THE TERTANGALA THE TRAV E L I S S UE
I SSUE 06 V OL UME 52
NURSING SCHOOL METHODS QUESTIONED Brittany Carter investigates student allegations that Bachelor of Nursing ECG practicals are too invasive.
O N Y E R BI K E M 8 Nicolas Ozolins shares the highs and lows of his 29-day bike ride from Airlie Beach to Sydney.
T H E R E G UL A R S News, Opinions, Arts and Culture, a Gig Guide, an Alaskan Photo Essay, Exchange Advice and much more.
THINGS YOU’LL LEARN WHILE VOLUNTEERING FOR THE TERTANGALA •
Once you’ve submitted your piece, it doesn’t end there. You may have to complete up to four or five more edits.
Stating that you think it’s cool your mag featured the word ‘c#nt’ on the cover in a room half-filled with baby boomers, will lead to a mixture of uncomfortable laughter and one boisterous laugh from your best mate.
“I said Tert, not turd,” will become a common phrase.
How to push past that late night, brain dead feeling. Nocturnal writing is going to become a common thing (hint: try going to bed early and waking up early to harness that morning energy).
Smiley faces during Facebook conversations are an effective communication technique to keep the peace between editors and writers… especially when it’s one am, you’re wearing tracksuit pants, have food stains on your shirt, are stressing about finishing an article and an assessment at the same time, and are probably yelling at your cat about it.
What you think might be a great story may actually be really problematic.
The uni will often decline to comment on serious issues.
Deadlines may overrule perfection… and that fact will drive you mad.
You’ll need a larger diary that’s got enough room to write your evergrowing to-do lists.
Geneva is the troll of the font kingdom. If you use it, prepare to say goodbye to all your double f ’s in the printing process.
Your printers are angels that will pull you through some tough times (we love you Print and Mail).
Your designers, artists, photographers and writers, are also angels that will pull you through the tough times.
The university internet will die at the moment you try and send the magazine to the printers… and that will happen three times.
On your desktop you will have ‘to clean’ folders within your ‘to clean’ folders… and then infinite ‘to clean’ folders within those ‘to clean’ folders.
Student politicians only make sense never.
Journalism is hard and coffee is great.
InDesign will occasionally ruin everything.
Your grammar kind of sucks and why didn’t you realise this till now?
Keep past Editors close; they’re like publication first aid kits.
Being an Editor is actually a job that mainly entails managing people.
How to say ‘Tertangala’.
CO-EDITORS Belinda Quinn
POETRY EDITOR Joel Ephraims
Print & Mail
PHOTOGRAPHY Brittany Carter
Lauren Joy Barettt
Kelsey McIntosh Zofia Zayons
Georgia Holloway Natalie McLaren Milo Kelly
Heather Wortes Emily Ritchie
Caitlin Morahan Hayley Casey Amy Fairall
23-25 Meeks Road, Marrickville
Nikolajs Ozoliņš Euan Malcolm Tilly Kidd Alex Pike
Jamie Reynolds Josef Ferraro
Trent Thomas Jake Evans
Alexandra Smith Brittany Carter Belinda Quinn
NSW 2204 PH: (02) 9519 8268
CONTENTS E DI TO R I A L S
NE WS A ND O P I NI O N
The Trip That Keeps On Giving
Exchange Student Tasered At Kooloobong
Yet Another Urban Outfitters Controversy
Global Travel Warnings Amidst The Ebola Crisis
Students Deem Nursing Faculty’s Methods Too Invasive
The Ultimate Music Internship
Hostel Etiquette 101
North But Not Forgotten: An Alaskan Photo Essay
Anywhere But Here
On Yer Bike M8
A Lethal Combination
To Fly Or Not To Fly?
The Pros And Cons Of ‘The Plan’
Don’t Judge An Ashram Guest House By Its Garden
ARTS AND CULTU RE
THE TR AV E L I S S U E
Artist Profile: Jason Bloomfield
11 Quick Questions With Cover Artist Alex Pike
Backpacking At 16
Leaping The Language Barrier
Ninja Turtles Review
When People Think Brazil, They Think Rio De Janeiro
Profile Feature: Ain’t Nothing But A King
Stepping Up And Getting Shit Done
A Cultural Taboo
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
The content of this publication is made for and by the
Tertangala and WUSA acknowledge the traditional custodians
Responsibility for Tertangala is taken by the WUSA council.
are of individual authors and do not necessarily reflect
Dharawal people, and pay respect to their elders past, present
students of the University of Wollongong. Views expressed those of WUSA or the publisher.
of the land upon which we meet and work, that of the and future, for they hold the memories, the traditions, the culture and the hopes for Indigenous Australia.
The University of Wollongong accepts no responsibility for this publication.
EDITOR’S NOTES There’s an overarching theme in the last editorial of each Tert generation. It seems it’s common to have mixed feelings finishing up the last issue and our time making the Tert. A state-of-mind that combines relief and nostalgia, reflecting the exhausting and exciting rollercoaster we’ve just jumped off. It’s finally time to put on the blue hat and robe, graduate, and head out into the ‘real’ world, where there will always be more stories to tackle and more experience to gain. Many of you guys are probably feeling the same way about your achievements this year; reminiscing over the great times you’ve had during your degree if you’re graduating too (although if you spent a fair bit of time at the UniBar then this year might be a little hazy). You’re probably itching to finish that final exam or essay before you take off in a plane, hit the road in a car, on a bus, or (like one of our writers) on ya bike—to as far away as you can get from here. It’s these moments that keep us slogging through uni work in the toughest weeks, and it’s why we thought it would be fitting to end the session and year with a Travel Issue. Inside Laura Polson follows the story of Zilla Van Den Born, a Dutch Graphic Design student who tricked friends into believing she was on a five-week holiday in South-Asia by uploading manipulated images to Facebook. Cailin Kramer has compiled a monthly calendar that’ll give you some tips on what’s going on around the world, so that if you haven’t planned your next getaway you are now equipped to do so. Lauren Barrett breaks down the pros and cons of planning out a trip, and we explore Alaskan landscapes with photojournalism student and keen traveller, Alex Pike. Kelsey McIntosh and Zofia Zayons trade opinions on whether solo or group travel is better, and several of our contributors have offered their exchange advice and their best and worst (some amusing) travel experiences for your pleasure. In our news section Brittany Carter reports on an international student’s removal from Kooloobong which escalated to him being
To our writers: Reading your pieces was the biggest blessing of this job. I have seen you all grow and learn and better yourselves beyond what I ever imagined. Thank you for your amazing stories that filled the pages. To the illustrators: Seeing an email titled ‘Tert Illustrations’ in my inbox was the best part of my day. Your talented artworks go beyond illustrating an article- they are a story in themselves. Thank you for bringing our magazine to life. To the dedicated team: Thank you Laura Polson- your dedication to contribute and your friendly face never failed to cheer me up. Thank you Alexandra Smith- you have gone above and beyond and encouraged us in all of our endeavours. Thank you Gemma Mollenhauer- your enthusiasm for learning and your willingness to challenge yourself and others will make you a great co-editor next year. Thank you Bec Wiggins- I could not have gotten through this
tasered at least two times. Gemma Mollenhauer also reports the hype surrounding another Urban Outfitters controversy. There’s two investigations: Cailin Kramer lists the facts you need to know about the Ebola virus, and Brittany Carter investigates claims that the Nursing Faculty should reconsider some of its teaching methods. In our Arts and Culture section, Alexandra Smith chats with local soul, jazz and electronic band Beaten Bodies, and Trent Thomas and Josef Ferraro review the new Ninja Turtle movie. And to wrap things up, we’d like to say a huge thank you. There would have to be close to a hundred people that we are grateful for. Thanks to our designer, Jess Nesbitt, for being able to constantly work your magic, make everything look pretty and for having an unlimited amount of patience. Thanks to past Tert Editors who’ve kept us sane (and bought us sympathy beers). Thanks to our writers, whom without, we’d probably just have a magazine filled with pretty lame and slightly out-dated memes.To the wonderful emerging artists, illustrators and photographers we’ve had the chance to work with— thank you! And finally, to our families and friends who are no doubt sick of our whining about writer’s block, and stress-fuelled tantrums. We wish all the luck in the world to 2015’s Co-Editors, Gemma Mollenhauer and Rebecca Wiggins. These two enthusiastic, young journos have already got some groovy ideas up their sleeve. They have plans in place with a new designer to make the Tert even better next year! The chance to have complete creative and editorial freedom within a publication is an inspiring (and rare) experience in the publishing industry, so we think this mag is pretty special. We hope you support them and get involved in the process next year. We’ll leave you with something that’s got us through this year: “To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” - Aristotle Bowing out, BELINDA QUINN & BRITTANY CARTER, CO-EDITORS
year without your constant support and our mutual love for anything caffeinated. To the co-editors:We did it! Thank you Brittany for your commitment to quality, your brilliant news pieces and your amazing ability to juggle. Thank you Belinda for your thoughtful approaches to tough situations, for doing more than one person should do ever and for your hilarious writing that always leads to embarrassing- and often public- cackles of laughter. And finally, to my friends and family: Thank you for listening in complete bafflement as I whined about ‘grids’ and ‘spot colours’, thank you for bringing me sustenance when I spent too many hours in the Tert office and thank you for your consistent love and encouragement. Thank you, readers, for having me and here’s to a new adventure! JESS NESBITT, DESIGNER
THE TRIP THAT KEEPS ON GIVING BY REBECCA WIGGINS @UOW101
One of clearest memories I have from my childhood is also one of my most mundane experiences. I was eight when my mum sat me down for a very serious discussion about changes that were going to happen in our family. One thing that stood out was how tentatively Mum was speaking, taking huge pauses to make sure every word spoken was exactly what needed to be said and was said in exactly the right way. She began all at once with, “Your dad has been asked to help with the water supply for the Commonwealth Games this year.” “Uh-huh,” I answered pretty distractedly (I mean come on, I was eight. No eightyear-old is focused). “They’re being held in England,” she pressed. “Okay.” “So, Dad will be working in England for 6 months,” she said, trying to convey the gravity of the situation. “Oh, okay.” “… Bec, we’re going too.” “Oh. Cool.” I was a very underwhelming child. Although I didn’t know it at the time, that brief, simple conversation marked
the start of one of the most exciting, remarkable and breathtaking experiences in my entire life, and sparked my love for travel. As a child, sometimes a lot of things very easily feel like a waste of time. When I lived in England I had the opportunity to have a unique life experience and expand my mind, however, most of the historical and cultural aspects of the trip went entirely over my four-foot-tall head. In saying that though, while I was abroad I had tonnes of fun and enjoyed things in my own child-like way, but as I learn new things about the places I’ve already been, I can appreciate them in entirely new ways. As it was winter and England has deciduous trees, I could see all the old bird nests resting in bare branches. So, with the attention and determination that only a painfully bored child can possess, I counted them. All of them. No, professionals never really could say exactly what was wrong with me, it’s an ongoing investigation... I counted bird’s nests the very first day I was in England, the day we drove up to York (which much to my disappointment was nothing like New York). And while I had a nice time in York, that moment was definitely the highlight for me.
Now, looking back, I nostalgically remember counting them and can also appreciate that I went somewhere as cool as York; an awesome walled city in the Roman Empire! Looking back, things I took very little interest in are now the most interesting of all. I almost feel like I went on two trips; like I’m still on a trip. Trippy. That’s why, for me anyway, travel is the gift that keeps on giving and, luckily for you, UOW can help you catch your very own case of the travel bug. Studying abroad is probably the single most remarkable experience any student could hope to have at university. It’s an amazing way to develop connections and meet new and exciting people who can become lifelong friends. This way you don’t need to halt your university studies in order to travel. Applications for student exchange in Spring 2015 are now open, so you should definitely check that out. You can find more information at the UOW website: www.uow.edu.au/student/exchange/ index.html. Otherwise you can visit Student Central on the ground floor of Building 17, between 9am and 5pm Monday-Friday. Happy travels!
EXCHANGE STUDENT TASERED AT KOOLOOBONG BY BRITTANY CARTER @_BrittanyCarter
Trigger warning: This article deals with events that may be distressing for some readers. Upset students have contacted the Tertangala, asking that we investigate the tasering of a UOW student at Kooloobong Village. On August 28, an exchange student was asked to leave after he set off a fire alarm, triggering a visit from Wollongong Fire Department. The young man, who eye-witnesses believe to be no older than 25, had been burning incense and had apparently received warnings from staff for doing so on previous occasions. Residents of the newest Kooloobong building were evacuated to the courtyard. They were told to go back inside but many still witnessed the exchange student resisting police orders to leave the premises. Without shoes and stuck in the rain, the student prayed as officers asked him to find his passport and leave immediately, suggesting he catch a train to the airport and get a plane home to Dubai. Students said they could hear the student yelling and a loud banging noise out of sight, which they believe may have been the man kicking a police car.
Police tasered him twice, before he screamed and fell, passing out on the ground. An ambulance was called, and the man’s limp body was taken away.
times... [it was] quite a traumatic experience, especially when we have not been provided with an explanation,” she said.
While friends of the student were unavailable for comment, other Kooloobong residents believed the burning incense may have been linked to the exchange student’s religious beliefs.
“We feel like those in charge at Koolabong have a duty of care and responsibility for those who witnessed the event and to the student who was tasered.”
Second-year Engineering student Anna Sands watched the scene unravel from her Old Kooloobong apartment. She says Kooloobong residents are still seeking answers. “We don’t know anything [more] about it and it happened on our front door step... That day there was a fire [engine], two police cars and two ambulances and we’ve [been] told nothing about it. ” Students that filmed the incident were later asked by staff to delete their recordings for legal reasons. “I think a lot of people got scared by that and deleted the video,” Ms Sands said. Errin Claypole, a second-year Commerce student who was visiting friends in the complex, told the Tertangala she tried to email Accommodation Services questioning their code of conduct. “Most of the residents on campus witnessed a peer being tasered three
She received a generic email in reply. “The staff in Accommodation Services consider it of utmost importance to respect [the student’s] privacy. We are not permitted to discuss residents’ personal details with the other residents without their permission,” the email read. Staff confirmed that the student was receiving ongoing care and was “fully supported” by UOW and the relevant consulate. However, residents are confused as to why the University has not publicly addressed the matter or ensured that all witnesses are okay. Wollongong Police Department verified that the incident occurred, but said that a media release outlining its details was not available for public viewing. If you were distressed by the above events please seek help. You can book a UOW counsellor at Level 3, Building 11, or call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.
YET ANOTHER URBAN OUTFITTERS CONTROVERSY BY GEMMA MOLLENHAUER @GemmaMolle017
Online fashion and assorted hipster goods retailer Urban Outfitters, have once again come under controversy following the release of their Kent State ‘vintage’ sweatshirt. The Kent State sweatshirt, retailing for $129, appeared as an online exclusive as part of the UO Urban Renewal Vintage line, which they described as: “Washed soft and perfectly broken in, this vintage Kent State sweatshirt is cut in a loose, slouchy fit. Excellent vintage condition. We only have one, so get it or regret it!” On May 4, 1970, students at Kent State University were gunned down by the National Guard, following protests against the Vietnam War. Four students were killed and nine others were wounded. The retailer claims to be naive of any connotations with the shirt and the massacre. “There is no blood on the shirt nor has this item been altered in any way.The red stains are discolouration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray,” a spokesperson for the company said.
In 2005, the retailer designed a shirt reading ‘New Mexico, Cleaner than Real Mexico’ and the year before, a shirt reading ‘Everyone Loves a Jewish Girl’ was sold with the slogan surrounded by money signs and shopping bags. In 2010, a shirt categorised as ‘Obama Black’ was scrutinised. And in 2012, another controversy emerged as a yellow shirt featuring an embroidered six-pointed star over a breast pocket, was pulled as it was distinctly reminiscent of the yellow badge Jewish people were forced to wear under the Nazi regime. Earlier this year, the fashion label was again under fire for a shirt that seemed to advocate eating disorders and depression. Actress Sophie Bush was one of the many celebrities offended by the shirt, stating, “It’s like handing a suicidal person a loaded gun… to promote starvation? To promote anorexia, which leads to heart disease, bone density loss and a slew of other health problems, not least of all psychological issues that never go away?”
Sixty-three-year-old founder and chairman of Urban Outfitters, Richard Hayne, is well known for his conservative political beliefs. In the past, Hayne has donated thousands of dollars to ultra-conservative politicians such as Rick Santorum. Santorum, a politician who doesn’t approve of same-sex marriage, is known for his statement, “If we allow gay marriage, next thing you know, people will be marrying gold fish”. This sentiment was reciprocated in 2008, after the retailer removed a shirt with the slogan “I Support Same Sex Marriage” from their stores and online website, claiming they had received “too much bad press”. With Buzzfeed releasing an online article titled the ‘26 Times Urban Outfitters has Failed so Hard’, it seems, despite a backlash of bad publicity and community outrage, that the retailer continues to focus on making money, whatever the cost.
The shirt is now sold out. While Urban Outfitters have issued an apology, the leadership at Kent State University issued a media statement voicing their disgust at this item of clothing. “We take great offence to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit. This item is beyond poor taste and trivialises a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today,” the statement said. The blood-splattered, vintage sweatshirt design is not the first time UO has come under fire for the trivialisation of serious historical issues as well as cultural insensitivity.
GLOBAL TRAVEL WARNINGS AMIDST THE EBOLA CRISIS BY CAILIN KRAMER @cailinkramer
The current Ebola crisis in West Africa is so extreme it is being compared to past world crisis’ such as The Plague and HIV. Containing the spread of infection is becoming more difficult and there are fears it could potentially become a worldwide disaster. The World Health Organisation’s media report states that as of September 19th, there have been over 5,500 people sickened by the outbreak, and 2,500 have died. The disease has a fatality rate of 90%, however its latest outbreak has a current fatality rate of 50%. The virus is transmitted through direct bodily fluid contact, like blood or vomit, but there are grave concerns it could mutate to being transmitted through sneezing or coughing. At the time this article went to print, seven African countries had been affected, however in a recent study by Oxford University, they have identified another 15 countries that the outbreak may possibly spread to. This would potentially put 22 million people at risk of contracting the disease. With no known cure for the virus, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has begged United States President Barack Obama to help. “I am being honest with you when I say that at this rate, we will never break the transmission chain and the virus will overwhelm us,” he wrote through letter. The virus’s worldwide threat has been brought to the attention of many international country’s leaders. Obama dubbed it as a potential “national security priority,” in an interview
on NBC’s Meet the Press, Tuesday, September 16th. Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, addressed the issue while opening the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne, on Friday September 12th. Mr Abbott said that Australia is “ready for Ebola” should it reach our shores, but we must not remain complacent. He also assured that travellers from West Africa and returning Australians have been screened for some weeks now. Researches from the University of Oxford believe education is the key to stopping the disease. People come into contact with Ebola through infected animals, for example eating bush meet and hunting such animals, but also through the poor health care systems and procedures countries in Africa abide by. Government run website Smart Traveller, is urging travellers to seriously reconsider their need to travel to the three most impacted countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Travellers will also find it extremely difficult to travel to such places and surrounding areas at the moment, because many airlines aren’t operating and some land borders are closed due to the Ebola epidemic. There are severe warnings for any travellers intending to visit Africa and it is advised to put travels off if you are planning to head there. At least until the virus is maintained and the risk is lowered.We’ve compiled a short list of FAQ’s about Ebola, to help aid your understanding of the disease and its severity.
FAQ’S ABOUT EBOLA
Where did the virus originate? Named after the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ebola disease first emerged in 1976. This outbreak infected over 280 people in Sudan and Congo. How does it spread? The Ebola virus is believed to have first been contracted by a human that came into contact with an infected animal. Such animals in Africa include infected or dead fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines. The virus is then spread through direct contact with blood or bodily fluids (such as urine, vomit or semen), or through needles or syringes that were used by the infected person. The current poor health standards in West Africa have resulted in many case workers contracting the disease and dying. What are the signs/symptoms of Ebola? Signs and symptoms of Ebola can start from two days up to three weeks after contracting the virus. The symptoms include: •
Vomiting, diarrhea and rashes usually follow these initial symptoms, accompanied by decreased functioning of the liver and kidneys, and bleeding within the body and also externally. If you have recently travelled to Africa, or have been in contact with someone who has immediately report such symptoms. For more information regarding the Ebola disease, visit The World Health Organisation’s website at www.who.int.
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STUDENTS DEEM NURSING FACULTY’S METHODS TOO INVASIVE BY BRITTANY CARTER @_BrittanyCarter
Students have criticised the University of Wollongong’s Nursing practices, that require them to take off some of their clothes in order to complete a series of practicals. Twenty-five year old Sarah*, who wishes to remain anonymous, is in the second year of her Nursing degree at UOW. Unhappy about the teaching methods of the Bachelor of Nursing degree, she voiced her unpleasant experience and opinion to the Tertangala earlier this year. Sarah recounts how uncomfortable students in her class felt when they were asked to expose their underwear and in some cases their breasts, for an electrocardiogram (or ECG) lesson. A common test, ECGs assess the cardiac impulses of the heart. Electrodes or leads are attached to the patient’s legs, arms and chest, which then submit the impulses to an ECG machine. The Bachelor of Nursing’s subject outline, instructs students to wear “clothing that will enable an ECG to be performed on them whilst maintaining their dignity”. Sarah says that while some people in her class knew they would be learning about the test, she was never fully informed of what the class entailed. “I was paired with a group of two-three people... we were going to learn where to put the ECG leads,” she said. “We were instructed that putting the ECG cords on top of our bra would not work, and because of this we needed to undo our bra, lift the breast up and allow for another student to place the ECG cord where it needed to go.” In the laboratory Sarah’s teacher originally grouped her with a female student and two male students. She refused to work with the two males, so was given permission to organise an all-
female group. There were about six male students in Sarah’s class. Once organised, the groups split up into curtained-off sections in the room. Sarah remembers the trouble her group had trying to secure the ECG leads on her friend, who was lying down on the bed with her bra on. “We were all nervous... she was wearing a sports bra that the ECG leads would not fit under,” she says. “None of us asked her to remove her bra but after a [bit] of awkward silence she said ‘screw it’ and removed her bra so that she was barebreasted.” The group tried to speed things up for their friend and make the procedure as quick as possible; this led to a lot of mistakes. The next student in the group, although wearing a different bra, had to expose her nipple to get a reading. The teacher came in to check whether the students were conducting the test correctly during this time. Sarah has confirmed that other groups in the same class went through similar situations. Later in the lesson, a class counter – although told by five or six people in the class not to open the curtains – opened up the curtain next to Sarah’s group, before jumping back with a “Sorry, sorry”. Nursing students are questioning whether this is a suitable way to teach. Sarah is disappointed her peers weren’t properly briefed before class, to ensure that they all understood the outline of the lesson. “The fact that we were just expected to do it was unfair... we have the resources in this day and age and the Nursing Faculty chose to ignore that,” she says. While Sarah acknowledges that nurses
are expected to work on bodies, and therefore need to become used to seeing and working on them, she says that the lesson was not dignified. “I felt that as a student, my needs were not met and any cultural competence and respect was blatantly ignored... if a student had any body image problems or mental illnesses this exercise [may] have triggered them.” “A nurse... would be bound by confidentiality rules to undertake this exercise, however right now we are all students and do not follow any confidentiality laws,” she said. “We are not trained professionals, and some of us may not have the tools to deal with this kind of teaching emotionally and physically.” Renée Mouché Callender, President of the Student Nurses of Wollongong, is studying her Masters in Nursing. She says she remembers attending a similar class in her bachelor degree but insists her tutor used discretion and only asked for male volunteers. “The suggestion of equipment and volunteers to simulate patients would be a better alternative,” she says. “Exposing themselves to get a full reading on the ECG machine should have only occurred with those that felt comfortable. True, it is inevitable that nurses will be exposed to the human body, but this does not necessarily mean they need to be pressured into getting undressed.” Of the Nursing Faculty’s teaching methods she says, “We learn over and over again in our nursing studies that no procedure can be performed without a patients consent and this is where the main issue lies. I do realise there [aren’t many] other ways to teach a student to perform an ECG, but this should not force students to be the patients”.
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Associate Professor and Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Angela Brown, says she is alarmed that a student was so exposed. “They should have sourced some guidance from the teacher before getting to that level,” she said. “We should never get to that position [of exposure]”. Prof. Brown was sad that the faculty was only made aware of the issue via the Tertangala’s request for a response, however she was glad somebody had brought it to their attention. She said she had spoken to a number of her colleagues about the situation, but nobody had heard anything of its nature. “At no point has anything like this been brought to our attention… because we would have worked with the students... to assist them to feel comfortable whilst achieving the outcome,” she said. To gain some insight into the situation, I spoke to seven aspiring nurses from different universities all over Australia. I interviewed two students in New South Wales, three from Queensland, and one from Western Australia and Victoria. One was a male and the rest were females. None of these student’s universities made ECG patient participation compulsory. Most were shocked by the exposure involved in Sarah’s story, and listed various other ways their universities approached ECG lessons: using life-like manikins, employing models, requesting they learn the practice on work placement, or asking for one or two volunteers in the class. Evan Casella, a third-year Bachelor of Nursing Science student at James Cook University, Cairns, said Sarah’s story was unfortunate. The male student nurse, who is almost finished his degree believes that while the university could
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have ensured the process be a little more sensitive, it’s vital nursing students get used to working with human bodies. “Nursing is a profession where you do have to work with human bodies and you have to become comfortable around [them],” he said. “It is quite important to gain that while you are a student because if you walk into a room as a registered nurse and you have to do a female urinary catheterisation and your completely awkward, it’s really going to make the patient feel quite horrible.” Evan’s university opts for volunteers from each group in the ECG practical, meaning it is not compulsory for all students to participate. He mentioned that James Cook University will sometimes employ models to come in and be tested by students. Amy Wyborn, an Edith Cowan University student based in Western Australia, said her ECG practical was conducted in a similar way. “We had to wear sports bras, appropriate underwear and [take]our uniform tops off. Curtains were drawn for privacy and it was just one person with us behind the curtain...” she said. “ECGs were super simple and easy to learn, so it didn’t take long and we could put our tops back on pretty quickly.”
testing in class. While she didn’t have any problems being involved in the ECG practical, she does recall a class where she was made to feel uncomfortable. She remembers struggling to find definite points on a peers body while she was practicing how to assess the lung fields of a patient, when a teacher pulled the acting patient’s top up to the back of her bra-line. Rose noticed that by second year, Deacon University had a lot more life-like dummies for students to use, but is not sure whether this is due to a reassessment of its teaching, or if it is because of financial or technology reasons. As a result Rose said, “we stopped using our peers as patients in our labs”. “I think it’s odd... it’s called a simulation I really don’t think it needs to be done like that... you can stick probes on a dummy,” she said. She also mentions consent. “There’s always a right... for you to be able to go ‘Hey my gut feeling is not [right]’,” she said. “You’ve also got to take a little bit of responsibility for yourself. A tutor doesn’t know what you’re feeling if you don’t go out of your way to say ‘This isn’t right’.”
The Bachelor of Science student says her class were given the option not to do the exercise, but were being graded on ECGs and thought it was a good chance to practice on another student.
What each of these students seem to agree on is making sure that each simulated patient is consenting to be practised on.They believe that by making participation as a patient in ECG lessons compulsory, teachers may be forcing students to perform a task they are uncomfortable doing.
Rose Davis, a fourth-year Nursing and Midwifery student at Deacon University, in Geelong, Victoria, participated in an ECG lesson in the first year of her double degree. She’s previously been made to her expose parts of her back , legs, arm and parts of her chest for other forms of
However Prof. Brown insists all five UOW campuses regard passive, verbal and written consent as a high priority. She explained that the University does have access to life-like dummies that ECG testing could be performed on, but there isn’t quite enough to go around and
the teachers actually prefer to include students in the patient process, as a form of immersive teaching. “We specifically intend that students engage and perform in this skill so that they understand the experience from the patient’s point of view,” she said. “Prior to that laboratory where it is undertaken, students are advised that [they] are going to demonstrate the skill and that they are being invited to practice the skill on each other”. “When students enrol in the Bachelor of Nursing program, they are consenting to be involved in the learning... they know and understand that they have to listen to the lectures, participate in the tutorials and labs simulation, and workplace experiences, “ she said. Prof. Brown says the faculty’s expectations of participation are clearly outlined in the student workbook, which states that all practicals are compulsory and stresses students wear clothing enabling a twelve lead ECG to be demonstrated on them. She said this note is included so that students can ensure they wear the appropriate clothes that will allow them to maintain their dignity. “When you’re looking after a patient in real practice if you say to them ‘Can I take your blood pressure?’ they give you their arm. That’s passive consent and that’s the sort of consent we use in the laboratories. The fact that the student stands up [and] it’s explained to them what’s going to happen, by virtue of them being there they are agreeing to be involved.We need students to be able to share with us that they’re not comfortable with that...” “An ECG comes under the same level of consent in practice, doctors or nurses would say to patients ‘We are going to perform an ECG on you’ and they’d say ‘Yeah that’s alright’. When somebody appears at their bedside with the machine they’d [say] ‘I’m the person that’s come to do that is that alright?’ and they’d say ‘Yes’. That’s a form of consent and we want that to be emulated in the learning environment so that students understand that you don’t just go up and grab somebody. You actually speak and receive... a shared understanding about
what’s going to happen next.” Prof. Brown says that students who aren’t comfortable only need to voice their concerns as the faculty has employed alternative methods with uncomfortable students in the past; based on moral, cultural and religious reasons. “We use immersive learning experiences that enable them to learn the skills of the technique of the task, but also enables them to demonstrate knowledge, the appropriate behaviours, and interpersonal skills that are required in the care of individuals. The art of nursing care is to maintain respect and privacy and that’s expected in the labs,” she says. Sarah said students were under the impression that the faculty’s ECG learning method was compulsory, as students are told that if they do not attend and participate in the labs that they will receive a technical fail. She says they weren’t made aware that they could complete the task another way if they felt uncomfortable. The UOW Nursing staff body, brings together a range of teachers from different countries, cultures and universities. Prof. Brown says they all agree their current methods are the best way to teach ECG practicals. Having completed her degree in England, she says she was taught the same way and this learning method is a common practice in universities around the world. Nursing teachers are bound by the UOW teaching Codes of Practice and Conduct, and by the School’s Ways of Working and Professional Boundaries. As registered nurses, their work ethic is also governed by The Nurses and Midwives Board of Australia’s Code of Professional Conduct, which states, “The nurse respects the dignity, culture, ethnicity, values and beliefs of people receiving care and treatment, and of their colleagues”. Prof. Brown says that all of these resources are made readily accessible for students to refer back to, and that students are therefore required to treat peers as actual patients, and teachers their pupils as colleagues. “We have a value, we have a code, and ‘of their colleagues’ extends to students, because they are our colleagues.
They are students of the profession that we belong to and they’re aspiring to join.” Despite these comments, Sarah suggests the Nursing Faculty “use more resources, purchase proper medical dolls, and hire people to come in” and be a model for future ECG testing. The faculty has disclosed that they will endeavour to take the feedback very seriously. “What we will be doing is using this opportunity to revisit the information we share with students, consider the best way[s] of learning and then building that into our curriculum review processes,” Prof. Brown said. Although Sarah was uncomfortable talking to one of her teachers about the issue, Prof. Brown is hopeful that other nursing students will not be afraid to come forward and speak to her personally as they, “value our student’s voice”. Sarah has completed the ECG practical for a second time since the commencement of this investigation and says this time it was specifically noted that “boys could not go with girls, and girls could not go with boys”. A person came into the room during the lesson to make sure the rule was implemented. This rule was not enforced in Sarah’s first ECG lesson and she is unsure whether it was influenced by the Tertangala’s initial query for this investigation earlier in the year. Sarah made sure she informed her teacher she was uncomfortable and requested to sit out the test - she was not alone. She recounts that while students in her group still had to take off their shirt, show, undo, and lift up the base of their bra to get a correct reading, no one had to take their bra off the second time round. However she still strongly opposes the way UOW conducts their ECG lessons. “I think if we are paying thousands of dollars to learn then there should at least be some sort of doll that we can learn on - male and female,” she says. “Even the second time around I made it very clear that I wasn’t comfortable doing [it] and the tutor just kind of brushed me off... I don’t think we should have to use our bodies to learn.” *Name has been changed to protect the student’s identity.
I N V E S T I G AT I O N
WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON PEOPLE WEARING CLOTHING ITEMS FROM DIVERSE CULTURAL BACKGROUNDS AT EVENTS LIKE COSTUME PARTIES? JAMIE SPRESSER @reyn0lds_559 BELINDA QUINN @BelindaQuinn10
No, it’s okay with everyone because if they want to wear it they can. Nowadays with fashion everything’s changed, even in the western dress. Karenvar Singh & Prince Sharme
It’s culturally insensitive because you can be wearing things that have meaning, but because often times people are ignorant, you’re doing things that are offensive. We think it’s acceptable do these things because we’re unaware of what they actually mean in these cultures. It comes from a very privileged position to think you can just pick and choose from other people’s cultures and dress up and appropriate it just for fun. Shirin Demirdag
I suppose if it’s an accurate representation I’m okay with it, but if you’re being flippantly stereotypical and racist, depending on the circumstances I may have an issue with it. Kieran O’Connor
“The image of a warbonnet… has been created and perpetuated by hollywood and only bears minimal resemblance to traditional regalia of plains tribes. It furthers the stereotype that native peoples are one monolithic culture, when in fact there are 500+ distinct tribes with their own cultures. It also places native people in the historic past, as something that cannot exist in modern society. We don’t walk around in ceremonial attire everyday, but we still exist and are still native.”
- Dr. Adrienne K, Native Appropriations Forum
Just as long as they aren’t doing it in an offensive manner, and they’re just doing it to have a good time and to get into the spirit of things then yeah, it’s okay. Hana Lee
I think it’s fine unless there’s already an issue. The Native Americans have expressed offence towards people who dress up in those native headdresses, and yet people still do it when it’s public knowledge that it’s offensive. But I also think it’s good to celebrate diversity, different ethnic backgrounds and culture at the same time, as long as it’s done in a respectful way and without any knowledge that it’s going to offend that particular culture [then] I think that’s fine.
Some people find it offensive, but then some people also realise it’s just for a party. It’s not really offensive if it’s a bunch of mature people and they do it in a respectful manner, as long as they don’t get drunk and make a joke out of it. Mustapha Beri
I L L U S T R AT I O N : J E S S N E S B I T T
TRAVELLING ON YOUR OWN TERMS BY KELSEY MCINTOSH @KMcintosh21
FOR SOLO TRAVEL
Let’s be honest. When you land in a new country, after hours of flying and battling your way through customs, dealing with a travel buddy is less than exciting. The rush and thrill of being in a new country comes after a shower, after finding the hostel and most probably after arguing with your travel buddy whether to take the Piccadilly or Jubilee underground line. Travelling solo is a terrifying concept. Knowing that you alone are responsible for your transport, accommodation, and money – all while not wanting to miss out on what each new country offers – is enough to make anyone sign up for a 27-person Contiki tour. But despite the anxiety of being alone in a foreign country, there’s something so satisfying about being on your own. When I first arrived in London, I was just 18 and fresh out of high school. I had a week to spend in the city before heading to a job in the South. For the next five days, it was just me and my Lonely Planet Guide. It takes a dedicated boyfriend or likeminded travel companion to sit through an entire reading of Shakespeare in the summer, to spend hours loitering over every detail of the Tower of London, or to watch multiple re-runs of Notting Hill as you picture yourself buying books from Hugh Grant. But this was what I wanted from my time in London. Travelling on your own allows you to gain the most from your trip, without constantly worrying about the needs of your travel buddy. The freedom of doing what you want, when you want, and how long you want for, is just the beginning of
T H E D E B AT E
the benefits of travelling solo. No amount of therapy or selfhelp classes can generate the same sense of empowerment that comes from independently nailing a foreign transport system. On my final night in London, I was transferred to a 30-bed dorm. It was a Friday night and the room was filled with young backpackers. Everyone was too poor to go to the pub, so we made our own fun with cheap vodka and some Sainsbury’s lemonade. One of the greatest perks of travelling on our own is that nobody knows who you are. That night, I was Kate, the Aussie backpacker from Tasmania, heir to a cheese factory and en route to Amsterdam to compare the foreign market. Totally untrue. As cliché as it may sound, travelling on your own teaches you things about yourself you may not have known. It tests your mental strength and sense of independence. You gain more confidence with each challenge you overcome and soon the real world, or more pointedly, being lost in Istanbul, doesn’t seem that scary. This sense of self transcends into the rest of your life. Uni presentations aren’t as bad and you find yourself even opting to run or hike on your own to find that old sense of freedom. Perhaps the greatest lesson I’ve taken from travelling on my own, is how to be alone. We don’t comprehend the number of hours in a day we spend with someone by our sides, whether it be in person, or online. When you travel by yourself, the experience is uniquely yours. Scary? No, empowering! In reality, the time you take to travel is short compared to the days and years you spend reminiscing over ‘that one summer in Italy’. The lessons you learn will stay with you forever and if you’re every feeling lonely, just remember that your friends are never further than a free Wi-Fi connection away.
NEVER TRUST A MAN IN BIRKENSTOCKS BY ZOFIA ZAYONS @zzayons
FOR GROUP TRAVEL
It was close to midnight. I’d been traveling since 6am. Alone. I was en route from Sweden to Turkey to begin my European Summer adventure. I’d spoken to my Mum only hours earlier. She’d told me, in true Mum fashion, be careful. Eighteen hours of bikes, buses, trains and planes later, I arrived in Istanbul. A huge storm was rolling in, as I collected my backpack and located the bus that would take me from the far away, low budget carrier airport, into the heart of Istanbul. It was too easy. I was feeling pretty proud of myself as I settled in for the ride. For the next hour, I watched the storm roll in and debated how I would get from the bus station to my hostel. Stepping off the bus at Taksim Square, I was greeted by a gaggle of taxi drivers. I chose the most respectable looking one. He was wearing Birkenstocks. A fashionable, Birkenstock wearing man was a safe bet, right? During the journey he asked me typical (and usually harmless) questions. How old are you? Where are you from? Are you married? Do you have a boyfriend? Oh yes, I was definitely married. Spontaneously.Yesterday, in fact. We stopped abruptly at the bottom of a hill. I couldn’t see a hostel. Or any accommodation for that matter. He told me the hostel was close by and that I could walk from there. It was midnight. I was alone. But I also had no way of arguing with this Turkish man.The meter already read triple what I was expecting to pay. I handed over my one hundred lira note and waited for change. But suddenly, the one hundred lira was gone and in his hand was a twenty lira note. He demanded that I pay him more, and in euro. I wish I could say that in that situation I was an independent
woman that ‘didn’t need no man’.That I had walked away from the cab defiantly, had refused to pay more and asked him for his I.D. But that’s not what happened. I had no idea where I was or how to locate my hostel. I was in a foreign country with a seedy taxi driver and no one to back me up. So I handed over more money and made a run for it. Solo travel can be enlightening, empowering and amazing. I can vouch for that. But it’s risky. And it’s moments like these that highlight the importance of traveling with a group or companion. Not only is traveling with a companion safer, the inevitably long plane, bus and train rides are more exciting when you have a travel buddy by your side. When you’re ridiculously drunk at a club and trying to hook-up with the bartender or pour yourself drinks, it’s your friend who will drag you out of there before you’re arrested. And it’s your friend who will bring you coffee and food in bed the next morning as you nurse your sorry self back to health on croissants/tapas/ souvlaki. When times get tough, it’s your travel buddy who is by your side laughing and holding your hand. It’s also your travel buddy who will encourage you to go snorkeling, running, dancing, feasting, hot air ballooning and sightseeing. They’ll be doing it all with you and probably taking your photos for Instagram. Traveling sees you not only at your worst, making it the ultimate friendship test, but it also sees you at your best. If your friendship has survived physical sickness, homesickness and lovesickness (for that dreadlocked, tanned free spirit that you were convinced was the one), chances are you’re going to be friends for life. After all, it’s your travel buddy who you’ll sit down with in ten years and say, ‘Do you remember that time you puked/smooched/fell in love/climbed that mountain...?
T H E D E B AT E
P H O T O : N ATA L I E Z A G A L I A
One of the aspects I cherish most about my study abroad experience is the friendships I forged and the connections I made. Whilst in Tours, France, I had the opportunity to not only immerse myself in a culture and language so very different from my own, but to meet so many diverse and wonderful people from all around the world. One of these wonderful people was Paul, who I met on one of our first nights in France.
EXCHANGE CONNEC TIONS By Emily Ritchie travel-ramblings.tumblr.com Université François-Rabelais, Tours, France
A few Australian friends and I were out drinking French wine in the Tours town square (called ‘Place Plum’), and discussing how ecstatic we were about the prospect of a semester in such a gorgeous town. Suddenly, a local French guy Paul, overheard us speaking English and came over to our table. He inquired as to where in Australia we were from and when we replied he gasped and said “Wollongong, that’s where
The greatest piece of advice I can offer, is to work hard and save NOW. You will be presented with so many amazing opportunities that realistically may never be yours for the taking again. I can wholeheartedly say that I will never regret the amount of money that I had to spend to get here. I left Australia a month before class started so that I could travel first. I spent two weeks in the United States and saw things that will stay with me forever. This trip added over $2500 to my already costly exchange program, but it was honestly worth every last cent.
SAVING FOR THE EXPERIENCE Natalie McLaren @nmae22 Concordia University, Montreal, Canada
I had the chance to fly over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter. Some people in my tour group turned down the offer as they were worried about the cost. If you are planning to travel, SAVE! I couldn’t believe these people had travelled to the other side of the world and were not fully participating because they weren’t sure if they would have enough money for the rest of the trip. Yes, this helicopter ride may have cost me $265 for 45 minutes, but it will be one of
Sweat trickles down my spine, pooling at the bottom of my sticky leather seat. I roll down the window in search of respite; hot wind claws at my face. Closing the window, I turn up the air cooler in a vain attempt to relieve myself of the all-consuming heat. On this day, I am flying out of Adelaide, the hottest city on Earth. Forty nine degrees Celsius of fry-an-egg-on-the-pavement, heat.
Zofia Zayons @zzayons
After twenty-eight hours of shitty airplane food, not knowing what time or day it is, spontaneous napping and a drug-like addiction to my in-flight entertainment system, I am gently shaken awake by a Scandinavian Airlines flight attendant.
Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
Rubbing sleep from my eyes, I gaze out
CONCRETE FLAKES / ARRIVING IN SWEDEN
I am going next semester for my exchange!” It was incredible to make such an immediate connection with someone from the other side of the world. A few times during the rest of our time in France, Paul met up with my friends and I to show us the town or help us practice our French skills, which was really awesome. Then, in the Autumn semester of this year, Paul came to study in Wollongong and I was declared his ‘Study Abroad buddy’. We would often meet up for coffee or lunch on campus; I invited him to family dinners and tried to show him my favourite spots in the Illawarra. It’s friendships like these that have made me even more grateful for the incredible opportunity I had to study overseas, and it also means that now I have loads of places to stay on future travel expeditions!
the most memorable 45 minute periods of my life. How many people can say they have had a birds-eye view of one of the seven natural wonders of the world? Standing at the lookout is one thing, but you can’t understand how vast and incredible the Grand Canyon truly is until you’re flying high above it. Once you settle into class, figure out a budget. Decide what you do and don’t need. Remember that while clothes and electronics may be cheaper where you are headed, you need to be able to fit them in your suitcase to get them home. Shipping anything back to Australia will cost an arm and a leg. Save your money for experiences not things. A material object can be purchased anywhere. But just remember if you forgo an experience in favour of a material object, it will cost you another return flight if you ever want to have that opportunity again. Exchange will be an unforgettable time in your life. Don’t limit yourself by not saving. I mean it people. Less nights at The Grand, and more nights at work. It’s worth it.
the window. I’m staring at an airport that looks like it was built in the Soviet era. I was expecting rows of solar panels, perhaps a marching band informing visitors that Sweden is the cleanest, greenest and meanest country in the world. What I was not expecting, was to be greeted by concrete as far as the eye could see. “Hej då”, the flight attendant says cheerfully as we file out of the aircraft. Flakes of concrete fill my mouth, dust my hair and settle on the ground around me. I laugh silently to myself, realising that my jet-lag addled brain has deceived me. The airport is not constructed entirely of concrete, but wrapped lovingly in a thick blanket of snow.
Hi y’all! Now, I know a few of you reading this may one day find yourselves on exchange. Firstly, it will be the single best thing you ever do. Secondly, I have one very important piece of advice for you, regardless of where you’re off too: embrace every experience possible.
EMBRACE EVERY EXPERIENCE POSSIBLE
Whether it’s a spontaneous weekend trip away with a bunch of people you’ve only just met or deciding to stay in the country a bit longer, if an opportunity arises, grab it with both hands and don’t let go. Believe me, in six months or a years’ time when you look back on that experience, it’s the stuff you never saw yourself doing that you’ll remember most with fondness.
Kelsey Sutor @KelseySutor University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA
One of my favourite experiences that springs to mind, was deciding to go out five nights in a row the week before final exams.
Trying new and exciting things doesn’t necessarily mean aeroplane food. Your safest bet on budget airlines is to opt for the vegetarian dish. But seriously, in retrospect, the experiences of exchange can become a bit blurry when returning to life back home. You tend to recall the big events and nights out, but the details of actually living in another country become pushed aside for new memories. The best advice I was given was to write down everything, no matter how minuet it may seem. Photos and videos can only do so much. It’s the little details that make the memories come alive.
WRITE THINGS DOWN Kelsey McIntosh @KMcintosh21 Oxford University, London, England
My exchange diary is all hand written and covered in scribble. It begins by listing the first song that was playing on my iPod when the plane took off bound for a month at Oxford University. I’ve tried not to miss any details, recording the foods I ate on my first day in London, the colour of the flowers
When you walk into a department store in the Czech Republic you never have to worry about a pesky, overly attentive shop assistant bothering you. In fact ninety percent of the time you won’t even be able to get them to crack a smile when they’re putting your sale through. Whilst studying International Law and Human Rights in Brno, Czech Republic, in January 2014, I quickly learnt not to get offended if someone didn’t return my grin or ask me how I was going. Czech people are formal, reserved and private – until you get to know them.
LEC TURES AND BEER IN BRNO Heather Wortes @HWortes Masaryk University, Brno, CZECH REPUBLIC
A particularly vivid memory I have from the trip is of our final class at Masaryk University. We’d finished our exam and headed down to the cafeteria to get a beer. In the Czech Republic you can get beers everywhere – and they’re only $2! Naturally we’d stayed way past the twenty minutes allocated for
Now, I like to party, but five nights now seems a little impossible. However back then, I figured I was almost at the end of my exchange and when would I ever be back in the same situation? And so, despite waking up on the Sunday morning with a five-day collective hangover the size of Texas and heaps of study to do, I had the best week of my life that involved antics like trying to converse in Spanish at 4am and going to the bar of a rival school and attempting (poorly) to ride a mechanical bull. The point is, that when your time is up and you’re facing seat 32C on the airplane back to Australia, you will want to have lived every moment of your exchange to the fullest. As those Contiki tours say: #noregrets
during a so-called ‘British summer’, and the names of the local bartender’s children. I can clearly recall presenting my assessment at Oxford or our celebratory night out, but its remembering these little details of what you had for breakfast, that separate your time in exchange from being a tourist, to actually ‘living’ in another country. There’s something so satisfying about writing about your adventures by hand. Putting pen to paper separates this period of exchange and travel as something so different to the everyday where we rely on our typing skills. Admittedly, it does become a stretch to fill out an entry when you are trying to cram as much as possible into your days, but it’s worth it. The five minutes you spend jotting down what happened in your day (after half a dozen pints), become such a cherished possession in years to come, no matter how bad your handwriting is.
the break and our lecturer Katerina, came looking for us. We started sculling our bottles of ‘Starobrno’ but she told us not to worry and to bring them back to class! Then, midway through her lecture on freedom of expression and hate speech, Katerina leant down behind the lectern and brought out a flagon of homemade honey wine for us. Now that’s what I call culture shock. Katerina was a fantastic teacher. She’s worked at the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague and had her research published all around the world. Katerina taught me how incredibly hospitable Czech people can be. She even took us out dancing at her favourite club and got them to play Australian music all night! I miss you Brno….your University, your beer and your wonderful people. I’ll be back soon.
P H O T O : H E AT H E R W O R T E S , MUM’S LIFELONG DREAM - VISITING THE ELEPHANTS IN CHANG MAI
BACKPACKING AT 16 BY HEATHER WORTES @HWortes
In April 2009, Heather went backpacking across Thailand with her Mum and 13-year- old brother. This is what she remembers.
“Sawadee ka!” Mum says as she takes her 100 baht of change and places it safely in her backpack. I look over my shoulder as we walk out of the shop to see the two girls behind the counter giggling and pointing in our direction. Mum’s just said the Thai words for hello instead of thank you for the second time that day. “Muuuuum you did it again!” Andrew’s 13. He’s at that age where your mother and sister are the most embarrassing people in the world and there’s nothing worse than being stuck with them for 14 days in another country. Mum’s totally oblivious to my brother’s complaint. She’s too busy looking at the map near the shop entrance and working out which waterfall we should go to first. We’re at Erawan National Park, an hour long bus ride out of Kanchanaburi. Seven levels of natural waterfalls stretch above us and there are locals everywhere. It’s the last day of Songkran, Thailand’s New Year celebration and families have taken advantage of the threeday public holiday and headed out of the muggy city. *** Kanchanaburi, two hours drive west of Bangkok, was declared with a state of emergency our plane landed, two days ago. Tens of thousands of anti-government red shirt demonstrators took to the streets to protest, as celebrations for Songkran began. As we got our stuff together to get off the plane, Mum explained the political conflict between the red and yellow shirts, and the growing civil unrest she’d read about in the days leading up to our flight. During the taxi drive from the airport to our hostel, all we saw of the conflict was a line of armed troops blocking the entrance to Bangkok’s main tourist strip - Khao San Road. The next morning when we went out exploring, Mum asked a soldier for directions. He warned her there were violent protests outside a government building around the next corner. We took a taxi straight to Kanchanaburi that afternoon. When we called home our family were beside themselves. On the news they’d been told of gunfire, Molotov cocktails and buses being set alight. Meanwhile we had seen nothing but the heavy soldier presence.
Despite everyone’s worry we were fine. Mum’s a savvy traveller. She knew what she was doing when she decided to take us backpacking in Asia before we were old enough to do it ourselves. When I asked her what made her decide to do it she said, “I wanted my kids to grow up with an understanding and empathy for other cultures”. And I’m so glad she did. It was the trip every teenager should have. *** “I’ve got a camera!” Mum calls out, clutching it to the top of her head and laughing at us as we get drenched with buckets of water and our faces are painted with chalky white paste. We are back in Kanchanaburi for the afternoon, and Songkran is in full swing. Music booms out of speakers on the back of pickup trucks, filled to the brim with people and huge plastic barrels of water. Kids wielding water pistols giggle as they blast ice cold water in our direction. Motorbikes race past with three or four people on them, their drivers attempting to dodge the water that’s flying from all directions. The Thai woman next to me has a huge grin on her face as she hands me a bucket of water and points toward the nearest barrel, urging me to join in the fun. The water throwing is symbolic of cleansing all the misfortunes of the past year and welcoming in the New Year with a fresh start. It’s one giant water fight. *** After Kanchanaburi we lugged our 15 kilo backpacks to the country’s ancient capital Sukhothai, where we cycled 70 square kilometres of 13th century ruins, before heading to Chiang Mai in the mountainous far north. We only joined two organised bus tours in the whole trip – day trips were necessary to fit everything in. Mum was petrified our mini bus driving out of Chiang Mai was going to fall off the edge of the cliff, as we wound higher into the mountains to visit the elephants (Mum’s lifelong dream), trek to a hill tribe village and go rafting - with a 10-year-old guide.
T H E T R AV E L I S S U E
The dodgy accommodation and public transport blends into the background behind the incredibly kind people you meet and the breathtaking places you get to experience. It’s all part of travelling.
Chiang Mai was our favourite. Mum and I spent every evening wandering the vibrant night markets in search of bargains to take home. Andrew opted for Thai soapies without subtitles back at the guesthouse. The last part of the trip was two sunny days relaxing on the beach in Ko Samet. To get to Ko Samet we got a tuk-tuk (a three-wheeled, spluttering motorised vehicle that is open at the back and sides, and definitely the cutest form of public transport in Thailand) to the airport, a dodgy $50 plane flight to Bangkok, and another tuk-tuk to the skyrail, which we caught across the city to meet the bus that took us to coastal Ban Phe. In Ban Phe we boarded a rickety boat. Its engine sounded like it just made it across the deep blue expanse of water to Ko Samet, the same island Mum had visited on her trip through Asia in 1986. *** “Seven forms of public transport in one day Mum. Can you believe it?” I ask.
Public transport was definitely one of the biggest learning curves of the trip (and there were lots). When I asked Mum to summarise the trip in a few sentences she said: “I remember the sights, smells and tastes of a bustling Asian country. The travel adventures we had on that bus that had no toilet and the train to Sukhothai with the weird food”. Andrew remembers the “Crazy bus ride to Chiang Mai where I kept falling asleep and then waking up and whacking my head on the window”. “I couldn’t pee for 6 hours,” he said. Despite asking them at different times, they both remembered the bus trip we took on a 2nd class bus with no toilets or airconditioning. Then there was accommodation. We knew which friends to take recommendations off the next time we travelled and who’s advice to steer clear of.
I certainly can’t, I think to myself as I jump onto the back of the seventh - a pickup truck that does laps up and down the length of the island each day, stopping at the guesthouses dotted along the perimeter of the sandy white beaches.
“The best experience would be that day we rode bikes around the temples in Sukhothai or when we were in the water fight in Kanchanaburi. The worst would be that cockroach going up the wall in the shitty hotel,” Andrew said.
“So we’re going to get off at the second one, then if it’s full we’ll keep walking and try the one around the other side of the next headland. It’s a bit more expensive,” Mum tells us, pointing to the accommodation list in her Lonely Planet guide. I wipe sweat off my forehead and search for my water bottle in my backpack. After two weeks in Asia, I’m still not used to the incredible humidity.
The Jolly Frog Backpackers in Kanchanaburi was one such recommendation. The first room had bed bugs and cockroaches, and Andrew left me to deal with them while he bunked in Mum’s room for the night.
The sun starts to set and we finally find somewhere to sleep after trudging along the beach for two hours in search of an empty guesthouse. After dumping our bags and taking a quick dip in the bath temperature water, we sit down on the beach to devour a steaming seafood curry. Food tastes so much better when you’re eating it with sand between your toes.
T H E T R AV E L I S S U E
But you get used to the bugs, and to flushing toilets with buckets of water, because it’s cheaper to stay somewhere that doesn’t have a toilet that flushes itself. The dodgy accommodation and public transport blends into the background behind the incredibly kind people you meet and the breathtaking places you get to experience. It’s all part of travelling. And I worked that out before I even finished high school. Thanks Mum.
P H O T O : H E AT H E R W O R T E S , K I D S S P E E D I N G PA S T O N A M OT OR B I K E D U R I N G SON G K R A N
P H O T O : H E AT H E R W O R T E S , A N D R E W , M U M & I S TA N D I N G ON THE TRACKS OF THE BURMA R A I L W AY , K A N C H A N A B U R I
LEAPING THE LANGUAGE BARRIER BY NATALIE MCLAREN @nmae22
It’s an age old practice. People have long developed languages and used them to communicate with each other. Language is part of who we are and how we identify ourselves in our global society. As a native English speaker, I feel privileged to have grown up learning the third most spoken language in the world, following Mandarin and Spanish. I have never really had to struggle to understand people, since many people with a native language other than English still learn it as a second language. In many countries, being by-lingual is an important part of the schooling system, particularly in parts of Asia and Europe. People around the world often learn English to better their job opportunities, travel experiences, or just to have the general skill of speaking a second language.Yet, in Australia, it seems that learning other languages is not deemed as important. In high school I learnt Indonesian for a short period, but the most I can remember is how to count to ten, which is close to useless to me. Our school curriculums would do well to further encourage the learning of other languages, in order to benefit young Australians and to show that we are part of the global community. We would benefit from a greater access to information, a more sound knowledge of major events and the world around us, as well as bettering career opportunities and adding to our life experience. As a member of UOW’s Study Abroad program, I recently started a semester at Concordia University in Montréal, Canada.
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When I was accepted, many people said, “Oh you’re going to French Canada, do you speak French?” The plain answer is no, and it has made things more difficult than I anticipated. I attempted to learn basic French. Just enough to order food, ask directions, and buy train and bus tickets. But even though Canada is an English-speaking country, it isn’t the official language of the province of Québec. Whilst I knew I would be encountering French on my trip I wrongly assumed that people would willingly speak in English with me when they realised that it was my first and only language. This is a bilingual city after all (although I have had to repeat myself many times even to English speakers, who couldn’t quite understand my ‘exotic’ Aussie accent). I arrived in Montréal two weeks before I started class, and spent my time exploring the downtown area. Upon entering every shop, I was automatically greeted in French. The first time it happened I was taken aback. I nervously stared at the shop assistant trying to make sense of her words, but I could not recognise a single phrase. “Sorry?” I asked nervously. She repeated herself in English and I thanked her. When I had decided what I wanted to purchase, she again started to speak in French. She knew that I did not understand her, but I was in her world now. That’s when it hit me: I would spend the next four months facing a language barrier in a country where 70% of the population speak English.
I have found ways around the issue. Any time I enter a shop I now smile and nod while they give me their spiel in French, and then politely reply with merci. I don’t need to know what they’ve said. I’m just thanking them for their time. Similarly, at the end of every transaction I am always asked vous voulez un sac? The cashier will generally move their hand to the side of the register as if to reach for a plastic bag. Noticing cues and trends like this lets me know to respond with a simple oui or non. Here in Québec people can be a little rude if you ‘disrespect’ them by not speaking the official language. That’s why I’ve found it helpful to at least respond with “thanks”, “yes”, or “no” in French, acknowledging on a basic level that I’m in a French community. This gesture goes a long way, and may even convince them to then help me out in English. I’ve also found that in Québec, there are much more serious language barrier issues than those of overwhelmed tourists. The tension between proud Francophones and Canadians who speak English as their first language is quite intense. I’ve heard stories from an older man who works at the campus cafeteria about English boys like him, being constantly bullied and beaten up as kids by French boys. That was just the socially accepted attitude back then, and according to him not much has changed. Whilst the city seems harmonious enough, promoting itself as a bilingual and multicultural metropolis, a lot more goes on under the surface.
To make matters more confusing, many French nationals complain that traditional Parisian French is not used as the official language in Québec. This adds tensions to Montreal as a large university city, which attracts thousands of French students. The Canadian Francophones seem to have a sense of self-importance due to their language, a sore point for French immigrants who don’t agree with the way they have transformed the traditional French language. In light of the Scottish vote for independence, there is once again talk of a possible referendum, whereby Québec could become independent from the rest of Canada. There have already been two referendums on the issue, in 1980, and 1995. The first of these saw the proposal defeated by a margin of 59.56% to 40.44%. But in 1995, the results were excruciatingly close, with the proposal being defeated by a ‘No’ vote of just 50.58%. If Québec had another referendum, it could be successful, especially given Québec’s widespread media coverage and public support for the Scottish independence campaign. Whilst language can divide us, it can also unite us. I’ve learned to be proud of the fact that I speak English, as a skill that many others would love to possess. I’ve also learnt that learning other languages is crucial if you want to truly connect with other people. We should embrace all languages for the lessons they teach us and the experiences they create for us.
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Z I L L A VA N D E B O R N C R E AT E D T H E I L L U S I O N O F A T H A I HOTEL ROOM IN HER OWN BEDROOM TO FOOL HER PA R E N T S D U R I N G S K Y P E S E S S I O N S
LOGGING OFF BY LAURA POLSON @laura_polson
July rolls round on the uni calendar, and no matter how much you’re enjoying your break, you can’t help but think... am I the only one not in Europe/America/anywhere else a part from Australia? Newsfeeds transform into holiday albums and you start to feel all the more restless. But sometimes behind the scenes, these photos aren’t as amazing as you think. Laura Polson explores a student’s experiment of social media’s influence on travel.
In early September the web went wild for Dutch graphic design student, Zilla Van Den Born’s travel pictures. They weren’t out of the ordinary, just a basic collection of your standard holiday photos. Well what made them so special you ask? They weren’t actually real. Van Den Born pretended to be on a five-week holiday in South Asia. She spent the entire time at her home in Amsterdam, photo-shopping photos and uploading them to Facebook. To add to the foolery, she Skyped her family and friends, and disguised her room as a hotel’s. Watching her friend and family’s reaction to the truth; there was a mix of confusion, laughter and a little bit of anger. By fooling her nearest and dearest, it was clear she was willing to go to all lengths to get her point across. Her point being, that she wanted to call out people who like to manipulate the reality of their lives using social media. She questions whether those pretending that their life and travels are better online are actually influencing their travels? In Van Den Born’s interview with Dazed Digital, the online version of Dazed and Confused magazine, I found three key quotes that others can learn from her ‘trip’. 1. IT’S NOT A COMPETITION
“We want to compete with the images we see online of others. Everyone can be the designer of their own digital identity and of course we want to keep up with the rest. And this could bring some pressure. We all know how it is scrolling through our timeline on Facebook, feeling jealous of the apparently awesome lives others live comparing to yours.”
2. DESIGNING YOUR OWN REALITY WON’T MAKE YOUR REAL-LIFE BETTER
“We tend to forget that people filter what they show on social media and often use filters to make their images more beautiful. Together we create some sort of ideal online world with which reality can no longer meet.” 3. DON’T GET CAUGHT UP WITH YOUR ONLINE IDENTITY
“You are who you say you are and it is possible to create your own ideal image of you. We shouldn’t be so obsessed with this online identity – we should live for the here and now. In real life you get to know much more about someone through interaction and body language.” Perhaps in future when seeing others positing photos abroad, you’ll remember the reality might not be what it seems. When taking and uploading your own photos, I hope that you, as Van Dern Born says, “Live for the here and now”.Your experiences can’t possibly fit inside the confines of a cover photo, but they can in your memories.
HASHTAGS THAT SHOULD BE TRENDING
compiled by Laura Polson and Kelsey McIntosh #idontcarewhatyoueatontheplane #wowanotherplanewing #thatsaniceplaceticketyoureholdingthere #nomorethrowbackspls #yourlegsaresowelltravelled
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S A L VA D O R D E B A H I A , B R A Z I L
WHEN PEOPLE THINK BRAZIL, THEY THINK RIO DE JANEIRO BY CAITLIN MORAHAN
In Rio, the favelas lay neatly tucked away from the city limits, behind a high concrete wall so the slum doesn’t tarnish the picturesque Copacabana. Rio is notorious for its constant wars between gangs and the militia, a messy effort to keep clean for visiting rich, white tourists. But in Salvador de Bahia, a city 1,649 kilometres from Rio’s walls, there is a world –and an unofficial government – that remains untouched. In Salvador, the favelas lie among main streets, wrapped around tourist sites, and underneath the city’s boardwalks. The biggest and most notorious favela is Vasco da Gama, ironically named after a famed Portuguese explorer. This is where I spent nearly a year living and working in an orphanage. The apartment I lived in stands on a street that twists upwards at an eighty-degree angle. The houses are packed on top of one another, the gates double, triple locked. The woman I lived with – whose name is Ely and on my very first day tried to marry me off to her nephew while I nodded along stupidly - is supposed to provide some kind of mentorship. She’s sporadically insane and takes off on spontaneous trips to Peru, stocking up on souvenirs she then sells out the back of her car. The day she left for the first time, I was woken by the smell of burning. At the top of my street, in the middle of the small mounted roundabout, white ribbons of smoke drifted from a stack of tyres. Ely was fussing, yelling to her neighbours across the street and down below us. I gathered – in my broken Portuguese – that there has been an execution. It was common of the gang that runs the favela where I was staying - trapping the victim in a stack of tyres and setting them alight. It serves as a warning, a stamp on their competition. Before her first spontaneous trip to Peru, Ely told me she was
taking me to her nephews place, and that he would take me under his wing while she’s away. She led me down the dirty alleys, with bullet holes in the fiberglass, a maze I will never remember. We went through two locked gates, where her nephew, Julio, greets me with a hug. I’m already family, he tells me before leading me into his front room. A small windowless room. The walls were lined with every kind of automatic weapon you could imagine. Julio turned out to be the most prestigious arms dealer in Vasco da Gama. Every time I went by, circles of tattooed men stood over duffel bags, giving me a wary glance as I went by to make cup of tea, listening in. The conversations would start out fake, laced with cordial pleasantries, and then become heated and more rapid until someone threw a punch. Julio’s henchmen would rip apart the offenders, they would settle a deal, and everyone would leave, a little rougher. It was in the dingy back room I learned how to load and unload an automatic weapon, to shoot targets drawn on with crayons in the living room walls, how to throw a proper punch, how to stop someone from choking me, how to pickpocket, how to samba, how to effectively hook my finger to dislodge an eyeball, and how to do that cool thing where you spin a revolver on your thumb. I learned there were systems and networks so respected, so integrated, the local militia didn’t bother interfering, because it would only end in blood. I learned not to judge a book by its cover, and made some of the best – if not most intimidating –friends I never expected. I had such an idea of what living in Brazil would be like, an idyllic landscape of beaches and sun-browned skin, cocktails and coconut oil. And it was. I surfed every day, drank coconuts on the beach and got browner than I ever thought possible (for as a fair-skinned Caucasian). But I also got mugged four times, tackled in the street, and had to drop and roll to safety during a street shooting. However, all of that came with the opportunity to really see the underbelly of a truly patriarchal country.
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TRAVELSICK BY KELSEY SUTOR & GEORGIA HOLLOWAY @KelseySutor @grumpygeorgia
KELSEY WENT TO THE UNITED STATES FOR EXCHANGE IN 2013.
While coming home was wonderful, nothing had changed. Everything was routine.
You know that song ‘Freefalling’ by Tom Petty? You know, “I’m freeee I’m freefalling!”
Now, before I go on, I’m going to address what some of you reading this may be thinking:
Well, I absolutely hate that song.
“Get over it.”
It came on in the car the other day. Just as that chorus started, these uncontrollable tears started to flow. By the time I was home, I was a blubbering mess.
“You have nothing to complain about.”
That stupid song came on non-stop when I was on exchange in the US. Now, it acts as a trigger for random memories of my time overseas and makes me realise just how much I miss living overseas.
“Don’t you appreciate being home with family and friends?” Unfortunately, I’ve heard this from some of the closest people to me. If you are going through this or will in the future, your friends and family will not understand. Why?
And for some people, it doesn’t take a song. It might take a smell or hearing an accent to make them feel as though home isn’t the same as it was before.
Because they weren’t there with you. And when they hear you say that you wish you were back travelling, they start to think a couple of things.
People who go on exchange (which I’m sure a lot of you readers are considering or have done if you’re reading a Tertangala focused on travel), get to know the people, the streets, the language and the customs of a place. In other words, it becomes familiar.
Firstly, they think you’ll leave again and secondly, they think they don’t matter as much to you as before you left Australia. Now, both of these may not be true, especially the latter, but put yourself in their shoes for a second, the person they care about most in the world wants nothing more than to leave them, again.
So coming home, where things have either changed dramatically or not at all, can be hard to readjust.
So how do we cure second homesickness? We simply can’t, but there are ways to make it better:
For me personally, the United States represented a whole other world.
• Chat to others who have been overseas and miss it just as much as you do. They totally understand how you’re feeling.
I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t know my way around, and I had to force myself to become a part of the community, which I did. It was a clean slate. It was refreshing. The pause button was hit on my real life.
• Become part of the exchange mentor program through the Study Abroad office.You get to know even more people like you, and help out someone who was once in your position.
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PHOTOS: KELSEY SUTOR AND G E O R G I A H O L L O W AY
GEORGIA TOOK A GAP YEAR, AND TRAVELLED AROUND 12 COUNTRIES IN EUROPE IN 2013.
When I decided to take a gap year, I invested every fibre of my being to accomplishing that. I worked three jobs for eight months to save. I spent countless hours a week researching places to visit. I had planned everything, and then planned a back-up plan. The time I spent in Europe was, without sounding like a sappy turd, life changing. Travelling changed me in ways I had never expected. And after six months away, I was ready to go home and tackle new challenges. Arriving at Charles de Gaulle airport, I felt relief. In thirty-one short hours I’d be home. As my flight took off, I started to cry. The woman beside me asked, “What’s wrong?” To be honest, I didn’t know. It was close to Christmas and I was looking forward to seeing my family.Yet, I couldn’t help but feel a little lost. While I was excited to be home, I was also scared to leave Europe. Whilst backpacking, I had become a completely different person. I tried new things, made new friends, and learnt a new way to live. I belonged there. I had made a home out of all the hostels, train stations and airports. Then I left it all behind. While I waited at the baggage carousel in Sydney Airport, I had this expectation that all those new things would resonate within my personality back home.Yet I was another sleep-deprived backpacker passing through border control. I had the same
clothes, gear and accent. But I wanted to everyone to know that I was different! I was better, more travelled, more cultured. I was the new Georgia. After a month or so at home I slunk back into the old habits, the old conversations, back into reality. I felt that new Georgia slipping away into normalcy. Nothing had changed while I was gone, but I had changed, and I wanted to stay that way. I didn’t want to worry about uni or work. I wanted to worry about where to go next. But as time went by, I realised more and more that I was home. This feeling of loss kept growing, and I thought ‘maybe my sense of belonging isn’t just at home anymore’. I’ve come to accept the longing I feel to be away. To walk along those streets again, to smell the smells, to really live. My family doesn’t understand my sadness. Maybe I left the new Georgia in Paris as I boarded that flight.Yet everyday I’m home, I’m reminded that I am loved, and Europe will always be waiting for my return. Here are some things that helped me over the post-arrivalhump: • Talk to your friends and family. Ask what you missed out on, events etc. • Do things you couldn’t do overseas, go to the beach or eat proper fish and chips. • Take time to reflect on what you learnt while travelling.
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PHOTO: CASEY MADIGAN
STEPPING UP AND GETTING SHIT DONE BY CAITLIN MORAHAN
Most people can’t see past the reasons why they shouldn’t go to India. The poverty, the people, the danger, the smell, the heat…
She can see in my face that I don’t know what to say. She smiles gently.
And for the most part it’s true. There are piles of rubbish lining the dirt-cuffed roads, cows roaming the streets, and heat so intense you can feel beads of sweat rolling down your back. Some places are so crowded you can feel the contents of the pocket of the person next to you, and the whole country smells vaguely of eggs. India can – and will – beat you down, but that makes it all more worth the while when you get out on top.
“Even though we have accepted modern means of living, our values and beliefs are unchanged. We can change our clothes, our food or our homes, but our culture is rooted deep within us, from birth to womanhood.”
For some 40K troops, comfort zones are miles behind us. We’ve been deposited in rural India on a crash course of social entrepreneurship, to build a social business that empowers locals through employment, educating children with the profits. Sounds simple enough. Get out there and get shit done. In the afternoon 40K will run Plus Pods, after-school education centres aiming to bridge the gap between public and private school education, to give the kids a leg up in the workforce. That’s some time away though; right now they’re concentrating on performing the Three Little Pigs, front to back, in English. Primary kids would scoff to see them tripping over the words, carefully reading their lines in halting English, but for me, it’s a beautiful thing to watch. Give me the rubbish and the smell and the cows. Regardless of what India uses to bowl you over, the people will pick you up, dust you off and serve you chai. I’d take anything thrown at me, because I’ve never learned so much about a culture than what Madhumalathi taught me. The tiny shop across the road from where we lived was the same as any village store, with the ubiquitous packets of tea, washing powder and razors hanging in strips from the ceiling. Biscuits in mismatched jars and bottles of skin-paling lotion sat in the cabinet below the counter. The first time I spoke to the shopkeeper, was to ask her if she sold chai. “No,” she said with a gentle head wobble and private smile. “Down the road.” I smiled politely at her for the next week, as I came and went from the city, feet collecting red dust as my bindi slid down my forehead from sweat. It wasn’t until the end of the first week that I got to know her name.
One of her daughters, Lakita, sits on a crate outside the shop in her blue and white school uniform. She can’t walk, but she is perfectly content, perched upon her pedestal, lifting her face to beam at every customer. She runs chubby brown hands through my hair and leans into my lap, tracing my kneecaps with clumsy fingers. “Her spinal cord, it does not work properly,” says her mother. “She won’t walk.” I have a better understanding now of what that means. Lakita wears two silver bracelets and slivers of bamboo through her pierced ears, but she won’t marry. It would fuel a feminist-inspired rant from any newbie to India. The injustice of social politics. Blatant ignorance on gender equality. The freedom of choice. But a few weeks in, I learnt it takes more than that to influence the cultural roots of over a billion people. The 40k workers as a group learn maybe more in four weeks than we have our whole lives. I learnt how to teach. I learnt how to use a squat toilet, and neatly at that. I learnt how to cross a road. I learnt how to make a child understand nouns. I learnt the vital essence of humanity that exists in every culture. Some days you feel like you aren’t changing anything at all. Some days deal you a shit deck and you finally understand what ‘burning frustration’ feels like. Sometimes they ask questions you don’t have the answer to. Sometimes they ask for things that you can’t give. But we are there for ourselves as much as we are for anyone else. To learn. To demonstrate solidarity. Reassess priorities. Explore a new career. Learn a language. Learn a new culture. Learn first, help after.
“Madhumalathi,” she says, grasping my fingers in her hand. “From where you are?”
Maybe you’ll hate it. Maybe you’ll never feel properly clean again and find dirt in your ears for months afterwards. Maybe you’ll change your career path, travel to more countries, meet new people and have amazing experiences.
She had a different way of putting things, but she spoke good English. “I studied at college,” she said after I asked. “I have a Bachelor of Computer Science. But after I graduated I married, have my children. I did not work a day.”
Either way, I recommend you give it a go. For more information about volunteering with 40K visit 40k.com.au.
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A CULTURAL TABOO BY GEMMA MOLLENHAUER @GemmaMolle017
2 0 15 E D I TO R !
Trigger warning: This article deals with suicide and depression and may be distressing for some readers. It’s the June mid-semester holidays, and I’m waiting at the bus stop in Kagoshima, South Japan. The bus sign is in Japanese so I approach a young lady, with what little Japanese I do know. “Sumimasen, is this the bus to Kagoshima train station?” Politely she nods, confirming by pointing at the station on the map I’m holding. That’s when I notice her scars. Decorating both forearms from wrist to elbow, she wears the marks of self-harm blended with cute colorful bracelets and a pink Hello Kitty watch. Amidst the bustle of a country leading the way in technological advancements while also epitomizing the meaning of ‘cute’, a black cloud lingers over its people. Japan is the only developed country to make the World Health Organization’s top 10 international suicide rates list, at 0.02%. With numbers hovering around 24 suicides per 100,000 people - roughly double the rate in the U.S. and three times that of the UK - Japan has seen at least 30,000 suicides annually in the last fourteen years. Although that number is in decline, the suicide rate in Japan is still very much a problem. So why, in a country immersed in immense and rich technological and cultural development, does suicide have such a high prevalence? Japan’s history is fraught with the concept of ‘honorable suicide’ whereby Samurai would atone for mistakes by committing hara-kiri, or ritual suicide involving disembowelment. Similarly, Kamikaze pilots in WW2 would intentionally crash into their target, disregarding their own lives. Evidence in this issue stretches as far back as 1946, with Ruth Benedict’s book The Chrysanthemum and the Sword suggesting that Japanese culture is one of tolerance, especially with regards to suicide. Today, this notion of noble suicide still lingers, especially in older, traditional individuals. Cabinet minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka was described by the former Governor of Tokyo Shintaro Ishihara, as a “true samurai” for preserving his honor after committing suicide in late 2007. According to University of Texas Ph.D John Traphangan “unlike in many Western nations, there is no religiously-guided moral prohibition against suicide, which claims that life is a gift from one’s deity and thus has to be preserved, even if it is intolerable”. Stress, high societal expectations and pressure to achieve in the workplace were the most cited reasons for suicide in a
government study conducted in 2008, accounting for 47% of suicides. With roots in the Zen Buddhist religion saying, “hard work is not a means to an end, but the end itself,” it seems employees are expected to show their loyalty to a company through personal sacrifice. However, Ph.D John Traphangan believes “Employment issues…are clearly part of the explanation for the country’s high suicide rates, but only partial—they do not, for instance, explain high suicide rates among teens and the elderly”. On the opposite side of workplace pressures, unemployment rates are also a major factor in the country’s suicide culture. Japan is renowned for its lifelong employment practices and benefits, including subsidised housing. Layoffs are debilitating not only to the individual, but also the family. But not only this, being laid off means the individual must start from the bottom of the food chain. Since the idea of a “free agent” is foreign to Japan, according to journalist Dustin Dye “a middle-aged man starting all over in an entry-level position is clearly untenable”, therefore this becomes another possible reason for high suicide rates in the older population. In her investigation, To Lonely to Die Alone: internet suicide pacts and existential suffering in Japan, Anthropologist Chikako Ozawade Silva suggested that stigmatisation and alienation were contributing to Japan’s suicide culture. She looked specifically at the motivations behind suicide meet-ups and group suicide organised online. The latter, according to Dr. Ozawa de-Silva, may stem from feelings of loneliness that are somehow alleviated in the context of killing oneself with others. In 2007, the Japanese government released a nine-step countersuicide plan – the White Paper – to curb suicide rates by 20% by 2017. At its core, the plan aims to change cultural attitudes towards suicide, and to prompt more investigations into its causes. The government has also boosted the funding given to mental health services such as counselling and therapy. While a tolerant culture is still very prevalent in Japan, the younger generation is becoming more open to seeking help as well as recognising that mental illness can lead to suicide. For the first time, it seems Japan’s suicide culture is changing. For more information on suicide in Japan, visit www.tofugu.com. If you think you are depressed and struggling, or having suicidal thoughts, you can book a UOW counselor at Level 3, Building 11, visit www.headspace.org.au, or call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.
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THE ULTIMATE MUSIC INTERNSHIP BY HAYLEY MAY CASEY @HayleyMCasey
As a budding music journalist, if a band manager were to ask you to fulfill the role of William Miller in Almost Famous you’d think you were tripping, right? Wrong! On a quiet afternoon at the UOW library everything changed for me. The revelation that I was the winner of Triple M’s music internship meant that I would be joining the end of KISS’ 40th anniversary tour in St. Louis, Oklahoma and Houston, and I was leaving in two-and-a-half working days. The premise of this internship was to travel with one of the support bands. The Dead Daisies – a super group who comprise of some of the best musicians in rock and roll today. Oh and it gets better, Def Leppard were the other support band on this tour. As I met the bands I battled with myself to remain composed whilst a thousand questions played scrabble in my head. They were strong and diverse in character; I had to be quick in assessing how to approach them. Weakness would mean my demise. Meeting these bands at the end of a two-month tour - on their forty-something show - was hardly when they were in their prime. I felt like the new kid at school, excited by a new scene that everyone else was ‘so over’. Pre-show I’d watch on in amazement as the dressing room resembled a circus. Show tunes and an ‘anything goes’ attitude to the instruments was the standard warm-up. It was like an ADHD experiment, a non-conventional jamboree.
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I was exposed to all facets of tour-life, some glamorous and some not so much. One minute I was shopping with a rock star and the next I was standing over them like a kindergarten teacher forcing them to sign fan-merchandise. I felt like an actress running from stage-to-stage playing different parts. It was business-as-usual. At night I would go back to my room/bus –annihilated from covering so much ground at the show – and write till ungodly hours of the morning. I ran on adrenaline and caffeine for six days and I loved every minute of it. How could I not? I slept on a tour bus and ran circles around hazardous cable ridden stadiums. I marveled at guitar technicians backstage busily tuning instruments, whilst I watched crowds of 25,000+ people revel in sonic bliss. There wasn’t one moment that I wanted to be anywhere else. It was grueling, but it was addictive. There are many idiosyncrasies from life on the road that I will remember forever: no pooping on the bus, sensitivities around personal space, a fresh pot of coffee should always be brewing and do not be late when the bus is to leave… ever! And if you are famous enough, you can take your pets anywhere. I made contacts that got to know ‘me’. We may have only spent six days together, but this was very different to your average six days. If you can tolerate someone after touring with them, you
P H O T O S : H AY L E Y M AY C A S E Y
have passed the show business psychometric test. Observing just one little annoying mannerism or habit can turn you homicidal. When you live and breathe music, exposure to the mechanics of touring is invaluable. It is not something that can be taken off face value. It is a labyrinth of blood, sweat and glitter. Roadies and backstage crew leave their families for months on-end to engineer these huge productions for literally no credit. They are some of the most genuinely hard working people I have met to date. There are hundreds of people working at their craft to make the craft of others glorified.You see wardrobe girls gluing, buffing, polishing, caterers turning over meal after meal, bus drivers driving all night, roadies unloading trucks and fine tuning instruments. Everyday is like Groundhog Day. All these people are there to reach the common goal of a flawless show for the fans. It’s like a dysfunctional family on steroids, but it works. After the last show in Texas there was a bitter-sweet energy. I was leaving the next day and the tour were all going in different directions. We celebrated in the hotel bar. Def Leppard’s Manager, Mal - who has been with the band for 32 years - got himself into a scuffle. Luckily, KISS’s Tour Manager, Gooch, was there to save him. Gooch was a big man – Mal, however, was not. Joe Elliott (Def Leppard’s lead singer) was trying to enjoy a quiet drink after the show but was
barraged by fans for pictures. This was when Mal politely asked for some time-out and a fan stood over him. It got pretty heated lots of swearing, threats and pushing. I pulled my chair away from the cloud of testosterone. It was clear that bar fights were not an irregular occurrence, it was handled merely like someone had spilled something… ‘Clean up the body in aisle 5’. We continued to drink tequila, and sing 80’s ballads played out on tables and chairs in the hotel bar. It was a moment that I had fantasised about; cocktails and comradery, mixed with a little bit of anarchy. I went to bed on my last night completely satisfied that I’d embraced this opportunity to the best of my ability. There were times that I was almost breathless, feeling so overwhelmed by responsibilities given to me – times that I really doubted myself. Then I kicked my own ass and remembered why I was there and how badly I wanted it. If I learned anything from a glam rock tour it’s that sometimes there will be blood, and sometimes there will be glitter.
To read Hayley’s full two-part story, check out: thedeaddaisies. com/triple-m-competition-winner-part-one-music-experiencehayley-may-casey and thedeaddaisies.com/triple-m-competitionwinner-part-2-blood-glitter-glory-hayley-may-casey
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COLD SHOWERS AND WARM BEERS HOSTEL ETIQUETTE 101 BY EUAN MALCOLM @euanmalcolm18
Backpackers are a diverse bunch of people and checking into a new hostel can be an exciting and sometimes frightening experience, especially for the inexperienced traveller. Hostels are a great way to save some precious dosh, but more importantly, to establish new friendships and gain insight into the world around us. Recently a solo traveller myself, I found hostels to be the best way to interact with other like-minded people, swap stories and shake off homesickness. But after checking in and out of over 20 places in a matter of months, staying in hostels can become an experience you would rather not remember. Here are the eight unspoken rules of hostel etiquette I recommend will make your dorm one big happy family. 1) Be considerate for your fellow backpackers. Hostels are a shared space in which everyone needs to get along. Avoid taking up the whole room with your junk lying about everywhere. If something would bother you personally, think again before doing it to others. 2) All backpackers are on a unique schedule. Some will wake up at 6am, whilst others will sleep well into the afternoon after a big night. If you’re an early riser, try to pack everything the night before. Nothing is more annoying than waking up to an unorganized traveller trying to cram all their souvenirs in one shriveled bag. Crinkly plastic bags are a no-no, the Final Countdown is not an appropriate alarm tone, and neither is hitting the snooze button three times before you finally decide to get up. 3) After a tough day of marinating in seawater, sweat and coconut oil, nothing is more rewarding than a nice long shower before a big night out. But we all want to look (and
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smell) our best when we go out, so please be mindful of the line to the bathroom. 4) Hostels are undeniably a place where libidos run wild and some backpackers will inevitably hookup whilst travelling. Proceed with caution here. Draping the sheets over your bunk (if you’re on the bottom) is a popular tactic, because not everyone you’re rooming with will appreciate it. If you’re top bunk and decide to get steamy, just keep the sound to a minimum. The shower is also a good alternative. 5) Returning to your dorm late at night and turning on the main lights is not okay. Use your phone to light your path whilst people are trying to sleep. That being said, returning to your dorm before 12am is also not great. You didn’t come halfway across the world to sleep. 6) Loud snorer? Think twice or at least consider declaring it before you check in. You could be saving yourself from a bunch of grumpy travellers in the morning. 7) Be prepared to encounter at least one backpacker stereotype during your stay. My favourite is the guy who insists on bringing his guitar (sarcasm). Others include the volunteer ‘save the world’ type, and the hippy couple who won’t stop talking about how mind-blowing India is. 8) Perhaps most importantly, embrace hostels as best you can. Say hello and share some stories, as this is the best way to get to know someone. You’re here to have fun, meet new people, see some new places and try new things. The showers may not always be warm and the beers may not always be cold, but in my opinion, there’s no better way to travel.
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Travelling the south west coast of Alaska is a glimpse into the expansive, rugged and unforgiving landscape of the largest state in the USA.
NORTH BUT NOT FORGOTTEN A photo essay by Alex Pike
Some say beauty takes time, and it seems that’s exactly what our planet had in mind around 150 million years ago, when several tectonic plates slammed together to create one of the unparalleled examples of fearsome beauty on this planet. Alaska, the largest state of the United States, was purchased from Russia in 1867 for 7.2 million dollars, which works out be around two cents per acre. Many criticised the purchase of the land, as it was though Alaska had nothing to offer; however, the discovery of gold, oil and wild fish quickly earned Alaska the nickname ‘The Last Frontier’. Undoubtedly a place of extremes, the monolithic mountains rise in a stunningly chaotic fashion, to give way to jagged, groaning glaciers that are constantly carving their way into the Pacific Ocean. The south west coast, that runs adjacent to the Yukon in Canada, is the gateway into this harsh environment that many are proud to call home. A great deal of Alaska’s 700,000 people live on the south west coast, due to the prosperous fishing industry and the influx of tourists that the coast sees every summer. Flocks of holiday makers come to Alaska on cruise ships, which run up and down the south east coast stopping at a few previously small fishing villages. These have been transformed into tourist hot spots and tacky caricatures of Alaskan culture. Such places are easily avoided though, and travelling just ten minutes away can have you questioning what state you’re in, as it can be possible to not run into another person for miles. Although it’s about as far away as you can get from the sun bleached beaches and tanned bodies of Australia, familiarity is easier to find in Alaska than I initially thought. The small, tight knit communities and surprisingly laid back and approachable people that populate them, produce an atmosphere similar to that of a quiet, coastal Aussie town. Fishing is the main means for income, and kids are taught how to navigate the Pacific Ocean in search for salmon, halibut and king crab before they enter high school. While it’s impressive that these communities exist in such an extreme place today, it’s incredibly hard to imagine what life was like for the first human inhabitants, who made their way to Alaska from Siberia around ten thousand years BC. Could it be that whatever drew them to make such a dangerous journey all those years ago, is the exact same thing that still draws people there today? It was worth crossing oceans and braving the unknown back then, and it sure as shit still is today.
The cheapest and most beautiful way to get into Alaska is on board one of the many ferries that run along the inside passage. Depending on how far north you want to go, the trip can take a few days.
Trees cover the isolated landscape, which is occasionally dotted with a cabin or house. With only 700,00 people in the entire state, Alaska is mostly raw wilderness and mountains.
Vehicle sized chunks of ice break away from a receding glacier in Glacier Bay National Park, a process which is called â€˜calvingâ€™.
A bald eagle dries itself after hunting for fish near Juneau, Alaska. Although a very common sight in Alaska now, the American icon was almost hunted to extinction in the first half of the 20th century.
Large colonies of sea lions can be seen along the coast in Glacier Bay National Park. A dominant male will usually defend a small area on the shoreline to attract more females, all of whom he will mate with.
Steve Kroschel, owner of the Kroschel Wildlife Centre near Haines, holds up a pine marten on a tour of his property.
Traveling from one place to another is made difficult in Alaska due to the high mountain passes. Sometimes the most efficient way to travel is behind the hands of the extremely skilled pilots, who have to fly in some of the most testing and dangerous conditions.
A monolithic mountain rises up from the shoreline in Glacier Bay National Park. Often brown bears are seen walking close to the water.
Our pilot points out some local wildlife on the mountainside.
There is just over 13,000 square kilometres of ancient, harsh mountains within Glacier Bay National Park.
The Alaska Highway was constructed during World War II to connect the lower states of the USA to Alaska, through Canada. As a result, one of the most scenic (and sparsely populated) drives in North America was created.
ANYWHERE BUT HERE
1. Natalie Mclaren - Helicopter Ride over the Grand Canyon. 2. Belinda Quinn - Kathmandu, Nepal. An Isreali nomad lets me paint his face with make-up before we head to a Jewish Halloween party for vodka and dancing.
3. Euan Malcom - Bangkok, Thailand. The street Alex Garland refers to in the first chapter of The Beach and is known for its budget accommodation. 4. Emily Ritchie - My friend Elodie amidst the fog on our climb up Mt Rigi in Luzern, Switzerland. 5. John Glenn Doyle - India, On the overnight train to Mangalore in late December 2012 we came to an abrupt stop. Some loud house music was playing outside in the dark. I pointed my camera out the window to see if I could catch what was going on. After this picture was taken, Santa climbed on board the train and continued to dance until the train began to move again.
6. Natalie Mclaren - Hot air ballooning over the Sonoran Desert, Arizona, USA. 7. Belinda Quinn - Tordi Garth, India. After struggling up steep sand dunes (and watching a woman in tradition Sari dance like a manic to Indian electronic music) we sat down for some Chai tea in the desert. 8. Alexandra Smith - This is a photo of me and my pal having a good ol’chat. He’s just one of the many incredible humans I’ve met on my trips to India. I don’t know if he was quoting Wayne’s World but as I was saying my goodbyes he smiled and said “live in the now”. 9. Emily Ritchie - The view I had from onstage with Belle and Sebastian at the 2013 Zurich Open Air Festival when Stuart Murdoch asked me if I wanted to come up and dance with them!
T R AV E L P H O T O G R A P H Y
BREEZY BOOKING – YOUR 12 MONTH GUIDE TO WORLDWIDE TRAVEL BY CAILIN KRAMER @cailinkramer
So you’ve had a light-bulb moment and want to jet set somewhere with no work, no troubles and most of all no worries.You’re worried that you should’ve booked months ago and are hoping to find reasonably priced flights just days before you intend on travelling. Forget worrying, because I’ve compiled all the need-to-know numbers, dates and months that will make booking your next trip a breeze.
best time to book for optimum savings.
CheapAir spent 2013 analysing over four million airline trips, and found that the magical number of days where tickets are cheapest, is actually 54 days before departure. They say in order to get the cheapest ticket, you need to book almost two months in advance. While the website says 54 is the magic number, they advise that the best window of opportunity is between 29 and 104 days before you take off. This will allow you to make the most of the cheapest flights available.
Wollongong travel agent, Taylor Nash agrees. “You have to be lucky to snap up a last-minute deal,” she says. “A lot of the time they say they are deals but once you add on tax and luggage it all adds up.”
Airfare comparison website, Skyscanner agrees, with their research stating six weeks prior (42 days) to departure is the
So what about those ‘fill the plane’, last-minute flights? According to CheapAir’s data, the most expensive plane ticket is usually the day before the flight! They also found that days leading up to departure, offered the most expensive plane tickets available.
So now you have the magical booking numbers, when is the best time to go? This has to do completely with your travel intention, but below you’ll find a rough guide of what to book, what to look out for and the most interesting global festivities happening each month of the year!
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JANUARY New Years Day! If you want to get away from the rat race, then you should’ve booked back in July or August! If you wait until a few months before you head off, flights may be cheap but accommodation will be expensive and most of the time, booked out. If you want to start your year escaping the heat, why not stay in Japan’s igloo village? In northern Japan Lake Shikaribetsu Kotan is completely frozen over and an igloo village is built on the lake. The Alpha Resort in Tomamu, Hokkaido, allows you to enjoy life’s colder luxuries such as a fully furnished ice lodge, ice theatre and even an ice bar.You will be living and breathing the cold in this epic frozen village- is there a better way to enjoy the cold?
FEBRUARY A lot of accommodation is going to be booked out around the second week of February, as loved up couples head away to celebrate Valentines Day. Another major day on the international calendar is Chinese New Year. For 2015, the year of the sheep commences on the 19th of February, and the year of the Monkey commences February 8th, 2016. If this is something you want to attend I suggest booking about six months in advance. The second half of February is a better time to take an Australian getaway. Children will be back at school and the line for the Batman ride at Movie World won’t be so long! If you would rather focus on culture than theme park chaos, India’s Holi Festival takes place towards the end of February.You may know this festival as the ‘Festival of Colour’, where colourful chalk is thrown in celebration of love and the arrival of Spring.The event stems from many cultural and religious beliefs, and is celebrated across all of India so you can celebrate it at practically any Indian destination!
MARCH If an Australian ‘schoolies’ wasn’t enough for you, then Spring Break will definitely provide you with all the sleepless nights you could ever want! My pick for Spring Break destination is Florida, where US college students flock to tan and party. Another reason to travel to Florida during March, is the Miami International Film Festival and the Universal Orlando Mardi Gras. If you still want to enjoy the sun and water, but want to relax rather than drink,Thailand’s south-east coast and islands are March’s hottest destination- literally. With temperatures reaching mid 20’s to 30’s, dive into the Gulf of Thailand off Ko Tao Island with your snorkels and explore the coral reefs. If you’re feeling adventurous book a whale shark watching tour, as March and May are optimum sighting times.
APRIL Bordering the vodka-loving nation of Russia and with a 6am nightclub curfew,Taylor Nash doesn’t know why many young people don’t consider Belarus when they are planning a getaway. Its capital city of Minsk, is known for its provocative and evocative nightlife. The World Health Organisation’s heaviest drinking country study, revealed that Belarus took the top spot with its people drinking an average of 17.5 litres of pure alcohol per year.“If you and your friends are looking for a good night out, don’t skip Belarus,” says Taylor Nash. “You might not remember it the next day, but you will thank me.” April is London’s shoulder season. Flights are typically cheaper this time of year and there are fewer tourists. You can’t guarantee a hot summer in London, so make the best of this cheap opportunity.
MAY Based on TripAdvisor’s 2013 study, the city of Marrakech was rated #1 for its nightlife and public transport. Marrakech, also known as Marrakesh, is a major city situated in the northwest part of Morocco. It also took home second place for the cleanliest streets in the same survey.Taylor Nash observes that Marrakech is again often overlooked when young people are planning a holiday. “It was rated number one for its nightlife and May is the perfect time to see the best of Morocco’s culture, weather and nightlife come together,” she says.
JUNE June, July and August are prime Euro trip months! I suggest taking a few days to steer clear of the typical tourist destinations and explore Turkey’s natural wonders. Hidden in Turkey’s southwest are natural hot springs called Pamukkale, locally known as ‘cotton castles’. Taylor Nash agrees and suggests even a day trip to this phenomenon is worth the effort! “While you can no longer bath in the pools due to it being a UNESCO* World Heritage listed site, Pamukkale is something you have to see for your own eyes” she says. The site is believed to have been the ancient city of Hierapolis and while bathing in the water is prohibited, the mineral water is said to have healing and wellness abilities. *UNESCO stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
JULY The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) states that 18% of departures in July are people leaving to experience Europe’s northern summer. While the Mediterranean coast has its perks, Taylor suggests visiting one of Europe’s native sites to take you off the ordinary tourist path. Although Dubrovnik has been nicknamed the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ and its tourism is booming, she suggests travelling to Croatia’s largest national park to get a glimpse of what the beautiful countryside has to offer. Plitvice Lakes National Park is an UNESCO World Heritage listed site and its stunning beauty is breathtaking. The site consists of a series of 16 lakes and costs approximately $10 for adult entry. If you prefer to avoid Europe all together, then head 200 km’s south of Korea’s capitol, Seoul, to the Boryeong Mud Festival. Over 2.2 million visitors attended the 2007 Boryeong Mud Festival, and next year its set to attract even more from the 18th to the 27th of July. For those of you who saw the word mud and skipped a paragraph, the truth is that the mud is actually good for your skin. It is rich in minerals and is used in the manufacturing of many cosmetic products (ladies now I have your attention!). The event is more than just frolicking in the mud though - jumping castles, mud wrestling and many other fun events keeps this festival partying for the full 10 days!
Head’s up! Start thinking about your New Years Eve/Day plans! It may seem too early to think about the end of the year but if you don’t get in now you will be kicking yourself in November!
AUGUST Many American hotel rooms are discounted through the end of August, so this is the perfect time to book a trip to the USA. Travel Writer, Mark Hodson says that while August is a popular time to travel, if you wait until the end of August, the prices tend to drop. Taylor agrees, “August is our most popular time in the office. People see the online sales and rush in to book!” While the United States is heating up, New Zealand’s cold weather brings out the best athletes in their annual Winter Games. International and national athletes compete from the 21st to the 30th of August, with the event considered to be one of the top five events on the international winter sports stage.You don’t have to be a pro to enjoy the winter season in New Zealand, so grab a lift pass and head to www.wintergamesnz.kiwi to find out all the locations and events!
SEPTEMBER If you are looking to do a summer Europe trip next year, this is the time to book for optimum deals! Get in quick or pay the big bucks later on. Contiki, Bus About and other tour companies release their deals and tours for the following year in September, and Taylor admits that if you leave it even just a few months longer, you’ll be paying more. September is usually accompanied by an extreme need to getaway and all I can say to that is Aloha! Hawaii’s Aloha Festival takes place on every Hawaiian island but kicks off on Oahu in downtown Honolulu. Imagine leis, coconuts, traditional Hawaiian dance, music, and wide grinned, warming smiles. The weather is warm and with Waikiki beach in the background you will be experiencing Hawaii at its best!
OCTOBER While the weather might be cooling down, Germany is known for its October festivities. But what you might not know about Oktoberfest could surprise you! Oktoberfest, despite its name, begins in the third week of September and continues on through to the first Sunday of October. It is confined to the city of Munich where only six breweries are able to participate in the celebration. The drinking is combined with traditional festival activities such as amusement rides and traditional German food- a mix that you may think don’t go well together! However the combination proves popular, because Oktoberfest attracts over six million people from around the world every year, and is both Taylor Nash’s and my top pick for the month of October! Remember to wait until you hear the mayor announce “O’ zapft is!” and then let the festivities begin!
NOVEMBER November and December are periods to watch out for schoolies! The crazed teenagers are no longer contained to just the Gold Coast. Australian travel company, Unleashed Travel, now specify in managing trips to other cheap destinations, such as Indonesia, Fiji and Vanuatu. If you don’t want to squeeze through the masses of schoolie generations, why not embark on an African adventure. November weather in Mauritania is hot and dry, and perfect for sand duning and camel riding. This country is situated in the west of North Africa, bordering the Western Sahara, and is home to large sand dunes. If you need to get away from the heat, go for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean to the west of the country.
DECEMBER According to the ABS, December is the most popular travel month for Australian residents, with 13% of all departures leaving this month. If you want to escape the festive season but also want to experience something unique and different, Antarctica is the place to go! Experienced traveller, Angela Davies has travelled to seven continents and over 65 countries, and still firmly states that Antarctica is her most memorable. “There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think about Antarctica,” she says. She encourages all young people to get there before global warming runs its course and it becomes a fading memory. While there is no best time to travel to Antarctica, cruises in December will showcase some of Mother Nature’s most amazing events. The birth of seal pups, baby penguins and whale watching will all be highlights to remember. Definitely one white Christmas to experience!
ETHICAL TRAVEL BY TILLY KIDD
Animals Australia - Unleashed has been my go to website for news updates on animal welfare for the past year and a half. It was through them that I discovered that in May this year STA travel stopped booking tours that involved cruel animal attractions. It’s great to see that some travel agencies are taking action against animal cruelty in the tourist industry. However, it’s not just large corporations that can make a difference to this urgent cause. By choosing your travel options wisely and exploring different cultures without inadvertently supporting the exploitation of animals, you can help put an end to this sort of profit-driven cruelty. SeaWorld is an international, lucrative business; they are more interested in the entertainment of their customers than the mental and physical health of the marine animals they keep captive. Orca’s, for example, are highly intelligent and sensitive animals. When they are in their natural habitat they swim long distances and stay close to their families for life. But the Orca’s you see performing at SeaWorld have been hunted down, taken away from their pods and housed in a pool that is one millionth of the size of the area that they would usually swim through in a single day. Underneath the façade of fun that SeaWorld presents to its customers, Orca’s suffer severe mental health issues because of their enslavement, live shorter lives than they naturally would, and are denied needs that simply cannot be met in confinement. Instead of locking these beautiful marine animals up and forcing them to jump around for us, why not go and visit them in their natural habitat? Whale watching is a great way to discover and appreciate the lifestyle of marine animals without taking away their freedom. You can still see these animals rise and break through the surface of the water, slap their tails and interact with one another, all on their own accord. You might spot a mother feeding her calves, or a playful show-off leaping out of the water to say hello. Whatever the marine animals are doing on your tour, the best part is that you know it won’t be a performance, and you will gain an honest and spiritually awakening experience of life under the sea. If it is a trip to Thailand you are planning, you might want to reconsider putting an elephant ride on your itinerary. In many of the profit based businesses that offer elephant rides, the elephants endure cruel training practices and are chained and confined when they aren’t working. Drugging is common and the hours of work are long. Calves are often separated from their mothers and their life expectancy is reduced to as little as five years because of stress and malnutrition. Alternatively you can visit an elephant sanctuary and share in all aspects of the elephant’s world. Boon Lotts Elephant Sanctuary (BLES) is a family run, non-profit organisation located in Thailand, which cares for rescued and retired elephants, and provides them with a safe natural environment. There are plenty of opportunities to observe the elephants in this indigenous setting. You can participate in activities such as walking the elephants to release sites, gathering their food, hiking alongside them and setting up camp in the midst of forest land. By visiting BLES or other animal sanctuaries, you are contributing to the welfare and sustainability of
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a beautiful species rather than their demise. Recently there has been a trend on Tinder where guys pose with tigers to look brave and score themselves a swipe right. You probably already have plenty of ideas why it is advisable to swipe left on guys with tigers in their profile, but what about the tourist attraction itself? Often animals used for these purposes are taken from the wild and their mothers are killed. Believe it or not, wild animals don’t have profile pictures to uphold, and they don’t like posing for selfies all day long. Often they are chained up when they aren’t working, their teeth are removed, and they are sedated and cruelly trained into compliance. There are ethical photograph opportunities that you can safely swipe right on after you’ve swiped left to the dodgy tiger picture. Why not visit nature parks, historical sites, buildings and the local community to take some snaps of the culture you are experiencing? These are parts of the world that are worth celebrating and what’s more, an animal doesn’t need to be chained up for your new profile picture. Next time you go to the local rodeo show, or visit Spain where bull fighting is a tradition, consider this - In the Spanish ‘Running of the Bulls’ festival, participants round up bulls and lead them through the streets to a bull-ring where they are then violently killed. The tradition was created by men that provoked their cattle by using fear and excitement to speed up the process of transporting them. It turned into a popular competition, and a bloody spectacle with horrific consequences for the bulls. There is nothing glorifying or brave about the death of these animals. Bull fighting, rodeos and cock fighting have been defended as culturally important. But there are plenty of ways to celebrate culture without scaring animals into running or fighting for their lives. A Spanish town, Mataelpino, has found a solution to this cruelty while simultaneously keeping with their tradition. Animals Australia has described Mataelpino’s festival as the ‘Running of the Balls’, where a giant 125kg polystyrene ball chases runners down the street into a defunct bull-ring. This playful and ethical adaption of the Spanish tradition allows participants to have an adrenalin-fueled experience without terrifying any bulls. Tourism has actually increased in the area since the town stopped using live bulls. If you’re planning a trip to Spain you could join Mataelpino in celebrating the ‘Running of the Balls’. We are so lucky to be living in a time where it is easy to experience different parts of the world. However, we must remember that we share this world with other beings, and they have the same right to explore it as we do. Next time you are planning your trip away, please research the countries you are planning to visit to find out what potential animal issues you might face there. Travel kindly, consider your choices, and you can help make this world a happy place for everyone to experience. For more information on Animals Australia - Unleashed, visit www.unleashed.org.au.
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PHOTO: NIKOLAJS OZOLINS
ON YER BIKE M8 BY NIKOLAJS OZOLIŅŠ
“Old mate is going on an adventure”. I motioned towards the road at a cyclist riding past, their bike loaded with panniers.
more than 60km in a day, and was now setting out on a journey of over 2000km hoping to be home for the holidays.
“That’s the thing with cycle touring though, isn’t it?” Craig replied. “You can’t always tell just from looking if someone is going around the country or on an overnight camping trip.” We sat eating at some picnic tables looking out over Lake Tuggerah, on a narrow strip of land between the lake and the sea.
The first day was damn hot. Resting under a mango tree in the middle of nowhere I scoffed at myself for romanticising the idea of travel. Sure, it was nice to chill under a mango tree in the middle of nowhere, but I didn’t want to do it ad infinitum. I had set my goal for that day as a 95km jaunt down to Calen, a town I knew nothing about other than its being 95km from Airlie Beach. When I eventually made it I didn’t find a lot, but after chatting to a teacher from the local high school I was given permission to use the school’s bathrooms, and resolved to pitch my tent in the fairly abandoned looking church yard, next door.
My brother moved to the Whitsundays in the middle of last year, and I didn’t have to think twice about whether it’d be a good idea to visit after uni broke for the summer. A week spent lounging around, swimming, and sailing was a pretty good offer. Deciding to get home by bicycle was something different though. Nervous about going alone, I tried recruiting friends, and obviously it sounds fun, but tentative yeses turned into disappointed nos with the reality of time and financial commitments. By now though, I had read enough stories and articles of epic journeys across the globe (to which my adventure would pale in comparison), and was itching to get a taste of it. I bought a one way ticket to Hamilton Island, along with some racks to help me carry gear while I rode, a tent, and a sleeping bag. And so one morning, as schoolies trickled out of the nightclub across the street, I set out alone, my bicycle heavy and loaded with all the things I had imagined myself needing to ride back to Sydney. Of course, my near total lack of experience saw me carrying some utterly useless items, like a stove’s fuel bottle for which there was no stove (it had been confiscated at the airport, good times), and utterly lacking some crucial items (i.e. cream for your butt to prevent sores that can pop up after spending endless sweaty hours on a bicycle). Only once had I ever ridden
There’s not much between Mackay and Rockhampton besides 300 kilometres and a lot of signs warning of fatigued drivers running off the road.You’re lucky to make it to a place with drinking water available after a day’s riding, and I had had people warn of a whole host of dangers, as mild as sunburn but as sinister as kidnapping, and the whole Wolf Creek experience, sans crater. However, despite the stranger danger it was on this long stretch that an indistinct figure on the road ahead became a cyclist. I pedalled hard and caught up to Craig, a Brit coming to the end of a year away from home, and capping it off with six weeks riding Australia’s east coast from Cairns to Sydney, after being inspired by some people from his hometown whom he’d met in Vietnam. They had cycled there. We made it to a camp spot for the evening and on talking further, discovered that we were both hoping to arrive in Sydney around the same time. Realising we could split the costs of campsites and other things, not to mention the benefits of having some company, it seemed to make sense that we ride together.
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I rode as a privileged person and I’m not exactly sure how to address all of this, but I think it’s important to keep in mind as you form relationships, that people’s lives can be very diverse and wild things.
We fell into a routine of three days on the bike to one or two day’s rest, usually deciding on a sleeping place for the night over breakfast. Now that I think of it though, Craig was probably already in this routine and it’s something I was helped into by riding with him, but we both learnt from each other as the days and weeks went by. I discovered new ways to know what was ahead through the magic of smartphones, and Craig said his diet improved after seeing how I ate (I’m vegan! Party!). The experience of meeting someone and going directly into a relationship where for a month you are constantly around each other, taking most meals together, and sometimes speaking to few other people for days at a time, was really strange, and its sudden end on a train platform in Sydney left me with a feeling that even now I can’t really explain. I’m thankful there was someone I could share the shitty moments with, and frankly humbled by the fact that anyone could put up with me for so long. And humility is crucial for travel too, especially when it comes to bicycle travel.You come to realise there are many things that can greatly impact your experience but that are beyond your direct control, and that layers of privilege are worked into the ideas surrounding travel. Sex, gender, socio-economic status, race, being able-bodied or not, all these things among others can change the experience you have, and even your access to the experience. This was made so clear to me even before I departed through listening to the stories of people very different to me. I rode as a privileged person and I’m not exactly sure how to address all of this, but I think it’s important to keep in mind as you form relationships, that people’s lives can be very diverse and wild things. An intrinsic difference between bicycle travel and other more common forms of getting about, is that it takes a lot longer. On highways we found it gets uncomfortable to do more than
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100km a day, for more than a few days. Although there is a sense of achievement in seeing what your body can do, backing up a 145km day with a 160km day, had my legs shaking as I climbed off my bike in Buladelah, cursing the head wind that had persisted most of the day. The Big Banana is two solid days from Byron Bay rather than a few hours, and all the typical tourist moments are much further apart. The in between times can be pretty amazing though, and they’re moments you only arrive at by bicycle. This is going to be cliché, but you’re left with nothing to do but appreciate the small things. These were what bicycle travel came to be about for me. It was watching Game of Thrones with old battlers while drinking beer gifted out of sympathy. It was turning a corner at the top of a hill and seeing downhill and flat roads, or the fact that it only ever seemed to rain after we’d reached our destination for the day. It was crashing because Craig and I were deep in conversation on the side of a highway, paying way less attention to our surroundings than we should have been. It was sleeping in the shadow of funny shaped mountains, or cruising through morning frost to be welcomed into the homes of people I never knew existed. It was feeling broken and fighting for every turn of the cranks, up a steep dirt road to the top of a mountain in the morning, and sipping frosty beers at Cape Byron in the afternoon. It was riding in one direction every day and getting tan lines only on one side of my body, or getting no flat tires the whole time except for four on the second last day. It was all the chats, directions, and escorts from friendly cyclists, not to mention the great friend I made just because I was riding my bike. And lastly, it was looking like an idiot wearing lycra shorts and a shit-eating grin in the middle of Sydney, but feeling pretty chuffed, and the hundreds of thousands of people going about their day who had no idea. The wind’s calling your name out in pursuit of foreign lands. Live free or drive.
PHOTO: NIKOLAJS OZOLINS
P H OT O : L AU R A P O L SON
A LETHAL COMBINATION BY LAURA POLSON @laura_polson
Soon to start a PhD at UOW, Ayesha Hassan spoke to Laura Polson about her experiences as a Pakistani journalist, and issues effecting women in her home country.
I should have known that one meeting with Ayesha Hasan would never be enough time for her to share all of her experiences. After her hour-long fascinating and surprisingly funny presentation for Femsoc’s Free School, the audience kept asking question after question. Until we actually got kicked out of the class room... Hasan let us into a world we know little about. A world that we rely on lines served to us in newspaper stories, or information on television and computer screens, to learn about. Hasan is a female reporter from Pakistan. An interesting combination, considering Pakistan was recently voted as the world’s most dangerous country for journalists and the third most dangerous for women. Despite the dangers of this role, Hasan is determined to create a strong female presence in Pakistan’s media landscape. She believes women report on issues like war differently to men, who tend to focus on violence, the technicalities of weapons, and gore. Hasan prefers to look closely at those affected by such conflicts, often seeking the voices that do not get heard: Pakistani women. For women in Pakistan, the feminist struggle is one for basic human rights and recognition. Hasan says there are opportunities for Pakistani women but they always involve challenges. From day one, they fight for education, and they fight for their right to work later in life. But when Hasan outlined a brief history of her country, Femsoc presentation attendees learnt that it wasn’t always this way. In 1983, Presidential Dictator Mohammed Zia-Ul-Haqm, introduced strict and discriminatory policies against women. Underneath the Law of Evidence Order (1984), the Enforcement of Hudood law stated that if a woman is raped but cannot prove otherwise, she will be charged for adultery. In 2006, Pakistani women gained, as Hasan explains “a huge sigh of relief ”, when leader Perves Musharraf passed the Women’s Protection Bill in an attempt to appeal the ordinances. Hasan poses a question to the room: “Could feminism be the best antidote to the dangerously prevalent male chauvinism ingrained in Pakistan’s society?” Right now this question doesn’t have a clear answer, partly because feminism is very different in our respective countries. But for Hasan to identify as a feminist in her home country, she would be judged negatively. Pakistan’s version of feminism is far from topless protests likes the ones from FEMEN. Pakistani women are simply asking to be considered human beings. “Women from the first world will never understand what struggling for basic rights is like,” Hasan says.
When her discussion transitions from illiteracy levels to the brutality of acid attacks the room tenses. She educates us on new terms such as Vani and Kali.Vani occurs when women are swapped for items such as land to settle a dispute, and Kali meaning black, happens when a women is accused of being involved in an extramarital affair or connection. She is considered a stain on society, and is shunned and banished. The journalist mentions stories she covered that shattered her emotionally, and says a major challenge is to encourage her sources to take action against their injustices. Few do. Hasan also says she discovers women’s dreams while investigating and reporting. But these aren’t your typical aspirational dreams. They are in fact nightmares. One sixty-year-old woman, who lost both her son and daughter in war, has had the reoccurring dream of running and being attacked every night for the last six years. One particular article, ‘An Open Letter to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’, inspired Hasan to make a list of reasons why Pakistani women would not want to marry Saudi men. The article is hugely entertaining, raising key arguments like “It’s 2014, and you don’t let women vote”. It landed her in hot water, and she was even banned from entering Saudi Arabia.Yet, she says she hopes to one day make it there, just to say “Hah! I made it your country!” With this the crowd laughs and admires her determination of spirit. The journalist is mindful that she does not fully represent all Pakistani women, because she sees herself as free. Despite moving to Australia to start her family, she still wants to be an advocate for the women back at home. For now, that entails writing about them from afar, stating that her generation, “have the power of the pen. People might find us silly and offensive but we’re luckier than our grandmothers”. During question time, someone asks how Western women could be allies for feminist journalists from Pakistan, and not speak for them. Hasan responds saying she believes face-to-face interaction with people from other countries, travelling, networking and listening to others’ first-hand experiences of war, are all important. As Australians we have the ability to know how people in our society think and therefore what will make them listen. “It’s like synergy,” Hasan says. “It really helps.” To hear more of Hasan’s views on journalism and her advice to students, see Emily Bennett’s piece on the UOWTV Multimedia website at uowtvmultimedia.com.
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TO FLY OR NOT TO FLY? BY ZOFIA ZAYONS @zzayons
“Do you want to offset your carbon emissions for $1.79?” Inner monologue: No, Jetstar, I do not want to give you an extra $1.79. I’ve just spent the last half-hour removing every optional extra you’ve signed me up for so that my budget flight does not cost three times more than the advertised price. The last thing I feel like doing is giving your multimillion-dollar corporation more of my money. For a very long time, this was the extent of my thoughts about the environment when planning to travel. My desire to travel further, faster and more frequently caused me to completely disregard the environmental damage I was doing in the process. The ‘travel bug’ is slowly infecting us as a society. When we travel, we connect with a societal status symbol and an ingrained ideal of glamour and worldliness. As travel becomes cheaper, it becomes more accessible. It is now just as accessible to someone on a budget as it is to a wealthy person. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics International Movements Report, 8.2 million Australians traveled overseas in 2012. This marks a steep increase in the number of people traveling overseas; it was reported that in 2011, 7.8 million Australians traveled overseas, and in 2002 only 3.5 million Australians traveled overseas. Travel has become a ubiquitous lifestyle choice, and with that choice, lifestyle has taken precedence over environmental justice. The aviation industry is the fastest growing contributor of carbon dioxide emissions. A return flight from Sydney to Hobart emits approximately five tonnes of carbon dioxide. This is the equivalent of half an averages person’s annual carbon footprint. As an Australian, almost all travel will require a flight, with many of those flights being long haul. Our lifestyle choices are actively contributing to significant environmental damage and climate change. And unfortunately, an optional $1.72 offset fee isn’t going to fix the situation.
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So what’s the solution? Should we never travel again? There are ways we can continue to travel by doing so mindfully. Here are three: 1. Reconsider your need for long distance air travel. Do you really need to fly to the other side of the world multiple times a year? Can your business travel be conducted in remote ways, such as Skype? Could you take a holiday to a closer location? There are many options for reducing air travel if we take the time to consider them. Overland travel options can often be a faster and much more environmentally friendly option. Train travel is a far more sustainable option, as is by car-pooling and bus. Some people even choose to travel by ship in order to reduce their carbon footprint. 2. Discover your own backyard. Cultural pressure to see new things, try new food and discover new experiences has blinded many of us from discovering the beauty in our own backyard. Australia’s vast size and diversity makes it a traveler’s playground. Snowy mountains to coral reefs, deserts to lush green valleys, Australia has a plethora of travel options. By taking a holiday within Australia, we are more likely to travel overland or only fly for a short period of time, therefore reducing our carbon emission contribution. 3. Fly with sustainably focused airlines. Not all airlines were made equal and some airlines environmental policies are stronger than others. Take for example Air New Zealand, who are enhancing their fleets with newer planes and better technology, are implementing the use of sustainable biofuel, and encouraging scientific research in to more sustainable flying practices. If you conduct airline research before you fly, you are able to give your hard earned dollars to an airline that you know are trying to help, rather than hinder, the environmental travel effort.
THE PROS AND CONS OF ‘THE PLAN’ BY LAUREN BARRETT @LaurenLjbarrett
Have you ever heard a student say, “I don’t really want to travel the world”? It’s no secret that the most passionate travelers are among those who throw caution to the wind and announce “I’m going on an adventure!” without plan or purpose. We’re young, carefree, tight on money, and the world is a big place - but does planning a trip hinder or help us?
the things that became expensive last minute. Especially as it kicked in to peak season.”
Undoubtedly, the largest travel concern for students is budgeting. We want all the experiences with none of the expenses, and who could blame us? With youth hostels, budget airlines and all kinds of early bird discounts at our disposal, it’s expected that we won’t have to compromise on our ideals. The key, as many emptypocketed students have discovered, is a degree of forward planning.
“it was difficult to get from some countries to other countries and
While on international exchange, University of Wollongong student Zofia Zayons took a number of small trips, and in hindsight, she wishes she had planned more. “I’d book a flight for a month later and pre-arrange accommodation,” she says, “but I hadn’t planned anything before leaving Australia, except getting to Sweden”. After leaving her home base on exchange, she was planning one to two countries ahead. “If I was in Greece, I was planning how to get to the next country and where to stay. Nothing was booked.”
Croatia. A bit of forward planning probably would have enabled us
Ironically, we students desire a ‘carefree’ and flexible travel experience, and aim to achieve this through a general lack of planning. Though total flexibility is attractive when travelling, Zofia says that forward thinking would have prevented stress and spending. “Although it worked out fine in the end and the flexibility was great, it was really stressful trying to enjoy my holiday on a budget when I knew that the longer I put off booking something, the more expensive it would become.” If she could change anything, she says that she would have had flights, trains and some accommodation booked in advance. “These were
unplanned days,” he says, “but that’s the risk. Also, remember that
Most of us desire to do, see and explore more than what is humanly possible, even though we know it’s not realistic. It’s even less realistic to squeeze everything in without thinking about the logistics of ‘seeing everything’ before attempting it. Zofia shares, it involved a lot of re-working the plan. For example, when I was in the Greek Islands, my travel partner and I had decided that we wanted to go Croatia next. A flight was going to cost us $500. In the end, we had to get a ferry to Mykonos, stay an extra night, fly to Germany, stay two nights, get up at 4am, and then fly to to get more direct flights or avoid the situation all together.” Although forward planning is healthy for stress levels and budgets, it could be argued that travelling is all about freedom and adventure. For graduate Dylan Smith, having the trip of a lifetime was about finding the perfect balance. While travelling in the US, Dylan enjoyed knowing he had plans in place, but equally appreciated the freedom of unplanned days. “Sometimes you will feel like you’re just wasting time and not being effective on not every day is epic. If something is surprisingly epic, just stop. If something is a letdown or not as good as anticipated, keep going”. He advises that, “sometimes you’ve just got to throw caution to the wind and go ‘YOLO’!” When it all boils down, be safe, be smart and know your limitations. If adventure is your key priority, you may just have to compromise on budget, and if all else fails - at least you have a story to tell.
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PHOTO: AMY FAIRALL
DON’T JUDGE AN ASHRAM GUEST HOUSE BY ITS GARDEN BY AMY FAIRALL @AmyEloiseF
If ever you get to South India and are in desperate need of serenity, Pondicherry is the place to go. An old French colony, the small city has become a hot tourist destination for Indians and international tourists alike. The French Quarter of the city boasts hundreds of beautiful colonial buildings licked in bold Indian colours and street art. It’s not unusual to see school children gracefully riding bicycles down the cobble stone streets, or middle age men taking a break with a cup of chai under one of the many beech trees that line the lane ways.
decided to take a stroll along the beach promenade. Each night between 6pm and 7:30am, the road that runs parallel to the beach is closed off to vehicles, and becomes a lively night market and general hangout for locals and tourists. With several cafes and restaurants facing the water, it was a great place to ‘people watch’. We followed our trusted guide-book to a small bar where the beer was cold and the cocktails were cheap. After a few too many Long Island Iced Teas and a quick stumble back to the guest house, I was asleep the second my head hit the pillow.
My boyfriend and I arrived in Pondicherry after a three hour bus ride with no air conditioning in pre-monsoon heat, seats that didn’t fit our legs and the biggest rip off by a tuk-tuk driver on our trip. Mercifully we found ourselves in a truly beautiful place to stay, at Park Guest House.
But my night was restless. Tossing and turning, I couldn’t stop scratching my arms, face and neck. In my sleepy state I decided it must have been mosquitoes biting me, so I pulled the sheet up over my face to protect myself. Yet somehow, the little buggers still got through. I was itchy in the strangest places. Above my eyebrows, on my cheeks.
As we entered the building, we felt a sudden shift in the air. With dirt-covered faces, disheveled clothes and abundance of overweight bags, we straggled into the quiet, cool reception room. We felt we had to whisper. The location was almost unbelievable. Right on the waterfront, it was the only hotel in town on the beach side of the road. We’d even caught a glimpse of a flourishing garden filled with grass and trees! Real grass! At the front desk, we were asked to read a list of rules that we had to agree to before making a booking. As the hotel is intended for those visiting the Ashram – a religious monastery in the town – all guests must be mindful of the expectations of the Hindi religion. No smoking, no drinking, no guests and a curfew at 10:30pm. None of these seemed to be a problem, so we quickly agreed and arranged to stay for two nights. We stumbled into the biggest and cleanest room we’d stayed in over the trip. Not only was there a lounge and coffee table, but a verandah that looked out over the lush garden and onto the breaking waves. At only 400 rupees, approximately $8 each a night, the deal seemed too good to be true. And it was. After rejoicing in our faith in the Lonely Planet Guide, we
I awoke early and my boyfriend and I declared that bed bugs had been the source of our troubles. We weren’t particularly angry, just itchy, and decided to inform the receptionist of what we’d discovered. A change of rooms or at least a new mattress was surely not a big ask. But once when we began to politely tell the women at reception about the unpleasant sleep we’d had, a strange thing happened. “No. We don’t have bed bugs. It must have been ants. Or mosquitoes.” That was it. No sympathy, no checking of our beds for proof. Just a dismissal. We found this very strange as everyone else we’d encountered had been overly helpful. We insisted that we had bites on our faces and that Dylan had even found a bug in his sheets. But she wouldn’t budge. That night, we made a make-shift bed out of the cushions from the lounge. The view and location were well worth a night on the floor. The Park Guest House was a beautiful and peaceful place to stay. Just be aware: it’s more than just the strict rules that will make you itch.
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B E AT E N B O D I E S , P H O T O : T O S C A
ARTS & CULTURE
BEATEN BODIES BY ALEXANDRA SMITH
Reaching back to the pioneers of groove and catapulting them into today’s rich musical landscape, Beaten Bodies combine elements of jazz, hip-hop, soul and electronic music to forge a sound that is forward-thinking and all their own. Thoughtful lyrics inspired by the human spirit, are woven together with enchanting melodies. A three-piece horn section, riding future beats and deep multi-layered grooves, Beaten Bodies is an experience. They’re about moving the soul as much as they are about moving the body. (Description from Beaton Beaten Bodies Facebook page). Interview with Novak Manojlovic. HOW DID BEATEN BODIES COME ABOUT?
It all began with Liam and Marli, they were antsy to get something started. So Marli called me up and then the three of us started looking for people we knew that filled the instrumentation we wanted. We were also throwing this band together to play at this 21st party. After we did that we felt that there was a cool vibe going on... So we started playing and writing our own music and yeah, it just spiralled from there. HOW DID YOU START/END UP IN THIS FORMATION?
As the sound changes in a band you realise that you have to alter instrumentations, and as cruel as this is, alter members to fit the style you want to make.You know what I mean? Like having an electrical guitar in the Sydney Sympathy Orchestra for instance, it would be a bit weird. So yeah, we’ve had to work things out by changing sounds or instruments. Our sound progressed from big beat-swing, feel-good, summer pop hits, to more like groovy, darker, hip-hoppy-soul kind of stuff, and so from that we realised we needed people to fit that sort of sound.
BEATEN BODIES STYLE HAS CHANGED OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS - WHY AND HOW?
I think these are just natural evolutions that happen when you’re playing music, we started with this thing in mind that we just wanted to get people on the floor dancing, and for example, if we were playing at a party we’d play all those classic covers that people would want to hear… So then we started to write in that style, and then after time progressed we kind of had this realisation that none of us actually listened to that kind of music (laughs). We decided to figure out who we all liked listening too (Erykah Badu, Robert Glasper, Hiatus Kaiyote, etc.), and from there we started to write music that was more like those styles. It was kind of a slow transformation, but that’s kind of how we ended up where we are now, which I feel is a lot more settled. Also I guess the thing about having eight people in the band, is we now have all these different influences, cause’ we’re all into different things and backgrounds etc. Which is cool. DO YOU LOOK AT MUSIC AS SOMETHING YOU’LL BE DOING FOR A LONG TIME?
Yeah, I mean I’ve never thought of it in any other way. I just assumed since I was 16 years old that this is what I’ll do. I do find it hard to balance music being a job and enjoyment though hey. Like for instance I might have these two gigs, I’ve got one that’s a sell out, also known as a ‘jobby’, which could just be a filthy thing that we don’t want to do but need the money, and then we might get this awesome creative gig that’s not paying much but it’s what we enjoy... and trying not to lean too much either way.You know, you have to pay your bills and also play the creative music. I guess the ultimate goal is to pay your bills with the creative music.
ARE YOU CONSTANTLY CREATING MUSIC?
Yeah, all the time. Well I can’t speak for the others, I don’t really know what their own individual process is, but I do. I know that in terms of the band writing, someone will have an idea, like a stem, whether it’s like lyrics or chords and then we’ll workshop it for ages and do a few rehearsals to glue it all together. HAVE YOU GUYS TOURED A LOT?
We have… We’ve been down to Melbourne a few times, and through regional parts of Victoria like Mildura. We’ve toured up the coast to Brisbane (oh this is mostly by car by the way), Sydney, Wollongong, etc. It’s one of the best parts of being in a band, a paid vacation! DO YOU GET A LOT OF YOUR INSPIRATION FOR WRITING WHEN TRAVELLING?
For me personally yes. I went travelling a few years ago to America and it made me actually involve myself in art as a means to respond to all the things I saw and experienced while I was over there… and as a result of that, I have written a lot of music. I think music is kind of a result of this life process of going places and meeting people, and talking about things and then sort of trying to convey that in this particular way that speaks to you. HOW DOES MUSIC REFLECT THIS EXPERIENCE?
There are heaps of ways. It could be really literal, based on a sound you’re exposed to or something. I wrote this thing based on my ringtone over there. Every time my phone rung, I knew it would be ‘her’ so it would be this emotional thing from just hearing my phone, so I wrote something based on that. Also
places have general vibes that could be related to music. Even here, Thirroul’s a good example, if you were writing something about this town it would be really beautiful and open. HOW HAS THE BANDS RELATIONSHIP EVOLVED OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS, ESPECIALLY IN TERMS OF HOW IT IMPACTS THE MUSIC YOU MAKE?
Well travelling together in such a tight tight-knit group you would hope to get along. I reckon that’s how we started to get closer... And we’ve found it a lot easier to be open, which has totally been reflected in the music, whereas if you’ve got a band that aren’t comfortable and pretty self-conscious with one another then there probably won’t be as much creative openness. So now, after spending time and travelling together, there’s just this real sense of openness that is reflected in the music. We’re very comfortable to sit down and talk honestly about things like, how we can make something better, or how can we connect more to the music rather than just be eight acquaintances who are just playing some tunes. WHAT NEXT?
We’re still writing on our EP that came out a few months ago, and there are travel plans. We’re heading to Melbourne in November, a few coastal regional things, gigs in Sydney and of course the gig at the Bulli Heritage hotel on the 23rd of October. Then we’re going to spend some time writing music for a new album. Hopefully we’re going to tour that internationally. For more information on Beaten Bodies visit their Facebook page. To listen to their EP head to www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/ beaten-bodies.
I L L U S T R AT I O N : J A S O N B L O O M F I E L D
ARTIST PROFILE: JASON BLOOMFIELD BY BELINDA QUINN @BelindaQuinn10
“I think there’s a perception that kids don’t care [about art]. But kids do care.” While most year eleven students were spending their time freaking out about their preliminary exams, Jason Bloomfield was organising his very first solo exhibition called ‘It’s Okay To Be Different’ at The Now You See Me art gallery in Wollongong. At his exhibition, the white walls were decorated with pastel watercolours of playful African animals, like a two-dimensional zoo. The style was minimal, and the creatures seemed to spiritedly demand attention. A couple of light purple buffalos were even going at it in one of the frames in the corner of the room. There’s a red sticker underneath it, indicating it’s been admired and purchased. Jason is 17-years-old, a stud sits on the left side of his nose and his blonde hair is combed perfectly to the right. He’s an enthusiastic tennis coach, a creative writer, a caterer and most importantly, an artist. “At my school I say everyone can do art, I just happen to do it more than other people.” When high school seems to be a measure of how much information you can memorise and regurgitate, Jason feels like the practical experience of running his own exhibition has become invaluable. “Art’s become a bit more of a priority to me than school because that’s what I want to do,” he said. “My art has taken a 360 degree turn.” About three months ago, Jason took a trip to Africa with his family that would unknowingly change his dark style of painting and drawing. “[Before the trip] I was just frustrated. I’m not someone who would go around and rant, it gets in my subconscious and I sort of do it through my art,” he said. He worked hard to portray an almost-human character in the animals that he spent hours watching in the plains. “They’ll chew a tuft of grass here, scratch themselves there and ambiguously wonder off again.” After travelling through Zimbabwe and Botswana, the locals there gave him a lesson that presents itself in his work; happiness comes predominately from a person’s perspective. “That was really inspirational for me… I miss it every day,” he said. Arriving home with a changed attitude, Jason has decided to acknowledge his privileges and work harder than ever.
The people he works with, including mentor and close friend, Tegan Russell, coordinator of the Now You See Me Gallery, have also inspired the playful theme in his artist practice. “[It wasn’t] so much by talking, but by just being around and always encouraging, and saying ‘just do what you want to do’,” he says. “I guess that really helped. Without Tegan, none of this would have happened… she’s not doing it for money, she’s doing it for you.” Inspiration just hits Jason. “Sometimes it’ll really come to me and be like, this is what I want to do… And [then] I just hold onto it and go with it and then I try and finish it straight away,” he said. “If I don’t I just have so many works accumulate and that I don’t finish.” When he starts painting he has a go-to song: ‘2 Trees’ by Foals. The smooth synth drones, fast drum beats and plucky, metallic sounds from an electric guitar create a relaxing atmosphere to work in. “Their song is so mellow and so uplifting, it just gets the juices going.” He prefers to work in his studio because his cave-like bedroom has a “bad vibe”. He says the atmosphere he works in shapes his art. “I’ll do works watching TV and they turn out really good for some reason, I’m not focusing too much on the work to overwork it, which can be a good thing.” Since the exhibition, Jason has been invited to work with independent arts organisation, RAW Axis, and has been forming a fresh concept. “That’s always the hardest part. Tegan’s always like “give me something” and I’m like, “I don’t know, you do something. I don’t even know…” When we talk about making art in Wollongong and his future, he thinks back to his eleven years of playing tennis: “Great tennis players come out of everywhere. I mean Sam Stosur lived in the country and she’s won a US open grand slam…if you really want to achieve something, it doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing, you’ll do it if you want to.” You can see more of Jason’s work on his Facebook page: www. facebook.com/jasonbloomfieldart. This article will be published in the Now You See Me Magazine, which is due to be launched on the 12th of December. The magazine will feature 15 local emerging artists, and can be preordered by emailing email@example.com.
11 QUICK QUES TIONS WITH COVER ARTIST ALEX PIKE BY BRITTANY CARTER @_BrittanyCarter
Alex Pike, a twenty-two-year-old Biological Science and Journalism student, has an eye for striking images. Currently on exchange, the Jervis Bay born artist has interned for Australian Geographic and Green Lifestyle, and is now trying to make a profession in the art and photojournalism industry. His landscape photographs are definitely some of my favourites, but Alex’s portfolio boasts a range of different subjects. And the common theme that ties them all together? His storytelling ability. While we only get a snippet of narrative through the still shots, Alex invites our imagination to do the rest. A US coast guard, hands tucked into his hoodie, stands beside a bright yellow Jeep at the edge of a jetty, watching the afternoon winds roll in and the clouds sweep over. Wollongong’s white lighthouse provides a stark contrast against an auburn, smoky sky. An elderly woman hugs a pelican next to a river-bank on a warm Australian day, and leans away from the wriggling bird’s beak. Alex Pike takes us on a journey. I can feel the cold of the wind against my face on that jetty, it’s harder to breathe as I worry whether the thick smoke is from a fire close-by. The tide laps my feet and I feel uneasy worrying whether the struggling bird will knock the old lady over. It’s these strong narratives that set him apart from other artists. In a vote, our contributor’s picked Alex’s photo for this issue’s cover. We agreed that it conveyed a sense of strong, free-willed empowerment, perfect for the Tertangala’s Travel Issue. Below, Alex chats with me about his work, influences and aspirations. WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
My name is Alex Pike, and I’m a student at the University of Wollongong studying Journalism and Biological Science. I’m
currently on exchange in [the] USA for the year in Boulder, Colorado. WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
I like to take a more observational approach to my photography; I don’t like anything to be staged, so I generally just grab my camera and see what happens from there. Sometimes I might have something in mind, but it’s more important to be aware of anything interesting that could present itself, and then reacting to that. WHAT TECHNQIUES AND EQUIPMENT DO YOU EMPLOY?
For a lot of my photography, especially anything requiring a longer lens (such as wildlife), I use a Canon 7D with a 100400mm telephoto zoom lens. It’s a good combo that isn’t too hard to travel with, and I couldn’t live without the high frames per second of the 7D. When shooting landscapes I prefer to stay away from ultra-wide lenses, due to the distortion they create. I use a 17-50mm f2.8 for most of my landscape work, paired with a 10-20mm ultra wide. TELL US ABOUT YOUR MOST RECENT WORK.
Recently I travelled to the South-West coast of Alaska, and into Canada. I put together a few images for the photo essay in this issue, but I came back with so many images, I’m still sorting through them. WHAT UNDELYING CONCEPTS ARE PRESENT IN YOUR WORK?
I think that depends on the situation, and what the subject is. The natural world, and human interaction with the natural world, are concepts that I feel are represented across many of
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my images. I think that stems from my fascination with natural history. WHERE DO YOU GAIN INSPIRATION FROM?
I’ve always loved biology and natural history, way before I ever picked up a camera, so I guess that’s where the fascination comes from. I really love mountains as well, and living in Colorado has kind of turned that love into an obsession. I also get a lot of my inspiration from other photographers. Seeing the amazing images that these people are creating always encourages me to strive to reach that level, and the bar is being set higher and higher each day. IF YOU WERE LISTENING TO SOMEONE ELSE DESCRIBE YOUR WORK, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT TO BE DESCRIBED?
Everyone wants their work to be praised – I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want people to respect and appreciate mine. I guess I really want people to be able to have an emotional connection with my images, because I think that’s a really hard thing to establish... It would be pretty cool to hear that people could find that with my images. WHAT IMPACT HAS THE WOLLONGONG COMMUNITY HAD ON YOUR ART?
The impact the Wollongong community has had on my images has been pretty huge. There are so many local photographers who are absolutely killing it. They are so supportive of anyone who is into photography. It creates a pretty welcoming atmosphere. It’s also inspiring to see local people be so successful in their craft and have a great time doing so, especially when I hope to be doing something similar.
ARE THERE CHANGES OR IMPROVEMENTS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE IN THE WOLLONGONG ART COMMUNITY?
Although the current community is great, I feel like there’s always room for improvement. It would be cool to see more venues open up, but I feel like since I’ve lived in Wollongong things have definitely improved and will no doubt keep doing so. More young professionals from the community seem to be getting involved, so I think that makes a huge difference. WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP IN YOUR CREATIVE JOURNEY?
The ultimate goal is to get into photojournalism, but nothing is really set in concrete. I’ve got a few goals to get myself established, but once I get back from the States and graduate, I want to be printing my images to sell. IN LIGHT OF THE TRAVEL ISSUE, WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT OVERSEAS SO FAR?
My most memorable moment so far was probably driving over the huge mountains surrounding LA to see the city for the first time. We had just driven two days solid through the desert, and ‘Hotel California’ was on the radio. Driving into this city that I’d known my whole life but never been to was pretty amazing, and the crazy high mountains blocked the city from our view so we had no idea when we were going to see it. Definitely something that I will always remember. To keep up to date with snapshots from Alex’s travels you can follow him on Instagram: @Mangerang. To view his portfolio and the images alluded to above visit www.alexpikephoto. portfoliobox.me/.
NINJA TURTLES REVIEW BY JOSEF FERRARO AND TRENT THOMAS @JHF1993 @Trent1493
RATING: 6/10, GENRE RATING: 6.5/10
Whilst stealth, camouflage, and sabotage are key to the mastery of Ninjutsu, such qualities are not so valuable in film, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles unfortunately possesses such values. This new addition to the film franchise failed to live up to our fond childhood memories of the four crime fighting, pizza loving, teenage ninja turtles. The premise of the film is kept very simple as Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) and his soldiers, known as the Foot Clan, terrorise and control New York City. That is until brothers Leonardo (Johnny Knoxville & Pete Ploszek), Raphael (Alan Ritchson), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher) and Donatello (Jeremy Howard), rise from the sewers to discover their calling as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The turtles work with reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) and cameraman Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett), in order to try and save the city from the grasps of Shredder and his army. Fans of previous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, comics, animation, and video games, were curious to see if producer Michael Bay would be able to capture the essence of the famous franchise. Bay’s affection for aesthetics and the absurd often comes at the expense of the storyline and any theatrical depth. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was impressive with its computergenerated construction. However, as anticipated, it failed to explore the finer details of the plot, was anchored by poor acting, and served up jokes that fell flat. This was particularly disappointing as humour is a trademark of the franchise. On the acting front, Megan Fox has again proved how uninteresting she is, at times appearing more lifeless than the CGI made turtles. The only real acting credit can go to William Fichtner as Eric Sacks, the cultivator of the mutagen that has resulted in the Turtles existence, who puts in a firm performance. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did an impressive job of setting up the origins of the storyline. From a notable animated opening scene narrated by Splinter, the film continues to delve into the
origins of the turtles and all the characters involved. The only downside of this, is that the film seems to spend a little too long on uncovering quite a simple background story. Whilst the stronger aspects of the film came via the turtles and Splinter (Tony Shalhoub & Danny Woodburn), sadly the array of one-liners from the turtles that were intended to be funny, were frequently not. The protagonists were often pushed to the side, as the story focused excessively on April. This disrupted the film, making it feel as if the turtles were not the central focus. An important component of the franchise is the relationship between the brothers, especially Raphael and Leonardo. Whilst the relationships and characterisation of the brother’s on the whole was done well, Leonardo and Raphael’s conflict over leadership of the group was developed poorly. The relationship between these two felt un-even, as Raphael at times was represented as the main character. This undermined Leonardo’s leadership of the group, which unhinged the dynamic between the brothers and damaged the storyline. The film is dominated by action scenes, but flops when it comes to providing any real noteworthy action moments. These scenes are generic and boring, until the end of the film where we see the turtles finally utilising the full capacity of their Ninjutsu as a team against the almighty wrath of Shredder. With Marvel studios raising the bar of what is expected when it comes to producing large budget comic book movies like Thor and Iron Man,Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles failed to live up to our expectations as it relies solely on special effects and miscarries in providing a well-rounded film. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did not turn out to be the monumental bomb that many projected it to be, nor did it provide enough to make it anything remarkable. Instead it was a sufficient effort, which garnered enough good moments to make it an enjoyable cinematic experience that will somewhat please some fans of the franchise.
AND THE SUN ALSO RISES IN VALENCIA BY JAKE EVANS
01:55 ‘Arriba! Arriba! Vamonos!’ she was screaming at the driver as his turns became more and more erratic. We were all screaming and laughing and the driver was shouting ‘es como la Formula One! Es la Formula One, sí sí sí!’ and we were rolling around in the back and our vodkas were spilling on ourselves and Amy in the front kept screaming to go faster. We gunned it through the red lights and tore between the whirling taxis and slung in and out of roundabouts and careened over a pedestrian island and Amy’s head was rolling back and her red hair was falling out of its bun and our laughing reverberated in the little shell of the taxi. The driver was dragging with other cars and we were screaming foul fuck words and throwing our fingers up at the scared losers we were passing. The driver ripped his car into an illegal space right at the doors at the front of the club and we were shouting ‘thank you’s and screaming and cheering ‘we won!’ and the bouncers rushed the taxi and he sped off. We made the free entry to La Tres (02:00), our dear old friend La Tres, by about two minutes. We sucked down the last of our various mixed drinks and unspilled vodka and burst into the club with fire and energy and a sudden need to piss very desperately. 02:10 We were stumbling out of our respective bathrooms, idling with the smokers in the hallway, passing fags around, more drinks – free-poured, as always, in dear Spain – now we were joining our friends who had arrived in their much slower taxis, and burning our feet to the shit Spanish dance and now things were blurring well and Oscar and Marina were hooking up again, goddamnit, and now I was buying Marina a drink – or Oscar was buying me a drink? And Amy was coming in and out of vision in waves of blue and her head was lolling on her shoulders as she was screaming ‘te amo! te amo!’ and trying to kiss me and I was brushing her off and saying, ‘I love you too!’ Now the fire was burning real good and Marvin Garrix’s skeleton xylophone was tap tap tapping in our skulls and We Are Fucking Animals and we are burning our feet because this is the best song we will hear all night and we know it and now things are a real blur, and goddamnit, where is Oscar, he has slipped out, then it all blacks out. I have vague memories of stumbling along the city streets of Valencia to home and screaming at passing cars in Spanish and in English and loosing angry fuck words but actually I was very happy. In the morning I found the drunken messages to me: ‘wher are u??’ and, god, I knew I had slipped out the back at about 6am, as
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was my drunken habit, walking home and cursing my friends for bailing on me, when in fact they were still in the club. Though I wasn’t in the mess that Oscar had found himself in, that goddamn fool. 11:00 Oscar woke up alone in a foreign bedroom and sat up, his stubbly face staring at itself in a floor-to-ceiling mirror. He wiped his face with cupped palms and tugged at the earrings in his left ear. And then, shit, this was Marina’s room. When he relayed the morning to me at our regular café, I think he embellished that he had walked out of the bedroom to find that Marina was sitting in a chair in the middle of the living room, lightly tapping her open palm with a rolling-pin. But, then, there is always the chance that this was true, with Marina. She was sitting in the living room, clean and fully clothed and made-up, one knee folded over the other. Oscar was standing in front of her in his underwear. I have caught Oscar in tighty-whities more than once, god, I hope he was wearing tighty-whities. ‘Oscar.’ ‘Hello Marina!’ Oscar was speaking with his usual British cheer and charm but was so nervous that he was backing away from his words as he said them (later, he told me, ‘I literally shat myself ’). ‘We need to talk about our relationship.’ Apparently, Oscar didn’t mean to disappear with Marina in La Tres last night. There was some exchange that I was under obligations to stop him. Now, sitting in our regular café together, three doors down from Marina’s 15th-floor apartment, Oscar was telling me he has: ‘lit-er-ally no re-coll-ection of that evening,’ he says with a cheeky smirk. Goddamn his little cheeky smirk, hiding in his stubble. ‘Now she says because we’ve slept together twice, we must be in a relationship. I thought I was going to die up in that apartment Jacob. I thought she was going to tie me to the chair and beat me to death.’ ‘You’re a goddamn fool.’ ‘Shut the fuck up, I know.’ We were pale and worn around the edges and we ordered second coffees. ‘Anyway, where were you last night? You were meant to stop me. I think I spent 120 Euros last night.’ ‘Shit.’ That was three nights in a row we had blacked out and blown a handful of cash. Worse, is that it in Euros – and drunken Euros
particularly – it never feels like you are spending that much. And tonight we would do it again, except tonight I would accidentally smoke a blunt with some Spaniards outside the club, get way too high, and I would spend an hour on the upper floor staring at gymjunkies through green lenses and writing some weedy bullshit about gymjunkies. Whenever I get drunk and write, I always start with: ‘write drunk, edit sober’, the old Hemingway mantra. Except sober Jake doesn’t know how to edit drunk Jake. Oscar pulled me from my stupor.
wasted generation of clubbers; churned up and spat out by The Scene, but sunk too deep into The Scene to know how to leave – though we did not know this at the time.
‘Fuck. Marina is messaging me. I’m not gonna reply.’
‘Look, Oscar likes you. He does. But, we’re here for six months. He doesn’t want anything serious.’
Then my phone buzzed: ‘Hey :), want to get a coffee this afternoon? x’ – Enviado 13:07 ‘Fuck. Tell her my phone is broken,’ says Oscar, but he has a huge grin on his face. He loves the drama. And now he was already onto his next game. Le Chasse Est Ouverte. He was chasing Özüm, the Turk, though none of us knew it yet, except for Marina who was suspicious as all hell and suspicious of every girl and when Oscar eventually did hook up with Özüm, Marina ran around screaming ‘I knew it! I knew it! I saw it from the start!’ She was a lovely, angry young Italian, lithe and famous in a sharp coat and it made more than just Oscar wild. Hello Marina, yes I would see her at 17:00, no I had not seen Oscar today, but I have heard his phone is broken. Elsewhere in the camp, Amy had gone home with Emiliano the Italian Stallion again, Charlotte was too stoned and had stayed in all night, Eli got groped in the gay club and was found drunkenly humping a car and we all were playing musical chairs and scurrying and swapping beds in apartments all around Valencia and feasting on a beautiful banquet of foreign men and women. ‘Why does Eli always have to go to that gay club?’ ‘I guess he prefers that to sleeping with Marina.’ ‘Ha Ha, fuck you.’ 14:00 I went home and tried to kill my hangover with a shower. Kate, Amy, Eloise, Rachel and a pizza were lying around in the living room. They had not left the couches, except to answer the door for pizza. My roommate Joonas decided he was coming out tonight. ‘Where are we going?’ They asked each other. I joined them and their pizza and I told them that Oscar was DJing at ‘Aftershock’ or ‘Shockwave’, or something dreadful like that, some dodgy joint downtown. It must have been called Aftershock, because its demographic comprised the leftover tremors of a
17:30 I went and found Marina for a coffee. She was dreadfully hungover too, but in a good mood. She was not the mad-eyed Italian that Oscar had painted me this morning. In the café we both stared into our coffees.
‘Oscar and I are here for one year.’ ‘Still.’ ‘Okay.’ She looked into her coffee. I touched her arm. ‘Okay.’ Marina was quiet for a while, and then a nasty grin curled upon her face. ‘Say, Jacob, why did you never tell me you liked Elena?’ ‘What?’ ‘Well, you know she broke up with her boyfriend?’ ‘I know. So?’ ‘Ah.’ ‘Wait – Marina – did she like me?’ ‘Ah.’ ‘Marina!’ She did her little grin and her teasing ‘ha!’ and ‘ah!’ and we perked up and resolved to get drunk at 23:00. 23:00 The living room was roaring and we were pulling different drinks from our table of Sin and Squalor and spreading around spirits and glasses, spilling red wine across the floor, working it into the dust beneath our feet. The French boys were on the balcony smoking with Elena the tall Italian and the Germans were inside with us drinking. the British boys, Oscar, Dan, Chris, came very late after swearing they wouldn’t come at all and then we all drank until it was really too late and oh no Oscar was meant to be playing and oh shit we better go. We piled into the taxis and Amy was screaming again to go faster but the driver was an old Spanish man in a nice shirt and coat and he refused to speak with us.
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03:10 Now we were in seedy downtown Valencia in a backstreet not far from the centre of town, but far enough into the industrial area to be unkind and strange to us. I stumbled from the group and struck a conversation with a group of Spaniards and we passed around spliffs, though there were probably enough moving around the circle for us to just each hold our own but it was community and it was dumb and fun, and in Spain they love a dumb and fun Australian – once they know you aren’t American or English. God, everyone loves Australians. And the Australians were friendly and fun and we knew how to party. Then we had trouble with the bouncer because you had to be 21 to enter this club, and a few of us were just shy, myself included. for no real reason they let us through anyway. Ah, the Spanish. The most subjective security and bureaucracy you can find – pray that you have a kind face. Well I was inside, but I was real high now, and the lights were burning. So I hid in the upstairs bar and gawped at the strange and short gymjunkies, like I told you. I wish i could share what I wrote that night but the phone burned out and I lost everything. Plied with a few more drinks, and a few more drinks, I eventually came back down, physically and metaphysically, and joined our group. They were screaming and cheering because they had counted me lost in the rejected crowds outside, and now topless men wearing chicken masks and lion masks stomped on the
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stages above us, flexing at the crowd and blaring their air horns wap wap wap waaaaap and now Robin Thicke was spinning and it spun three times that night and we were all flushing and hot and drunk as shit. I was still high enough to find my Finnish roommate Joonas’ dancing absolutely fan-fucking-tastic and I was bent over and laughing and clapping him on (have you ever seen a Finnish person dance?) Then the whirling colours began and Summertime Sadness warbled in and out with the airhorns and the clashing 808s and we were raising our hands and screaming as Lana was mourning in her ode to us – Oh, My God, I Feel It In The Air – and our feet were burning and Oscar and I were playing the devils-on-each-other’s-shoulders. The angels long ago poisoned and dead in the gutter from the long toxic nights. Burned out of us. We were fighting the clock, and beautiful tattooed Linda the German was dancing and grappling with the crowd, Oscar was wafting in the air of Özüm, Marina was eyeing them from her dark corner, The French arrived with Elena at 5, and Charlotte was too stoned to ever show at all, or was I too stoned to notice that she was there? I Know If I Go, I’ll Die Happy Tonight – The floors were rocking with our burning feet and we were falling in and out of each other in waves and I could see everyone pulsing and pulsating in the green light and Oscar with his cheeky smile through the stubble was leaning into Özüm’s ear and she was closing her eyes in pleasure and the horrible ghost of tomorrow seemed far away as we clicked and raved and thrashed in the waning evening.
ON THE BUS BY JEMMA PAYNE
“Woman left it on the seat, I called out to her, she came back.” “Once I found a purse, only took the cash, then gave it to the cops.” “They should know it could of been worse, of course, these new cards, you can get out a hundred, no PIN.” “I’ve bin raving hungry all day.” “Mike was starved getting off it.” “Like, all the time?” “Pretty much.” We pass Coles. “Geez, that yacht’s speeding along.” “Never knew they could go that fast.” “Hear that bastard’s in plaster? Gone and cracked half his ribs.” “Do they know who did it?” “Well, we’d all like to biff him, dunno why that Kassie still wants to be with him.” “She’s scared. Remember in April she’d bruised half her face? Showed up in tears and pyjamas at my place – she told the nurses she’d fell down the stairs.” “Well what scares me is, when I got home on bail he’d pinched all my stuff!” “It’s rough, but. I took her a meal, I’m not much of a cook – just pasta pretty much.” “Look, shut up about eating, I’m starving, love.”
SESTINA – A HORROR BY DISAPOL SAVETSILA
More often than not I keep silent, struggling to untangle the meaning from my words. I don’t know how to put it sometimes…‘Meaning is a mandarin? Discard from the flesh the peeled skin and either word, or meaning, is made into waste.’ That metaphor made no sense… I feel as if I’m missing some other sense everyone else has, but which for me is silent, useless and shrivelled like an appendix. What a waste. For a human, our greatest weapons are words, so should I just give up and choke myself with the skin of a mandarin? The skin is useless, anyway. What a poetic mandarin. How can creationism make any sense when there is that kind of waste? If everything is there for us humans, what use is that rough skin? …What am I talking about? Let me, for a moment, think and be silent, and gather up my words, rather than set my breath to waste. In fact, has all this time been a waste? Why did I say ‘waste’ twice? And why the fuck do I want to say ‘mandarin’? I can’t control my words! I can feel something. Something I sense something inside me, speaking through me while remaining silent. Oh, God. It’s inside my skin! Wait….think. Why am I repeating words? There’s a pattern. Skin. There! Twice I said skin! First repetition was ‘sense’ and ‘mandarin’, then came ‘waste’ What’s the order? Let me think, let me be quiet for a single moment…SILENT! …Oh, God…I know a person who speaks….Mandarin? No, no, no, I don’t! I don’t know anyone who speaks Mandarin! Have I lost my sense – – es? It’s all mangled! What’s mangling my words? Or who? Who’s doing this!? Am I possessed by those repeating (no, don’t say it) words! Ah, no, no, no. Please, I’m still a person! Look, I bleed when I claw my skin! What happens when I repeat all the words? I sense… will I die? What happens at the end? Am I the words’ waste? Like a…no, like a, no, no, no, please, stop…like a mandarin? No, please, don’t please don’t let me die, I don’t want to be forever silent. That was six? Don’t say silen- please, I can do it…say, ‘Words!’…Hah! Or ‘Waste!’ Ha, oh thank fuck. Ah, my voice is rough as the skin of a mandarin. Well, it’s not ideal, but I broke the cycle. I might be able to control my own self. Avoid falling silent.
A TRAIN STATION AT NIGHT BY ASHLEIGH MOUNSER
A train station at night. Dark obviously. Empty, mostly. The bus is late, students are waiting. The ticket window is closed.
Shoulders. Hunched. It’s cold outside. Eyeliner. Sharpened to a point; the wings curled around the eyelids. Keys. Buried in a fist, the serrated edge chaffing the knuckle. A Japanese souvenir and a USB on a lanyard jangle. The palm is sweating. A phone. Folded into the pocket of a handbag. Untouched, in preparation.
Hair. Red, longish, tangled. Conditioner residue built up on the scalp. Split ends. A ponytail, removed. Hairs caught in a raggedy tie, hair caught on a collar. Readers Digest. Read three years ago which explained what convicted rapists look for in women; distracted women, unaware women, women with ponytails to grab on to. Women at night, women alone. One in six have been raped. ZOO Weekly. Read two years ago. There is a man somewhere who believes that the possibility of murder brings a certain frission to the bedroom. There is a man somewhere who believes girls are like plasticine: if you warm them up, you can do anything you want with them. The statistics aren’t clear; how many are rapists?
Men. Twenty-two of them. Are they getting off at this station, or the next? Are they the exception to the rule? One of them smiles: his teeth are jagged.
Women. Eight of them. Women with ponytails, women with phones, women like plasticine. Women like labels: survivor, victim, the lucky exemption. A series of close calls. Lucky so far: yelling out car windows, a hand which reached beneath a skirt on a school bus, a montage of men in clubs with wandering hands, an ex-boyfriend who held her too tightly during arguments. Is this lucky? Channel Ten. Jill Meagher’s face on repeat. The people march in Melbourne. CCTV footage: a woman alone. A woman like you.
An American Senator. He said: Some girls rape so easy. How clear was her no? Did anyone see her encouraging him? In an outfit like that, on a night like this, how sure can anyone be that she didn’t encourage him? What is consent, exactly? Blurred lines. Playing on repeat, sliding into courts; coiling around the throats of teenage boys. Playing in clubs, poured into vodka raspberries and Tooheys New, slipping past the tongue, showing through the gaps in the teeth. Thicke framed by hashtags telling a topless model he’ll give her something big enough to tear her ass in two. The girl beside her. Relaxed, hair tied back, texting, ear phones in. One of them knows how to make sure they don’t get raped. At least, one of them knows how to make sure they rape the other girl. I guess some girls do rape easy.
A train. Its doors slide open.
PROFILE FEATURE: AIN’T NOTHING BUT A KING BY BELINDA QUINN @BelindaQuinn10
A group of SES volunteers walk into Souva King and before they can say a word, Frank’s shouting out their orders to his staff: ‘And extra jalapenos for this young man.’ He finishes the order, ‘Grab a seat boys.’ They laugh and pull a few flimsy, metal chairs around a table. “In Melbourne, I’d know at least 100 people’s orders, but I don’t know their names. I know people by what they eat… People appreciate that, because it shows that you care for them. They’ll come in, we’ll have a laugh, they’ll be like, ‘that boy knows everything’.” Frank Kaadan is the proud owner of Wollongong’s Souva King, a business that specialises in souvlakia, a Greek dish growing in popularity in Australia since the 90s. The word souvlaki comes from the Greek word souvla, meaning ‘skewer’ and features grilled vegetables and meat, served in pita bread, or on a skewer or plate, with garnishes and sauces. A pro-tip for getting on Frank’s good side (and improving your chances of receiving a handout of delicious lamb), steer clear of the ‘Kebab’ word. “You just swore at me by saying the k-word,” he says. “[Kebab shops] use our [Greek] pita breads, the flat pitas… they should be using their own bread. They’ve got a beautiful Turkish bread.” He believes around 90 per cent of Turkish-Australian workers use processed meat, mixed with herbs, oils and tomato paste. “They pump it out of a tube, put it on a stick, and they freeze it, because it won’t stick together otherwise… YouTube: ‘How they make kebab meat.’ I don’t think you’ll eat one again.” Souvlakia is made from 100% pure lamb and is cooked on a horizontal spit. There are zucchini and chickpea vegetarian options, and the shop also provides sweet Mediterranean treats like Baklava, a sweet pastry that is soaked, layer-bylayer in sugary syrup and filled with crummy nuts. Frank’s friendly attitude presents itself in the businesses Facebook page, which looks like a drunk and hungry version of ‘Humans of Wollongong’. His favourite customers hold their Souvlaki up to the camera, and are then uploaded
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with his own commentary. One of these photos shows a woman smiling, while Frank writes: “In her hand is the famous trophy for her other half kicking back on the couch. Legendary stuff, marriage material.” In-between bites of vegemite toast in his lunch break, Frank talks about how he grew up in Wollongong. He was just two years old when his father migrated from Lebanon to work for the steelworks and his early years were spent lazing around Wollongong’s beaches. As a teenager, he hung out on the streets of Melbourne soaking up the diverse culture, cuisine and gaining a passion for footy along the way. “There’s two things in Australia: there’s the AFL and there is Collingwood Football Club. Nothing else exists… no rugby, no soccer, just AFL.” The shop is decorated with various NRL paraphernalia, as well as posters of emerging Aussie bands and festivals. Frank becomes animated and impassioned when the future of Wollongong is mentioned, saying, “What year is it, 2014? Well right now it’s the 1980s or 1970s in Wollongong. The people are moving forward and a lot of the local businesses are moving forward, but the council and a smaller minority of the community are holding them back.” He says places like His Boy Elroy, Little Prince, Dagwood, Rad Bar and arts venues are the future for re-energising Wollongong. “[In] bar culture in Melbourne, people don’t get drunk...They socialise, they meet friends, they’ll have two or three drinks.” But he believes the bars are copping it. “If they stay open past 12 they get hit with these massive fines, we’re not talking about 100 or 200. It’s in the thousands.” He says the message the police, the council and a portion of the older population are sending to the youth of Wollongong is: “You can’t go out, you’ve got to go to bed.” Frank’s spent the last 20 years refining his skills as a Mediterranean cuisine chef, returning to Wollongong two years ago with his wife and seven kids. He says, “My lovely wife wants baby number eight by the way,” and his wife laughs “no, no… I’m looking to find him a new wife if you know anyone.” He describes her as a crack up and loves her ability to pull out witty one-liners.
The misrepresentation of Islam being synonymous with terrorism by media sensationalists and shock jocks has raised serious concerns for Frank, and he admits to experiencing regular occurrences of racism.
Frank often works two to three jobs to support his family. “You’re on your feet 15 hours, 16 hours a day, minimum. Minimum. And you’ve got to treat every single customer the same. So you’re always on, always alert.” The second most important thing in Frank’s life, after his family, is his religion: Islam. His religion is a major influence into how he runs his business and how he treats his employees. “You can’t lie, you can’t steal, you can’t cheat. You’ve got to be good to your neighbours.” All of Souva King’s food is Halãl certified. “As Muslims, and even Jewish people (they call their food Kosher, we call our food Halãl) the meat has to be slaughtered properly, so it can’t be killed inhumanly.” Halãl means permitted or lawful, so halãl foods are any foods that are permitted to eat under Islamic Sharia Law. While some food can be forbidden in Islam, according to Islamic law it’s halãl to consume items that would otherwise be considered haram (forbidden) if it is a matter of survival. Frank says that in the halãl way, the animal is faced towards Mecca and is “killed with one clean slit. The knife has to be super sharp so the animal doesn’t feel any pain. We’ve got to say, ‘Bismillah’, ‘may God accept our meat.’” The blood is drained from the animal, Frank says, “[if] the animal doesn’t bleed out, it’s bad for ya!” Islam became more important to him four years ago when he travelled to Lebanon with his family. While over there, they decided to do Hajj, an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Hajj is undertaken at least once in an adult Muslims lifetime (if they are financially and physically capable of doing so). “It was just amazing, it blew me away. Just to see the black stone, the Mecca that you see on TV, and to feel it and I was just like ‘woah’.” He describes the experience as if he was feeling a force. “The pressure of the thing that was coming
off of it and you felt it! I felt that, you can’t describe it. My kids felt it and now we want to go next year.” “Everyone says Islam’s terrorism, it’s not. To do hajj, you can’t have an enemy.” He says all of his arguments had to be resolved and forgiven before he could do hajj. “If you’ve had an argument with your neighbour or someone at your work, you’ve got to ask them for forgiveness. And if you owe anybody money, you can’t go do Hajj unless you pay all your debts off.” He says this includes making sure you’ve payed off your home loan, including interest. “I’m not one of them guys, that you know, you see on TV and you hear about extremism…You’ve got 1.6 billion people that are Islam[ic]. Maybe 100, 500 thousand, maybe 1 million, maybe 5 million…are involved in extremism.” The misrepresentation of Islam being synonymous with terrorism by media sensationalists and shock jocks has raised serious concerns for Frank, and he admits to experiencing daily occurrences of racism. His next comment, which aims to reassure, is instead shocking: “I don’t kill people.” It’s as if he’s had to explain this before to people who have misunderstood his faith. “If you read what Islam is in the Koran, [it’s] nothing like what you see on TV… you pray five times a day, you fast, you do Ramadan.” He says that when people trust the medias sensationalist representation of Islam, it furthers the alienation of him, his family and the Muslim community. “My family and other peoples’ famil[ies] are just practicing their religion, they don’t harm anyone.” When asked why Islam is so important to him he says, it “connects me to God and my beliefs… No one lives forever, that’s how I look at it. Everyone’s going to die one day.” This appreciation for life comes through in his work ethic at Souva King. He says, “If you don’t love what you do, then why do it?”
PHOTO: BELINDA QUINN S O U VA K I N G , F R A N K K A A D A N
GIG GUIDE THANKS TO ALEXANDRA SMITH
NOVEMBER Saturday 1st
BR A S S A T T H E P ROMS Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, Tickets: $22 Sunday 2nd
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