Lot's Wife - Edition 6, 2021

msalotswife

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Art by Mads

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Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Art by Owen Robinson

Contents.

Thank you to all

our contributers

this year!

Keep an eye on our social media for

updates about getting involved in

Lot’s Wife in 2022.

Sign up as an MSA Volunteer to

express your interest.

Visit lotswife.com.au/contributions

for more info!

Creative

Fiction

22 Crunch

30 The Pizza Shop

Poetry

5 Midnight Neem

8 This Too Will Close

14 Four Walls

16 Fingerprint Signatures

26 Truck

32 Take My Wings Back

38 From Sappho, with Longing

40 Terry Towels

44 closing the open

46 Mind Over Matter

52 Boy

56 A Fern’s Lullaby

Analysis

28 Picture Yourself in Their Shoes:

The Plight of Afghan Refugees

34 The Big Day

54 Why the Olympics Must

Discontinue

Campus

6 Please Take My Song Back

to Your Home

10 My Youth During the Pandemic

12 Studying Through Zoom

Culture

18 Seeing Myself Onscreen:

Shameless’ Portrayal of

Bipolar Disorder

42 We’re All Suckers for

Edward Cullen

48 Brain Sprain

50 The Great Reality TV Art Show

Lot’s Wife is the student magazine of the Monash Student Association (MSA). The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of the MSA, the

printers or the editors. All writing and artwork remains the property of the creators. This collection is © Lot’s Wife and Lot’s Wife reserves the right to

republish material in any format.

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Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s Wife.

Lot’s Wife acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land, the people of the Kulin Nations. We pay our

respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. Sovereignty has never been ceded.

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Midnight Neem

Words by Husna Siddiqi

Dear Readers,

We have finally come to our sixth and last edition for 2021. In this edition, we continue to showcase the

Monash University literary and artistic community while delving into crucial issues faced by students and

wider society. From essays about international students’ experiences overseas and in Australia, to pop culture

articles, poems and short stories, the Monash community has shown its diversity and creativity once again in

this issue.

At the beginning of 2021, we wrote hoping that we would not have to repeat the constant uncertainties and

lockdowns of 2020. Unfortunately, of course, this wasn’t to be. You only need to look at our editor’s notes for

each edition to see how quickly things can change, with each of them in some way plagued by quick changes

to the current COVID-19 landscape.

In particular, the last five months have been a roller coaster of COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria, with cases

escalating and our daily lives rapidly changing as a result. Our third edition was published only days prior to

the fourth lockdown, with distribution abruptly halted. Our fourth edition was drafted between two lockdowns,

with our editor’s note emphasising a return to on-campus activities. Yet, most of us have not returned to inperson

classes since Semester One and instead have retreated to the 2020 norm of Zoom calls, and we have

been unable to distribute physical copies of edition four.

While this sounds grim, we don’t want to be too pessimistic. Compared to other countries we have been quite

fortunate, with vaccine rates skyrocketing and a stable economy. Although cases in Victoria remain high,

things only seem to be improving and we can hopefully look forward to celebrating the end of the year with

friends and family.

We also need to remember all those suffering under more precarious and dangerous circumstances. Natural

disasters, political instability, and warfare continue to run rife throughout the world. Many have been brought

to poverty due to economic downturns. Political opponents in non-democratic countries face persecution for

refusing to remain silent. And more people have become victims of the climate crisis through wildfires, floods,

and more.

All this goes to say: we don’t know what 2022 will bring. We hope for equitable distribution of vaccines and

decisive action on climate change. We hope the next year will allow the kind of connection that’s been missing:

the return of international students shut out from Australia, on-campus classes, reuniting with friends and

relatives across state and international borders. We hope that those who have found greater accessibility in

the shift to online events are not left by the wayside.

And since this edition marks the end of our term as the Lot’s Wife editorial team, we hope that Lot’s Wife

continues to be a place where you, the students, can have a voice.

It’s been an honour and a privilege to be your editors this year, and we hope we’ve lived up to the responsibility.

We want to sincerely thank all our wonderful subeditors, writers and artists for your time and dedication over

2021. Although it’s been another strange year, you have all shown great dedication to Lot’s Wife – the magazine

truly wouldn’t be here without you. We cannot wait to see what you and the new editors do next year.

On a final note, remember to keep voicing your concerns. Don’t fear the power of putting pen to paper: of

writing, making art, and having your voice heard. Your words can make real change.

Co-Managing Editors

Thank you for your support and see you in 2022,

Ryan Attard, Dao Hu, Anvita Nair, Xenia Sanut, Olivia Shenken, Linda Chen, James Spencer, Kathy Lee, Anna Fazio

Content Editors

- The Lot’s Wife Team

EDITORIAL TEAM

Visual Editors

Marketing Editors

EMAIL WEBSITE INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK TWITTER LINKEDIN

msa-lotswife@monash.edu lotswife.com.au @lotswifemag @MSA.LotsWife @LotsWifeMag Lot’s Wife

Silver streams disperse across these skies

of nightfall. Milky rays drizzle

from darkness to this

garden,

where a tranquil silence caresses his

being. He walks, holding his hands

behind his back, accompanying

contemplation

with the gentle sway of

pendulous pines, planted deep within

his childhood. Leaves rustle with the

hums

of trailing hawa, sand on

cement painted with footsteps led by

the echoes of the reverberating

Adhaan.

The air is fresh with prayers.

Neem and roses and wide-open places.

He tends to the duty of heaving this black gate

shut.

And as the day ends,

he traces his footprints back home.

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Art by monotone ink


Please Take

My Song

Back to

Your Home

Words by Qian

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

In most circumstances, there were no words

between us. All we did was to sit there and

enjoy each other’s company, but this is far less

heartwarming than physical companionship.

Ageing is inevitable for everyone and so is death.

I was so at a loss on the night I heard that he had

passed away. I was sorrowful but I did not cry.

Since there was nothing I could change and no

regret I could compensate for, then what are my

tears for? I called my friend and this was what

she said to comfort me.

“I feel really sorry for you. My grandpa also

passed away when I was abroad. He loved me the

most. Leaving home is natural for international

students, right? You must have thought about this

before coming to Australia. It just happens.”

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

that we have to stay away for so long, but that

we never know when the situation is going to be

stable and when we’ll be able to get back home.

We have no alternative but to be patient and keep

waiting. Isolation has pushed us to make friends,

and the invaluable friendship during this rough

time has built the strongest bond among us.

We are like the seeds of a dandelion that are

blown to a new place, forming into clusters so

that everyone can still feel connected.

As international students, we are exposed to

a fascinating brand new world at the price of

leaving home. I write this story because it is what

many of us are experiencing, more or less. I also

want to encourage them to tell others what is

happening and whether they are coping well.

After all, telling is a method for healing.

Content warning: grief

I am a “rebellious” kid who enjoys creative

writing much more than studying. Growing up, a

student’s duty in the Eastern Asian context was to

study really hard and pursue the best academic

results, but I used to secretly write novels during

homework time.

My grandpa became the only elder family

member with whom I shared my secret with

because one day he walked into my bedroom and

caught me in the act. As a primary school kid, I

almost had a panic attack, in fear of him blaming

me for not studying, or laughing out loud at those

hilarious Pokemon stories in my notebook.

“Are you writing fiction stories?”

“Yep, Grandpa. But I didn’t waste much time on it,

I swear.”

“Why not?” He asked, with his eyes glittering.

“Keep on writing, no matter if they’re good or

bad, we don’t care. I encourage you to be a

creative writer!”

Art by monotone ink

Keep on writing. My grandfather said so

because he believed that I was the smartest girl

in the world and would one day create some

masterpieces. While objectively speaking, I am

not, the way he valued my talent has given me

the power to restart my creative writing as a

hobby. After I began my uni life in Australia, new

cultures and lifestyles have greatly shocked me

and reshaped my perspective on my outlook on

life. I felt the eagerness to create fiction stories

again. I published them on my personal blog this

time because I was taught not to be shy.

I was indeed very surprised when this blog

became popular. Some of my fans even wrote

long messages stating how touched they were,

which is the most rewarding experience I could

ever have as a writer.

She was right. Before leaving China, I spent

lots and lots of time with him because I knew

I would not be near my loved one for the last

moments of his life. Unfortunately, COVID has

made the situation even worse. However, finally,

my grandpa can come to my side without any

restriction. He will be looking at me. I lay in bed at

peace, believing that his spirit was accompanying

me.

The next morning, everything seemed normal

and I had my usual group meeting for one of my

student projects. Then my parents texted me,

asking if there was any wish I wanted to realise,

so I requested them to reserve his favorite hat for

me. At this moment, I suddenly burst into tears

because I remembered that my grandpa also

loved me the most during his life. I remember

the way he hugged me when I was a little kid,

his snores, and his smiles. I could never see him

anymore. Nor could I attend his funeral. I couldn’t

help it.

At that moment, I thought of recording my

feelings through words, as my grandfather

had encouraged me to. I have a strong and

determined feeling that this is how I should

remember him.

The pain and isolation of staying away from our

I would have shared these love letters to my

own family is something many students have

grandpa if only he wasn’t ageing. The barrier of

to tolerate, especially during the pandemic’s

communication can be overcome by technology

lockdowns. Post-lockdown, many international

for youngsters, but not for an old man. He knew

students like me chose to stay in Australia for the

little about smartphones or video calls and

sake of safety or because they have to continue

was unwilling to learn. He couldn’t really hear

their studies in person, not knowing when the

me unless I was shouting loudly at the speaker.

border will be open again. The sadness is not

6 7

In the end, I would like to share the lyrics of a

lovely Chinese nursery rhyme that I have a strong

resonance with. It is a song of hope for poor kids

that are struggling in hardships.

Please take my song back to your home

And bring your smile to the tone

Please take my song back to your home

And bring your smile to the tone

Tomorrow this song will be heard

In every corner of the world

In every corner of the world

Tomorrow this smile will be flowers

Blossoming in the springtime like laughter

Blossoming in the springtime like laughter

I interpret the lyrics like this: I am travelling away

and I can’t go home. I sing a song along the way,

hoping that my friends will enjoy it and sing on

the way. If they are touched, encouraged, and

keep passing on this song to others, one day the

song that carries my homesickness will return to

my hometown for me, with the sincere blessings

of everyone I came across in my journey.


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

This Too

Will Close

Words by Cabbage

Art by @0ojin_

A splinter from your front door

Lodged itself in my middle finger.

As I hacked it out with a pin,

I thought,

“This is the last time

Your home is with me.”

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Art by Monic


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

My Youth

During

the Pandemic

Words by Yu Zhang

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

I long for the real interpersonal communication, eye touch and

body language, which are irreplaceable by a small screen.

In the past year and a half, I hardly made any new friends, and

I seldom have any real social activities. For the social animals

that human beings are, it is really maddening.

One day, I opened YouTube to search for the graduation

ceremony video from Monash, and my eyes got moist when I

watched it. I still remember when I first entered Monash more

than two years ago, I went to the Robert Blackwood Hall

with my friend to watch the graduation ceremony for senior

students. With the magnificent sceptre and melodious organ,

every graduate could step onto the stage, be congratulated

by the Vice-Chancellor, accept the certification handed by the

Vice-Chancellor, and enjoy the cheers and applause from the

audience. Countless nights, sunrises and hardships were worth

it at that moment. How I yearn for my day!

Art by Ruby Comte

I cannot remember how many times I

dreamed of going back to school.

At the beginning of 2020, the COVID-19

outbreak erupted.

On 1 February 2020, Australia blocked the

border and restricted the entry of foreigners.

Up to now, the border blockade has not been

lifted.

At that time, the Australian media said that

the vaccine would not be available until April

2021, and this day has already passed.

Now online classes have lasted nearly

four semesters. And as an international

student, I stayed at home and took online

classes for a year and a half. In this year

and a half, I missed many opportunities,

such as studying on campus, meeting new

friends, participating in exchange programs,

communicating face to face with teachers,

internship opportunities, volunteering, and

seeing more of Melbourne’s scenery… These

missed opportunities have affected my future

to some extent and even my whole life. I know

that compared to losing my health, my loss is

insignificant, but when I think of what I could

have had, I feel very sad.

When I was a primary school student, my

classmates and I wrote a composition, “A Day

in 2020”. We assumed that in 2020 we could

learn knowledge without going to school.

Homework and lessons would be transmitted

through a high-tech screen. Children in front

of the screen would be excited about not

attending school. Now this scene has been

realised, but the people in front of the screen

are not so happy as in the composition, but

rather very upset and bored.

No more taking a seat in the Matheson

Library, no more club activities, no more

hanging out on campus, no more group

discussion face-to-face... The colourful school

life in the past has become a single colour.

The rift between these expectations and

real life feels like dust, which has made me

breathless for a long time.

This 10-square-metre bedroom has been

my “university” for four semesters. After

discussions with teachers and classmates,

everyone says “Have a good day” to each

other and presses the exit button on Zoom. All

the communication and laughter are cut off

at that moment, leaving only loneliness and

uneasiness in this room.

Now, my English level has regressed, my learning efficiency

has not been as good as I expected, my knowledge has begun

to decline, and my mood has started to be continuously

depressed. Sometimes, I feel depressed and frustrated just

because of some small unsolvable problems. As an upcoming

graduate, I feel unprecedented pressure and anxiety.

The global epidemic is unpredictable and the return-to-school

date is still far away. Facing a black swan incident and the

changeable wave of time, my best friend Shiyu mentioned,

“Thus, when Heaven is about to confer a great office on any

man, it first exercises his mind with suffering, and his sinews

and bones with toil (refers to Mencius, Mengzi Gaozi, Part II).

Think of it as spiritual practice. It seems that this is the only way

to console ourselves.”

Another day, I recalled my study and life in Melbourne with

Shiyu. We found a park on campus where few people came.

I remembered being in a hurry to catch morning classes. I

remembered the lights and sunsets in Melbourne. I remembered

the Winter Fest and the fireworks, recalled the language

bridging classes and the teachers and classmates in the

class, recalled reading a book she recommended to me,

recalled handwriting “Drinking Alone under the Moon”

(by Li Bai) under Melbourne’s moonlight, recalled the kind

neighbour who played the guitar on weekend afternoons...

Shiyu said that if she could go back to school, she

would make time to join the Kendo Club. I said

that I would go to the library to listen to the vinyl

records when I went back. Recalling all this is

like an impossible past, which is warm, full,

and full of hope.

I know this pandemic will end one day, but

my youth will never come back.

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Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Studying through

Zoom

Words by Wayne Foo

Australia’s closed borders have greatly affected its

international students, as many of us are unable to enter

Australia and study in person. I am one of them, and this is

my experience of studying online.

I want to start this story from my last semester of high

school, when COVID-19 just broke out.

Last Term of Year 13, February 2020

Content warning: isolation, brief discussion of suicide.

COVID-19 just broke out, meaning that our studies would

continue online. It was novel. We’d never done it before,

and we were just discovering the various aspects of it.

Although I could only connect with my friends online, our

years of camaraderie kept us tight: I could afford to barely

pay attention to my schedule as my friends would be

there on time to spam my socials telling me to go to class.

This period of “Zoom School” was fresh, untainted,

and modern. It wasn’t stressful either because we were

graduating and our final IB exams had just been cancelled

due to COVID-19. Furthermore, studying online was new

for teachers too, and the less tech-savvy ones had a hard

time making the switch, making it effortless for us to slack

off.

I didn’t mind studying online. Or at least, I didn’t think

enough about it to have garnered any negative feelings.

Mid-Year Entry into Monash University, Semester 2,

August 2020

I was accepted into university, but the closed borders

meant I had to start my journey online. As O-Week came

along, I was excited! It was university after all, and I

couldn’t wait to experience the “uni life”, despite having

to start the first bit online. After browsing through the

panoply of online O-Week activities, reading through

almost all the events, I signed up for as many as I could.

Fast forward to the Sunday before the first week of

school, and the excitement was replaced by anxiety and

insecurity. Things were getting real, like holographic

obstacles starting to solidify in Subway Surfers (an

endless runner mobile game), and I had to start paying

attention and manoeuvre around them so as to not trip

and fall. I wasn’t used to not knowing the people around

me, and I was never the most alert or socially aware out

of my group of friends. They tended to fill me in on the

obvious things I missed, and I laughed off the criticism

that came after, knowing I could ask them the next time

anyway. But this was different. I had to navigate the new

premises myself and trust my own judgement that I was

right with no second source of validation.

Was this the right class? Did I sign up for the right units? I

only had one way to find out.

And the obstacles started to appear bigger and faster.

Looking back, one of the most telling events of this time

was the mid-semester break as I cannot recall what

happened in those two weeks now. It was such a blurry

time as I plunged head-first into negligence, escaping

from facing this university life that was nothing like what

I wanted. I continued to plunge deeper and deeper until

I snapped back into reality the Sunday night before

schooling recommenced.

It was the twofold bombardment of disappointment and

the sheer amount of work from university that made it so

difficult; I felt that I was only getting the academic moiety

of university without the social, recreational aspects.

The crux of the so-called “uni life” I looked forward to

appeared so out of reach.

I pictured university to be joining societies, going on road

trips, midnight supper runs, trying out for sports teams

and hopefully getting selected… But here I sat with my

laptop, and that was it.

Second Semester, Semester 1, February 2021

I was still stranded overseas. Summer holiday was more

or less uneventful, as I was afraid to commit to anything

substantial as I was worried – or more accurately, hoped

– that Australia would open their borders so I could leave

this life behind. This life that’s stuck in between two stages,

belonging nowhere.

It was here I started feeling as if my emotions were

trapped in a cycle, like a Ferris wheel of some sort. There

were highs and lows, but it felt mechanical, in that I knew

the lows would inevitably come because that’s just how

my life was. No matter how much I cheered myself up to

persevere through this all, the recorded lectures, Zoom

tutorials, and online group assignments were obstacles

that kept appearing in front of me, and as they got faster

and faster, I’d eventually crash, sinking into desolation.

But after a short while I’d always restart and try to look on

the bright side, despite knowing I was most likely going to

end up crashing again. It was just how it inevitably was,

and I was doing my best.

These crashes could come out of nowhere. There were

days where I struggled to do anything because I was

reminded of what I was missing out on. These reminders

include: an Instagram post of a group of friends joking

around in a bar, the “varsity bars” playlist on Spotify that

I saved, and a plate of spaghetti.

However, this was some improvement from my first

semester where everything was just grey and bleak. I

found my productivity to have improved from my first

semester as I no longer spent too much time dwelling in

disappointment, but I think that was just a product of

time.

Mid-Semester Break of Third Semester, Semester 2,

September 2021 (Time of Writing)

I feel like I’ve grown numb to studying online. After all, this

is all I’ve known for almost a year and a half.

I’m doing much better now, but it’s a somewhat

inexplicable feeling; the best way I can put it is that I’ve

grown numb to the negative aspects – I have simply

gotten used to it. I’ve also made more efforts to engage

with my university online, and these efforts have been

extremely rewarding! I am now a committee member

of a student society, and I’ve made good friends along

the way. I no longer fear not knowing something as I

have people to ask when I need help. Because of these

changes, I have slowly regained the anticipation and

excitement of going to Melbourne to study, just like how I

was in my first O-Week more than a year ago.

Don’t get me wrong, it is still difficult to study online, and

the Ferris wheel that imprisons my emotions is still there.

There still are days where everything comes crashing

down as I succumb to the tough reality of studying online,

but these days have become much more infrequent.

The Ferris wheel now spins slower and more gracefully

around the top, poised and twinkling.

A Few Ending Words

Sorry to disappoint the readers that read this in hopes

of finding ways to effectively deal with the hardships of

studying online, as I’ve struggled to find the magical cure

as well. It was time, the universal panacea that washed

away the pain slowly for me. I’ve wondered whether

this was a healthy solution, but I have concluded that it

doesn’t matter because I am finally happier and able to

live my life with more positivity. To be fair, this is a very

personal issue, and we all have our own ways of dealing

with it. But I will encourage people that are struggling with

studying online to try your best to engage, just like how

you would do if you were physically at university. After all,

you’re not the only one missing out, and it’s nice to have

others that you can relate to.

On that note, personally, I’ve found it inconsiderate for

people to say “it’s not only you that feels this pain” as

an attempt to underplay and dismiss the difficulty in

studying online. Just because many are struggling doesn’t

mean that it isn’t an issue major enough to be affected

by. To put this into perspective, there have been students

that have committed suicide because of the difficulties

associated with online learning. This is a global mental

health issue that should be dealt with seriously.

I want to end this with the thought I’ve gone to sleep

with almost every night since university started, a simple

but momentous thought shared by most of us offshore

students: hopefully the Australian borders open soon so

we can finally step on campus and experience university

the way we envisioned it.

Why the spaghetti? Because it wasn’t a plate of spaghetti

in Australia. The fresh tomatoes in the sauce were not from

the place where I was supposed to be living my life.

12 13

Art by Ruby Comte


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Four Walls.

so little to trick the mind into security.

adorned with frames, pictures and paints; and

Four Walls become a home.

roofed by a sunrise, I awake to crisp white sheets.

why should he return? when the streets are bountiful

plentiful with adventure for a man as frosty white as he.

I frost myself too. Dimming my golden skin

with baking powder paste, Hollywood red lips and a smug ‘G’day.’

scarves to choke my neck; coats to flatten my shadow;

a fat cheque that binds my ring finger.

Business is booming. Exotic is enticing.

something else you can hide in that black briefcase.

who am I to complain, a pariah on showcase?

I may be a guest to your country, but you are a guest to my streets.

adjust your yellow tie, twirl your brassy buttons,

lick those plump lips and eye my red lacy figure,

perfectly manicured to your taste, sugary and spicy,

silent and ghostly, you will only see me once

before the amassing Night claims me as its own.

double, triple check that everything is in place.

roll my shoulders back, head up, expressionless,

bags twisted around my wrists and purse safely in my coat,

I am ready to venture the streets. if you believe

you belong, no one gives you a second glance.

Except that group of adolescent boys who coo obscenities

and exchange validating smirks before coalescing

into clusters of hedonistic barnacles, timeless.

Except that gentle, frail man who squints his eyes

and writhes his lips into accusations of stealing

their jobs – chaperoned by spit in my wake.

Except that beggar with empty hands and empty

paper cups, littered aesthetically like flowers

strewn on his crude cardboard headstone. beyond

his matted howling hair, his hungry eyes meet mine.

double, triple check that everything is in place.

14 15

Four Walls

Words by KBane

Content warning: racism and explicit language

the Night swept me towards transient flickers of pulses

that grandly camp on cardboard boxes. rabid,

they feast on platters of trash, snatching and hoarding:

Euphoria haunts these narrow alleyways. a lone barista

ends her shift, hunched forward and arms crossed

until her fingertips turn blue underneath wolverine Fists.

notorious pairs stalk their chosen prey; she belongs

in a dollhouse, porcelain, precarious on pink stilettos,

oblivious to menacing silhouettes. Tranquilised.

flickering streetlights contour harsh lines but fail

to distinguish the good from bad. vagrants swarm

My capricious streets and I let them frame my prowl.

how I yearn for their punctured forearms to replace

My cinnamon skin: to be forgotten in alleyways,

free of these thick red limbs made for Your arrowhead.

Your lacklustre eyes arrest Me, I cannot –

my purse safely tucked away from his insatiable eyes,

and my eyes safely directed to the next bend.

why was turning a corner as risky as crossing a road?

laboured breaths borne from a leisurely stroll,

unwelcome eye contact, unwelcome eye contact.

the patchwork skin doesn’t peel until I reach

My tower, towering over mean streets and

gloating to fleeting faces. I retreat to the safety of

my Four Walls.

Deign your green company. Grip my wrist, how hastily

You have ventriloquised Me. Sink your fangs into my skin and

Steal my corpse, lick your claws, and hide the goddamn body.

Your mute wife will wash my perfume that lingers on your shirt

but I wonder, what do you smell, curry or cunt?


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Fingerprint

Signatures

Words by Husna Siddiqi

Writer’s note: This poem is a reflection on the COVID-19 crisis in India.

Content warning: references to blood, diseases, hospitals.

When pillars fall and debris trembles, you hide your children from those swivel-eyed

faces, smeared in orange. You tiptoe around the red splattered into the snow by armed

men in the North, the waters melting into the Indus, Ganga, Yamuna, until these ancient,

dusky rivers are crimsoned. You hear arrows discharged from their bows, cutting the air

to look for their targets within the infected masses and you wonder what to do, where

to go or what to say.

When pillars fall and debris trembles, how do you assemble gallantry against crownless

fascists, leaning back in glass rooms, with cobwebs in their souls. Disfiguring and

demolishing through fingerprint signatures. When citizens that call, text and tweet for

help get dragged into rooms darker than dungeons, when shrieks and cries resonate

through the hospital parking lot for hours and days, and bent backs crack until you’re

left with bones, who will tally these deeds and settle your accounts? Your silver earrings

have lost their lustre in this dust, and the sheath of your sword, that was waiting on

a tenterhook, rips. And now you’re sobbing alone, unable to hold another for fear of

sickness. Still, you know that someone is listening.

When pillars fall and debris trembles, they reach my weary roof to batter with their

pernicious handshakes, grasping each other to milk money and blood in self-indulgence,

until the roof plunges. And falls onto the palms of my principles, abluted of all virulent

traces. We count various peace and blessings perceptible to us until the rest is bestowed.

This plague is a machete, slashing pretence and inanity from all thought and agency,

leaving prayers fresh on the tongues. For a salve when every hospital is sealed shut,

for guidance through the murk in the air, for the mercy of untainted ice scouring our

stains, and for the most beautiful of abodes for those who left us. When pillars fall and

debris trembles, the soil, sand and waters anticipate the One who will level the Earth

and correct all wrongs.

16

16

17

17


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Seeing Myself

Onscreen

Shameless’ Portrayal of Bipolar Disorder

Content warning: mental health, discussion of

violence and police.

As someone with bipolar disorder, I’m always

apprehensive whenever there is a bipolar storyline

in a TV show. More often than not it either leans

too far into, or doesn’t take the time to go beyond,

stereotypes (Degrassi: The Next Generation, with

both Craig and Eli) or is just overall lacking and

disappointing (Andrew DeLuca getting killed off

in Grey’s Anatomy not long after his diagnosis).

Representation has been improving as more people

with bipolar are both behind and on screen (such

as GaTa in Dave) with the importance of voices

from those with lived experiences finally being

acknowledged. Other recent depictions include

Silver Linings Playbook, Touched With Fire (named

after Kay Redfield Jamison’s book, but unrelated),

Empire, The Other Half and Homeland.

But capturing an illness so tainted by personal

perception is quite difficult.

Words by Ferris Knight

One show that endeavoured to get it right was

Shameless (US).

After a 10-year run, Shameless wrapped up this year,

the Gallagher legacy not so much over but rather

coming full-circle. Shameless was a comedy-drama

about a dysfunctional family who live in poverty in

the South Side of Chicago. Featuring an ensemble

cast with an alcoholic and drug addict for a

patriarch (Frank), the six Gallagher siblings (Fiona,

Lip, Ian, Debbie, Carl and Liam) and neighbours

(Kev and V) are their own chaotic support network in

absence of parental figures.

The third oldest sibling, Ian (played by Cameron

Monaghan) is described as “industrious,

conscientious, ambitious, and with an incredible

work effort” (S01 E01). But in season three, after his

boyfriend Mickey marries a woman, he steals his

brother Lip’s ID and joins the army.

On his return in season four, Ian is different – he’s

very talkative, with a rush of ideas, and now works

at a strip club since having gone AWOL. At the end

of the season he crashes into depression, unable

to get out of bed, and his siblings start to suspect

that he has bipolar disorder like their absent, addict

mother Monica (whose entire personality is that she

won’t take her medication).

“Too much! Too much is wrong with me. That’s the

problem isn’t it? Too much is wrong with me, and

you can’t do anything about that. You can’t change

it. You can’t fix me. Because I’m not broken, I don’t

need to be fixed, OK? I’m me!” (S05 E12).

Some people learn about mental illness through

media. Others learn through experience.

I was diagnosed when I was eighteen years old.

Bipolar I, with rapid cycling tacked on later. A few

years of difficult mental health culminated in a

manic episode where I walked around the city in the

early hours of the morning looking for someone to

dance with.

It seems benign enough, until I say that my brain

figured that the easy way to find people was to go

on the freeway and attempt to flag cars down to

make a new friend during morning peak-hour. At the

time I was a skinny, young girl with white privilege,

so when the police came they asked me if I had ever

heard of “mania” rather than assuming something

else. I screamed back, “I have depression”. It wasn’t,

and isn’t, that simple to get a diagnosis – at this

point I’d struggled for six years. In the hospital they

interviewed friends and family who visited, and

finally a doctor gave me a few photocopied pages

from a book, blocking out the title so I didn’t know

what it was about, and asked me to highlight what

I associated with. I had been medicated for a few

days by this point so I could do the task (with a bit

of other unrelated doodling).

This is the sanitised version of my experience. The

un-sanitised version would talk about the hell I’ve

put my family and friends through, the decade of

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

18 19

struggling to manage my condition and how it is

still under only feeble control, twenty sessions of

ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), and of switching

medication often to try and find anything that will

take the extremes off.

Telling my own story to strangers, I have liberty

with what I do and do not share. I can omit aspects

of my personal story, either to present myself as

more together than I am, or to make myself the

joke before someone else does. Without intending

to, I share the aspects people are expecting to

hear, based on the stories they already know –

usually from media – not wanting to confront their

preconception of what bipolar can be. It’s the

closest I can get to being palatable.

“I don’t feel manic but I never feel it when I’m manic

– I just feel fine, or great, until obviously I’m not ‘coz

I did something crazy” (S07 E03).

Season five starts with Ian telling Fiona his recent

mood swings were due to drugs and that he’s cut

down. Over the season he experiences mania again,

planning to shoot a pastor (violence, while it can

take place, is more likely to happen to those with

mental illnesses rather than be perpetrated by

those with mental illnesses), stealing a lot of useless

luggage from the airport, participating in porn with

someone he’s just met and no protection, and finally

running away, taking Mickey’s baby on a road trip.

He’s wired – hypersexual, paranoid, functioning

without sleep, has a lack of inhibition and flight of

ideas. After being taken in by the police, his family

and boyfriend convince him to admit himself to

hospital for treatment where he is diagnosed.

But it isn’t that simple. Or at least, for me, it also

wasn’t that simple. In some ways, the writing of

Ian’s character felt like an apology for the show’s

previous portrayal with Monica. He goes through

denial of his diagnosis. He faces repercussions for

things he did while manic on multiple occasions. The

medication is uncomfortable as he adjusts onto it.


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

He struggles with how he views himself and how his

life can look after diagnosis, and then challenges

not just himself but also how others perceive his

capability. The medication doesn’t magically fix

everything, and he has relapses.

His story is messy. My story is messy.

His story isn’t linear. My story isn’t linear.

His story is, at times, awkward. My story, my life, is

generally awkward.

It reminded me of asking my psychiatrist why I

keep making the same mistakes and going off my

medication – she said that it is not a lesson I am

failing to learn, but part of the illness.

Privilege must be acknowledged. Ian and I both had

experiences with police who assumed mental illness

and did not threaten with weapons. Here in Australia

and in the US people of colour are not given that

same care.

We both also had family stick by us, something

many are not lucky enough to have.

There were some really powerful moments, such as

when he breaks up with Mickey because he’s not

sure that he can handle the diagnosis. Here I saw

my distancing myself from the idea of romantic

relationships in case I’m ‘too much’.

With the support of a new boyfriend, he applies to

be an EMT. He passes with full marks, but they ask

on the forms about history of mental health. He lies

so that he gets the job, but is quickly caught and

fired. He comes back and advocates for himself,

getting his job back. He displays fear and anxiety,

but also strength, and this taught me that I should

have strength too, and that when I advocate for

myself, I’m not just doing so for myself but others as

well.

Later, after another breakup, his medication goes

out of whack and he starts having manic symptoms.

His brother helps him take his medication, because

to Ian he feels fine; he is not objective enough to see

that he is getting ill again.

“Bullshit. What do you think I should’ve done?

Would you have hired me if I had checked that box

that said I had a mental illness? What kind of choice

is that? Tell the truth, you don’t get the job, lie…

maybe they’ll never find out, what would you do?

You’d lie. So would you. So would you. You think

because I’m bipolar, an illness that I am managing

by the way, that I can’t do this job? … You wouldn’t

refuse to hire me if I was in a wheelchair, if I had a

physical handicap or HIV. No, because it is illegal to

discriminate against someone who is handicapped

and I… I am handicapped. It’s not my fault, I

didn’t do anything to bring this on myself. I have a

disease” (S06 E12).

I took my own journey the long way around. I

thought, with this diagnosis, there was no hope

unless it mirrored those twenty-minute episodes with

instant and continual recovery. Seeing Ian, I finally

saw someone who didn’t have it that easy, but

he also learned, loved, had aspirations, and built

himself up again and again. So maybe I, or you too

perhaps, can make that reality and not just fiction.

20 21

Art by James Spencer


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Crunch

Words by Huang Yanchao

“I managed to ask my dad,” Wei Wen

said. “About what he thinks of me.” A long

weekend had just ended, which meant his

dad finally had a bit of free time away from

his hectic work schedule.

“What did he say? Was he surprised?”

Teng Ye asked, with a hint of guilt in his

voice – one that he hoped Wei Wen, but not

others, could have detected. As high school

students, they became the most unlikely

friends; Teng Ye being the goody-two-shoes

prefect, and Wei Wen as the mischievous

class clown. They seemed to understand

each other in a way that puzzled both their

teachers and schoolmates, and acted as if

they had known each other for decades.

They were sitting on a bench near a familyowned

convenience store somewhere in

between their houses. The owners had

watched the pair of boys growing up,

their respective families had sent them

on errands to the store if they needed

groceries or condiments that didn’t warrant

a drive to the market. After they became

best friends in high school, they frequented

the store as a place to hang out after

school or during the holidays. They usually

bought canned soda and snacks, and

popsicles during the hotter months. Now, of

legal drinking age, they got beer instead,

but with the same snacks.

“Yes, he was surprised,” Wei Wen

continued. “Wait, I think he was more

stunned than surprised. But I had downed

a couple of wines with him to make sure he

was ready to talk.”

Teng Ye smiled.

A continuation of

“Pop-Hiss” (Edition 1, 2021),

“Crack” (Edition 2, 2021), and

“Chop” (Edition 4, 2021).

“That’s smart,” he said. “I might consider

using that tactic.” The tone of guilt was

more obvious now. He placed a prawn

cracker into his mouth and sucked. He

then chewed it after most of the flavour

had been sucked out, but before it had

completely softened to a pulp. He always

ate prawn crackers like this, somewhere

in between a crispy cracker and a mushy

sludge.

“Don’t worry about it,” Wei Wen said. “I

know we both promised to ask our parents

about how they thought of us as their

children, but I figured it would be harder for

you to breach the topic. Hell, it was hard for

me too.”

Teng Ye heaved a sigh of relief upon hearing

Wei Wen’s words. He had been afraid that

his best friend would get angry at him for

failing to complete his promised task of

asking his parents, even though he knew

that Wei Wen had never acted that way

before. He sucked on another stick of prawn

cracker again.

There was a long pause before Wei Wen

continued. “Anyway, the TLDR version of

it was, Dad said he wasn’t angry at me or

anything. But he did wish that he had the

chance to spend more time with me and my

sister.”

Teng Ye narrowed his eyes and pondered.

“Hmmm, not angry at you? What did you

ask him exactly?”

Wei Wen was surprised at the question,

probably as much as his dad had been.

A flood of shame was starting to fill him,

stopping his words as they were about to

come out. He popped four cheese rings into

his mouth and chewed them to buy time.

He always ate cheese rings like this, three,

sometimes four, occasionally five at a time.

Teng Ye knew better than to press him for

an answer.

“I… I asked if he saw me as a

disappointment.”

Teng Ye paused. “I see. That’s to the point.

And bold.”

“I mean, what’s the worst he’s going to

do? Just avoid the question and walk off

angrily, probably. It’s not like I see him

much anyway.” Wei Wen chuckled, with

a hint of sadness he hoped Teng Ye could

detect.

“But it turned out well, right?”

“Yeah, fortunately.”

“Did you really think he was disappointed

in you? Before you asked him, of course.”

“Yeah. I mean, why shouldn’t he be?” Wei

Wen was looking tense. The shame of not

being an “ideal child” started to fill him.

Memories of the adults in his life replayed

in his mind. His father was exhausted from

working 14 or 16 hours a day to put food

on the table and to pay for his grandma’s

medical bills. His mother, struggling to

juggle being a caregiver to a Parkinson’sstricken

possibly-depressed grandmother,

and being a mother to him and his younger

sister. His relatives reprimanding him for his

poor results. His teachers scolding him for

his mischief.

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

22 23

Art by Ruby Comte 22 23

And after all these experiences he

gradually was convinced that he was a

huge disappointment. So he became the

funny guy, the class clown, the one who

brought laughter to everyone around him,

to get people to pay more attention to him.

Though things got better, he still feared that

he was a disappointment.

Teng Ye tried to comfort his friend.

“You aren’t, Wei Wen. You aren’t a

disappointment. Especially since you have

gone through so much...”

“Ha! The pot calling the kettle black!!” Wei

Wen cut him off, chuckling. “Doesn’t that

apply to you too?”

Teng Ye laughed guiltily. His friend was

right. Wen Wen had tried to comfort him

that he was doing his best despite all that

he was going through. He had feared that

if he did not do well in school he would not

be loved. Like Wei Wen, he was afraid to

disappoint people. Not doing well enough

in school used to mean he would get a dose

of shame and guilt from his late aunt, who

passed away earlier that year. She had

been very strict with him when she tutored

him during his primary school days, which

probably led to Teng Ye developing a deep

disdain for personal failure.

The light of the convenience store went out.

A plump elderly man in his late 60s waddled

out, shuttered the shop and waved to the

duo. They waved back.

Teng Ye drank the last of the beer in his

can. He held it in his hand and stared at its

cylindrical shape, deep in thought. Then he

tilted so that he could see the top of the can

and the opening which the beer had been

poured out of. He let out his breath and

turned to a waiting Wei Wen.


“Hey, you mind if I crush this one?”

It caught Wei Wen by surprise again. Wei

Wen had always been the designated cancrusher

of the duo, and Teng Ye had always

given him his drink cans. It had just always

been that way between them.

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

misaligned. The disappointment on Teng

Ye’s face was as bright as the nearby street

lamps. It was a simple task, yet he could not

do it.

But Wei Wen was in motion. “It’s alright! We

still got cans!”

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Art by Kathy Lee

Amused, Wei Wen replied, “Well, sure!”

Teng Ye sheepishly placed the empty can

somewhere beneath his feet. He started

to feel a little tense. Wei Wen always did

it with ease. But then again, he had been

doing it for years.

Wei Wen noticed his hesitation. “Just crush

it. Keep your sole parallel to the ground.

Step on it with your heel.”

Those words were familiar to Teng Ye. He

had asked Wei Wen how he crushed it so

that the lid ended up directly above the

base, and the answer was the same as

what he had just heard. So he took a deep

breath and drove his foot down.

Clang! went the can, as it bounced off the

pavement and a couple of metres away.

Wei Wen bounced up from his seat and

chased after it. The can’s lid was partly

folded down into the can. It looked like a

triangle from the side. Wei Wen did his best

to straighten the can and placed it beneath

a disappointed Teng Ye’s feet.

“Try again!” he encouraged. Teng Ye

pushed aside his feelings of disappointment

and shame and raised his leg again

nervously.

Crunch-crack!

It was not the crisp crunch that they were

used to hearing. The can was crushed,

yes, but the lid and base were very much

He downed the remainder of his beer in

seconds and placed the newly emptied can

at Teng Ye’s feet, all while half-kneeling.

“Okay bro, just drive it down. This time,

don’t hesitate.”

Teng Ye nodded. He took another deep

breath and drove his foot down.

Crunch!

The metallic sound filled the air as the walls

of the can collapsed under the pressure of

Teng Ye’s foot.

He picked it up and inspected it. There was

a smile on his face, one of satisfaction and

relief.

Wei Wen smiled too. “Yeah, I think you

hesitated on the first two tries. Maybe that’s

why the can had the chance to move. Next

time, just drive it down.”

Teng Ye nodded. “Thanks! So that’s your

secret,” he said, laughing.

Wei Wen chuckled. “You know, it also

applies to asking our respective fathers

difficult questions! Just drive it down.”

It took Teng Ye by surprise, but then he

understood and smiled.

“Okay. Just drive it down.”

24 25

24 25


Art by Ruby Comte

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Truck

Words by Flynn Howard

Along the line it pulls

Great motor

Dogged chain

Amongst the steel we begin

Clung to the belly

Logistics, of

Many men

Man machines

Do not stand

Under load

Understand not

Your greasy lot

Cords cry out

Air-lines bulge

Concrete creaks beneath

Steel reflects

Surrendered self

Back to thee

Sirens sound again

To the table

Ushered we

Extra sugar

Thrice more

Long black,

Black tea

26 27


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Picture Yourself in their

Shoes

The Plight of Afghan Refugees

In And the Mountains Echoed, Afghan

American author Khaled Hosseini wrote that

Kabul was “a thousand tragedies a mile”.

While not written in the present-day context,

these words are true for the current situation

in Afghanistan.

On 15 August, Kabul fell to the Taliban, and

the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, as

designed by the United States after the 9/11

Attacks, was brought to an end. This came

only months after the final withdrawal of U.S.

troops which sparked the fall of provincial

capitals in quick succession. President

Ghani and other government officials fled as

international governments tried to evacuate

their citizens and diplomatic officials.

Left behind to fend for themselves were

millions of Afghan citizens who were exposed

to the uncertainties and dangers of a Taliban

Government for the first time in two decades.

For many this is a new experience and for

others it evokes feelings of déjà vu. Mothers

and fathers now fear for the safety and

futures of their children who they hoped could

avoid such a fate. Educators worry for the

quality of the learning in their classrooms and

the equal opportunity for women to learn.

Human rights activists agonise over potential

persecution due to the progressive reforms

they sought under the old regime.

Perspective of a Monash student

Content warning: death, conflict.

Many Afghans who had ties to Western governments

and their defence forces, such as Australia,

sought the help of these countries in seeking

asylum. It is estimated that 4,100 people (which

includes Australian citizens) were evacuated

by the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) in the

final days that Western soldiers were permitted

to occupy areas of Hamid Karzai International

Airport. This was far in excess of what the Australian

Government initially supported, with

this number driven up through Australian civil

society pressure. Australia’s commitment was

in addition to efforts from other countries such

as the United States who evacuated around

124,000 people. While this may sound significant,

hundreds of thousands were still left behind,

unable to be evacuated and forced to

face a harsh new reality.

Those who had the chance to seek asylum

did not have an easy journey leaving. Getting

a humanitarian visa did not guarantee

safety. Citizens had to battle through the

streets and pass countless checkpoints to

just get to the airport and to the protection

of foreign militaries. Roads were congested

with thousands enroute to the airport,

phone reception was blocked to mitigate

communication with foreign officials, and

Taliban forces would brutally and arbitrarily

attack innocent individuals to deter them from

leaving. Many just ran on adrenaline to get

through the checkpoints, not having eaten or

had anything to drink in days. Desperation

could be seen with the people flocking into

military planes and clinging to the sides of

them as they took off, only for them to fall to

their deaths.

This situation also hit closer to home for the

Monash community. The Monash University

Gender, Peace and Security Centre (Monash

GPS) along with the Monash Chancellery and

members of the Monash International Affairs

Society (MIAS) worked together to evacuate

11 individuals from Kabul. Monash GPS and

MIAS established the Towards Inclusive

Peace debate series in 2020 with Afghans for

Progressive Thinking (APT). Conducting seven

debates over 2020 and 2021, students from

Monash University and APT participated in

debates via Zoom about the Afghan peace

process. An eight debate was planned which

had to be postponed due to the Taliban

takeover.

APT is a youth leadership organisation which

fosters discussion on progressive policies in

Afghanistan. It has coordinated dialogue with

high ranking political and civil society leaders

and trained students on debating and public

speaking. 28 students along with numerous

staff members from APT worked with

Monash University over the past two years in

running these debates, either through direct

participation or support. This relationship

pre-existed the debate series with Monash

GPS making initial connections with APT. With

the fall of Kabul, all our colleagues became

potential targets for the new government due

to their activism and beliefs.

During these dire times, dedicated staff and

students got together to help our friends in

Kabul. Not only did many of us feel a sense of

responsibility through our involvement in the

debate series, but we wanted to help. A wide

group reached out to contacts for assistance

and utilised all our resources to get

humanitarian visas for our APT colleagues.

Once humanitarian visas were received came

the arduous process of getting out of the

city. It took days and nights of monitoring,

surveillance, and liaising to ensure that

they each passed the checkpoints and got

to the safety of the ADF. While we helped

from Melbourne, they struggled through the

streets, pushing through hoards of people

before it was too late to leave.

Thousands have now left their countries,

including the 11 scholars and their

dependents that Monash University has

helped. Imagine having to leave behind

your homes, members of your family, and

everything you have come to know. Picture

pushing through crowded and dangerous

streets for a chance of being evacuated,

getting hit by Taliban soldiers. Then once you

are in safety, waiting to leave for Australia

and then quarantining for two weeks, you

dwell upon everything you have lost and

wonder what is to come next. When any of us

go abroad for work, education, or a holiday,

we plan our trip for months and go with the

expectation of coming back. Our Afghan

friends had no time to think, no time to plan,

and they have no expectation of going home.

As a community we have a moral

responsibility to come together and help

our Afghan friends. The University has gone

above and beyond in assisting with logistics

and settlement in Australia. You too can help

and show your support. Monash University

is currently raising funds for humanitarian

scholarships and to assist in living costs.

Our friends and colleagues have uprooted

their lives and came here with nothing. It is

quick and simple to donate and by doing so

you will help them restart their lives. You can

also show support by raising awareness for

the plight of the broader Afghan diaspora

by writing to your local MPs and mobilising

your professional networks. It only takes one

person to make a major difference.

Some of you may ask “why should I help?”

Well, I leave you with this thought. Imagine

if you were in this situation. Would you like

the help and kindness of others shown to you

because you too deserve to have a future?

To donate to the Monash University

Emergency Appeal, please visit this website.

28 29


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

The Pizza Shop

Words by Clara Yew

The following Friday you are invited to an

old friend’s party. You have always felt guilty

for not reaching out to them. Apparently, the

feeling is mutual and here you are.


Tonight the curtain rises on a pizza shop. But

the pizza shop doesn’t have to be a pizza shop.

Our scene is currently set out in the suburbs,

and so it is a pizza shop, but that’s not always

the case. For an inner-city iteration with all

its sparkly lights, it could be a jazzy sushi bar,

the kind with a little train and everything. In a

sleepy coastal town, it could be a dusty old fish

and chip shop. Whatever is on the back wall

doesn’t really matter.

It’s a metaphor anyway. A metaphor filled with

cute little sub-metaphors, like a metaphorical

babushka in the shape of a pizza shop.

The pizza shop is always open. You’ve never

seen anyone go in, yet it always seems busy.

There are a bunch of teens who sit in the

parking lot plucking the pepperoni off a pizza

box on the floor most nights.

You’ve heard it’s the best store in town.

Every time you try to go in, it’s closed.

Sometimes there is a person wiping down the

counter. If you stand there long enough you can

make vague assumptions about their gender,

ethnicity, and age. But you’re never really

sure. The blinds in the front window close very

quickly.

You’ve tried ordering in. The photos look

so good on UberEats. The photos always

look good. At least once a week you see an

Instagram story of another friend or friend of

a friend’s cousin’s hairdresser’s nephew’s sons’

ballet teacher eating at the pizza shop. But the

pizza delivered is a little hit-and-miss. Any photo

can look good if edited enough. Then again,

any photographer will tell you that an image

must already be of a certain quality to be

salvageable in the editing process.

The pizza shop is run by a couple of a certain

age and a few part-timers who are about as

diverse as a university pamphlet. The age of the

couple is as secret as the recipe to their locally

famous, about-to-go-viral pizza base. The parttimers

will either take it to their grave or have no

idea in the first place.

There are dozens of framed photos nailed to

the walls by someone enthusiastic but inexpert.

If anyone ever asks, all the part-timers point

at each other and eventually blame it on

“someone from the previous shift”. Even their

bosses are in on the joke. The Beatles and Taylor

Swift are exclusively on shuffle.

You try to go into the pizza shop again.


It’s a Friday night. You walk through the front

parking lot at an hour that is different from

your routine childhood dinnertime. But you are

hungry, so it’s time for dinner. The teenagers

are whooping and/or singing, you are not too

sure, but they are definitely doing that thing

where they seem to hang limply from each

other’s limbs.

The ‘open’ sign flickers ominously and beckons

you as you approach. You make eye contact

with one of the part-timers who nods at you as

the sign switches off for the night. The counter

wiper is there too, very characteristically wiping

down the counter. The two employees laugh in

their own conversation and somehow it rubs

you the wrong way.

There are the right number of people in the

house and the music is not too loud. Someone

is recently engaged. Someone is working two

casual jobs while completing a dissertation.

Someone is going on a soul search through the

outback. You talk to a few people, but mostly

you are listening. It is hard to chew with your

mouth full after all.

The pizza is divine.

It is from a pizza shop your old friend swears

by. You know the one.

As you leave you trip over some pepperoni and

one of the teenagers offers you a tissue while

the others help you up. Some of them murmur in

You will be returning to the pizza shop.

a language you do not understand. They sound

concerned.

30 31


You are drenched in the middle of the week on a

day where the weather forecast indicated there

was no need to take an umbrella out. You had

foolishly agreed with it.

You hurry past the pizza shop without a second

glance. The part-timer who constantly wipes

down the counter calls you in, and the yellow

light emanating from the store casts a faint

effervescent glow around the entrance.

The pizza shop is warmer than it looks.

The two of you make small talk about the

big questions. You are delighted to find that

the weather outside and your shared sense

of humour can be described with opposing

adjectives. You have never been so interested to

hear about someone’s dissertation in your life.

Far too many hours after the rain has stopped,

and the counter has been wiped down too

many times, you leave, slice of pizza to-go in

hand. One of the teenagers in the parking lot

gives you a thumbs up. You return it.

Art by Kathy Lee


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Take My Wings Back

Words by Kimia

It’s a lie if I say I’m yours

They may call me heartless

Oh, my love, we are not angels or the devil’s children

You gave me my wings and I protected you in my arms

Oh, my love, my heart is like a burning candle

You keep the flame going

But sometimes you blow in air

It’s a lie if I say you are mine

They will know me to be the most selfish creature if they hear

You are the light of my eye

But sometimes you are blinding darkness

Who will leave the other one first?

Where can we go to escape each other’s presence?

The candle is almost at its end

I haven’t told you

But my wings… have been tired and heavy for too long now

Take them back

Take them back, please

32 33

Art by Linda Chen


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

The Big Day

Content warning: discussion of death, anxiety.

Words by Tom Davis

Disclaimer: the views expressed in this article

are those of the author and do not necessarily

reflect those of Lot’s Wife. The information

presented is not medical advice and the author

is not a medical professional. Readers are

recommended to seek medical advice should

they have questions about COVID-19 and

COVID-19 vaccines.

Let’s talk about “post-COVID” Australia. The

phrase fascinates me, because it implies that

there is such a thing as “post-COVID.” The idea

is fundamental to all the rhetoric we’ve heard

these last couple months – we’re careening

toward a Big Day where we will all be free

again, everything will be like it used to be, we’ll

all be home by Christmas, all that. After the Big

Day, lockdowns end (the Federal Government,

for its part, will end financial support for

lockdowns afterwards), restrictions fade to,

at most, a minor inconvenience, and COVID is

thereafter managed with test-trace-isolate.

This is the position of the Federal and New

South Wales governments (led, respectively,

by Scott Morrison and (until recently) Gladys

Berejiklian), backed by Doherty Institute

modelling from which the target of 80%

has been extrapolated. “80%” has since

been weaponised to press-gang state and

territory leaders (and opposition parties) with

reservations into signing on to the national

plan.

The first thing to note is that “80%” is just the

latest step in a protracted rhetorical dance

Morrison and Berejiklian have been doing to

normalise mass transmission of COVID and the

deaths that necessarily follow. It’s basically

ideological. Saying there is such a thing as a

“post-COVID” Australia is just rebranding what

Morrison was saying last July during Victoria’s

lockdown – containing COVID is impossible,

so the best thing to do is open up and give

businesses a fighting chance (incidentally,

Morrison stopped when Victoria did contain

COVID, and only started again once a more

virulent strain found a more sympathetic

Premier). New Premier Dominic Perrottet has

previously used similar talking points.

The reality is that “post-COVID” Australia

isn’t an Australia where COVID becomes

manageable, but where Australians stop caring

so much that it isn’t. Morrison and Berejiklian

have, little by little, primed Australians to

expect a Big Day at 80%, whether it makes

public health sense or not, and all the nuance

has been swept away. 80% means a Big Day,

and now the debates are getting increasingly

esoteric, around how Big the Big Day will

be in Victoria (which will hold over limited

restrictions) compared to NSW (where things

become a free-for-all), while the implications of

the Day itself are ignored.

The conceit of Doherty’s modelling is that testtrace-isolate

and vaccination should contain

COVID. The model assumed low case numbers,

but, since Delta, the public have been assured

high case numbers don’t meaningfully change

anything, without any real explanation. COVID

will probably overwhelm hospitals and, as

much as NSW’s contact tracing is praised, the

state has only been able to trace a fraction

of its recent daily cases. On top of that, I’ve

heard it argued that Doherty’s models aren’t

very thorough and don’t account for Delta’s

virulence and severity (Doherty-affiliated

people have declared for both sides).

Then there’s the fact that 80% isn’t really 80%,

but more like 65%, because it excludes under-

16s (Delta’s transmission and severity among

children is much higher than with previous

variants); that other jurisdictions which eased

controls at 80% have since had to reintroduce

them; that 80% is really 80%-plus-two-weeks

for proper protection; or that evidence suggests

three doses are necessary (ATAGI recommends

them for the immunocompromised, but not the

elderly or chronically ill). All that nuance has

been lost though, as the politicians don’t seem

interested in addressing those issues.

I have a theory as to why this is the case. Now,

over the last two years I’ve realised that my

worldview is fundamentally conspiratorial,

so be aware that what I’m about to say is

conjecture, and all the evidence is inference.

That said, my theory is also absolutely true.

It goes like this: Scott Morrison, with a bare

parliamentary majority, goes to election in

the next six months. The polls look bad – his

only real hope before Delta was to build on

2019 swings in Labor seats around Western

34 35

Art by monotone ink

Sydney and coal country to offset the

damage everywhere else, but even that looks

increasingly unlikely.

But Morrison has a plan. He has 80%, which

means Freedom. By shouting “80% means

Freedom” over and over again, he’ll excite

people enough (he hopes) that any opposition

(on the basis of, say, public health advice, or

pressure on hospitals, or the basic obligation

every politician ought to have to not kill

their own people without a good excuse) is

delegitimised. We’ll probably have Freedom

by Christmas (Morrison is big on Christmas

– Christmas was the milestone last year, too),

and, once we’re “post-COVID”, pandemic

management will stop being an issue.

To get there quicker, his government has

excluded under-16s from targets and cheerfully

ignored the prospect of overwhelmed hospitals,

outpaced contact tracers, and the fact that

80% hasn’t worked anywhere it’s been tried.

“Post-COVID,” he’ll pivot to an election strategy

which (I expect) will centre on national security

(read: vaguely racist allusions to China and

Afghanistan) and how Labor hates Freedom,

the abstract concept.


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

The modelling behind Victoria’s roadmap is

far more direct (and bleak) than anything the

politicians are running. “Post-COVID,” hospitals

are overwhelmed in one-quarter of simulations,

and, by the year’s end, a median of twentytwo

hundred people die. Most (though not

all) deaths will be among the unvaccinated,

so you might think, well, what goes around

comes around – but hospitals are for more than

COVID. If (when?) hospitals are overwhelmed,

where do they put heart attacks, housefires,

car accidents or assaults? Governments are

clearly aware of this – NSW recently banned

hospital staff from talking to journalists

unsupervised. Details around timing have also

been obfuscated – as an example, first doses

in NSW have hit 90%, so what happens to that

10%+ of half-protected people when COVID’s

loosed on them?

All this probably sounds very alarmist – to

clarify, I recognise the need to open eventually,

and 80%, though entirely arbitrary and not a

true 80, is as good a threshold as any. Think

of this instead as a reminder of the reality that

we open to thousands of deaths, hospitals over

capacity for years, and schools and workplaces

(all public places, really) turned to petri dishes,

and it’s extremely concerning that all this has

been boiled down to the rhetoric of a Big Day.

Now, so we understand each other, I’d like to

tell you something – I have a heart condition

that, I guess, makes it so that, even doublevaccinated,

I remain at risk. I don’t know how

at-risk (and I have no easy means to find out),

only that the risk is non-zero. To find out, I rang

DHHS, who kept me on hold for three hours then

gave me a non-answer; I rang BeyondBlue and

Lifeline, asking if they knew who might know,

but they didn’t; I submitted quite a morbid

question to the ABC about mortality and severe

disease, then another, vaguer question about

precautions, but neither was answered.

The most direct answer I’ve gotten (still

frustratingly vague) came from a cardiologist

who told me that the data just doesn’t exist yet,

and, to be safe, I ought to stay locked in a box

until third doses arrive.

Currently I bounce between crisis and denial.

The morning after Victoria’s roadmap came out,

I went to brush my teeth and hair and was hit

with lightheadedness and sickness and had to

prostrate myself to stay conscious. It subsided

and I got up again, then it came back. I was

down and up and down again seven times over

half an hour, this whole Sisyphean farce played

out on the linoleum so that I could make myself

presentable enough to walk downstairs, get my

mail and walk back up again. After a while I

wasn’t anxious anymore, just annoyed, and by

the end it was all quite funny and I knelt there,

giggling like a maniac with my head on the

floor. You had to be there, I guess.

Today’s denial, and it’s an awful lot more fun.

There are things to be excited about. There’s a

Big Day coming and a few months after that,

if Morrison feels the need to overachieve for a

bump in the polls, third doses will be out, and

I’ll be able to do all the things everybody else

is doing. I, too, may one day buy into the Big

Day, and stop pretending to care about all

the other, sicker people locked in their boxes

so long as I can go to the pub and scratch my

nose in public and do other frivolous things I

never wanted to do until the government told

me I shouldn’t. That’s the dream, right? It’s why

we’ve consented to the reckless, uncomplicated

Freedom-or-bust narratives the Big Day’s all

about, and I guess it’s why there are tens

of students passing my window every day

who’ve altogether given up on restrictions,

and hundreds of construction workers and

conspiracists marching for tea-rooms and

Freedom.

Right?

Disclosure statement: Tom Davis is a member of

the Labor Party.

Art by Ruth Ong

36 37


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

From Sappho, with

Longing

Words by Eliot Walton

Tell me, Eros Aphrodite

tell of a complicated woman

tell how she wandered and was lost

when she wrecked the town of my heart

tell me how Eros shook my mind

like a mountain wind shaking the oak trees

while she sat by me

setting fire under my skin

she is

rare-radiant, starlike

gold-crowned

glorious

singing by my loom and lyre

Aphrodite, she is like the westwind

which fills the sails

and flattens the grass

my songs, my loom

all are hers

if only her heart will take on wings

and come to me

Art by Kathy Lee

38 39 39


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Terry Towels

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Words by Maiysha Moin

In your shower,

washing away sin

from my body’s curves

and under fingernails.

White

soft

terry towels, clutched between fingers,

permeated with your scent.

Pressing the softness against my skin:

Substitution.

Replenished intimacy.

Art by monotone ink

40

40

41

41

Art by @0ojin_


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

We’re All Suckers

for Edward

Cullen

Words by Angelica Haskins

Vampires – whether it’s Dracula, Buffy, Twilight,

True Blood, or The Originals – we just can’t get

away from them. And not just because they are

“impossibly fast,” as Bella Swan so aptly put it.

The ever-pervasive nature of the vampire in

popular media is, ironically, parasitic. Why is

it that we are so drawn to these dead beings?

Why do we spend hours fixated upon love

triangles between fictional dead boys? Why

does #twilight have 10 BILLION views on TikTok?

How to begin to explain this cultural (and

supernatural) phenomenon? Vampires have

fascinated human societies for thousands of

years, and there is evidence of these creatures,

or their ilk, appearing in artworks as early as

the fifth millennium BCE as vengeful spirits that

fed on the life essence of humans.

While the aforementioned spirits are confined to

the worlds of ancient Mesopotamian cuneiform

clay tablets, vampires have experienced a

massive resurgence in recent years. Netflix

suggestions are practically begging me to sit

through a Twilight marathon, and my to-be-read

list is filled with dark glossy novels revolving

around undead vampire baronesses and quippy

pale boys (thanks, Baz Pitch).

Yet, it seems that these soulless beings have

transcended their fictional worlds to become a

central theme in reality.

The vampire has become widely revered in

Gen Z culture, with dead girl makeup tutorials

and Bella Swan outfit thrift trips trending

all over TikTok. Furthermore, 18-year-old pop

starlet Olivia Rodrigo, a paragon of the Gen

Z aesthetic, if ever there was one, recently

admitted that much of the inspiration of

her tortured love songs stems from an avid

fascination with Bella and Edward’s meet-(not)

cute in the science lab.

Further evidence of the vampire’s solid

integration in the 21st century is evident in the

way that many of these fictional characters

wholeheartedly express themselves. Tyrannus

“Baz” Basilton Grimm-Pitch of the Carry On

series, and Marceline the Vampire Queen of

Adventure Time, are bloodsuckers who embrace

their queerness, and have hugely reverent

fanbases, particularly among the Gen Z

demographic, for that reason. Yet, vampires

in fiction generally have always had roots

in queer culture. The way that such fictional

individuals have, in the past, been ostracised

and denigrated for their perceived differences,

can be – and is – seen as a metaphor for

homophobia. As such, part of the allure of

such mythos stems from the fact that vampires

resolutely embrace their entire being; they

recognise the supposed deviance within

them and embody it unashamedly, thus

casting themselves as powerful queer icons,

resonating with modern audiences the world

over.

Yet, it isn’t just Gen Z who’s dead set

on embodying the vampire aesthetic;

designer fashion labels appealing to older

generations have also capitalised on the

popularity of the vampire. Luxury fashion

house Max Mara recently showcased an

entire collection at Milan Fashion Week

composed entirely out of black silhouettes

and sharp, angled lines – very Draculaesque.

And the quintessential vampy fashion

house, The Vampire’s Wife (need I say

anymore) is much beloved on the red carpet,

touted by celebrities from Duchess Kate to

Pete Davidson.

So what is it about these monsters that

sparks fascination?

Is it because they are unattainable? It’s

human nature to always want for more.

More time, more life, more youth – vampires

have it all. Are these mythological beings a

manifestation of our deepest desires? Our

unspoken aspirations taking tangible form?

Perhaps it is because they are a myth. Walk

through any graveyard and you will see

tombstones etched with the words ‘in loving

memory,’ or ‘never forgotten.’ It is clear that

the human spirit wants to be remembered.

Forever. Perhaps our unwavering attraction

to vampires is, in actuality, a projection of

our jealousy; a subconscious desire to be

remembered and revered for all eternity.

Or perhaps, in essence, vampires are a form

of escape. After the drudgery of the last

two years, perhaps it feels safe to slip into

a fictional world where the only stresses are

those associated with which outfit to wear to

impress the dead boy du jour.

Whatever the reason, vampires hold a

kind of timeless charm that will continue

to appeal to audiences for generations to

come.

So, irrespective of whether you think that

vampires suck, it looks like they are here

to stay – and not just because they are

immortal.

Art by monotone ink

42 43


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

closing

the

open

Words by Tingnan Li

and it was like a tap that I couldn’t turn off,

feelings and fears and innards,

gushing out without my permission,

splashing messily against the porcelain sink.

and it was like the deep and dark of the ocean,

a horizon not unlike a golden ball,

suspended between two tidal valleys,

rolling nearer then further out of reach.

and it was like a fading bruise haunted by old hurting,

dirty colour blooming under,

tender skin still sensitive to touch,

the knee-jerk instinct to deny weakness.

so, when you told me to try opening up –

I didn’t quite know how to tell you,

that I have been drowning in open.

Art by Ruby Comte

44 45


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Mind over Matter

Art by Ruby Comte

Content warning: mental health.

Struggle is a double-edge sword.

We pray for hours to feel ease

then let a second dismiss the effort,

falling back into the abyss,

yearning once more for the pain to expire.

An endless cycle felt by many,

we ignore reality and sing to the tune of joy,

an unhealthy ballet with the shoes untied.

Fragile in the mind,

petulant in manner,

the reason for dismay

often meaningless chatter.

I invite you to sit with me

on this balcony beside the sea,

where the breeze hungers for touch,

and the stars tell us to breathe.

Where expectations are dealt a blow

as we relish the day on our own finger,

and let our rutted palms rest,

ready for the next venture.

Knowing this moment to be a blessing,

that nothing beyond deserves second-guessing,

the day is at large and so is fate –

let us slow dance till the new day breaks.

46 47

Words by Jahin Tanvir


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Brain Sprain

Words by Nisha Subramanya

Content warning: depression, ableism,

anxiety

Once upon a time, there was a person –

Person. Person was strolling in the park,

gentle music playing in their ears, gazing

at the trees and the blooming, colourful

flowers.

Person felt stress-free, breathing fresh air,

and every now and then they were nudged

by the memory of the pile of dishes waiting

in the sink, the ever-growing pile of books

on their to-be-read list, and a never-ending

to-do list. Occupied in this trail of random

thoughts, Person stepped on a protruding

slab of stone, tripped over... and fell! Ouch.

Person winced in pain, drawing people’s

attention. They rushed to help Person up.

Person limped back home, thankful that

it was only 100 metres away. Person was

relieved when their ankle rested on the

soft couch, though it didn’t last very long.

Their ankle looked red and swollen, not to

mention the stabbing pain.

Ugh. Person made an appointment with

Doctor and booked an Uber. What seemed

like the longest day ever ended with Person

lying on their bed with a band around their

ankle, restricting its movement. Doctor had

told Person that there had been a grade

two sprain in the ankle, had repeatedly

emphasised that they should rest for at

least a week, and booked a follow-up

appointment.

Person rolled their eyes every time they got

up to pee, sat up to drink water, or grabbed

their tablet from the oh-so-far desk. Person

thought this would never end, much like the

list of things lined up this week that had to

be postponed. However, at least they got

a short break from these feelings when

painkillers came to the rescue.

Amidst a lot of pain and chaos, Person

felt lucky to have Partner by their side.

Partner made dinner, helped Person to the

toilet and back, cleared dirty dishes and

brought them popcorn on movie nights.

These gestures lightened Person’s burden

immensely.

By the eighth day, Person was up and

running… walking… limping. Person was

in pain every now and then. However, as

the clock ticked, days didn’t seem as long

as they had, their ankle didn’t hurt like it

was the end of the world, and Person didn’t

need Partner’s help as much. With some

more time, Person forgot what that pain felt

like.


Dearest Reader, how would you feel if

Partner had not been supportive of Person?

How would you feel if Partner had said,

‘Person, it’s all in your head! You don’t have

a sprain! Just start walking… it’ll be painful

initially, but you’ll be fine eventually! Don’t

make excuses!’

Ugh, wouldn’t we all judge Partner harshly,

and call them blunt and heartless? We’d

probably have changed their name from

Partner to Jerk!

But Reader, what if I told you, that Person

didn’t have a sprained ankle, but was

depressed instead?

What if I told you that Person found it hard

to get up from bed every day – not because

their ankle hurt, but because facing the

world took tremendous effort? What if I

told you that instead of constant pain,

Person felt constant sadness? That instead

of following a trail of random thoughts,

Person was stuck in a sucking loop of

negative thoughts? Would you call Person

‘lazy’, if they had a sprain and couldn’t

move around actively? Would you call it

‘an excuse’ if Person didn’t exercise with a

sprain? Would you call Person ‘mad’ if they

went to a doctor for a sprain?

Illnesses of the mind are kept secret because of the fear of

being judged by those who don’t have it. It’s hard to imagine

what mental illnesses feel like, because they cannot be seen

by the eye, like we see a cast on a fractured foot. Reader, you

don’t have to always see things, to believe their existence, do

you? Depression is one example, one of the most prevalent

mental illnesses. It is seen, but only to those who observe.

‘Yeah, so? Why should I know about it? I don’t have it!’ Sure,

you may not have it. But you must know about it, because

Person could, someday, be your parent, your sibling, your

friend, or… You. To be Partner and not Jerk, you must

understand depression.

Much like a physical injury, depression has its effects. A

depressed person may feel worthless, inadequate, and

hopeless about themselves and the future. They carry the

burden of pretense almost always. They may pretend to be

happy and interested, while feeling sad and numb at the

same time.

Reader, if you can relate with Partner, here’s my advice to

you. Don’t blame yourself for not entirely understanding

what Person is feeling. Be supportive, by listening to them,

persuading (not forcing) them to open up to you. Make them

feel secure in your presence. Don’t tell them to be normal, or

that it’s all in their head. Listen, and don’t be quick to judge.

If you ever associate yourself with Person, I see you. I

completely understand what you’re going through. It may

all be very overwhelming to feel everything at once, to talk to

someone. But please talk. Be it an ankle sprain, or depression,

the rules are the same – see a doctor.

Your therapist can be your Sounding Board. A Sounding

Board that just listens, understands, responds, and keeps it all

confidential. Someone who supports, walks you through it all

and shows you light at the end of the tunnel.

If you are Jerk, it’s probably your attitude which is the

problem.

If you are Partner, you are appreciated.

Humankind has faced a multitude of

If you are Person, there are millions of people with you. So…

illnesses, viruses… we’re facing one as I

relax. See a doctor or therapist, reach out, remember there’s

write and as you read this. We’ve wondered

hope… you just have a brain sprain. :)

about them all, we’ve challenged them,

we’ve learned, and we’ve fought them.

We’ve also forgotten about them. But

there’s one such illness we’re burying,

Love,

with our mouths shut. There’s one such

illness we’re shunning, one we shouldn’t be

Nisha Subramanya (Person)

turning a blind eye to, but are... and that,

Reader, is mental illness.

Art by Ruby Comte

48 49


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

The Great Reality TV

Art Show

Words by Olivia Shenken

There seems to be a trend in reality TV over

the past few years for shows in the vein of

The Great British Bake Off, where experts in

a craft test their skills until only one remains.

Now the audience isn’t just salivating over

delicious baked goods, but instead over

intricate artistic creations.

The Great Pottery Throw Down and Blown

Away are two such shows, focused on pottery

and glassblowing respectively – and they’re

the closest I’ve gotten to browsing a museum

collection for a while. There’s something

immensely satisfying about watching

master craftspeople go about their work:

moulding molten glass into abstract art

using a blowtorch, or shaping clay into water

fountains, chess sets, and yes even toilets in

one episode.

But comparing the two shows always makes

me think about the nature of competitive

reality TV. While they both have a similar

tournament format (a group of artists given

a brief each episode, eliminations, one final

winner), Throw Down has a 60-minute runtime,

vs Blown Away which is only 23 minutes.

This of course means that Throw Down can

give more screen-time with its artists, showing

their process and the small-talk between the

judges – it also manages to fit in a second,

smaller-scale challenge in addition to the

main make of each episode.

Blown Away by comparison is a whirlwind

– it can be hard to keep track of what’s

going on, especially in the early episodes

of each season when there are more

contestants and therefore each gets less

airtime. Perhaps because of this constrained

format, the element of competition between

the contestants is more heavy-handed in

Blown Away than Throw Down – with only 23

minutes to make an impression, the tension

needs to be high to keep watchers going

for another week (or to keep them bingestreaming

for that matter). The music

is dramatic, and contestant interviews

have a lot of punchy lines about how

they’re in it to win it.

Drama, tension, and cheering on your

favourite to win are surely part of

what makes competitive reality TV so

popular – but nevertheless I find myself

preferring the slower pace of Throw

Down to the rush of Blown Away.

It helps that Throw Down has cosier

vibes. For one thing, it has the most

likeable judge of any reality TV

competition I’ve ever watched: Keith

Brymer Jones, who can be trusted to

collapse into tears in sincere joy at

the contestants’ work at least once an

episode. The music is also more relaxed

and silly, instead of making you feel like

you’re being stalked by the percussion

section of an orchestra. And unlike the

harried and ever-changing roster of

glassblowing assistants in Blown Away,

the pottery technicians are familiar

faces: Richard Miller for the first three

seasons before he became a judge, and

Rose Schmits (whose own pottery is

pretty damn cool) in season four.

In the fourth season, both judges – plus

host Siobhán McSweeney of Derry Girls

fame – have delightful interactions

with each other and the contestants.

Their chemistry feels natural, probably

aided by the fact that the entire crew

were living in isolation together during

production due to the pandemic.

And what makes me feel most strongly

that competitiveness just isn’t at the

heart of what makes Throw Down so

appealing, is that the season four

contestants constantly talk about

their friendship and connection with

each other – and more tellingly, that

they support and help each other out.

They are under time pressure and in

direct competition with each other,

but nevertheless they’ll run across the

workshop to help someone carry their

work to the drying room, flip a heavy

piece of clay, or lend a tool.

What really tugs on my heartstrings

is the joy of collaboration, along with

other aspects of artistic creation and

process that aren’t always well-served in

a competition format. Some of the most

emotional moments in Throw Down are

when contestants show just how much

they’ve improved since the first episode.

In both shows, even when only a handful

of contestants remain, there still feels like

never enough time to really dwell on the

intermediate steps of how a lump of clay

or a glob of molten glass turns into a

complex work of art. While I’ve probably

picked up some trivia about pottery and

glassblowing from watching, often I wish

that both shows could get away with not

having to eliminate anyone, and that the

focus could instead be on craft.

While Throw Down, Blown Away, and

other examples of the genre are by

nature competitive, that’s not to say

a more slice-of-life approach to craft

in video isn’t out there: TikTok is full

of crafters and artists showing their

process, sharing how-to videos and tips,

or just making vibey content; sewists

and historical fashion aficionados

like Bernadette Banner and Karolina

Żebrowska make hugely popular video

essays and shorter clips on YouTube.

If those in search of cosier or more

instructive content are having that niche

filled online, maybe TV won’t need to go

there.

Then again, if the art of cooking can

be represented both by competitive

shows like MasterChef as well as more

laidback affairs à la Nigella or Jamie

Oliver, maybe glassblowing, pottery

and other arts and crafts will find less

competitive formats. Painting is perhaps

a few decades ahead of the curve: from

1983-1994, Bob Ross painted happy

clouds and trees in The Joy of Painting

(blessedly available to watch free on

YouTube), practically the epitome of

comfort TV with his crooning voice, ‘80s

aesthetic, and unproblematic wilderness

landscapes.

While I daydream about how Blown

Away and Throw Down might be different

if they were a little more focused on the

journey than the destination, I admit

they’ll always draw me back in. Whether

it’s watching sparks fly as glassblowers

spin, twist and pull their creations from

glowing liquid into solid glass, or potters

shaping clay on the wheel into elegant

shapes, the alchemy of artistic creation

never gets old.

Disclosure statement: Olivia Shenken is

an editor of Lot’s Wife, and this article

has undergone the same impartial

editing process as all other submissions.

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Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Boy

I wondered if your words were tricks

From a honey pot with a penchant for chicks.

A sticky-sweet treat with a chiselled jaw,

A wolfish Hermes, with me in your maw.

You opened up so I could see

You’re solid gold with a ruby heart for me.

You said I had the prettiest curls,

That I’m the most beautiful of all the girls.

You’re the gentlest Adonis I’ve ever known,

A knight of cups with a soul like my own.

Words by Madeleine

Art by Kimia

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Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Why the Olympics Must Discontinue

Words by Simone Kealy

Now that the Olympics are over, it is important

to reflect upon how necessary it is for these

Games to continue. Despite what the International

Olympic Committee (IOC) says about

the Games promoting peace, and valuing

“excellence, friendship and respect”, this is

far from the truth. When taking into account

the detrimental effects the games have had

upon the environment, the spread of COVID-19

in the Olympic villages, and the thousands,

sometimes millions of people displaced, the

Olympics have more of a detrimental impact

than a positive one. As a result, it is clear the

Olympics must be discontinued if humanity

wants to strive for a more sustainable, healthy

and equitable future.

Environmental impacts

The Olympic Games have always had a negative

impact on the environment. Firstly, there’s

tens of thousands of athletes and their teams,

as well as (usually) tens of thousands of tourists,

flying into the host city from all over the

globe. A flight from London to San Francisco

creates 5.5 tons of CO 2

per passenger, so you

can just imagine how many harmful emissions

are being created just from all those people

attending the games. Then there’s also the

construction of the facilities and resources that

go into enabling those facilities. Not only is this

a waste of materials and energy, but venue

construction often has adverse effects on the

area. For example, eight venues built for the

Tokyo Olympics created soil artificialisation,

which is when nature loses land for the venues’

production. According to experts, this is the

world’s number one threat to global biodiversity

as nature’s internal regulatory mechanisms

and habitats are destroyed.

As if that isn’t enough, there were also instances

of illegal landfills of construction

material, waste being spilled in waters and

the exploitation of animal migration territories

for construction areas in the 2014 Winter

Olympics in Sochi. Other Olympics weren’t

that much better. The construction of a golf

course for the 2016 Rio Olympics was labelled

an “environmental crime” as it put rare butterflies,

pines and other unique species at risk

when it encroached on the Marapendi reserve.

The cardboard beds and medals made from

recycled materials in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

aren’t going to fix that. For the sake of our

planet and its future, the only solution is to

stop the Olympics.

Health impacts

As we have learnt in the past two years, the

top priority should always be healthy citizens

and avoiding an overwhelmed health system.

This of course prevents people from dying not

only from COVID-19, but from any other ailment

that would cause death if not treated when

there are not enough hospital beds and other

resources. Plus, safeguarding citizens from

COVID-19 also prevents people from acquiring

long COVID, which makes every day a struggle,

and although we don’t know much about

it, it seems this form of COVID-19 can last for

months. So, surely, the preservation of life

should be the first and utmost priority. Then

why does sport, and in this case, the Olympics,

trump that priority? Regardless of the answer

to that question, it shouldn’t. When such priorities

are skewed, the results are clear; more

people die and suffer, and this is reflected in

Japan.

Indeed, according to analysts, the Olympics

worsened the outbreak of COVID-19 in Japan.

Consequently, the Japanese health system

and its hospitals are overwhelmed. As of 10

August, since the start of the Olympics on

23 July, approximately 170,000 people have

contracted the virus, and 178 people have died.

Although 178 people may not sound like a large

number, especially in comparison to other

countries, that is 178 families mourning a loved

one, 178 people who friends and family will

never see again.

The IOC and the Japanese Prime Minister have

said that this outbreak and the subsequent

deaths were not related to the Olympics due to the “bubble”

surrounding the Olympic villages. However, experts disagree. In

addition, it is difficult to believe the IOC and the Japanese PM

when they both had significant stakes in running the Olympics.

For the IOC, they made billions of dollars from broadcasting

rights, whilst the Japanese PM is trying to boost his approval

ratings in preparation for Japan’s general election. So, these

two parties took a risk that would impact lives, quite literally.

That doesn’t seem to align with the value of “peace” that the

IOC supposedly promotes.

Social impacts

According to an article by Al Jazeera, to make way for many of

the Olympics’ venues, hundreds of households in Tokyo were relocated,

many of whom had also been moved for the 1964 Tokyo

games. Public housing estates were also demolished in favour of

gentrifying the area, thus it doesn’t seem possible for those who

were displaced to return to the area after the Olympics end.

Moreover, a lot of these changes and displacements were made

to make Tokyo more pleasing for tourists, which of course, never

came due to the pandemic. Yet regardless of whether tourists

were able to go, surely the livelihoods of locals should be more

important than foreign tourists who will come for a couple of

weeks and then leave, possibly never to return?

Such problems are not unique to Tokyo, however. Indeed, for

the South Korean 1988 Olympic Games, approximately 720,000

people were displaced in Seoul, and an astounding 1.25 million

were displaced in Beijing for the 2008 Games. These and other

displacements target the most vulnerable, especially through

gentrification, and this leaves lasting impacts that further

inequality.

With this in mind, do a few weeks of mostly privileged foreigners

coming over to play games really seem worth it? Instead

of demolishing housing for people with low socio-economic

backgrounds and putting exorbitant amounts of money into

facilities that will be left abandoned when the Olympics finish,

the IOC should direct its money where its mouth is: in actual

“peace” building activities. The $3-4 billion that the IOC was

predicted to make this year on broadcast rights alone needs to

go into solving homelessness, poverty, funding climate change

and health research, and many other endeavours that impact

marginalised people for the long run. It’s time the Olympics actually

meet their values of “excellence, friendship and respect”

by discontinuing.

Art by Ruby Comte

54 55


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

A Fern’s Lullaby

May you find coolness and ease

Under the coverage of the trees.

May you find steadiness and learn

The harmony of the ferns

As they’re twirled and unfurled

To the ends of their world,

In divinity and grace,

At an invisible pace,

Unknown to the eyes

Of our busy little lives,

With timescales that span

Through generations of man.

May you be grounded and ascend,

Over the playful river bend.

May the ferns guide the way,

To the coming of your day.

Art by Ruby Comte

56 57

Words by Mac Dragović


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Thank you for

reading Lot’s

Wife in 2021

Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Special thanks to all

our contributors!

Writers

Angelica Haskins

Cabbage

Clara Yew

Eliot Walton

Ferris Knight

Flynn Howard

Huang Yanchao

Husna Siddiqi

Jahin Tanvir

KBane

Kimia

Mac Dragović

Madeleine

Maiysha Moin

Nisha Subramanya

Olivia Shenken

Qian

Simone Kealy

Tingnan Li

Tom Davis

Wayne Foo

Yu Zhang

Artists

@0ojin_

James Spencer

Kathy Lee

Kimia

Linda Chen

Mads

Monic

monotone ink

Ruby Comte

Ruth Ong

Subeditors

Anastasia Richmond-Miller

Aviva Ly

Corey Lionis

Elita Wu

Olivia Brewer

Ruth Ong

Sanyukta Nath

Zoe Parsons

See you again

next year!

Keep an eye on our social media for updates about

getting involved in Lot’s Wife in 2022!

Sign up as a MSA Volunteer to express your interest.

Visit lotswife.com.au/contributions

for more info!

58 59


Lot’s WifeEdition Six

Cover Art by Mads

...until next time

Lot’s Wife.

2021

60

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