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Lot's Wife - Edition 6, 2021

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Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Art by Mads<br />

1


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Art by Owen Robinson<br />

Contents.<br />

Thank you to all<br />

our contributers<br />

this year!<br />

Keep an eye on our social media for<br />

updates about getting involved in<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> in 2022.<br />

Sign up as an MSA Volunteer to<br />

express your interest.<br />

Visit lotswife.com.au/contributions<br />

for more info!<br />

Creative<br />

Fiction<br />

22 Crunch<br />

30 The Pizza Shop<br />

Poetry<br />

5 Midnight Neem<br />

8 This Too Will Close<br />

14 Four Walls<br />

16 Fingerprint Signatures<br />

26 Truck<br />

32 Take My Wings Back<br />

38 From Sappho, with Longing<br />

40 Terry Towels<br />

44 closing the open<br />

46 Mind Over Matter<br />

52 Boy<br />

56 A Fern’s Lullaby<br />

Analysis<br />

28 Picture Yourself in Their Shoes:<br />

The Plight of Afghan Refugees<br />

34 The Big Day<br />

54 Why the Olympics Must<br />

Discontinue<br />

Campus<br />

6 Please Take My Song Back<br />

to Your Home<br />

10 My Youth During the Pandemic<br />

12 Studying Through Zoom<br />

Culture<br />

18 Seeing Myself Onscreen:<br />

Shameless’ Portrayal of<br />

Bipolar Disorder<br />

42 We’re All Suckers for<br />

Edward Cullen<br />

48 Brain Sprain<br />

50 The Great Reality TV Art Show<br />

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

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

republish material in any format.<br />

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Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land, the people of the Kulin Nations. We pay our<br />

respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. Sovereignty has never been ceded.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Midnight Neem<br />

Words by Husna Siddiqi<br />

Dear Readers,<br />

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

Monash University literary and artistic community while delving into crucial issues faced by students and<br />

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

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

this issue.<br />

At the beginning of <strong>2021</strong>, we wrote hoping that we would not have to repeat the constant uncertainties and<br />

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

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

to the current COVID-19 landscape.<br />

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

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

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

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

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

been unable to distribute physical copies of edition four.<br />

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

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

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

friends and family.<br />

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

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

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

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

and more.<br />

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

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

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

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

the shift to online events are not left by the wayside.<br />

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

continues to be a place where you, the students, can have a voice.<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

Co-Managing Editors<br />

Thank you for your support and see you in 2022,<br />

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

Content Editors<br />

- The Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> Team<br />

EDITORIAL TEAM<br />

Visual Editors<br />

Marketing Editors<br />

EMAIL WEBSITE INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK TWITTER LINKEDIN<br />

msa-lotswife@monash.edu lotswife.com.au @lotswifemag @MSA.Lots<strong>Wife</strong> @Lots<strong>Wife</strong>Mag Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong><br />

Silver streams disperse across these skies<br />

of nightfall. Milky rays drizzle<br />

from darkness to this<br />

garden,<br />

where a tranquil silence caresses his<br />

being. He walks, holding his hands<br />

behind his back, accompanying<br />

contemplation<br />

with the gentle sway of<br />

pendulous pines, planted deep within<br />

his childhood. Leaves rustle with the<br />

hums<br />

of trailing hawa, sand on<br />

cement painted with footsteps led by<br />

the echoes of the reverberating<br />

Adhaan.<br />

The air is fresh with prayers.<br />

Neem and roses and wide-open places.<br />

He tends to the duty of heaving this black gate<br />

shut.<br />

And as the day ends,<br />

he traces his footprints back home.<br />

4 5<br />

Art by monotone ink


Please Take<br />

My Song<br />

Back to<br />

Your Home<br />

Words by Qian<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

In most circumstances, there were no words<br />

between us. All we did was to sit there and<br />

enjoy each other’s company, but this is far less<br />

heartwarming than physical companionship.<br />

Ageing is inevitable for everyone and so is death.<br />

I was so at a loss on the night I heard that he had<br />

passed away. I was sorrowful but I did not cry.<br />

Since there was nothing I could change and no<br />

regret I could compensate for, then what are my<br />

tears for? I called my friend and this was what<br />

she said to comfort me.<br />

“I feel really sorry for you. My grandpa also<br />

passed away when I was abroad. He loved me the<br />

most. Leaving home is natural for international<br />

students, right? You must have thought about this<br />

before coming to Australia. It just happens.”<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

that we have to stay away for so long, but that<br />

we never know when the situation is going to be<br />

stable and when we’ll be able to get back home.<br />

We have no alternative but to be patient and keep<br />

waiting. Isolation has pushed us to make friends,<br />

and the invaluable friendship during this rough<br />

time has built the strongest bond among us.<br />

We are like the seeds of a dandelion that are<br />

blown to a new place, forming into clusters so<br />

that everyone can still feel connected.<br />

As international students, we are exposed to<br />

a fascinating brand new world at the price of<br />

leaving home. I write this story because it is what<br />

many of us are experiencing, more or less. I also<br />

want to encourage them to tell others what is<br />

happening and whether they are coping well.<br />

After all, telling is a method for healing.<br />

Content warning: grief<br />

I am a “rebellious” kid who enjoys creative<br />

writing much more than studying. Growing up, a<br />

student’s duty in the Eastern Asian context was to<br />

study really hard and pursue the best academic<br />

results, but I used to secretly write novels during<br />

homework time.<br />

My grandpa became the only elder family<br />

member with whom I shared my secret with<br />

because one day he walked into my bedroom and<br />

caught me in the act. As a primary school kid, I<br />

almost had a panic attack, in fear of him blaming<br />

me for not studying, or laughing out loud at those<br />

hilarious Pokemon stories in my notebook.<br />

“Are you writing fiction stories?”<br />

“Yep, Grandpa. But I didn’t waste much time on it,<br />

I swear.”<br />

“Why not?” He asked, with his eyes glittering.<br />

“Keep on writing, no matter if they’re good or<br />

bad, we don’t care. I encourage you to be a<br />

creative writer!”<br />

Art by monotone ink<br />

Keep on writing. My grandfather said so<br />

because he believed that I was the smartest girl<br />

in the world and would one day create some<br />

masterpieces. While objectively speaking, I am<br />

not, the way he valued my talent has given me<br />

the power to restart my creative writing as a<br />

hobby. After I began my uni life in Australia, new<br />

cultures and lifestyles have greatly shocked me<br />

and reshaped my perspective on my outlook on<br />

life. I felt the eagerness to create fiction stories<br />

again. I published them on my personal blog this<br />

time because I was taught not to be shy.<br />

I was indeed very surprised when this blog<br />

became popular. Some of my fans even wrote<br />

long messages stating how touched they were,<br />

which is the most rewarding experience I could<br />

ever have as a writer.<br />

She was right. Before leaving China, I spent<br />

lots and lots of time with him because I knew<br />

I would not be near my loved one for the last<br />

moments of his life. Unfortunately, COVID has<br />

made the situation even worse. However, finally,<br />

my grandpa can come to my side without any<br />

restriction. He will be looking at me. I lay in bed at<br />

peace, believing that his spirit was accompanying<br />

me.<br />

The next morning, everything seemed normal<br />

and I had my usual group meeting for one of my<br />

student projects. Then my parents texted me,<br />

asking if there was any wish I wanted to realise,<br />

so I requested them to reserve his favorite hat for<br />

me. At this moment, I suddenly burst into tears<br />

because I remembered that my grandpa also<br />

loved me the most during his life. I remember<br />

the way he hugged me when I was a little kid,<br />

his snores, and his smiles. I could never see him<br />

anymore. Nor could I attend his funeral. I couldn’t<br />

help it.<br />

At that moment, I thought of recording my<br />

feelings through words, as my grandfather<br />

had encouraged me to. I have a strong and<br />

determined feeling that this is how I should<br />

remember him.<br />

The pain and isolation of staying away from our<br />

I would have shared these love letters to my<br />

own family is something many students have<br />

grandpa if only he wasn’t ageing. The barrier of<br />

to tolerate, especially during the pandemic’s<br />

communication can be overcome by technology<br />

lockdowns. Post-lockdown, many international<br />

for youngsters, but not for an old man. He knew<br />

students like me chose to stay in Australia for the<br />

little about smartphones or video calls and<br />

sake of safety or because they have to continue<br />

was unwilling to learn. He couldn’t really hear<br />

their studies in person, not knowing when the<br />

me unless I was shouting loudly at the speaker.<br />

border will be open again. The sadness is not<br />

6 7<br />

In the end, I would like to share the lyrics of a<br />

lovely Chinese nursery rhyme that I have a strong<br />

resonance with. It is a song of hope for poor kids<br />

that are struggling in hardships.<br />

Please take my song back to your home<br />

And bring your smile to the tone<br />

Please take my song back to your home<br />

And bring your smile to the tone<br />

Tomorrow this song will be heard<br />

In every corner of the world<br />

In every corner of the world<br />

Tomorrow this smile will be flowers<br />

Blossoming in the springtime like laughter<br />

Blossoming in the springtime like laughter<br />

I interpret the lyrics like this: I am travelling away<br />

and I can’t go home. I sing a song along the way,<br />

hoping that my friends will enjoy it and sing on<br />

the way. If they are touched, encouraged, and<br />

keep passing on this song to others, one day the<br />

song that carries my homesickness will return to<br />

my hometown for me, with the sincere blessings<br />

of everyone I came across in my journey.


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

This Too<br />

Will Close<br />

Words by Cabbage<br />

Art by @0ojin_<br />

A splinter from your front door<br />

Lodged itself in my middle finger.<br />

As I hacked it out with a pin,<br />

I thought,<br />

“This is the last time<br />

Your home is with me.”<br />

8 9<br />

Art by Monic


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

My Youth<br />

During<br />

the Pandemic<br />

Words by Yu Zhang<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

I long for the real interpersonal communication, eye touch and<br />

body language, which are irreplaceable by a small screen.<br />

In the past year and a half, I hardly made any new friends, and<br />

I seldom have any real social activities. For the social animals<br />

that human beings are, it is really maddening.<br />

One day, I opened YouTube to search for the graduation<br />

ceremony video from Monash, and my eyes got moist when I<br />

watched it. I still remember when I first entered Monash more<br />

than two years ago, I went to the Robert Blackwood Hall<br />

with my friend to watch the graduation ceremony for senior<br />

students. With the magnificent sceptre and melodious organ,<br />

every graduate could step onto the stage, be congratulated<br />

by the Vice-Chancellor, accept the certification handed by the<br />

Vice-Chancellor, and enjoy the cheers and applause from the<br />

audience. Countless nights, sunrises and hardships were worth<br />

it at that moment. How I yearn for my day!<br />

Art by Ruby Comte<br />

I cannot remember how many times I<br />

dreamed of going back to school.<br />

At the beginning of 2020, the COVID-19<br />

outbreak erupted.<br />

On 1 February 2020, Australia blocked the<br />

border and restricted the entry of foreigners.<br />

Up to now, the border blockade has not been<br />

lifted.<br />

At that time, the Australian media said that<br />

the vaccine would not be available until April<br />

<strong>2021</strong>, and this day has already passed.<br />

Now online classes have lasted nearly<br />

four semesters. And as an international<br />

student, I stayed at home and took online<br />

classes for a year and a half. In this year<br />

and a half, I missed many opportunities,<br />

such as studying on campus, meeting new<br />

friends, participating in exchange programs,<br />

communicating face to face with teachers,<br />

internship opportunities, volunteering, and<br />

seeing more of Melbourne’s scenery… These<br />

missed opportunities have affected my future<br />

to some extent and even my whole life. I know<br />

that compared to losing my health, my loss is<br />

insignificant, but when I think of what I could<br />

have had, I feel very sad.<br />

When I was a primary school student, my<br />

classmates and I wrote a composition, “A Day<br />

in 2020”. We assumed that in 2020 we could<br />

learn knowledge without going to school.<br />

Homework and lessons would be transmitted<br />

through a high-tech screen. Children in front<br />

of the screen would be excited about not<br />

attending school. Now this scene has been<br />

realised, but the people in front of the screen<br />

are not so happy as in the composition, but<br />

rather very upset and bored.<br />

No more taking a seat in the Matheson<br />

Library, no more club activities, no more<br />

hanging out on campus, no more group<br />

discussion face-to-face... The colourful school<br />

life in the past has become a single colour.<br />

The rift between these expectations and<br />

real life feels like dust, which has made me<br />

breathless for a long time.<br />

This 10-square-metre bedroom has been<br />

my “university” for four semesters. After<br />

discussions with teachers and classmates,<br />

everyone says “Have a good day” to each<br />

other and presses the exit button on Zoom. All<br />

the communication and laughter are cut off<br />

at that moment, leaving only loneliness and<br />

uneasiness in this room.<br />

Now, my English level has regressed, my learning efficiency<br />

has not been as good as I expected, my knowledge has begun<br />

to decline, and my mood has started to be continuously<br />

depressed. Sometimes, I feel depressed and frustrated just<br />

because of some small unsolvable problems. As an upcoming<br />

graduate, I feel unprecedented pressure and anxiety.<br />

The global epidemic is unpredictable and the return-to-school<br />

date is still far away. Facing a black swan incident and the<br />

changeable wave of time, my best friend Shiyu mentioned,<br />

“Thus, when Heaven is about to confer a great office on any<br />

man, it first exercises his mind with suffering, and his sinews<br />

and bones with toil (refers to Mencius, Mengzi Gaozi, Part II).<br />

Think of it as spiritual practice. It seems that this is the only way<br />

to console ourselves.”<br />

Another day, I recalled my study and life in Melbourne with<br />

Shiyu. We found a park on campus where few people came.<br />

I remembered being in a hurry to catch morning classes. I<br />

remembered the lights and sunsets in Melbourne. I remembered<br />

the Winter Fest and the fireworks, recalled the language<br />

bridging classes and the teachers and classmates in the<br />

class, recalled reading a book she recommended to me,<br />

recalled handwriting “Drinking Alone under the Moon”<br />

(by Li Bai) under Melbourne’s moonlight, recalled the kind<br />

neighbour who played the guitar on weekend afternoons...<br />

Shiyu said that if she could go back to school, she<br />

would make time to join the Kendo Club. I said<br />

that I would go to the library to listen to the vinyl<br />

records when I went back. Recalling all this is<br />

like an impossible past, which is warm, full,<br />

and full of hope.<br />

I know this pandemic will end one day, but<br />

my youth will never come back.<br />

10 11


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Studying through<br />

Zoom<br />

Words by Wayne Foo<br />

Australia’s closed borders have greatly affected its<br />

international students, as many of us are unable to enter<br />

Australia and study in person. I am one of them, and this is<br />

my experience of studying online.<br />

I want to start this story from my last semester of high<br />

school, when COVID-19 just broke out.<br />

Last Term of Year 13, February 2020<br />

Content warning: isolation, brief discussion of suicide.<br />

COVID-19 just broke out, meaning that our studies would<br />

continue online. It was novel. We’d never done it before,<br />

and we were just discovering the various aspects of it.<br />

Although I could only connect with my friends online, our<br />

years of camaraderie kept us tight: I could afford to barely<br />

pay attention to my schedule as my friends would be<br />

there on time to spam my socials telling me to go to class.<br />

This period of “Zoom School” was fresh, untainted,<br />

and modern. It wasn’t stressful either because we were<br />

graduating and our final IB exams had just been cancelled<br />

due to COVID-19. Furthermore, studying online was new<br />

for teachers too, and the less tech-savvy ones had a hard<br />

time making the switch, making it effortless for us to slack<br />

off.<br />

I didn’t mind studying online. Or at least, I didn’t think<br />

enough about it to have garnered any negative feelings.<br />

Mid-Year Entry into Monash University, Semester 2,<br />

August 2020<br />

I was accepted into university, but the closed borders<br />

meant I had to start my journey online. As O-Week came<br />

along, I was excited! It was university after all, and I<br />

couldn’t wait to experience the “uni life”, despite having<br />

to start the first bit online. After browsing through the<br />

panoply of online O-Week activities, reading through<br />

almost all the events, I signed up for as many as I could.<br />

Fast forward to the Sunday before the first week of<br />

school, and the excitement was replaced by anxiety and<br />

insecurity. Things were getting real, like holographic<br />

obstacles starting to solidify in Subway Surfers (an<br />

endless runner mobile game), and I had to start paying<br />

attention and manoeuvre around them so as to not trip<br />

and fall. I wasn’t used to not knowing the people around<br />

me, and I was never the most alert or socially aware out<br />

of my group of friends. They tended to fill me in on the<br />

obvious things I missed, and I laughed off the criticism<br />

that came after, knowing I could ask them the next time<br />

anyway. But this was different. I had to navigate the new<br />

premises myself and trust my own judgement that I was<br />

right with no second source of validation.<br />

Was this the right class? Did I sign up for the right units? I<br />

only had one way to find out.<br />

And the obstacles started to appear bigger and faster.<br />

Looking back, one of the most telling events of this time<br />

was the mid-semester break as I cannot recall what<br />

happened in those two weeks now. It was such a blurry<br />

time as I plunged head-first into negligence, escaping<br />

from facing this university life that was nothing like what<br />

I wanted. I continued to plunge deeper and deeper until<br />

I snapped back into reality the Sunday night before<br />

schooling recommenced.<br />

It was the twofold bombardment of disappointment and<br />

the sheer amount of work from university that made it so<br />

difficult; I felt that I was only getting the academic moiety<br />

of university without the social, recreational aspects.<br />

The crux of the so-called “uni life” I looked forward to<br />

appeared so out of reach.<br />

I pictured university to be joining societies, going on road<br />

trips, midnight supper runs, trying out for sports teams<br />

and hopefully getting selected… But here I sat with my<br />

laptop, and that was it.<br />

Second Semester, Semester 1, February <strong>2021</strong><br />

I was still stranded overseas. Summer holiday was more<br />

or less uneventful, as I was afraid to commit to anything<br />

substantial as I was worried – or more accurately, hoped<br />

– that Australia would open their borders so I could leave<br />

this life behind. This life that’s stuck in between two stages,<br />

belonging nowhere.<br />

It was here I started feeling as if my emotions were<br />

trapped in a cycle, like a Ferris wheel of some sort. There<br />

were highs and lows, but it felt mechanical, in that I knew<br />

the lows would inevitably come because that’s just how<br />

my life was. No matter how much I cheered myself up to<br />

persevere through this all, the recorded lectures, Zoom<br />

tutorials, and online group assignments were obstacles<br />

that kept appearing in front of me, and as they got faster<br />

and faster, I’d eventually crash, sinking into desolation.<br />

But after a short while I’d always restart and try to look on<br />

the bright side, despite knowing I was most likely going to<br />

end up crashing again. It was just how it inevitably was,<br />

and I was doing my best.<br />

These crashes could come out of nowhere. There were<br />

days where I struggled to do anything because I was<br />

reminded of what I was missing out on. These reminders<br />

include: an Instagram post of a group of friends joking<br />

around in a bar, the “varsity bars” playlist on Spotify that<br />

I saved, and a plate of spaghetti.<br />

However, this was some improvement from my first<br />

semester where everything was just grey and bleak. I<br />

found my productivity to have improved from my first<br />

semester as I no longer spent too much time dwelling in<br />

disappointment, but I think that was just a product of<br />

time.<br />

Mid-Semester Break of Third Semester, Semester 2,<br />

September <strong>2021</strong> (Time of Writing)<br />

I feel like I’ve grown numb to studying online. After all, this<br />

is all I’ve known for almost a year and a half.<br />

I’m doing much better now, but it’s a somewhat<br />

inexplicable feeling; the best way I can put it is that I’ve<br />

grown numb to the negative aspects – I have simply<br />

gotten used to it. I’ve also made more efforts to engage<br />

with my university online, and these efforts have been<br />

extremely rewarding! I am now a committee member<br />

of a student society, and I’ve made good friends along<br />

the way. I no longer fear not knowing something as I<br />

have people to ask when I need help. Because of these<br />

changes, I have slowly regained the anticipation and<br />

excitement of going to Melbourne to study, just like how I<br />

was in my first O-Week more than a year ago.<br />

Don’t get me wrong, it is still difficult to study online, and<br />

the Ferris wheel that imprisons my emotions is still there.<br />

There still are days where everything comes crashing<br />

down as I succumb to the tough reality of studying online,<br />

but these days have become much more infrequent.<br />

The Ferris wheel now spins slower and more gracefully<br />

around the top, poised and twinkling.<br />

A Few Ending Words<br />

Sorry to disappoint the readers that read this in hopes<br />

of finding ways to effectively deal with the hardships of<br />

studying online, as I’ve struggled to find the magical cure<br />

as well. It was time, the universal panacea that washed<br />

away the pain slowly for me. I’ve wondered whether<br />

this was a healthy solution, but I have concluded that it<br />

doesn’t matter because I am finally happier and able to<br />

live my life with more positivity. To be fair, this is a very<br />

personal issue, and we all have our own ways of dealing<br />

with it. But I will encourage people that are struggling with<br />

studying online to try your best to engage, just like how<br />

you would do if you were physically at university. After all,<br />

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

others that you can relate to.<br />

On that note, personally, I’ve found it inconsiderate for<br />

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

an attempt to underplay and dismiss the difficulty in<br />

studying online. Just because many are struggling doesn’t<br />

mean that it isn’t an issue major enough to be affected<br />

by. To put this into perspective, there have been students<br />

that have committed suicide because of the difficulties<br />

associated with online learning. This is a global mental<br />

health issue that should be dealt with seriously.<br />

I want to end this with the thought I’ve gone to sleep<br />

with almost every night since university started, a simple<br />

but momentous thought shared by most of us offshore<br />

students: hopefully the Australian borders open soon so<br />

we can finally step on campus and experience university<br />

the way we envisioned it.<br />

Why the spaghetti? Because it wasn’t a plate of spaghetti<br />

in Australia. The fresh tomatoes in the sauce were not from<br />

the place where I was supposed to be living my life.<br />

12 13<br />

Art by Ruby Comte


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Four Walls.<br />

so little to trick the mind into security.<br />

adorned with frames, pictures and paints; and<br />

Four Walls become a home.<br />

roofed by a sunrise, I awake to crisp white sheets.<br />

why should he return? when the streets are bountiful<br />

plentiful with adventure for a man as frosty white as he.<br />

I frost myself too. Dimming my golden skin<br />

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

scarves to choke my neck; coats to flatten my shadow;<br />

a fat cheque that binds my ring finger.<br />

Business is booming. Exotic is enticing.<br />

something else you can hide in that black briefcase.<br />

who am I to complain, a pariah on showcase?<br />

I may be a guest to your country, but you are a guest to my streets.<br />

adjust your yellow tie, twirl your brassy buttons,<br />

lick those plump lips and eye my red lacy figure,<br />

perfectly manicured to your taste, sugary and spicy,<br />

silent and ghostly, you will only see me once<br />

before the amassing Night claims me as its own.<br />

double, triple check that everything is in place.<br />

roll my shoulders back, head up, expressionless,<br />

bags twisted around my wrists and purse safely in my coat,<br />

I am ready to venture the streets. if you believe<br />

you belong, no one gives you a second glance.<br />

Except that group of adolescent boys who coo obscenities<br />

and exchange validating smirks before coalescing<br />

into clusters of hedonistic barnacles, timeless.<br />

Except that gentle, frail man who squints his eyes<br />

and writhes his lips into accusations of stealing<br />

their jobs – chaperoned by spit in my wake.<br />

Except that beggar with empty hands and empty<br />

paper cups, littered aesthetically like flowers<br />

strewn on his crude cardboard headstone. beyond<br />

his matted howling hair, his hungry eyes meet mine.<br />

double, triple check that everything is in place.<br />

14 15<br />

Four Walls<br />

Words by KBane<br />

Content warning: racism and explicit language<br />

the Night swept me towards transient flickers of pulses<br />

that grandly camp on cardboard boxes. rabid,<br />

they feast on platters of trash, snatching and hoarding:<br />

Euphoria haunts these narrow alleyways. a lone barista<br />

ends her shift, hunched forward and arms crossed<br />

until her fingertips turn blue underneath wolverine Fists.<br />

notorious pairs stalk their chosen prey; she belongs<br />

in a dollhouse, porcelain, precarious on pink stilettos,<br />

oblivious to menacing silhouettes. Tranquilised.<br />

flickering streetlights contour harsh lines but fail<br />

to distinguish the good from bad. vagrants swarm<br />

My capricious streets and I let them frame my prowl.<br />

how I yearn for their punctured forearms to replace<br />

My cinnamon skin: to be forgotten in alleyways,<br />

free of these thick red limbs made for Your arrowhead.<br />

Your lacklustre eyes arrest Me, I cannot –<br />

my purse safely tucked away from his insatiable eyes,<br />

and my eyes safely directed to the next bend.<br />

why was turning a corner as risky as crossing a road?<br />

laboured breaths borne from a leisurely stroll,<br />

unwelcome eye contact, unwelcome eye contact.<br />

the patchwork skin doesn’t peel until I reach<br />

My tower, towering over mean streets and<br />

gloating to fleeting faces. I retreat to the safety of<br />

my Four Walls.<br />

Deign your green company. Grip my wrist, how hastily<br />

You have ventriloquised Me. Sink your fangs into my skin and<br />

Steal my corpse, lick your claws, and hide the goddamn body.<br />

Your mute wife will wash my perfume that lingers on your shirt<br />

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


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Fingerprint<br />

Signatures<br />

Words by Husna Siddiqi<br />

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

Content warning: references to blood, diseases, hospitals.<br />

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

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

men in the North, the waters melting into the Indus, Ganga, Yamuna, until these ancient,<br />

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

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

to go or what to say.<br />

When pillars fall and debris trembles, how do you assemble gallantry against crownless<br />

fascists, leaning back in glass rooms, with cobwebs in their souls. Disfiguring and<br />

demolishing through fingerprint signatures. When citizens that call, text and tweet for<br />

help get dragged into rooms darker than dungeons, when shrieks and cries resonate<br />

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

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

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

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

sickness. Still, you know that someone is listening.<br />

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

pernicious handshakes, grasping each other to milk money and blood in self-indulgence,<br />

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

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

This plague is a machete, slashing pretence and inanity from all thought and agency,<br />

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

for guidance through the murk in the air, for the mercy of untainted ice scouring our<br />

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

debris trembles, the soil, sand and waters anticipate the One who will level the Earth<br />

and correct all wrongs.<br />

16<br />

16<br />

17<br />

17


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Seeing Myself<br />

Onscreen<br />

Shameless’ Portrayal of Bipolar Disorder<br />

Content warning: mental health, discussion of<br />

violence and police.<br />

As someone with bipolar disorder, I’m always<br />

apprehensive whenever there is a bipolar storyline<br />

in a TV show. More often than not it either leans<br />

too far into, or doesn’t take the time to go beyond,<br />

stereotypes (Degrassi: The Next Generation, with<br />

both Craig and Eli) or is just overall lacking and<br />

disappointing (Andrew DeLuca getting killed off<br />

in Grey’s Anatomy not long after his diagnosis).<br />

Representation has been improving as more people<br />

with bipolar are both behind and on screen (such<br />

as GaTa in Dave) with the importance of voices<br />

from those with lived experiences finally being<br />

acknowledged. Other recent depictions include<br />

Silver Linings Playbook, Touched With Fire (named<br />

after Kay Redfield Jamison’s book, but unrelated),<br />

Empire, The Other Half and Homeland.<br />

But capturing an illness so tainted by personal<br />

perception is quite difficult.<br />

Words by Ferris Knight<br />

One show that endeavoured to get it right was<br />

Shameless (US).<br />

After a 10-year run, Shameless wrapped up this year,<br />

the Gallagher legacy not so much over but rather<br />

coming full-circle. Shameless was a comedy-drama<br />

about a dysfunctional family who live in poverty in<br />

the South Side of Chicago. Featuring an ensemble<br />

cast with an alcoholic and drug addict for a<br />

patriarch (Frank), the six Gallagher siblings (Fiona,<br />

Lip, Ian, Debbie, Carl and Liam) and neighbours<br />

(Kev and V) are their own chaotic support network in<br />

absence of parental figures.<br />

The third oldest sibling, Ian (played by Cameron<br />

Monaghan) is described as “industrious,<br />

conscientious, ambitious, and with an incredible<br />

work effort” (S01 E01). But in season three, after his<br />

boyfriend Mickey marries a woman, he steals his<br />

brother Lip’s ID and joins the army.<br />

On his return in season four, Ian is different – he’s<br />

very talkative, with a rush of ideas, and now works<br />

at a strip club since having gone AWOL. At the end<br />

of the season he crashes into depression, unable<br />

to get out of bed, and his siblings start to suspect<br />

that he has bipolar disorder like their absent, addict<br />

mother Monica (whose entire personality is that she<br />

won’t take her medication).<br />

“Too much! Too much is wrong with me. That’s the<br />

problem isn’t it? Too much is wrong with me, and<br />

you can’t do anything about that. You can’t change<br />

it. You can’t fix me. Because I’m not broken, I don’t<br />

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

Some people learn about mental illness through<br />

media. Others learn through experience.<br />

I was diagnosed when I was eighteen years old.<br />

Bipolar I, with rapid cycling tacked on later. A few<br />

years of difficult mental health culminated in a<br />

manic episode where I walked around the city in the<br />

early hours of the morning looking for someone to<br />

dance with.<br />

It seems benign enough, until I say that my brain<br />

figured that the easy way to find people was to go<br />

on the freeway and attempt to flag cars down to<br />

make a new friend during morning peak-hour. At the<br />

time I was a skinny, young girl with white privilege,<br />

so when the police came they asked me if I had ever<br />

heard of “mania” rather than assuming something<br />

else. I screamed back, “I have depression”. It wasn’t,<br />

and isn’t, that simple to get a diagnosis – at this<br />

point I’d struggled for six years. In the hospital they<br />

interviewed friends and family who visited, and<br />

finally a doctor gave me a few photocopied pages<br />

from a book, blocking out the title so I didn’t know<br />

what it was about, and asked me to highlight what<br />

I associated with. I had been medicated for a few<br />

days by this point so I could do the task (with a bit<br />

of other unrelated doodling).<br />

This is the sanitised version of my experience. The<br />

un-sanitised version would talk about the hell I’ve<br />

put my family and friends through, the decade of<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

18 19<br />

struggling to manage my condition and how it is<br />

still under only feeble control, twenty sessions of<br />

ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), and of switching<br />

medication often to try and find anything that will<br />

take the extremes off.<br />

Telling my own story to strangers, I have liberty<br />

with what I do and do not share. I can omit aspects<br />

of my personal story, either to present myself as<br />

more together than I am, or to make myself the<br />

joke before someone else does. Without intending<br />

to, I share the aspects people are expecting to<br />

hear, based on the stories they already know –<br />

usually from media – not wanting to confront their<br />

preconception of what bipolar can be. It’s the<br />

closest I can get to being palatable.<br />

“I don’t feel manic but I never feel it when I’m manic<br />

– I just feel fine, or great, until obviously I’m not ‘coz<br />

I did something crazy” (S07 E03).<br />

Season five starts with Ian telling Fiona his recent<br />

mood swings were due to drugs and that he’s cut<br />

down. Over the season he experiences mania again,<br />

planning to shoot a pastor (violence, while it can<br />

take place, is more likely to happen to those with<br />

mental illnesses rather than be perpetrated by<br />

those with mental illnesses), stealing a lot of useless<br />

luggage from the airport, participating in porn with<br />

someone he’s just met and no protection, and finally<br />

running away, taking Mickey’s baby on a road trip.<br />

He’s wired – hypersexual, paranoid, functioning<br />

without sleep, has a lack of inhibition and flight of<br />

ideas. After being taken in by the police, his family<br />

and boyfriend convince him to admit himself to<br />

hospital for treatment where he is diagnosed.<br />

But it isn’t that simple. Or at least, for me, it also<br />

wasn’t that simple. In some ways, the writing of<br />

Ian’s character felt like an apology for the show’s<br />

previous portrayal with Monica. He goes through<br />

denial of his diagnosis. He faces repercussions for<br />

things he did while manic on multiple occasions. The<br />

medication is uncomfortable as he adjusts onto it.


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

He struggles with how he views himself and how his<br />

life can look after diagnosis, and then challenges<br />

not just himself but also how others perceive his<br />

capability. The medication doesn’t magically fix<br />

everything, and he has relapses.<br />

His story is messy. My story is messy.<br />

His story isn’t linear. My story isn’t linear.<br />

His story is, at times, awkward. My story, my life, is<br />

generally awkward.<br />

It reminded me of asking my psychiatrist why I<br />

keep making the same mistakes and going off my<br />

medication – she said that it is not a lesson I am<br />

failing to learn, but part of the illness.<br />

Privilege must be acknowledged. Ian and I both had<br />

experiences with police who assumed mental illness<br />

and did not threaten with weapons. Here in Australia<br />

and in the US people of colour are not given that<br />

same care.<br />

We both also had family stick by us, something<br />

many are not lucky enough to have.<br />

There were some really powerful moments, such as<br />

when he breaks up with Mickey because he’s not<br />

sure that he can handle the diagnosis. Here I saw<br />

my distancing myself from the idea of romantic<br />

relationships in case I’m ‘too much’.<br />

With the support of a new boyfriend, he applies to<br />

be an EMT. He passes with full marks, but they ask<br />

on the forms about history of mental health. He lies<br />

so that he gets the job, but is quickly caught and<br />

fired. He comes back and advocates for himself,<br />

getting his job back. He displays fear and anxiety,<br />

but also strength, and this taught me that I should<br />

have strength too, and that when I advocate for<br />

myself, I’m not just doing so for myself but others as<br />

well.<br />

Later, after another breakup, his medication goes<br />

out of whack and he starts having manic symptoms.<br />

His brother helps him take his medication, because<br />

to Ian he feels fine; he is not objective enough to see<br />

that he is getting ill again.<br />

“Bullshit. What do you think I should’ve done?<br />

Would you have hired me if I had checked that box<br />

that said I had a mental illness? What kind of choice<br />

is that? Tell the truth, you don’t get the job, lie…<br />

maybe they’ll never find out, what would you do?<br />

You’d lie. So would you. So would you. You think<br />

because I’m bipolar, an illness that I am managing<br />

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

refuse to hire me if I was in a wheelchair, if I had a<br />

physical handicap or HIV. No, because it is illegal to<br />

discriminate against someone who is handicapped<br />

and I… I am handicapped. It’s not my fault, I<br />

didn’t do anything to bring this on myself. I have a<br />

disease” (S06 E12).<br />

I took my own journey the long way around. I<br />

thought, with this diagnosis, there was no hope<br />

unless it mirrored those twenty-minute episodes with<br />

instant and continual recovery. Seeing Ian, I finally<br />

saw someone who didn’t have it that easy, but<br />

he also learned, loved, had aspirations, and built<br />

himself up again and again. So maybe I, or you too<br />

perhaps, can make that reality and not just fiction.<br />

20 21<br />

Art by James Spencer


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Crunch<br />

Words by Huang Yanchao<br />

“I managed to ask my dad,” Wei Wen<br />

said. “About what he thinks of me.” A long<br />

weekend had just ended, which meant his<br />

dad finally had a bit of free time away from<br />

his hectic work schedule.<br />

“What did he say? Was he surprised?”<br />

Teng Ye asked, with a hint of guilt in his<br />

voice – one that he hoped Wei Wen, but not<br />

others, could have detected. As high school<br />

students, they became the most unlikely<br />

friends; Teng Ye being the goody-two-shoes<br />

prefect, and Wei Wen as the mischievous<br />

class clown. They seemed to understand<br />

each other in a way that puzzled both their<br />

teachers and schoolmates, and acted as if<br />

they had known each other for decades.<br />

They were sitting on a bench near a familyowned<br />

convenience store somewhere in<br />

between their houses. The owners had<br />

watched the pair of boys growing up,<br />

their respective families had sent them<br />

on errands to the store if they needed<br />

groceries or condiments that didn’t warrant<br />

a drive to the market. After they became<br />

best friends in high school, they frequented<br />

the store as a place to hang out after<br />

school or during the holidays. They usually<br />

bought canned soda and snacks, and<br />

popsicles during the hotter months. Now, of<br />

legal drinking age, they got beer instead,<br />

but with the same snacks.<br />

“Yes, he was surprised,” Wei Wen<br />

continued. “Wait, I think he was more<br />

stunned than surprised. But I had downed<br />

a couple of wines with him to make sure he<br />

was ready to talk.”<br />

Teng Ye smiled.<br />

A continuation of<br />

“Pop-Hiss” (<strong>Edition</strong> 1, <strong>2021</strong>),<br />

“Crack” (<strong>Edition</strong> 2, <strong>2021</strong>), and<br />

“Chop” (<strong>Edition</strong> 4, <strong>2021</strong>).<br />

“That’s smart,” he said. “I might consider<br />

using that tactic.” The tone of guilt was<br />

more obvious now. He placed a prawn<br />

cracker into his mouth and sucked. He<br />

then chewed it after most of the flavour<br />

had been sucked out, but before it had<br />

completely softened to a pulp. He always<br />

ate prawn crackers like this, somewhere<br />

in between a crispy cracker and a mushy<br />

sludge.<br />

“Don’t worry about it,” Wei Wen said. “I<br />

know we both promised to ask our parents<br />

about how they thought of us as their<br />

children, but I figured it would be harder for<br />

you to breach the topic. Hell, it was hard for<br />

me too.”<br />

Teng Ye heaved a sigh of relief upon hearing<br />

Wei Wen’s words. He had been afraid that<br />

his best friend would get angry at him for<br />

failing to complete his promised task of<br />

asking his parents, even though he knew<br />

that Wei Wen had never acted that way<br />

before. He sucked on another stick of prawn<br />

cracker again.<br />

There was a long pause before Wei Wen<br />

continued. “Anyway, the TLDR version of<br />

it was, Dad said he wasn’t angry at me or<br />

anything. But he did wish that he had the<br />

chance to spend more time with me and my<br />

sister.”<br />

Teng Ye narrowed his eyes and pondered.<br />

“Hmmm, not angry at you? What did you<br />

ask him exactly?”<br />

Wei Wen was surprised at the question,<br />

probably as much as his dad had been.<br />

A flood of shame was starting to fill him,<br />

stopping his words as they were about to<br />

come out. He popped four cheese rings into<br />

his mouth and chewed them to buy time.<br />

He always ate cheese rings like this, three,<br />

sometimes four, occasionally five at a time.<br />

Teng Ye knew better than to press him for<br />

an answer.<br />

“I… I asked if he saw me as a<br />

disappointment.”<br />

Teng Ye paused. “I see. That’s to the point.<br />

And bold.”<br />

“I mean, what’s the worst he’s going to<br />

do? Just avoid the question and walk off<br />

angrily, probably. It’s not like I see him<br />

much anyway.” Wei Wen chuckled, with<br />

a hint of sadness he hoped Teng Ye could<br />

detect.<br />

“But it turned out well, right?”<br />

“Yeah, fortunately.”<br />

“Did you really think he was disappointed<br />

in you? Before you asked him, of course.”<br />

“Yeah. I mean, why shouldn’t he be?” Wei<br />

Wen was looking tense. The shame of not<br />

being an “ideal child” started to fill him.<br />

Memories of the adults in his life replayed<br />

in his mind. His father was exhausted from<br />

working 14 or 16 hours a day to put food<br />

on the table and to pay for his grandma’s<br />

medical bills. His mother, struggling to<br />

juggle being a caregiver to a Parkinson’sstricken<br />

possibly-depressed grandmother,<br />

and being a mother to him and his younger<br />

sister. His relatives reprimanding him for his<br />

poor results. His teachers scolding him for<br />

his mischief.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

22 23<br />

Art by Ruby Comte 22 23<br />

And after all these experiences he<br />

gradually was convinced that he was a<br />

huge disappointment. So he became the<br />

funny guy, the class clown, the one who<br />

brought laughter to everyone around him,<br />

to get people to pay more attention to him.<br />

Though things got better, he still feared that<br />

he was a disappointment.<br />

Teng Ye tried to comfort his friend.<br />

“You aren’t, Wei Wen. You aren’t a<br />

disappointment. Especially since you have<br />

gone through so much...”<br />

“Ha! The pot calling the kettle black!!” Wei<br />

Wen cut him off, chuckling. “Doesn’t that<br />

apply to you too?”<br />

Teng Ye laughed guiltily. His friend was<br />

right. Wen Wen had tried to comfort him<br />

that he was doing his best despite all that<br />

he was going through. He had feared that<br />

if he did not do well in school he would not<br />

be loved. Like Wei Wen, he was afraid to<br />

disappoint people. Not doing well enough<br />

in school used to mean he would get a dose<br />

of shame and guilt from his late aunt, who<br />

passed away earlier that year. She had<br />

been very strict with him when she tutored<br />

him during his primary school days, which<br />

probably led to Teng Ye developing a deep<br />

disdain for personal failure.<br />

The light of the convenience store went out.<br />

A plump elderly man in his late 60s waddled<br />

out, shuttered the shop and waved to the<br />

duo. They waved back.<br />

Teng Ye drank the last of the beer in his<br />

can. He held it in his hand and stared at its<br />

cylindrical shape, deep in thought. Then he<br />

tilted so that he could see the top of the can<br />

and the opening which the beer had been<br />

poured out of. He let out his breath and<br />

turned to a waiting Wei Wen.


“Hey, you mind if I crush this one?”<br />

It caught Wei Wen by surprise again. Wei<br />

Wen had always been the designated cancrusher<br />

of the duo, and Teng Ye had always<br />

given him his drink cans. It had just always<br />

been that way between them.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

misaligned. The disappointment on Teng<br />

Ye’s face was as bright as the nearby street<br />

lamps. It was a simple task, yet he could not<br />

do it.<br />

But Wei Wen was in motion. “It’s alright! We<br />

still got cans!”<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Art by Kathy Lee<br />

Amused, Wei Wen replied, “Well, sure!”<br />

Teng Ye sheepishly placed the empty can<br />

somewhere beneath his feet. He started<br />

to feel a little tense. Wei Wen always did<br />

it with ease. But then again, he had been<br />

doing it for years.<br />

Wei Wen noticed his hesitation. “Just crush<br />

it. Keep your sole parallel to the ground.<br />

Step on it with your heel.”<br />

Those words were familiar to Teng Ye. He<br />

had asked Wei Wen how he crushed it so<br />

that the lid ended up directly above the<br />

base, and the answer was the same as<br />

what he had just heard. So he took a deep<br />

breath and drove his foot down.<br />

Clang! went the can, as it bounced off the<br />

pavement and a couple of metres away.<br />

Wei Wen bounced up from his seat and<br />

chased after it. The can’s lid was partly<br />

folded down into the can. It looked like a<br />

triangle from the side. Wei Wen did his best<br />

to straighten the can and placed it beneath<br />

a disappointed Teng Ye’s feet.<br />

“Try again!” he encouraged. Teng Ye<br />

pushed aside his feelings of disappointment<br />

and shame and raised his leg again<br />

nervously.<br />

Crunch-crack!<br />

It was not the crisp crunch that they were<br />

used to hearing. The can was crushed,<br />

yes, but the lid and base were very much<br />

He downed the remainder of his beer in<br />

seconds and placed the newly emptied can<br />

at Teng Ye’s feet, all while half-kneeling.<br />

“Okay bro, just drive it down. This time,<br />

don’t hesitate.”<br />

Teng Ye nodded. He took another deep<br />

breath and drove his foot down.<br />

Crunch!<br />

The metallic sound filled the air as the walls<br />

of the can collapsed under the pressure of<br />

Teng Ye’s foot.<br />

He picked it up and inspected it. There was<br />

a smile on his face, one of satisfaction and<br />

relief.<br />

Wei Wen smiled too. “Yeah, I think you<br />

hesitated on the first two tries. Maybe that’s<br />

why the can had the chance to move. Next<br />

time, just drive it down.”<br />

Teng Ye nodded. “Thanks! So that’s your<br />

secret,” he said, laughing.<br />

Wei Wen chuckled. “You know, it also<br />

applies to asking our respective fathers<br />

difficult questions! Just drive it down.”<br />

It took Teng Ye by surprise, but then he<br />

understood and smiled.<br />

“Okay. Just drive it down.”<br />

24 25<br />

24 25


Art by Ruby Comte<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Truck<br />

Words by Flynn Howard<br />

Along the line it pulls<br />

Great motor<br />

Dogged chain<br />

Amongst the steel we begin<br />

Clung to the belly<br />

Logistics, of<br />

Many men<br />

Man machines<br />

Do not stand<br />

Under load<br />

Understand not<br />

Your greasy lot<br />

Cords cry out<br />

Air-lines bulge<br />

Concrete creaks beneath<br />

Steel reflects<br />

Surrendered self<br />

Back to thee<br />

Sirens sound again<br />

To the table<br />

Ushered we<br />

Extra sugar<br />

Thrice more<br />

Long black,<br />

Black tea<br />

26 27


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Picture Yourself in their<br />

Shoes<br />

The Plight of Afghan Refugees<br />

In And the Mountains Echoed, Afghan<br />

American author Khaled Hosseini wrote that<br />

Kabul was “a thousand tragedies a mile”.<br />

While not written in the present-day context,<br />

these words are true for the current situation<br />

in Afghanistan.<br />

On 15 August, Kabul fell to the Taliban, and<br />

the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, as<br />

designed by the United States after the 9/11<br />

Attacks, was brought to an end. This came<br />

only months after the final withdrawal of U.S.<br />

troops which sparked the fall of provincial<br />

capitals in quick succession. President<br />

Ghani and other government officials fled as<br />

international governments tried to evacuate<br />

their citizens and diplomatic officials.<br />

Left behind to fend for themselves were<br />

millions of Afghan citizens who were exposed<br />

to the uncertainties and dangers of a Taliban<br />

Government for the first time in two decades.<br />

For many this is a new experience and for<br />

others it evokes feelings of déjà vu. Mothers<br />

and fathers now fear for the safety and<br />

futures of their children who they hoped could<br />

avoid such a fate. Educators worry for the<br />

quality of the learning in their classrooms and<br />

the equal opportunity for women to learn.<br />

Human rights activists agonise over potential<br />

persecution due to the progressive reforms<br />

they sought under the old regime.<br />

Perspective of a Monash student<br />

Content warning: death, conflict.<br />

Many Afghans who had ties to Western governments<br />

and their defence forces, such as Australia,<br />

sought the help of these countries in seeking<br />

asylum. It is estimated that 4,100 people (which<br />

includes Australian citizens) were evacuated<br />

by the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) in the<br />

final days that Western soldiers were permitted<br />

to occupy areas of Hamid Karzai International<br />

Airport. This was far in excess of what the Australian<br />

Government initially supported, with<br />

this number driven up through Australian civil<br />

society pressure. Australia’s commitment was<br />

in addition to efforts from other countries such<br />

as the United States who evacuated around<br />

124,000 people. While this may sound significant,<br />

hundreds of thousands were still left behind,<br />

unable to be evacuated and forced to<br />

face a harsh new reality.<br />

Those who had the chance to seek asylum<br />

did not have an easy journey leaving. Getting<br />

a humanitarian visa did not guarantee<br />

safety. Citizens had to battle through the<br />

streets and pass countless checkpoints to<br />

just get to the airport and to the protection<br />

of foreign militaries. Roads were congested<br />

with thousands enroute to the airport,<br />

phone reception was blocked to mitigate<br />

communication with foreign officials, and<br />

Taliban forces would brutally and arbitrarily<br />

attack innocent individuals to deter them from<br />

leaving. Many just ran on adrenaline to get<br />

through the checkpoints, not having eaten or<br />

had anything to drink in days. Desperation<br />

could be seen with the people flocking into<br />

military planes and clinging to the sides of<br />

them as they took off, only for them to fall to<br />

their deaths.<br />

This situation also hit closer to home for the<br />

Monash community. The Monash University<br />

Gender, Peace and Security Centre (Monash<br />

GPS) along with the Monash Chancellery and<br />

members of the Monash International Affairs<br />

Society (MIAS) worked together to evacuate<br />

11 individuals from Kabul. Monash GPS and<br />

MIAS established the Towards Inclusive<br />

Peace debate series in 2020 with Afghans for<br />

Progressive Thinking (APT). Conducting seven<br />

debates over 2020 and <strong>2021</strong>, students from<br />

Monash University and APT participated in<br />

debates via Zoom about the Afghan peace<br />

process. An eight debate was planned which<br />

had to be postponed due to the Taliban<br />

takeover.<br />

APT is a youth leadership organisation which<br />

fosters discussion on progressive policies in<br />

Afghanistan. It has coordinated dialogue with<br />

high ranking political and civil society leaders<br />

and trained students on debating and public<br />

speaking. 28 students along with numerous<br />

staff members from APT worked with<br />

Monash University over the past two years in<br />

running these debates, either through direct<br />

participation or support. This relationship<br />

pre-existed the debate series with Monash<br />

GPS making initial connections with APT. With<br />

the fall of Kabul, all our colleagues became<br />

potential targets for the new government due<br />

to their activism and beliefs.<br />

During these dire times, dedicated staff and<br />

students got together to help our friends in<br />

Kabul. Not only did many of us feel a sense of<br />

responsibility through our involvement in the<br />

debate series, but we wanted to help. A wide<br />

group reached out to contacts for assistance<br />

and utilised all our resources to get<br />

humanitarian visas for our APT colleagues.<br />

Once humanitarian visas were received came<br />

the arduous process of getting out of the<br />

city. It took days and nights of monitoring,<br />

surveillance, and liaising to ensure that<br />

they each passed the checkpoints and got<br />

to the safety of the ADF. While we helped<br />

from Melbourne, they struggled through the<br />

streets, pushing through hoards of people<br />

before it was too late to leave.<br />

Thousands have now left their countries,<br />

including the 11 scholars and their<br />

dependents that Monash University has<br />

helped. Imagine having to leave behind<br />

your homes, members of your family, and<br />

everything you have come to know. Picture<br />

pushing through crowded and dangerous<br />

streets for a chance of being evacuated,<br />

getting hit by Taliban soldiers. Then once you<br />

are in safety, waiting to leave for Australia<br />

and then quarantining for two weeks, you<br />

dwell upon everything you have lost and<br />

wonder what is to come next. When any of us<br />

go abroad for work, education, or a holiday,<br />

we plan our trip for months and go with the<br />

expectation of coming back. Our Afghan<br />

friends had no time to think, no time to plan,<br />

and they have no expectation of going home.<br />

As a community we have a moral<br />

responsibility to come together and help<br />

our Afghan friends. The University has gone<br />

above and beyond in assisting with logistics<br />

and settlement in Australia. You too can help<br />

and show your support. Monash University<br />

is currently raising funds for humanitarian<br />

scholarships and to assist in living costs.<br />

Our friends and colleagues have uprooted<br />

their lives and came here with nothing. It is<br />

quick and simple to donate and by doing so<br />

you will help them restart their lives. You can<br />

also show support by raising awareness for<br />

the plight of the broader Afghan diaspora<br />

by writing to your local MPs and mobilising<br />

your professional networks. It only takes one<br />

person to make a major difference.<br />

Some of you may ask “why should I help?”<br />

Well, I leave you with this thought. Imagine<br />

if you were in this situation. Would you like<br />

the help and kindness of others shown to you<br />

because you too deserve to have a future?<br />

To donate to the Monash University<br />

Emergency Appeal, please visit this website.<br />

28 29


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

The Pizza Shop<br />

Words by Clara Yew<br />

The following Friday you are invited to an<br />

old friend’s party. You have always felt guilty<br />

for not reaching out to them. Apparently, the<br />

feeling is mutual and here you are.<br />

◇<br />

Tonight the curtain rises on a pizza shop. But<br />

the pizza shop doesn’t have to be a pizza shop.<br />

Our scene is currently set out in the suburbs,<br />

and so it is a pizza shop, but that’s not always<br />

the case. For an inner-city iteration with all<br />

its sparkly lights, it could be a jazzy sushi bar,<br />

the kind with a little train and everything. In a<br />

sleepy coastal town, it could be a dusty old fish<br />

and chip shop. Whatever is on the back wall<br />

doesn’t really matter.<br />

It’s a metaphor anyway. A metaphor filled with<br />

cute little sub-metaphors, like a metaphorical<br />

babushka in the shape of a pizza shop.<br />

The pizza shop is always open. You’ve never<br />

seen anyone go in, yet it always seems busy.<br />

There are a bunch of teens who sit in the<br />

parking lot plucking the pepperoni off a pizza<br />

box on the floor most nights.<br />

You’ve heard it’s the best store in town.<br />

Every time you try to go in, it’s closed.<br />

Sometimes there is a person wiping down the<br />

counter. If you stand there long enough you can<br />

make vague assumptions about their gender,<br />

ethnicity, and age. But you’re never really<br />

sure. The blinds in the front window close very<br />

quickly.<br />

You’ve tried ordering in. The photos look<br />

so good on UberEats. The photos always<br />

look good. At least once a week you see an<br />

Instagram story of another friend or friend of<br />

a friend’s cousin’s hairdresser’s nephew’s sons’<br />

ballet teacher eating at the pizza shop. But the<br />

pizza delivered is a little hit-and-miss. Any photo<br />

can look good if edited enough. Then again,<br />

any photographer will tell you that an image<br />

must already be of a certain quality to be<br />

salvageable in the editing process.<br />

The pizza shop is run by a couple of a certain<br />

age and a few part-timers who are about as<br />

diverse as a university pamphlet. The age of the<br />

couple is as secret as the recipe to their locally<br />

famous, about-to-go-viral pizza base. The parttimers<br />

will either take it to their grave or have no<br />

idea in the first place.<br />

There are dozens of framed photos nailed to<br />

the walls by someone enthusiastic but inexpert.<br />

If anyone ever asks, all the part-timers point<br />

at each other and eventually blame it on<br />

“someone from the previous shift”. Even their<br />

bosses are in on the joke. The Beatles and Taylor<br />

Swift are exclusively on shuffle.<br />

You try to go into the pizza shop again.<br />

◇<br />

It’s a Friday night. You walk through the front<br />

parking lot at an hour that is different from<br />

your routine childhood dinnertime. But you are<br />

hungry, so it’s time for dinner. The teenagers<br />

are whooping and/or singing, you are not too<br />

sure, but they are definitely doing that thing<br />

where they seem to hang limply from each<br />

other’s limbs.<br />

The ‘open’ sign flickers ominously and beckons<br />

you as you approach. You make eye contact<br />

with one of the part-timers who nods at you as<br />

the sign switches off for the night. The counter<br />

wiper is there too, very characteristically wiping<br />

down the counter. The two employees laugh in<br />

their own conversation and somehow it rubs<br />

you the wrong way.<br />

There are the right number of people in the<br />

house and the music is not too loud. Someone<br />

is recently engaged. Someone is working two<br />

casual jobs while completing a dissertation.<br />

Someone is going on a soul search through the<br />

outback. You talk to a few people, but mostly<br />

you are listening. It is hard to chew with your<br />

mouth full after all.<br />

The pizza is divine.<br />

It is from a pizza shop your old friend swears<br />

by. You know the one.<br />

As you leave you trip over some pepperoni and<br />

one of the teenagers offers you a tissue while<br />

the others help you up. Some of them murmur in<br />

You will be returning to the pizza shop.<br />

a language you do not understand. They sound<br />

concerned.<br />

30 31<br />

◇<br />

You are drenched in the middle of the week on a<br />

day where the weather forecast indicated there<br />

was no need to take an umbrella out. You had<br />

foolishly agreed with it.<br />

You hurry past the pizza shop without a second<br />

glance. The part-timer who constantly wipes<br />

down the counter calls you in, and the yellow<br />

light emanating from the store casts a faint<br />

effervescent glow around the entrance.<br />

The pizza shop is warmer than it looks.<br />

The two of you make small talk about the<br />

big questions. You are delighted to find that<br />

the weather outside and your shared sense<br />

of humour can be described with opposing<br />

adjectives. You have never been so interested to<br />

hear about someone’s dissertation in your life.<br />

Far too many hours after the rain has stopped,<br />

and the counter has been wiped down too<br />

many times, you leave, slice of pizza to-go in<br />

hand. One of the teenagers in the parking lot<br />

gives you a thumbs up. You return it.<br />

Art by Kathy Lee


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Take My Wings Back<br />

Words by Kimia<br />

It’s a lie if I say I’m yours<br />

They may call me heartless<br />

Oh, my love, we are not angels or the devil’s children<br />

You gave me my wings and I protected you in my arms<br />

Oh, my love, my heart is like a burning candle<br />

You keep the flame going<br />

But sometimes you blow in air<br />

It’s a lie if I say you are mine<br />

They will know me to be the most selfish creature if they hear<br />

You are the light of my eye<br />

But sometimes you are blinding darkness<br />

Who will leave the other one first?<br />

Where can we go to escape each other’s presence?<br />

The candle is almost at its end<br />

I haven’t told you<br />

But my wings… have been tired and heavy for too long now<br />

Take them back<br />

Take them back, please<br />

32 33<br />

Art by Linda Chen


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

The Big Day<br />

Content warning: discussion of death, anxiety.<br />

Words by Tom Davis<br />

Disclaimer: the views expressed in this article<br />

are those of the author and do not necessarily<br />

reflect those of Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>. The information<br />

presented is not medical advice and the author<br />

is not a medical professional. Readers are<br />

recommended to seek medical advice should<br />

they have questions about COVID-19 and<br />

COVID-19 vaccines.<br />

Let’s talk about “post-COVID” Australia. The<br />

phrase fascinates me, because it implies that<br />

there is such a thing as “post-COVID.” The idea<br />

is fundamental to all the rhetoric we’ve heard<br />

these last couple months – we’re careening<br />

toward a Big Day where we will all be free<br />

again, everything will be like it used to be, we’ll<br />

all be home by Christmas, all that. After the Big<br />

Day, lockdowns end (the Federal Government,<br />

for its part, will end financial support for<br />

lockdowns afterwards), restrictions fade to,<br />

at most, a minor inconvenience, and COVID is<br />

thereafter managed with test-trace-isolate.<br />

This is the position of the Federal and New<br />

South Wales governments (led, respectively,<br />

by Scott Morrison and (until recently) Gladys<br />

Berejiklian), backed by Doherty Institute<br />

modelling from which the target of 80%<br />

has been extrapolated. “80%” has since<br />

been weaponised to press-gang state and<br />

territory leaders (and opposition parties) with<br />

reservations into signing on to the national<br />

plan.<br />

The first thing to note is that “80%” is just the<br />

latest step in a protracted rhetorical dance<br />

Morrison and Berejiklian have been doing to<br />

normalise mass transmission of COVID and the<br />

deaths that necessarily follow. It’s basically<br />

ideological. Saying there is such a thing as a<br />

“post-COVID” Australia is just rebranding what<br />

Morrison was saying last July during Victoria’s<br />

lockdown – containing COVID is impossible,<br />

so the best thing to do is open up and give<br />

businesses a fighting chance (incidentally,<br />

Morrison stopped when Victoria did contain<br />

COVID, and only started again once a more<br />

virulent strain found a more sympathetic<br />

Premier). New Premier Dominic Perrottet has<br />

previously used similar talking points.<br />

The reality is that “post-COVID” Australia<br />

isn’t an Australia where COVID becomes<br />

manageable, but where Australians stop caring<br />

so much that it isn’t. Morrison and Berejiklian<br />

have, little by little, primed Australians to<br />

expect a Big Day at 80%, whether it makes<br />

public health sense or not, and all the nuance<br />

has been swept away. 80% means a Big Day,<br />

and now the debates are getting increasingly<br />

esoteric, around how Big the Big Day will<br />

be in Victoria (which will hold over limited<br />

restrictions) compared to NSW (where things<br />

become a free-for-all), while the implications of<br />

the Day itself are ignored.<br />

The conceit of Doherty’s modelling is that testtrace-isolate<br />

and vaccination should contain<br />

COVID. The model assumed low case numbers,<br />

but, since Delta, the public have been assured<br />

high case numbers don’t meaningfully change<br />

anything, without any real explanation. COVID<br />

will probably overwhelm hospitals and, as<br />

much as NSW’s contact tracing is praised, the<br />

state has only been able to trace a fraction<br />

of its recent daily cases. On top of that, I’ve<br />

heard it argued that Doherty’s models aren’t<br />

very thorough and don’t account for Delta’s<br />

virulence and severity (Doherty-affiliated<br />

people have declared for both sides).<br />

Then there’s the fact that 80% isn’t really 80%,<br />

but more like 65%, because it excludes under-<br />

16s (Delta’s transmission and severity among<br />

children is much higher than with previous<br />

variants); that other jurisdictions which eased<br />

controls at 80% have since had to reintroduce<br />

them; that 80% is really 80%-plus-two-weeks<br />

for proper protection; or that evidence suggests<br />

three doses are necessary (ATAGI recommends<br />

them for the immunocompromised, but not the<br />

elderly or chronically ill). All that nuance has<br />

been lost though, as the politicians don’t seem<br />

interested in addressing those issues.<br />

I have a theory as to why this is the case. Now,<br />

over the last two years I’ve realised that my<br />

worldview is fundamentally conspiratorial,<br />

so be aware that what I’m about to say is<br />

conjecture, and all the evidence is inference.<br />

That said, my theory is also absolutely true.<br />

It goes like this: Scott Morrison, with a bare<br />

parliamentary majority, goes to election in<br />

the next six months. The polls look bad – his<br />

only real hope before Delta was to build on<br />

2019 swings in Labor seats around Western<br />

34 35<br />

Art by monotone ink<br />

Sydney and coal country to offset the<br />

damage everywhere else, but even that looks<br />

increasingly unlikely.<br />

But Morrison has a plan. He has 80%, which<br />

means Freedom. By shouting “80% means<br />

Freedom” over and over again, he’ll excite<br />

people enough (he hopes) that any opposition<br />

(on the basis of, say, public health advice, or<br />

pressure on hospitals, or the basic obligation<br />

every politician ought to have to not kill<br />

their own people without a good excuse) is<br />

delegitimised. We’ll probably have Freedom<br />

by Christmas (Morrison is big on Christmas<br />

– Christmas was the milestone last year, too),<br />

and, once we’re “post-COVID”, pandemic<br />

management will stop being an issue.<br />

To get there quicker, his government has<br />

excluded under-16s from targets and cheerfully<br />

ignored the prospect of overwhelmed hospitals,<br />

outpaced contact tracers, and the fact that<br />

80% hasn’t worked anywhere it’s been tried.<br />

“Post-COVID,” he’ll pivot to an election strategy<br />

which (I expect) will centre on national security<br />

(read: vaguely racist allusions to China and<br />

Afghanistan) and how Labor hates Freedom,<br />

the abstract concept.


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

The modelling behind Victoria’s roadmap is<br />

far more direct (and bleak) than anything the<br />

politicians are running. “Post-COVID,” hospitals<br />

are overwhelmed in one-quarter of simulations,<br />

and, by the year’s end, a median of twentytwo<br />

hundred people die. Most (though not<br />

all) deaths will be among the unvaccinated,<br />

so you might think, well, what goes around<br />

comes around – but hospitals are for more than<br />

COVID. If (when?) hospitals are overwhelmed,<br />

where do they put heart attacks, housefires,<br />

car accidents or assaults? Governments are<br />

clearly aware of this – NSW recently banned<br />

hospital staff from talking to journalists<br />

unsupervised. Details around timing have also<br />

been obfuscated – as an example, first doses<br />

in NSW have hit 90%, so what happens to that<br />

10%+ of half-protected people when COVID’s<br />

loosed on them?<br />

All this probably sounds very alarmist – to<br />

clarify, I recognise the need to open eventually,<br />

and 80%, though entirely arbitrary and not a<br />

true 80, is as good a threshold as any. Think<br />

of this instead as a reminder of the reality that<br />

we open to thousands of deaths, hospitals over<br />

capacity for years, and schools and workplaces<br />

(all public places, really) turned to petri dishes,<br />

and it’s extremely concerning that all this has<br />

been boiled down to the rhetoric of a Big Day.<br />

Now, so we understand each other, I’d like to<br />

tell you something – I have a heart condition<br />

that, I guess, makes it so that, even doublevaccinated,<br />

I remain at risk. I don’t know how<br />

at-risk (and I have no easy means to find out),<br />

only that the risk is non-zero. To find out, I rang<br />

DHHS, who kept me on hold for three hours then<br />

gave me a non-answer; I rang BeyondBlue and<br />

Lifeline, asking if they knew who might know,<br />

but they didn’t; I submitted quite a morbid<br />

question to the ABC about mortality and severe<br />

disease, then another, vaguer question about<br />

precautions, but neither was answered.<br />

The most direct answer I’ve gotten (still<br />

frustratingly vague) came from a cardiologist<br />

who told me that the data just doesn’t exist yet,<br />

and, to be safe, I ought to stay locked in a box<br />

until third doses arrive.<br />

Currently I bounce between crisis and denial.<br />

The morning after Victoria’s roadmap came out,<br />

I went to brush my teeth and hair and was hit<br />

with lightheadedness and sickness and had to<br />

prostrate myself to stay conscious. It subsided<br />

and I got up again, then it came back. I was<br />

down and up and down again seven times over<br />

half an hour, this whole Sisyphean farce played<br />

out on the linoleum so that I could make myself<br />

presentable enough to walk downstairs, get my<br />

mail and walk back up again. After a while I<br />

wasn’t anxious anymore, just annoyed, and by<br />

the end it was all quite funny and I knelt there,<br />

giggling like a maniac with my head on the<br />

floor. You had to be there, I guess.<br />

Today’s denial, and it’s an awful lot more fun.<br />

There are things to be excited about. There’s a<br />

Big Day coming and a few months after that,<br />

if Morrison feels the need to overachieve for a<br />

bump in the polls, third doses will be out, and<br />

I’ll be able to do all the things everybody else<br />

is doing. I, too, may one day buy into the Big<br />

Day, and stop pretending to care about all<br />

the other, sicker people locked in their boxes<br />

so long as I can go to the pub and scratch my<br />

nose in public and do other frivolous things I<br />

never wanted to do until the government told<br />

me I shouldn’t. That’s the dream, right? It’s why<br />

we’ve consented to the reckless, uncomplicated<br />

Freedom-or-bust narratives the Big Day’s all<br />

about, and I guess it’s why there are tens<br />

of students passing my window every day<br />

who’ve altogether given up on restrictions,<br />

and hundreds of construction workers and<br />

conspiracists marching for tea-rooms and<br />

Freedom.<br />

Right?<br />

Disclosure statement: Tom Davis is a member of<br />

the Labor Party.<br />

Art by Ruth Ong<br />

36 37


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

From Sappho, with<br />

Longing<br />

Words by Eliot Walton<br />

Tell me, Eros Aphrodite<br />

tell of a complicated woman<br />

tell how she wandered and was lost<br />

when she wrecked the town of my heart<br />

tell me how Eros shook my mind<br />

like a mountain wind shaking the oak trees<br />

while she sat by me<br />

setting fire under my skin<br />

she is<br />

rare-radiant, starlike<br />

gold-crowned<br />

glorious<br />

singing by my loom and lyre<br />

Aphrodite, she is like the westwind<br />

which fills the sails<br />

and flattens the grass<br />

my songs, my loom<br />

all are hers<br />

if only her heart will take on wings<br />

and come to me<br />

Art by Kathy Lee<br />

38 39 39


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Terry Towels<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Words by Maiysha Moin<br />

In your shower,<br />

washing away sin<br />

from my body’s curves<br />

and under fingernails.<br />

White<br />

soft<br />

terry towels, clutched between fingers,<br />

permeated with your scent.<br />

Pressing the softness against my skin:<br />

Substitution.<br />

Replenished intimacy.<br />

Art by monotone ink<br />

40<br />

40<br />

41<br />

41<br />

Art by @0ojin_


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

We’re All Suckers<br />

for Edward<br />

Cullen<br />

Words by Angelica Haskins<br />

Vampires – whether it’s Dracula, Buffy, Twilight,<br />

True Blood, or The Originals – we just can’t get<br />

away from them. And not just because they are<br />

“impossibly fast,” as Bella Swan so aptly put it.<br />

The ever-pervasive nature of the vampire in<br />

popular media is, ironically, parasitic. Why is<br />

it that we are so drawn to these dead beings?<br />

Why do we spend hours fixated upon love<br />

triangles between fictional dead boys? Why<br />

does #twilight have 10 BILLION views on TikTok?<br />

How to begin to explain this cultural (and<br />

supernatural) phenomenon? Vampires have<br />

fascinated human societies for thousands of<br />

years, and there is evidence of these creatures,<br />

or their ilk, appearing in artworks as early as<br />

the fifth millennium BCE as vengeful spirits that<br />

fed on the life essence of humans.<br />

While the aforementioned spirits are confined to<br />

the worlds of ancient Mesopotamian cuneiform<br />

clay tablets, vampires have experienced a<br />

massive resurgence in recent years. Netflix<br />

suggestions are practically begging me to sit<br />

through a Twilight marathon, and my to-be-read<br />

list is filled with dark glossy novels revolving<br />

around undead vampire baronesses and quippy<br />

pale boys (thanks, Baz Pitch).<br />

Yet, it seems that these soulless beings have<br />

transcended their fictional worlds to become a<br />

central theme in reality.<br />

The vampire has become widely revered in<br />

Gen Z culture, with dead girl makeup tutorials<br />

and Bella Swan outfit thrift trips trending<br />

all over TikTok. Furthermore, 18-year-old pop<br />

starlet Olivia Rodrigo, a paragon of the Gen<br />

Z aesthetic, if ever there was one, recently<br />

admitted that much of the inspiration of<br />

her tortured love songs stems from an avid<br />

fascination with Bella and Edward’s meet-(not)<br />

cute in the science lab.<br />

Further evidence of the vampire’s solid<br />

integration in the 21st century is evident in the<br />

way that many of these fictional characters<br />

wholeheartedly express themselves. Tyrannus<br />

“Baz” Basilton Grimm-Pitch of the Carry On<br />

series, and Marceline the Vampire Queen of<br />

Adventure Time, are bloodsuckers who embrace<br />

their queerness, and have hugely reverent<br />

fanbases, particularly among the Gen Z<br />

demographic, for that reason. Yet, vampires<br />

in fiction generally have always had roots<br />

in queer culture. The way that such fictional<br />

individuals have, in the past, been ostracised<br />

and denigrated for their perceived differences,<br />

can be – and is – seen as a metaphor for<br />

homophobia. As such, part of the allure of<br />

such mythos stems from the fact that vampires<br />

resolutely embrace their entire being; they<br />

recognise the supposed deviance within<br />

them and embody it unashamedly, thus<br />

casting themselves as powerful queer icons,<br />

resonating with modern audiences the world<br />

over.<br />

Yet, it isn’t just Gen Z who’s dead set<br />

on embodying the vampire aesthetic;<br />

designer fashion labels appealing to older<br />

generations have also capitalised on the<br />

popularity of the vampire. Luxury fashion<br />

house Max Mara recently showcased an<br />

entire collection at Milan Fashion Week<br />

composed entirely out of black silhouettes<br />

and sharp, angled lines – very Draculaesque.<br />

And the quintessential vampy fashion<br />

house, The Vampire’s <strong>Wife</strong> (need I say<br />

anymore) is much beloved on the red carpet,<br />

touted by celebrities from Duchess Kate to<br />

Pete Davidson.<br />

So what is it about these monsters that<br />

sparks fascination?<br />

Is it because they are unattainable? It’s<br />

human nature to always want for more.<br />

More time, more life, more youth – vampires<br />

have it all. Are these mythological beings a<br />

manifestation of our deepest desires? Our<br />

unspoken aspirations taking tangible form?<br />

Perhaps it is because they are a myth. Walk<br />

through any graveyard and you will see<br />

tombstones etched with the words ‘in loving<br />

memory,’ or ‘never forgotten.’ It is clear that<br />

the human spirit wants to be remembered.<br />

Forever. Perhaps our unwavering attraction<br />

to vampires is, in actuality, a projection of<br />

our jealousy; a subconscious desire to be<br />

remembered and revered for all eternity.<br />

Or perhaps, in essence, vampires are a form<br />

of escape. After the drudgery of the last<br />

two years, perhaps it feels safe to slip into<br />

a fictional world where the only stresses are<br />

those associated with which outfit to wear to<br />

impress the dead boy du jour.<br />

Whatever the reason, vampires hold a<br />

kind of timeless charm that will continue<br />

to appeal to audiences for generations to<br />

come.<br />

So, irrespective of whether you think that<br />

vampires suck, it looks like they are here<br />

to stay – and not just because they are<br />

immortal.<br />

Art by monotone ink<br />

42 43


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

closing<br />

the<br />

open<br />

Words by Tingnan Li<br />

and it was like a tap that I couldn’t turn off,<br />

feelings and fears and innards,<br />

gushing out without my permission,<br />

splashing messily against the porcelain sink.<br />

and it was like the deep and dark of the ocean,<br />

a horizon not unlike a golden ball,<br />

suspended between two tidal valleys,<br />

rolling nearer then further out of reach.<br />

and it was like a fading bruise haunted by old hurting,<br />

dirty colour blooming under,<br />

tender skin still sensitive to touch,<br />

the knee-jerk instinct to deny weakness.<br />

so, when you told me to try opening up –<br />

I didn’t quite know how to tell you,<br />

that I have been drowning in open.<br />

Art by Ruby Comte<br />

44 45


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Mind over Matter<br />

Art by Ruby Comte<br />

Content warning: mental health.<br />

Struggle is a double-edge sword.<br />

We pray for hours to feel ease<br />

then let a second dismiss the effort,<br />

falling back into the abyss,<br />

yearning once more for the pain to expire.<br />

An endless cycle felt by many,<br />

we ignore reality and sing to the tune of joy,<br />

an unhealthy ballet with the shoes untied.<br />

Fragile in the mind,<br />

petulant in manner,<br />

the reason for dismay<br />

often meaningless chatter.<br />

I invite you to sit with me<br />

on this balcony beside the sea,<br />

where the breeze hungers for touch,<br />

and the stars tell us to breathe.<br />

Where expectations are dealt a blow<br />

as we relish the day on our own finger,<br />

and let our rutted palms rest,<br />

ready for the next venture.<br />

Knowing this moment to be a blessing,<br />

that nothing beyond deserves second-guessing,<br />

the day is at large and so is fate –<br />

let us slow dance till the new day breaks.<br />

46 47<br />

Words by Jahin Tanvir


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Brain Sprain<br />

Words by Nisha Subramanya<br />

Content warning: depression, ableism,<br />

anxiety<br />

Once upon a time, there was a person –<br />

Person. Person was strolling in the park,<br />

gentle music playing in their ears, gazing<br />

at the trees and the blooming, colourful<br />

flowers.<br />

Person felt stress-free, breathing fresh air,<br />

and every now and then they were nudged<br />

by the memory of the pile of dishes waiting<br />

in the sink, the ever-growing pile of books<br />

on their to-be-read list, and a never-ending<br />

to-do list. Occupied in this trail of random<br />

thoughts, Person stepped on a protruding<br />

slab of stone, tripped over... and fell! Ouch.<br />

Person winced in pain, drawing people’s<br />

attention. They rushed to help Person up.<br />

Person limped back home, thankful that<br />

it was only 100 metres away. Person was<br />

relieved when their ankle rested on the<br />

soft couch, though it didn’t last very long.<br />

Their ankle looked red and swollen, not to<br />

mention the stabbing pain.<br />

Ugh. Person made an appointment with<br />

Doctor and booked an Uber. What seemed<br />

like the longest day ever ended with Person<br />

lying on their bed with a band around their<br />

ankle, restricting its movement. Doctor had<br />

told Person that there had been a grade<br />

two sprain in the ankle, had repeatedly<br />

emphasised that they should rest for at<br />

least a week, and booked a follow-up<br />

appointment.<br />

Person rolled their eyes every time they got<br />

up to pee, sat up to drink water, or grabbed<br />

their tablet from the oh-so-far desk. Person<br />

thought this would never end, much like the<br />

list of things lined up this week that had to<br />

be postponed. However, at least they got<br />

a short break from these feelings when<br />

painkillers came to the rescue.<br />

Amidst a lot of pain and chaos, Person<br />

felt lucky to have Partner by their side.<br />

Partner made dinner, helped Person to the<br />

toilet and back, cleared dirty dishes and<br />

brought them popcorn on movie nights.<br />

These gestures lightened Person’s burden<br />

immensely.<br />

By the eighth day, Person was up and<br />

running… walking… limping. Person was<br />

in pain every now and then. However, as<br />

the clock ticked, days didn’t seem as long<br />

as they had, their ankle didn’t hurt like it<br />

was the end of the world, and Person didn’t<br />

need Partner’s help as much. With some<br />

more time, Person forgot what that pain felt<br />

like.<br />

◇<br />

Dearest Reader, how would you feel if<br />

Partner had not been supportive of Person?<br />

How would you feel if Partner had said,<br />

‘Person, it’s all in your head! You don’t have<br />

a sprain! Just start walking… it’ll be painful<br />

initially, but you’ll be fine eventually! Don’t<br />

make excuses!’<br />

Ugh, wouldn’t we all judge Partner harshly,<br />

and call them blunt and heartless? We’d<br />

probably have changed their name from<br />

Partner to Jerk!<br />

But Reader, what if I told you, that Person<br />

didn’t have a sprained ankle, but was<br />

depressed instead?<br />

What if I told you that Person found it hard<br />

to get up from bed every day – not because<br />

their ankle hurt, but because facing the<br />

world took tremendous effort? What if I<br />

told you that instead of constant pain,<br />

Person felt constant sadness? That instead<br />

of following a trail of random thoughts,<br />

Person was stuck in a sucking loop of<br />

negative thoughts? Would you call Person<br />

‘lazy’, if they had a sprain and couldn’t<br />

move around actively? Would you call it<br />

‘an excuse’ if Person didn’t exercise with a<br />

sprain? Would you call Person ‘mad’ if they<br />

went to a doctor for a sprain?<br />

Illnesses of the mind are kept secret because of the fear of<br />

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

what mental illnesses feel like, because they cannot be seen<br />

by the eye, like we see a cast on a fractured foot. Reader, you<br />

don’t have to always see things, to believe their existence, do<br />

you? Depression is one example, one of the most prevalent<br />

mental illnesses. It is seen, but only to those who observe.<br />

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

you may not have it. But you must know about it, because<br />

Person could, someday, be your parent, your sibling, your<br />

friend, or… You. To be Partner and not Jerk, you must<br />

understand depression.<br />

Much like a physical injury, depression has its effects. A<br />

depressed person may feel worthless, inadequate, and<br />

hopeless about themselves and the future. They carry the<br />

burden of pretense almost always. They may pretend to be<br />

happy and interested, while feeling sad and numb at the<br />

same time.<br />

Reader, if you can relate with Partner, here’s my advice to<br />

you. Don’t blame yourself for not entirely understanding<br />

what Person is feeling. Be supportive, by listening to them,<br />

persuading (not forcing) them to open up to you. Make them<br />

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

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

If you ever associate yourself with Person, I see you. I<br />

completely understand what you’re going through. It may<br />

all be very overwhelming to feel everything at once, to talk to<br />

someone. But please talk. Be it an ankle sprain, or depression,<br />

the rules are the same – see a doctor.<br />

Your therapist can be your Sounding Board. A Sounding<br />

Board that just listens, understands, responds, and keeps it all<br />

confidential. Someone who supports, walks you through it all<br />

and shows you light at the end of the tunnel.<br />

If you are Jerk, it’s probably your attitude which is the<br />

problem.<br />

If you are Partner, you are appreciated.<br />

Humankind has faced a multitude of<br />

If you are Person, there are millions of people with you. So…<br />

illnesses, viruses… we’re facing one as I<br />

relax. See a doctor or therapist, reach out, remember there’s<br />

write and as you read this. We’ve wondered<br />

hope… you just have a brain sprain. :)<br />

about them all, we’ve challenged them,<br />

we’ve learned, and we’ve fought them.<br />

We’ve also forgotten about them. But<br />

there’s one such illness we’re burying,<br />

Love,<br />

with our mouths shut. There’s one such<br />

illness we’re shunning, one we shouldn’t be<br />

Nisha Subramanya (Person)<br />

turning a blind eye to, but are... and that,<br />

Reader, is mental illness.<br />

Art by Ruby Comte<br />

48 49


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

The Great Reality TV<br />

Art Show<br />

Words by Olivia Shenken<br />

There seems to be a trend in reality TV over<br />

the past few years for shows in the vein of<br />

The Great British Bake Off, where experts in<br />

a craft test their skills until only one remains.<br />

Now the audience isn’t just salivating over<br />

delicious baked goods, but instead over<br />

intricate artistic creations.<br />

The Great Pottery Throw Down and Blown<br />

Away are two such shows, focused on pottery<br />

and glassblowing respectively – and they’re<br />

the closest I’ve gotten to browsing a museum<br />

collection for a while. There’s something<br />

immensely satisfying about watching<br />

master craftspeople go about their work:<br />

moulding molten glass into abstract art<br />

using a blowtorch, or shaping clay into water<br />

fountains, chess sets, and yes even toilets in<br />

one episode.<br />

But comparing the two shows always makes<br />

me think about the nature of competitive<br />

reality TV. While they both have a similar<br />

tournament format (a group of artists given<br />

a brief each episode, eliminations, one final<br />

winner), Throw Down has a 60-minute runtime,<br />

vs Blown Away which is only 23 minutes.<br />

This of course means that Throw Down can<br />

give more screen-time with its artists, showing<br />

their process and the small-talk between the<br />

judges – it also manages to fit in a second,<br />

smaller-scale challenge in addition to the<br />

main make of each episode.<br />

Blown Away by comparison is a whirlwind<br />

– it can be hard to keep track of what’s<br />

going on, especially in the early episodes<br />

of each season when there are more<br />

contestants and therefore each gets less<br />

airtime. Perhaps because of this constrained<br />

format, the element of competition between<br />

the contestants is more heavy-handed in<br />

Blown Away than Throw Down – with only 23<br />

minutes to make an impression, the tension<br />

needs to be high to keep watchers going<br />

for another week (or to keep them bingestreaming<br />

for that matter). The music<br />

is dramatic, and contestant interviews<br />

have a lot of punchy lines about how<br />

they’re in it to win it.<br />

Drama, tension, and cheering on your<br />

favourite to win are surely part of<br />

what makes competitive reality TV so<br />

popular – but nevertheless I find myself<br />

preferring the slower pace of Throw<br />

Down to the rush of Blown Away.<br />

It helps that Throw Down has cosier<br />

vibes. For one thing, it has the most<br />

likeable judge of any reality TV<br />

competition I’ve ever watched: Keith<br />

Brymer Jones, who can be trusted to<br />

collapse into tears in sincere joy at<br />

the contestants’ work at least once an<br />

episode. The music is also more relaxed<br />

and silly, instead of making you feel like<br />

you’re being stalked by the percussion<br />

section of an orchestra. And unlike the<br />

harried and ever-changing roster of<br />

glassblowing assistants in Blown Away,<br />

the pottery technicians are familiar<br />

faces: Richard Miller for the first three<br />

seasons before he became a judge, and<br />

Rose Schmits (whose own pottery is<br />

pretty damn cool) in season four.<br />

In the fourth season, both judges – plus<br />

host Siobhán McSweeney of Derry Girls<br />

fame – have delightful interactions<br />

with each other and the contestants.<br />

Their chemistry feels natural, probably<br />

aided by the fact that the entire crew<br />

were living in isolation together during<br />

production due to the pandemic.<br />

And what makes me feel most strongly<br />

that competitiveness just isn’t at the<br />

heart of what makes Throw Down so<br />

appealing, is that the season four<br />

contestants constantly talk about<br />

their friendship and connection with<br />

each other – and more tellingly, that<br />

they support and help each other out.<br />

They are under time pressure and in<br />

direct competition with each other,<br />

but nevertheless they’ll run across the<br />

workshop to help someone carry their<br />

work to the drying room, flip a heavy<br />

piece of clay, or lend a tool.<br />

What really tugs on my heartstrings<br />

is the joy of collaboration, along with<br />

other aspects of artistic creation and<br />

process that aren’t always well-served in<br />

a competition format. Some of the most<br />

emotional moments in Throw Down are<br />

when contestants show just how much<br />

they’ve improved since the first episode.<br />

In both shows, even when only a handful<br />

of contestants remain, there still feels like<br />

never enough time to really dwell on the<br />

intermediate steps of how a lump of clay<br />

or a glob of molten glass turns into a<br />

complex work of art. While I’ve probably<br />

picked up some trivia about pottery and<br />

glassblowing from watching, often I wish<br />

that both shows could get away with not<br />

having to eliminate anyone, and that the<br />

focus could instead be on craft.<br />

While Throw Down, Blown Away, and<br />

other examples of the genre are by<br />

nature competitive, that’s not to say<br />

a more slice-of-life approach to craft<br />

in video isn’t out there: TikTok is full<br />

of crafters and artists showing their<br />

process, sharing how-to videos and tips,<br />

or just making vibey content; sewists<br />

and historical fashion aficionados<br />

like Bernadette Banner and Karolina<br />

Żebrowska make hugely popular video<br />

essays and shorter clips on YouTube.<br />

If those in search of cosier or more<br />

instructive content are having that niche<br />

filled online, maybe TV won’t need to go<br />

there.<br />

Then again, if the art of cooking can<br />

be represented both by competitive<br />

shows like MasterChef as well as more<br />

laidback affairs à la Nigella or Jamie<br />

Oliver, maybe glassblowing, pottery<br />

and other arts and crafts will find less<br />

competitive formats. Painting is perhaps<br />

a few decades ahead of the curve: from<br />

1983-1994, Bob Ross painted happy<br />

clouds and trees in The Joy of Painting<br />

(blessedly available to watch free on<br />

YouTube), practically the epitome of<br />

comfort TV with his crooning voice, ‘80s<br />

aesthetic, and unproblematic wilderness<br />

landscapes.<br />

While I daydream about how Blown<br />

Away and Throw Down might be different<br />

if they were a little more focused on the<br />

journey than the destination, I admit<br />

they’ll always draw me back in. Whether<br />

it’s watching sparks fly as glassblowers<br />

spin, twist and pull their creations from<br />

glowing liquid into solid glass, or potters<br />

shaping clay on the wheel into elegant<br />

shapes, the alchemy of artistic creation<br />

never gets old.<br />

Disclosure statement: Olivia Shenken is<br />

an editor of Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>, and this article<br />

has undergone the same impartial<br />

editing process as all other submissions.<br />

50 51


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Boy<br />

I wondered if your words were tricks<br />

From a honey pot with a penchant for chicks.<br />

A sticky-sweet treat with a chiselled jaw,<br />

A wolfish Hermes, with me in your maw.<br />

You opened up so I could see<br />

You’re solid gold with a ruby heart for me.<br />

You said I had the prettiest curls,<br />

That I’m the most beautiful of all the girls.<br />

You’re the gentlest Adonis I’ve ever known,<br />

A knight of cups with a soul like my own.<br />

Words by Madeleine<br />

Art by Kimia<br />

52 53


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Why the Olympics Must Discontinue<br />

Words by Simone Kealy<br />

Now that the Olympics are over, it is important<br />

to reflect upon how necessary it is for these<br />

Games to continue. Despite what the International<br />

Olympic Committee (IOC) says about<br />

the Games promoting peace, and valuing<br />

“excellence, friendship and respect”, this is<br />

far from the truth. When taking into account<br />

the detrimental effects the games have had<br />

upon the environment, the spread of COVID-19<br />

in the Olympic villages, and the thousands,<br />

sometimes millions of people displaced, the<br />

Olympics have more of a detrimental impact<br />

than a positive one. As a result, it is clear the<br />

Olympics must be discontinued if humanity<br />

wants to strive for a more sustainable, healthy<br />

and equitable future.<br />

Environmental impacts<br />

The Olympic Games have always had a negative<br />

impact on the environment. Firstly, there’s<br />

tens of thousands of athletes and their teams,<br />

as well as (usually) tens of thousands of tourists,<br />

flying into the host city from all over the<br />

globe. A flight from London to San Francisco<br />

creates 5.5 tons of CO 2<br />

per passenger, so you<br />

can just imagine how many harmful emissions<br />

are being created just from all those people<br />

attending the games. Then there’s also the<br />

construction of the facilities and resources that<br />

go into enabling those facilities. Not only is this<br />

a waste of materials and energy, but venue<br />

construction often has adverse effects on the<br />

area. For example, eight venues built for the<br />

Tokyo Olympics created soil artificialisation,<br />

which is when nature loses land for the venues’<br />

production. According to experts, this is the<br />

world’s number one threat to global biodiversity<br />

as nature’s internal regulatory mechanisms<br />

and habitats are destroyed.<br />

As if that isn’t enough, there were also instances<br />

of illegal landfills of construction<br />

material, waste being spilled in waters and<br />

the exploitation of animal migration territories<br />

for construction areas in the 2014 Winter<br />

Olympics in Sochi. Other Olympics weren’t<br />

that much better. The construction of a golf<br />

course for the 2016 Rio Olympics was labelled<br />

an “environmental crime” as it put rare butterflies,<br />

pines and other unique species at risk<br />

when it encroached on the Marapendi reserve.<br />

The cardboard beds and medals made from<br />

recycled materials in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics<br />

aren’t going to fix that. For the sake of our<br />

planet and its future, the only solution is to<br />

stop the Olympics.<br />

Health impacts<br />

As we have learnt in the past two years, the<br />

top priority should always be healthy citizens<br />

and avoiding an overwhelmed health system.<br />

This of course prevents people from dying not<br />

only from COVID-19, but from any other ailment<br />

that would cause death if not treated when<br />

there are not enough hospital beds and other<br />

resources. Plus, safeguarding citizens from<br />

COVID-19 also prevents people from acquiring<br />

long COVID, which makes every day a struggle,<br />

and although we don’t know much about<br />

it, it seems this form of COVID-19 can last for<br />

months. So, surely, the preservation of life<br />

should be the first and utmost priority. Then<br />

why does sport, and in this case, the Olympics,<br />

trump that priority? Regardless of the answer<br />

to that question, it shouldn’t. When such priorities<br />

are skewed, the results are clear; more<br />

people die and suffer, and this is reflected in<br />

Japan.<br />

Indeed, according to analysts, the Olympics<br />

worsened the outbreak of COVID-19 in Japan.<br />

Consequently, the Japanese health system<br />

and its hospitals are overwhelmed. As of 10<br />

August, since the start of the Olympics on<br />

23 July, approximately 170,000 people have<br />

contracted the virus, and 178 people have died.<br />

Although 178 people may not sound like a large<br />

number, especially in comparison to other<br />

countries, that is 178 families mourning a loved<br />

one, 178 people who friends and family will<br />

never see again.<br />

The IOC and the Japanese Prime Minister have<br />

said that this outbreak and the subsequent<br />

deaths were not related to the Olympics due to the “bubble”<br />

surrounding the Olympic villages. However, experts disagree. In<br />

addition, it is difficult to believe the IOC and the Japanese PM<br />

when they both had significant stakes in running the Olympics.<br />

For the IOC, they made billions of dollars from broadcasting<br />

rights, whilst the Japanese PM is trying to boost his approval<br />

ratings in preparation for Japan’s general election. So, these<br />

two parties took a risk that would impact lives, quite literally.<br />

That doesn’t seem to align with the value of “peace” that the<br />

IOC supposedly promotes.<br />

Social impacts<br />

According to an article by Al Jazeera, to make way for many of<br />

the Olympics’ venues, hundreds of households in Tokyo were relocated,<br />

many of whom had also been moved for the 1964 Tokyo<br />

games. Public housing estates were also demolished in favour of<br />

gentrifying the area, thus it doesn’t seem possible for those who<br />

were displaced to return to the area after the Olympics end.<br />

Moreover, a lot of these changes and displacements were made<br />

to make Tokyo more pleasing for tourists, which of course, never<br />

came due to the pandemic. Yet regardless of whether tourists<br />

were able to go, surely the livelihoods of locals should be more<br />

important than foreign tourists who will come for a couple of<br />

weeks and then leave, possibly never to return?<br />

Such problems are not unique to Tokyo, however. Indeed, for<br />

the South Korean 1988 Olympic Games, approximately 720,000<br />

people were displaced in Seoul, and an astounding 1.25 million<br />

were displaced in Beijing for the 2008 Games. These and other<br />

displacements target the most vulnerable, especially through<br />

gentrification, and this leaves lasting impacts that further<br />

inequality.<br />

With this in mind, do a few weeks of mostly privileged foreigners<br />

coming over to play games really seem worth it? Instead<br />

of demolishing housing for people with low socio-economic<br />

backgrounds and putting exorbitant amounts of money into<br />

facilities that will be left abandoned when the Olympics finish,<br />

the IOC should direct its money where its mouth is: in actual<br />

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

predicted to make this year on broadcast rights alone needs to<br />

go into solving homelessness, poverty, funding climate change<br />

and health research, and many other endeavours that impact<br />

marginalised people for the long run. It’s time the Olympics actually<br />

meet their values of “excellence, friendship and respect”<br />

by discontinuing.<br />

Art by Ruby Comte<br />

54 55


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

A Fern’s Lullaby<br />

May you find coolness and ease<br />

Under the coverage of the trees.<br />

May you find steadiness and learn<br />

The harmony of the ferns<br />

As they’re twirled and unfurled<br />

To the ends of their world,<br />

In divinity and grace,<br />

At an invisible pace,<br />

Unknown to the eyes<br />

Of our busy little lives,<br />

With timescales that span<br />

Through generations of man.<br />

May you be grounded and ascend,<br />

Over the playful river bend.<br />

May the ferns guide the way,<br />

To the coming of your day.<br />

Art by Ruby Comte<br />

56 57<br />

Words by Mac Dragović


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Thank you for<br />

reading Lot’s<br />

<strong>Wife</strong> in <strong>2021</strong><br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Special thanks to all<br />

our contributors!<br />

Writers<br />

Angelica Haskins<br />

Cabbage<br />

Clara Yew<br />

Eliot Walton<br />

Ferris Knight<br />

Flynn Howard<br />

Huang Yanchao<br />

Husna Siddiqi<br />

Jahin Tanvir<br />

KBane<br />

Kimia<br />

Mac Dragović<br />

Madeleine<br />

Maiysha Moin<br />

Nisha Subramanya<br />

Olivia Shenken<br />

Qian<br />

Simone Kealy<br />

Tingnan Li<br />

Tom Davis<br />

Wayne Foo<br />

Yu Zhang<br />

Artists<br />

@0ojin_<br />

James Spencer<br />

Kathy Lee<br />

Kimia<br />

Linda Chen<br />

Mads<br />

Monic<br />

monotone ink<br />

Ruby Comte<br />

Ruth Ong<br />

Subeditors<br />

Anastasia Richmond-Miller<br />

Aviva Ly<br />

Corey Lionis<br />

Elita Wu<br />

Olivia Brewer<br />

Ruth Ong<br />

Sanyukta Nath<br />

Zoe Parsons<br />

See you again<br />

next year!<br />

Keep an eye on our social media for updates about<br />

getting involved in Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> in 2022!<br />

Sign up as a MSA Volunteer to express your interest.<br />

Visit lotswife.com.au/contributions<br />

for more info!<br />

58 59


Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> • <strong>Edition</strong> Six<br />

Cover Art by Mads<br />

...until next time<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>.<br />

<strong>2021</strong><br />

60

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