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Togatus. Oct 2009

. Behind Balibo . Multiculturalism . Climate Change . Grafton Primary .

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Album Launch Syrup Nightclub

Saturday 28th November 2009 from 11.00pm - LATE

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Published by the State Council on behalf of the Tasmania University Union Inc. (hf. “the publishers�). The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Togatus staff or the publishers. The copyright in each piece of work remains with the contributor, however, the publishers reserve the right to reproduce material on the Togatus website ( The copyright in this magazine remains with the publishers.


Julius Ross


Selina Bryan, Simon McCulloch, Jessica Howard, Stephanie Zito

Design and Layout:

Alice Agnew, Hayley Bell, Katie Hepper, Travis Hutchins, Adele Mirowski


Katie Wickham


please contact


Saleh BinTalib, Selina Bryan, Samuel Burnett, Lisa Dittmann, Scott Faulkner, Ally Gibson, Dean Haynes, Christiane King, Warrick Jordan, Ella Kearney, Alice Lynch, Tyne McConnon, Simon McCulloch, Robert Meredith, Else Powell, Laura Prescott, Nic Raymond, Pete Saunders, Jean SomervilleRabbitt, Michael Voss, James Walker Printed on FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) environmentally friendly paper by Loongana Print 1 Sunderland Street Moonah, Tas 7009 Togatus PO Box 5055 Sandy Bay, Tas 7006 Email: Togatus welcomes all contributions. Please email your work or ideas to It is understood that any contribution sent to Togatus may be used for publication in either the magazine or the website, and that the final decision on whether to publish resides with the editor and the publishers. The editor reserves the right to make changes to submitted material as required. Togatus is published quarterly. Deadline for next issue is January 15 2010


From The Editor

Julius Ross


Well, here you have it: the fourth and final instalment of Togatus for 2009. It has been an exciting and eventful year for our magazine. Togatus has overcome financial strain, entered cyberspace and has, most importantly, reclaimed its place in our University’s student culture. We have (hopefully) enlightened, entertained and inspired our readers, and have provided a forum for students to voice their beliefs and showcase their talents. Togatus contributors have been there throughout the year, with pens poised, note-books in hand and recording devices at the ready. They have documented and relayed the ideas and opinions of the students, and sparked dissent and debate among the student body. This edition is no exception. While it contains a typically diverse range of content, a number of articles are inspired by events that have had great relevance, both within our University, and in greater Australian society, in 2009. In May and June this year, a disturbing image emerged in the mainstream media after a spate of attacks on Indian students occurred in Melbourne and Sydney. Authorities described a number of these assaults as “opportunistic” but stated racism was “clearly a factor” in some of the attacks. Similarly, in Tasmania, the media were saturated with suggestions that international students were subject to racially motivated attacks. The Mercury published a number of stories documenting the concerns for the safety of international students. Headlines such as ‘Death reveals racist Tassie’ and ‘Foreign students targeted’ proposed there was an inherent problem of racism in our state. There was an assumption that Australia was no longer a safe haven for international students. Through vigorous protests on the streets of Melbourne and Sydney, Indian students revealed that the racially motivated attacks were not isolated incidents. They claimed that they were a common feature of an international student’s life. Ultimately, questions were asked of the Australian Government - questions not unfamiliar in Australian political history. Despite our attempts at multiculturalism, has racism again reared its ugly head in Australia? Prime Minister Kevin Rudd reassured doubters:

“If you look at the whole spectrum of our country over so many, many decades, what is the great defining character of Australia? Its inherit tolerance, its inherent culture of allowing other people to be themselves.” I beg to differ with Mr Rudd. While Australia is often celebrated for its diversity and multiculturalism, our country’s history has been littered with events that suggest this tolerance is somewhat superficial. One only has to cite the Stolen Generations, the White Australia Policy and other problematic immigration policies, and, more recently, the Cronulla riots as arguments against this tolerance. So, is Australia racist? This question, of course, has a complex answer. A definitive answer is certainly beyond the constraints and limited resources of a student publication such as our own. Nonetheless, we have explored, however briefly, the concepts of racism and multiculturalism in Australia in this edition. We believe it to be an important and newsworthy discussion for university students in Australia, in light of the events of 2009. If that discussion fails to stimulate your interest, Togatus explores a plethora of other issues, events and personalities in this edition, in the hope that we can entertain each and every one of our readers. We have an in-depth feature on the eye-opening Australian movie Balibo, comment on climate change, a satirical guide to the summer holidays, an interview with electro kings Grafton Primary, and an insight into university life in the United States. As the final edition for 2009, I hope that this issue is a worthy reflection of how far Togatus has come this year. Again, I thank everyone who volunteered their time and effort and I hope students continue to serve Togatus with the same enthusiasm and commitment in 2010! Cheers, Julius Ross Editor 3













s r e t t e

L The Canteen Lady Editor, I am writing to praise the brilliant work of the Business Faculty canteen lady. Not only does the canteen lady serve great coffee and (as sporting commentator Bruce McAvaney would put it) delicious chicken and Camembert pies, she has an amazing memory, enabling her to instantly recognise your face even if you have ventured there only once. She has this uncanny knack of making you smile as you walk past, even though you know that you are about to sit through another two hours of mind-numbing lectures. Canteen Lady we salute you! Even though I strongly believe that she is the best in the business, after a heated discussion with my colleagues I came to the conclusion that she, in fact, has an equal. Not being an avid salad roll connoisseur, I rarely find myself ordering from the salad bar at the Refectory, however, my sources informed me that the Salad Bar Lady is outstanding in all of the aspects that I have fore mentioned. Therefore, I do not feel qualified to definitively claim that the Canteen Lady is the best in the business. In order to end this debate I propose that we, as a group, vote and let our collective voices decide, presenting the winner with the People’s Choice Award in University Hospitality. Sincerely, Liam. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GET VOTING!

Hey Arnold! Dear Sir/Madam, On September 3, Mr Rudd announced $132,000 in funding for the AFL’s ‘Just Think’ advertising

to the



campaign to discourage youth violence. He mentioned “people being decked on a regular basis, in brawls outside pubs” and questioned the wisdom of young people being in “a vanguard of social change”. The “change” referred to being “the working out of breakdowns in family relationships…” One “change” Mr Rudd didn’t condemn was gyms now competing for the custom of working parents by offering evening childcare. Parents, having spent all day at work out of contact with their children, can now spend their evenings doing exercises out of contact with their children. Years later, when they can’t find their children, will they wonder where their offspring learned to be so selfish as to not value family togetherness? Yours Sincerely, Arnold Jago Completely perplexed by Arnold’s message, I did what any ordinary person would do. I Googled him. Turns out Arnold is a medical professional from Mildura who writes prolific letters to the editors of student and mainstream media publications around Australia. Arnold writes on topics such as ‘curing homosexuality’ and how anyone who follows the horoscopes is a fool. Um…cheers for your letter, Arnold… HAVE A SUGGESTION? WANT TO VOICE YOUR OPINION? SEND TOG A LETTER We like ‘em hot, juicy, or cheesy. A bit like the Canteen Lady’s chicken and Camembert pies… 6


two thousand and nine in review

contest went ahead even though they couldn’t afford T-shirts (making the whole thing kind of pointless).

BUILDING BUNGLE: Due to budget constraints, the Uni’s new Chemistry building was left half finished in a grotesque monument to … oh okay, I’m being told now that’s actually the finished product. Don’t worry about my opinions though, I know nothing about architecture (I know everything about architecture).

MIXED REVUE: This year’s Uni Revue Obama Mia

received mixed reviews with reactions split over the decision to substitute punch lines for full frontal nudity. Suspicions that the Philosophy department had funded the performance quickly emerged.

WINTER WOE: The Tasmanian winter. It was cold guys.

How cold was it? I’ll tell you how cold it was. It was so cold that an ugly girl had to get her paper bag lined with fur. It was so cold that my girlfriend gave me the cold shoulder for a week and I didn’t even notice. It was so cold that statue outside the Morris Miller library was wearing mittens. It was so cold that … editor, can you help me out? (I have the feeling that Sam might be having a little crack at the repetitive nature of my last editorial. Someone had to do it – editor).

By Sam Burnett We witnessed the inauguration of the first African American President of the United States, Victoria was ravaged by the deadliest bush fires in Australian history, and we all shed a tear after the shock death of the King of Pop. Yes, 2009 was an eventful year. But what happened here at UTAS? Sam Burnett recaps the highlights (or lowlights) of another year on campus.


YEAR BEGINS: Dusting off New Year’s hangovers, thousands of students sent their applications to prestigious learning institutions. In other news, UTAS also began taking applications. O-WEEK? MORE LIKE LOW-WEEK: As University

life commenced, O-Week felt the pinch of the recession. The only band the Uni could afford was the Vice Chancellor’s Hall & Oates tribute band (and they didn’t even play Private Eyes!). On Societies Day there was a limit of two light beers per person, and the School of Philosophy’s Wet T-Shirt

KINKY KRISTEN: Kristen Bell turned 29. This isn’t really

relevant to University life; I just think it’s important that we celebrate our natural wonders. I hope she got my flowers and romantic note. Actually, it wasn’t so much romantic as it was written in my own blood.

DUBIOUS ENROLMENTS: In second semester, UTAS became desperate for enrolments. Rumours surfaced that groups of well-dressed professors were hanging out in front of high schools telling students they had the Jonas Brothers hidden in the back of their van. Once coaxed with promises of meeting the teen sensations, the students woke up the next morning wearing a UTAS T-shirt, with a class timetable in their pocket.

GOODBYE ED: We still have a couple of months until

the end of the year. So here’s a prediction. A certain editor gets clubbed over the head by a certain writer for being completely unreasonable, for continued awkward romantic advances (here’s an idea for a feature: no means no!) and for saying that my idea for an expose explaining how the Jews steal the sun every night ‘lacked merit’ and ‘bordered on a hate crime’. Screw you ed. 7

’ s s o V l e a h c i ide To The


With one last major hurdle left to negotiate (that would be your exams folks) before the holidays, Michael Voss looks ahead at how to fill those long summer days…

Okay. Before I even get started, go and buy yourself some Banana Boat. I don’t care if you have to sell blood, semen, your sibling and a kidney to make the necessary funds. This sun lotion is sex and an MDMA high combined in a spray bottle of such beauty that it kills all small birds and guinea pigs that look upon it. I’m actually fairly certain it is produced in the Garden of Eden from the distilled essence of Megan Fox’s chest. It also has the added benefit of making you smell like a banana Paddle Pop. Now onto it. Summer. A time that for men represents tidy rigs in convenient serviettesized slices of fabric, and for women represents shaving rash and body bronzer. Well, it used to. Sadly, since the dawn of the metrosexual, this line is becoming increasingly blurred. Summer staples are numerous, however, after hours of brainstorming smashed on goon and writing with crayons on kitchen paper, I have narrowed down the most important, and then given them a star rating out of five to make this article appear classy, like At The Movies with Margaret and David.

Gu s y a d i l o H r e m m u S

Getting Naked *****

With winter chill nothing but a memory, countless more nudie runs are performed by gentlemen, no longer plagued with what I like to call ‘Snowman’s Curse’. Perhaps more importantly though, naked sun baking occurs. And although I’ve never witnessed it, my cousin says it happens. If the people naked sun baking are babes, then this is awesome

Shack Trips ****

Disguised as ‘fishing trips’ and ‘enjoying the beach’, myriads of youngsters migrate to shacks to challenge alcohol in a game of last man standing. The last ‘shack trip’ I went on, one individual’s beverages started at around nine standard drinks, others were doing their best to paint the place with stomach acid, individuals got naked, and shit got serious.



Beaches **

Courtesy of Tasmania actually receiving some sunlight, the beach is filled with individuals happy to be able to swim without wearing a wetsuit and a three-inch layer of Deep Heat smeared all over your body like 21st century whale blubber. But are beaches really that fantastic? Well I argue nay. Largely because I spent all winter hibernating like an alcoholic grizzly bear, and now look like a cross between the Wolfman and Pavarotti. Seriously though, all these big rigs and skinny people, you’re ruining my self esteem with your orange skin and chiselled physique. Please go back to shrinking your testicles indoors with your steroid abuse and leave me to splash around on my inflatable bogey board like Ben Cousins on an ice binge. As if the crushing blow to self-esteem caused by cheese-grater stomachs wasn’t enough, the ocean, as anyone who has seen Jaws or a National Geographic special can attest, is trying to cause us as much physical pain as possible. Already filled with jellyfish stings and giant shark bites, we even apparently have stingrays playing pin-the-spine-in-your-freakingheart. Next sea turtles will be biting the package out of Speedo-clad beach goers. When combined with the added fun of having your skin so sunburnt you emit enough heat to kick-start Chernobyl, I suggest you instead head to the safety of the Aquatic Centre with myself and the other Moby Dick albino whales.

Waterfront Violence *

Having completed another year of their apprenticeship as a shithead, and after being shut down by Shanekwa at Isobar for the last time, degenerates are filled with ‘Summer Rage’ and descend on the waterfront like the late Anna Nicole Smith on an old persons home.

Music Festivals ***

Ah! What kind of a summer holiday discussion would it be if it didn’t discuss festivals that celebrate music. And Falls. At which 60 per cent of the individuals in attendance prefer to crank out 50 Cent from the flat bed of their Holden Ute and emerge only to see the Hilltop Hoods or bottle an unsuspecting Emo kid. Immortalised by Pez and his Festival Song (in my opinion that tune is to the music industry what Paris Hilton is to feminism), Falls is liver disease in a camping trip. It also has individuals popping party flavours like they’re Tim-Tams or they’ve spent the day in a Nimbin tepee playing ukulele with a Rastafarian. Seriously, people are on more drugs than Stephanie Meyers when she thought up the ending to the Twilight saga. My final advice for you, Falls goers - Check ID’s before you make out with anyone. Because believe it or not, it is illegal to have sex with a minor. I know. Travesty. However, the abundance of ‘underagers’ at Falls does afford some fun. I personally recommend tying a Vodka Cruiser to the end of a fishing rod, casting it onto the path, and seeing how many you can reel in. Oh, and girls who power your hair straighteners in your cars, do us all a favour. Stay at home. In my opinion you are about as cool as a hand job from The Human Torch.


{State of the Union} By Rob Meredith This is a fairly auspicious moment for me, writing what will be my last ever report to Togatus as President of the Tasmania University Union. As such, I feel that I can legitimately use this opportunity to share some of my own thoughts in an extended ‘goodbye’. It’s been an amazing opportunity for me, and I am eternally grateful to the student body for giving me the opportunity to serve as Activities President, Vice-President, and two consecutive terms as President of the TUU. In many ways it’s probably spoilt me as a graduate, because this job is so diverse, challenging, and fulfilling that I suspect it’s unlikely that I’ll manage to find anything nearly so interesting in the immediate future. Having said that, the experience, knowledge, confidence and resourcefulness that I’ve gained over the past few years are skills that can be applied to any professional situation, and by the time my term ends I’ll have one hell of a CV. I toyed with the idea of putting down some of my best memories from the past few years, but there have been WAY too many to mention (except maybe for my first major event as Activities President; the 2006 O-Week concert on the oval, Faker, True Live, fireworks, 3000 people, and a generator that ran out half way through the show!).

across the state leading up to the amalgamation in April last year, we’ve rebuilt the three Student Representative Councils to have 39 out of 45 filled positions, not a bad effort!), and there’s a few in particular whose passion and hard work has inspired me many times (you know who you are, no free plugs!). As a word of parting advice from someone who has been a student forever (I started in 2003), take your education seriously, but keep in mind that the classroom isn’t the only place you get an education. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to and work with many graduate employers, and they’ve said that while your marks will take you so far, without fail they’ve consistently told me that what makes applicants stand out is a history of engagement, teamwork, and service to others. Studying at University is an opportunity to learn, but it’s also about meeting people, having fun, and personal growth and development. Rob Meredith President Tasmania University Union Inc.

I’ve said a few times that I’m lucky enough to be elected to a position where I get to take the credit for all of the hard work that people around me do. There’s a few people that I would have been completely lost without, particularly the staff of the TUU and UTAS, who have time and time again showed me not only how hard they work, but how genuinely committed they are to supporting the student experience. These include all of the student reps who I’ve had the opportunity to work with (from having three reps 10


By Saleh BinTalib International Students Officer We’ve wrapped up the events of ’09, provided you with a fool-proof guide to the summer holidays and TUU President Rob Meredith has given us an emotional good-bye. Now onto the serious stuff. Multiculturalism. International Students Officer Saleh BinTalib has played a pivitol role in helping students at UTAS embrace multiculturalism. Here he echoes his experiences, beliefs and ideals on multiculturalism. Having come from a country that has many different cultural and ethnic communities and having family in five different continents, I have seen the good and bad of multiculturalism. I truly feel that Australia is a country that is more multicultural than any I have seen. Australia has great waves of migrants from all over the world, making it a more complex and hybrid society. It is with this constant evolution of the local community landscape that we need Australia’s policy makers to confront this social reality. To achieve a community that respects and loves multiculturalism we cannot just depend on student or community leaders to spread the message. It has to involve every single level of our social structure and this includes governments. We must not let unfortunate events or political fallouts from terrorism or racial rioting to critique the philosophy underpinning multiculturalism. Unfortunate events like this should instead encourage us to promote dialogue and interaction between the different ethnic communities. Through communication we can then learn the truth and facts about each other and not let such events give us tunnel vision on how a particular ethnic community carries itself.

As a message to all students, it is only when you embrace different cultures and share with them your own can we achieve the success of multiculturalism. You will often have to you go out of your comfort zone to make new friends from different countries and from the local community, but this way we can learn to live harmoniously with each other. Being the boy with the funny name, who moved here from overseas, I do not see myself as an international student, but as a UTAS student. It is only when we stop defining ourselves as ‘domestic’ or ‘international’ students can we achieve the slogan “Together as One”! The time for statements and dialogue condemning discrimination is over. The time has come for us to roll up our sleeves and work together as one on a matter that is ever so vital to maintain the success of multiculturalism in the community. I strongly believe, if we all work together as one, we can weed discrimination out of society. We can easily come out with laws condemning discrimination, but it is only when we get rid of it from our hearts and minds, can we have a society that comes out and say ‘Multiculturalism is Cool’! It is only when we make decisions based on love, and not hate, and make decisions based on inclusion and not exclusion can we achieve multiculturalism. Can we have a society that has a deep respect and love for Multiculturalism? Together as one we can. Can we have a society that thinks Multiculturalism is cool? Together as one we shall! Saleh can be contacted at 11


1...Australia is celebrated for its multiculturalism, but is this a true reflection of Australian society? 2...There have been some events this year in Australia that have had people question whether our country is racist. Do you believe that Australia is a racist country? Do you think Australia is viewed as racist by other countries? 3...Do you think that the media hype surrounding these events has created this perception of racism? 4...These events have often involved university students. Do you think universities are a centre of racism or racial tensions? 5...Have you experienced or witnessed racism in Tasmania? LASANKA 1...Yes, sometimes. 2...Yes. 3...No, not necessarily, I can’t explain why. 4...I think universities make it easier for people to mingle and for it to become a multicultural society. 5...No, I’ve never experienced racism in Tasmania.




1...I think that it should be, but at the moment there has been a lot of racism going on. It probably isn’t as in range as people think, the media are playing it up a bit, especially with that Facebook group, “Fuck off we’re full group”. It has over 60, 000 members which is disgusting. 2...I don’t think we’re a racist country, but I can see why other countries might think we are. The attacks on Indian students on the mainland would probably have something to do with the perception that we probably are. I don’t think we are as a whole, but there are some members of the country that are. And I hate that. 3...No, I don’t think so, because the media have only come onto [the issue] because there have been incidents. It was also the international media that has had a big thing, like in India their media made a really big deal of the attacks on Indian students. 4...No I don’t think so. I think that probably the reason why [the attacks] centre on university students is because a lot of the people that come to Australia are here for uni. So I don’t think universities are contributing to the racism. I think uni’s are the best place for [international students] to come, like at UTAS I think [international students] have a really good support network in their uni courses. 5...Not me personally, no, but I’ve heard about [cases] … I’ve heard international students talking about some things that they’ve had to deal with … and that was a real shock because I would never have thought that would happen in Tasmania. I have always promoted Tasmania as a really safe place to come.

RALVIN 1&2...I’ve been here for four years now, and I think that’s quite true, but some racism does happen, it only depends where you are, what you do, and what time, I think. So if you’re out late, you’re more prone to racial abuse I guess, but I haven’t experienced any of that. 12

Firstly. VINCENT 1&2...Australia is not a racist country, but only some people are racists. So I mean, for us, we can’t really blame racism on Australia, we just blame it on a certain small part of people because maybe one of the reasons is that they’re not really educated.



1&2...It really depends on how you take racism. For some people they don’t like other country’s people. Some people just act aggressively toward each other. 4... Inside University there is not much of the problem because in Uni most people accept the multiculturalism, because they are exposed to it. 5...One time in Woollies a well-dressed, [presumingly] well-educated guy came up to us saying, “Hi, where are you from”, and we replied “Malaysia” and he said, “Why don’t you go back to your country”. I was really disappointed at that.

PARAMDEEP 3...Yes it does. [The media] over exaggerates it and blows it out of proportion.



1...I think that we have a lot of tolerance in Australia, and we are all laid back as Australians so I guess we don’t really care what goes on or who’s around and we are all mates at the end of the day, and that’s the Australian spirit. 2...I think all countries are racist to a certain degree. You can’t get rid of it, people are intolerant no matter where you go, and I think as Australians we are tolerant compared to other countries. 3...I think the media promotes any sort of view. It will enhance anything no matter what it is, whether it’s Swine Flu, whether it’s the global financial crisis, no matter what, it will be blown out of proportion. 4...I think university students are always viewed as having strong views on anything. So I guess it probably is because university students speak their mind, more than other people that are perhaps older and more stuck in their ways and are more tolerant of these people. 5...No

BETSY 1...Yes it is a true reflection of Australian society, and I think you can look at this university as a good example to show the diversity of cultures.

DID YOU KNOW? A recent 11-year study presented by the University of New South Wales found that 85 per cent of Australians acknowledge that racial prejudice occurs in Australia.


This is it, your first chance to write a feature, and you can tell it will be brilliant even before the interview. Hungry to capture the story of Trenton Smith, bassist for Hobart band The Trolls, your hopes rest unflinchingly on an 18-year-old boy with a bass guitar, and a gut feeling that Trenton is every bit as unconventional as the rhythm he produces. Trenton sits, back resting against the hectic mural of Hudsons Coffee Shop wall, fingers drumming lazily on a sticky table with the easy comfort that occurs only in a workplace that has now become a second home. A first glance detects that uninterested, crumpled, half-asleep look of most boys his age, the look we all have before our first coffee. Yet Trenton’s already had three. You swallow your disappointment and, crossing your fingers around the handle of your own mug, pray that his coffee will kick in soon. Because there’s nothing quirky here yet, just a mellow boy with an immunity to caffeine. You ask why he likes the bass and slowly a grin stretches itself across his face. Caffeine induced or not, a buzz is now evident behind Trenton’s eyes. An original take on the ska and reggae characteristic of ‘walking bass’ allows Trenton to make his playing “a little bit funkier” than your average bass player. He starts explaining the ‘walking base’ jargon but quickly gives up, humming it instead in 14



an eclectic rush that can only come from love, not three tall skinny-extra-shot-cappuccinos-with-butterscotch. In any case you’re drawn into his passion for a rhythm you can’t quite understand. There’s something contradicting about the casual mannerisms of the boy opposite and the highly charged rhythm behind both his eyes and guitar. Taroona High School teacher Michael Powell recalls The Trolls returning as old scholars to perform at the school. You ask of Trenton’s stage presence predicting the music to bring out in him a frenetic, caffeine-rush style of dancing. Instead he describes Trenton as self contained, relaxed in his own world “as if in a trance.” “I’m just in it for fun,” he says. Trenton’s early musical endeavours show fun really is the basis for his quirky sound. At the tender age of nine, Trenton won the Mt Nelson talent show with his musical ‘ear farting’. But similar stage quirks from the somewhat mature Trenton are too frequent to be recalled. “That’s the problem,” offers band member Jason Graham, “he’s like that all the time”. Suddenly it hits you. There is an inbuilt weirdness to Trenton that, combined with a self assured nature and an off-hand sense of modesty, does not need to be on show. “We don’t try to do weird stuff, we just sort of find it works,” Trenton explains, “It sort of reflects our personality”. “I’m surprised he’s not a girl,” says sister Morgan Smith as she confesses to the childhood sin of inflicting fairy costume dress-ups on her brother. Tutu shoved firmly back in the closet, The Trolls often support acts that dress one way in a rehearsal only to change completely for the show. “We just don’t feel the need to. Metal bands, ‘emo’ bands: it’s all about the image. But with our sort of music I think it’s more about the music ‘cause we’ve got no image at all.”Minus an image, but with an abundance of weird songs, The Trolls seem a perfect metaphor for their bassist. Trenton has an obvious dislike for artists who use music to express strong political or religious views. “They could play good music but when you start singing ‘praise Jesus or you’re going to hell’, I dunno, it starts getting sort of…” I think the word Trenton is looking for may be pretentious. Because there’s one striking thing about Trenton: he’s had ample experience in an ostentatious industry and pretension escapes his personality. Ignorantly, you congratulate Trenton on The Trolls being part of ‘Triple J Unearthed’ and are informed immediately that

anyone can upload their songs to the website. He pauses before sneaking a sly smile because “some person” (he can’t remember who) gave them four out of five stars. “They liked our stuff… I was pretty happy with that.” Finally, you think you’ve pinned his casualness down to vagueness. He tells you he finds being recognised awkward. “They come up and go ‘oh you’re in The Trolls,’ like you don’t want to go ‘oh yeah I am’, ‘cause it sounds really up yourself.” You realise you’ve mistaken vagueness for modesty. Trenton tells you he’s recently had a bout of “throat cramp”. Morgan tells you he’s a hypochondriac. Regardless of who is right, there’s no doubting the strong friendship behind the playful bickering of the brother and sister. As Trenton retreats to singing along to the Hudsons sound track Morgan laughs, “You know all songs, even the ones you hate”. A family befitting a muso, all the Smiths (except Morgan) have played either bass or drums at some stage. Trenton himself started playing an acoustic guitar but became bored of it. Upon finding his Dad’s old bass guitar Trenton “whipped that down and got a few lessons… it was excellent”. The chemistry of the three ‘Trolls’ benefits greatly from this early discovery, although Trenton stresses, “If you can’t connect as friends there’s no way you can connect as a band.” Despite having only known his band mates for three years, Trenton rarely sees anyone else. “It’s kind of depressing really,” he laughs, but there’s no doubting these guys are “friends first, band second”. Now working as a full time supervisor at Hudsons, Trenton completed grade 12 at Rosny College last year. Plans to travel at the beginning of next year are well underway for The Trolls. Trenton tells you he, Troll brothers Jason and Corey Graham and “whoever wants to come” will travel overseas to “relax, play a few gigs round the place … just get out of Tasmania for a bit.” Momentarily his hands rest open palmed on the coffee table, marking his assurance that their motivation is “not to try and get big or anything, just to have some fun”. It’s the absence of an image or the need to self promote that disguise the quirky in Trenton Smith. You write 100-odd drafts, all trying to capture the weird, the mellow, the coffee and the music, but none of them work. He may not have an image but there’s nothing average about the guitarist who prefers the more unusual Trenton to Trent. “Gotta make up for my last name!” 16


n u ar p al r a t e h


v K

By Nic Raymond Nic Raymond spoke to a victim of racial abuse, Varun Khetarpal. This is Varun’s story.


It’s 4.30am. By now the club’s flashing lights begin to bother you and the music is just plain annoying. After a long night modestly celebrating a mate’s birthday in town you finally decide to pack it in. At this point there is only one thing on your mind: finding a taxi and getting home to bed. You say goodbye to your persistent mates, who are keen to party until daylight, and head out onto the cold, dark, vacant street. Suddenly, you find yourself surrounded by 15 angry faces, ready to fight.




Last year, Indian student Varun Khetarpal left the nightclub he had been partying in and, like most of us do at that time of the morning, searched for an available taxi. Unfortunately, instead of finding a yellow chariot awaiting his loose change, he found himself cornered by 15 aggressive figures.




Nearly every weekend in Hobart somebody falls victim to a ruthless, gutless assault. However, on this particular evening, the victim was targeted, not for his behaviour, haircut or the colour of his shirt … but the colour of his skin.

“They said, ‘you don’t belong here, you fucking Indians, go back to your own country’,” Varun reluctantly relives the only moment of his two and a half years in Hobart which had made him feel truly uncomfortable. Not entirely sure of the customary way to deal with a dangerous situation like this, Varun bravely retorted, “What did you say?”

It is doubtful that this gang were prowling the waterfront searching for a civil conversation, as one of the faces in the crowd promptly responded, “Fuck you, you fucking black Asian”. By this point Varun was encircled. Like a pack of wolves preparing for a clearly unfair devouring, as soon as he tried speaking out again they pounced, providing Varun with one of the worst memories he may ever come to accumulate.


“They just grabbed me and started hitting … it was really terrible.” Hospitalised and in a state of distress, Varun was close to packing it all in and heading back home to Delhi. “I just didn’t want to think about anything, it made me feel like I didn’t belong here, I just wanted to go back to my own country. “But that was my first impression … after a couple of days when I thought about it, it’s not all Tasmanians, only a certain section of the community… a few people who try to create nuisance and a sense of disturbance in the overall society.” Varun reported the assault to the police, prompting The Mercury to publish a story.

Images by Lisa Dittmann

However, it was the overwhelming support from the community that relieved him the most. 18



Profile. “I would say I was the lucky one … I could see people were showing compassion. “Heaps of people get racially abused every day and don’t speak out, because they think they’ll get in trouble … they think they might have problems with their visas and get sent back.” Regrettably, people from many societies the world over, harbour distrust for their governments and police due to overt corruption, ill policy and an innate fear of men bearing weapons. Even when immigrants know they are now living safely in a liberal democracy, such as Australia, with apparently just governments and police, these embedded feelings of distrust often spill over into their new society, and they remain reluctant to find the confidence to speak up and report something which is clearly wrong. However, Varun has faith in the police here in Tasmania, and urges all international students to express the same opinion. “It’s a two way thing … if you don’t say anything, they can’t do anything … but if you say something and then they don’t do anything, then you know there’s a problem. “Fortunately the police here are good.” It is a good thing Varun chose not to go home to Delhi after the assault. Since arriving in Hobart to study Hospitality at TAFE, Varun has made hundreds of friends and has taken it upon himself to play a key role in shaping multiculturalism in Tasmania, transforming from victim to peacemaker. Varun is President of the Indian Youth Society, Vice-President of the Indian Cultural Society and an active member of the Multicultural Council of Tasmania. “Being from another country certainly brings a little bit of responsibility. “When you come to a foreign land, you just think, you’re in a country which you don’t know much about, you don’t know the lifestyle, and you’re learning it every day … you try to make life better for other people, and yourself, along with the community … it’s a more friendly, more harmonious, better and easy way to live life.” Despite his ordeal, Varun asserts that peace and harmony are attainable short-term goals in our society, and is actively

involved in working with various state bodies to ensure multiculturalism is not only supported in Tasmania, but is encouraged. After his attack, Varun still maintains that Tasmania is a safe and peaceful place to live. “Overall it has been a really positive experience … Tassie is probably the best place you can be for studies.” Coming from someone who has gone though the ultimate test in faith of peace and safety, we should all feel pretty lucky. Varun is confident that his story can reach out to both sides. He assures all international students should feel safe in Hobart and not hide behind their differences. “Come here, feel free, and mix with the local community … I have seen a few people mix with just their own community, but it’s really important to go to different groups and speak to them, be friendly and keep their minds open. “Be free minded and just think a little bit about the new cultures … it can be overcome if we work together.” Conversely, Varun’s message to members of the local community also resounds vigorously. He agrees that racism is certainly still a significant issue in our society, yet guarantees us the government is working at it, and everyone needs to understand that although some people are different, we are all pretty much the same. “It’s not only about educating international students about the lifestyle in Tasmania, but also educating the locals about the different lifestyles of some of the people around the world, so we can learn to live together. “It’s easier for us (international students) to adopt those lifestyles, than asking all of those people to adopt our lifestyles … which is not possible. It is on our part to make the efforts, and feel free.” As the generation currently calling the shots in politics slowly develop dementia, it is crucial that the young people who will fill their shoes, figure out exactly how to eradicate racism from our society. Varun is already on the way to becoming one of those people. His fresh ideas, open mind and relentless passion are so contagious that if his ideas are heard and taken seriously, we will be a step closer to becoming a truly multicultural society. 19

By Ally Gibson In the first week of October 1975, five young Australian-based journalists were handed the biggest leads of their careers. By 16 October, they had been murdered. They were the Balibo Five. After rushed good byes to loved ones, Channel Seven’s Greg Shackleton, Gary Cunningham and Tony Stewart, and Channel Nine’s Brian Peters and Malcolm Rennie travelled from Australia towards the East Timor and Indonesia border. Full of anticipation, they were pursuing a ground-breaking scoop: covering the imminent invasion of Indonesia into Timorese territory. Prior to the journalists’ departure, the Australian Government had given furtive support for the planned Indonesian invasion. In backing Indonesia secretly, the Whitlam Government neglected to protect their own journalists, failing to alert them to the danger. On 16 October, the Balibo Five filmed Indonesian troops crossing the IndonesianEast Timor border. The footage captured had the potential to change the course of history, and to expose the Indonesian Government’s intention to forcefully take East Timor’s right to independence. The details of what happened next have continued to be twisted and contrived for the past 34 years. According to witness accounts, the journalists, unable to escape the oncoming Indonesian military, immediately put their hands in the air 20


and began to plead, “I am an Australian, a journalist!” The Indonesians responded by executing all five men. Despite the Australian Government’s immediate notification that the men were missing, they took no action. Consequently, on 5 November, Australian veteran journalist Roger East travelled to the capital of Dili in search of the five men. A month later, Indonesia invaded the capital. East, along with hundreds of Timorese, was captured and publicly executed. What followed was a web of propaganda from both the Indonesian and the Australian Governments that attempted to justify their actions, or in some cases, deny their knowledge. Jill Jolliffe is an Australian journalist who has dedicated her life to gathering information about the cover-up. “The 1975 failure to demand that the killers of the Balibo Five be brought to justice paved the way for Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor, resulting in the deaths of around 183,000 people, and the torture of another 10,000.”

Jolliffe was in Timor in 1975 and spent time with all six men. She is appalled by the Whitlam Government’s decisions. “What sort of government would put the lives of its own citizens second to assisting an act of international aggression?” Jolliffe has interviewed countless witnesses and yet the Government has never acknowledged her vast findings. She collaborated these findings in the book Balibo, on which director Rob Connolly based his recent feature film by the same name. Today, an alarming majority are unfamiliar with these events. Thankfully, Connolly’s film has once again shined the spotlight back on East Timor. “I, like a lot of Australians, was horrified by what happened to the Balibo Five. How is it that five young men can get murdered, their bodies in a hasty burial in Jakarta, not even brought back to Australia … [Followed by] 34 years of lying about it?” 21

Years of research went into the making of the film Balibo, which places the viewer inside the story of the six journalists. “I just wanted it to have a brutal honesty,” Connolly said, “So that it was like you were there”. After the film was released, an article was published in The Jakarta Post, in which Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah stated, “We have to look at the case according to the facts, not a film script … Is the film based on facts, or on the filmmaker’s imagination? We consider the film as fiction”. Connolly laughed as he spoke about reading the article, “It’s to be expected”. So how is it that neither government has ever been held accountable? Two weeks after the opening of the film Balibo, The Australian published an article entitled ‘Diplomat hits media for journos’ deaths’. The article quoted ex-diplomat Richard Woolcott, Australia’s ambassador to Jakarta in 1975. Woolcott gallantly called for the accountability of the news organisations connected to the Balibo Five. “The ABC left, and others left,” Mr Woolcott said. “I think proprietors [of the TV stations] bear a heavy responsibility that they’ve never had to shoulder.” Forming the more disturbing part of the article, Woolcott reinforced propaganda that was visible in 1975. Firstly, that East Timor’s first independent government party, known as Fretilin, was a communist organisation. Secondly, that the Balibo Five were mistaken for Fretilin forces and accidentally killed in “the heat of battle”. The article states; “Mr Woolcott, who is yet to see the film, said ‘they always show that flag [the Australian flag the five had painted on the wall of a building in Balibo Square, clearly seen at the time of the murder]. They never show the other side of the door, which had a Fretilin [communist] flag on it.’ He said the Indonesians ‘would have regarded [the reporters] as combatants because of their close association with Fretilin’.” Woolcott’s stance that the journalists had a link with the communist Timorese forces sadly demonstrates nothing has changed in 34 years. The Balibo Five were murdered during the height of the Cold War, and in seeking support

from the West the Indonesian Government claimed Fretilin were communists. In 1975, journalists were responsible for going to the battlefront and reporting first hand. However, UTAS Asian Studies lecturer Peter Jones said today “most journalists when they go to the battlefront are embedded”. “This is the new American word – you are in the middle of the platoon with an armoured car, you just get fed the information. Where as before, journos would go to a conflict area and be able to independently report. But no government wants that.” While the Balibo Five did expect to encounter conflict, the Australian Government’s decision to withhold information about the invasion meant they were unaware of the scale of the danger. On 5 February 2007, Magistrate Dorelle Pinch began an inquest into the deaths of the Balibo Five in the Glebe Coroner’s Court in Sydney. Connolly, who was a constant attendee at the inquest said, “The coroner … said that she couldn’t find one witness that [said] they died in cross fire, not one. Yet she could find dozens of witnesses to their murder”. Pinch’s official findings stated, “the Balibo Five died at Balibo in Timor-Leste from wounds sustained when shot and/or stabbed deliberately and not in the heat of battle”. She made clear recommendations to the Australian Commonwealth Government that criminal proceedings against the alleged perpetrators should commence. These recommendations have been ignored. When asked what he found to be the most emotionally difficult aspect of the 1975 events to re-create, Connolly immediately replied, “the massacre on Dili Wharf”. “Hundreds of people were rounded up and executed, a whole row of them shot one after the other…the murder of five men is terrible and horrific, but to take hundreds of women, men, Chinese, Timorese, Roger East, and just line them up and just shoot them all; what are you trying to achieve as a military invasion?” While a memorial service was being held in Jakarta for the Balibo Five, Indonesian troops invaded the capital of Dili, and East, the sixth Australian journalist, was murdered. 22


If you have seen the film Balibo, this event is re-enacted almost exactly to witness accounts recorded in Jolliffe’s book, in an incredibly disturbing performance from Anthony LaPaglia. It is horrific to realise this scene was not sensationalised for dramatic effect. Isolino J. Afonso Guterres is an East Timorese currently studying at the University of Tasmania. While he appreciates that Balibo will re-awaken a focus on East Timor and the events of 1975, he felt the film only showed a glimpse of the suffering of his country. “They [should have shown] also how Australia and U.S. backed Indonesia to invade East Timor, because without the support of Australia and U.S., Indonesia would not have done anything to East Timor.” Guterres’s experience of the 24 years of Indonesian occupancy, which almost certainly could have been prevented by the Australian Government, is heart breaking. “If you’re talking about East Timor, in the past, its all about sad. Because, if you have to see your sister be raped in front of your face, or killed in front of your eyes, what are you going to say? You pretend not to know anything, because if you keep your mouth shut you will live.” It is true that Connolly has focused on the deaths of the journalists rather than the politics behind the East Timor invasion, or the devastation that followed. However, it is clear that those parts of East Timor’s history are close to the director’s heart. In 1999 East Timor was granted a referendum and became an independent country. On their way out, Indonesia destroyed 90 per cent of the buildings and ruined what was left of East Timor. Connolly is dismayed at Australia’s role during that time. “Alexander Downer’s role in ‘99 was appalling, a huge miscalculation not putting [Australian] soldiers on the ground during the referendum, it could have stopped it all – they would have had complete infrastructure, hospitals, schools, but everything was burnt out.” This year, East Timor celebrates its ten-year anniversary of independence. However, the Australian Government and the killers of the Balibo Five and Roger East have never been held accountable. Hopefully, Connolly’s film will encourage action. On 9 September, the Australian Federal Police launched a war crimes probe into the deaths of the Balibo Five. To read Ally’s interview with Robert Connolly or comment on this story, visit Images courtesy of Mollison Communications

“I just wanted it to have a brutal honesty ... So that it was like you were there.” 23

By Jean Somerville-Rabbit Making friends in a new environment is not always easy. But the Faculty of Business, Student Services and International Services have set up an initiative to help students create new friendships and better enjoy their time at university. The UTAS Community Friendship Program began this year with a six-month trial involving 20 participants from the UTAS English Language Centre and a number of local students and community members who were interested in building friendships. Director of the program, Matthew Anning, said that the program is designed to help all new students at UTAS connect with each other. “Quite clearly there is a perception that making friends with the locals in your new community adds to the quality of your experiences as a new student on campus.” The program is not only for international students, but also for students from interstate or regional areas of Tasmania who come to study at UTAS away from their usual family and friends. “It’s important that ‘new-to-town-students’ feel equal and supported and feel like they are part of the university community,” Mr Anning said.


Feature. Feature.

“These days it is almost common knowledge that ‘culture shock’ is a common experience for anyone who has taken the step of moving to a new location for living, work or study, so it is the aim of this program to bring everyone together and honour the diversity of students here.” Mr Anning hopes that through this program new students can settle into their new experience without feeling like an ‘outsider’, and that local students and community members are provided with important networking opportunities. One of the aims of the program is language exchange. This allows students who are studying foreign languages to converse with international students in their native language. The objective of language exchange is to facilitate interaction between newly arrived UTAS students and locals. The School of Asian Languages has been conducting a similar program and have already witnessed successful outcomes in this area.

“I think it has greatly improved my language skills. In a class there can be pressure and there is a fear of making a fool of yourself. So some people can be really reserved and not participate in conversation. But when there is only a one-onone connection there is more of a relaxed atmosphere and conversation can flow easier,” Ms Crawford-Lehman said. Another student, Shota Suzuki from Komaki, Japan, believes that his language exchange partner has greatly improved his English skills. “I like that I can learn English and teach Japanese after class, in a stress-free environment like at a coffee shop. Also it’s really good being able to talk to friends in a foreign language about everyday things like relationship issues, funny things that happen to you, what kind of movies and TV shows you like – it’s just like talking with your friends in your own country,” Mr Suzuki said.

Linking local students studying Japanese at UTAS with students from Japan studying on exchange, program participants, such as Saori Kaneko from Agui-cho near Nagoya in Japan, have voiced their gratification for the language exchange program. “After I met my language exchange partner, my life here became much more fun! I enjoyed studying English and I was also happy to help teach Japanese as well. Also I made a lot of friends at Uni. It was very, very helpful because I was not ashamed to ask them about easy English questions. Now I feel that my partner is one of my best friends and we still have a good relationship not only studying but also in our free time,” Ms Kaneko said. Jade Crawford-Lehman, a previous participant in the program from Hobart, has echoed Saori’s sentiments that the program provides a valuable experience for students. “The program offers an opportunity for Tasmanian students to connect with students from a different culture, to learn more about the world beyond Australia.


FEATURES. But what about students who have not had access to initiatives such as the language exchange program? Valerie Tan is one such student. Since moving to Tasmania, she admits that making new friends was not too difficult, but she does realise that for some students it can be a challenge. “For the first two and a half years I lived in one of the colleges, and living in the college helped me to make friends. But sometimes, international students will stay within their comfort zone, with people they share common ground and can talk about common topics among each other.” Ms Tan moved from Singapore to Hobart in order to study International Relations, in which she is currently completing her honours year. In the future she plans to work in Australia before moving back to Singapore. “Here you can be exposed to international issues, opinions and views whereas in Singapore a similar degree would be more focused on domestic issues I think. Hobart doesn’t really have many distractions so it’s good for studying, a very nurturing environment and it gives you the opportunity to be able to study at your own pace”. “The whole point of studying abroad is to experience another culture and I hope that in the future there will be more opportunities for local people to interact with international students”. The Community Friendship Program at UTAS has been designed to capture the personal profiles of newcomers to the Hobart and Launceston Campuses, and to match them with profiles of carefully selected local students and community members from those areas. “We foresee that participants will reap the rewards that come from the connections made with an open mind, offering a friendly smile, lending a welcoming hand and opening eyes to new horizons” Mr Anning said. For further information about the program send an email to:


FEATURES. Feature.

Multicultural Night A Cultural Kaleidoscope

By Dean Haynes The annual Medibank Multicultural Night has had a varied past, but 2009 was the year it came of age. Dean Haynes was there to witness the night’s events. “Wow!” was the word on many lips when Multicultural Night’s Bollywood Dancers swayed to the end of a routine that concluded four hours of dance, food and mesmerising music. The normally white-walled University Activities Centre pulsed with swirling colours, and the smell of garam masala and concussive waves of Bollywood music filled the air.


Gold bracelets, free-flowing saris, darkened eyes and knee length kurtas that jangled and swung from the emotive hands and bodies of the dancers seemed like distant taunts in contrast to the barehanded beat of the Hindi music. Saleh BinTalib, TUU International Student Officer and organiser of the night, admitted just prior to the Bollywood performance; “I’ve just been overwhelmed with everything at this point in time. It’s much better than I expected. If you didn’t come this year, look forward to next year!” Earlier in the night when the 600-plus attendees were arriving, the 17 food stalls, that horseshoed the audience seating and main stage, bustled. Their young organisers opened steaming pots, switched on bain-maries and debated whether they would have enough change. Jonathan Liew, President of the Chinese Society who wore a red, full body apron and white cap was one such person. Jonathan worked between six other helpers on his society’s selection of satay chicken, satay beef, BBQ pork rice and red bean soup. “I think the best thing about tonight is the great food and second the dancing … I don’t think tonight is just for University students, I think it’s for everyone in Tasmania to see something of other cultures.” Bhayisha Mehta, of the Indian Cultural Youth Society, worked throughout the night in front of a large diamond shaped wall hanging, embroidered with small mirrors. Combined with her blue sari and green silk scarf, her stall acted as a beacon, attracting punters to her North Indian cuisine. “This has really been fun being with the different cultures and coming to know about them.” “I can taste Saudi Arabian food as well as Malaysian, Chinese and Vietnamese, among others. It’s really good of the University to bring so many different cultures together so we can exchange. I feel also that the international students will now feel more comfortable being around each other.” During the night, the Saudi Student Club, headed by Khallid Bindraim, beckoned attendees forward to put on the white Saudi thawb and the red checked keffiyeh headdress if male, or an embroidered long sleave red 28


dress if female, and have their photo taken in traditional Saudi dress.

Swaying belly dancers, a Scottish pipe band and a local guitar trio brought the night up to the concluding Bollywood dancers.

The night’s performances were preceded by a variety of prominent speakers, including Vice Chancellor Daryl Le Grew who repeated the emphatic catchphrase “Are you all together?” throughout the evening.

The subwoofers pumped, the dozen dancers started to move and the crowd erupted to the sound of popular Hindi music. Members of the standing audience began dancing as those on stage played out the well rehearsed narratives of love, rejection and togetherness.

A large children’s choir was the first onstage piece. The night then tumbled fervently into dance and musical performances from Greece, Scotland, Saudi Arabia, India, the U.S. and many other lands in between. A troop of highland dancers tiptoed over swords, members of the Greek society jumped over tables and break dancers jumped and flipped over one another. Traditionally dressed Saudi’s improvised en masse and a single Indian woman clothed and decorated to the teeth (literally) had the hundreds memorised with her stomping Bharatanatyam dance performance.

The show and the night ended as all 12 dancers bowed, breathing heavily to an applauding crowd. As Saleh Bintalib said earlier in the night “If you didn’t come this year, look forward to next year!” Multicultural Night was a fantastic example of our University’s endeavour to embrace multiculturalism. Images by Dean Haynes


By Laura Prescott In the back room of the slow boat we lean against the wooden walls, peering out at the river, the houseboats, and the villages. Muddied water rushes around the boat and drags us down the Mekong River towards Luang Prabang. Thailand on the right, Laos on the left. A border of water. Three young Laos children sit in the corner of the boat. They stare at us, wide-eyed. The eldest child covers his ears, blocking the boat’s noisy engine. He moves his hands on and off his ears, fascinated by the high-pitched wispy sound within his eardrums. He pulls at his brother’s dirty yellow shorts, making him watch and imitate. The youngest, a girl with two plaits high in her hair, slowly falls asleep, and curls up on the hard wooden floor. Their mother avoids eye contact, avoids our existence. There is a barrier. Our smiles are not contagious. The conversations of other passengers outside the stifling engine room are drowned out by the whirr of the boat. We are the lower class, slumped in the engine room. We leave Thailand behind as we edge further down the Mekong. We leave behind Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pai and the curious Thai culture. The main route from Bangkok to northern Thailand has been adapted for the tourists, creating a confused atmosphere of Thai culture and the western world. Seven Elevens have crept in like a virus, among other western viruses. They sit oddly, jumbled, mixed in with the Thai language, the colourful clothing, the wooden bungalows and tuk-tuks. As the boat drifts down the Mekong, memories of the contrasting chaos that surrounded us in Bangkok return. The built-up skyscrapers, neighboured by run down homes in the shadows of the wealthy, contradict the smooth ripples of the river. The bustling city, with twelve million people packed into buildings, temples, roads, and markets, seem a distant memory. People swarmed the footpaths with stalls, selling anything they could. Somehow, in amongst the chaos, the Thai people were tranquil and undisturbed, like the landscape visible deep in the Mekong. 30


An hour in the noisy engine room drives us to share the hard, wooden seats at the front of the boat with the other passengers. Hills rise, steep, on each side of the river, vivid green and speckled by small wooden huts. We see children in canoes, fishing from the river, offering only a glance at the slow boat filled with tourists. The Mekong provides a livelihood for millions of people as it flows through six countries in Asia: China, Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. After two eight-hour days on the slow boat, and a night in a quiet village surrounded by mountains, we reach Luang Prabang. Hidden among the hills, the city sits in a calm ambience under the mist and rain. Temples resting high on a hill watch over the centre of the village-like city. The night markets spread through the streets. Laos families sit on the ground, enticing every tourist to buy. People haggle for jewellery, rugs, lamps, silk scarves and dresses, in a colourful world below the tents and lights. The next morning we wake to the beating of drums echoing through the streets. We learn that it is the celebration of Wan Khao Pansa; the beginning of Buddhist Lent. Buddhist Lent is the traditional retreat that lasts for three lunar months, from July to October. Buddhist monks remain within the confines of the Wat (temple) grounds and dedicate this time to intensive meditation, as a period of spiritual reawakening. That evening we take our dinner to an old temple and listen to the monks chanting. Their varying voices, deep and high-pitched, create a constant movement of sound around us, echoing through the temple. They bow over to the big golden Buddha, which sits, cross-legged, above them. From Luang Prabang we travel by bus to Vang Vieng. At this time of the year, the small town is famous for the tourist activity of tubing. Tourists noisily negotiate the river rapids, travelling in inner tubes, stopping at bars full of loud music and drunkenness. Escaping the characterless town, we hire bicycles and ride into the beautiful countryside where the green hills and 31

cliffs tower over us and children play in the swollen creeks and puddles following the previous night’s downpour. A young boy runs along beside us, his feet slapping on the road, his face grinning up at us. Families farm the rice fields; in rows they pull clumps from the wet fields. Three young girls walk on the dirt road, baskets strapped to their backs. I take a photo, but they don’t smile. They don’t want to see their photo; they don’t want to see their sad eyes and dirty clothes staring back at them. They just want my food or money. Our last stop in Laos is the capital, Vientiane. We cycle around the busy, flat city, visiting temples and pancake stalls. We visit an exhibition at the Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE) National Rehabilitation Centre, which assists people with disabilities. About 50 per cent of their victims have been injured by cluster munitions – dropped by the US Air force in the Vietnam War. For eight years, planeloads of bombs were dropped over Laos approximately every nine minutes, day and night. After the conflict, 78 million cluster munitions still scattered the country. Photos and facts sprawl the walls, old prosthetic legs hang from the ceiling, interviews of families that have lost children play on old Televisions. While there are efforts to remove the cluster munitions, hundreds of people are still being injured or killed every year. Young children search for the metal of these bombs to sell in order to feed their families, and many die from explosions. Those injured often will not seek help from COPE because it is illegal to touch the munitions. Crammed in the back of a Ute, we leave Vientiane and drive through the outskirts of the city to the train waiting at the immigration checkpoint. We cross the train bridge, over the Mekong, and back into Thailand. Back in Bangkok I walk the streets one last time. Beggars sit against the pavement, most unable to stand. I try to steal the ambiance by capturing an image. The beggar with no legs is blurry in my photo. Travelled lately? Tell us Togatus your travel story.

Images by Laura Prescott 32

Comment. World 1: The first world demonstrates how climate change could affect the planet if Australia and other first-world countries agreed to reduce emissions 10-30 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 40-90 per cent by 2050. The predicted impacts include the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and up to two billion people facing water shortages. World 2: The second world shows the most likely consequences of climate change if emissions are reduced 25-40 per cent by 2020 and 80-95 per cent by 2050. These effects include up to 10 million people being affected by coastal flooding and around 15-40 per cent of plant and animal species at risk of extinction. World 3: The third world sees the worst impacts of climate change shown in Worlds 1 and 2 avoided, with emissions reduced by more than 40 per cent by 2020 and more than 95 per cent by 2050. The website states that while the economic costs of achieving this ‘World’ would much higher than for the first two, most of the economic costs due to climate change would be avoided.

By Selina Bryan Climate change is a hot topic in the media, especially with the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference looming at the end of the year. For two weeks in December, Denmark will host the United Nations climate change negotiations, where countries will try to reach a global agreement on cuts to carbon emissions. Between September 14 and 21, thousands of young Australians voted as part of Youth Decide ’09 to encourage the Federal Government to secure a strong global agreement. Youth Decide is a movement led by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and World Vision Australia. The national campaign asked people between the ages of 12 and 29 to vote on what type of world they want to inherit. Three different worlds were presented, based on scenarios by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Australian and UK governments. The forum is hoping to achieve a satisfactory outcome from the Copenhagen negotiations, one that sees greater emission reduction targets than what the Federal Government currently has planned. Over 330 voting events took place in learning institutions, libraries, parks and even beaches around Australia. A team of 2,000 volunteers helped organise events.

An overwhelming 97.5 per cent of respondents voted for emissions targets stronger than those currently proposed by the government. Youth Decide announced 37,432 young Australians voted. Events at UTAS were coordinated by the Environment Collective and others who have worked with World Vision previously. Organiser Laura McIllhenny said some of the biggest issues with climate change in Australia are down to economics. “There isn’t the political will at the moment, I don’t think. This is one of the things [Youth Decide] is trying to push, it’s getting it across to the politicians that the youth of Australia are really concerned about climate change and the issues that it will pose.” Youth Decide has given the youth of Australia a powerful voice on climate change issues and have signaled what emission targets they want the government to meet. “We’re the ones who are going to be affected most by climate change so its up to us to push the older generations to help us do something now before we’re left with this huge problem,” Laura said. What did you decide? 33

By Warrick Jordan UTAS student Warrick Jordan is currently studying on exchange at the Danish School of Journalism and is therefore well-placed to comment on climate change. Denmark will be hosting the COP 15 United Nations Climate Change Conference in December. When the Hobart City Council voted down a proposal to place wind turbines on top of the ANZ building in the CBD in late July, with some councillors citing concerns the turbines may spoil the view of Mt Wellington, a number of thoughts passed through my mind. A few more went through my mind when HCC’s Darlene Haigh noted ‘safety’ concerns in her objection to the turbines that have been approved for the Marine Board Building. I was mildly surprised that scene-scapes were now a priority after decades of successful attempts to damage the cultural amenity of Hobart with inappropriate development. Visual disasters, such as the proposed eleven-story car parks and the TV tower on the mountain, will, and have, made a much greater impact on Hobart’s panoramas. In response, a quick straw poll of some friends confirmed what I already suspected – that if priorities are ordered in favour of protecting Hobart’s scenery, we are in big trouble. In Tasmania, political progress on climate issues appears to have been relegated to the ‘clever, clean and kind’ dress-ups cupboard – to be used only in the event of a media opportunity (I think Lisa Singh’s mo-ped and David Bartlett’s pushbike are in there somewhere too). This is despite some promising early signs, and the fine intentions and hard yakka of some working within existing governmental frameworks, including the 34

Comment. Tasmanian Climate Change Office and Associate Professor Kate Crowley. As long as the Tasmanian Government uses climate change as a PR opportunity, while simultaneously asserting that Tasmania’s contribution is so small to be meaningless, it will be difficult to make progress. There is also the in-someways-unfortunate fact that the climate change issue, by sheer weight of emissions volume, is intrinsically tied to the forestry debate. The tendency to jump in the trenches at the first sighting of the ‘F’ word is sometimes a hindrance to progress on other issues. An illuminating example is that a cordial meeting I had late last year with Bryan Green to discuss climate issues resulted only in enlightening me as to Bryan’s thoughts on where Richard Flanagan had gone wrong. The sooner it is recognised that climate change will change the way forests are managed, and similarly that forests aren’t the only climate change issue, the sooner we can get on with the job of emissions reductions. Some see the climate change issue as being a bit like some of those partaking in a late-night Hobart waterfront session – if you look in their direction, you are asking for a rough time that you could well have avoided. But unlike engaging with those bleary-eyed old blokes stumbling home alone, there are things to be gained from knowing the climate issue.

December. There are worrying signs that this conference, seen as crucial in providing a framework for the waybehind-schedule-if-we-want-to-save-the-planet-andourselves cuts, may fail in delivering effective outcomes. Examples, such as the united front recently unveiled by African leaders, and the combined policy demands between those nations and other large developing countries such as China, India and Brazil, provide some cause for belief in more positive outcomes, however. While not ignoring the current hot issue of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, it would be wise to call that debate for what it is – a sop to the public and a firm handshake to big polluting industries. We may end up with a horribly dysfunctional scheme that generates income for polluters, or we may end up with something worse. Comedian Rod Quantock has just opened a new show entitled “Bugger the Polar Bears – This is Serious”. I’m not sure if we have time for that, however, I would be the first to agree with Rod that this is indeed serious. In the countdown to Copenhagen, we should be hoping like hell that the Danes have had the foresight to install one big begeezus-sized people-powered panic button, so that the whole world will hear if the climate talks outcomes are rubbish. Kevin Rudd should hear it. Even Premier Bartlett and Councillor Haigh may get an inkling that there’s something big happening. Let’s hope so.

Many good people are already working hard on inspiring and educating the community, and creating concrete solutions. In Tasmania, people such as Margaret Steadman and Nick Towle, and groups such as Climate Action Hobart and the Waterworks Valley community are doing important work in activating the community. And for those who despair at the aforementioned actions of some members of the HCC, an example from my temporary home (Aarhus, Denmark) may prove an encouraging counter point. In late September, the Aarhus municipal council were expected to pass a proposal to make the city (of 300,000) carbon neutral (i.e. reducing emissions by as much as possible and offsetting the balance to zero) by 2030. The nearby island of Samso has managed to reduce their emissions, by way of strong community action and government assistance, by around two thirds in a decade (to one seventh of the Tasmanian per capita rate). Denmark is also preparing itself for the COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 35

AN INTERVIEW WITH GRAFTON PRIMARY By Tyne McConnon With their captivating synth hooks and infectious lyrics, Grafton Primary have taken the Australian music scene by storm in recent years. The trio, consisting of Robbie Mudrazija and brothers Josh and Ben Garden, recently performed at the Uni Bar to fans of their electro-noir beats. Tyne McConnon caught up with vocalist, Josh, to explore the band’s rise to fame and his relationship with music. T: How did Grafton form? JG: Ben and I were basically producing electronic music separately, doing our own thing. Ben was more studioproduction based … while I got more into production and more interested in writing songs. We started sending a few things to each other and got together. T: What is it like working with your brother? JG: It is the best and worst really. Best [because] we both kind of love each other and we grew up together, so we have the same beliefs. Also I guess there is a sense of someone you have that bond with. We read each other’s minds. Worst as we really have different personalities so it’s a tricky working dynamic. It contributes to the music, however. You can both have separate ideas and put them together. 36


T: Have there ever been major sibling feuds or disagreements when you have been performing, or compiling an album?

It’s a tiring [job] and pushes emotional buttons more than other jobs. If you work in an office your work is more about earning money not your personal project.

JG: Not anything serious. Nothing newsworthy; no storming out of the room. There has been some tensions and disagreements, and angry emails; we don’t really do anger face-to-face very well. We brood and stew over it and then one of us will crack and say something. Constantly there are some tensions. But this is not a problem, as we know how to draw the line as adults. We would end the band if it got too bad.

T: What comes first; lyrics or sound?

T: What has been your favourite gig in Tassie so far? JG: Falls was amazing; a good crowd and vibe. We had to fly out straight away, I wish we had stayed longer! Syrup was also great. We were disappointed that one [show] was cancelled. We got down to Hobart, got to the club, starting setting gear up and then honestly my voice had gone, I had to go straight to hospital. However, the one show that we did play was pretty insane. [There were] no barriers on the first night. There was [only] a wall of security guards [between us and the crowd]. T: Do you indulge in the ‘partying’ side of the industry? JG: Sometimes I’m too tired to dance and I actually miss it in a way. But you’re human and you have responsibilities. I now have a different pace to life than I used to have and for me this is a really positive step … In my early 20’s I did loads of that and I had a mad time as people should get out and experience life … [But] at the moment I want to do something different. Priorities have changed with age. I still party and still dance, but don’t feel like I want to get messed up as my head is in a good place at the moment, I can get a high off the music and dancing alone. I now have the feeling I’m achieving what I want to achieve in my life. T: Has this change in perspective changed your music? JG: I have changed, but I have always been philosophical and poetic. Maybe I’m more [focussed] now on what I’m writing lyrically, there is more happiness, contentment and joy ... I am in love and have been for a few years now, and will be for a long time, and this has changed my perspective on a lot of things … Personal life impacts upon your music and I don’t want to keep them separate.

JG: The sound normally comes first. I don’t like fitting music around words. I don’t like making a melody to fit words I have put down. The words are made to fit a melody. Also when there is a melody in my head the feeling of the music gives you an idea for the words. T: Favourite song to play at the moment? JG: It depends on the crowd … [They usually like] new songs or reworked old ones. T: Any particular song that you would love to remix? JG: Not off the top of my head, however, I have been listening to music that you wouldn’t think about remixing. This includes a lot of hip-hop and soul music but I would feel bad about remixing this. T: If you were not in Grafton Primary where would you be? JG: If I hadn’t done this, I probably would have gone into hip-hop. I [always] say I have got to get round to doing some hip-hop. However, it’s hard to dedicate to it, as it’s a music genre that you would need to dedicate a whole lifestyle choice. Well that’s the vibe I get. You would need to be in a certain headspace to rhyme and re-program your brain to work in that sphere. T: What can we see from Grafton in the future? JG: I’m not exactly sure. The band will still be happening. But I’ll be a bit upset if [we are] still doing the same thing in a year. We want to keep pushing ourselves as producers and performers. In a year, my life will be really different, but who knows what will happen. I’m at the point where I feel like I’m in charge of my life and anything could happen. I love doing this and I’m dedicated to doing it. But I’m dedicated to life mostly and there are other things in life [other] than this. Your life isn’t limited to one thing and you are never stuck to one thing. 37

Conditions THE TEMPER TRAP Scott Faulkner Conditions is the spectacular debut album from four-piece Melbourne indie rock band The Temper Trap (TTT). From the evocative opening track, Love Lost, the deep thumping drums that permeate throughout the album combine with the incredible falsetto vocals of ‘Dougy’ Mandagi to instantly entrap the listener, not letting them go throughout the following 42 minutes. Musically, Conditions is infectious, at times softly sweeping over the listener, at others confronting you with heavy bass, strong guitar and pounding drums. There’s an understated simplicity to the lyrics, which are at the same time incredibly emotive, evoking powerful imagery in the listener’s mind. This makes it all too easy to get caught up in the choruses and find yourself singing along. Conditions has already spawned three singles: Sweet Disposition, Fader and Science of Fear, yet still has several other tracks, such as Resurrection or Soldier On, that are both catchy enough to demand enough radio airplay to be released as singles. Overall Conditions is unfortunately a short album, however, it fits together stylistically as a cohesive whole, allowing it to become one of those rare albums that one can listen to from start to finish, over and over again. If you haven’t heard anything from this album, head over to TTT’s website and check them out.


Music. Reviews.

Mean Everything To Nothing MANCHESTER ORCHESTRA Simon McCulloch They are not from Manchester, nor are they an orchestra. But despite their misleading name, there is nothing deceitful about the second full-length offering, Mean Everything to Nothing, from Atlanta’s five-piece indie rock outfit, Manchester Orchestra. Opening with singer/guitarist Andy Hull crying that he is “the only one that thinks I’m going crazy”, the album spirals into something resembling a whiny teenagers’ (quite prolific) diary from then onwards. There is a real urgency in Hull’s voice, one that is so strong throughout the album, it is as if at any moment he will fall back from the microphone and into bed for the day. Shake it Out follows the opener, driven by a thumping drum beat surrounded in distortion that makes it tough to resist grabbing the steering wheel and doing as he says. The brakes hit, however, when I Can Feel a Hot One emerges from the distortion, and once again it seems a breakdown is not far off. The intensity of the lyrics are perfectly matched by Hull’s whimper, and the understated guitar gives the song a definite emotional heaviness. The lyrics are dark, self-loathing and at times childish. The tone swings like a teen’s mood and Mean Everything to Nothing is a riot of distorted guitar insanity that is too much fun to miss. 39

The economy – I have stopped caring You might not be surprised to know that I am sick of hearing about the global financial crisis. Wayne, mate, I realise it’s the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression because you, Kev and Lindsay have told me 42 billion times. That said, we’re not in recession and I’m not homeless, like increasing numbers of people in other countries. Mid-term progress on preventing banana republic: better than expected.

Climate change – do it already

POLITICAL COMMENTARY By James Walker Have you ever drunk milk from the carton only to realise it was off? That the milk had the consistency of lamb korma? I have. There’s no forewarning; you’re in a rush, it’s still in the fridge and so you think it’s safe. In the same way, what our Government does is often taken for granted – they’re doing what’s in our best interests, right? The average voter doesn’t have the time to look through the packaging and spin to understand a wide range of complex policy. Tired of cautiously sipping through dairy, I’ve written safety warnings on a few issues to assess what progress the Government has made by the middle of its term.

It’s clear to everyone bar that lunatic Steve Fielding that climate change requires courageous and immediate action. Why hasn’t this happened yet? Well, because the Government tried to be sneaky by linking two bills together. One, the emissions trading scheme, is contentious. The other, outlining renewable energy targets, is not. The bills have now been de-linked and the targets passed. Australia should take this opportunity to be ambitious and lead the world. Instead, the denying dinosaurs in the Liberal Party and that Fielding idiot are holding us to ransom in the Senate. Also, Ruddy, set a target higher than the lemon content of Solo; five per cent is never enough. Japan just set a 25 per cent target. Now get on with it – you bastards. Mid-term progress on saving the planet: stalled.

Same-sex marriage – why the hell not? Over the course of human history, plenty of things that we now consider outrageous were once accepted practices. We used to be cool with slavery, counting indigenous people as plants, burning people at the stake, even keeping women at home so they could vacuum, cook and snort coke. We’re lucky in Australia to have legislation that outlaws discrimination based on race, sex, religion and age, among other things. One of those other things is homosexuality. But we still deny same-sex couples the right to marry. Why? In a radio interview prior to the ALP’s national conference, Rudd explained it was because the Government was ‘keeping an election promise’. The policy was not changed at the conference and the Australian Christian Lobby promptly issued a press release thanking 40

Political Commentary. End Notes.

“THIS IS A BIT OBSCURE BUT YOU’LL UNDERSTAND THAT SINCE I AM MALE AND WAS ONCE 10 YEARS OLD, I LOVE FIGHTER PLANES.” them for what? That’s right, ‘keeping their election promise’. Well, screw you. A recent Galaxy poll showed that 60 per cent of Australians are in favour of same-sex marriage, a bigger majority of Australians than elected the Government to office. Mid-term progress on not pandering to minorities: very poor.

Fighter planes – dakka dakka dakka! This is a bit obscure but you’ll understand that since I am male and was once 10 years old, I love fighter planes. For Australia, they are vital strategic assets that allow us to project power into the Asia-Pacific better than a small country should be able to. I’ll skip all the techno-babble but this is the deal. The Howard Government committed a brazillion dollars to buying an American jet, the F-35 (or Joint Strike Fighter) that didn’t exist yet. We got fed a whole lot of bullshit about how awesome and cheap it would be and how soon it would be ready. In the meantime, we’re buying these other American planes, Super Hornets, as a stop-gap. Rudd is continuing this plan. Problem: everyone else is buying these amazing Russian planes, called Sukhois, which can massacre any existing American plane and the F-35. Solution: ditch this flawed plan that sees us buying astronomically expensive military equipment that is already obsolete and buy what non-partisan experts consider the best plane ever: the F-22 Raptor. Mid-term progress on impressing 10-year-old boys: average.

Internet censorship – but I like the cookie Internet censorship is something I tend to associate with totalitarian regimes like China and Iran. But ‘whatever!’ says Government. It announced the introduction of just such a system for Australia – part mandatory (for blocking

child pornography and illegal material) and part opt-out (for blocking ‘harmful and inappropriate’ material). Where to begin with the problems? There is no definition of ‘harmful and inappropriate’ material so who knows what will be blocked. I have no problem with blocking child porn but I want to be able to read dissident journalist’s blogs and check out violent video games or movie trailers. The Government’s own tests reveal the technical problems, including that the filter will ‘overblock’ (block innocuous content) and cause ‘network degradation’ (slow internet speeds). So the Government is spending $43 billion on providing superfast broadband that it will then compromise with an enormous clunky filter. The tests also show that a filter is as easy as pie to get around. So we’re spending money on a filter that doesn’t work bar to piss off average Joe who doesn’t know who to use an anonymiser to avoid it. Fortunately the filter has dropped off the radar recently – perhaps Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has cottoned on to the fact it’s a dud. What a genius. Mid-term progress on introducing a socialist utopia: average

Conclusion – heads or tails? At the end of the day, a lot of the distinctions are academic. Our two major political parties are drawing ever closer together, essentially two capitalist parties that offer two slightly different capitalist policies. They’re two sides of the same coin. I mean, the Opposition harps on about the stimulus spending – but won’t say they would have done any differently. Personally, I’m disappointed with some of the decisions the Government has made, but overall? Midterm progress on clearly being better than the Liberals has been excellent. You can hear James Walker on ‘unradio’ every Saturday 1 - 2pm on Edge Radio 99.3fm




Few people would have heard the recent announcement that any plans to abolish voluntary student unionism (VSU) have been sandbagged by the forward-thinking and student-loving Coalition. Ask most first year students what the Student Union is and you would be met with blank stares like you’d just requested they explain thermonuclear fusion or asked them to put the square box in the round hole. Conversely, ask most post-grad and graduate students of their memories of Uni societies, and you’ll be met with wry smiles, laughs and stories of random misadventures spent with people who were fast becoming good mates. To most current students, Societies Day is an excuse to double fist Cascade cans and hit on first year students wearing fluoro headbands. That is all well and good, but Societies Day once served a higher purpose. In between all those jelly shots and goon bag laybacks, Societies were increasing their membership, resulting in more funding and more opportunities to ultimately benefit students in extra-curricular activities. The endless BBQs, barrels, cocktail parties, public talks and sports events were all funded by our Union fees and organised by the dedicated few who saw more to University life than simply getting that piece of paper.

TO DIE By Pete Saunders In late August, the Federal Government’s Student Services and Amenities Bill was defeated in the Senate. If passed, the Government’s proposal would have allowed universities to charge students a one-off fee of $250 to improve the quality of sporting, cultural, welfare and advocacy services. Many universities, including our own, have already felt the financial effects of voluntary student union laws and fear that the standards of vital campus services available to students will continue to decline. Pete Saunders voices his dismay at the decision to vote against the Bill.

The current problem is that most students don’t know what it was like when the Union was behind them. Yes, one function of the system was to help run big events and parties or send a sports team interstate, but it provided another (much more important) function that supplied students with legal advice, disability and health assistance and careers advice. It was a system that we all made use of — often unknowingly — and it is a travesty that it is left in its current state. There is still a strong group of students fighting to keep Societies alive, endlessly filling out paperwork to try and find $100 here and $200 there. But it is a completely thankless task, and a majority of the student body assumes that these events ‘just happen’. These students do it because they see the value in extending student life beyond the classroom. And this is ultimately reflected on the resume, as potential employers 42

Opinion. End Notes. see the value in taking on the task of running a society. Some have proven that it is possible to get employment solely on the back of extra-curricular University jobs.

some attendances for their first week, but the students are ultimately missing out on a valuable part of their education: social interaction.

Watching the effect of VSU at the Hunter Street Art School has been like taking a walk through Belgium in 1940. You get the impression that things were once pretty good, but what stands before you is turning to utter destruction.

The sheer number of restrictions and the lack of support and sponsorship for Societies Day — something more fundamental to a year of Uni than textbooks — has resulted in people trying to make the most of the three-minute RSA window by shot-gunning beers faster than Mel Gibson at a stop sign, rather than bringing together a group of likeminded students to pursue similar interests.

A bookshop intended to provide students with discounted products relevant to their degrees is now on par or more expensive than other places in town; a cafeteria designed to provide varied food and drink now struggles to provide a variation of anything. There are pretty much no society gatherings, no barrels, nothing outside of the odd art opening. This is not a slight against the staff who work there — they do a fantastic job, but they are simply given no financial support whatsoever to try and do what they were meant to

Gone are the days when the Dance Music Society would bring down some of the biggest DJs to the Uni Bar; no longer can the Rafting or the Ski/Snowboard club head into the middle of nowhere for a few days and throw themselves into the elements. To the outside observer, getting involved in all the politics, all the rules, all the regulations on behalf of your fellow

“WATCHING THE EFFECT OF VSU AT THE HUNTER STREET ART SCHOOL HAS BEEN LIKE TAKING A WALK THROUGH BELGIUM IN 1940.” do — help students. In the past couple of years, events have been held, but the amount of paperwork, rules to adhere to and a simple lack of funds meant that students ended up pitching in their own cash to provide entertainment for others. Altruistic, maybe; stupid, definitely. Unfortunately, it is difficult to argue with new students why they should give up $250 of their hard-earned cash at the beginning of the year. The influence of the Union is difficult to see if you have never been a part of it. So how do we best illustrate the downfall of student life over the past few years? A pretty obvious starting point is the decline of O-Week. Societies Day was a mere cog in an entire week devoted to guaranteeing students started the year backward and upside down, with no clue if they were studying computer science or life drawing. Every night, something big was happening and it all concluded with a massive concert with some big name acts. Wallets barely suffered because everything was subsidised. Now, O-Week goes by with barely a blip on the radar. This may please lecturers as they actually have

students holds about as much appeal as a Dragonball Z POG swap meet. But the reality is quite different to that. Being able to help shape the University experience not just for yourself but also for your fellow students is one of the more rewarding aspects of University. It costs some time and hard work and takes a while to learn the system. But the system is ultimately in place to help students. If we don’t make the most of it, it will eventually die out. Students can shape their own Uni life more than they probably realise, they just have to sack up, get involved and actually do something to help a struggling cornerstone of University culture. Sometimes it takes a few risks to reap any rewards, but in this case, they are certainly worth it. Want to help out our University’s dying student culture? Why not contribute to Togatus? Contact the editor at


D O G S S E L B AMERICA By Ella Kearney While our University culture is going to shit, it appears that colleges in the United States thrive on their campus capers. Our college correspondent Ella Kearney explores some of the key differences between UTAS life and university life in upstate New York . I arrived at Ithaca College, New York, on August 17. After seven flights and aeroplane meals that resembled cardboard covered in gravy, I was ready to immerse myself in US college culture.

The Ref vs. Food Heaven Let’s be honest, the food options at UTAS aren’t exactly mind blowing. You have the choice between the Ref for a couple of dim sims or Lazenbys for a dim sim with a lil’ garnish on the side. Hmmmm. Decisions! When I entered one of the eight (that’s right EIGHT!) dining halls at Ithaca it was a profound moment. You. Can. Get. Anything. You. Want. You want nuts on your ice cream? You want vegan? Kosher? You want me to whip up a stir-fry? You wanna lil’ roast? I was mesmerised by the multitude of choices. At one point I am pretty sure the pizza slices jumped up out of their pans and started cheering my name, and a little strawberry winked at me. 44

End Notes. I haven’t quite mastered ordering small sizes yet though. I ask the lady for o-n-e scoop of ice cream and she slams me with three. I’ll know where those extra KG’s are coming from.

Threads There are three main clothing styles at Ithaca College: tiedye, sportswear and ‘Ithaca faithfuls’. Let’s begin with tiedye. About one in every five people wears tie-dye here. It’s kind of weird; the most popular is multi-colour and says, ‘Ithaca is Gorges’ on it (Ithaca is well known for its natural gorges). They really struck a winner with that slogan.

I walked past one yesterday and he farted and burped simultaneously. I then heard his friend say ‘Thatta boy’. I spewed a little in my mouth. The Freshman (first year students) are fairly easy to detect. They are perpetually smiling and for some reason are always called Jennifer or Brian. One of their favourite topics of conversation is Amsterdam and how cool it is that marijuana is legal. If you’ve been to Amsterdam you’re pretty much God. I have three Freshman slaves working for me as we speak. These peeps are also incredibly gullible; I have told several that I hunt kangaroo, and it was believed whole-heartedly.

Sportswear incorporates Adidas slip-on sandals with socks, basketball shorts and T-shirts emblazoned with nicknames or slogans; often moving statements like ‘Impossible is nothing’ or ‘Excuses are for losers’. My favourite slogan, however, was ‘Peace, Love and Bagels’. Peeps love their bagels over here. ‘Ithaca faithfuls’ is a name I coined for those at Ithaca who insist on wearing Ithaca school wear 24/7. If someone at UTAS was decked out in complete UTAS attire, we would question their mental stability, over here it’s, like, the THANG.

Transport: UTAS bus vs. DA FUNK bus Within the last year or so, a number of Metro buses have adopted the attractive red UTAS logo and they drive all the way up to the entrance of the Stanley Burbury. This happened around the time I stopped using buses and started driving a car. Cheers guys. In contrast, Ithaca College has a fairly unique night-time transportation unit: Da Funk bus. It may have a cover charge of US$3, but this is one hell of a bus trip. A mini-van, which cruises around the Ithaca campus from about 8pm until 2am, the bus includes a dancing pole, disco lights and non-stop Akon beats. Throw in bus driver ‘DaQuon’, who constantly shouts, and there’s no point in going out on the town when you can cruise in Da Funk bus.

Jocks and Freshman The footballers at Ithaca are big units with names like Cody, Conner and Chad. They eat massive plates of food and resist breathing between spoonfuls of meatloaf and turkey.






YEO YEE WEI Architecture


FIONA PERRY Furniture 46

Design. End Notes.







Shows and stuff.

While road trips are always fun, you only have to travel a few blocks from the centre of Hobart to experience the Soundscape Festival next year. Christiane King, looks ahead to Hobart’s latest and greatest festival. While road Summer music trips festivals. are always fun, you only have to travel a few blocks from the centre of Hobart Symbolic to experience of the the freedom Soundscape we were Festival deprived next of year. for those long, enduring Christiane King, looks semesters, ahead these to Hobart’s music events latest crop greatest and up nationwide festival. to embrace our deep craving for liberty, energy and playful beats. Australian music festivals are Summer music abundant festivals. over the summer months, with a plethora of mouth-watering line-ups to tempt our Symbolic of souls the freedom and deplorable we are deprived bankofbalances. for those long, But now wesemesters, enduring need notthese venture music north events tocrop fuelup our nationwide festival to embrace our deep craving for liberty, energy and playful hunger. beats. Australian music festivals are abundant over the On 9 January thirdofannual Soundscape summer months, 2010, with athe plethora mouth-watering lineMusic Festival place at Hobart’s Domain ups to tempt our will soulstake and deplorable bank balances. But Regatta Grounds. now we need not venture north to fuel our festival hunger.

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to ignite the Hobart Regatta grounds with an even bigger, more explosive 2010 Soundscape show in will January feature 2010. a stellar line-up of

highly anticipated local, national and international acts, united2010 Soundscape for this will vibrant feature aand stellar contemporary line-up of highly oneday music local, anticipated festival. national and international acts, united for

The finely crafted electro brilliance of Empire of the Sun will adorn the stage, in one of their first ever live performances.

By Christiane King

Triple J Hottest 100 regulars and Aussie masters of quirky pop/rock melodies, The Grates, will also bring The finely their crafted infectious, electro brilliance dynamicofenergy Empire of tothe theSun stage will in 2010. adorn the stage, in one of their first ever live performances.

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numbers back for their impassioned Tasmanian Also, the wildly contemporary Grafton Primary will bring fan-base.

their 80s-inspired, thickly synthesised numbers back for And impassioned their there are many Tasmanian more fan-base. exciting acts yet to be


And there are many more exciting acts yet to be announced.

The Soundscape Festival plants a tree for every festival The Soundscape ticket sold, Festival bringing plants athem tree for closer everytofestival their goal of ticket sold, becoming bringing them a carbon-neutral closer to their goal event. of becoming They area also proud supporters carbon-neutral event. Theyof arethe alsoSave proudthe supporters Tasmanian of the Devilthe Save Appeal. Tasmanian Devil Appeal. For details For details and and the the latest latest updates updates on onthe theSoundscape Soundscape Festival 2010 Festival 2010 visit: visit:

this vibrant and contemporary one-day music festival.


Alcohol is a drug too! THINK BEFORE YOU DRINK To find out more call the DEN Information & Referral Service

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oo t g u r d a s i l o Alcoh Original concept by Tasmanian student Lucy Wilkins

Next issue coming in 2010...

Togatus Issue #4 2009  

The final Tog for 2009. See you next year!