his lungs. There are faint sounds from behind him. Starved dogs sniffing his scent horses forced to press on and follow him. It leaves a bitter taste in his mouth, the fact that those dogs must’ve been playing in parks before the sunset and those horses carrying around guests before it rose again. How war changes people will never cease to amaze him. He fought a futile fight, and now he marches a futile march. The thought manages to get a dry laugh from him and a sharp movement from a flock of nearby birds. How easy it must be for them, he thinks, watching them cross the unknown without fear, without cause. If he were still a boy (“You are still a boy,” he hears his mother in the distance, “you’re only eighteen.”) and still with an ounce of energy, he would follow them, motivated by reckless abandon. He’s beginning to feel numb in his toes as he continues, the snow only growing in height, holding his waist in an embrace— his wife holds him by it lovingly as she talks about her day over the sirens— and tempting him to stop. To a starving man, righteousness is found at a banquet. To the thirsting man, righteousness is found at the lake. And, to a freezing man, to a man adrift in the tundra, righteousness is found at the warmth packed underneath it all. He would have succumbed to it, the ice beneath him knows he would have, if not for the dot of brown in an ever-expansive sea of white. He widens his eyes as he approaches it, cautious, his grip tightens slightly on his scar, on the reminder to keep his heart hardened and eyes trained on the horizon. There, in the snow, is a new pair of boots. There, in the snow, is a new sense of hope. The leather is warm underneath his fingers as he weeps with joy.

//LEAH BEL BEN-TZUR DESIGN// LYNN HE///ELLIE LIANG //CANVAS//UNSPLASH


The Value of Life

As the glamorous sun beams on us, my mother and I stroll towards the shops. It was a Sunday morning in East Harlem, the place I’ve been calling my home for over 10 years.

“Life, when will you give me the blessings I need?”

We walk up to the corner store where we always use to buy our groceries. My mom selects our usual items. Spices, fruits, Advil, all other necessities. We go up to the cash register and my mom scans the items with a troublesome look on her face. Her face becomes consumed by concern as the cashier echoes words of danger. “Sorry ma’am, you don’t have enough for anything”.

Fast forward to a few years later. I come home from a stressful day at college. As I see my assignments pile up, I check my email. “Congratulations on your acceptance, we look forward to having you as our employee”. I could not believe my eyes. Did all those years of curses, hardships, and struggle finally pay off? Could I finally escape the wretched existence life has gifted me? Did I finally receive life’s blessings?

“Why is the world cursing us?”

“I guess the only way to find out is to keep on living.”

As we enter our apartment building in sorrow, the worst fear of all has been brought upon us. A big red sign was attached to the boxes blocking our room door. “Eviction notice”, it read. As my mother was scrambling her thoughts together, I could think only one thought:

Finally, in the present. My mother is well taken care of and my future generations will never have to suffer as I had. With life’s curses, I also received the beautiful blessings of life.

It is winter. My mom has found another job at the dry cleaner and has been working double shifts to pay for rent at our new apartment. We are 3 months behind in rent. My new life has been treating me to the utmost worst. The kids at my school steal my lunch every morning, and my grades are the worst above all.

“It was worth it to keep on living.” // RONAN HASAN PHOTOGRAPHY// VAISH SHANOJ DESIGN // ISAAC SO


As I stroll through the snowy streets of my neighbourhood, I admire the different houses, often wondering how it reflects the people living inside. Perhaps it’s a family of four, a couple growing old together, or someone living alone peacefully amongst their presence. I now stand at the front door of my own house, built of red bricks and covered by a dark gray roof now lined with fluffy white snow. And just past that door tells the story of my almost 16 years of existence. In the living room, there sits an armchair with menacing googly eyes and a mile-long smile spreading across the back cushion. As I walk towards it, I can almost hear it saying “Ho, you're approaching me?”, remembering that time I leaped from the couch to that chair and slipped. On the stairs, I see my younger self carrying my little dolls and necklaces, and my sister telling me to be careful, or else I’d fall. One can only guess what happened next. There’s a tree in the family room that used to tower over my small self, as I struggled with all my might to reach the lowest branch. Now, it is reduced to the stem leaning against the wall and drooping brown leaves in the dark corner of the room. And in that very room, there is a piano with stacks of our sheet music across the ten years that my sister and I each spent practising almost every day. I only hope our sound resonates deep within this house and through the roots of our dying plants.


I walk across the scratched floorboards that were damaged from my sister’s birthday party some years ago. I see the glass dining table on its last legs, where many ice cream birthday cakes have been cut. In the hall on the second floor, I remember a younger me dropping my sister’s precious piggy bank in front of her very eyes. I turn my gaze to my room, my safe space, my creative studio, my personal concert stadium. The door that used to have a Taylor Swift poster plastered against it (for no reason at all, really), now replaced by posters and photocards of my favourite K-pop group. My dollhouse wears a veil of plastic over it, and my toys are stuffed into boxes, but everything is still there. I use the same floral pattern duvet cover and Rilakkuma pillow cases from 2012. And I remember that desk being built on a Monday that one time I stayed home sick in grade 2. It’s the same desk I write my short stories, sketch, and draw on. This is a room stained with tears. I would sob into my blankets wishing I was a better daughter or a better friend or a better student. But at the same time, it’s a room of self-discovery, having fun with hobbies, and relaxing after a long day of school work. I often say, “I can’t wait to get out of here,” as I fantasize about what it would be like to live in a different city or even country by myself – where I am my own boss, and I can play games for as long as I want. But sometimes I stop and think maybe I can wait. Maybe, if only for a moment, I can cherish all the memories – both good and bad – and savour as much as I can before I go out and make new ones. I’d like to think I have plenty of time. One day, I’ll be standing at my front door, hesitating to knock for fear that I will be met with an unfamiliar face asking my business there. Although, it warms my heart knowing that someone may start a new chapter of their lives here, making tender memories as I have. Perhaps the house will remember the slips and falls, the echoing laughter, and the many winters passing by, as I too start a new chapter of my life.


I think there is a moment in life where you are ready to throw it all away; when everything in you floods. And when it happens, you must let it sweep you off your feet. I am afraid of falling. The hollow and flickering hope lodged in my throat suffocates me. The question is haunting—

I lay awake at night, gazing at the sky freckled with stars, consumed by thoughts—no, hopes. And dreams. I admire the sun rise at dawn, and the moon appear at dusk. I watch the trickling rain surge, and the tender snowflakes drift.

It is so easy for me to be consumed by things. Consumed by music, art, and words. Consumed by skies and stars. Lights and snow. Consumed by moments.

My dreams have always been bigger than me. I’ve always wanted more than I can have. I am a paradox of all the things I want to be. Of all the things I want to do.

My favorite place is the oceanside. Gazing out at the intrinsic films of water furling patiently onto the shore, I feel infinite. The threshold where the sky and the waves meet seems like an otherworldly place. Somewhere not so close that I will be held down by my regrets, but not too far—welcoming me.

It is so easy for me to fall in love. To fall in love with music, art, and words. With skies and stars. Lights and snow. Moments, memories, people.


I used to tell myself to live lightly. To feel lightly even when I am feeling deeply. But what is the point of that? Why undermine the beauties and tragedies of life when all we get is one chance?

I am a contradiction of everything I want to be. I get lost in all the heights I cannot reach. And in all honesty, I don’t know much. I don’t know if I can do all the things I want to do, or go all the places I want to go. Humanity is crude; we are messy, inept; but passionate beyond anything. Living is an art. Loving is an art. Allowing yourself to fall is an art. Because we are young. We are at the time of our lives where life devours our souls and fulfills our hearts. When moments and experiences enrich us. When eyes meet, laughs are shared, and memories made. When 2 a.m. nights are just as entrancing as 4 p.m. afternoons. And so the question arrives.

I know better than anyone. I know that you feel the most alive when you feel something for someone else.

I think people would be happier if they admitted things more often. It’s scary, but it’s true. And so I will admit. And you should too.



IS HOME WHER HOME WHERE IS HO WHERE IS HOME WH IS HOME WHER HOME WHERE IS HO WHERE IS HOME WH IS HOME WHER HOME WHERE IS HO My country—it is not my own, WHERE IS HOME WH I’ve lost my way, I cannot find my home, IS HOME WHER But where, O where can I go? I look up to the sky, HO Ashes float in the air, and the birds no longer fly,

HOME WHERE IS ERE IS HOME HOME WHERE IS ERE IS HOME HOME WHERE IS ERE IS HOME HOME WHERE IS

WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOM E

WHERE is HOME?

I hear cries of grief, I feel empty, drifting like a leaf,

But I must go on.

S HOME WHERE IS WHERE IS HOME IS HOME WHERE IS WHERE IS HOME IS HOME WHERE IS WHERE IS HOME IS HOME WHERE IS WHERE IS HOME IS HOME WHERE IS I travel

But yet I remain. Constant danger looms in the air wish to be safe, to be elsewhere, But there is nowhere to be.

I look across the ocean, The sky is clear, and life is in motion,

Why can’t I be there?

across the seas, Trembling as freedom draws near, I feel the breeze,

Am I finally free?

IS HOME WH HOME WHERE IS WHERE IS HOME IS HOME WH HOME WHERE IS WHERE IS HOME IS HOME WH

The sky is clear, the birds sing, No more danger, no more fear, it is finally Spring, But why, O why do my neighbours look at me awry?

HOME WHERE WHERE IS ERE IS HOME Perhaps it is the color on my skin, HOME WHERE The country from I arrive casts me aside, and the country from which I came is WHERE IS HO WHERE IS like East Berlin, WHERE IS HOME W ERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME W HOME WHERE So where, O where can I go? //DEREK CHEN IS HOME WHERE I WHERE IS DESIGN//LYNN HE IS H HOME WHERE ERE IS HOME //CANVAS//UNSPLASH WHERE IS HOME W HOME WHERE WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME WHERE IS HOME IS HOME WHERE I WHERE IS


The True Psychology of the Toxic What is Toxicity? Toxicity is a type of behaviour in a person which adds stress and negativity to one’s life. There are light forms of toxicity, such as putting others down or derogatory statements, however, there are heavy forms of toxic behaviours such as emotional blackmailing and even cheating on a loved one. Toxicity is also regarded as wormlike as it flows freely from one to another creating a never-ending cycle of torture.

Have you ever seen a toxic person manipulate anyone they interact with? Do you ever look at that person and wonder, why are they doing this?

How could they treat someone like discarded trash? To find the reason as to why toxic people act the way they do we have to look at the factors that led to this behaviour. Most toxic people find joy in making others feel bad, as hurting someone else makes them feel better about themselves. This is because they fulfil their own self-loathing with devious acts such as manipulation to frighten their loved ones. These types of people do not have a goal in mind when they engage in toxic behaviour, as they only wish to fill the void in their soul after troublesome hours with themselves. These behaviours cause a chain reaction that creates a never-ending line of toxicity in our universe. Toxic behaviour can form from many factors. Trauma is a common cause, as it dilutes empathetic emotions and can lead to dramatic behavioural changes. To adapt and cope from toxic behaviours, a toxic person may mimic the behaviours during the period of time and use those behaviours against others. The absence of stable and caring relationships with loved ones can exhaust the brain and create toxicity as a coping mechanism. Thus, the trauma created by toxic environments or people may lead some to fall into the rabbit hole of toxicity. With the mystery behind toxic behaviour solved, the next step should be to figure out how we can reverse toxicity. In doing so, the world can elude abuse and hatred and become a better environment overall. The world should aim to devolve the idea of toxicity so future generations will live on to never experience the same trauma. The ones that have contracted the disease of toxicity are lost souls, do not let them burn you to escape the wretched grave they have buried themselves in. Instead, consider aiding them so that the cycle of trauma can come to an end. // RONAN HASAN DESIGN // ISAAC SO



COVERPHOTOGRAPHY/ /RACHAELPENG&J OLL YYAN


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