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Lot's Wife Edition 3 2016

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LOT’S WIFE<br />

— EDITION THREE —


Illustration by Natalie Ng


CONTENTS<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> is entirely<br />

written, illustrated, edited and<br />

distributed by students,<br />

just like yourself!<br />

If you would like to be<br />

involved, we are always always<br />

always looking for new<br />

contributors and volunteers.<br />

Say hi anytime:<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> Office<br />

1st Floor, Campus Centre,<br />

turn right at the MSA desk.<br />

Or drop us a line at<br />

lotswife<strong>2016</strong>@gmail.com<br />

STUDENT<br />

07 Long wait for the bathrooms<br />

08 Interview with Alexei Procyshyn<br />

10 Cantankerous calculators<br />

11 Coming up at MUST<br />

12 Sliding scales of success<br />

15 What we’re wearing<br />

16 Office bearer reports<br />

SOCIETY<br />

19 Keeping safe schools safe<br />

21 Mini-beasts and microparties<br />

22 Left behind: is Labor still<br />

progressive?<br />

24 Drawing vulvas on The Herald Sun<br />

26 Every child needs a family<br />

28 Wot’s Life With Jon Snow<br />

Advertising inquiries:<br />

E: msa-lotswife@monash.edu<br />

P: 03 9905 8174<br />

About the cover artist<br />

Mimi Petrakis is an emerging<br />

artist, painting and breathing<br />

in Melbourne. Focusing on<br />

historical and heroic women<br />

of the past, she explores<br />

such issues as contemporary<br />

feminism, representation and<br />

mental illness. By drawing on<br />

iconographic tropes of the<br />

Renaissance and Baroque<br />

periods and re-purposing<br />

them in her work, she is<br />

able to offer a challenge to<br />

understood notions of history<br />

and mythology and how<br />

these stories shape ideas and<br />

attitudes of the present.<br />

Instagram: @mimipetrakis<br />

Website: mimipetrakis.com<br />

SCIENCE<br />

CREATIVE<br />

CULTURE<br />

35 Being a hero: antibiotic<br />

resistance<br />

45 Bury your gays<br />

37 Interview with John Bowman 46 Zootopia & racism<br />

39 Invisible illnesses: mental health 48 Meet Zwarte Piet<br />

41 Impossible worlds<br />

49 Matilda The Musical: a review<br />

42 Polycorns<br />

51 Book reviews<br />

43<br />

53<br />

54<br />

56<br />

57<br />

58<br />

Puzzle: Science Crossword<br />

Apocalypso: The Waves<br />

Absence: a photo essay<br />

Ordinary Demons<br />

The Deep<br />

Amphitrite<br />

BONUS<br />

30<br />

59<br />

Centrefold: Pull-out<br />

calendar and poster<br />

Cut-out: Photo collage<br />

Pattern by Samantha J Ireland<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 3


EDITORS<br />

DESIGN<br />

Timothy Newport<br />

Carina Florea<br />

Lisa Healy<br />

Natalie Ng<br />

SUB-EDITORS<br />

STUDENT<br />

SOCIETY<br />

Tricia Ong<br />

Jermaine Doh<br />

Rajat Lal<br />

Matthew Edwards<br />

Ishana Srivastava-Khan<br />

Maddy Luke<br />

LISA HEALY<br />

SCIENCE<br />

CULTURE<br />

CREATIVE<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> <strong>Edition</strong> Three<br />

May <strong>2016</strong><br />

Kinto Behr<br />

Kathy Zhang<br />

Mevani Amarasinghe<br />

Lachlan Liesfield<br />

Layla Homewood<br />

Melissa Fernando<br />

Amber Davis<br />

Audrey El-Osta<br />

Sarah Kay<br />

The time has arrived again for our dreaded highly anticipated<br />

editorials. You can now mark this day off your calendars. We<br />

were once again struggling on what to write for our monthly<br />

write-up and needed some sort of direction. Alas, when in<br />

doubt, one should always turn to fortune cookies. Each of us<br />

cracked one open; some of us ate ours, some thought they<br />

looked like plastic, and we all took it upon ourselves to analyse<br />

the fortuitous message the stars have (allegedly) aligned for us.<br />

According to my fortune cookie:<br />

You will be happy by receipt of good news<br />

…………………………………………………………………………………<br />

Um, no shit, Sherlock. That was a waste of wheat, paper and<br />

energy. I’ll finish this editorial with an image that accurately<br />

depicts my life at the current moment/every moment.<br />

© Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> Magazine<br />

Level 1, Campus Centre<br />

Monash University<br />

Clayton, Victoria 3800<br />

Published by Mary Giblin, Printgraphics, Mount Waverley<br />

As you read this paper you are on Aboriginal land. We at Lot’s<br />

<strong>Wife</strong> recognise the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung peoples of<br />

the Kulin Nations as the historical and rightful owners and custodians<br />

of the lands and waters on which this newspaper is produced.<br />

The land was stolen and sovereignty was never ceded.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> condemns and will not publish any material that<br />

is racist, sexist, queerphobic, ableist or discriminatory in any<br />

nature. The views expressed herein are those of the attributed<br />

writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors<br />

or the MSA. All writing and artwork remains the property of the<br />

producers and must not be reproduced without their written<br />

consent.<br />

4 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong><br />

Try guess which one I feel like. It’s really not that hard. Y’all be so<br />

silly if you really think I’m the horse.<br />

(….I’m actually the trolley.)<br />

P.S. Thank you Mimi for being the absolute goddess that you are.<br />

Bow down to Mimi.<br />

Also, thank you Audrey, Elyse and Nat. Angels.


TIMOTHY NEWPORT<br />

CARINA FLOREA<br />

He who hurries can not walk with dignity.<br />

Whoever wrote this fortune cookie clearly never went to<br />

university. One of the first skills I learned here was how to<br />

enter a lecture looking like you’ve just strolled off a yacht, when<br />

you’ve actually just sprinted from HAL to South 1 like the<br />

goddamn Flash.<br />

But we also have to balance dignity and expediency in other<br />

ways: getting assignments in on time, whilst making sure they<br />

don’t suck too much; catching up with friends regularly without<br />

letting on that you’re drowning in work; and answering phone<br />

calls with parents without revealing how much Macca’s you had<br />

for dinner this week.<br />

So as we stumble towards the pointy end of semester, let’s<br />

make our own fortunes:<br />

People do not plan to fail, they fail to plan<br />

I’m not sure how I feel about my fortune cookie fortune.<br />

One of the things I’ve learnt during my time at Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong><br />

is that sometimes you simply can’t plan everything from<br />

the beginning. When I entered the role, I didn’t expect that<br />

somewhere down the line I would be requesting illustrations<br />

of vuvlas on Herald Sun photos. But hey, there is a time and a<br />

place for everything, and right now Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> is the place to<br />

see Pete Evans with a cartoon vulva.<br />

Enjoy.<br />

1. She who sleeps least, finishes first.<br />

2. Studying is anything you do while a textbook is open.<br />

3. A what is good for the body is bad for the wallet.<br />

And the Zeroth fortune:<br />

One who gets the P, gets the degree.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 5


STUDENT


Long wait for<br />

the bathrooms<br />

by Amber Francis<br />

Illustration by Christina Dodds<br />

T<br />

he<br />

discussion about introducing all gender bathrooms<br />

at Monash has been going on for years. Indeed, it’s a<br />

STUDENT<br />

conversation that’s been happening everywhere.<br />

We’re finally getting somewhere.<br />

For trans, intersex, and gender diverse people (TIGD),<br />

the everyday act of going to the bathroom can be way more<br />

stressful than it needs to be. It isn’t as simple as just using<br />

the bathroom with your gender on the door. Those whose<br />

genders are misread are at risk of weird looks at best, or<br />

outright violence at worst. Trans men may need access to<br />

facilities where they can change their pads or tampons, and<br />

be may afraid of making rustling noises where cis men can<br />

hear. A further segment of the population simply never sees<br />

their gender written on a bathroom door, because they are of<br />

a non-binary gender, and thus don’t fit into the traditionally<br />

enforced dichotomy of male and female at all. This issue is<br />

immensely personal and immensely urgent to many students,<br />

myself included; I am not going to pretend otherwise. I’ve been<br />

asked if I was in the right bathroom or change room numerous<br />

times. Once, someone screamed. Sometimes it’s hard to say<br />

which is worse – the dread of upsetting people, or knowing that<br />

if they’re not upset, it’s because they think I’m something I’m<br />

not.<br />

One solution is to make bathrooms that simply don’t restrict<br />

access based on gender. Cubicles provide enough privacy that<br />

it ultimately shouldn’t matter, bathrooms ought to be clean<br />

and safe regardless of who uses them, and there is no real<br />

need to ever assume the gender of a stranger. Requests for<br />

such facilities have been made many times to Monash over the<br />

years, but despite numerous recent and ongoing renovations<br />

of the campus centre, including the toilets directly beside the<br />

queer lounge, there are still no specifically designated all gender<br />

facilities. When there are gender neutral bathrooms, it’s usually<br />

because they’re the one or two accessible bathrooms in the<br />

building, and it seems wrong for an able-bodied person to use<br />

a bathroom which is not meant for them, even if it is the only<br />

one they can comfortably use.<br />

So what’s happening about it?<br />

It’s finally looking good. The Monash Ally Network is<br />

working on it. When contacted for a statement, they said they<br />

“are committed to providing safe and inclusive bathrooms<br />

for our staff and students, including those who are trans and<br />

gender diverse”; that short term goals include identifying<br />

facilities which are or could easily be all gender bathrooms,<br />

and that in the long term they are looking at ways to “best<br />

incorporate these facilities into our built environment in a<br />

way that is best-practice”. Excellent, but also vague. How short<br />

is short term? How long is long term? Are the pre-existing<br />

all gender bathrooms just the unisex accessible ones, which<br />

able-bodied people really don’t have much right to be using?<br />

Or does this goal include relabelling some gendered bathrooms<br />

to make them inclusive, and if so, which? Which of these<br />

never-ending renovations is finally going to improve inclusivity<br />

and accessibility? How long do we have to keep waiting?<br />

Nevertheless, despite anxiety about the remaining wait, it is<br />

absolutely certain that the Ally Network is working well. I had<br />

concerns that even if some plans were in motion, there’d be<br />

risk of it being put into place without adequate consultation of<br />

relevant groups and would somehow fail to address our needs.<br />

But the Ally Network is currently “consulting with student<br />

organisations, Buildings and Property Division and other<br />

stakeholders such as Transgender Victoria and will work with<br />

MSA Queer Department (MQD), et al through the process”. The<br />

Queer Officers have assured me that the Ally Network is being<br />

very communicative, doing their best to find out what the<br />

Monash Trans, Intersex and Gender Diverse Caucus wants on<br />

this front, and that while at this stage the MQD doesn’t have<br />

much of a role in the process, it’s because the Ally Network is<br />

doing all the work, and keeping well in touch about it.<br />

It’s looking good. My hopes are high.<br />

Last semester, I did an exchange at the University of East<br />

Anglia in Norwich, England, which happened to show me<br />

exactly how easy and wonderful gender neutral bathrooms<br />

could be. In addition to having an easy to find list of every<br />

other gender neutral bathroom on campus on the union<br />

website, their equivalent of the campus centre had recently<br />

been renovated, and the bathrooms had been converted into<br />

one large gender neutral bathroom for all students to use.<br />

It was beautiful. You entered a double-sided doorway to<br />

see a few accessible cubicles in the centre, with more cubicles<br />

extending to either side. Every second cubicle had a sanitary<br />

bin in it, and there were stickers saying which had them on the<br />

door. There was plenty of mirror and sink space. People came<br />

and went without drama or hassle. It was clean. It was spacious.<br />

I have never felt so comfortable in a public bathroom.<br />

Wandering around campus, to my amusement I would<br />

overhear random bystanders expressing their surprisingly<br />

immense satisfaction with these toilets. One person said, “I<br />

was pretty doubtful of the gender neutral bathrooms, I’ll admit;<br />

I just thought everyone would have sex in them. But they’ve<br />

turned out to be pretty great! Yeah, I’m surprised, I really like<br />

them.” (I assume they were cisgender, but honestly there’s no<br />

way to tell.)<br />

That’s not to say everyone was immediately comfortable<br />

with the arrangement. Nobody is going to automatically<br />

be comfortable with everything they’ve been taught to<br />

fear and/or shame, and issues such as cissexism, stigma<br />

around menstruation, and gendered violence are not going<br />

to disappear overnight. But you know what? Neither will<br />

gendered bathrooms. Pretty much every other building in<br />

the university still had gendered bathrooms. There are still<br />

ample opportunities for using facilities designed for restricted<br />

genders if that’s what makes you more comfortable, and in the<br />

meantime, people get used to the idea of sharing a bathroom<br />

with all genders, and (hopefully) not demanding knowledge<br />

of a stranger’s genitals. Most people seemed to get pretty<br />

comfortable pretty quickly.<br />

I would never have expected this to be such a highlight, but<br />

when I remembered I would have to come back to Monash and<br />

‘misgender’ myself every time I needed to use a basic facility, I<br />

was filled with dread. Surely something so simple can’t be that<br />

hard? Why couldn’t we have such facilities? Why couldn’t we<br />

have nice maps and lists of where to find them?<br />

Now, it looks like we can. At long last, the end is in sight.<br />

Perhaps we’ll all be able to use the bathrooms in peace and<br />

comfort soon.<br />

We’ve waited long enough.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 7


INTERVIEW<br />

Of monkeys and lizards:<br />

In conversation with Alexei Procyshyn<br />

Meet Alexei Procyshyn: a young philosopher hailing<br />

from Quebec, Canada. Nominated by my undergraduate<br />

peers as one of Monash’s most beloved lecturers, Ruby<br />

Kammora sat down with Alexei to talk life and learning six<br />

floors high within the Menzies building.<br />

What’s it like being an academic?<br />

One of the really interesting things people forget to tell you<br />

about being an academic is that you get to travel. It’s either a<br />

perk or a curse. The funny thing about being an academic is<br />

that you want to be at home with your books, you want to sort<br />

of… sit. But given the way the job market works these days,<br />

conferences even, you always end up travelling. I haven’t lived<br />

in Canada for any length of time since 2005/2006. I did my<br />

PHD in New York. I spent 2006 to around 2012-ish in New<br />

York, and then did a post-doctorate in Macau, China. And then<br />

from Macau to here.<br />

Illustration by Ruby Kammoora<br />

generally. I’m definitely more conversant or at home with<br />

German philosophy than French. There is a bad joke by<br />

an American philosopher that I think captures something<br />

interesting:<br />

So from the American perspective, there are philosophical<br />

lizards and philosophical monkeys. The lizards are the<br />

Germans; the monkeys are the French. What does a lizard do?<br />

It sits in the sun and gathers all of its energy, and in one fell<br />

swoop accomplishes everything it needs to do - and then stops.<br />

Systematic, almost. Methodical. Predetermined. Nothing left<br />

to chance in a German philosopher. The French are a little bit<br />

more playful. Like monkeys, they swing from branch to branch,<br />

idea to idea. There is a lot more play, a lot more experiment, a<br />

lot more what if?s in French philosophy.<br />

I am more of a lizard than a monkey. Just in terms of<br />

temperament. I like to see how the pieces fit before I play with<br />

them.<br />

What is your field of study?<br />

I would probably say 19 th to 21 st Century German<br />

Philosophy, with a specific focus on the Frankfurt School of<br />

Critical Theory. But I also have a background in Continental<br />

European philosophy and the history of philosophy more<br />

What are the big questions for your field?<br />

At least in my stuff, the major issue concerns how to get<br />

the right perspective on contemporary social life and political<br />

action. The problem is… almost like a tragedy. If you think<br />

about Greek tragedy, you’ll see that the tragic hero faces two<br />

8 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


STUDENT<br />

fundamental failures or limitations. On the one hand, the scope<br />

of what needs to be considered in order to act well is greater<br />

than what one can entertain. Finite minds and time, right? And<br />

secondly, the consequences of the tragic hero’s actions extend<br />

well beyond what she or he intended.<br />

In contemporary scenarios, buying a chocolate bar or a cup<br />

of coffee instantiates both problems: unbeknownst to you, a<br />

simple purchase can make you complicit in various forms of<br />

exploitation in other parts of the world. Today, a simple act<br />

instantiates a tragic structure once reserved for the biggest<br />

and best amongst us. And the issue now is how to get the right<br />

perspective on that so that there is something that can be done.<br />

Do you think Philosophy can contribute to society?<br />

I think it has an obligation to try. I do not think by simply<br />

being a philosopher, by dint of philosophical education, one<br />

has some kind of privileged perspective on these things. But I<br />

do think that in virtue of being able to study philosophy, say<br />

as a full time position, you probably have a moral obligation<br />

to think very hard about the ways that you can contribute to<br />

society. Because I couldn’t do what I do were it not for the fact<br />

that other people are in really tough shape.<br />

This is one of the motivating ideas behind critical theory.<br />

A good critical theory is supposed to provide agents with the<br />

ability to recognize and understand the specific injustices they<br />

endure whilst also providing them with the tools to do something<br />

about it. This form of social philosophy doesn’t proceed<br />

from “the top down”, and is not an ideal theory in that sense,<br />

but rather it tries to extrapolate both a theory and a form of<br />

engagement from concrete sociological circumstances. So the<br />

goal - the hope - is that somewhere out of the dusty books and<br />

sociological data, comes something that is productive.<br />

What are the big questions for humanity?<br />

I guess I can’t speak about humanity. One of the things I am<br />

really worried about though, is the way in which any substantive<br />

public space for disagreement and argument has disappeared.<br />

That is, the give and take of reasons that need not yield<br />

consensus but that do build understanding. In my experience,<br />

there is this sense in which our first person perspectives no<br />

longer appear open to question: you and I either share similar<br />

perspectives or reject one another’s. It’s as if one’s general<br />

orientation towards the world has become infallible because it<br />

is what one feels -- and how can one be wrong about one feels?!<br />

My sense is that there’s something terribly amiss here. It seems<br />

as if there is no time or space to inquire into the whys and<br />

hows of the things we feel so deeply. The inability to discuss,<br />

question, and argue about things that we feel - without it automatically<br />

becoming a polarizing issue that forecloses further<br />

discussion or debate - looks problematic to me.<br />

I’m more inclined to view ideas like hats. You can try them<br />

on, and when somebody says you look stupid in that hat, you<br />

go: okay, I can take it off… But, before you do, you might want<br />

to think about whether you really do look stupid, and why<br />

someone might think that the hat doesn’t look good. If we are<br />

unable to entertain a contrary idea, or reflect on what might be<br />

wrong with a deeply held belief, then any kind of social or political<br />

engagement is highly problematic. Insisting that something<br />

is incontestable because one feels this way, evacuates any kind of<br />

reason and content from our social spaces. It makes them null<br />

and void. And for me that’s deeply worrying.<br />

Can you see any potential solution to this issue?<br />

Yeah! More education, more philosophy. That is the sort of<br />

quixotic hope in the background of it all. Somehow by being<br />

engaged in certain forms of reflection, certain ways of trying to<br />

unpack the why and how of our fundamental, visceral experiences<br />

and feelings, we get a better grip on what it would mean<br />

to really discuss them.<br />

Why study philosophy?<br />

There are at least two distinct answers to this question,<br />

depending on what we mean by ‘philosophy.’ Roughly, ‘philosophy’<br />

might refer to an academic institution or practice. It might<br />

also just mean a reflective orientation towards one’s own life.<br />

I think the first, professional sense gets off the ground via the<br />

second one, i.e. the realization that you are a stranger to yourself.<br />

This intuitive sense of philosophy as a kind of reflective<br />

practice, is really just an effort to figure out what motivates us,<br />

why we act, and respond the way we do and what makes us<br />

the beings we actually are. Know thy self, right? In that sense,<br />

philosophy gets started when you go, why did I do that? or ask,<br />

why does that hurt? Philosophy gets started in moments of confusion<br />

like these… And confusion is inherently productive.<br />

How do we pronounce Procyshyn?<br />

It’s not that difficult, just think of the word ‘precision’, and<br />

just switch out that ‘e’ for an ‘o’.<br />

Ahh, pro-sis-sion.<br />

An apt name for such a precise and vivid mind.<br />

If you are interested in taking one of Alexei’s classes, you might<br />

consider:<br />

• ATS2860 - After the Death of God. “If a student was<br />

interested in getting their feet wet, the place to start<br />

would be with this course, with Nietzsche.”<br />

• ATS2865 - Language, Truth and Power.<br />

• ATS3405 – Critical Theory and Poststructuralism.<br />

• ATS3419 – Aesthetics and European Philosophy.<br />

Not enough course credit? Why not try reading:<br />

• Blaise Pascal: “To become acquainted with oneself.”<br />

• Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: “One of the most beautiful<br />

philosophical systems ever put together academically... a<br />

deep and sad beauty.”<br />

• Immanuel Kant’s ‘Critique of Pure Reason’: “The one<br />

desert book probably worth reading.”<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 9


STUDENT<br />

Cantankerous<br />

calculators<br />

by Brian Shih<br />

Illustration by Elizabeth Bridges<br />

The Faculty of Business and Economics has introduced a<br />

calculator regulation policy during mid- semester tests<br />

and end-of-semester examinations commencing in <strong>2016</strong>: the<br />

HP10bII+ financial calculator is the only approved calculator<br />

to be used by students. Commerce students will be able to get<br />

the newly approved financial calculator free of charge from<br />

the university. The Business and Economics faculty has made<br />

this decision as a response to student feedback regarding the<br />

need to acquire security stickers for calculators prior to tests<br />

and examinations. Such standardisation of calculators seems<br />

to be a favourable settlement at first sight, but there has been<br />

an immense resistance amongst commerce students over the<br />

past month, as the faculty and MSA Education Department<br />

are being bombarded with complaints and a petition is being<br />

signed.<br />

The HP10bII+ financial calculator, currently marketed at the<br />

price of $73.98 by Officeworks, aims to aid solving of business,<br />

financial, statistical and maths calculations with accuracy<br />

and efficiency. It includes business and statistical functions<br />

for Time Value of Money (TVM), amortisation, depreciation,<br />

interest rate conversion, cash flows, bonds, statistics and more.<br />

Students will be able to calculate specific values via its pre-programmed<br />

functions, which many users have found useful in<br />

finance calculations. Nonetheless, users will have to thoroughly<br />

go through the attached start guide to gain familiarity with the<br />

financial functions, because the entering of digits into any one<br />

of the functions is highly disciplinary and complicated.<br />

There have been rumours that the HP10bII+ financial<br />

calculator does not include parentheses, a basic function that<br />

most calculators have. This HP calculator does in fact come with<br />

parentheses buttons: press “red shift button” and click “RM” or<br />

“M+”. Yet, if the function is used twice in a single calculation,<br />

the answer will turn out to be incorrect. This Catch-22 means<br />

that if users have not gone through the manual or are not<br />

adjusted to its functioning, they will struggle with exponential<br />

or logarithmic calculations.<br />

The approved HP calculator also does not allow users to put<br />

in more than one line of working and go back to check what<br />

they have typed previously. It comes with an unconventional<br />

memory function that stores numbers for varied purposes, but<br />

such number storage and storage register arithmetic functions<br />

can create confusion for new users during exams.<br />

Since the start of the semester, there has been much criticism<br />

on the financial calculator, since all students are accustomed<br />

to their personal calculator they have been using since<br />

high school. It is understandable how the Faculty of Business<br />

and Economics came up with the decision to eliminate inconveniences<br />

of previous security stickers– once everyone uses<br />

the same approved gadget, there will be no concerns of people<br />

cheating in exams with text storage functions some advanced<br />

scientific calculators might have. However, a concern here is<br />

the amount of time students have to dedicate aside from their<br />

official studies to adjust to the change.<br />

The faculty has handed out the approved calculators to<br />

current first year students during Orientation Day, but one<br />

month into the semester, the shortage of stock caused by the<br />

first stage of distribution has caused all other students to wait<br />

for its arrival. Only until early April did the second stage of<br />

handing-out commence, but there are still plenty of students<br />

currently enrolled in units requiring the HP calculator in tests<br />

and final exams waiting an email from the faculty for the collection<br />

of their tool.<br />

I personally come across the change of permission for calculators<br />

when my unit coordinator for a financial accounting unit<br />

mentioned an approval of private calculators in our mid-semester<br />

test due to the HP calculator’s stock shortage. The<br />

change of policy has not been communicated across in a clear<br />

and accurate manner. Commerce students did not received an<br />

email in the beginning of the school year explaining the policy<br />

alternation. Information was not provided on how the decision<br />

was made, the purpose of the new policy and the selection of<br />

the specific financial calculator. Plus, there are no workshops<br />

opened for commerce students, instructing and educating the<br />

functioning and usage of this calculator.<br />

It is possible that some people will later find the HP10bII+<br />

handy once adjusted to it, while others will prefer their own<br />

scientific calculator that they having been using for a long time.<br />

Either way, the faculty is obliged to provide commerce students<br />

with enough information of the change of policy and sufficient<br />

time to learn and adjust. With the examination period<br />

approaching, students will have to figure out a way to learn<br />

using the device, especially for those who have not yet received<br />

the calculators. The purpose of bringing in a calculator into an<br />

exam is to eliminate trivial worries calculations might bring,<br />

but in this case, it seems like the newly approved HP10bII+<br />

financial calculator may add disruptions to the answering of<br />

questions during upcoming finals for some commerce units this<br />

year.<br />

10 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


STUDENT THEATRE<br />

Distraction and<br />

deconstruction:<br />

Coming up @ MUST<br />

Monash Uni Student Theatre is department of the<br />

MSA, lead by professional theatre makers, that creates<br />

performances by, with and for Monash students and the<br />

wider community.<br />

Noises Off by Michael Frayn<br />

A fiendishly ingenious homage to the theatre, Noises Off<br />

presents a play within a play, and farce within farce, in what is<br />

often called the funniest play ever written. The piece centres on<br />

a dysfunctional troupe of second-rate actors, as they rehearse<br />

and perform a B-grade British farce, ‘Nothing On’. Everything<br />

that could possibly go wrong does, as the emotional and<br />

accident-prone actors fumble their way through their regional<br />

tour.<br />

Doors slamming, on and off stage intrigue, characters within<br />

characters and entire sets revolving, this is perhaps one of<br />

the most challenging and entertaining productions of the last<br />

century.<br />

Noises Off By Michael Frayn<br />

Directed by MUST Artistic Director Yvonne Virsik, Set Design<br />

by Jason Lehane<br />

Assistant Directed by Helena Dixon and James Malcher<br />

May 13 – 21, <strong>2016</strong><br />

Fri 13 – Sat 14 & Mon 16 – Sat 21, 7.30pm / Matinee Sat 21,<br />

1.30pm<br />

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut<br />

This all happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway,<br />

are pretty much true. The aliens, spaceships, human zoo and<br />

assassination, perhaps less so. But there really was a city called<br />

Dresden and it really was fire-bombed during a war that was<br />

really fought by children. And Kurt Vonnegut Jnr really did<br />

witness all that fire and death as a prisoner of war. And he<br />

wrote a book about it. And Fleur Kilpatrick really is adapting it<br />

for the stage.<br />

It will begin like this, “Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck<br />

in time.”<br />

It will end like this “Poo-tee-weet?”<br />

She says of adapting Vonnegut’s novel: “The terrible and<br />

wonderful thing about adapting Slaughterhouse Five is how<br />

much I love it... It makes you work with passion but also with a<br />

terrifying awareness of the heritage of this work: how much it<br />

means to everyone who has read it... It is a deeply painful story<br />

and a messy one – it makes war look foolish and embarrassing –<br />

but it is also very funny, full of delicious sci-fi, porn and aliens.“<br />

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut<br />

Adapted and Directed by Fleur Kilpatrick<br />

Assistant Directed by Joey Burford and Liam Fergeus<br />

26 May – 5 June, <strong>2016</strong><br />

Thurs 26 May – Sat 28 May & Tues 31 May – Sat 4 June,<br />

7.30pm<br />

Sun 5 June, 6pm / Matinee Sat 4 June, 2.30pm<br />

Both shows are performing in the MUST Space:<br />

Grnd Flr West, Campus Centre<br />

21 Chancellors Walk, Monash University, Clayton<br />

Bookings via the MUST web site: msa.monash.edu/must<br />

Get in touch with MUST:<br />

9905 8173<br />

msa-must@monash.edu.au<br />

facebook.com/musttheatre<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 11


STUDENT<br />

Sliding scales of success<br />

Most students use the mid semester break for well, a<br />

break.However, I chose to channel my inner nerd and<br />

work on assignments in the hopes of achieving that coveted<br />

HD. It was a reflective essay I was working on, but being a highly<br />

distracted creature, my mind wandered off in a completely<br />

different direction.<br />

I contemplated why I was at my desk slogging away at an<br />

essay when I could use that time for relaxation. Was this an<br />

attempt towards being successful? I’d been thinking a lot<br />

about what success means from the perspective of a university<br />

student.<br />

When I asked my friend Jenny about her university timetable,<br />

she sighed. Working a part time job, she felt overwhelmed<br />

by the workload of juggling a double major with the need to<br />

fend for herself. When prodded about further goals, she wasn’t<br />

sure. Choosing an international relations major was influenced<br />

by her love for politics and diplomacy, but she saw no clear path<br />

that this major could pave for her.<br />

by Devika Pandit<br />

Illustration by Karla Engdahl<br />

I suppose the majority of us are caught up in a similar rut,<br />

toiling away at a goal we are uncertain about. What are all our<br />

efforts, all-nighters, endless essay drafts, working on weekends<br />

and over the breaks… what is it geared towards? Surprisingly, I<br />

obtained conflicted answers on this question.<br />

Patrick, a first year at uni is quite optimistic about his future<br />

prospects. Studying journalism, he wishes to seek a position<br />

with The New York Times and for added measure, has selected<br />

German, explaining that it offers an edge over monolinguals.<br />

Fair enough. However, monetary concerns are not far behind.<br />

Ethan (in his fourth year at university) candidly shared that his<br />

honours followed by a master’s degree was with the sole aim of<br />

improving career prospects, because “nobody wants to hire a<br />

plain old BA”.<br />

Is any goal worth the stress and hectic lifestyle we subject<br />

ourselves to each semester? All the students I spoke to had an<br />

overriding vision underscoring their current activities– the desire<br />

to be successful. I recognise this as a potentially debatable<br />

12 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


STUDENT<br />

topic, and so will present my perspective on what success<br />

should ideally mean, and whether happiness has a role to play<br />

in being successful.<br />

I feel that the crazy pressure for a hazy future is not what<br />

makes a successful person. You aspire to be an XYZ in organisation<br />

ABC, for which mindless grooming begins right from<br />

high school. Competitive examinations, dreaded and equally<br />

revered ATAR scores, extra-curricular activities (to impress<br />

university recruitment officials, of course), all contribute to an<br />

aggressively achievement-oriented mindset continuing well<br />

into adulthood.<br />

As students, we harbor a false belief that getting a good job<br />

and being well settled is the ultimate mark of a successful individual.<br />

Never mind the physical and psychological torture you<br />

subject yourself to while on this path. However, what actually<br />

happens once you land a job?<br />

Speaking to Chetan Kumar, a full time chef at Mocha Mojo<br />

Café in Berwick, he says the ability to manage a multi-layered<br />

university life is of little use in juggling the demands of a serious<br />

job. I asked him if he thought he was successful.<br />

“Far from it. It’s not just the money in my account; I want<br />

something more, something that justifies my crazy hours. I<br />

want to be happy in a different kind of way, if you know what I<br />

mean.”<br />

This makes me realize the transience of the conventional<br />

definition of success. Humans were not meant to sit still after<br />

obtaining Goal 1. Setting successively higher aims and working<br />

towards fulfillment is what our lives are about. This natural<br />

evolutionary mechanism ensures we maximize our capacity,<br />

exploring the potential we are gifted with.<br />

So is happiness possible while leading robotic lives? And can<br />

a happy person be successful or is he merely fooling himself?<br />

Unfortunately for our generation, ‘happiness is akin to an<br />

activity, the lowest number on a to-do-list that often goes unmarked’.<br />

More than a state of mind, we believe it to be ‘found’<br />

in certain circumstances, beyond which it requires an extensive<br />

search. This paints a very grim picture of the self-deception we<br />

willingly indulge in.<br />

For example, I wanted to attend the Melbourne Spanish<br />

Film Festival held in April-May this year and was considering<br />

whether or not to book tickets. After an exhaustive cost-benefit<br />

analysis of the situation, I decided against it, because of many<br />

assignments and tests due that week. My friend Mindy laughed<br />

off my attitude. Giving me the best possible reality check, she<br />

said, “No employer wants to know how you performed on a<br />

Spanish Test. So what the fuck are you waiting for? Book those<br />

tickets right away. We’re going to ACMI”.<br />

I realized I was deceiving myself with over-exaggerated<br />

tasks, which were not making me happy. Okay, so I might miss<br />

a 9am lecture. Not really such a big deal. There is so much more<br />

to your contentment than having updated notes or an excellent<br />

bibliography. Thank you Mindy.<br />

The sound of a busy station platform, a cloudy sky tinged<br />

with pink and orange hues on a chilly evening, the bustle<br />

outside ACMI, a hot chocolate later at night (or some other<br />

drinks), making some Spanish friends- this is my picture of<br />

happiness for the evening.<br />

I should learn to be carefree, abandoning all thoughts of<br />

work or study and living in the moment. Enjoying whatever life<br />

wants to throw at me. Maybe this would make me successful.<br />

When I can do as I please without any guilt (conditions apply<br />

What are all<br />

our efforts,<br />

all-nighters,<br />

endless essay<br />

drafts, working<br />

on weekends<br />

and over the<br />

breaks… what<br />

is it geared<br />

towards?<br />

obviously), when am happy because I want to be, not ‘because<br />

of’ somebody/thing, maybe then I’ll consider myself successful.<br />

While saying this, I maintain that efforts need to be consistent<br />

for achieving goals. Progress is essential, but the catch lies<br />

in what you regard your progress to be. An unhealthy obsession<br />

with happiness measured through a glossy certificate, an extra<br />

zero on your bank balance, a promotion, or a perfect relationship—exacerbate<br />

discontentment. These goals are transitory<br />

and can only give us so much happiness. They offer you a position<br />

that is temporary, but a permanent one is sought through<br />

a different outlook better known as attitude swap.<br />

What happens once you are dumped, lose your job, or fail a<br />

class? Are you still successful? My answer is (hold your breath)<br />

an absolute (here it comes) YES. I believe so because I measure<br />

success through satisfaction with what one has. You were<br />

dumped, but you have family still; you lose a job, but are educated<br />

and able enough to seek another one; failed a class, but<br />

have another semester, another chance.<br />

Most importantly, you have yourself. You possess self-belief<br />

(I admit it’s hard to cultivate) that will see you through<br />

any situation. This quality, in my opinion molds a successful<br />

person. Happiness follows alongside, as the Dalai Lama rightly<br />

remarks-<br />

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from<br />

your own actions.”<br />

Why not apply the same principle for success? It is definitely<br />

not ready made, but working towards it can be meaningful if<br />

only one is content on obtaining it. Contentment therefore<br />

seems to be the golden word in my opinion, for when content,<br />

you need not look further; you already possess all that is<br />

required for being successful.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 13


14 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


CLUBS AND SOCIETY<br />

What we’re wearing<br />

presented by FABSOC<br />

1. Where do you find your style inspiration from?<br />

2. Where do you shop?<br />

Clockwise from top left<br />

Alisha Rao (Left)<br />

1. Style inspiration… I don’t think I have one. I follow<br />

lustforlife on Instagram - she’s really cool. I think that’s<br />

my inspiration.<br />

2. I work at French Connection so I buy a lot of clothes<br />

from there. I also shop a lot at Zara.<br />

Samu Elleperuna (right)<br />

1. I love Natasha Oakley. She mostly wears bikinis but<br />

everything she does wear is really nice.<br />

2. I shop at Seed a lot, as well as Zara and Witchery. For any<br />

online shopping, ASOS is always good and sometimes<br />

even SurfStitch.<br />

Kevin Yim<br />

1. My inspiration first came from my mother and my sister.<br />

I used to be a classic teenager and wear the same clothes<br />

everyday. They inspired me to get into fashion, bought<br />

me awesome clothes, and helped me find my style. Now I<br />

mainly get my inspiration from Instagram such as chanmanshop,<br />

mrgumbatron, nami_man, samwines_ .<br />

2. I usually shop in store at stores such as Zara, H&M,<br />

Topman, etc. However, most of my favourite clothes I<br />

bought from small boutique stores in Korea and Japan.<br />

The clothes there fit my skinny asian body better.<br />

Sarah Brantino<br />

1. The majority of my style inspiration comes from instagram<br />

and trawling through the explore page every day<br />

(a very good use of my time). However, I’m also very<br />

much inspired by people I see all around Melbourne,<br />

because we have some damn stylish humans living here.<br />

2. Most of my clothing is from in store, as I am not great<br />

at resisting the lures of capitalism around us. Two years<br />

ago, I was all about buying online, but the companies<br />

I supported at the time have since lost their sense of<br />

community, and also no one wants to pay conversion rate<br />

when your fav brands start selling from overseas.<br />

About FABSOC<br />

FABSOC is the Fashion and Beauty (Appreciation) Society at<br />

Monash University. We host careers and social events on campus.<br />

You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram, where we<br />

hold giveaways, competitions and post our weekly street style<br />

photos. Through the society, we hope to promote more self-confidence,<br />

celebrate diversity and support ethical causes within<br />

the fashion industry.<br />

Upcoming events<br />

27 April - We will be hosting a careers event at Monash from<br />

6-8pm with three incredible guest speakers from the fashion<br />

and beauty industry. Stay tuned through our Facebook page<br />

(facebook.com/fabsoc.monash) for more details!<br />

Fashion Focus: Ethical and Sustainable Clothing<br />

The fashion industry is fast-paced with styles coming in and<br />

going out with a blink of an eye. This demand is driven by us as<br />

consumers, who continually want fast and cheap alternatives of<br />

the latest trends resulting in fashion consumption of clothing<br />

manufactured by underpaid workers and non-eco friendly<br />

materials.<br />

In conjunction with VGen (World Vision) and Oxfam at<br />

Monash, we at FABSOC strive to raise awareness of ethical<br />

alternatives and sustainable fashion in the Monash community.<br />

With our recent event “The Clothing Swap” in collaboration<br />

with VGen Monash, we encouraged students to dig through<br />

their closet and swap for some new clothes without buying into<br />

unethical practices such as child labour. In addition, Oxfam<br />

Monash are raising awareness of the importance of transparency<br />

in the garment industry through their #whomademyclothes<br />

campaign to improve workers’ rights and decrease environmental<br />

impact by the manufacturers.<br />

Let's start conversations with each other about how to shop<br />

sustainably and whether or not the companies and brands we<br />

shop at are ethical. Here are some tips to start:<br />

• Buy QUALITY clothes rather than CHEAP.<br />

• Think of clothes as an INVESTMENT rather than as<br />

DISPOSABLE.<br />

• Buy or trade SECONDHAND clothes.<br />

• Buy new clothes AFTER old ones wear out.<br />

• Support FAIRTRADE brands.<br />

Kieran<br />

1. My style inspiration depends on what mood I’m in! Some<br />

days I wake up and feel like a classy attire, while on other<br />

days I want something casual. A lot of my inspiration<br />

comes from people like Max Snow and Adam Gallagher.<br />

For the more casual outfits I always look at the dynamic<br />

music duo Amine Edge & Dance for some inspiration.<br />

2. Adidas, Calvin Klein,Super Glue and David Jones<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 15


OFFICE BEARER REPORTS<br />

MSA PRESIDENT ABBY STAPLETON<br />

Much of my time over the past few weeks has been spent building for the National Day of Action that was<br />

on April 13th. I hope you guys got a chance to see some of the actions we did in the lead up to the date! We<br />

had banner drops in the days beforehand and we saw a bunch of students come together on the Menzies lawn<br />

to form the words ‘NO FEE HIKES’. It was a really successful day and with the combined efforts of the MSA<br />

departments we saw a huge turnout for the protest. I have been doing a lot of work around the parking situation<br />

at Monash. A few weeks ago the MSA put out a petition for student input and I am continuing to bring<br />

that to the attention of the university so I will keep everyone updated! We are in the process of introducing a<br />

new and exciting service to the MSA! The workers advice service will kick off in the next few weeks! Last but<br />

certainly not least! The next National Day of Action will take place on May 11th. MSA reps will be focusing a<br />

lot on cuts the Liberal Government will make in the upcoming budget so make sure you keep an eye out!<br />

TREASURER MATILDA GREY<br />

Hi hey hello - thank godddd the semester is nearly over!<br />

We have been so busy-izzy in the last couple of weeks. Our primary focus has been ensuring everyone on campus<br />

knew about the student protest held on April 13th, where students Australia wide took to the streets in opposition of<br />

the government’s attacks to higher education. It was a great success, with Monash bringing along the largest contingent<br />

of all Victorian campuses! We’re working hard to promote the post-budget rally on May 11, to fight back against<br />

all of the horrid proposals that are sure to come with the <strong>2016</strong> budget.<br />

This week we’re holding a finance subcommittee to keep up to date and in touch with the latest financial happenings<br />

of the MSA, and to ensure things are running smoothly. During the mid-year break there’ll be a number of<br />

students attending a couple of educational conferences which I’ll be helping to organise too.<br />

Good luck to everyone for their exams; have a safe and happy holiday, and we’ll see you again in semester 2 for<br />

more magical mems!<br />

SECRETARY GLENN DONAHOO<br />

It seems like forever ago that I was writing my last report, with so much having gone on since then! Over<br />

the past month I’ve been very busy with a number of events occurring and other things needing to be done.<br />

I helped promote and then attended the student protest against cuts to higher education on April 13th, with<br />

the next one scheduled for May 11, while also ensuring education at Monash is the best it can be. I have also<br />

put together the proposed changes to our Election Regulations and Office-Bearer Regulations, which have<br />

now been voted on by the Monash Student Council.<br />

This is the last edition of Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> for the Semester so good luck for all of your exams! And remember<br />

that if you have any issues with your units or during your exams make sure you come and visit our amazing<br />

Student Advocacy and Support Officers who will be able to help you get the best outcome for your situation.<br />

If you have any other issues or have any ideas you think the MSA could help with, just send me an email at<br />

glenn.donahoo@monash.edu<br />

EDUCATION (ACADEMIC AFFAIRS)<br />

The last few weeks has been massive for the Education Department with preparation for the April 13<br />

National Day of Action being high on our to-do list. The NDA saw a massive turnout from students, again<br />

showing that we won’t stand for the Liberal Government’s’ continual attacks on education.<br />

Night exams continues to be the focus of our department, and we’re still collecting responses on our<br />

survey. So if you haven’t had a chance to fill it out yet, the link to the survey can be found on the “MSA<br />

Education” Facebook page. The next milestone in this campaign will be the release of exam timetables. If you<br />

are given a night exam and know you are going to be heavily impacted by it, please get in contact with us!<br />

Whilst we are limited in our ability to help with what will be a crap situation, we need to tell your story, your<br />

experience to Monash when it comes time to review night exams. Please email us at daniel.ffrench-mullen@<br />

monash.edu and/or jessica.stone@monash.edu<br />

DISABILITIES & CARERS<br />

EDUCATION (PUBLIC AFFAIRS)<br />

Hello once again Monash peeps, your Education Public Affairs officers have been working very hard and<br />

have had awesome results. We have just had our first state-wide student protest against the cuts to higher<br />

education proposed by the Turnbull Government on the 13th of April, and there was an amazing Monash<br />

turnout! I’d like to thank all of the students who did attend the protest, as they are pivotal in showing the<br />

government and the public that students are heavily against any changes that endanger our right to a fair<br />

higher education. There will be another student protest on May 11th (a week after the Turnbull government<br />

budget is released) to further the campaign against any cuts and attacks at our higher education. There will<br />

be a Free BBQ on the Lemon Scented lawns at 12pm, and then Free Buses to the protest at 1pm, so come and<br />

fight for your right to a just and fair higher education! Finally, we will be continuing the campaign for a People<br />

of Colour department within the MSA, as it is necessary to have a space in the student organisation where<br />

the voices of ethnic students are heard. If you’d like to become a part of a team advocating for student issues<br />

than you can come to our offices located in the MSA, or you can join the Monash Education Action Group on<br />

Facebook and come along to our meetings. We look forward to seeing you around campus. Sumudu Setunge:<br />

sumudu.setunge@monash.edu Sulaiman Enayatzada: sulaiman.enayatzada@monash.edu<br />

Hello everyone and all! Going to start this report with a shameless plug: The Disabilities and Carers<br />

department is really getting a collective going, and we’re establishing an autonomous facebook group for anyone<br />

who has a disability or is a carer to be able to discuss, talk, hang out, seek support, meet, whatever with<br />

other people who have a disability/are a carer. So! If you do and want to help this department out, become<br />

involved, ask questions, have discussions or in general just have a little more support in this area, please<br />

email me and I shall add you to the closed facebook group: viv.stewart@monash.edu<br />

From there we’re going to start building a committee and getting more involved in the on goings on the<br />

university together. Other than this, D&C week is coming up, so look out for any events you could and would<br />

like to come to!<br />

Thank you, I promise more information about what this department has been up to in the next report!<br />

Cheers and take care of yourselves<br />

16 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


OFFICE BEARER REPORTS<br />

QUEER<br />

April has been a huge month!! Queer Week was in week 5 and all our great events like workshops, Queer<br />

Ball, our movie screening and our guest speaker went really well! We’ve also helped out the Women’s department<br />

with their Rad Sex and Consent Week in week 6, are starting planning for Queer Collaborations, the<br />

queer student conference held in Perth during winter break. We’re still holding all our regular meetings like<br />

Queer Beers (Wed 4-6pm Sir John’s Bar), Morning Tea (Tue 11-1pm Queer Lounge) as well as our caucuses,<br />

such as Queer People of Colour Collective, Trans Intersex and Gender Diverse Caucus, and Q sQuared. And as<br />

always, you can get involved with us by sending our Facebook page a message: MSA Queer.<br />

WELFARE<br />

Well well well, how do you do!<br />

The Welfare Team has just been keeping on keeping on doing their usual thing! Free Food<br />

Mondays are going very well with a large number of people coming out for a delicious and<br />

nutritious meal. We have been trying to keep the Survival Centre stocked with useful bits<br />

and pieces such as clothes, crockery, and personal hygiene. Remember if you ever need<br />

anything drop by and grab what you require and if it’s not there then we will try our best to<br />

sort something out! We have a few ideas in the works so stay tuned for the next couple of<br />

weeks to see what they are! Much love, T & B x<br />

ACTIVITIES<br />

MSA Activities is just coming down from an awesome night at our Boat Cruise and Chill event. While<br />

we recover, we’re also planning our next big adventure: AXP! If you don’t know, AXP stands for After eXams<br />

Party and happens after the exams are done. What’s a better way to get over the exam stress? Come down to<br />

The Bottom End and boogie with us! Our launch event is on Wednesday week 10.<br />

We’re still doing our free food Wednesday at Hump Day on the Lemon Scented Lawn, so come down and<br />

grab free lunch in between lectures and hopefully we’ll see you soon at an event :)<br />

ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIAL JUSTICE<br />

We’ve been busy the last month waging war on the Government. Hopefully you’ll have seen the posters we<br />

put up, maybe heard us make announcements in your lectures, or even taken a leaflet from us and are aware<br />

that the Liberals still want to deregulate universities. Despite Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne getting the<br />

axe, privatising universities is still a priority for the government. We organised a snap action outside a Liberal<br />

party dinner celebrating 20 years since the Howard government’s election to raise these issues in the media.<br />

Come along to the next rally against these attacks on Wednesday May 11!<br />

We’re also socialists. This means that, as well as being involved in as many progressive campaigns as possible,<br />

we want to politicise the campus and hold many left wing forums. We’ve hosted meetings on the Russian<br />

Revolution, the Panama Papers, and a debate between the Monash Socialists and right wing think tank the<br />

IPA on the topic CAPITALISM vs SOCIALISM. Drop by our stalls on the Menzies Lawn to find out what we<br />

have planned next.<br />

WOMEN’S<br />

Hello! As well as maintaining the women’s room with lovely plants (fake and real), we’ve had our very<br />

own ‘Rad Sex and Consent Week’ throughout week 7 in April. We were very lucky to have some amazing<br />

workshops run professionals such as Jax-Jacki Brown and Sally Goldner and organisations such as YEAH,<br />

RhEd and Ygender who ran many different workshops, discussion groups and panels exploring the sex<br />

and consent issues and ideas that you may have never learnt about in high school and might find even are<br />

tabooed topics in society. Coming up in May: the department will be preparing for the ‘Network Of Women<br />

Students Australia’ (NOWSA) conference as well as rolling out a student lead screening of ‘The Hunting<br />

Ground’, a US documentary on sexual assault in universities. Please come along!<br />

INDIGENOUS<br />

The MSA Indigenous department is having a great <strong>2016</strong> so far! Student engagement in social events is<br />

higher than it has been in the past few years and we are well on track to achieving our goals for semester one.<br />

Planning for the National Indigenous Tertiary Education Student Games (NITESG) is well underway - trials<br />

will be held in the coming days and flights, accommodation and travel in Brisbane will soon be finalised.<br />

This week the Indigenous OBs have organised a dinner and movie night to take place in the Indigenous<br />

Student Lounge. This will be the first time that we are able to fully utilise the great kitchen facilities by cooking<br />

nachos and tacos!<br />

In the coming weeks we look forward to finalising the planning for Indigenous Week, to take place in Week<br />

11 - keep an eye out for events advertised, we’d love to see as many people as we can getting on board with<br />

our campaigns and activities.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 17


SOCIETY


SOCIETY<br />

Keeping Safe Schools safe<br />

by Andrea Duval<br />

Illustration by Timothy Newport<br />

In the “debate” of Safe Schools Coalition (SSC), the spread<br />

of misinformation, accelerated by social media, ministers,<br />

“concerned parents” and the Australian Christian Lobby,<br />

has been central to the push for a review of the voluntary<br />

program. Currently SSC provides member schools professional<br />

development for staff, resources, advice and support to<br />

students and their schools to assist queer students and create<br />

a welcoming environment. Recently some major changes were<br />

announced to the program, and it was confirmed that the<br />

program will not be renewed after 2017. I want to decode some<br />

of the concerns, from the ignorant to the outright homophobic<br />

and transphobic, and consider whether the changes reflect<br />

recommendations of the review. Unfortunately, the debate for<br />

some hasn’t been about whether the program is appropriate,<br />

but whether preventing bullying of queer students is right.<br />

In March, The Australian argued that “in discouraging the<br />

bullying of LGBTI students, it seeks to upend traditional<br />

understandings of gender and impose cultural values offensive<br />

to most Australians.” While this highlights some of the<br />

underlying bias behind many proponents of the SSC, it also<br />

holds that creating an environment where people feel accepted,<br />

and all bullying is discouraged, isn’t something to aspire to<br />

if it challenges pre-existing notions. There is a resistance to<br />

creating an environment where all people feel welcome. While<br />

some opponents prefer a generalised bullying program, others<br />

- like above - implicitly argue our current values and traditions<br />

should involve acceptance of the bullying of queer students.<br />

Beyond The Australian, there have been repeated arguments<br />

made against the SSC which appear borderline absurd to<br />

anyone who really delves into their accuracy. Let’s address some<br />

of these ridiculous assertions:<br />

“But didn’t they give kids a resource about gay erotica<br />

and sex workshops?”<br />

If this were true, it would be a very valid concern. But<br />

there is no direct link to sex sites, the program does not tell or<br />

encourage students to check out these sites, and no program<br />

material includes this content. In reality, what initiated this<br />

is merely a hyperlink trail that starts with an organisation<br />

that sponsors SSC, which may lead to gay male erotica if you<br />

keep clicking links. Now this is shocking, but yes, if you travel<br />

through the internet, you may click on a link to some content<br />

you don’t want. It’s almost like the internet functions in a way<br />

that you can access almost anything in a couple of clicks. SSC<br />

is actually devoid of any sex education and its main resource,<br />

All of Us, was created with educators to ensure the content is<br />

appropriate for year 7 and 8 students.<br />

“Why are we teaching children as young as 11 about<br />

adult proclivities?”<br />

In case you were unaware, apparently queer people don’t<br />

exist until they are 18. The implication is that queer identities<br />

are inherently more sexualised, politicised and perceived as<br />

adult-only. But would you say that your first crush was an<br />

adult experience? Or was it simply an act of child or teenage<br />

adoration? What about the first time you held hands with<br />

someone you liked? Why is this act suddenly so adult if the<br />

two people are of the same sex? Asking someone to imagine<br />

themselves as gay shouldn’t be any more sexualised than asking<br />

them to imagine themselves in a marriage or any couple.<br />

And when kids with backpacks bigger than themselves are<br />

already being bullied for being gender non-conforming, or<br />

when kids younger still are already thinking they are the wrong<br />

gender, why is the concept of transgender people too adult?<br />

There is a pervading idea that the queer identity is an adult<br />

concept that teens simply shouldn’t discuss. A child doesn’t<br />

become prematurely sexualised because they are asked what it<br />

is like to be queer; it teaches them empathy to people different<br />

from them.<br />

“It’s all Marxist propaganda!”<br />

This is not actually an argument against the contents<br />

of the program, but a thinly veiled argument against some<br />

people involved. It relates to the political views of Roz Ward,<br />

the Victorian Project Coordinator. Now to determine if the<br />

program is Marxist in nature, we must look at the details of the<br />

actual program’s design. I don’t know about you, but I certainly<br />

didn’t see any talk about an overthrow of capitalist society and<br />

the establishment of a proletariat democracy in the program.<br />

Perhaps they are referring to ‘cultural Marxism’, a buzzword<br />

that is most commonly used regarding pushes for inclusivity<br />

and learning about new ideas/acceptance.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 19


SOCIETY<br />

“But doesn’t it just bully the straight kids?”<br />

No.<br />

The actual government review showed that many of the<br />

fears expressed by some of the members of the community<br />

were overblown. Professor Bill Louden, who conducted the<br />

report, noted that the material was consistent with the aims<br />

of reducing bullying, homophobia and transphobia in school<br />

and creating a safe, accepting environment for all. Much of the<br />

material catered to high school students and it was found that<br />

the four official guides and posters produced were consistent<br />

with the aims of SSC and were age-appropriate. This includes<br />

the All of Us resource, which notably, received most of the<br />

initial complaints as mentioned above. The review states<br />

that “the resource All of Us is consistent with the aims of the<br />

program, is suitable, robust, age-appropriate, educationally<br />

sound and aligned with the Australian Curriculum. It contains<br />

more material than would be likely to be used in most schools,<br />

and some material that individual schools and teachers would<br />

choose not to use. These choices fall within the range of<br />

reasonable teacher judgement and school policy.”<br />

The actual media release of the proposed changes covered<br />

many areas, but I’ll address two that I found to be most<br />

significant:<br />

“Fix the content of the programme resources”<br />

This section discussed the removal of certain activities,<br />

redesigning the lesson on intersex people, and requiring<br />

additional sources to be peer reviewed. The review saw the<br />

resources as suitable under reasonable teacher judgement,<br />

so it would be understandable to leave it up to the school’s<br />

discretion. To still remove the material is more of an attempt<br />

to appease the conservative faction of the Coalition than out<br />

of concern for student wellbeing. It removes the ability of the<br />

school to make their own decisions about suitability. One of<br />

the lessons that will be amended includes an activity where<br />

students were split into two groups, and asked to imagine<br />

themselves in a relationship with a partner of the opposite<br />

or same gender. They were then asked questions like “Could<br />

you easily talk to your parents or close relatives about your<br />

sexuality?” or “Would you be able to take your partner to<br />

the school formal?”. This will now be removed, though it<br />

did not have any mention of sex or sexual acts, seemingly<br />

because fostering empathy in students is a stain on traditional<br />

sensitivities.<br />

“Ensure parents are appropriately empowered and<br />

engaged”<br />

This section was about allowing parents to consent to<br />

whether their children participate in the program, and<br />

introduces the requirement of parental bodies to approve<br />

of their school to join. There are two major concerns I have.<br />

One, it allows parents to prevent schools from joining SSC,<br />

even though the new changes will already let them prevent<br />

their kid from attending. This essentially means that certain<br />

parents that might not approve of queer people can prevent<br />

others from seeking these resources. Furthermore, it makes<br />

more sense to keep the previous content and allow parents<br />

to consent to the controversial content than reducing the<br />

flexibility and choice of all schools and teachers. Parental bodies<br />

that choose what content can be shown, to the exclusion of<br />

teachers, principals and students, ignore that schools seek out<br />

There is a<br />

pervading idea<br />

that the queer<br />

identity is an<br />

adult concept<br />

that teens<br />

simply shouldn’t<br />

discuss.<br />

SSC to address the needs of individual students. In the review,<br />

schools note that the main reasons they joined the SSC was for<br />

“school staff training,” followed by “access to resources and help<br />

in supporting an individual student.” They see that a program<br />

aimed at these students is absolutely necessary. When 61% of<br />

queer young people experience verbal homophobic abuse, 18%<br />

experience physical abuse and 26% experience other forms of<br />

homophobia, with 80% of this bullying happening in schools,<br />

there is an issue that urgently needs to be addressed.<br />

In the end, the effects of this program can be subtle.<br />

It’s hard to explain the relief that a student who is queer<br />

or questioning receives when they realise their school has<br />

joined this program. Or when a teacher actually backs you<br />

up when you tell someone to not use a slur. Even beyond the<br />

target group, there have been others who have been cruelly<br />

bullied on the assumption they are queer. Even if there are<br />

no ‘out’ students, and explicitly homophobic or transphobic<br />

bullying doesn’t occur, there is a subtle influence on every<br />

questioning student that they may not be welcome. The<br />

experience of not being out and not reaching out when you<br />

struggle with your sexuality or gender dysphoria is inhibiting.<br />

Programs that aim to provide a more accepting and inclusive<br />

environment maximise the social, educational and vocational<br />

potential of students. This is why 362 academics, including 17<br />

professors of Medicine, 120 doctors including paediatricians<br />

and psychiatrists as well as other health professionals and<br />

medical students, have signed an open letter in support of<br />

the SSC. In my case, when my school joined SSC in 2012, a<br />

group of students, many of us who weren’t out, were overjoyed<br />

that our school was doing something. The resources were<br />

entertaining and tailored for students, but most importantly<br />

informative. We knew that the teachers after training would<br />

be more confident to stop people from making queer students<br />

feel unwelcome, whereas previously they were found lacking.<br />

Joining Safe Schools Coalition was an achievement for our<br />

school, and it’s a tragedy that it may now be removed for the all<br />

the wrong reasons.<br />

20 20 | | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


SOCIETY<br />

Mini-beasts and micro-parties<br />

by Julia Pillai<br />

Illustration by Angus Marian<br />

Remember studying ‘mini-beasts’ in Primary school? Minibeast<br />

is a fancy term for insects and arachnids. Weird<br />

little squirmy, sticky, hairy, gross, animals with many eyes and<br />

wings. Despite their clear insignificance, all have vital roles in<br />

our ecosystem. Asides from scaring us, in the environment that<br />

is Australian politics we have an equal to the mini-beast: the<br />

micro-party.<br />

Much like mini-beasts, micro-parties are strange entities<br />

that keep you up at night with worry. From Motoring<br />

Enthusiast’s Party’s Ricky Muir with his strange facial hair, to<br />

perhaps terrifying parties like Family First. For a long time,<br />

people smarter than us have thought, “How do these people<br />

get elected?” Few people are enthusiastic about cars enough<br />

to vote for the Motoring Enthusiast Party. Many found The<br />

Palmer United Party’s policies confusing, yet not many people<br />

are confused enough to vote for them. While Family First isn’t<br />

generally the first preference for many families. How do these<br />

strange political creatures crawl out of obscurity and into vital<br />

senate positions? One of the biggest factors is the way our<br />

voting system works.<br />

Voters have had the option to vote above the line for one<br />

party or below the line preferencing all candidates. Considering<br />

as many as 60 candidates may be running in the senate, many<br />

people vote above the line. When you vote above the line, your<br />

ballot is filled in order of what your party has preferenced yet<br />

oftentimes, you as a voter may not know how your party has<br />

preferenced. It is here where those strange parties that few<br />

people actually vote for get the votes. This has been a concern<br />

for a while because most people do not know who they are<br />

voting for.<br />

But times have changed, and a new system of voting has<br />

now passed. Now above the line voters are to list at least six<br />

preferences. Voters below the line are encouraged to mark<br />

at least 12 or more preferences, rather than all candidates,<br />

although 6 preferences would still be considered valid.<br />

Additionally, parties will no longer be able to make preference<br />

deals with each other.<br />

Yet, is more control on our votes actually a good idea? This<br />

senate reform is seen as a wonderful way to ensure control<br />

of our votes, and keep the crazies out. But have you ever<br />

thought, “Hey, we might actually need micro-parties.”<br />

Yes, micro-parties seem to make #auspol more of a spectator<br />

sport rather than governance, but just as earthworms<br />

fertilise our soil and maggots play a vital role in decomposing<br />

the dead, maybe we need loose canons in our senate. Maybe<br />

we need people like David Leyonhjelm complaining about<br />

the so called ‘nanny state’. Maybe we need Jacqui Lambie<br />

and her unique views on immigration, veteran affairs and<br />

the ice epidemic. And don’t forget Ricky Muir’s ‘gay marriage<br />

epiphany’. Maybe we need them to have a vigorous debate in<br />

our government and decentralize the power of the Labor and<br />

Liberal parties. Perhaps micro-parties are vital to our democracy,<br />

showing a cross-section of different ideas and views in<br />

the Australian election that does not fit neatly in the larger<br />

parties; these views that may not fit into ideologies such<br />

as trade-unionism, social democracy, neoliberalism, social<br />

conservatism, and so forth, but rather represent different<br />

interest groups in Australian society. Perhaps it’s time to<br />

stop viewing the phenomenon of micro-parties as the people<br />

losing power, but rather that of the people gaining power.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 21


Left behind: is Labor<br />

still progressive?<br />

by Ovindu Rajasinghe<br />

“Illustration” by Lisa Healy<br />

HE GREENS ARE IN BED WITH THE LIBS!”<br />

“T cried the Labor party machine. after the Greens<br />

negotiated with the Liberal Party to pass democratic Senate<br />

voting reform. Such hysteria has emerged more and more from<br />

the Australian Labor Party (ALP), as it is attacked from both<br />

flanks, bleeding votes to the Greens on the left and the Libs on<br />

the right.<br />

The problem with the ALP’s allegations against the Greens<br />

is that Labor has voted with the Government far more than<br />

the Greens ever have. On data retention, on the torture of<br />

asylum seekers, on refusing to bind on marriage equality… the<br />

ALP has been complicit in so many of the awful policies of this<br />

Government.<br />

Many young people, who are interested in progressive<br />

politics in this election year, might be torn between supporting<br />

Labor and the Greens. While either party would be a significant<br />

improvement than the incompetent and regressive Turnbull<br />

Government, some stark differences emerge on the progressive<br />

side of politics.<br />

To understand the complexities of this difference, one has<br />

to delve into Labor factional politics. This is the realm of the<br />

‘faceless men’ and ‘party hacks’ that are oft referred to in the<br />

media.<br />

Factions are formal groupings within political parties, where<br />

individuals with similar political opinions group together to try<br />

and collectively influence party policy. The differences between<br />

factions are often arbitrary, and they are often used to gain<br />

power and influence. The ALP’s factional scene is ridiculously<br />

complex, and it has sub-factions within factions. However,<br />

the two main groupings are the Socialist Left, and the Labor<br />

Right. The split in the ALP dates back to the time of the Cold<br />

War, when the right faction prevailed, and to this day is the<br />

dominant faction in Labor politics.<br />

The Greens and the Labor Left are in broad agreement on<br />

many issues. They both want very similar policy outcomes,<br />

the ones that many progressive young people want to achieve.<br />

The question then becomes one of mechanism: what is the<br />

best means to achieve this progressive change that we want?<br />

Support the Labor Left, and push for change from the inside, or<br />

support the Greens, and push for change from the outside?<br />

Daniel King, President of the Monash University Labor<br />

Club, and former Secretary of the MSA, believes that change<br />

from within the Party is the most effective means of achieving<br />

change.<br />

King’s rationale for backing Labor is that they, unlike the<br />

Greens, have a reasonable chance of exercising actual executive<br />

and legislative power. Should the ALP win a majority in<br />

the House of Representatives (as is looking more and more<br />

22 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


OPINION<br />

likely), it will be able to form Government. This would mean<br />

that the ALP would be able to wield progressive influence by<br />

administering the law, and by setting the agenda for legislative<br />

change, whilst the Greens will clearly not have access to this<br />

power in the short to medium term.<br />

King downplays the prominence of factional politics within<br />

the Labor party, saying that there is a significant amount of<br />

cooperation and compromise between the factions, in order<br />

to achieve good policy and maintain a united front. King does<br />

admit that certain people within the party take factional<br />

politics too seriously, acting as if “they were in a real life version<br />

of House of Cards,” and regrets that this does sometimes come<br />

at the expense of focus on substantive policy.<br />

Despite this, the solution set out by King is simple: support<br />

the Labor Left rather than the Greens, and try and win<br />

more influence within the party. This does not necessarily<br />

mean joining the ALP, but could entail things like supporting<br />

progressive Labor candidates such as Stefani Perri, or Tanya<br />

Plibersek. King cites the Labor Environmental Action Group, a<br />

special interest group within the Labor Party. as an example of<br />

achieving policy change this way.<br />

With significant lobbying within the party, they were able<br />

to pass a 50% Renewable Energy Target (RET) at the 2015<br />

National Conference – a significant victory, as the improved<br />

RET is now in the ALP’s official platform. King stresses that<br />

the margins between Labor Left and Right are very slight, and<br />

a few extra Left members here or there in the branches would<br />

mean that more Left party delegates could be elected, and more<br />

progressive policy positions could be achieved.<br />

Despite all of King’s analysis, I am still sceptical that it is<br />

possible to turn the ALP back into a vehicle for progressive<br />

change.<br />

I don’t buy that people supporting the Labor Left will cause<br />

the Party to move to the left. By all accounts, the party machine<br />

is vast and complex, and a move to the left could easily be<br />

quashed or side-tracked. Something might be included in the<br />

ALP platform, but the Parliamentary Labor Party might fail to<br />

implement it because of political cowardice (or pragmatism,<br />

depending on who you ask). Moreover, many individuals within<br />

the Left faction are more concerned about petty politics than<br />

substantive policy change.<br />

One only has to look at the dysfunction and factional<br />

warfare in the National Union of Students, where the NUS<br />

President (and former President of the MSA), Sinead Colee of<br />

the Labor Left, came under pressure to resign by members of<br />

the Right because of her failure to file reports (she has since<br />

retained her position). When faced with this kind of ridiculous<br />

infighting, it is hard to be optimistic about the Labor Party’s<br />

prospects of being a progressive policy force.<br />

While the Greens will obviously not form Government after<br />

the 2 nd of July this year, they are important in other ways.<br />

If there is a hung Parliament (and this is on the cards, with<br />

the ALP and the Libs polling roughly 50-50 on a two-partypreferred<br />

basis), then the Greens might well have significant<br />

power in a minority government, as they did in 2010.<br />

If there is a normal majority Parliament, with a Labor or<br />

Liberal Government, the Greens still have a very important<br />

role to play in terms of advocacy. Politics is not just about<br />

having your hands on the levers of power. Having Members<br />

of Parliament who can stand up in the chamber, and outside,<br />

to speak up about the horrific treatment of asylum seekers,<br />

Certain people<br />

within the party<br />

take factional<br />

politics too<br />

seriously, acting as<br />

if “they were in a<br />

real life version of<br />

House of Cards.”<br />

about the disgusting degradation of the environment, and the<br />

acquiescence of the major parties to their corporate donors<br />

is immeasurably important. By using this platform, they can<br />

win the hearts and minds of the people, who will ultimately<br />

decide what kind of policies they want to be enacted. Enough<br />

public pressure can sway even the staunchest of governments.<br />

For example, the #LetThemStay campaign, which the Greens<br />

supported unequivocally, led to the Turnbull Government<br />

allowing some of the children of asylum seekers to stay in<br />

Australia.<br />

The Greens are playing a long game. As Bob Brown famously<br />

said, “[the Australian Democrats] wanted to keep the bastards<br />

honest. We want to replace them.” The Greens are not going<br />

to win any sort of executive government for the next twenty<br />

or thirty years, but if the ALP continues to be so cowardly in<br />

prosecuting a progressive agenda, then the Greens are going<br />

to keep eating away at their share of the progressive vote.<br />

When you do cast your ballot in July, remember that a vote for<br />

the Greens is not a wasted vote. Even if you live in one of the<br />

vast majority of electorates that the Greens have no chance<br />

of winning in, simply put Labor above the Liberals and your<br />

preferences will flow to Labor.<br />

However, what you just might do is send a message to<br />

the ALP that they are not doing well enough in supporting<br />

progressive policy. If Labor does not heed that message, then<br />

they will be left behind in the dust.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 23


DRAWING<br />

VULVAS<br />

ON THE HER<br />

By Jemma Cakebread<br />

24 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


ALD SUN<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 25


ESSAY<br />

Every<br />

child<br />

needs a<br />

family<br />

by Sophia McNamara<br />

Every child needs a Mum and a Dad. Does this sound<br />

familiar? It probably does, because it’s the catch phrase<br />

of anti-marriage-equality and anti-adoption-equality rhetoric<br />

throughout the world. In fact, Australian anti-marriageequality<br />

site Australian Marriage has “Think of the Child”<br />

plastered all over their site as their motto, as if it is somehow<br />

a justification for their bigoted and discriminatory views. Ok,<br />

Australian Marriage, let’s think of the child.<br />

I was 5 when Mum and Dad broke up.<br />

Mum and Dad sold our house, split the money both ways<br />

and we moved into another house that was just for Mum, my<br />

brother Rory and myself. However not long after we moved in,<br />

the short-haired female real estate agent from the sale of our<br />

old house was there too and I wasn’t quite sure why. Her name<br />

was Tricia and she was sleeping in Mum’s room and helping her<br />

pack our school lunches. Despite my cluelessness, I figured she<br />

wasn’t really going anywhere.<br />

I was 7 when Mum first explained to me what a “lesbian”<br />

was.<br />

I was too young to realise that there were entire movements<br />

out there dedicated to condemning and shaming people based<br />

on which gender they were naturally attracted to. I was too<br />

young to realise there were governments across the world<br />

criminalising these relationships and refusing to grant legal<br />

equality to these couples. As a child, I couldn’t possibly wrap my<br />

head around the fact that people would hate others based on<br />

Me, Tricia, Mum and Rory. 2002<br />

something so arbitrary, something so harmless, and something<br />

that, to be frank, has nothing to fucking do with them.<br />

I went to primary school in the early 2000s. It wasn’t<br />

actually very long ago, but the world was considerably more<br />

homophobic than it is now. Despite my initial ignorance, it<br />

didn’t take long for me at all to realise that the other kids at<br />

school (and unfortunately, some of their parents too) thought<br />

that we weren’t normal. It forced me into the awkward and<br />

arduous task of hiding the details of our family dynamic.<br />

I had friends come over very frequently. I would consistently<br />

hide the fact that “the other woman” - who really is a woman<br />

because woman can wear men’s clothes and have short hair<br />

too - was actually Mum’s partner. Some days I’d tell people she<br />

was simply Mum’s ‘friend’. Some days she was Mum’s ‘work<br />

colleague’. Some days I’d just awkwardly skirt around the<br />

subject when people asked me if Mum ‘had a boyfriend’. When<br />

I was 8, Tricia and Mum had split up and Mum’s new partner<br />

Kelly moved in later. Kelly was a bit younger than Mum and<br />

a particular highlight of my childhood was the time someone<br />

entertainingly mistook her as Mum’s son.<br />

When I was about 9, I had a best friend who would come<br />

over all the time and I wanted to finally tell her about my gay<br />

mums. I remember trying to test the waters by asking her,<br />

“What would you do if your mum was actually a lesbian?”<br />

“I would call the police and get them to take her away,” she<br />

said. Jesus fucking Christ, ok Soph, abort mission.<br />

26 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


SOCIETY<br />

I learned that<br />

expressing your<br />

views loudly and<br />

standing up for what<br />

you believe in would<br />

always help you end<br />

up with the right<br />

people in your life.<br />

This unnecessary nonsense went on till I was about<br />

fourteen. At this age, I met some new friends at school who<br />

were much more radical and open-minded than anyone else<br />

I had met before. After hearing them talk so freely about gay<br />

people, I decided to tell them about having a gay mum. They<br />

thought it was cool. Cool?? I couldn’t believe that I was lucky<br />

enough to find some friends who were not afraid to say out<br />

loud that they openly support LGBTQAI people and are allies in<br />

their struggle.<br />

I always had been a queer ally, but from that moment, I<br />

decided to be more open about it and join the fight against<br />

homophobia. Any time I encountered homophobic comments<br />

– and at the time it happened a lot – I did not hesitate to call<br />

people out on their bullshit. In my eyes, being silent in the face<br />

of homophobia was simply not good enough. To be honest,<br />

I think life got better at that point. I learned that expressing<br />

your views loudly and standing up for what you believe in<br />

would always help you end up with the right people in your life.<br />

Having gay mums exposed Rory and I to social and political<br />

issues at a very young age, issues we probably would not have<br />

taken such an interest in otherwise. The older we got, the<br />

more interested we became in law, policy, progressive politics,<br />

equality and gender issues. It is probably no mere coincidence<br />

that as a 20 year old, I am now in my third year of university<br />

studying law and sociology, hoping it will lead me to a career<br />

in public law and policy one day. It is also probably no mere<br />

coincidence that as a 21 year old, my brother lives just down<br />

the road from Parliament in Wellington, the most political<br />

city of New Zealand, and is in his fourth year of a political<br />

science degree. He may identify as straight, but he also has a<br />

tendency to end up in a dress when he gets to a certain point of<br />

intoxication. It’s rather amusing.<br />

If you couldn’t already tell by now, my mum is a fierce<br />

woman. She started a seafood business at 23 and two decades<br />

later was employing 25 staff and her business was the largest<br />

wholesale seafood provider in New Zealand. After our Dad left,<br />

she was up at 4am every morning and at the fish factory by<br />

5am to get it up and running for the day. She has a truck driver’s<br />

licence and can drive a tractor better than most Kiwi males.<br />

As a strong, independent queer woman, she has been nothing<br />

but the perfect role model for Rory and me.<br />

Having gay mums also steered Rory and I away from buying<br />

into any traditional gender roles. I played cricket and he enjoyed<br />

cooking. Rory would borrow Mum’s t-shirts and sometimes<br />

I would borrow his, but more importantly, we never cared<br />

about what was girly and what was manly. We watched our<br />

Mum own a business and raise us mostly on her own and never<br />

for a second did either of us doubt the fact that women can do<br />

fucking anything.<br />

I didn’t see my Dad a lot as a child but as a teenager he<br />

became a big part of my life. He still calls from New Zealand<br />

every few days just to check on me. Despite everything, I have a<br />

strong and fairly ‘normal’ relationship with both parents. I am<br />

so proud to be an LGBTQAI ally, and I wholeheartedly believe<br />

that they make beautiful families. I have a Mum, a Dad, and<br />

two non-blood-related women called Tricia and Kelly who are<br />

supportive, caring, and treat my brother and me as if we are<br />

their own children. Rory and I are very spoiled that there are so<br />

many adults who love and care for us so deeply.<br />

It’s <strong>2016</strong>, but gay couples still can’t marry in Australia, they<br />

can’t adopt children in every state, the age of legal consent is<br />

unnecessarily higher for anal sex than vaginal sex, and gay men<br />

still can’t donate blood in fear of HIV transmission, regardless<br />

of their sexual history. It’s <strong>2016</strong>, but according to Australian<br />

criminal law, if you kill someone due to an unwanted gay sexual<br />

advance, your charge will be downgraded from murder to<br />

manslaughter as it is considered sufficient provocation for an<br />

attack and can be used as a legal defence. It’s <strong>2016</strong>, but according<br />

to the Australian Human Rights Commission, LGBTQAI<br />

Australians are three times more likely to experience depression<br />

and approximately half hide their sexual orientation or<br />

gender identity in public in fear of violence or discrimination.<br />

It’s <strong>2016</strong>, and you know what? It’s about time we all grow the<br />

fuck up and stop treating people like they’re less than us just<br />

for being different (looking at you, Liberal government).<br />

The thing is, Australian Marriage, there’s a rather serious<br />

flaw in your argument. Every child does not need a Mum and a<br />

Dad. Every child needs a family – whether it’s a Mum and Dad,<br />

just a Mum, just a Dad, a Mum and a Mum, a Dad and a Dad,<br />

grandparents, non-blood-related caregivers or an older sibling.<br />

It could be one parent, five parents, or any sort of obscure<br />

combination you can think of. As long as they are safe, they’ll<br />

be just fine, I promise.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 27


Wot’s Life<br />

with Jon Snow<br />

Illustration by Stephie Dim<br />

Is Winter really coming? Weather still seems pretty warm<br />

to me.<br />

If I have to say this one more time I’ll drive my fucking sword<br />

through your stomach. Yes. Winter is coming. The snow will<br />

build up outside and freeze everybody in their houses. The<br />

children will want to go outside, but if they do they’ll be dead<br />

minutes after the air touches their tiny bodies, and they’ll<br />

freeze in the snow and be discovered by their grieving parents<br />

when spring breaks. It won’t matter if you’re a high lord or a<br />

peasant. Unless you’re lucky enough to be trapped in a house<br />

with food and heat, the gods won’t care about your blood when<br />

they strike you down. The weather may be warm now, but<br />

beware what comes next.<br />

I’ve got a test worth 30% of my total mark coming up, and<br />

I’m freaking out. Can you help me study?<br />

I’ve been told that I know nothing. Sam will probably be more<br />

help.<br />

I’m having girl trouble, she’s been ignoring me and talking<br />

smack about me to her friends. I’m pretty pissed, to be<br />

honest. What can I do?<br />

Words? You’re hurt by words? Arrows are more painful. Until<br />

your partner shoots you multiple times in the chest, shut up.<br />

I’m getting kind of scared, walking home at night. What can<br />

I do?<br />

The night is dark and full of terrors. Bringing a sword with<br />

you is the wisest move, Valyrian steel if possible. Find yourself<br />

a sword master and refine your technique. You don’t need to<br />

know much: just learn how not to kill the wrong person.<br />

Are you really dead?<br />

No. I just thought that bleeding out while in the freezing snow<br />

would be fun. Jon Snow. Lying in the snow. Get it?<br />

What’s going to happen to Westeros now?<br />

Fucked if I know. I’m out, I’m done.<br />

Don’t anybody fucking dare bring me back.<br />

28 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


designed by Samantha J Ireland<br />

Week 9<br />

Week 10<br />

Women's weekly<br />

discussion 1-3pm<br />

MQD Morning Tea<br />

11am-1pm<br />

MQD Morning Tea<br />

11am-1pm<br />

MQD Qu<br />

4-6pm<br />

Queers o<br />

6.30pm<br />

Budget p<br />

Menzies<br />

State Lib<br />

MQD Qu<br />

4-6pm<br />

Week 11<br />

International Day<br />

Against Homophobia<br />

and Transphobia<br />

MQD Morning Tea<br />

11am-1pm<br />

MQD Q<br />

4-6pm<br />

Week 12<br />

MQD Q<br />

4-6pm<br />

SWOT VAC<br />

BEGINS<br />

Want your event featured in next month’s calendar?<br />

Email us at msa-lotswife@monash.edu


TEAR ME<br />

OUT!<br />

eer Beers<br />

n Screen<br />

rotest 12pm<br />

Lawn; 2pm @<br />

rary<br />

eer Beers<br />

ueer Beers<br />

ueer Beers<br />

June already? Turn over for a killer<br />

poster by Ruby Jones!


IT MEANS THEY CARE?<br />

Relationships, be they partners, friends or family, can be a great<br />

part of life, but sometimes behaviours that we can brush off as<br />

someone 'just showing how much they care' can actaully be<br />

harmful or dangerous. Relationships should be about equality,<br />

respect and open communication. These are some red flags you<br />

should look for before or during any relationship.<br />

MONASH<br />

SAFER COMMUNITY UNIT<br />

T: +61 3 9905 1599<br />

E: safercommunity@monash.edu<br />

monash.edu<br />

Try asking yourself:<br />

• Do they show extreme moodswings, saying that they'll love you<br />

forever then getting angry and saying they hate you?<br />

• Are they expecting you to make big, unreasonable committments to<br />

them very early in the relationship?<br />

• Are they possissive, jealous or manipulative? Do they try to stop you<br />

from seeing your family and friends or spread lies about you to them?<br />

• Are they controlling of your behaviour, such as dictating where<br />

you go, what you can wear or even what you can eat?<br />

Never date someone out of pity and trust your instincts. If these<br />

behaviours sound familiar, the Safer Community Unit can help.<br />

For information, advice and support in a safe environment, please contact the Monash University Safer Community Unit on 9905<br />

1599 or just dial 51599 from a Monash phone.The Safer Community Unit website also lists resources and links to external agencies<br />

http://www.adm.monash.edu.au/safercommunity/<br />

Adapted from Surviving Stalking (2002) by Michele Pathé


SCIENCE<br />

Being a hero:<br />

fighting<br />

antibiotic<br />

resistance<br />

by Sasha Hall<br />

Illustration by Eliza Stribling<br />

In 1928, Alexander Fleming became a medical superhero<br />

saving millions of lives and revolutionising modern<br />

medicine all through an accidental discovery. I’m talking about<br />

penicillin of course: the wonder antibiotic which has enabled<br />

the human race to survive countless bacterial diseases that<br />

were once able to plague our societies, killing in just a few<br />

hours. Today, due to the arduous work of many esteemed<br />

scientists to develop antibiotic drugs, we have the luxury of<br />

taking a small hygienic pill to eradicate any bacterial infection<br />

that comes our way.<br />

But our rampant use and widespread reliance on antibiotics<br />

is threatening the integrity of this powerful medical weapon.<br />

So how does antibiotic resistance work and what can we do to<br />

preserve this panacea?<br />

Bacteria are in everything from the food we eat to the dirt<br />

under our feet to the insides of our bodies (squirm). In fact, for<br />

every body cell we have, we also have 10 bacterial cells sitting<br />

inside us (cringe). Whilst it is difficult for a clean-freak to<br />

envision tiny single celled creatures crawling over everything,<br />

it is comforting to know that they are absolutely ESSENTIAL<br />

to life.<br />

Just think how you would properly digest those fancy kale<br />

salads, or be protected from the many bad microorganisms<br />

trying to get a foothold on your skin? Without these little guys,<br />

your digestive and immune functions, as well as many others<br />

would be compromised, leaving you a sad little lump.<br />

Alas, some bacteria are pathogenic and have provided us<br />

with the joys of food poisoning and pneumonia, syphillis,<br />

gonnorhea, leprosy and tuberculosis, just to name some of the<br />

worst. Admittedly, they can give us a pretty rough time.<br />

Antibiotics are basically any drugs that kill or inhibit the<br />

growth of microorganisms or bacteria (but NOT viruses).<br />

Antibiotics can be derived from fungi, amongst other things,<br />

and act to kill bacteria in many different ways. The main thing<br />

is that they obliterate that nasty bacterial colony that is making<br />

you feel ghastly.<br />

So we have billions of all different kinds of bacteria within<br />

us. Each of these different bacteria have different DNA. Some<br />

have DNA that lets them make proteins to protect them against<br />

antibiotics, through some spontaneous mutation of this DNA<br />

over time.<br />

Suddenly, we get a nasty bacterium or two in our system.<br />

The bacteria divide and divide rapidly because they want to<br />

colonise the wonderful nutrient-rich breeding ground that is<br />

your body. It might be your intestine or lung or any other cosy<br />

breeding ground that suits their fancy. They continue to wage<br />

war, facing competition from all your good bacteria crowding<br />

them out. But eventually you start to feel the effects of the<br />

microscopic battle going on inside your body and hence go to<br />

the doctor, who immediately prescribe antibiotics because your<br />

symptoms strongly suggest a bacterial infection.<br />

You pop one of the sanitary pills into your mouth and it is<br />

dispersed via your bloodstream to the site of the infection.<br />

Once there, the drug makes the once idyllic environment<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 35


SCIENCE<br />

inhospitable for most of the bacteria to live or grow in and<br />

so, they die. Most of them. Those cheeky little mutants, that<br />

just happen to have the DNA to make resistance proteins, are<br />

shielded from the antibiotic and stay alive.<br />

Now we have reached a fork in the road. You are starting<br />

to feel better after having taken the drugs for a few days. You<br />

decide to...<br />

A: Stop taking the drugs because you are feeling<br />

better. You don’t take Nurofen when you don’t have a<br />

headache, so why should you have to finish the drugs<br />

prescribed to you here?<br />

Sorry, wrong answer. Doing this is actually how antibiotic<br />

resistance spreads or gets stronger. Here is how it works:<br />

The majority of your good and bad bacteria are dead but<br />

there are those few resistant mutants that linger. You have<br />

stopped taking the drugs and so the mutants can now focus<br />

on dividing instead of making the resistance proteins. They<br />

multiply in greater amounts now also because there are less<br />

good body bacteria to compete with.<br />

The mutants may or may not induce a bacterial war of the<br />

same strength as your initial sickness anytime soon, but they<br />

will linger in your body. During this lingering, the mutants<br />

may transfer some of their resistance-encoding DNA to some<br />

of the surviving good bacteria in your body making them<br />

resistant too! Soon there are enough resistant bacteria that<br />

when a different bad bacterium enters your body to start a new<br />

bacterial infection, it may also uptake those resistance genes.<br />

Next thing, your doctor has you on 2 high strength antibiotics,<br />

after you didn’t get any better from taking the first lot because<br />

your infectious colony is ahead of you– they have the resistance<br />

genes. This miserable joke is on you.<br />

So in short, because you didn’t kill off those stupid mutants,<br />

you are sick again and sicker for longer. You have to take more<br />

pills to kill the infection AND what is worse is that all this<br />

time, your body has been a reservoir for resistant bacteria to<br />

develop and spread to other bodies, contributing to communal<br />

antibiotic resistance.<br />

B: You remember your doctor telling you specifically<br />

to finish your course and it says on the packet to keep<br />

taking until finished. You decide to keep taking the<br />

pills in the same constant routine that you have been<br />

following until you have finished the packet.<br />

And you reap many benefits from choosing Option B. Firstly,<br />

you are able to respond effectively to the same antibiotic<br />

you have just finished, if you happen to get a new bacterial<br />

infection. Secondly, you are not a reservoir for antibioticresistant<br />

bacteria. And thus, you have helped to stop the<br />

slow steady spread of resistance genes and preserved the<br />

effectiveness of arguably humanity’s most important biological<br />

weapon. Your fellow humans should shake your hand and pat<br />

you on the back. After all, you have saved them from facing<br />

bacterial diseases without a weapon in hand. They can claim<br />

victory over these tiny enemies just as you did.<br />

Ultimately, we will start winning this war when the<br />

consumers themselves understand their own responsibilities<br />

when taking these pills. On that note...<br />

How to become a hero: top tips to fight antibiotic<br />

resistance<br />

• Only take antibiotics if prescribed by your GP. Do not<br />

insist on being prescribed antibiotics if you go to your GP<br />

with a cold. Viral colds and flus are more common so if<br />

you have one of those, antibiotics will do NOTHING to<br />

make you better.<br />

• If you are prescribed antibiotics, FINISH your prescribed<br />

dose and do it correctly! Take your pills at regular time<br />

intervals and make sure you check with your Pharmacist<br />

whether you are supposed to take them before, with or<br />

after food because this varies. Kill off all those mutants<br />

and do everyone a favour. There should be no prescribed<br />

pills left!<br />

• Generally practise good hygiene especially when<br />

venturing into public places. It is much harder to become<br />

a bacterial breeding ground when the bad bacteria can’t<br />

get in to begin with.<br />

• Raise awareness to friends and family so that we can<br />

win this war already! It is really a collective battle, so the<br />

more people understand why it is so important and how<br />

to combat the risks, the better off we all are.<br />

Yay, your responsible actions have rendered you a local hero!<br />

Here is what happens inside of you:<br />

The mutants are still alive but as you keep taking the drugs,<br />

the constant concentration and flow of antibiotic into the area<br />

where the mutants are means that the mutants need to work<br />

harder to make resistance proteins. This requires energy but<br />

they are already so spent from making the last lot of proteins.<br />

As the drugs surround them more and more, it eventually<br />

overrides the dwindling proteins, killing the mutants.<br />

The exact number of pills you were prescribed and the<br />

conditions in which you need to take them (3 per day, 5 per day,<br />

before food or after food) are carefully devised to ensure the<br />

antibiotics kill your infection off entirely, so being meticulous<br />

in your pill popping routine is good here. By the end of your<br />

course, all the bacteria with these mutant genes are obliterated<br />

and you emerge the proud victor of this microscopic battle.<br />

36 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


INTERVIEW<br />

Maybe he’s born with<br />

it, maybe it’s genetic<br />

modification<br />

Self-described naturalist and sometimes penguin chaser,<br />

Professor John Bowman spoke with Tracy Chen about all<br />

things genetics and contemporary science.<br />

So John, how would you describe yourself?<br />

If I were around in the 19th century, I would have been a<br />

naturalist. In other words, I’m curious about the natural world.<br />

If I was well off, I would have investigated a broad variety of<br />

science.<br />

What’s your position at Monash?<br />

My position is researching and teaching, but the majority of<br />

my time is actually spent running my lab which has postdocs,<br />

PhD students, honours students and undergraduate research<br />

students in it. We study the evolution of the development of<br />

plants.<br />

What led you to pursue genetics?<br />

When I was young, during the summertime, Mum, Dad, my<br />

sister and I would each choose a place in northern or western<br />

North America, and we would drive around and visit all those<br />

places. So I think because of that, my interest in natural history<br />

was piqued.<br />

Even at that stage, I thought I would work on some of the<br />

evolutionary question because of the diversity of things you<br />

see. But when I started my PhD, I realised that the tools that<br />

I wanted to use to investigate evolutionary questions weren't<br />

available. So I decided that genetics was probably the most<br />

fruitful endeavour. I wanted to be able to do experiments to say<br />

this either is or isn't the case, where oftentimes if you go into<br />

ecology or evolution you're dealt with what data you can gather<br />

and it's harder to do experiments.<br />

My personal feeling is that genetics is the underpinning of<br />

all the life sciences. I think if you're going into the life sciences,<br />

genetics is the best way, because once you get that foundation<br />

you can go into any branch of life sciences.<br />

I also think this century is the age of DNA or quantum computing<br />

or something and I think those are still the forefront of<br />

interesting things and science.<br />

Why did you choose to study plants specifically?<br />

That was serendipity. When I started my PhD, I wanted to do<br />

developmental genetics. I had a choice of working on drosophila,<br />

C. elegans or plants.<br />

As is the case with many students, there’s a bias against<br />

plants because we’re not plants. We like to think about things<br />

that are related to us more so than things that are quite unrelated.<br />

So when I started my PhD, there was a great project on<br />

plants that none of the other students wanted to pursue. So for<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 37


SCIENCE<br />

me, being unbiased, I thought that was great.<br />

I guess the choice was very good, looking back, because there<br />

aren’t many people working on plants, there are a lot more<br />

fundamental things to still be discovered. So it's allowed me,<br />

in my career, to be in the right place at the right time to make<br />

three real cool discoveries.<br />

How has your work influenced your life?<br />

As a scientist and professor, it’s not really a 40 hour a week<br />

job, it’s a job that you go to, except for the administration part,<br />

because you enjoy it. I even enjoy teaching, although I don't<br />

enjoy marking exams or anything like that. But the actual interacting<br />

with students is fun. So I think, unlike some jobs, where<br />

you see it as a way to make money and a living, it’s actually a<br />

part of the fabric of your life.<br />

Even when I'm not working, I'm still a naturalist - you go out<br />

for a bush walk and you're always making observations. I think<br />

having a background in science allows you to appreciate a lot of<br />

things.<br />

So I hear that in your spare time you also research a fairy<br />

penguin colony, could you tell me about that?<br />

There’s a colony of about a thousand penguins at the breakwater<br />

in St Kilda and it's a pretty amazing colony because it's<br />

right in the middle of the city.<br />

So since 1986, a community-based research group has been<br />

monitoring them. They go down, catch them, and then every<br />

time you catch them, you weigh them, check their health, see<br />

how long they're living, whose mating with whom, when they're<br />

moulting, how many chicks they're having.<br />

I’ve done this for probably 6 to 8 years. Even when the<br />

weather is really crappy and you’re thinking, “I don't wanna go<br />

out there,” once you’re out on the breakwater, it's very, very<br />

pleasant. The breakwater is divided up into four sections, so<br />

there’s four research teams. I lead one of the teams and we<br />

catch as many penguins as we can within our section.<br />

The interesting thing is that the people on my team, some of<br />

them are scientists or have some sort of scientific background<br />

but other ones are lawyers or school teachers or something<br />

with no scientific background. So it’s quite a nice forum to<br />

interact with people from all different walks of the community.<br />

...Unlike some jobs,<br />

where you see it as a<br />

way to make money<br />

and a living, it’s<br />

actually a part of the<br />

fabric of your life.<br />

Is there anything else you’d like to say before we go?<br />

I am a bit dismayed, considering Australia is a fairly wealthy<br />

country, the amount of money that's put into science is very<br />

much lower than in other countries of similar status.<br />

For example, I moved from the US, and even at the lowest<br />

point in their financial crisis, funding wasn't that much different<br />

from what it is in this country. Since then, theirs have gone<br />

up and ours has not. It starts at the top, Turnbull claims he’s<br />

the innovation guy, but the funding cuts that his government<br />

have proposed are basically the opposite of that.<br />

I think if you’re really keen on science, it’s a very rewarding<br />

career, but at some point you may have to move abroad before<br />

coming back.<br />

What science misconception would you most like to die?<br />

Climate change is publicised a lot, and my viewpoint is that<br />

that's a political problem. The science is there. I don't know if<br />

more publicity will change anything.<br />

From a genetics point of view, in this country, I don’t think a<br />

lot’s been published about genome editing and how that's really<br />

revolutionising genetics and life sciences.<br />

As with all science, the science is always way ahead of community<br />

understanding and ethics. So you could do things with<br />

this technology that people, including myself, would consider<br />

unethical. So it would be very good to discuss the potential<br />

because the potential is enormous. Most people would probably<br />

agree that changes in the human genome that won’t be passed<br />

to next generation are okay, but as soon as you start talking<br />

about being able to manipulate something that will be passed<br />

on, that creates a bit of unease even amongst scientists.<br />

Because the technology is there, because scientists in China<br />

have done this in a human embryo, it should be much more in<br />

the public eye. Science will continue on, regardless of society.<br />

38 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


SCIENCE<br />

Invisible illnesses:<br />

mental health<br />

by Basia Mitula<br />

Illustration by Viet-My Bui<br />

There is a common myth in our society: young people do<br />

not get sick. At least, not anything more serious than<br />

the flu.<br />

This is completely false.<br />

96% of people that have an illness have an illness that is<br />

invisible. Many of these people are the same age as the average<br />

uni student. You could be talking to someone with an invisible<br />

illness in your tute tomorrow and never know unless they told<br />

you.<br />

Forty-five percent of people in Australia are estimated to<br />

experience a mental illness in their lifetime. There are many initiatives<br />

that aim to create discussion and raise awareness about<br />

mental illnesses, but there is still a huge amount of stigma. Due<br />

to lack of knowledge, lack of empathy, and ignorance, a ‘hushhush’<br />

attitude exists and there is a lot of awkwardness when<br />

people are confronted with mental illness.<br />

Depression<br />

“Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced...<br />

It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will<br />

ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened<br />

feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad<br />

hurts but it’s a healthy feeling. It is a necessary thing to feel.<br />

Depression is very different.” – J.K. Rowling<br />

It is often thought that depression is just being sad for a<br />

long time. In actual fact, it is a lot more than that. Depression<br />

can affect the whole body, and the emotions involved do not<br />

necessarily include sadness. Some common symptoms include:<br />

• Losing interest in work, hobbies, and/or doing things you<br />

normally enjoy<br />

• Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual<br />

• Finding it hard to concentrate<br />

• Negative feelings such as sadness, being overwhelmed,<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 39


SCIENCE<br />

unhappiness, emptiness<br />

• Changes in appetite<br />

If enough of these symptoms are being experienced by<br />

someone (or you) for periods of 2 weeks or more, what they’re<br />

experiencing could be depression.<br />

Anxiety<br />

Having an anxiety disorder has been described as like that<br />

moment where your chair almost tips, or you miss a step going<br />

down the stairs, but it never stops.<br />

“Anxiety is a liar, although it feels incredibly real.” – Alivia<br />

Hall, Huffington Post<br />

Everyone gets anxious, but, if anxiety starts becoming a<br />

problem and affecting your life, it could be classified as an anxiety<br />

disorder. There are many different classifications of anxiety<br />

disorder, from generalised anxiety disorder to social anxiety<br />

disorder, and they can occur simultaneously. Here is a small<br />

selection of symptoms for general anxiety disorder:<br />

• hot and cold flushes<br />

• racing heart<br />

• tightening of the chest<br />

• snowballing worries<br />

Medication, counselling, and lifestyle changes can help<br />

improve the lives of people with anxiety disorders, and, most<br />

importantly, help those who have been overwhelmed take their<br />

lives back.<br />

Bipolar disorder<br />

"You are either too happy, too sad or you just don't care.<br />

Finding the feelings in the middle do not come naturally. You<br />

have to fight every day to find them."--unknown<br />

“I went to a doctor and told him I felt normal on acid, that<br />

I was a light bulb in a world of moths. That is what the manic<br />

state is like.” – Carrie Fisher<br />

Bipolar disorder is often minimised, used as an adjective,<br />

as in the phrase “they’re so bipolar”. It is more than ‘normal’<br />

mood swings. Bipolar disorder is characterised by:<br />

• periods of clinical depression<br />

• periods of mania ‘highs’<br />

These periods of depression and mania are more extreme<br />

than ‘normal’ mood swings, and greatly impact the person’s life.<br />

The treatment for bipolar disorder can vary from the treatment<br />

to depression, so a separate diagnosis is important.<br />

Schizophrenia<br />

"To me, the best analogy of what it's like is that it's a waking<br />

nightmare, where you have all the bizarre images, the terrible<br />

things happening, and the utter terror — only with a nightmare<br />

you open your eyes and it goes away. No such luck with a<br />

psychotic episode." – Elyn Saks, mental health advocate living<br />

with schizophrenia<br />

“Real people with real feelings get schizophrenia. One<br />

should never underestimate the depth of their pain, even<br />

though the illness itself may diminish their ability to convey<br />

it…. As one of my own patients told me, “Whatever this is that<br />

I have, I feel like I’m a caterpillar in a cocoon, and I’m never<br />

going to get the chance to be a butterfly.”” – Samuel Keith MD,<br />

former editor of he Schizophrenia Bulletin<br />

Schizophrenia is quite a stigmatised illness, often being used<br />

in film and television as a plot device. Due to many negative depictions,<br />

almost everyone has negative connotations associated<br />

with it. Think about how you would react if the person next<br />

to you was schizophrenic and you knew that. Would you feel<br />

scared? Worried? Supportive of whatever their particular needs<br />

are? Hopefully it would end up being the last one, but your initial<br />

reaction is likely to be something along the line of the first<br />

two. That is a common attitude taught to us. Contrary to what<br />

is often said in the media, people with schizophrenia are more<br />

of a threat to themselves than to anyone else. It is consistently<br />

found that less than 10% of violent crime is committed by<br />

schizophrenic people. When caught early, treatment is considered<br />

highly effective at reducing or eliminating symptoms.<br />

Some common symptoms include but are not limited to:<br />

• delusions<br />

• hallucinations<br />

• disorganised thinking, behaviour<br />

• reduced or lack of ability to function normally<br />

For more symptoms and explanations of potentially unfamiliar<br />

terminology such as ‘delusions’ the SANE Australia<br />

website has a more detailed factsheet.<br />

The mental illnesses written about here are just four out of<br />

many which exist. Everyone who is having a hard time deserves<br />

to get help, whether that be from a friend, doctor, or counsellor.<br />

It’s always better to ask for help rather than letting problems<br />

fester. Monash has a free counselling service for students,<br />

so if you’re concerned about how your mental health is going,<br />

why not book an appointment?<br />

Taking care of your mental health is really important, whether you<br />

have a mental illness or not. Here are some resources that may be<br />

useful:<br />

SANE Australia (sane.org) – resources for general mental<br />

health and mental illnesses<br />

Beyond Blue (beyondblue.org.au, 1300 22 4636) – resources<br />

for mental health, personal stories, online and over the phone<br />

chat<br />

Kids Helpline (kidshelpline.com.au, 1800 55 1800) – resources<br />

for mental health, for ages 13-25, online and over the phone<br />

chat<br />

Lifeline (lifeline.org.au, 13 11 14) – crisis support and suicide<br />

prevention, online and over the phone chat<br />

40 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


y Isaac Reichman<br />

Illustration by Lily Greenwood<br />

Everything we know, will know, can know, is a product<br />

of our experiences; experiences we can only take in via<br />

our five senses of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. Our<br />

memories are uniquely defined by qualities attributed to these<br />

senses; the view from atop a mountain in Nepal, listening<br />

to the ocean when lying on a beach in Fiji, or the smell of<br />

petrichor during a storm in the Australian bush. But an image<br />

can be taken by someone else; a sound can be recorded; a smell<br />

can be recreated using chemicals. When we lay down with<br />

earphones in and listen to rain, it’s almost as if it were actually<br />

raining. Why don’t we travel more? Why don’t we explore<br />

the beautiful world around us? It could be a multitude of<br />

reasons; money, time, fear, convenience. But what if we could<br />

eliminate these restrictions? What if we could visit the plains<br />

of Africa from our living room couch? What if our perceived<br />

environment is replaced with a computer-generated one, that<br />

may or may not be indistinguishable from the real thing.<br />

ESSAY<br />

Impossible worlds<br />

Virtual reality, or VR, has been an idea in development<br />

for decades. When first developed, VR was used for military<br />

flight training. More recently, VR has developed a reputation<br />

as a product for gamers and entertainers. Sega and Nintendo<br />

both developed VR headsets in conjunction with their arcade<br />

games and consoles; both ultimately abandoning it due to<br />

commercial failure. A big boom in VR interest came on August<br />

2nd of 2012, when the company Oculus launched a Kickstarter<br />

campaign with the intent of funding their new project, the<br />

Rift. Within twenty-four hours of launching their campaign,<br />

Oculus overshot their goal by raising over 2 million dollars.<br />

Even more incredible was two years later, when the company<br />

was purchased by Facebook for two billion dollars. There are<br />

a variety of reasons why Facebook may have purchased the<br />

company (namely them missing out on the telecommunications<br />

game) but they clearly saw, and continue to see special things in<br />

its future.<br />

In <strong>2016</strong> in particular, more and more virtual reality products<br />

are becoming popular with consumers. This is evident by<br />

companies such as HTC, Samsung and Google all becoming<br />

major competitors with the Rift. HTC is the most recent,<br />

releasing their VIVE this April, with Google’s Cardboard and<br />

Samsung’s Gear VR being put on market last year. What differs<br />

between Oculus and HTC’s product sand the other two is that<br />

they are fully contained headsets. What this means is that<br />

when you buy them - for what isn’t an exorbitant amount of<br />

money, when compared to game consoles - you get the whole<br />

shebang. With Google Cardboard and Samsung’s Gear VR, you<br />

supply the accelerometer, screen and gyroscope in the form<br />

of your smartphone. What they have in common with any VR<br />

headset is that they track the user’s head movements in order<br />

to allow them to traverse the simulated world. The better the<br />

tracking, the more real the virtual environment feels.<br />

In the same spirit of film, which began as an artistic<br />

endeavour that developed entertainment and educational uses<br />

as well, VR will spring forth a multitude of applications. The<br />

first and most obvious, way that virtual reality has already<br />

entered consumer life is entertainment, particularly video<br />

games. The new platform will give users more immersion into<br />

the game environment and a deeper connection to the story<br />

being told, as may happen with film. But the use of VR for film<br />

has already begun as well: YouTube has been producing VR<br />

enhanced videos for over a year now. The videos enable the<br />

viewer to look around and explore a video in 360 degrees, for<br />

the entire length of the video.<br />

Beyond the purely practical side of virtual reality is a deeper,<br />

more substantial implication, and the effect it could have on<br />

personal and philosophical connection could be profound.<br />

A portrait by Rembrandt, or symphony by Beethoven from<br />

hundreds of years ago contains enough emotion and detail that<br />

they will always speak to individuals. But what of the individual<br />

experience to the individual? Eventually, simulated reality will<br />

be able to allow people to communicate their deepest thoughts<br />

and feelings in a visceral way, or to be communicated to on a<br />

substantial emotional level.<br />

A simulated environment is an infinite well of potential<br />

for education and development. With simulated laboratories,<br />

students will be able to experiment with chemistry in an<br />

unrestricted environment, drop cannonballs off of skyscrapers<br />

to explore mechanics, or explore the cosmos on an astronomical<br />

scale. Architecture and engineering students will be able to<br />

build and test their structures countless times with as many<br />

variations as they can fathom; their only restriction being their<br />

imagination.<br />

Currently, there is a technological revolution: virtual<br />

reality sits in the same category as 3-D printing and quantum<br />

computing in terms of possibility. Ten years in the future is as<br />

hard to predict as ten years in the past is distant. There is no<br />

way of telling what will be mainstream, and the capabilities it<br />

will allow for humanity. Virtual reality is a step in the direction<br />

of development and growth; it is another step by humanity<br />

from science fiction to science. Pick up your headset and put it<br />

on, the entire universe awaits.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 41


42 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong><br />

SCIENCE


PUZZLES<br />

1 2 3<br />

4 5<br />

6<br />

7<br />

8<br />

9<br />

10<br />

11 12<br />

13 14<br />

15<br />

16<br />

17<br />

18 19<br />

Across<br />

1. Provides immunity against a disease<br />

ACROSS<br />

4. Autoimmune disease resulting from HIV infection<br />

1. Provides immunity against a disease<br />

6. Family of organisms including yeasts and moulds<br />

4. Autoimmune disease resulting from HIV infection<br />

7. Abbreviation for Tuberculosis<br />

6. Family of organisms including yeasts and moulds<br />

7. Abbreviation 9. Developed for from Tuberculosis a fungus, this is the first compound<br />

identified with antibiotic properties<br />

9. Developed from a fungus, this is the first compound identified<br />

with antibiotic properties<br />

11. A term to describe bacteria that are no longer<br />

susceptible to an antibiotic<br />

11. A term to describe bacteria that are no longer susceptible<br />

15. The process of killing all microorganisms on a<br />

to an antibiotic substance<br />

15. The process of killing all microorganisms on a substance<br />

17. Resistant form of staphylococcus (abbreviation)<br />

17. Resistant form of staphylococcus (abbreviation)<br />

18. Common detergent used for washing hands<br />

18. Common detergent used for washing hands<br />

19. Disease that is almost fully eradicated<br />

19. Disease has almost been fully eradicated<br />

Down<br />

by Rajat Lal<br />

1. Small, non-living infectious particle. Requires a host<br />

DOWN cell.<br />

2. You 1. Small, can catch non-living a… infectious particle. Requires a host cell.<br />

3. Commonly 2. You can used catch bacteria a… in experimentation, some<br />

strains 3. Commonly are pathogenic used (abbreviation)<br />

bacteria in experimentation, some<br />

strains 4. Prescribed are pathogenic to kill bacteria (abbreviation)<br />

5. Respiratory 4. Prescribed virus to kill bacteria<br />

5. Respiratory virus<br />

6. Australian scientist whose clinically trialled the drug<br />

in no. 6. Australian 9 scientist whose clinically trialled the drug in<br />

no. 8. Scottish 9 scientist whose work was crucial for the<br />

development 8. Scottish for scientist no. 9 whose work was crucial for the development<br />

10. Small for prokaryotic no. 9 organisms that can cause<br />

infections 10. Small prokaryotic organisms that can cause infections<br />

12. 12. Deadly Deadly virus virus found found in Africa in Africa<br />

13. 13. Medication is often is often in the in form the of form this of this<br />

14. 14. A prefix A prefix for small for small<br />

16.<br />

16.<br />

Synonym<br />

Synonym<br />

for medicine<br />

for medicine<br />

ANSWERS AT LOTSWIFE.COM.AU<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 43


44 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


CULTURE<br />

Bury your gays<br />

by Lucy Moloney<br />

Illustration by Julia Pillai<br />

Imagine if every single character that you identified with<br />

died. That there is finally a character with an aspect of yourself<br />

that the media rarely shows exists, and before you get the<br />

chance to really appreciate this character, they die.<br />

This is the fate for queer characters in the media, and the<br />

queer community that watches these shows. This convention<br />

is so prevalent and expected within media, it has its own TV<br />

Tropes page named after it: ‘Bury your Gays’. It is where queer<br />

characters do not get happy endings. Media involving them<br />

usually ends with them dead, or mourning the person they had<br />

loved, if they are even allowed to exist in the media at all.<br />

Some would believe that television writers and producers are<br />

far more liberal and accepting of queer characters in media now<br />

and some would argue that it is an outdated trope, however<br />

this is not quite the case. Between the 22nd of February and<br />

the 20th of March four lesbian or bisexual characters in television<br />

died. Of course, characters die in television all the time,<br />

but the circumstances around their death is telling.<br />

Denise from The Walking Dead died in a way that canonically<br />

in the original comics killed a white straight male, while Lexa<br />

from The 100 died the next scene after sleeping with Clarke<br />

after taking seasons to reach that point.<br />

This is not an unconventional way for lesbians on television<br />

to die. Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2002), died in the<br />

same episode that she reconciled and slept with Willow.<br />

Fourteen years have passed, and not a lot has changed for<br />

the treatment of queer characters in this nature. Killing queer<br />

characters for shock value is not shocking. It is expected. It is<br />

boring. It is a mark of poor writing.<br />

What does killing a character minutes after they slept with<br />

someone of their gender, or finally reached their happy resolution<br />

achieve? It presents a message that as a community, we do<br />

not deserve these happy endings.<br />

It is not as though we expect queer characters to be immortalised.<br />

And it is upsetting when a straight cis character that<br />

you like dies as well, but when a straight cis character dies, it<br />

does nothing to alter the representation of the show. There are<br />

countless other straight cis, usually white, characters to balance<br />

it out.<br />

And representation is the selling point for a lot of queer<br />

audiences. Part of the beauty of television is being able to<br />

see characters and situations that you identify with. This is<br />

Give us happy<br />

queers exploring<br />

space, or fighting<br />

dragons, or<br />

creating a robot<br />

army.<br />

especially heightened when you’re a member of a minority, and<br />

only very rarely get to see these kind of characters you identify<br />

with. Representation is important because people’s perceptions<br />

of minority groups are effected by how they are presented in<br />

media.<br />

Representation shows that all types of people exist, that<br />

people of various genders, sexual and romantic orientations<br />

exist. We are real, and we are here. We have goals and ambitions<br />

and stories that are more than just tragedy. Queer people are<br />

more than just the sum of their stereotypes, or a plot device to<br />

further the stories of straight, often white, cis characters.<br />

The message that shows like The 100 and The Walking Dead<br />

present is the dramatic value of deaths, and that we do not get<br />

or deserve happy endings.<br />

Queer audiences deserve to see characters that reflect themselves<br />

be happy, and also to have themselves represented in the<br />

same expanse of plot lines that straight cis characters do, and<br />

not just stories about the trials of coming out, of being queer,<br />

and their relationships with other people.<br />

We would like to see queer characters live, and be happy, and<br />

exist in greater worlds and storylines than they currently do.<br />

Give us happy queers exploring space, or fighting dragons, or<br />

creating a robot army. Give us queer characters that are more<br />

than the sum of their gender, sexuality, or romantic orientation.<br />

Give us queer characters that are not tragedies.<br />

Being queer is not a tragedy, and the representation of us in<br />

media should reflect that.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 45


ESSAY<br />

The Rat Race: Does Zootopia’s<br />

hustle to simplify racism fall<br />

short of the finish line?<br />

by Clarissa Kwee<br />

Illustration by Christina Dodds<br />

The Disney Revival continues its ascent with the addition<br />

of Zootopia, which is being lauded by critics as ‘the greatest<br />

movie Disney has ever made.’ Call the appraisal histrionic,<br />

but this is the movie that didn’t drop a single % in ticket sales<br />

after its opening weekend. After topping the box office adjacent<br />

to a certain Dawning of Justice (which, by comparison, suffered<br />

a 68% drop), there’s no doubt the studio’s latest endeavour<br />

claims its well-deserved position at the apex of the cinematic<br />

food chain.<br />

Preliminary reviews of the film made it the apple of Disney’s<br />

eye. For starters, Zootopia actually has a coherent narrative,<br />

one that initially plays out as just a buddy-cop comedy between<br />

two unlikely allies. Rookie cop Judy Hopps and con artist<br />

Nick Wilde are forced to collude in order to save the former’s<br />

new job, and the latter from a life-time of jail. The disparate<br />

elements it manages to bring together are pretty astounding: it<br />

retains that classic, fable-esque Disney core, hides as many pop<br />

culture Easter Eggs as can be crammed into its 1 ½ hour long<br />

basket, features an anthropomorphic Shakira, all while managing<br />

to play out a bit like “The Wire with webbed feet” (Jason<br />

Johnson, The Root). Eventually the two manage to crack the<br />

case wide open, and with it, unleash a socio-political Pandora’s<br />

Box on to cinemas full of children all around the world. Don’t<br />

get me wrong, Zootopia is still an animated movie that delivers<br />

punchy moments and spot-on comedic timing, without always<br />

needing to bring in any sloth-staffed DMVs. But subversively,<br />

its subject matter analogises some contemporary disputes. In<br />

the film, children may laugh harder, but adults laugh longer,<br />

46 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


CULTURE<br />

because the disjunction between the light-hearted tone the film<br />

establishes in its opening is leaps and bounds from the message<br />

conveyed, and the polarising effect it has on audiences who’ve<br />

had a chance to reflect.<br />

A fundamental problem lies at the heart of how Zootopia<br />

frames its favoured subject matter – racism and prejudice, on a<br />

primal, pixelated level. The overarching metaphor is quite clear;<br />

animals are analogous to different ethnicities in a multicultural<br />

society, just like how contemporary cities are melting pots of<br />

culture and diversity. What’s also clear is that, just because<br />

Zootopia is a fictional place, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily<br />

eternal sunshine and spotless minds. Despite their evolution,<br />

the natural predator-versus-prey dichotomy embeds stereotypes<br />

into the mammalian utopia, meaning its inhabitants are<br />

faced with casual bigotry in their day-to-day lives. There are<br />

some benign examples, like when Hopps reprimands somebody<br />

for calling her “cute”, an adjective for exclusive use between<br />

bunnies and bunnies alone. But there are malign examples too,<br />

like when it is revealed Wilde was severely bullied as a child for<br />

becoming the only Junior Ranger Scout predator, a position<br />

traditionally held only by prey. This story is starting to sound<br />

familiar. Despite progressive world views in our own society, to<br />

some extent stereotyping of certain races continues to permeate<br />

people’s lives, sometimes in fairly derogatory ways.<br />

What disrupts this metaphor are the semantics that kids<br />

didn’t notice but adults did. It’s a structural oversight that has<br />

to do with how the institution of Zootopia itself is set up, which<br />

is “poorly coded” (Todd VanDerWerff, Vox). When Assistant<br />

Mayor Bellwether, a lamb and (spoiler) mastermind behind<br />

the distribution of drugs that force predators to return to their<br />

pre-evolutionary savage behaviour, declares her motives, she<br />

claims it’s to initiate an uprising against the powerful. In the<br />

movie, predators still retain more dominant, aggressive roles<br />

in society, like those of policemen and government officials,<br />

whereas prey are systematically referred to as ‘the little guy.’<br />

But in the same speech, Bellwether also mentions prey make up<br />

the majority of the population at 90%, making predators the<br />

minority of 10%. The fundamental chain of command the film<br />

is built on never truly mirrors our society in the way Disney<br />

alludes. If we agree with the majority/minority logistics, taking<br />

Western society as an example means that whites make up the<br />

majority of the population, the ‘prey’, while Blacks, Hispanics<br />

and other ethnic minorities are ‘predators’ – this path is much<br />

too inflammatory to tread for any sort of movie, animated or<br />

not.<br />

Animals have been allegorical favourites of humans for<br />

centuries. On one hand, animals are familiar to us in the sense<br />

that they can realistically emulate our traits, but on the other,<br />

are “still alien enough to reflect our own worst qualities without<br />

being off-putting,” (VanDerWerff, Vox). The strange thing about<br />

using animals as our representatives is that not all of their natural<br />

behaviours can be accurately translated to humankind. The<br />

antagonistic relationship between predator and prey ultimately<br />

boils down to “biology”, but the film never enlightens its audience<br />

on what modern, adapted predators actually eat now, and<br />

how they moved away from their aggressive instincts towards<br />

prey. The film’s message implies that the instinct to attack is inherent<br />

in every predator and never truly left, merely just buried<br />

under years of conformity and regulation. And if we’re applying<br />

the aforementioned racial presumptions to this example, that<br />

particular element of the metaphor opens a whole new can of<br />

The strange<br />

thing about using<br />

animals as our<br />

representatives<br />

is that not all<br />

of their natural<br />

behaviours can<br />

be accurately<br />

translated to<br />

humankind.<br />

worms that is better left locked away in a little black box under<br />

the sea.<br />

So in retrospect, Disney might have actually taken a pacifist<br />

approach by creating a world where the puzzle pieces don’t fit<br />

together perfectly. The animal kingdom is just similar enough<br />

to our society to draw relephant ties, but puts enough feathers<br />

and fur in-between their world and ours to cushion the blow<br />

of that realisation. The world is too big for young audiences to<br />

comprehend as it is, let alone when it becomes muddled with<br />

strange paradoxes and analogies that don’t really make their<br />

marks; at their age, children have the right to enjoy unbridled,<br />

amoosing comedies without the educative motive. Injecting<br />

subliminal messages where they don’t belong only leads to a<br />

good-natured, family-friendly picture mutating into a belligerent<br />

political forum. Ultimately Zootopia’s most poignant<br />

parable is a recycled, yet persistent one – and Disney doesn’t<br />

fix what will never be broken – that only when differences are<br />

overcome, evil is overthrown and societies make an effort to recuperate<br />

together does the world settle into a state of harmony.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 47


CULTURE<br />

Meet<br />

‘Zwarte Piet’<br />

by Stefan Boscia<br />

Every year for millions of excited Dutch children,<br />

Sinterklaas, the Dutch version of Santa Claus, arrives<br />

on the 5th of January from a Spanish seaside town to deliver<br />

presents to boys and girls throughout the small European<br />

nation. Accompanying the benevolent Sinterklaas, is his<br />

sidekick and quasi servant Zwarte Piet or, as he is known in<br />

English, Black Pete. While Sinterklaas is seen as somewhat<br />

of a hero amongst children, Zwarte Piet’s role in Christmas<br />

festivities has traditionally been to cane naughty children<br />

before stuffing them into a sack and bringing them back to his<br />

Iberian homeland. However, over the last 50 years Pete has<br />

taken on a role less frightening for children: a clownish goofball<br />

used for light entertainment and as a provider of candy. This<br />

questionable mythological figure is traditionally depicted as a<br />

Caucasian male dressed in blackface, complete with a ‘gollywogstyle’<br />

afro, thick red lips and golden earrings to really hammer<br />

home that minstrel show vibe. This is a practice which has<br />

started to gain the ire of various bodies, such as the United<br />

Nations, who labelled the tradition as a “vestige to slavery”.<br />

From the many different unique cultural experiences which<br />

I have thus far been involved in while studying abroad in<br />

Maastricht, a small and charming border town in the south<br />

of Holland, Black Pete is by far the most bizarre. Known for<br />

their progressiveness, tolerance and generally liberal attitudes,<br />

the mythology of Black Pete at first seemed like a bizarre<br />

outlier in the Dutch cultural landscape. The fact that racial<br />

stereotypes and racially offensive traditions have existed in<br />

the Netherlands’ past is hardly a surprise given their history<br />

of rampant colonialism, however what is surprising is the<br />

continued use and widespread popularity of such a backwards<br />

figure.<br />

A poll conducted as recently as 2014 reveals that 90% of<br />

Dutch residents are in support of continuing to utilise Black<br />

Pete in Christmas celebrations and parades. Even in the face<br />

of accusations of overt racist overtones from several Dutch<br />

activist groups, the Netherlands have remained committed to<br />

standing by their beloved Christmas tradition. When Dutch<br />

Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, was asked about the controversial<br />

children’s character, he waved off the issue stating that “my<br />

friends in the Dutch Antilles, they are very happy that they<br />

have Sinterklaas, because they don’t have to paint their faces.<br />

When I’m playing Zwarte Piet, I am for days trying to get the<br />

stuff off my face. Black Pete is black and I cannot change that.”<br />

When speaking to the locals around Maastricht, I was quite<br />

shocked to actually see this line of thinking validated by so<br />

many different people. Even amongst the student youth of the<br />

city there was a clear consensus on the topic; firstly, that they<br />

thoroughly enjoyed the antics of Zwarte Piet as a youngster,<br />

secondly that they did not think it was racist and thirdly that<br />

they had no reason to suspect that the character could be<br />

perceived as offensive. While some were able to understand<br />

that such a stereotype being bandied around for children to<br />

laugh at could potentially be a little offensive to those of Afro-<br />

Caribbean descent, not one person actually deemed it offensive<br />

in reality.<br />

The connotations behind a white man sporting blackface<br />

should be obvious in this epoch of complete cultural<br />

globalisation. Furthermore, a black servant portrayed as a<br />

halfwit and used as a form of entertainment might be just<br />

a little insensitive towards those with an African heritage.<br />

Introducing 19th century racial stereotypes on children from<br />

a young age, and having them associated with the inevitable<br />

manic excitement of receiving presents, must in some way<br />

shape future perspectives. Having such a clear cut dichotomy<br />

between Sinterklaas and Pete is also bound to reinforce<br />

differences in skin colour in a very harmful manner. The tall,<br />

graceful, white saint and the goofy, dim-witted, black “helper”.<br />

The prominent tradition becomes even more disturbing<br />

when you consider the past indiscretions of the Netherlands<br />

in Africa and the West Indies. The Netherlands were one of the<br />

pre-eminent slave trading countries throughout the 17th, 18th<br />

and 19th centuries, shipping African captives to Brazil, Spain<br />

and the Caribbean until 1863. Coupled with their penchant for<br />

colonialism in the West Indies, the Dutch appear to have quite a<br />

backlog of questionable foreign policy. The legacy of such a dark<br />

history in the Kingdom of Netherlands is still evident today<br />

through a large population of inhabitants with Indonesian,<br />

Dutch Caribbean and Surinamese backgrounds. Yet in the face<br />

of this odious national history and diverse population, the<br />

incredulity of Dutch people when you suggest that Zwarte Piet<br />

may perhaps be racist still remains.<br />

A relic of colonialism, Black Pete’s current appearance dates<br />

back to 1850, and may stand up as an example of systemic<br />

racism that is still present in the Netherlands today. These sorts<br />

of unspoken, implicit insensitivities and social boundaries,<br />

which are passed off as tongue in cheek humour, are a hallmark<br />

of a long-standing culture of prejudice and racism.<br />

Instead of Holland being this utopia of freedom and a<br />

bastion of egalitarian ideologies like many think, there are in<br />

fact still cultural divides in every strata of society. Whether it<br />

be the escalating amount of minority aimed police brutality in<br />

the last few years, Zwarte Piet or monkey chants directed at<br />

black players in the Dutch Football league, there are numerous<br />

examples of rampant xenophobia throughout Dutch society.<br />

I guess after centuries of the most extreme kind of human<br />

right’s abuses you cannot expect a country to completely rid<br />

themselves of these ingrained attitudes after only a little<br />

over 100 years, especially when people are not aware of the<br />

more shameful parts of their country’s history. Many of the<br />

same Dutch people I surveyed about the topic of Black Pete<br />

also revealed that Holland’s history of past atrocities was<br />

conspicuously missing from their high school curriculum.<br />

Instead of trying to sweep their past under the rug and<br />

push these sorts of issues into the background, children and<br />

adolescents must be made aware of why images such as Black<br />

Pete have such deep roots in unimaginable cruelty. A continued<br />

ignorance about these sorts of issues are bound to have adverse<br />

results for the foreseeable future and perhaps explain Zwarte<br />

Piet’s immovable popularity. In the meantime, would it really<br />

be so bad if Black Pete became just plain old Pete?<br />

48 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


REVIEW<br />

hildren are maggots.’<br />

‘C The interesting phrase was plastered on a mug<br />

in the gift shop of the Princess Theatre. I laughed and then,<br />

like the education student I am, imagined bringing that mug<br />

into my future classroom. Unsurprisingly, the phrase is Miss<br />

Trunchbull’s belief, and while I should probably strive to be<br />

more like Miss Honey, I can’t help but love the former due to<br />

Matilda the Musical.<br />

We all know Matilda, whether it’s from the Roald Dahl novel<br />

or the 90s movie. So, just what does the musical do to build<br />

upon and bring life to the well-told story?<br />

First is the emotional change. While the musical can be<br />

described as fun and comedic, unlike the novel it also contains<br />

bleakness, and the contrast between the two only serves to<br />

heighten it. As a whole, Matilda is an incredibly serious – and<br />

indeed sad – character, for good reason. Trapped in a home<br />

that doesn’t understand her brilliance, and in a school with a<br />

headmistress that does everything she can to squash it, it’s only<br />

natural that such a small child would feel the weight of these<br />

situations. To be blunt, watching this is often disheartening,<br />

but I believe it makes the just ending of the musical all the<br />

more important. Like Matilda, we’ve been forced to wait for it,<br />

and it’s damn nice when it comes.<br />

But Matilda the Musical is far from all doom and gloom, also<br />

emulating the novel’s ridiculous nature. Labelled as a family<br />

musical, Matilda strives to make everybody laugh, from the<br />

youngest members of the audience to the grandparents taking<br />

them. The pranks pulled are loved by children (and me as well,<br />

don’t make me grow up yet), while the absurdity of the ways<br />

parents view their seemingly omnipotent children has the older<br />

Matilda the Musical<br />

By Maddy Luke<br />

Illustration by Natalie Ng<br />

audience members in tears. In my opinion, the best part is that<br />

the ‘adult’ jokes aren’t really obscene. Instead, they’re often a<br />

touch above the comprehension of children, but just as ridiculous<br />

as the other gags.<br />

In terms of casting, I can’t envision anything better. The<br />

cast heavily consists of children, and they definitely hold their<br />

own in acting, singing and dancing. They fill each character<br />

with childishness, reminding me too easily of being in primary<br />

school. On the night I watched the musical, playing the star<br />

of the show, Matilda, was Alannah Parfett. Not once did she<br />

hesitate or stutter her lines, not to mention that her voice was<br />

incredible. Blown away by her performance, I’m only more<br />

impressed when I consider how complex and demanding the<br />

role is. Remaining in my memory most persistently, however,<br />

is James Millar’s Miss Trunchbull. The absolute madness of the<br />

headmistress is my favourite part of the show, and to act it out<br />

as seriously and dramatically as he does without fault was a<br />

pleasure to watch.<br />

Lastly, the music. Creating a genius soundtrack obviously<br />

requires a genius, and the musical would not have been the<br />

same without Tim Minchin. The songs aren’t just catchy or<br />

fun; they’re damn clever. I think mostly of the lyrics to ‘School<br />

Song’, however as a whole, the music doesn’t fail to evoke the<br />

right mood from the audience, and it takes a very careful person<br />

to pull that off. Of course, the orchestra deserves as much<br />

praise as Minchin himself, consisting of just twelve members<br />

on 17 different instruments.<br />

Do you want to laugh, cry and miss being a child? While<br />

being a university student guarantees all three, for a less stressful<br />

experience I highly recommend seeing Matilda the Musical.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 49


50 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong><br />

CULTURE


REVIEW<br />

What we’re<br />

reading<br />

by Layla Homewood<br />

Illustration by Jena Oakford<br />

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill<br />

I got this book as a Christmas present a couple of years ago<br />

when it was first released, and I am completely blown away by<br />

the fact that it hasn't blown up in the media. It has everything<br />

a great horror book could need: blood, guts, creepy children,<br />

creepier villains, and Stephen King's son doing all the writing.<br />

The story follows the twists and turns of a young girl,<br />

Vic McQueen and her life which is tainted with the frequent<br />

appearance of the malicious and supernatural Charlie Manx;<br />

who in his vintage Rolls-Royce Wraith can take people<br />

(preferably children) to a magical and horrifying place called<br />

Christmasland.<br />

Even though this novel had me so frightened I had to set it<br />

down for a day or two before I could confront its pages again,<br />

it's an absolute must read for anyone who loves a solid scare.<br />

Even if you're not all that into horror, the fantasy aspect of<br />

Hill's book is so in-depth and well considered that it deserves<br />

more than my own humble praise. An entire world has been<br />

made that lies just beneath our own; a world in which bicycles,<br />

scrabble tiles, and vintage cars can help people do brilliant or<br />

terrifying things.<br />

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín<br />

I know I'm not the first person to pick up this book and tell<br />

you about it since only a few months ago it had a big screen<br />

release, but I might be the first person to tell you how much it<br />

annoyed me.<br />

I'm not sure if it was because everyone told me how brilliant<br />

and amazing and moving the story was, but I was bitterly<br />

disappointed with this book. The story itself was interesting<br />

enough; a young girl moves from the comfort of her family in<br />

Ireland to a new and brilliant life in New York, and illustrates<br />

how she changes and grows in each contrasting home. But for<br />

someone who has a pretty amazing life, man that bitch can<br />

complain.<br />

I got sick of the protagonist's whinging and honestly, her<br />

poor life choices. More than once I was yelling in frustration<br />

at the pages, and I just couldn't sympathise with any of the<br />

characters (I don't know why though, maybe it was poor<br />

writing, maybe I'm heartless). I really think that because very<br />

few characters were likable or even relatable, a story that had<br />

such promising potential could have given so much more.<br />

Slade House by David Mitchell<br />

You've probably seen or heard of Cloud Atlas, or maybe<br />

you've even read The Bone Clocks, and if you have, you'll surely<br />

be aware of David Mitchell's outstanding ability to tap into<br />

a world so unlike our own and completely bring it to life on<br />

paper.<br />

Slade House is one of Mitchell's shorter novels, and is<br />

written so tenderly that your eyes will just glaze over the<br />

words effortlessly. It follows several short snippets of different<br />

character's lives as they are lured to the mystical Slade House<br />

and find escape impossible.<br />

Slade House isn't only impressive because of its brilliant,<br />

fast-paced plot and witty characters. Mitchell delicately creates<br />

his fantastic world, and we can see that this book, apparently a<br />

stand-alone novel, is actually inter-related to his other works.<br />

And this is a feat that Mitchell has done in all of his novels.<br />

Minor characters will crop up sporadically and disappear so<br />

often that you'll hardly even remember seeing them until you<br />

actively note each person in every book, and how they interact<br />

so cleverly in Mitchell's entire world.<br />

The Messenger by Markus Zusak<br />

I was recommended this book by a friend, and after putting<br />

it off for a good while simply because (don't kill me) I never<br />

managed to finish The Book Thief, I finally read it just to get this<br />

mate off my back. And honestly, I'm glad she pestered me for<br />

so long.<br />

The story shows us the dull and unimpressive life of a young<br />

taxi-driver, Ed who one day receives a mysterious playing card<br />

in his mail box outlining missions that may make his seemingly<br />

purposeless life worthwhile again. With the completion of each<br />

task, more playing cards are sent to Ed and that one question<br />

kept pushing me to turn the pages; "Who the hell is sending<br />

these cards?"<br />

The Messenger is an incredibly gripping mystery with<br />

relatable and clever characters. Zusak has managed to give<br />

us a hero unlike any we've read about before and have this<br />

hero handle unbelievable challenges. It's that mixture of<br />

sheer mystery, heart-warming friendship, and heart-breaking<br />

confrontations that'll have you recommending this one to<br />

others in no time.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 51


52 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong><br />

Illustration by<br />

Elizabeth Bridges


POETRY<br />

Apocalypso:<br />

The Waves<br />

by Amelia Chin<br />

I am struggling. I sit at my desk with all my loves circling around my head with toothy<br />

grins, mottled blue-black ripples all across their sharp calcium hides. There is a song<br />

here that I have forgotten and it goes like…<br />

Here we lie in the valley of the deep<br />

unblinking eyes staring upwards at the rippling azure that is the only sky that we will<br />

ever know<br />

Surrounded by words that will remain unheard, trapped within the pages of what was<br />

never meant to be<br />

We are the unmade past, the unfinished future, the blocks knocked over before we could<br />

build our fabled towers of babel<br />

There’s a universe out there that can’t be traversed,<br />

or we’ll end up in that hearse if we don’t do something first.<br />

I have already killed myself with the longing for what I cannot be, so please, if you meet<br />

me on the road as if I were a Buddha, drown me.<br />

And if you do, I’ll teach you about that sickly intoxication that burrows into your nerves<br />

and forces you to dance along to a melody that never ends<br />

Let me teach you about the cliché of rhyming.<br />

Underneath the veneer of all the fancy (curse) words in rhymed (verse) that lurks under<br />

our service to the surface<br />

we’ll be graceful grateful little pirates sailing across the islands of what we secretly think<br />

we don’t care about but we do<br />

I am struggling. It will never leave me, this scent of salt clinging to my eyes, crystallising<br />

my myriad obsessions so that when you finally crack my skull open maybe you'll find<br />

something beautiful even if I cannot amount to anything.<br />

And all the ages of history we will preserve under there. It will persevere.<br />

We will look back on it and remember the times when we didn’t think that the flood and<br />

the storm were coming, when we stuck our heads in the sandy beaches and let the warm<br />

waves from all them icecaps slowly wash over us-<br />

Be calm, my friends.<br />

We can become silky salty selkies and slip off our human skins, and we can just lay back<br />

and accept that this is how it ends<br />

(The white horse comes at the crest of every wave bringing pestilence and poison and<br />

pollution behind her hooves, and the seafoam cracked open from the sky won’t just<br />

melt into the beach like love but instead)<br />

I remember now. I’m going to need a bigger boat.<br />

Dun duuun dun duuuun da duuuuun! Dun dun dun dun dun dun!<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 53


CREATIVE<br />

Absence<br />

by Shannon Ly<br />

54 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


PHOTO ESSAY<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 55


FICTION<br />

Ordinary Demons<br />

by Justin Jones Li<br />

Augustus hated his job. Why lawyers had to work such unreasonable<br />

hours were beyond him, no matter how many<br />

times it was explained. It was all worth coming home though.<br />

He parked outside his house, a modest single-storey building<br />

with two beds and a bath. Cosy. It was the way he liked it and<br />

needed it.<br />

Roger saw him through the window and opened the front<br />

door as Augustus came up. They kissed.<br />

“How was work?”<br />

“Tiring. And I hate this suit.”<br />

They kissed again.<br />

“No, seriously,” said Augustus. “It’s bright red and so conspicuous.<br />

Gone are the days of subtly taking people’s souls.<br />

Now everyone wants to make a trade.”<br />

“Oh, your CBD assignment will be done soon. Soon you’ll be<br />

back at the retirement home offering a few extra years of life.<br />

In shorts. Now come join me on the couch. I’ve put the kids to<br />

bed already.”<br />

“God, I love you.”<br />

The two of them looked up at the sky to anticipate an imminent<br />

lightning strike. It never came.<br />

“I love you too.”<br />

They kissed for a third time.<br />

Once inside, they sat down on the couch to watch some quality<br />

television. Couples Simultaneously Renovating and Cooking.<br />

Augustus could finally relax in his domestic dream.<br />

Susan and Bjorn were just putting the finishing touches on<br />

the terrace, but they had to rush back and forth between the<br />

oven and the power tools. It was utter chaos. Then it cut to a<br />

shot of Bjorn openly weeping to the camera. Augustus cackled<br />

in delight.<br />

The program suddenly changed. Instead of the emotional<br />

turmoil of ordinary, but well-represented people in mainstream<br />

media, the television now showed a stern East Asian man<br />

peering directly into the non-existent souls of the couple on the<br />

couch.<br />

“Lucifer?” said Augustus. “How may we be of help?”<br />

“I have a job for you. I’ve texted you the GPS coordinates<br />

of a senior executive of a very large company. This person is<br />

seriously considering a career in politics. If you play this right,<br />

their soul could be worth more than that of three corporate<br />

lawyers. Get on it.”<br />

“Look, I just got home from work.”<br />

“And you owe me a solid. I had to spend a lot of souls to get<br />

marriage equality through the door.”<br />

“Are you seriously going to keep guilting me with this? Roger<br />

is right here.”<br />

“What can I say? I’m the devil. And trust me, I can get a<br />

good refund on those souls by changing the law back. Now get<br />

the job done promptly. I don’t want to miss games night at<br />

Beelzebub’s.”<br />

“Hey, if Asmodeus is going to be there,” said Roger, “can you<br />

let him know that I’m really sorry that things didn’t work out?”<br />

Lucifer squinted. “Alright, Roger. But just so you know, you<br />

really hurt him. I don’t know if he can ever forgive you, or even<br />

get over you. Alright, Augustus, I expect that soul in my tray in<br />

two hours. Succeed or else.”<br />

The badly produced reality program came back on. This time,<br />

Susan was cursing at the other contestants, while Bjorn began<br />

binge-eating everyone’s food. Augustus laughed uproariously.<br />

“Aren’t you going to get ready for that job?” asked Roger.<br />

Augustus wrapped his arm around Roger and held him tightly.<br />

“Lucifer be damned. I’ll always choose you.”<br />

And for the fourth time that night, they kissed.<br />

56 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


FICTION<br />

The Deep<br />

by Katherine Mitula<br />

People are afraid of the deep. (I’m not.)<br />

They say it’s haunted. They say someone died there<br />

while diving for a piece of coral, that he drowned in his own<br />

blood and water, dragged beneath by unseen arms. Arms like<br />

seaweed, but stronger. They twined around his legs as intimately<br />

as a lover’s caress and wouldn’t let go until he joined them for<br />

eternity in the darkness. That’s what they say.<br />

I don’t believe them. The deep is too beautiful to be deadly.<br />

Though, they say the deadliest things are the prettiest ones.<br />

That’s what the deep is. Pretty, but more than that, at the<br />

same time.<br />

I stand on the deck of the house and gaze out at it, the<br />

wooden boards burning beneath my feet. At first, it looks<br />

ordinary. Ordinary blue, almost black. Black as the night. And<br />

then there’s the coming of the light. The sky is on fire; the deep<br />

shimmers with a thousand tiny suns, blue as sapphires. And<br />

I’m left dazed, wondering: How can anything so beautiful be so<br />

deadly?<br />

***<br />

People leave here to get away from the deep. (They can’t.)<br />

When the deep claims you, it never lets you go. Maybe that’s<br />

what frightens people about it. You take one look at it, and<br />

then you can’t forget. You don’t want to leave that beautiful<br />

place where the sun dazzles and the water dances, where it<br />

seems like anything is possible.<br />

Even if you leave, there’s a part of you that never does and<br />

never will. It’s like the deep takes your will and makes it its<br />

own.<br />

Thoughts flit through your mind, of that place, of what you<br />

left behind, and the world blurs before you, as if nothing else<br />

matters but that single memory. You get a craving, a desperate<br />

need to return to that one place which brought you so much<br />

joy, a need so intense that you have to obey, no matter what.<br />

And so you return, and leave again, and then return again. And<br />

each time there’s a deep feeling of loss, as if your heart is breaking<br />

in two, which seems strange because how can one place<br />

inspire so much feeling? But it’s there, and it doesn’t go away,<br />

no matter what you do.<br />

The deep is like a drug.<br />

Like cocaine, or marijuana. Toxic, but so addictive that people<br />

keep coming back for more. You can’t get enough of it.<br />

It cuts like a knife, setting your heart to bleeding, but you<br />

can’t feel the bleeding because you’re staring at the picture and<br />

it’s so beautiful. Like crystal, translucent and sharp-edged. You<br />

see everything beautiful that you’ve never seen before in that<br />

one glance, and it dazzles you to pieces.<br />

It dazzles me. I take one look at it and I don’t want to ever<br />

leave. How can you leave something that beautiful?<br />

There’s a voice in the back of my mind, warning me.<br />

Reminding me about everything they’ve all said about it. How<br />

it’s dangerous. How it kills. How I should turn away, now, before<br />

it consumes me. I don’t listen.<br />

It’s too late. I never want to leave the deep behind me, never<br />

want to be away from that double-edged beauty. Never want<br />

to feel the loss that other people are feeling right at this very<br />

moment, after leaving the deep behind them. They say that’s a<br />

bad thing. I don’t care.<br />

I sit on the deck, now, and look out at the deep. It’s as<br />

beautiful as always, fiery in the light of the fading sun. Deep. A<br />

fiery deep. It calls to me, will always call to me, and I respond by<br />

staying, by watching it when no one else dares to. I can feel the<br />

beat of my heart in the quiet of this place, in time to the steady<br />

beat of the deep, almost like one entity. Maybe I am one with the<br />

water and the wind and the flaming sky. Maybe it’s consumed<br />

me after all, like it consumed the lone diver. I dance, I soar over<br />

the shimmering waters, my soul bursting, and I think that I’m<br />

dying, except that I’m not. I’m lost in a haze of beauty and pleasure,<br />

where nothing matters except the hammer of my heart and<br />

the freedom of the brazen waves.<br />

I can feel other people around me, talking and laughing. But<br />

I am lost in my own small world. So I watch, and feel as if my<br />

spirit is enlightened by the mysteries of the deep.<br />

***<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 57


POETRY<br />

Amphitrite<br />

by Audrey El-Osta<br />

I see you, staring<br />

at my tits. Innocent eyes lost,<br />

diving into an ocean,<br />

fisher-child on a pier,<br />

before you can catch yourself.<br />

Nothing has changed<br />

since last you looked.<br />

I rise and fall, sweeping<br />

across the shore.<br />

It’s always when I wear<br />

my mother’s flowery dress<br />

made for a smaller chest<br />

that I notice it, your eyes<br />

plunge<br />

as I spill over,<br />

warm water in a tub.<br />

Do you wonder<br />

how deep, how wide<br />

you need to split and spread<br />

me open, to dive in headfirst<br />

peering into my ribcage<br />

to find my heart?<br />

You have far to go, to<br />

wade,<br />

to find me.<br />

58 58 | Lot’s | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> <strong>Wife</strong>


Illustration by Eliza Stribling

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