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Issue 4 Mate


Contents

6

Letter from the Editors

8

News Updates

10 RMIT Animation to Light up White Night 2019 12

Mate Playlist

13

Friends Forev...Uh?

16

A Coffee Date with a Difference

18 Rhett And Link Q&A: The Internet’s Most Popular Friendship 22

Poet from the Cell

27

Photo Essay: Claudia Tilley

32

Be Your Own Best Mate

34

Death & the Environment

38

Eye Dotted Earth

40 An Intersection of Culture: Meeting Aussies Abroad 44

The Peer Pressure Cooker

46

Piper

50

Conundrums with Simsational

52

Have a Mate with your Mate




→ Ellisha Kriesl @ellishamk

Contributors Catalyst Issue 4 2018 Established in 1944

Contact rmitcatalyst@gmail.com rmitcatalyst.com RMIT Building 57, Level 4, Room 22 Editors Kasia Kosidlo Campbell Mowat Olivia Morffew Graphic Design Lachlan Richards Emily Farbrother Typeface Brunswick Grotesque & Spooner By Dennis Grauel Basis Grotesque By The Entente Social Media Portia Sarris Lucie Davies

News William Ton Meg Sydes Film, Culture & Music Samuel Harris Video Edward James Claudia Tilley Cataclysm EP Jasmine Mee Lee AP Francesca Reid Front Cover Emily Farbrother Back Cover Ying Wang

Editorial Committee Jesse Burns Bella Cameron Claire Ciantar Lisa Divissi Ivana Domic Anthony Furci Maeve Kerr-Crowley Cameron Magusic Elizabeth Maidment Georgia Marchesi Rachel Merritt Kristen Pegoraro Julia Pillai Teja Pothumerthi Giulia Raneri Sarah RobinsonHatch Stephen Smit Jasmine Wallis Simone West Meg Whitfield Gracyn Willoughby

Printer Printgraphics Pty Ltd 14 Hardner Road, Mount Waverley, Victoria 3149 Australia P: 9562 9600 Special Thanks To Sydney Road Brunswick Association, Primary Sponsor Catalyst acknowledges that this magazine was produced on the stolen land of the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to their elders, both past and present. We also acknowledge the traditional custodians of all the lands from where the stories and artworks were sourced.

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Kasia Kosidlo Campbell Mowat Olivia Morffew

Letter From the Editors

←A  t the Positive Launch Party in July with our amazing social media team - Portia Sarris and Lucie Davies.

Hey again! We’re all hopefully lucky enough to have some good mates that stand by our side through thick and thin. Here at the Catalyst office, that’s you guys. The writers. The designers. The artists and the photographers. The readers. We couldn’t have done this issue without you, so join us as we celebrate all things MATE. If you want to see mateship at its best, head on over to page 18 to hear from the most popular friends on the internet. Rhett and Link got together with our very own Samuel Harris and talked about their 30-year friendship, mythical beasts in the land down under and their show Tour of Mythicality. While we’re on the topic of old mates, head back to 1957 Budapest with Simone West, as she delves into her grandfather’s past alongside a revolutionary poet and how this relationship was rekindled 60 years later (page 22).

Moving to the present-day, you can hear what your fellow students have to say about making friends at RMIT (page 13) and all the ways we can be our own best mate (page 32). And while you wouldn't normally associate death with the word mate, Siri Smith looks to the future over on page 36, exploring the impact of cremation (cree-MATE… get it?) on the environment. To top it all off, we have another amazing collection of visuals to feast your eyes on, including Claudia Tilley’s photo essay in the centrefold, examining the way technology has reshaped our communication with loved ones.

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We hope you enjoy issue four! Your mates, Kasia, Campbell and Olivia.

Mate


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William Ton

News Updates

Student Elections It’s that time of the year again. Student election season is about to hit RMIT. This year three teams will be campaigning to get your votes: Belong, Connect, and Left Voice. The election will be held during 3 September to 7 September. RMIT Pride Week Festival Pride Week is coming to RMIT from September 3. The university will hold its inaugural pride week in 2018 to celebrate the LGBTIQ+ community. There will be parties, barbeques and discussion panels so register and come be a part of the celebrations. Martin Bean Stays On RMIT’s Vice Chancellor Martin Bean has had his contract extended until 2023. The Vice Chancellor has played a role in projects including the development of the Ready for Life and Work strategy, Microcredentials and the Be the Change campaign. RMIT’s Chancellor, Ziggy Switkowski, made the announcement saying, “Martin’s vision will build on what we’ve started to further cement our University as the destination of choice for lifelong learning opportunities”.

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RMIT Researcher wins Science Award RMIT Associate Professor Madhu Bhaskaran was recently awarded the Asia-Pacific’s most prestigious science award for her work in flexible electronics. Madhu’s devices, which could be developed to help fight skin cancer, detect dangerous gases in mines, and create smart contact lenses that can analyse tears for biomarkers, won her the APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education. 3x3 Basketball National Championships Earlier in August, RMIT hosted the NBL Big Hustle 3x3 Nationals which saw 16 universities across Australia come to A’Beckett Square to play competitive 3v3 basketball over two days. At the end of the competition, RMIT’s Men's team came second, losing to Macquarie University 21-13 while RMIT’s Women's team defeated Victoria University 13-9 to secure fifth place, with Monash University taking the womens title.

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OPEN 9AM TO 5PM DAILY Experience the wonder of the Tesselaar tulip fields. Visit our website for the exciting list of entertainment and activities.

YTS BTIU E CK INE L



ON

www.tulipfestival.com.au  Tesselaar Tulip Farm, 357 Monbulk Rd, Silvan Vic 3795. Phone 03 9737 7722


William Ton RMIT Animation to Light up White Night 2019

→ Ming Tsai, Untitled.

For the third year running, RMIT will feature works by animation students on university buildings during White Night next year. Animated projections by students will be featured on Building 2, which houses RMIT’s School of Art, during one of Melbourne’s most invigorating and popular cultural events. Students’ works were first on display at the overnight art festival in 2017. Ming Tsai’s animations will be one of the many student works to feature during White Night in 2019, accompanied by Music Industry students producing soundtracks to go with the projections. “It will be really exciting to see my artworks on public buildings during White Night,” Ming Tsai told Catalyst News. Studying Animation and Interactive Media in RMIT’s School of Design, Ming Tsai’s animated projections centred around the theme of ‘zodiac’. “I came up with five ideas, including Egyptian mythology, zodiac, making a sandwich, Harajuku, and changing textures which I thought would be really interesting on the building,” she said. “I found it romantic to see the starry sky animation projected onto a building at night and the high contrast in colour is suitable for the animation.” The process in creating animated projections was strenuous and involved designing animations, modelling to make sure the designs fit the canvas, and lots of testing. “The colour and the weight of the lines was the main focus in the tests,” Ms Tsai said. “The projections could turn out really differently when projected on the actual buildings and the colours could be darker or even disappear, so that’s why we had to do lots of tests.” John Lycette taught the animation class earlier this year and said the “opportunity to access high level equipment was great for students”. “It will be a great opportunity for students to get their work exhibited within a festival with such a strong national profile as well as such a huge level of audience attendance,” he told Catalyst News. “Even staff and alumni jumped at the chance to make custom content for a site specific location.” White Night Melbourne runs from 7pm for 12 hours, showcasing film, fashion, theatre, drama, music and art in venues all over Melbourne. — William Ton

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→ John Lycette, Untitled.

Mate


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RMIT Animation to Light up White Night 2019

William Ton


Mate Playlist Hey, you! We’ve made a playlist for—and about— our friends (that includes you). A mish-mash of nostalgic tunes and some fresh ones to go recommend to your mates. We hope it’s better than your Spotify Discover Weekly.

Graduation (Friends Forever) Vitamin C Words With Friends Fountaineer

My Friends Red Hot Chili Peppers Material Girl Madonna

Don’t Let The Kids Win Julia Jacklin

All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down) Hank Williams Jr.

Deep Fried Frenz MF Doom

I’ll Be There Jackson 5

I’m Tied To You Two People

Wannabe Spice Girls

Alone Cristoph

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Sarah Krieg 13

FRIENDS FOREV...UH?

Although it’s a dream to go to uni in the middle of Melbourne, it can make it hard to forge meaningful relationships with other students. FRIENDS FOREV...UH?

Sarah Krieg


It’s the trope we see in any American movie that has a college-age protagonist. They go off to university and move into a dorm or a residential hall. By the end of the movie, they’ve bonded with those living around them and they all ride off into the sunset together, best friends for life. But in reality, it surely can’t be that easy–particularly not at RMIT. Every other university has a number of residential halls and colleges, and usually a concentrated campus, but we don’t seem to have that luxury here. Although it’s a dream to go to uni in the middle of Melbourne, it can make it hard to forge meaningful relationships with other students. It was easier in high school– six hours a day, five days a week, 40 weeks a year, and you’re spending time with the same group of people. The general experience? You’re bound to make at least one or two friends. But when you make it to uni, the hours are more flexible. You don’t know everyone. It’s lucky if you see a familiar face in one of your classes at the start of the new semester. And while some fortunate folks are able to form a friendship group at the beginning of first year, it’s not always that simple.

Speaking to some RMIT students, it would seem that this problem isn’t isolated. Few contact hours, the central location of campus and very little opportunity to interact with students outside of class can leave students feeling disconnected.

For those who have had experience in uni residences and living off-campus, the situation appears to be much the same. While they have friends from res, they find it much harder to form meaningful friendships when living off-campus.

“Everyone’s happy to chat to one another during class but once we’re dismissed, everyone goes off to do their own thing. It’s not impossible to make friends, but it certainly requires a lot more effort.” — Amy, Professional Communication, lives at home.

“Living on res is the only way to make friends. If I didn’t live there first year, I don’t think I’d have any friends now.” —Erin, Medical Radiation - Bundoora campus, lives in a sharehouse.

“I feel like it comes down to the individual, and I was not interested in making friends in my first year. After a few years of club and class involvement I have made quite a few good friends.” — Mackenzie, Economics and Finance, lives at home.

“During my first year, at La Trobe, I lived on college and had a group of five ready-made friends… At RMIT I had the opposite experience in terms of having to go into class, say hello and make new friends. Being a day student is quite different in terms of the time you have to get to know people.” —Alanah, Journalism, lives with a flatmate.

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“All the extracurriculars and clubs are there, so it’s up to students to engage if they want to reap the benefits and make friends.” — Amy

However, RMIT is making an effort to keep students on campus after class. The new $220 million New Academic Street precinct was built with the aim of luring students to stay, study and socialise once classes are out. Architect Carey Lyon, founder and director of the firm tasked with building NAS, told The Age that the goal was to create a “sticky campus”. He said that new study spaces, on-campus eateries and more coffee shops were included in the design to encourage students to stay at uni for longer. And it’s not just RMIT making the effort–Lyons Architecture have also designed a new student precinct for the University of Melbourne. Worth $200 million, the site will include more restaurants, student services and even 24/7 study spaces. All this, to try and keep students on campus outside of class time. In terms of making friends though, are the new spaces helping? While they might provide an area to study or work on group projects, it would seem that they only provide social opportunities to those who already have friends. Involvement in clubs is highly recommended for more social opportunities; both Mackenzie and Erin say that joining a club was a catalyst for them to expand their social horizons. Amy thinks that the choice to make friends is left up to students. “All the extracurriculars and clubs are there, so it’s up to students to engage if they want to reap the benefits and make friends.” It looks like it is possible to find friendship at RMIT, you just have to give it a try or two. Joining a club, going to a social sport event or just saying hey to someone at the start of class can kickstart your friend search. You might not end up with as many friends as uni students do in the movies, but it’s a start. — Sarah Krieg

Friends Forev...Uh?

Sarah Krieg


Megan Whitfield

A Coffee Date with a Difference

“It’s about getting the timing right, and how you use the milk,” Luke says, explaining the art of coffee making. When it comes to making a picture-perfect latte, he says “practice makes perfect”. It’s not a conversation he ever saw himself having, but his enthusiasm is clear as we sit at ACspresSO cafe, a social enterprise offering ex-offenders a pathway back into the community after time served in the criminal justice system. “I love working here,” Luke tells me, having been part of the hospitality program for 17 months now. “I love the people I work with, the customers we have—it’s a very positive atmosphere to be a part of.” After going through a secure forensic mental health hospital in Melbourne, he’s one of many Australians faced with the challenging task of re-integrating into the community after serving time. ACspresSO offered a solution, looking past his label as a ‘criminal’, and equipping him with practical and social skills to set him on a new path. “A lot of people are judgemental [about a criminal past] and that doesn’t help. [Employers] need to be open minded about the people who work for [them],” Luke says.

“I think the more open everyone is towards you, the more open you can be towards them as well... It really makes a difference, having a manager that you like and that you can relate to. I’ve got friends now. Friends that I wouldn’t have otherwise.” Referred from the Australian Community Support Organisation (ACSO), an organisation focused on helping people re-integrate into the community as they transition from prison, clients at ACspresSO come from all areas of the criminal justice system, working on a voluntary basis for varying periods, dependent on the person (ACSO also notes that safety of the staff and customers is a key priority). It’s a vital enterprise, believes cafe co-manager, Stephanie McInnes. “Not a lot of people give ex-offenders a second chance… and the opportunity to better their lives; a chance to to learn new skills,” Ms McInnes said. “There’s a massive stigma around people in the criminal justice system. People [particularly employers] see the label of ‘criminal’ and dismiss them from the beginning.” Between 1993 and 2011, the number of yearly Victorian police checks has grown from 3,500 to over 186,000, with Victoria being the only Australian state not to wipe somebody’s criminal record of low level offences after 10

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“It’s not about profit..It’s [about] seeing clients growing, their progress.” 17

years (although there has been a push for this in recent years). Ms McInnes says many ex-offenders working with ACSO also face further challenges, living with mental health problems, poor literacy levels and intellectual disabilities, all of which make it even harder to transition back into the community. ACspresSO is about breaking this cycle. “It’s not about profit..It’s [about] seeing clients growing, their progress.” Erin Boath, business development manager of ACSO, believes this training’s significance shouldn’t be underestimated. “One of the main issues people face coming out of prison is social isolation,” Ms Boath said. “They’re often treated differently, not afforded the same opportunities in terms of education, employment, housing.” The program targets this key factor in recidivism, making ex-offenders feel as though they have a place in the community, “rather than that they’ve been outcast”. “You often hear [them] expressing that they’ll never ‘shake their conviction’, that they’ll never move past it because society won’t let them. “Which, in turn, becomes one of the biggest factors in reoffending,” Ms Boath explained. “They have a social network in prison: friends,

A Coffee Date with a Difference

support. So people go, ‘well, unless I have things to look forward to and a reason to get up in the morning, why wouldn’t I just go back inside?’” “A lot of people are doing training courses now within prison [in hospitality, horticulture, etc.] which is great,” Ms Boath said. “But without a reference or some practical training, no one will really look at them. They’ll go ‘where did you get this certificate? Why don’t you have practical experience?’ “[With ACSO] they’re getting the confidence of actually working in a busy cafe, a busy environment… then [we’re] able to say this person’s worked here for three months, they’re incredibly reliable, and they’ve got really good skills. “We’re helping them to look for the right opportunities.” — Megan Whitfield

Megan Whitfield


Sam Harris

Rhett And Link Q&A: The Internet’s Most Popular Friendship

Meet Rhett and Link: two self-described ‘internetainers’ facing the bizarre world of YouTube head on. The duo are the creators and hosts of the insanely popular daily YouTube show, Good Mythical Morning, and friends since first grade. After a successful run of shows in the US, the two made their Australian debut with their Tour of Mythicality—a stage show based on their similarly-titled Book of Mythicality—which brought a blend of comedic and personal storytelling sprinkled with musical performances and offbeat life advice to our shores. Catalyst’s Sam Harris had the chance to speak to Rhett and Link about mateship, finding a balance for their content, and those dreams where you realise you have no pants on.

CATALYST* You guys have been friends for over 30 years – how is that even possible? How do you maintain this long-term friendship? RHETT* Our relationship slowly morphed from being friends to acting like an old married couple; we know we’re in this together until one or both of us die, and that will probably be a result of something related to our business or friendship, which are basically the same thing. It’s similar to a marriage—you know, with a marriage you’re building something together, you tie yourselves together with these things, whether that be children, or a home. And so we built this business together, we built whatever this Rhett and Link thing has become, and Mythical Entertainment, and the shows that we built, and so once you have these children that you both care for, in a lot of ways it’s kinda like a marriage contract. We’ve given this advice before to people: I think that a big part of a long-term friendship is having some sort of common goal; something that you’re trying to accomplish together is a great way to cement that. There’s gonna be conflict as you work through those things, but it kinda keeps bringing you back together.

[C]* You guys have never been to Australia before—what are you most looking forward to when you get here? LINK* We can tell by the YouTube data, by the analytics, that there are a lot of Mythical Beasts [in Australia]. I know there are weird creatures in the continent of Australia but I’m referring to our fans when I say Mythical Beasts. On the tour it’s just great to meet fans, so I’m just curious how much more awesome they’re gonna be down under.

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R* I can’t say that I’ve ever met an Australian person in the United States that I didn’t like. Some of my favourite people in my life right now are Australian. L* I just wanna clarify, I’m not Australian. R* Oh, you’re not? L* No. R* Oh, okay. Whoops. L* I will add, we’re gonna do tourist things too, we’re gonna see the sights! We’re bringing our families down there. All of our kids… each of our wives… bringing ‘em all. We may leave them depending on how it goes. We don’t bring ‘em to every country, man.

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[C]* How did you guys approach this live stage show as opposed to your usual, not-so-live YouTube show Good Mythical Morning? R* Before we ever did YouTube, a lot of what we did was live on stage. A lot of the songs we wrote back in the early days were originally written to be performed for a crowd live, so in some ways this is really getting back to our roots. I think there are a lot of YouTubers who come up on YouTube and develop their craft, and just because they have an audience they say “hey, I have a show, come to it!” and then you may or may not, uh… enjoy that show. Definitely the case with us is that we’re very at home with putting on a show like this— performing our music, telling stories about our friendship. The show is largely based on The Book of Mythicality and some of the stories that we tell there. We kinda go and bring those stories to life, take things even deeper, perform some songs, interact with the audience, get some people on stage—so in a lot of ways it’s our favourite thing to do and we’re looking forward to doing it in front of a slightly different crowd.

[C]* You’ve been doing Good Mythical Morning for so long, how do you balance the show for audiences both young and old— for those who’ve followed you for a long time? R* We’ve always done this show first and foremost for ourselves. We’ve done a show that we thought we would enjoy watching. We’ve done a show that’s really accessible and we don’t cross too many lines to make people feel uncomfortable, so we end up having a pretty broad audience. We regularly meet a teenager who watches the show and then they’re with their parent and they say, “we watch the show” and you can’t tell who’s the bigger fan. I think the show has evolved as we’ve grown, as our kids have grown up, but in a lot of ways we just continue to make something that we would enjoy and whoever else wants to enjoy it is free to. L* Literally, it’s free. I just wanna point that out. You’re not paying for it, so stop complaining. [Laughs]

Rhett And Link Q&A: The Internet’s Most Popular Friendship

Sam Harris


“It’s like an unspoken, guttural exclamation of shared experience… ” — Link

[C]* In your book you mention that laughter—in particular shared laughter—is key to a long, successful friendship. What is it about laughter that you think is so crucial? L* Laughter may be the most authentic indication of a shared experience. If you’re both laughing at something—you know, you can’t fake a laugh… well you can, but it’s kinda sad. So, when something really resonates and makes two people laugh it kinda creates this magical bond that you can’t fake, is what I’m trying to say. R* It’s you at your most real. L* It’s like an unspoken, guttural exclamation of shared experience… R* [interrupts] Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on. You’re reacting on a completely involuntary level so there’s no pretence to it at all and if two people are reacting to the same thing in the same way there’s like this common thing that isn’t for show in any way that sort of reveals a bond.

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L* It’s like that dream where you show up to class and you realise that you forgot to put on pants. And then you look over and someone else has walked into the other door to the classroom, and they too have forgotten to put on pants. And then you both exit to go get pants together. R* That’s how our friendship was born. L* Not really, but that’s like the fanfic version [C]* Final question: what does the future look like for Rhett and Link? Where are you gonna go from here? L* From Australia? Once we experience Australia, we may decide not to leave; we only bought one-way tickets. We’re gonna come back. There’s a lot of things on the table. For now, it’s getting back to Good Mythical Morning and releasing not only the five videos every weekday, but we’re starting to release a new show called Let’s Talk About That on Saturdays; and our podcast, Ear Biscuits, which we continue to work on comes out on Sundays. So, we’re focusing on giving Mythical Beasts something new to enjoy every day of the week.

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“Working on real projects I have developed the skills and self-confidence to succeed.” Jonathan Handojo Future Edge Participant

Get Job Ready with

Future Edge rmit.edu.au/careers/future-edge

KEEN TO GET INVOLVED? There’s plenty of ways to contribute to Catalyst in 2018, whether it’s through our magazine, podcast or online. � Email rmitcatalyst@gmail.com to get started!


Simi West

POET FROM THE CELL Content warning: this piece mentions suicide. Catalyst

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A young Hungarian revolutionary fighter was imprisoned—he emerged, a poet. 23

60 years later, a Facebook message pops up on a screen in Hungary, from a classmate who now lives in Melbourne, Australia. That classmate is my grandfather, Peter.

I am staring at a class photo from 1957 Budapest, Hungary. They are a bright class, my Apu tells me. ‘Apu’ means father in Hungarian, in Magyar, as they call it. My mother called him that, and as children, we copied her. There are about 40 young men in this photo. About a third of them went on to become masters of their trades. There are no smiles, no teeth. But you can sense these young men have greatness in store. I didn’t realise Apu’s real name was actually Peter until I was older. His last name, my mother’s maiden name, means ‘trader’ in German. Down the bottom, second from the right hand corner, is my grandfather’s picture. He points out a classmate of his. Hungarian names are placed in a different order. The first name listed is the family name. I have changed his name for anonymity, but this is the true story of how a revolutionary poem affected a man’s life, and how 60 years later, a class photo and a Facebook message request reconnected the two men. It is 2018, and my grandfather decides to type in a classmate’s name into the Facebook search function. He has been reading his work online. Apu, who is also a writer, is untraceable— he has an alias on Facebook, which includes the name of an imaginary character my sister and I made up in our youth. He also has a pen name for his work, so if someone were to look him up, he would be hard to find by simply

Poet from the Cell

searching his birth name. I’ve changed the other man’s name to ‘Ivan’. My Apu found Ivan and messaged him. Ivan responded promptly, telling him of a poem Apu wrote that got him into trouble with the police. This was Ivan’s tale: It is sometime in the late 50s. The Hungarian winter is brutal. Ivan lives with his grandmother, and when winter arrives, she sews a warm lining into his winter coat. He is a participant in the revolution, as an 18-19 year-old. The university has tasked him with distributing flyers. While doing so, he is grabbed by two policemen and whisked into a black car, to police headquarters. He is beaten up and questioned about his contacts. They are the ruling communist officials, known as the ‘AVH’. They keep him there for two to three days. They are about to let him go when they reach into the coat lining and find a note my grandfather had written in a class. It is an antiestablishment piece of poetry. Ivan had liked it so much, he had copied it... It was legible in his own handwriting. He said he didn’t write it, because he didn’t, but it was in his writing. They had a specialist handwriting expert come in to analyse it. They beat him again. Because of the poem, Ivan couldn’t get a decent job for a few years. Instead, he did day-to-day jobs, like being an extra in films.

Simi West


→T  aylor Bonin, Man in Pamukkale. @taybon

The poem itself was a follow-up to a news item. A tired and exploited bus driver had died by suicide by driving a bus into the Danube River from a bridge. The driver was a working man who the communist authorities exploited in every way. He couldn’t provide for his own family. My grandfather had shown frustration at this. In his message to my grandfather, Ivan said he used to be a drummer and was into music. But when he was detained in police headquarters, when they came to collect him, they screamed out, “bring the poet from the cell”. From there then on in, he became a poet, a man of literature. Ivan still writes books in Hungarian, too, just like my grandfather. Upon opening the cover, Ivan’s books say “this book is not available in bookshops or department stores”. He is self-published and proud of it. He had three marriages. He worked in England, Cuba and Russia. He has lived quite a life.

I stare at my grandfather after he tells me this story. He has just made fresh langos from scratch—a Hungarian fried bread made from yeast and dough and garnished with garlic, paired with mulled wine. He is now reading the first few pages of his peer’s novel, someone he hasn’t seen since graduation in 1957. He tells me he asked questions in his messages that weren’t answered in Ivan’s responses— Ivan said that everything would be explained in his books. So he’s reading the book now. I hope, one day, someone will translate it into English, so I can learn about Ivan’s life too. As for the poem? Presumably destroyed. There are no traces of it. But it left its mark. The poem may have marred his chances at any blue-collar careers, but because of it, he emerged from the cell a poet. He has been writing ever since. — Simone West @swest7

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Poet from the Cell

Simi West


Claudia Tilley @claudddsssssss

PHOTO ESSAY

I was inspired by the discourse technology has created around how we communicate with our mates and loved ones. These are pictures I have taken and the dialogue has been derived from my personal message archive. They explore a coming of age time where we can text our bffls and lovers every day.


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Photo Essay

Claudia Tilley


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PHOTO ESSAY

Claudia Tilley


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PHOTO ESSAY

Claudia Tilley


Claire Maher Be Your Own Best Mate

Toxic relationships with ourselves are sometimes hard to spot. Dr Laura Kempel, a clinical psychologist from the Black Dog Institute, says bad relationships with ourselves stem from low self-worth and negative self-talk over a long period of time. Those with a bad selfrelationship tend to have a “negativity bias”, where they discount the positive aspects of their life. This often leads to their low self-worth becoming entrenched in their psyche. A bad relationship with oneself can manifest in ways such as worsened mental health, eating disorders and difficulty in seeing yourself objectively. If this sounds like you, you aren’t alone, and there are ways to improve your self-relationship. I asked some students around campus what they did to look after themselves, especially if they’d had a stressful day:

“I chill out at home and watch bad reality TV and dating shows.” — Sarah, second year. “I go for a walk at lunchtime, just anything to get moving. And going out with friends to the movies, to the gym— as long as I’m with people.” — Evana, third year. “I go out for a beer or a cider with my friends at a bar.” — Thursday, second year. “Chilling out, relaxing in a bath.” — Celine, second year. “I call up a mate and go and run with him, or go out with my brother.” — Tom, first year.

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While these are great ways to overcome one or two stressful days, they can also be beneficial to your long term relationship with yourself. Dr Kempel says there are a few proven ways we can take care of our mental and physical health. Let’s start with the classic self-care remedies—sleep, exercise and healthy diet and water. Having a self-care plan to address the different aspects of your life you want to improve is the key to overcoming negative self-relationships.

• P  hysical self-care is a good place to start. Victoria University’s report ‘The State of Self-Care in Australia’ says that up to 80 per cent of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes, and a third of cancers can be prevented by physical self-care. And remember: physical self-care can’t be optional, it’s necessary to live happily.

• P  sychological self-care is also super important— being flexible with your thoughts and knowing they aren’t necessarily the truth about yourself. Having fun, laughing, helpful self-talk and being aware of your mood and feelings will help you overcome that cycle of negative self-thoughts.

• S  piritual self-care is important. This can mean a number of things: getting outside in nature, feeling gratitude, participating in hobbies or taking time to relax and meditate are all ways to improve your spiritual side.

Lastly, being aware of who you are and what your goals are in life certainly helps, according to Dr Kempel. Being able to identify your strengths and weaknesses will help you find the truth about yourself (and overcome those baseless negative thoughts). It can also help you decide what you want to change in your life to become happier. Please remember, if you need help with your mental health, or if anything in this article affects you: Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit your GP. RUSU’s Compass Drop-In-Centre on every campus are also available if you need help or just someone to chat to.

Be Your Own Best Mate

Claire Maher


Siri Smith

DEATH & THE ENVIRONMENT

As humans, we don’t like to think about what happens to our bodies after we die—quite frankly, it’s pretty gross. Catalyst

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As humans, we don’t like to think about what happens to our bodies after we die—quite frankly, it’s pretty gross. Death is a sensitive and daunting topic; most people try to think about it as little as possible. We leave behind instructions noting what we want done with our bodies, considering what it may cost for our families, but rarely do we consider how much it’ll cost the Earth. What we choose to do with our remains could have a large impact on the environment—thus resurfacing the age old debate between being cremated or buried. Which one should we choose, or can we do better? Traditional burials and cremations according to Dr Pia Interlandi, RMIT academic and co-founder of the Natural Death Advocacy Network, are “glorified, ritualised ways to dispose of a body”. Many find comfort in these traditional farewells and in the ability to visit a loved one after they have passed. For some it is a cultural or spiritual matter— numerous cultures and religions have restrictions on how a body is to be laid to rest. But how sacred is a final resting place to families when their relative is laying atop of someone else’s grandfather? “We are running out of space at a really rapid pace,” Pia said, referring to some Australian cemeteries that offer triple depth graves. Not only does this affect grieving families— these factors associated with traditional burials affect decomposition in a way that disrupts the natural cycle of our nutrients being dispersed back into the soil. With the average coffin-making process involving two trees, traditional burials alone are damaging ecosystems. Considering these issues alongside the rising prices of urban grave plots, it seems logical that cremation is the most common option— but at what cost? A study lead by Adelaide’s Centennial Park found 160 kilograms of carbon dioxide can be produced by a single cremation. That is roughly equivalent to the emissions produced by a car trip from Melbourne to Sydney. If that wasn’t enough to get you thinking, the fillings in your teeth that get cremated along with you are contributing to 70 percent of the world’s mercury pollution, harming aquatic ecosystems and those who consume them. “What a lot of people don’t recognise is that a cremation is exactly the same as a burial up until the point you go into the ground,” Pia said. The rituals we participate in after death usually still happen when a person elects to be cremated. Bodies will be transported in a coffin during a funeral procession, which requires the body to be embalmed before transportation due to delicate body parts like stomachs becoming a ticking time bomb when disturbed. The combustion of unsustainable goods such as embalming fluid and dental fillings can be just as harmful as burying them.

Death & the Environment

Siri Smith


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There are other options—donating your body to science is becoming a more popular choice. 37 ←E  mily Cork, Mountain Woman. @ohdeer.art

The conventional idea of a final resting place is subject to change due to the natural burial or ‘green burial’ being introduced in Australia. The green burial involves burying a body only 90cm below the ground, allowing the body’s natural nutrients to be absorbed into the soil and nourish the earth surrounding it. Bodies are prepared without chemical preservatives and are buried in biodegradable materials. Most natural burials often do not include a tombstone or monument, with a stone marker or tree with a small plaque usually indicating where someone is. “Families are being considered as it is quite distressing not being able to locate a loved one,” Pia said, emphasising the importance of markers such as these for bereavement. Though not as readily available as cremation, there are a few holistic funeral directors here in Victoria providing you with the greenest option Australia currently offers. There are other options—donating your body to science is becoming a more popular choice. But once your body is finished being examined, there will be leftovers which still need to be disposed of properly (and I’m not talking about crock pots). There are many other outlandish ideas yet to be introduced here; Pia’s personal problematic favourite is the ‘Capsula Mundi’ which is a form of ‘natural burial’ that involves placing the body in a burial pod under the roots of a tree. But because bodies are buried so far underground, the body will not decompose properly, causing fermentation and ammonia bleaching. “Composting as opposed to fermentation gives you additional benefits and actual positive contributions to an environment,” Pia said, also pointing out how difficult it would be to get the body in the foetal position for burial. Though nice conceptually, the science behind it seems to present more problems than solutions. Now that you are aware of your options, it’s important to be emphasise that traditional burials and being cremated are not the worst things in the world for the environment. We as human beings produce far more waste whilst we are alive—at least 113 tonnes of waste as per the average person’s lifetime. Even the people driving to see you away will leave a far bigger footprint than your cremation. But there is only one thing in our lives that is certain: we are all going to die. It is important we consider the alternatives so we can make more environmentally conscious decisions whilst we are still here. Pia stressed that “your choice in death should reflect the life you have left behind you.” In the argument between cremations and traditional burials; being cremated is still better for the environment, but natural burials not only look after you and your family, they look after the Earth. These decisions are important, so weigh up all of your options and choose what is best for you and the planet. — Siri Smith @smitsiri

Death & the Environment

Siri Smith


Emily Cork Eye Dotted Earth

mother earth, an endless cycle of rebirth! we belong to the soft fabric of her soil, her surging seas, sprouting jungles and forests around the globe. us tiny humans gaze up at the moon that gently controls us, our eyes blinking wide like bright blooming carnations growing out of our busy brains! our hopes, our dreams, our dilemmas all summarised in a starry sky on a clear evening. such a galactic paradise we are privy to—but we’ve taken our mother for granted and she is ailing in our consuming hands that glow too warm. she is weeping, her iceberg tears spilling into a delicate ocean, her flowering beauty is starting to choke in the suffocating warmth… her fate is in our hands but we keep choosing to ignore it. look around you, notice the cerulean blue of the sky, the defiant weeds through the pavement, the golden sun that sprinkles tiny freckles on your nose and warms you head to toe. gosh it’s a beautiful corner of the universe to be in but we’ve only got one planet earth. fight for her

→E  mily Cork, Eye Dotted Earth. @ohdeer.art

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Eye Dotted Earth

Emily Cork


Jesse Burns

An Intersection of Culture: Meeting Aussies Abroad

It was once American tourists in which people loathed: loud, obnoxious and very little regard for local cultures. Nowadays, there’s an evident and growing stigma towards us. Catalyst

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It was once American tourists in which people loathed: loud, obnoxious and very little regard for local cultures. Nowadays, there’s an evident and growing stigma towards us. Australian cultural hegemony has become a predominant issue throughout much of Southeast Asia. Full Moon parties, excessive pill-dropping and drinking copious amounts of liquor out of a beach bucket, aren’t exactly in line with the traditional Thai way-of-thinking. Destruction linked to tourism has devastated 77 per cent of coral reefs in Thailand’s waters. Thai officials are now closing many of its beaches, clamping down on tourists destroying its iconic islands. The once untouched country is slowly fading away at a rate it cannot keep up with. Paradise lost. Because of this reputation, I try avoiding Australians at any opportunity when travelling. I leave home in search of new experiences with new people— not to hang out with the same foul-mouthed, VB-drinking alpha male I sit next to on a Friday night at the footy. Not that there’s anything wrong with drinking a well-earned Victoria Bitter. Recently, I’ve been working as a political writer in Detroit, Michigan. The Motor City. If I could encapsulate what Detroit is like for anyone who is yet to visit this part of Midwest America, I’d say: Imagine everything wrong with the US, then you have Detroit. In this city of chaos, it’s quite hard to relate to what people here have grown up with, their values and indeed their approach to dealing with issues. I befriended a local ‘Michigander’ earlier this month. I thought we had a lot in common until he began telling me how for July 4—America’s Independence Day—he purchased a pistol for his wife. To which I replied, “Oh, how romantic.” Don’t get me wrong, I have met many Americans—both on this trip and trips before—who I have gotten along with really well. I’d even go as far as saying some are among my closest friends. This sense of alienation I feel towards Michigan residents has prompted me to seek fellow Australians. If I hear that distinct lazy-accent in the distance, I’ve dropped any prejudice towards my fellow patriots and approached them with an affable “G’day mate!” There’s something comforting in knowing when I speak our native tongue, there will be a mutual understanding beyond which any American—or foreigner—could possibly conceive. On my last trip to the US, I was picked up by an Australian traveller named Stephen while hitchhiking through California’s Yosemite National Park. Stephen is your classic Aussie surfer bloke: silky blonde hair, blue eyes and a rippa’ accent. He picked me up in a station wagon he’d driven

An Intersection of Culture: Meeting Aussies Abroad

Jesse Burns


Top Taylor Bonin, Dunes in Sidi Kaouki, 2018. @taybon

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Bottom Emily Farbrother, Copenhagen, 2018. @ems_mems_

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from Canada down to Baja, Mexico and back up again. In a car of five seats, only two were vacant. The three surfboards he had crammed into the already jam-packed Ford made for very little wiggle room. On our trip through some of the more picturesque landscapes of California, we talked for hours on end about home: the endless waves dotting Australia’s coasts, footy and our many favourite Australian artists. While speaking with another fellow Australian, Julie, who has been living in Detroit for quite some time (she’s one of the many ex-pats working out of the GM headquarters), I asked if she ever gets homesick. She replied, “All the time”. I probed into what she missed about home: the culture, the people, the food—what was it that made her miss the land girt by sea? She thought about it for a while before delving into the polarising differences between Australians and in particular, Americans here in Michigan. “We are just so different,” she told me. “There are a lot of people who I get along with really well, but sometimes it’s nice just to be able to talk about home and relate to someone who can understand some of the things I am dealing with.” Julie often invites me to an Australian meet-up group, who go for drinks every Friday night. She tells me it’s a great chance to talk about home and get along with people who understand our tribulations or, simply, get my dose of Aussie banter. Meeting Australians overseas can be both an uplifting or undesirable experience. There have been many occasions where I have done everything I can to avoid other Aussie travellers. But sometimes, coming across that Vegemite-loving, beer-drinking Aussie might be one of the best opportunities you’ll ever have to find a future mate. Stephen and I are still in contact. He’s currently skiing down the slopes of Whistler. I have no doubt we’ll meet again over a few frothies. Much more than I can say for the gun-buying American I hope to never meet again. — Jesse Burns

An Intersection of Culture: Meeting Aussies Abroad

Jesse Burns


April Austen

The Peer Pressure Cooker

As young adults, peer pressure might seem like an issue we’ve passed. Something we’ve overcome. A problem from our childhood and adolescence that shall not bother us as we wade forth into the world of self-assured adults who know what they want and what they like, and therefore aren’t susceptible to the temptations of peer pressure. Surely all of us life-experienced humans, who have suffered the ill effects of trying to be ‘cool’, won’t bother attempting to force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do. “No, Janis, of course you don’t have to drink three bottles of wine with me tonight,” one middle-aged lady might say to her friend from work on a Monday night. “Shaun, of course I understand that you don’t want to jump 10 metres down into the unknown depths of water beneath us for a joke,” a man might say to his best mate as they stand at the edge of a river. But this isn’t the case. Our youthful experiences of coercing each other into things we don’t want to do haven’t stopped us from continuing the practice in adulthood. Peer pressure is prevalent in every stage of our lives. The types of experiences teenagers are peer pressured into do, however, vary from

those of adults. Teens tend to be encouraged into a wide array of risk-taking behaviour, whether it be binge-drinking, drug-taking, reckless driving or going to places their parents wouldn’t allow. The high susceptibility of adolescents to such pressure often stems from their desire to fit in with certain other teenagers at a time when self-esteem, selfconfidence and self-identity are low and the social politics of high school are the be-alland-end-all of life. Whilst some adults are encouraged into risky behaviour, more adults are pressured into other types of decisions and experiences that may have impacts on their everyday lifestyle choices and careers. Workplace colleagues are one of the most apparent sources of pressure, which makes sense when you consider them as the adult equivalent of our school classmates. Most people have a strong desire to impress and succeed, as well as fit in, at their job which makes the influence of higher ranking peers particularly enticing. Samuel Gleeson, a former journalist, experienced a great amount of pressure from colleagues as he attempted to forge his career in the media industry. During an internship, he felt unable to say ‘no’ to any

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Peer pressure is not an exclusively negative phenomenon; being forced to do something you don’t want to can have positive effects.

request from his boss or peers to interview people, regardless of how uncomfortable he felt interrogating people about their personal lives. A sense of being “disposable” to the news company made the peer pressure too difficult to resist. “It’s not hard to get trapped and feel suffocated,” Gleeson said of the pressure. As living organisms who cannot survive without social interaction (something we all learnt the hard way if you didn’t have the right cheat code on The Sims to drag up the socialising bar), it seems inevitable that we will continue to pressure each other and be pressured into various unwanted situations. This may seem like a scary thought, but the peer-pressure cooker can sometimes work in your favour. Peer pressure is not an exclusively negative phenomenon; being forced to do something you don’t want to can have positive effects. Encouragement from a group can force people to step outside their comfort zones into new things they love—allowing them to find new hobbies, confidence and experiences. It can shape people’s lifestyles into healthier and more fulfilling ones and change problem behaviour.

The Peer Pressure Cooker

According to Brett Laursen, fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) and professor of psychology, in an interview for the APA website, the end result of peer pressure “depends on the characteristics of the more influential person in a group”. “The more the group leaders have a positive agenda, the more that other children are likely to be influenced by that positive agenda,” Laursen said. We’re not going to escape peer pressure. It will always linger in the background like that cough you have for a month after you recover from a cold, except it hangs around forever. But that’s okay! Peer pressure is an integral part of our social relationships and it has the potential to inspire us into great things if we know who to look up to. — April Austen @aprilausten

April Austen


Piper

Hamish McIntyre

Hamish McIntyre

PIPER

One moment Piper is at your side and then she’s dead on the road. You don’t even see it happen. Catalyst

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→J  acqueline Ling, The Doggo. @club_koi

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It’s hard to pinpoint a single cause—a combination of events lead to your world shattering. The screech of a buzz-saw on metal. The rain-slicked road. A distracted driver. Your loose grip on the leash. One moment Piper is at your side and then she’s dead on the road. You don’t even see it happen. I You haven’t left your house in days, not since your best friend was taken. Her food and water bowls remain topped up and you keep her leash in your pocket. Maybe she’ll just wander in through the door to the garden, tail wagging and her head cocked to the side like usual. The memory of her death is fractured. It feels more like something you imagined after someone else described it to you. Piper’s fine, just sleeping in one of her spots on the balcony, or on your bed. She’ll come through soon—it's almost time for her dinner. II You can’t believe how stupid you were. You knew the Hutton family were having renovations done—of course there’d be sawing. You knew Piper was terrified of power-tools and want to get away from them quickly. It had rained the night before, so you knew the road would be slippery and cars wouldn’t stop in time. You should have held the leash tighter. You remember the way Piper used to look up and put her nose on your leg, huffing out a breath as if to sympathise with you when you were in a bad mood. It’s your fault.

Piper

Hamish McIntyre


III It’s not too late—maybe you can bring her back. You’ve always been interested in the supernatural, and even though you’re not sure you believe in it, you want to. It’s not hard to find information about artefacts with otherworldly powers; it’s just a matter of picking out facts from fiction. You spend days researching, forgetting to eat and sleep until your body nearly gives out and you collapse. But then you find something: different sources about the same object, a small wooden carving capable of resurrecting the dead. Someone barely an hour from you is trying to sell it. You imagine Piper, alive again. Running in a circle then pouncing on the couch and rolling around, full of energy and so happy to be by your side. You start typing an email to the seller. This has to work. There’s a squeak of a chair dragging on tiles. You jump and feel the adrenaline hit. A tired looking man with messy hair slumps into the seat opposite you, then dumps a package on the table. It’s roughly the same size and shape as a tissue box, wrapped in brown paper and tied with a purple ribbon. You lick your lips. “Is that—” “Yeah.” “What’s with the wrapping?” The man says nothing and looks at you like you’re an idiot. You reach for the box, but he drags it back towards him. He holds out his other hand instead. “Oh.” You retrieve your wallet from your bag and pull out two $50 notes. “Make it 150.” You frown. “Hang on, you said—” “I changed my mind.” You glare and grit your teeth as you fish out an extra $50, resisting the urge to throw the money at him and just placing it in his hand instead. He pushes the box across the table. You grab it before he can change his mind again. “Thanks.” The man stands and says, “Don’t contact me again.”

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IV When you get home, you tear open the box before even sitting down. Inside is a small, intricately carved statuette depicting a masked figure, kneeling with their hands covering their ears. It’s made of dark wood, except for the mask. It seems to be bone. You think it might be an idol for a god you’re unfamiliar with. You lift up the figure slowly, gently. There’s a strange heaviness to it, something more than its weight. Pins and needles begin dancing under your skin, starting at your hand and spreading along your arm. Your heart jumps and you run outside to Piper’s grave, under the peach tree. You grip the idol as hard as you can and squeeze your eyes shut as you will it to bring her back. You don’t care what price you have to pay as long as this works. You wait, bracing for a clap of thunder. Silence. The tingling in your arm is gone, and you open your eyes and see nothing’s changed. You drop the idol. Tears blur your eyes and you hold back sobs. This isn’t going to work—it’s just wood and bone. Your heart turns heavy as the reality of Piper’s death hits you. You stare at her grave and your mind just shuts down. You don’t know how much time passes, but it’s dark when you finally go inside again. You don’t sleep well that night. V You sleep in. When you wake up—just after 1pm—you feel better than you have in weeks. There’s still a weight in your chest, a dull pain whenever you think of her. Piper was an important part of your life, and you were an important part of hers. You’re glad you spent so much time together, and there are so many memories you can look back on. You remember driving her home when you first got her. She was so small, and carsick. You remember taking her to the beach and letting her run through the  sand chasing seagulls. She didn’t go anywhere near the water. You remember her lying at your feet after a bad breakup, doing her best to comfort you despite her not understanding what was happening. You’re far from okay, but now you can begin to heal. — Hamish McIntyre @ZombieHam

Piper

Hamish McIntyre


Simi West

Conundrums with Simsational

@simwest7

A friend and I are planning to go travelling to Europe at the end of the year. Another friend caught wind of the plan and now is acting as if she is coming, and is asking us when we are booking our flights. How do I tell her we don’t want her there without hurting her feelings? We want to backpack and do it cheaply and she is one of those people who buys designer clothing and only stays at hotels. — Harley, 21 Send her the most disgusting AirBnB apartments you can find and say you are thinking about staying there. Deter her in any way you can. Or, you could always just be honest and tell her your budget is much lower than hers, and that Prada is circa 2007.

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My housemate is a personal trainer and keeps filling in the cryptic crossword answers that I don’t get immediately. But sometimes I like to mull over my answers and it takes me a few days to get through it. He then acts like I’m dumb and makes comments like, “you need more brainfood in your brekky” and other annoying things personal trainers say, just because I don’t have time to complete it during breakfast. How do I let him know that he needs to move out? — Hayden, 26 Wow, no one messes with my cryptic crosswords! What about getting him to pay for the paper subscription? Or stealing his cacao nibs so he can’t make his acai bowl? Or complete it while on the toilet. He definitely won’t want to touch it after you’ve worked your magic in there. Mark your terrain! Show him how valuable you can be, Elle Woods. Or move out. I suggest moving to Siberia.

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There’s a girl who follows me on Instagram, but she always copies my photos and my captions. If I go to a certain cafe, she will be there the next day. She even has more followers than me! I don’t want to hurt her feelings by blocking her but she is stealing my brand. – Jules, 19 This actually happened to me while I was in school. The only thing you can do is let them know you know, so they know that you know that they know that you know. Does that make sense? Great! I’m a genius. I was born to do this kind of humanitarian work.

My partner and I just rented out a second bedroom in our apartment. We found a really nice guy but he keeps flirting with my boyfriend, Adam, and walking into the bathroom ‘by accident’ when he knows Adam is showering. He also cooks vegetarian meals for Adam and when I ask to have some, he says no, because I eat meat, therefore I should make my own. How do I fix this? — Jemma, 30 There is a very easy fix for this! Just start doing the same thing to him. Walk into the bathroom while he’s in the shower. Cook your boyfriend delicious meals and then say he can’t have it. Give him a taste of his own passive aggressiveness. If that all fails, break up with your boyfriend and let them live together happily! Or you could become polyamorous, if you’re cool with that. Images Ellisha Kriesl, Q&A. @ellishamk

Conundrums with Simsational

Simi West


Piper

Julia Pillai

HAVE A MATE WITH YOUR MATE

Australians love a good cup of coffee with mates but we forget other ways to boost our caffeine intake. Catalyst

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 ustralians love a good cup of coffee A with mates but we forget other ways to boost our caffeine intake. →→ Mate is a drink high in caffeine and antioxidants that is popular across South America and in some areas of the Middle East, such as Lebanon and Syria.

53

→→ Mate is made by brewing Yerba mate leaves with hot water.

→→ The drink is served in a hollowed out gourd and drunk through a bombilla.

→→ Bombillas are purpose made straws, usually made out of metal or wood, that have a filter at the end. This strains the mate as you drink.

→→ The Yerba mate leaves are packed into one half of the the gourd and hot water is poured in. As the Yerba mate leaves are potent, people continue to add hot water as they drink.

→→ Mate is designed to be drunk with friends, sharing the same gourd and refilling water as needed.

So the next time you want to catch up with friends and need a wholesome pick me up, ditch the bearded barista and brew some mate for your mates. —J  ulia Pillai @juliapillai

Have a Mate with your Mate

Julia Pillai

Images David Thai. @_davidthai


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Catalyst: 'Mate', Issue 4, Volume 74  

We love our Aussie slang, and in this issue we explore mate in in all forms. Think friendship, traditional South American tea, primates and...

Catalyst: 'Mate', Issue 4, Volume 74  

We love our Aussie slang, and in this issue we explore mate in in all forms. Think friendship, traditional South American tea, primates and...

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