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From The Editor “…the greatest glory of living lies not in never falling but in rising every time you fall” Nelson Mandela Resilience is like an elastic band – no matter how hard you pull, stretch, twist and tighten, it’s going to bounce back to its original shape. It might be easy to give up, fall behind and never try again. But if you want to achieve your aspirations, whatever they may be, you just have to keep going. In this edition of Universal, we discover the diverse ways in which we can overcome the adversity we face as teenagers and young adults. Through fictional narratives about second chances, reflections on public speaking, personal confidence and body image and using pictures to tell a thousand words, breaking out of your comfort zone becomes just a little easier when we know someone else has also experienced this frenzy of emotion.

Alayna Hansen




Interested in joining the team? Or looking to submit some work? Please contact Paul on P: 1300 369 436 E:

While we can see this impact within ourselves, looking to role models in society, such as women in parliament, participating in a culturally-focused camp and sharing stories about encountering prejudice at school help to extend our focus beyond ourselves to wider society, and in turn ignite that internal spark of courage to start again. We can only be stronger and more determined to succeed next time round.

Read previous editions: Available for your reading pleasure at any time! Send Paul an e-mail for more info WIN! Tell us what you think! Tell us what you think about Universal! The first 10 people will win a Village Cinemas voucher! Read this edition, and then go to and give us your feedback! The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, values and official position of the City of Kingston or any of its officials, representatives or employees

Cover Design by Angharad Neal-Williams Kingston Youth Services and the Universal team acknowledge the support of the Victorian Government




Mariah Lantouris The Importance of Self-Belief

Jack Crowe My Gnurad Gundidj Experience

Jessica Pang Photography Design Joh D’Costa


Jayden O’Halloran Being A Part Of The Fuse Productions Crew Design Sammar Bassal


Maggie Zhou Austr-alien Design Maggie Zhou

Maggie Zhou Mind & Body

Design Mariah Lantouris

Design Sammar Bassal




Zheirraly Bondad Resilience Design Sammar Bassal


Radhika-Ayla Hansen Let Love Grow Design Maggie Zhou


Fiona Sanderson It’s A Grey Area Design Fiona Sanderson


Kea Tokley-Higgs Prickly Situation Design Kea Tokley-Higgs

Illustration Angharad Neal-Williams


Gemma Arnold Second Chance Design Sammar Bassal


Alayna Hansen W Is For Woman

Design Fiona Sanderson


Mariah Lantouris Body Image Design Mariah Lantouris


Jack Crowe Kaleidoscope

Design Mariah Lantouris


Emma Nahal Writer’s Pick Playlist Design Sammar Bassal


Minh Tri Tran Resilient

Design Sammar Bassal


Zheirraly Bondad Apple Tree Design Sammar Bassal

My Gnurad Gundidj Experiencev Jack Crowe Before we go any further, I just want to inform you that this program was the highlight of my life (and I have hugged a koala before); it was quite the unforgettable experience. I remember expecting to be a student in Term Two at my school, focusing on everything around me as I currently was, but everything changed in that one year level assembly. The teachers informed us of a ten week leadership school, based on a campus in Mortlake, meaning that I would be away from my family, friends and community for quite a long time. At this school they would teach you various skills through a series of different activities. As well as classes on decision making and self-awareness (as opposed to the usual Maths or English), they would ask us to demonstrate what we’d learnt in outdoor activities like raft building, or on overnight hikes, which we would run without much assistance from the teachers. My first thought was “Wow! That would be so much fun, but can I really leave everything at home behind for a term?” I have always been one of those quiet students who sit in the back corner of the classroom, and I thought it would be great to go as I would learn some socialisation and communication skills which would enable me to overcome my withdrawn nature. I slept on the idea, and the next day I found myself on the list of potential attendees. After some endless paperwork and thorough preparation, I was in. I couldn’t believe the opportunity I was just presented with. Stepping out of the car on the first day was gut-wrenching. There were three other students from my school with me, with an additional forty-one students from other schools across the state. Some from the city, and some from the country. I consider myself a ‘suburban kid’, but the ‘country kids’ there referred to us as ‘city folk’. At this point, I wanted to drive all the way back home, but it was as if my lips were sewn together. I knew deep down that this program would certainly be beneficial to me, and I knew that the other


students were feeling exactly the same way. We were all on the same boat, and for the next ten weeks, we were to ride it together. My highest hope was that we would show acceptance towards one another and that no one judged anyone else on their personality, for I wanted to remove the strain of hiding behind a fake personality for ten weeks. I guess in society we define each other based on stereotypes, and although I have seen this play out at school, I was to learn at Gnurad Gundidj that there was no such thing as being defined by others. Not until the end of my experience did I view a video of our first day there. It was GoPro footage in the dining hall, where we all first met, and you could clearly observe that everyone was remaining close in their school groups. I laughed at this when seeing it, for at the end, it was a completely different story. Seeing my parents go almost triggered the return of my childhood tantrums as I didn’t want them to leave because it signified my separation from them for five whole weeks. Once they left, my school group was playing basketball and although I am no LeBron James, I joined in, for I knew it would be a good social opportunity once others came along. When playing, I was definitely one of the worst players on the court, but no one cared; I appreciated that. Everyone simply wanted to have fun and meet new people, rather than win the game. In our dormitories, we were paired with someone of the same gender. They were also someone who would most likely be from a different area. For example, because I live near the city, I was placed with someone from the country. The first night we had an awkward, small-talk chat to get to know each other, but as the term went on, we spent time each night talking about everything we could think of for quite some time. We became good mates. My goal for the first week was to throw myself in the deep end, and one morning, I couldn’t believe where I had found myself. I excluded myself from hanging around my school group, and went to play

table tennis with some students from Yarrum and Westernport. That was how I made my first friends, and we are great friends today. Our classes began on the second day, and by then I had already learnt about a quarter of the names of the other students. There were up to twelve students in each class. Each class was made up of your school group, as well as one or two other schools, which was another good opportunity to meet other people and build relationships, as the class was also our ‘team’ for the entirety of our time at Mortlake. It was a little awkward at first, but by the end of the class we were talking to each other and laughing together. So far so good. I had nothing to worry about! One of our first excursions was in the second week; bridge building. This was one of the first times we really had to show our leadership skills and communicate with one another to successfully cross from one side of a creek to the other. The challenge was fun all the way through, except at times our communication lacked, as did our inclusion. This was okay though, for it meant we could develop clear and tangible goals to accomplish throughout the term. Halfway through the term, we reflected on them and made new ones, based on our growth. By the end of the term during our raft building assessment, we made it to the other side of the creek and back, also swimming around the creek for fun afterwards on our raft. There were definitely some major improvements! Part of being there was creating our CLP; Community Learning Project. What it was, was a project that we could implement when we returned home that the entire community could benefit from. To be honest, it took us a long time to establish our CLP, but in the end, we had a solid idea that we were all passionate about, which we have already begun working on. The most challenging part of our CLP was presentation day, in which we were speaking to around seventy guests, all from different schools! However, we learnt many skills from our classes at

Gnurad Gundidj in order to captivate an audience. One of my personal favourites was using playing Family Feud as an engagement technique. Overall we used as many techniques as we could in the timeframe available. Let’s just say that our engagement strategy centred around the whole audience getting up for a dance…they enjoyed it alright! What was so great about this day was getting to see the other CLPs; some used an emotional appeal in theirs, others used humour to engage with the audience. Throughout the term, we participated in many fun events, such as our bush night dance, the countless memes we created and the stunning formal night put together by one of our committees. From this opportunity, I grew from one of the shy, back-ofthe-class students, to a confident, out-going leader. The main thing I took from the school was that being a leader isn’t necessarily about leading a whole group of people, but about lifting people up to dothe same and take initiative. Something that I will continue to do back home is blogging, as while we were there we had to maintain a daily blog, which I enjoyed and want to continue doing. I won’t ever forget the amazing experiences I had and the people I met during my journey through Gnurad Gundidj. I wish I could be there again, but I know that with all the organisational skills we gained, we are sure to have many more reunions. If you would like to view my blog that I made during my adventure, you’ll find the link below. It can tell you a lot more about what we did.



The Importance of Self-Belief Confidence and self-belief are the keys for staying resilient in difficult situations. When times get tough, remember that you are a strong and important person who can take on the world. Use some positive self-talk and surround youself with supportive people to stay feeling confident. Above all remember what Winnie the Pooh says: “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think!� This photography piece expresses the way a young person can surround themselves in an environment that they love and the positive influence this has on their emotions and sense of self.


MIND & BODY Illustration: Angharad Neal-Williams Words: Maggie Zhou

Hey You! Yes, YOU! Glance down at the blobs and bones you call your body. This is an ode to you and the fantastic human being you are. Quit blushing and read on to learn some self-lurvin’ tips and tricks.

1. Man in the mirror Take a leaf out of MJ’s book and take a look at that dazzling specimen staring back at you in the mirror. Everyone needs a little confidence boost now and then, a little compliment to pick them up. That’s where you come in. Appreciate your wonky nose, your splattered freckles, your new haircut. It’s like practising pick-up lines but on yourself… which is another bonus because you don’t actually have to talk to other people. Boo-yah. Repeat these mantras over and over again; perhaps one day you’ll believe them. 2. Wanna hang? Self-love is so not limited to your own little self. Our friends and family are some very important human beings in our lives so make the most outta them! Spend some quality time together chatting, eating and laughing. They’ll be there as a shoulder to cry on, as eyes looking out for you or as just another goofy smile to share a joke with. 3. I’ve had a very long day Channel your inner Chandler Bing and draw yourself a very hot, very bubbly bath. Get yourself a very Instagrammable Lush bath bomb and light an excessive number of candles. I’ve found that locking yourself in a bathroom and submerging your body in a tub of liquid is a sure-fire way of unwinding after a tiring day. If you feel good on the outside, you’ll hopefully feel good on the inside too. 4. It’s a date Maybe it’s because no one else will date me but I have recently concluded that the dates I go on by myself are where it’s at. Put on a cute as heck outfit, stroll down to your local bookshop or café and spend the afternoon with yourself. Whether through meditating, reading a book or listening to music, it’s important to take a break in our ever so busy lives. You also don’t have to deal with awkward small talk or the constant worry of wondering whether or not you need a mint. PSA: You probably do. 5. Boogie boogie boogie Okay, I’m not talking about the self-conscious bopping you do at parties you accidentally arrive early to, or the gawky moves you pull trying to impress a prospective love interest. I’m talking about the wild, carefree, potentially- hazardous-to-

those-around-you dancing that rivals that of those inflatable air dancers at car dealerships. Get those arms in the air! Shake them like you just don’t care! Crank up the volume of some daggy disco hits or 2000 throwbacks. Without wanting to sound like an inspirational wall poster (probably accompanied by an over-saturated sunset photo), dance like no one is watching. 6. Best dressed I’m a firm believer that clothes have magical properties and have the power to change how you feel. So dress to impress yourself, whatever form that may take. Black skinny jeans and a leather jacket? A floaty, floral dress? Your three day old pyjamas that could do with a wash? Nothing but your best knickers? Go on, dress up (or dress down). Feel good in your rockin’ bod. 7. Tr(eat) yourself Fruits and vegetables are our friends, I repeat, fruits and vegetables are our friends. It may take some shaking to rid yourself of some traumatising memories of being force-fed your greens, but whoever was on the other side of the spoon had the right frame of mind. These nutritious and (albeit skeptically) delicious foods have magical properties of giving you energy and keeping you healthy. But hey, a cheeky chocolate mud cake wouldn’t hurt either. 8. Spread the love One of the best ways to feel good about yourself is, strangely enough, making others feel good about themselves. There’s almost nothing better than that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you light up another person’s day. A simple but genuine remark is all it takes. Buy someone flowers, compliment their cooking, notice their cool socks, celebrate their infectious laughter, show approval for their new glasses, and appreciate their ability to put up with you. (That last one deserves a medal!) 9. You’re doing alright At the end of the day, it’s good to just take a deep breath and kick up your feet. Take a look around you at the wacky and eclectic memorabilia you have to commemorate your presence here on this earth. You’re something special. You’re alive. Isn’t that enough sometimes? And you might just be doing alright.


Hey guys! My name is

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Resilience Zheirraly Bondad

When you find you cannot walk Just spread your wings and fly. For if you cannot find the path Then you’re meant to reach the sky. If on the way, you’ve lost your voice Your dreams shall sing aloud. For if you cannot hear your words Your heart will lead the crowd. Once your world comes crashing down Find your way back out. For if you cannot find your flame The blame is on your doubt. Were you to find your self is lost Never fear the dark. For if the presence of darkness fades You’ll never find the light. Whenever the mountain blocks your path Just push with all your might. For if you find your inner strength You can move the Earth in thrice. In case you find the world’s afar Turn yourself around. For if you sight your leading cheer Their words take all the sound. And if you have a disheartened soul Fill your spirit with content. For if you lose your confidence Mark my words my friend. You can’t because you won’t


Second Chance Gemma Arnold The day I learnt to walk was the day my life changed forever. Before then, the world was warm and golden, full of kisses, laughter and snuggling with people that smelt like bread and pasta. But once I took my first wobbly step, the world transformed before my eyes. Warmth was replaced with cold concrete, and love was hard to come by. Feet shuffled past my new home and at first I was hopeful. But as time went on, I learnt to distrust the hands that reached out to me, no matter how gentle. The ice-cold concrete burns the pads of my feet as I shuffle across my prison and come to sit in the musty light spilling in from high above. Feeble yellow warmth settles on my coat, stopping just short of heating my chilled blood. Fear permeates my cramped cell; the raucous whimpering of hundreds of unknown animals rides on the draughts of air carrying the damp stench of winter. Cracking, whipping, piercing – he slashes shreds off me. Despite the haunting howls of hundreds of other lost creatures, I am embedded in a silence so absolute that it is broken only by my own ragged breath. My body lies limp and broken. Above the scene, my soul hovers, watching as the hulking grey figure thunders and strikes at the last tendrils connecting me to my frail body. Merciful darkness wraps its claws around me, saving me. *** Cracking, whipping, piercing – the sound reverberates the length of the damp concrete prison. The slap of my sneakers on the cold cement renders the whimpering echoes of the animals silent; they shrink in the shadows, flattening themselves against the walls in a desperate attempt at invisibility. Defecation and decay waft noxiously from every cell as I move past. As I come to a standstill I see it: the whip stings the air, shining in the weak light that illuminates the hulking shoulders of a man whose face is cast in shadow. Momentarily he pauses;


lifting his head, his eyes meet mine. His face, chiselled by the devil himself, doesn’t twitch as he sets the whip down next to the bloodied animal. “He bit me,” He says, by way of excuse. *** The pathetic bloody scum lies broken on the floor, so weak he can no longer whimper, let alone bite. Satisfied, I pause, and out of the corner of my eye I notice the newest volunteer, eyes white and wide, peering through the cell mesh. “He bit me,” I explain. Nodding silently, she moves on. *** Away from the bloody pup I collapse against a cold wall and inhale the stench of faeces. I pull out my phone. “RSPCA, how can I help you?” *** I wake back in the time before I could walk, safe in that golden warmth. An unfamiliar voice is serenading, and stroking my coat. I stretch, and wincing, I am returned all at once to my concrete cell, the last thing I remember. Through cracked and bleeding lips I snarl. *** The pup, terrified with bloodshot eyes, stiffens as he stretches. Snarling, he lunges at my hands, desperate to protect himself. I can see his mind drowning in the fear and pain he has learned as routine. Placidly, I stroke his soft golden fur until he stills in exhaustion. He closes his eyes and I smile. *** Horse manure saturates the thick summer air as my breath sways the freshly mown blades of grass. Lying on my soft belly, my coat gleaming in the sunlight, I patiently wait for her. Sometimes, in the winter months, the icy sting of my concrete prison lingers in the pads of my feet, and my dreams are often haunted by that grey devil man. But he is gone. She is here. I know that I am safe.

Emma Nahal

Writer’s Pick Playlist SANCTUARY Paradise Fears Cause everyone is welcome on this stage that we call life

LITTLE GAME Benny Gender roles impose control and deceive progressive times

CLOSER TO THE EDGE Thirty Seconds To Mars I will live my life

CONQUEROR Aurora Open ears, their eyes are open

NEW AMERICANA Halsey Self-made success now she rose with Rockafellas

SCARS TO YOUR BEAUTIFUL Alessia Cara You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are

HEAVEN Troye Sivan Trying to embrace the picture I paint And colour me free

TRY Pink You gotta get up and try, and try, and try

GIRLS LIKE GIRLS Hayley Kiyoko Tell the neighbours I’m not sorry If I’m breaking walls down

MINORITY Green Day I want to be the minority I don’t need your authority

Images Sourced from: com/static/51f69bf9e4b049481dbccd47/t/5641be63e4b066037c9d2877/1447149181100/http:// 656033_n-e1435691372281.jpg default/files/styles/music_artwork_page/public/artworks/music/145271483159671.png?itok=FggBZ5sa Halsey_-_New_Americana_%28Single_Cover%29.jpg


Being A Part Of The Fuse Productions Crew Jayden O’Halloran

The Fuse Productions crew is a group of eleven young people who meet at Kingston Youth Services every Thursday afternoon. The ages of group members vary from high school students to those working or pursuing higher education. As a part of this committee, we organise drug, alcohol and smoke free events for fellow young people in the City of Kingston. The one common bond that the whole crew have is a love of music of all genres, from country to pop punk to musical theatre. I joined the Fuse Productions crew in April 2016 as the content creator for our social media pages. That remains my major role, which I continued for Battle of the Sounds last year. I never considered hosting Battle of the Sounds until one of my peers mentioned it. It seemed logical enough; in the past however, the committee had always hired someone external to host the event. The Youth Workers agreed with this idea and I put my hand up to host, along with the member that lodged the question in the first place. Although it was unknown to most of the committee at the time, I am on the autism spectrum. You’d think I would be the last person to volunteer to take up such a frontline role. But I have a strong public speaking background, having taken part in interschool


debating, gaining excellent results in public speaking assignments and more recently hosting shows on community radio. And I’m surprisingly very comfortable on stage speaking to a large crowd, considering that many people, autistic or not, absolutely dread it. So I did take up the co-hosting role two years ago and it just felt right from the start. An external host wasn’t even considered last year when in June, I put up my hand to host again. Originally, I was supposed to be a co-host this time with a Youth Worker, but the Youth Worker emphatically declared on the eve of the event that “If you want to do it (the hosting role) on your own, I’m more than happy for you to do it. You were amazing last time.” I gasped when I saw the message. I didn’t think that was an option and I was hesitant to bring it up with anyone else. But I was more than happy to do it. I knew I could do it and I wanted to do it after reading the message. I couldn’t write “I’ll do it solo” quickly enough! By the time I got to the venue, Allan McLean Hall, at 3pm on Friday I was understandably nervous; at the same time I was very excited. I knew it was going to be an incredible night. But I still felt some trepidation and was worried that I would freeze and forget

my lines despite having written, read and re-read these notes many times beforehand. An enthusiastic and passionate audience of mainly young people were escaping a harsh Melbourne winter night to see six acts compete for many prizes, along with former winner Alzzy and Melbourne multiinstrumentalist Rueben Stone performing as our opening and headline acts respectively. I was stoked to see two friends of mine whom I had invited in attendance. I was initially touch and go about inviting them because even though they are my friends, they use wheelchairs to get around and I was unsure if the venue was fully accessible (which it was). But by the time 6:30pm rolled around, all the nerves had dissipated and excitement was at fever pitch. I walked up to the stage and asked the crowd “Are you ready?!” only to receive a faint response. I followed up with “I can’t hear you! I said are you ready?!” which was met with a roar. The night ran perfectly. All the months of preparation had well and truly paid off. Even though I stumbled over my lines a few times, it was barely noticeable. When it came to the business end of the night, I was about to announce the winner when I realised I forgot to give one of the prizes (a microphone) to the runner up. The wheels could have fallen off

right there and then as the audience laughed when I noticed that I forgot. But I saw the funny side of that as well and announced the winner a few seconds afterwards. I was pleased to see most competing acts out on the floor supporting the other acts as they performed. It may have been a competition, but there was no bad blood between the acts and no one was complaining about the result. They were pleased with the experience. I was running on adrenaline during the short bump out, and I was walking on air. I couldn’t believe I had hosted on my own and how well I did at short notice. Everything ran like clockwork but we are always looking to improve in all aspects of our events. I knew after the event that we had the ability and camaraderie within the crew to begin thinking about hosting the regional final next year. And who would have thought that I would host with such confidence. It remains the most challenging and favourite event I have done so far in the committee and we have set the bar high for next year.

Images Sourced From:




W Is For Woman

Alayna Hansen

Female Labor parliamentarians are early to rise

Few women can say that the founding members of their organisation once dressed in leather and performed a passionate rendition of Joan Jett’s anthem I Love Rock’n’Roll for a rowdy audience and were the first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard and first female Victorian Premier Joan Kirner AC. But the members of Emily’s List Australia (ELA) are certainly not afraid to show their wild side when it comes to celebrating the representation of progressive, resilient women in Labor parliament.

While its American counterpart campaigned for pro-choice democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, the history of Emily’s List in Australia has spanned a decade of successful, intuitive and determined leaders from former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, to Northern Territory’s first female Chief Minister Clare Martin and Tasmania’s first female Premier Lara Giddings; creating a thriving financial and political support network for the women of today. 17

National Coordinator Lisa Carey highlights the challenges and successes of ELA from their early beginnings.

Ms Carey reminisces magnanimous influence presence.

about the of Kirner’s

The wonderful thing about Emily’s List is that we are a network of sisters. We are a great sisterhood, and supported each other through a long period of mourning after Joan’s passing. There’s a portrait that was done of Joan called ‘Still Opening Doors’ by Dawn Stubbs and it was an entry for the Archibald Prize. The title really demonstrates what she did for women, she opened doors, mentored, and took care of us. It gave us strength, and empowered us to achieve this change we called ‘Joan’s Law’. We want 50% of women in the ALP, we’re always about equality, and we’re hoping that will encourage women to put their hand up.

One particular challenge we faced was that affirmative action had come into being in the federal ALP in 1994, and we needed 35% of winnable seats to be held by female candidates. But the numbers were low and continued to decrease even with this in place. So in Emily’s List, women such as Joan and Leonie Morgan decided to start up an organisation in order to really fight for more women into our parliament. In 2008, Victorian Emily’s List parliamentarians brought in the Abortion Law Reform Act, and we promoted safe access zones for abortion clinics, where protesters can’t be any less than 150 metres away from the entrance. We basically said “Come and protest us at parliament house, but don’t protest against women accessing legal health services”. It’s a basic health right, like getting your broken leg fixed.”

Though the former Victorian Premier passed away almost three years ago, her legacy continues with Gender Gap Research, Named after the convention for political an initiative that could help in achieving fundraising, Early Money Is Like Yeast gender parity before the UN’s estimated 117 (in that it makes the dough rise), the years. campaign began in the early 1990s when it became apparent that the structure of the Australian Labor Party was insufficient to accommodate the participation and career improvements of female members. In a time that was rife with sexual discrimination and marginalisation, statistics from the Australian Parliamentary Library reported only 14% of women totalling up the national legislature. It would take another four years from 1992 to garner state and national support; fuelled by the pragmatism of women’s campaigner Leonie Morgan and politicians Candy Broad, Kay Setches and Joan Kirner. 18

The Gender Gap Research is policy research, and we specifically look at women in marginalised seats like Dunkley, Lindsey, Chisholm and Macquarie. We look at the differences in what the general population are talking about in polling, and discuss with 10 other women in this marginalised area what issues affect them like equal pay, entrepreneur opportunities, better resources and reproductive rights...we arm our candidates with as much knowledge to put that point of difference in an election.

ACU student and ELA volunteer Lilly Shadrach explains why she believes the term ‘feminism’ is often scorned even today. “I think there’s just different ideas of feminism, it’s not quite universal in what is right for women. A lot of criticism comes from the label or when they go overboard with radicalism.” Upholding the principles of equity, equal pay, diversity, reproductive rights and supportive child care, Emily’s List has endorsed more than 420 women since its first candidates in 1997-1998, with over 210 women elected to Labor parliament.

Carrum MP and Emily’s List member Sonya Kilkenny recalls the women who have inspired her.

My mother has been very influential. And, of course, Joan Kirner. But there are so many women I come across who inspire me on a weekly basis. These are women who are survivors of family violence – who manage to escape it with their children and try to rebuild their lives. These are women who carve out careers in male-dominated industries, despite the prejudice and discrimination. And these are women who speak their mind and continually question the current patriarchal system.

The message continued to spread like wildfire throughout Australia: “When women support women, women win!” Garnering support from notable politicians Professor Carmen Lawrence and Julia Gillard, Emily’s List wasn’t satisfied with the cultural stagnation that marginalised women in the workplace. The ALP still managed and distributed funds, but it Since celebrating their 18 year anniversary would take “a hell of an effort” to enact in 2014, Emily’s List has continued to set an change, as remarked by Kirner in 2008. example for women in all walks of life under purple banners of progression. The future, As ELA gained popularity across the though uncertain, will still burn bright for states, so too did the number of feminists Joan’s champions of change. supporting and leading the cause. Photographs captured by the writer Quotes obtained from interviews conducted by writer


It doesn’t matter if your day is good or bad. Be glad to draw everyday. —Minh Tri Tran 21

Austr-alien Maybe it’s not as easy as A - B - C Words: Maggie Zhou

Ever since I was young, I knew I was different. I didn’t understand why; I was born in Australia and I was raised in Australia, just like everybody else. Except, I wasn’t like everybody else. When I was in primary school, I was teased for my ‘ching-chong-China’ eyes. Kids would yell, “Wake up, Jeff!” at me as a joke because my eyes were thinner than theirs. There was a rhyming chant, and at the line ‘ching-chong-ching’ everyone would point at me. They would tease me about eating chicken feet and dogs, because that was what they heard on TV. When they imitated ‘my kind of people,’ they would pull at the corners of their eyes reducing them to slits whilst putting on a Chinese accent of broken, nonsensical English. Though these moments were light-hearted, I couldn’t help but notice the very uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was the token Chinese kid - what you’d call an ‘ABC,’ an Australian-Born Chinese. I was different. Growing up, we all crave the sense of belonging. Maneuvering the teenage years is hard enough with its abundance of awkward interactions, pimply challenges and cringe-worthy moments. As an ‘ABC’ there is an ongoing battle between two cultures fighting for acceptance. When you are immersed in Australian culture, surrounded by fair-haired and tanned kids who seemingly have it all, it’s hard not to want to fit in with their seemingly perfect lifestyle. In order to do so, we make subtle changes to our behaviour. We emphasise our Aussie accents, we speak in slang, and we try harder to be quintessentially ‘Australian.’ Gradually, I swapped my carefully prepared rice lunches for the school canteen’s generic white bread and Vegemite sandwiches (no crust of course). We figure out early on that it’s easier to fit in if you pretend that you’re someone you’re not. Yet in doing so, we disguise a part of ourselves and are ultimately not being true to who we really are. Let’s just take a moment for every time we have been patronisingly asked, “Where are you from?” When we warily answer that in fact, we were born here in Australia, the inquisitor won’t take that as an acceptable answer. They persistently press on; “But where are you from?” We routinely explain that *sigh* our parents were born in China. This triggers a triumphant smug look coupled with an ardent “I knew it!” because they knew we couldn’t be Australian. We are Asian. The stereotype that in order to be a true blue Aussie, one must be white, is a damaging and incorrect assumption which creates inner identity conflict.


Whilst at school, and in public, we put on a facade of being a ‘regular’ Aussie. At home we are, yet again, confronted with another culture entirely. For many Chinese children, our parents impose many regulations in order to shape us into a more ‘perfect’ ideal. Many of us are forced into attending Chinese school, extra tuition classes, applying for scholarships, taking piano or violin lessons and cajoled into highly-respectable careers such as medicine or law. In comparison, our white friends fill up their weekends with netball and footy games, sleepovers and parties; an apparently never ending freedom. The division between lifestyles makes us crave what’s on the other side. We start to question who we are and what we want. Can we be Australian if we are Chinese as well? We inevitably fall into a state of denial about our Chinese background. “Our parents’ history and culture don’t affect us,” or so we tell ourselves. “We were born and raised in Australia; our Chinese heritage has no relevance in our lives,” we endlessly repeat. “To be a true Australian, we can’t be Chinese,” is our truth. Anxieties swarm our minds and eventually we begin to hate a part of ourselves, a part of our identity we cannot change, a part of ourselves that makes us, us. This internalised racism we develop hits us from both sides - we don’t want to be Chinese but we never really feel Australian.

At the end of the day, there is no cookie-cutter template for the ideal Australian

In life we are hit with curveballs and we are faced with obstacles which challenge us but inevitably help us to grow. Though we may not always see it, being an ‘ABC’ gives us opportunities to explore multiple cultures and to learn more about ourselves and our ancestry. We are able to tap into the knowledge of both our Chinese and Australian sides as well as knowing what it’s like being caught between two cultures. At the end of the day, there is no cookie-cutter template for the ideal Australian. And even if there was, how many of us would actually fit into it? It only takes one look at all the people around us to realise that we are all different. We are all trying to belong. We are all trying to fit in. It’s all of our differences that make us unique, yet at the same time unite us as one. Being someone who was born in Australia with Chinese heritage shouldn’t make me feel as if I have to adopt a particular label or choose between the two cultures. I am an Asian-Australian, and for me, that hyphen is all important.


It’s A Grey Area

Fiona Sanderson Have you ever been looking for a job, and begrudgingly sat down to work on your resume when you think it fitting to include a list of your key strengths that will set you apart from other applicants? So you start thinking about typical adjectives that a teacher once told you to strive to be: organised, friendly, determined, resilient. The usual list. Let’s pause on resilient though, a word that you’ve written as absent-mindedly as the others, but think about it for a second. What does resilience even mean? What would you answer if the job interviewer said, “How have you been resilient in your life?” In many cases I’d imagine you’d be struggling to come up with something; a lot of us haven’t survived a life changing illness, nor have we overcome someone

trying to stop us from pursuing our dreams. So, do you actually have the grounds to put ‘resilient’ on your resume? A very black and white example of resilience is that I used to be terrible at public speaking. Back in Year 7, I mumbled for barely a minute about turtles choking on plastic bags and then hurried back to my seat still shaking and the following couple of years I barely looked up from my scripted cue cards. However by Year 10 I decided I was going to practise so that I wouldn’t be as worried, and although I could still feel my knees wobbling and close to buckling, I had improved. Now in a university course that forces me to present publicly every other week, the thought of speaking in front of a class of people

quite honestly doesn’t bother me anymore. The act of practicing by taking the criticism from teachers and using it to improve, demonstrates how I’ve been resilient. I’m quite lucky that I have such a stereotypical answer to give that job interviewer who’s so curious to know how I’ve bounced back in my life, but most people don’t have such obvious answers. Society doesn’t necessarily help, in the way that it’s become laughably common to hear the word resilient when someone overcomes great adversity in the media. For example in the TV show X Factor, before the contestant has started singing, you’ve heard their family and friends and even the judges call them that fateful buzzword for quitting their soul destroying 9-5 job

to pursue their dream of becoming a star. These ‘sob stories’ are a dime a dozen and you’ve probably seen so many that you can pick the swelling music that will go with the singer as they recount the day they quit their job and left to become the next Beyoncé. I’m not denying their resilience; those are just textbook examples. I’m merely here to point out that there’s more to resilience than what you stereotypically think of and that there’s a plethora of situations where you could’ve been resilient without realising. Just from looking at the X Factor example, it’s clear that the big, brave life changing decision or attitude change that you made has always been society’s view on resilience and if you haven’t overcome such overwhelming

adversity you’re a coward, or in the eyes of X Factor, uninteresting. But it’s simply not as black and white as that. To bring it back to simple definitions, dictionary. com states that resilience is the “ability to recover readily from adversity”, as you would’ve imagined. However, a secondary definition states that resilience is “the power to return to the original form after being compressed or stretched.” Now while I think that it’s more likely referring to a stress ball there than a person, it still makes a good point that being resilient is as simple as being flexible in any given situation. The very definition of resilience challenges the way society interprets and applies the concept.

Upon further reflection, I realise that I have been equally resilient in group situations, where I’ve offered to take on more work, or tried someone else’s idea that I’m skeptical of. It’s being just as resilient as the original definition, only a little more subtle. As there are a multitude of valid definitions and interpretations, the meaning of the word resilience becomes a messy grey area. So the next time you stutter over an interviewer asking for examples of when you have shown resilience, take solace in the fact that you could refer to anything from moving to a new city without knowing anyone or the language to being flexible in group work situations. 25

Body image: image; the way we personally see ourselves. Or is it the way others see us? Or was is it the it the way way thethe media has shaped societal values to make makeus usfeel feel the need to look a certain way in order to fit in culturally. culturally? Body image is something that we have all heard of, possibly spoken about in health class at school or even seen on TV news reports, but how many people actually consider it in everyday life? The fact is that every single day, day we we all wake up and do something to better our appearance, whether it’s putting on a face of makeup or simply combing through your our hair, hair, we all try at least a little to “look ‘look good”. good’. Personally I don’t see anything wrong with people putting in the extra effort into their looks. It can be a positive thing. It can make you feel happy about the features on yourself that you do like. However, I would say that it’s important to make sure that you’re doing these things for yourself. You know, making sure that you are adjusting your looks to suit your personal aesthetic, not to match all the instagram models, Kylie Jenner’s massive lips or any celebrities in magazines. Not only does this keep your personal style alive, but ensures a sense of diversity in the world and helps to eliminate the competitive nature of physical appearance that has been brought on by society. I chose to do a photography piece on this issue with a model who feels comfortable to celebrate her own aesthetic. She chose her own outfit and styled it based on her own thoughts and opinions on how she wants to look. insta:


Apple Tree Zheirraly Bondad One day, while skipping merrily across the fields, a little boy stumbled on the roots of a great big apple tree. With nothing to catch his fall, he fell on his knees while his arms shot to the ground to save his face colliding with the dirt. On the verge of tears, the boy looked up slowly, only to find a big red juicy apple hanging from the lowest branch of the tall tree. Instantly, his tears were gone and the stinging pain on his knees was forgotten. He stood up, filled with excitement, and jumped for the apple. But alas, he was too short. That didn’t deter him though, as he jumped and jumped and jumped for the apple but no matter how high he jumped, he could not reach the apple. Catching his breath, the little boy rested. He leaned sideways against the trunk of the tree and as he felt the rough surface of the bark beneath his hands, he was struck with an idea. And so with a new sense of determination, he started to climb the apple tree. Or rather, he tried. With both hands clutching the tree, he planted his foot on the base and pushed up, but the lowest branch


was too high to reach and his weight kept pulling him to the ground. Frustrated, the boy stared at the apple, willing it to drop into his hands but that did not work either. Next, he took off his right shoe and threw it as hard as he could at the apple but it neither reached it, nor the tree. Huffing, he then stood right below the stubborn apple, took off his other shoe, and threw it harder than he ever thought he could above him but the shoe refused to touch the apple, and landed on the little boy’s face instead. Clutching his nose, the boy looked around, seeking something- a stick perhaps- just anything long enough to reach the apple. He circled the roots of the tall tree and found one resting against the trunk on the other side, as if somebody had placed it there for the boy to find. Walking back to his spot under the apple, he pushed the stick above his head and attempted to reach the apple to knock it off the tree. But it was not like the piñata at his friend’s birthday party, where one touch was all it took to send it

toppling down with all the goodies spilling out on the ground. The apple refused to leave its tree. Defeated, the boy walked home. Moments later, the boy returned- tallerknowing that this time, he would be able to reach the stubborn apple. And he did. As soon as he was close enough, he reached out his arms and plucked the big red juicy apple from the tree and took a big crunchy bite from the delicious fruit. How did the little boy pluck the apple from the tree so easily, when only moments before, he had jumped, attempted to climb, tried to will, threw both his shoes, and used a long stick to try and reach the apple? Simple; he was able to do so because he was sitting on his father’s shoulders.

far from our reach. But that doesn’t mean we should just give up. Because sometimes, all we need to do is ask for help, for someone to give us a little boost to reach our goals. There are many things we can do on our own and lessons we can learn by ourselves but there are also things that we can’t do alone or learn by ourselves. Requiring help doesn’t give you less credit for the goal you reached. When the little boy first saw the apple, he could’ve easily gone home and asked his father to pick it for him but instead, he tried to do it on his own. And even with his father’s help, he gave it his all and stretched and picked the apple with his own two hands. And so we should always strive for our best, but if the obstacle is too big to overcome on our own, we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help to reach the goal we’ve been pursuing.

Sometimes in life, no matter how hard we try, there are some things that we can’t do alone. No matter how determined we are, no matter how much we persevere, our goal is still too


“Even in the most prickliest of situations, you always rise above it�

Universal Edition 33: Resilience  

Self belief. Mind and body care. Artwork. Bouncing back from adversity. Rising to the challenge. Resilience edition

Universal Edition 33: Resilience  

Self belief. Mind and body care. Artwork. Bouncing back from adversity. Rising to the challenge. Resilience edition