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Lot's Wife Edition 5 2016

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LOT’S WIFE<br />

— EDITION FIVE —


No to $100,000 Degrees!<br />

No to Cutting Staff, Courses and TAFE!<br />

YES to more funding for our education!<br />

FREE BBQ: MENZies LAwn - 12PM<br />

FREE BUSES TO PROTEST:<br />

ROBERT BLACKWOOD HALL - 1PM<br />

Authorised by Max Murphy NUS National Education Officer <strong>2016</strong><br />

AUGUST 24th


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<br />

08<br />

10<br />

11<br />

13<br />

14<br />

16<br />

Woodside or Seaside?<br />

Interview with Katalin Mindum<br />

Traveling on a student budget<br />

At your own pace<br />

Racism today and how we can<br />

fight it<br />

Working out work experience<br />

Office bearer reports<br />

SOCIETY<br />

20 “Legislation should be for human<br />

beings!”<br />

23 By the skin of their teeth<br />

24 Laughing all the way to the right<br />

25 Political discussion in the meme age<br />

27 Review: Chasing Asylum<br />

28 Wot’s Life with Pauline Hanson<br />

Advertising inquiries:<br />

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

P: 03 9905 8174<br />

SCIENCE<br />

CULTURE<br />

35 Aussie born inventions<br />

43 Game of Thrones Season 6<br />

Read online at<br />

lotswife.com.au<br />

36<br />

37<br />

Can the pill cause depression?<br />

Science can’t save the world<br />

44<br />

46<br />

Making art pay the bills<br />

Pink Flappy Bits<br />

About the cover artist<br />

38<br />

Forever young<br />

48<br />

wikiHow to catch them all<br />

Angus Marian is an illustrator<br />

based in Melbourne, Australia,<br />

who specialises in cartoons and<br />

animation, as well as graphic<br />

design, typography and on<br />

occasion photography.<br />

Currently, Angus is studying<br />

his fi nal year in Communication<br />

Design at Monash University<br />

Caulfi eld.<br />

angusmarian.com<br />

Instagram & Twitter - @akmarian<br />

39<br />

41<br />

Saving crops with robots<br />

CREATIVE<br />

53<br />

55<br />

56<br />

Crossword: inventions edition<br />

Prose: Voiceless<br />

Short fiction: Somewhere in<br />

Australia<br />

Poem: I’ll keep you wild<br />

49<br />

50<br />

Goldstone<br />

BONUS<br />

15 Notice of MSA elections<br />

30 Centrefold: Pull-out<br />

calendar and poster<br />

59<br />

Inequality in a two tiered<br />

education system<br />

Galerie de stock<br />

Pattern by Natalie Ng<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 />

CARINA FLOREA<br />

SCIENCE<br />

CULTURE<br />

CREATIVE<br />

Kinto Behr<br />

Kathy Zhang<br />

Mevani Amarasinghe<br />

Lachlan Liesfield<br />

Georgina Lee<br />

Melissa Fernando<br />

Amber Davis<br />

Audrey El-Osta<br />

Sarah Kay<br />

Ideally, editorials are supposed to talk about things going on<br />

in the world and articles within the magazine. Somehow we’ve<br />

failed in that regard. Maybe one day we’ll get it. Then again, we’ve<br />

come so far that we may as well keep talking about everything but<br />

what’s actually in the magazine. And there is so much going on<br />

outside of our pretty little mag. The Olympics have come and gone,<br />

Papa Rich has come to Monash and Frank Ocean has disappointed<br />

us once again. So while we wait around for his album, here’s<br />

a saucy picture of Moleman, courtesy of Simpsons Shitposting.<br />

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

August- September <strong>2016</strong><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 refl ect 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>


LISA HEALY<br />

Well, hi.<br />

This has been quite an emotional semester and my penchant<br />

for white wine spritzers (WWS) doesn’t help to keep my<br />

emotions in check/the tears from falling (note: zero tears have<br />

actually fallen, but I will keep a log of when the first one decides<br />

to shed. I am also writing this whilst editing with Carina, both<br />

with a WWS in hand).<br />

You may be wondering how exactly it has been emotional.<br />

Well, firstly, my cat caught a small brown bird that I lovingly<br />

named Cinnamon. Cinnamon’s presence in my life was short<br />

but sweet. I’ve learnt what short-term love is like and that vets<br />

aren’t exactly the most tactful when it comes to delivery news<br />

of a stray bird’s death (R.I.P. Cinnamon).<br />

And secondly, the end of my time with Lot’s (and supplying<br />

you with too many anecdotes) is nigh. I’ve made sure to bring<br />

my shitty disposable camera in, to not only highlight my failed<br />

efforts with film photography, but to capture as many moments<br />

of us playing video games as possible.<br />

On a serious note, following on from Carina’s editorial - and<br />

trying to focus on the magazine and not on myself - we have<br />

some really important articles in this edition. The interview<br />

with Dr Biswa Banik (page 20) whose son is being discriminated<br />

against and may ultimately face deportation is a vital read<br />

and Kapil Bhargava’s article (page 13) calling on why we need<br />

a People of Colour Department on campus - and the systemic<br />

racism that pervades our society - is pertinent for the upcoming<br />

months.<br />

Enjoy the mag and cheers (please drink to that and remember<br />

to look the person in the eye otherwise that’s 8 years of bad<br />

sex for you, ha-ha).<br />

TIMOTHY NEWPORT<br />

We meet again.<br />

It’s a tough time to be a student. Money is tight, jobs are<br />

scarce, and Pokémon GO is taking up all of your phone’s<br />

battery. It literally could not be worse. But it’s also an exciting<br />

time to be a Australian student! We’re getting a new library, a<br />

whole range of new food shops, and a new whatever-the-fuckthat-is<br />

down by the bus loop. So, perhaps, it’s not all bad.<br />

In this edition, we’ve got shitty stock photos (page 59),<br />

your ripper guide to Pokemon GO (page 48), and a serious<br />

dunk-tank of emotions about moving country (page 53). I’m so<br />

bloody proud.<br />

Semester 2 is always a bit of a mindfuck. Weird deadlines,<br />

the approach of summer, and a terribly-timed midsemester<br />

break means that you’ll probably spend half your time trying<br />

to remember where your own head is. So sit back, relax, and<br />

forget your troubles with Lot’s. Hopefully, by the time you<br />

finish reading this sentence, Grafali’s has finished making your<br />

chai latte and you’ve got the next hour for lunch in Papa Rich.<br />

Enjoy it. We’re nearly there.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 5


6 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


STUDENT<br />

Woodside or Seaside?<br />

by Elyse Walton<br />

In June, Monash announced a $10 million partnership with<br />

oil and gas giant, Woodside Petroleum. Monash claims that<br />

the partnership “aims to drive significant advances in the energy<br />

sector, bringing positive economic benefits to Australia”.<br />

However, some have criticized the partnership for various<br />

ethical and environmental reasons.<br />

In light of the Woodside Monash partnership, Woodside’s<br />

senior vice-president and chief technology officer, Shaun<br />

Gregory, stated that "our vision for our Monash centre is for us<br />

to rapidly advance commercial opportunities through materials<br />

engineering, additive manufacturing and data science… We are<br />

really excited about collaborating with researchers and experts<br />

from Monash to identify opportunities to solve real-life challenges<br />

we face at Woodside".<br />

This partnership began 135 kilometres northwest off the<br />

coast of Karratha, WA, at Woodside’s Goodwyn Alpha natural<br />

gas platform where the Monash centre assisted Woodside’s operations.<br />

During a maintenance shutdown, a vital safety switch<br />

had broken and panic ensued about the delay in production.<br />

The workers assumed that they would be waiting three weeks to<br />

receive the missing part and resume operations.<br />

“They needed it by the end of the week, so we reached out to<br />

the Monash team, a hand sketch of the part was drawn, emailed<br />

through, there were some questions and answers and the part<br />

was soon on a helicopter up to Goodwyn,” Mr Gregory said.<br />

Woodside’s gift of $10 million - the largest philanthropic<br />

donation in the history of Monash University - will be spent<br />

over the time period of 5 years and will be concentrated in the<br />

Woodside Innovation Centre, located in the New Horizons<br />

building, which is situated behind the Hargrave-Andrew<br />

Library.<br />

The centre was officially opened on June 15 by the Hon.<br />

Josh Frydenberg, who was the Minister for Resources, Energy<br />

and Northern Australia at the time. Praising the partnership,<br />

Frydenberg, now Minister for the Environment and Energy,<br />

hailed it as “exactly the type of industry-academic collaboration<br />

we need to see more of in Australia”.<br />

Monash University Vice Chancellor, Margaret Gardner,<br />

was also present at the opening of the centre, claiming that<br />

Monash was, “very grateful,” to Woodside for their “generous<br />

contribution”.<br />

However, others have been far less supportive of the<br />

partnership. Secretary of the National Tertiary Education<br />

Union’s Victoria Branch, Colin Long, expressed concern about<br />

what it meant for Monash students: “In essence, Monash is<br />

contributing to the further undermining of the futures of the<br />

young people that it is educating.”<br />

He elaborated that “it is disappointing that Monash<br />

continues to develop research initiatives with companies that<br />

are determined to exploit fossil fuels to the detriment of the<br />

climate and the world’s people... thus exacerbating the problem<br />

of carbon emissions and global warming.” He continues: “the<br />

longer universities continue to accept the dirty money of the<br />

fossil fuel industry, the longer they expose themselves to the<br />

financial, social and moral risks associated with that industry”.<br />

Electrical engineering student and Monash Student<br />

Association Welfare officer, Brendan Holmes, expressed similar<br />

concerns: “By endorsing Woodside, Monash University is<br />

sending the message to graduates that it’s okay to work for a<br />

company that is damaging to the environment. Engineering<br />

talent will be directed toward the fossil fuel industry, delaying<br />

the necessary shift towards clean, renewable energy.”<br />

In April, Monash announced that the university was going<br />

to cease all direct investments in coal companies over a five<br />

year period. This was hailed by non-for-profit organisations<br />

like 350.org as a step towards Monash University joining over<br />

500 other institutions, representing $3.4 trillion globally, that<br />

have committed to sell their investments in coal, oil and gas<br />

companies<br />

Fossil Free Monash campaigner and Arts/Law student,<br />

Rhyss Wyllie, speculates about how the partnership has impacted<br />

Monash’s recent financial decisions: “This partnership<br />

reveals the vested interests at play in the recent decision by<br />

Monash to divest from coal companies but not utter a word<br />

about oil and gas”.<br />

“The ‘largest corporate’ gift in Monash’s history comes with<br />

a price tag – Monash’s continued profiteering from the industry<br />

that is destroying the climate and corrupting our political<br />

system,” Wyllie said.<br />

Join the fight to take action against and to help build<br />

awareness of the Monash Woodside partnership by joining<br />

the Fossil Free Monash Facebook http://facebook.com/<br />

FossilFreeMonashUniversity or getting in contact via email<br />

at fossilfreemonash@gmail.com<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 7


INTERVIEW<br />

Looking for buried treasure:<br />

in conversation with librarian Katalin Mindum<br />

by Rose Boyle<br />

What is your academic background?<br />

Geography and environmental science is a passion of mine,<br />

even though I don't have an undergrad background in it. I have<br />

had that portfolio for around eight years. Film and screen is a<br />

portfolio I got a few years ago and politics and international relations<br />

very recently – a matter of weeks. I have an Arts degree<br />

from Monash Clayton and I majored in English and History. I<br />

did a Master of Librarianship, and I just never left. Monash is<br />

an awesome place.<br />

Could you tell me about your role as ‘sustainability<br />

representative’?<br />

I liaise with the sustainability office, and there’s been a huge<br />

culture change in favour of having a bit of a ‘holistic’ view of<br />

everything. Infrastructure gets done internally, such as LED<br />

and solar panels; but it’s my role to encourage people to recycle<br />

more, and we’ve got compost bins and little rubbish bins on<br />

desks now, which amazingly reduces the amount of rubbish<br />

people throw away. Just trying to get people to be more responsible<br />

and do things like recycle their paper, print less, and<br />

laminate less as it makes it hard to recycle.<br />

In regards to getting less physical books, and more online, is<br />

that to be more sustainable?<br />

It’s not really about sustainability, mostly it’s a storage issue.<br />

We’ve dramatically reduced what we get in paper. We’ve got<br />

about a million books just at the Matheson. Constantly growing,<br />

there comes a point where you have to get rid of old, worn<br />

out things. We have an e-preferred policy and it makes things<br />

a lot easier for students to access, out on the lawns, at home,<br />

in labs, etc. It’s not always cheaper, but it is more accessible, so<br />

that is a big factor. Our numbers are constantly increasing. We<br />

have something like 800 databases, and thousands of journals.<br />

Do you ever have the issue of not being able to find something<br />

for a student on the online library?<br />

All the time. Particularly with researchers and post grads, so<br />

we have document delivery – previously known as interlibrary<br />

loans – where we borrow from other libraries for students, and<br />

where we will buy resources for students and researchers. Not<br />

for undergrads, but we do for postgrads.<br />

You’re an academic librarian, how is that different from a<br />

“standard” librarian? How can you help different students<br />

across different disciplines?<br />

There is not a big difference - most public libraries have access<br />

to very similar databases as we do, you just have to be a member<br />

of your public library. It’s possibly more predictable - we<br />

don’t have people coming in asking, how do you tell the sex of<br />

a guinea pig? It is more about assignments and after a while,<br />

if you get several students from the same unit, we contact the<br />

unit coordinator to see if we can run a class to cover that with<br />

the students. That way it’s more efficient and helpful and other<br />

students don’t miss out. We also offer essay writing and note<br />

taking classes and presentations, which public libraries don’t<br />

offer. We’ve only had those services for around 5-6 years. You<br />

try and work to fill the student’s needs.<br />

A lot of students are just overwhelmed of the collections in<br />

the library - and people can be a bit scared of librarians and<br />

be scared of asking questions. What advice would you have<br />

for them?<br />

I went through my undergrad not approaching a librarian. You<br />

think you’re an adult and you feel stupid for asking, but from<br />

our point of view there are no dumb questions. Once you’ve<br />

been shown how to do something, you’ll know, then you won’t<br />

need to ask again! We wouldn’t do this if we didn’t like helping<br />

people. We’re always passionate about it, even if we’re a bit<br />

grumpy sometimes because we deal with things all day long.<br />

We tend to see mainly post grad and researchers [subject librarians]<br />

– the undergrads should go straight to the information<br />

point. If they can’t answer the question there, they will refer to<br />

the research and learning point where they can see one of us.<br />

The first ports of call are usually the catalogue, and then the<br />

library guides – which are available in a huge number of discipline<br />

areas. These may have unit specific information, special<br />

resources, course notes. Don’t be scared of the information<br />

point – that’s what they are there for!<br />

What’s beyond the online catalogue and the bottom few<br />

floors? Can anyone look at anything in the library?<br />

Anyone, even the general public can come in and use the<br />

8 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


STUDENT<br />

collections and photocopy, although you have to be a staff or<br />

student to access databases. With the exception of the rare<br />

books collection, where you might have the Gutenberg bible<br />

which is 400-500 years old. We retrieve it for you especially in<br />

that case. We have comic books, Women’s Weekly issues, going<br />

back for decades which are classified as rare.<br />

What sort of different things are in the library collections?<br />

We have the biggest Jonathon Swift article collection in the<br />

southern hemisphere. Many colonial cookbooks, diaries,<br />

letters, correspondence, science fiction first editions and old<br />

volumes, such as a first edition of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New<br />

World for instance. We do run exhibitions (online as well).<br />

Outside of rare books – a huge Asian collection, a huge music<br />

collection, and specialist collections, like the medical collection,<br />

which is not just books but old instruments and things that<br />

look like torture devices, or the odd skull that has been collected<br />

by someone. Other libraries have different collections –<br />

Peninsula, being education focused, they have some really cool<br />

displays of things teachers might take on rounds, like giant abacuses<br />

and skeletons. We support everything that is researched<br />

and taught here. It’s not just databases and books and journals,<br />

it’s immersing yourself into a certain discipline.<br />

How have academic libraries changed recently due to the<br />

Internet?<br />

Before the Internet, you’d tell the librarian what you wanted<br />

and they’d write a whole big search strategy, do it for you and<br />

give you a print out. You had cards – author, set, subject, title…<br />

typed up and filed in cabinets and that’s what we would use.<br />

The early internet was still very limited, we didn’t have many<br />

databases as most of them came on a floppy disk which you<br />

would have to load onto the computer. You wouldn’t have<br />

a computer at home, so you’d have to come in and look on<br />

the 2 or 3 computers that we had. Before Moodle there was<br />

Blackboard which was not as good, most course notes were<br />

paper based – now it’s a balance between not having enough information<br />

and having too much. One of the hardest things is to<br />

learn to search efficiently. We used to take people to reference<br />

books. Databases were paper based, and people would search<br />

through newspapers and microfilm. It now takes 5 minutes<br />

what would have taken you half a day back then.<br />

RMIT. Then it’s just finding a job in an academic library. People<br />

do swap between school, public and academic libraries. People<br />

find a niche for themselves. There are also librarians who do<br />

indexing and cataloguing.<br />

I don’t have a geography degree but that hasn’t stopped me<br />

from being a geography librarian. You immerse yourself in the<br />

job. It’s people who love a challenge and the challenge of finding<br />

unusual things. When someone comes up and asks you for<br />

something, it’s because they don’t know how to find it. I’ve had<br />

an academic ask me about birds’ nest soup.<br />

Bird’s nest soup?<br />

A soup they make from special birds’ nests they harvest in Java<br />

and Indonesia. [Finding sources] it’s not always easy - you get<br />

challenges thrown up at you. We sometimes look at Wikipedia<br />

as our first resource, so we can use words and references<br />

for searching so we have an understanding of what it might<br />

be. Don’t reference it for your essays, but do use it for that<br />

purpose!<br />

The chase, the hunt of finding information, is that your<br />

favourite part of the job?<br />

That, and a combination of helping people, which sounds dorky,<br />

but it’s true. We won’t give you the answer but we’ll show you<br />

how to get there, as well as give guidance on referencing and<br />

writing, after all it has to look professional… although, for an<br />

open day a few years ago Monash had a house-sized billboard<br />

on Wellington Road with a typo… That got sent to the printers<br />

and no one noticed.<br />

Is online or paper better, or both?<br />

It’s good to use both - there’s still an awful lot not available<br />

online. You do need to dig under the surface on paper or out in<br />

the field. You can’t download rock samples from a computer,<br />

and there is no single perfect book in so much for what you’re<br />

working on.<br />

How does one become an academic librarian or subject<br />

librarian?<br />

My path was that I did my undergrad, then a Masters' in<br />

librarianship, that gave me a foothold into a reference librarian<br />

position. I did a lot of casual work, some loans desk, some<br />

shelving and I landed this position by pure fluke. There’s not a<br />

lot of causual postions, but that is one way of doing it. I did the<br />

course here but they are also online and at other unis such as<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 9


STUDENT<br />

Traveling on a<br />

student budget<br />

by George Kopelis<br />

Illustration by Elsie Dusting<br />

Choose your transport wisely<br />

When travelling across state or country borders in Europe<br />

or through the north-east of the United States, you might be<br />

stuck deciding whether to take the train or if you should fly<br />

instead. Sure, flying might save you a few hours, but in peak<br />

tourist seasons (when we uni students normally end up travelling)<br />

plane tickets will be more expensive than usual. Take the<br />

train and see some of the countries you’re journeying through.<br />

A three hour train ride from Paris to Amsterdam will set you<br />

back 135 Euros, but a flight with Air France can be upwards of<br />

200 Euros. Eurorail offers some great rail passes if you plan on<br />

visiting as many European countries as you can. Budget airlines<br />

like Ryanair and JetBlue are great for long-haul travel, but take<br />

the train if you’ve got the time to spare. Keep in mind that<br />

trains will normally get you straight into the centre of a city,<br />

but an airport might be located far out of town. JFK Airport in<br />

New York City is anywhere from 20 to 90 minutes away from<br />

Times Square in Manhattan, so remember to add on the cost of<br />

a taxi or shuttle ride when flying.<br />

Speaking of taxis, speak to the locals when trying to arrange<br />

transport around a city. If they say taxis are too expensive, have<br />

a look at Uber’s pricing or just take a walk around.<br />

Keep your food budget in check<br />

Your spending on food can end up more than what you<br />

spend on accommodation, so it’s worth making good use of<br />

this. Take advantage of the free breakfast your hostel offers,<br />

and if there’s a fruit bowl around, always take something to<br />

have as a snack during the day. If you can’t find one, browse a<br />

local supermarket and stock up on food you can eat on the go.<br />

If you want to go to a fancy restaurant, that’s fine but<br />

remember lunch is normally quieter than dinner and prices<br />

will be lower accordingly. In the US, where portions are way too<br />

much for an ordinary person, don’t feel guilty about asking for<br />

a bag to take some leftover food back to your accommodation!<br />

Make use of TripAdvisor and any other app to find good<br />

food away from the touristy spots where prices are eye-wateringly<br />

high, and try to cut back on coffee when on holiday; caffeine<br />

is an expensive addiction and overseas coffee has nothing<br />

on Melbourne’s. Don’t buy food or drinks at airports either!<br />

Take an empty water bottle through airport customs, and try<br />

to wait for the free food on the plane or grab something before<br />

you head to the airport.<br />

Book accommodation ahead<br />

It’s exhilarating to wake up in a foreign country each day<br />

with no clue where you’ll be sleeping that night, but it’s also<br />

more expensive. Book a hostel dorm bed or an AirBnB ahead of<br />

time, especially if you are travelling in peak season. That way,<br />

you’ll have a greater range of room options available, and at a<br />

relatively lower price.<br />

Do your homework on your destination<br />

If you’re travelling somewhere like Japan where you’ll<br />

mostly be in urban areas with good Wifi connectivity, there’s no<br />

need to buy a local SIM Card; free message and phone apps will<br />

keep you in touch with friends and family. Also, exchange currency<br />

before you get to the airport for better rates. Remember<br />

that you might need different currencies with you – shopkeepers<br />

in even the fanciest parts of Istanbul frown upon the use<br />

of Euros. If you really want to get the most value out of your<br />

dollar, travel to E astern Europe or South East Asia rather than<br />

Western Europe, because prices are lower and the crowds aren’t<br />

as big. You’ll still have a great time, with the added bonus of<br />

having more money to spend on activities and nights out.<br />

10 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


STUDENT<br />

For some of you reading this, it may be your final semester<br />

at uni, for others it could be a glorious first year of many<br />

more to come. Alternatively, it could just be another year in<br />

the seemingly endless space of time you spend in the campus<br />

centre.<br />

To some, university is a place where you learn a lot more<br />

about yourself and you learn new skills. However, it can also<br />

be a place where you forget skills. I recently started doing<br />

an internship and realised that somewhere along the line I<br />

forgot how to wake up and arrive somewhere before 9am. This<br />

is something I had to painfully, but quickly, relearn. A lot of<br />

people like to describe uni life and partying as the things that<br />

make you falter in your studies. This is quite possibly true, but<br />

sometimes your studies can actually be the things that make<br />

you falter and forget about what comes next.<br />

Not to dwell on the obvious, but everybody’s experiences<br />

of university life are going to be different. There are some<br />

definite stereotypes and common experiences that we all share<br />

and can relate to. I remember walking around open days and<br />

information sessions, all those years ago, feeling excited but<br />

also overwhelmed at the expanse of knowledge available to me.<br />

For me, university presented a more relaxed and less structured<br />

learning environment than high school. With such an<br />

environment, it can often become easy for students to become<br />

preoccupied with the experience of university and forget about<br />

where it’s supposed to lead them. I definitely remember that<br />

the main focus of my last year in high school was just to make<br />

it to university. Although after actually getting to university,<br />

I didn’t feel equipped with the tools to ask myself; ‘What’s<br />

next?’ It didn’t take too many semesters at uni to forget what<br />

the end goal of my studies was, if I ever knew that in the first<br />

place. Perhaps your story is different; perhaps after getting into<br />

uni you created structures and foundations to not lose sight of<br />

your goal? Or maybe the follwing years were milestones on the<br />

path to the industry you already knew you wanted to get in? Or<br />

conversely, you embraced the unknown and open-ended nature<br />

of learning, allowing your experiences during your studies to<br />

shape and direct you?<br />

When thinking of universities as institutions to help us<br />

transition into either the industry or better people, we should<br />

consider what the tools necessary to approach that goal are.<br />

Universities give us the technical tools relevant to our specific<br />

disciplines; laboratory skills, proficiency over different formulas<br />

or familiarity with different social theories. Additionally,<br />

universities should also help us identify the industry we wish<br />

to be a part of, as well as the necessary tools and skill sets<br />

necessary to be employed in that area. Even soft-skills such<br />

as an ability to network and self-brand should be considered<br />

important tools. The naming and identification of these skills is<br />

important to our progress and is the first step in learning them<br />

At your own pace<br />

by Abdul Marian<br />

Illustration by Elizabeth Bridges<br />

and becoming fluent in them. As we come to the end of the<br />

academic year we should consider the skills we have learnt over<br />

the year and compare them with the skills we require to reach<br />

our dream destination.<br />

If a problem with uni life is the lack of direction and structure,<br />

then the solution should be to provide that direction.<br />

As well as education, universities should also be facilitators<br />

for growth and development. While the educational material<br />

taught can be considered one such vehicle, universities should<br />

also provide space (mental or physical) for networking, material<br />

for development of character as well as opportunity to think<br />

about and act on future prospects.<br />

It’s this opportunity to think and ponder over our purpose<br />

and future that often gets sacrificed for late-night assignments,<br />

stressful projects and cramming hundreds of lectures over<br />

short periods of time. In an unfortunate irony, it’s this sacrificed<br />

opportunity to develop ones personal and occupational<br />

credentials that is most sorely needed after the assignments,<br />

cramming and exams. Of course, people may attend university<br />

for other reasons and career success is not always the end<br />

goal for some. One of my favourite tutors has begun teaching<br />

students in class to think beyond a career after university, as<br />

another stage in your journey. He asks students, ‘What message<br />

do you want to deliver?’ and ‘How do you want to change<br />

the world?’ I however think it’s these kinds of questions that<br />

firstly get students thinking beyond university but also build<br />

up their character.<br />

This piece comes out as I find myself approaching the end<br />

of what felt like an extremely long and seemingly endless<br />

period at university. After I finally found something I enjoyed<br />

spending time studying, I became frustrated and anxious that<br />

the knowledge I was struggling to acquire may not have any<br />

real applications in the future. As an Arts student it was hard<br />

describing to others and, more importantly, myself how I<br />

would actually implement what I had studied. To some extent<br />

the world outside of university is still a mystery, but at the<br />

same not a mystery that you can’t prepare for. An important<br />

question to ask yourself is, “what skills can I bring forward?”<br />

and not so much, “what skills are people looking from me?”.<br />

Some of the best things about the journey through university<br />

is the ability to take things at your own time, give life to new<br />

ideas or come back to old projects. Yet, we should also realise<br />

these things don’t exist in isolation and should be considered<br />

as steps along our pathway through life and not as individual<br />

goals themselves.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 11


MONASH PEOPLE OF COLOUR COLLECTIVE<br />

The Monash People of Colour Collective (MPOCC) represents an exciting new initiative<br />

to fight against very real racism that continues to plague our society.<br />

The Collective will help form a new department within the Monash Student Association<br />

(MSA) that encourages cultural sharing, political activism and the involvement of a group<br />

in society that remains cursed due to racist political figures in the media, a growing<br />

sense of xenophobia in the streets and an inherent racism in our communities.<br />

Look forward to the facilitation of cultural festivals, employability seminars and an<br />

increased political representation of people of colour at Monash!<br />

To make sure this department becomes a reality, make sure you<br />

during this year’s student elections!<br />

facebook.com/monashpocc<br />

99055493<br />

monashpocc@gmail.com<br />

VOTE YES ON THE<br />

REFERENDUM:<br />

Yes<br />

✓<br />

No


STUDENT<br />

To kill the mockingbirds:<br />

racism today and<br />

how we can fight it<br />

by Kapil Bhargava<br />

I<br />

dare you to tell me racism doesn’t exist in modern Australia.<br />

Not to start an argument with you, but rather so we can<br />

initiate a conversation about one of the most poignant and<br />

underestimated plagues upon our community.<br />

Racism is systemic in its oppression. Western standards of<br />

beauty, competence and superiority are perpetuated at every<br />

conceivable level of society. Go on and tell me that I am not<br />

judged based on the colour of my skin when society tells me,<br />

from the moment I step foot in my very first classroom as a<br />

young child of Australia, that I should hate the pigments in my<br />

skin cells and lament in my inevitable social isolation. One of<br />

my earliest memories in school was being told by a ‘“friend’”<br />

that he was glad he didn’t have “brown skin and black hair” like<br />

me, that I should just know by now that Indians are not generally<br />

as good looking as white people. And what really made me<br />

sad was seeing other kids forced on a day to day basis to defend<br />

their beliefs, defend their right to wear a headdress, defend<br />

their religion against a tirade of intrusive questions. An eightyear-old<br />

shouldn’t have to defend the grand belief systems of<br />

ancient India or the ideologies of their family when all they<br />

want is to be accepted by their classmates.<br />

When I say society is racist, I refer to its norms and values<br />

that lie corrupt and inherent within our subconscious. That is<br />

not to say that every individual is a racist. That is preposterous.<br />

Rather, these norms – beauty standards and misconceptions<br />

about cultures and ideologies – lie within our day to day<br />

notions of ‘normality’. Without realising, we propagate micro<br />

aggressions, racist slurs, and oppressive language without even<br />

knowing it. Where are you from? No, where are you actually<br />

from? As if to suggest that the subject of the question is<br />

somehow ‘other’, a foreigner… not Australian. When I look at<br />

you, I don’t see colour. We are all part of the human race. This<br />

merely articulates a subconscious assimilation to the dominant<br />

culture, a denial of each individual as a cultural being, dismissing<br />

generations of colour, music, festivities, religions, beliefs<br />

ideologies and suffering.<br />

But even on a more macro level, the Pauline Hanson show’s<br />

re-run, along with the global increasing of xenophobic fear<br />

mongering and neo-conservative political pundits reflect a<br />

society that feels like it’s leaving people of colour behind. One<br />

Nation’s four senate seats in the most recent election represents<br />

not only a failure by people of colour to advocate for<br />

sanity and racial equality for all publicly, but also a failure by<br />

political leaders who inhabit privileged positions of power to<br />

starkly stand up against this political regression. Something<br />

must be done to combat these attacks on our community and<br />

protect the sanctity of the civil society we all want to live and<br />

breathe in. All of us.<br />

I’m not here to make excuses. We are here to make change.<br />

The creation of a People of Colour Collective as an autonomous<br />

department within the Monash student union is a fantastic<br />

way of giving a voice back to this community. The department<br />

would constitute a mandate to develop cultural activities<br />

on campus, fight against any racism present on campus and increase<br />

political representation of a community that is severely<br />

unrepresented in the broader political movement. The only way<br />

to finalise the People of Colour department will be with a YES<br />

vote in a referendum in the upcoming student elections. Come<br />

out and vote, support a positive historical step at Monash<br />

University! I cannot stress this enough. A referendum is the<br />

only way a new department can be set up at Monash. There is a<br />

lot of interest, however we just need to prove it to the university.<br />

We demand to see this change. Vote YES in the referendum.<br />

Now I know what some of you might be thinking. Isn’t this<br />

just another form of alienation? Aren’t you just excluding a<br />

large majority of the university populace? The simple answer<br />

is no. The nature of micro and macro aggressions drive people<br />

of colour to isolation. When people of colour begin changing<br />

their names when applying for work to avoid discrimination<br />

and appear a part of the dominant western community, we<br />

know there is a fundamental problem. It is about elevating an<br />

oppressed group, providing a safe platform so that these issues<br />

can be discussed freely, without fear. It is not about bringing<br />

other groups down. There is a systemic, institutionalised imbalance<br />

of power that we face every day of our lives and positive<br />

steps like this merely mobilise individuals, incentivise institutions<br />

such as the MSA and educate the general populace about<br />

the reality of the world and the hopeful future we can have.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 13


STUDENT<br />

The intern:<br />

working out<br />

work experience<br />

by Kate Mani<br />

ake the most of it,” my dad says via Skype on the<br />

“M first day of my Arts international internship at the<br />

In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres, Belgium. It’s the same advice<br />

he’s given me on the first day of every previous internship<br />

I’ve done: barrister’s chamber, publishing house, radio station,<br />

magazine office….<br />

In this case I’ve travelled overseas for a slice of Europe, a<br />

character building experience and 12 credit points. But there<br />

are some things about internships that stay the same across<br />

the world. Excitement at new experiences conflicts with fear<br />

of endless photocopying. These are pretty regular emotions for<br />

any intern who’s put on a blazer and their best maturity for the<br />

first day on the job.<br />

While nothing can really protect you from the joys of<br />

photocopying if they do come your way, there are a few ways to<br />

maximise the results of your internship and gain much more<br />

than just 12 credit points.<br />

Have confidence in your contribution:<br />

Entering a workplace as a nervous intern, it’s easy to feel<br />

you should be seen and not heard, that you should avoid asking<br />

questions unless necessary and tiptoe past the other desks.<br />

Remember, you’re providing (normally free) help to an organisation<br />

– you should be praised! You’ll enjoy your experience<br />

more if you hold your head up high from the first day.<br />

Ask questions:<br />

Ask all possible questions about the industry and staffs’<br />

specific roles, from exciting tasks to the more mundane. Ask<br />

especially about the mundane: Google will inform you about<br />

the glamorous side of job without having to leave your bedroom<br />

so maximise on the opportunity to hone in on the nitty gritty.<br />

Take notes of their answers. Any feelings of dorkiness at<br />

pulling out your notebook will be well outweighed by the fact<br />

you’ll actually remember the precious, ungoogable information<br />

at the end of the day.<br />

Once you’ve got a greater understanding of the workplace,<br />

don’t be afraid to ask staff slightly more meaningful questions.<br />

Why do they believe their work is important? What inspired<br />

them to pursue this path? While some will be willing to share<br />

more than others, gaging the values of people who work in a<br />

certain field is a good way to ascertain if this career path is for<br />

you.<br />

Practically speaking, if you don’t want to distract people<br />

with questions while they’re working, approach them confidently<br />

and ask them by name if you can arrange a later time<br />

to sit down with them. They will be impressed by your interest<br />

and professionalism.<br />

Don’t limit yourself:<br />

While choosing a field of work related to your degree is relevant,<br />

when it comes to choosing an internship, don’t be narrow-minded.<br />

Work experience is exactly that, work experience.<br />

You’re not committing to a career by spending a bit of time in<br />

an office. Internships are an opportunity for a short immersion<br />

in a field without long-term commitment. It’s the perfect way<br />

to learn about an area of work that you might be interested in<br />

but not inspired to devote your life to.<br />

Don’t have too high expectations:<br />

As previously alluded to, sometimes the tasks delegated to<br />

interns aren’t as exciting as you would like. In particular, the<br />

nature of short internships may make it hard to get involved in<br />

work requiring greater explanation or training. At the publishing<br />

house, I was thrilled to read publications and give a verdict<br />

on whether or not they should make the cut (extremely cool<br />

right?!). Rearranging the filing cabinet the next day was not<br />

quite as exciting.<br />

View your internship holistically and you’ll find there’s no<br />

such thing as wasted time or a pointless task. The chance to see<br />

an office’s inner workings, ask endless questions, improve your<br />

communication skills with professionals, feel comfortable in a<br />

different environment and survive a full 9-5 day can be just as<br />

valuable.<br />

Keeping in contact:<br />

Half the benefit of an internship doesn’t happen in the<br />

office. Internships are about connections and networking which<br />

means asking outright for business cards and email addresses.<br />

The week after the internship send follow-up thank-you emails<br />

to everyone who answered your questions, helped you with<br />

work, made you feel welcome, showed you where the closest<br />

coffee shop is…<br />

It may feel slightly silly, particularly if you didn’t have the<br />

most welcoming experience. However, if you want someone to<br />

remember you when you need a reference or industry contacts,<br />

your memorable photocopying skills are probably not going to<br />

cut it.<br />

If a thank you email feels too contrived, think of further<br />

questions you can ask by email to show a sustained interest in<br />

the field of work. That’s where the trusty notebook can come<br />

in handy. Being able to look back at a specific conversation and<br />

generate questions from your notes makes it look like we’re<br />

been paying attention big time.<br />

In any internship, the benefits up for grabs are much more<br />

than just a CV reference and 12 credit points. While these ideas<br />

won’t save you from photocopying, hopefully they’ll allow you<br />

to walk away satisfied knowing you’ve made the most of a quintessential<br />

student experience.<br />

14 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


NOTICE OF ELECTION<br />

The following positions are to be elected at the MSA Annual<br />

Elections<br />

Office Bearer positions:<br />

• President<br />

• Secretary<br />

• Treasurer<br />

• Disabilities and Carers Officer<br />

• Education (Academic Affairs) Officer<br />

• Education (Public Affairs) Officer<br />

• Welfare Officer<br />

• Women’s Officer<br />

• Male Queer Officer<br />

• Female Queer Officer<br />

• Environment & Social Justice Officer<br />

• Indigenous Officer<br />

• Activities Officer<br />

• Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> Editor/s<br />

Monash Student Council and Committees:<br />

Monash Student Council (5 General Representatives)<br />

Women’s Affairs Collective (5 Members)<br />

Student Affairs Committee (10 Members)<br />

National Union of Students:<br />

7 Delegate positions<br />

These elections are conducted using optional preferential voting,<br />

and in accordance with other provisions as required under<br />

the MSA Election Regulations (eg. only women can stand and<br />

vote for the Women’s Officer position).<br />

Tickets<br />

Ticket re-registrations open at 9am on Monday 1 August and<br />

close Friday 5 August at 5pm. The tickets re-registered will then<br />

be published before Ticket registrations are then opened 9am<br />

Tuesday 9 August closing 5pm Monday 15 August.<br />

Nominations<br />

Nomination forms will be available at the MSA office, or by<br />

telephoning or writing to MSA, or via the internet at www.msa.<br />

monash.edu/elections<br />

Nominations open at 9am on Wednesday 17 August and close<br />

5pm Friday 26 August.<br />

Copies of the regulations governing the election are available<br />

from the MSA office or via the internet at www.msa.monash.<br />

edu/elections<br />

Voting<br />

Polling for the MSA elections will be 19 – 22 September <strong>2016</strong>,<br />

with the polling times and places as follows:<br />

The main polling place will be open in the Campus Centre foyer<br />

Monday 19 September<br />

9.30am – 4.30pm<br />

Tuesday 20 September<br />

9.30am – 6.00pm<br />

Wednesday 21 September<br />

9.30am – 4.30pm<br />

Thursday 22 September<br />

9.30pm – 4.30pm<br />

Remote polling will be open in the Hargrave-Andrew<br />

Library foyer<br />

Monday 19 September<br />

11.30am – 2.30pm<br />

Thursday 22 September<br />

11.30am – 2.30pm<br />

Postal votes are possible for those students unable to attend<br />

the election in person. Applications will be available online or<br />

at the MSA.<br />

Gavin Ryan<br />

Returning Officer<br />

1 August <strong>2016</strong><br />

0409 757 504<br />

msa.returningofficer@gmail.com<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 15


OFFICE BEARER REPORTS<br />

MSA PRESIDENT ABBY STAPLETON<br />

Over the holidays I attended NUS education conference, hosted by the University of Sydney. We had the<br />

opportunity to attend workshops focusing on building for the upcoming national day of action on August<br />

24th. These sessions were very beneficial and we hope to introduce some of the ideas thrown around during<br />

the conference, here at Monash. I have also spent a lot of time organising the introduction of the Workers<br />

Rights Advice service, which will be available first semester next year, I have been working closely with Trades<br />

Hall worker’s rights centre to get this off the ground. Early this semester I worked with the NUS Women’s<br />

officer to discuss how we could address the results of the ‘Talk about it’ survey. The survey pinpointed some<br />

pretty appalling statistics of sexual assault on campus, the MSA will be working closely with safer communities<br />

to introduce some of recommendations of the survey. That’s about all from me! I hope you are all having<br />

an excellent start to the semester!<br />

TREASURER MATILDA GREY<br />

Hello all!<br />

After a semester break full of elections, conferences and illness, we’re straight back into the swing of things at the<br />

MSA. The NUS education conference and the women’s conference - both held in Sydney - were well run and attended<br />

well by students from Monash. We learnt a lot about student engagement on campus, and around organising and<br />

mobilising for events such as the upcoming National Day of Action to be held on August 24. Again, we’ll be marching<br />

to protest against the Liberal governments attacks on higher ed - come along to protect your right to an equitable and<br />

quality education! 2nd semester O-Day was lots of fun - we signed up our 10,000th member for the year! In semester<br />

2, come to the bar and order something off our new $5 menu, and look out for Vancora the food van on Friday mornings<br />

to grab a free coffee between 9 and 11 from our Welfare boys. Keep your eyes and ears open whilst on campus as<br />

you’ll hear and see plenty more from as we draw closer to the end of <strong>2016</strong><br />

xoxo<br />

SECRETARY GLENN DONAHOO<br />

Semester 2 is now well and truly under way and in the MSA we have been busy organising plans for some<br />

great new services. We have now started giving away free coffee and tea out of Vancora at halls every Friday<br />

morning, between 10 and 12, so make sure you come by and grab a cup to wake you up before that Friday<br />

morning class. We have also been promoting the National Day of Action on August 24 where we will be fighting<br />

against deregulation of flagship courses and other changes to higher education that have been proposed<br />

by the Liberals. I have also been busy recently preparing changes to our constitution that will go to a referendum<br />

at this year’s elections. There are a number of changes being proposed such as the creation of a People of<br />

Colour department and the addition of Radio Monash becoming a division of the MSA. Make sure you check<br />

out the changes in the election guide and vote to accept these awesome changes.<br />

As always, if you have any suggestions on services or campaigns we could run, please send me an email at<br />

glenn.donahoo@monash.edu<br />

EDUCATION (ACADEMIC AFFAIRS)<br />

Semester 2 has kicked off after a long July spent conferencing in Sydney. Both of us attended Education<br />

Conference at the University of Sydney where we attended workshops and seminars on education campaigns<br />

happening around Australia. After EdCon Jess attended NOWSA, a conference open to female-identifying<br />

students to discuss issues affecting women within higher education and the broader political landscape. And<br />

finally as a little treat for ourselves, we went to Splendour in the Grass with a few other friends to relax before<br />

semester started up again. As you can see, Dan had a great time.<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 attended Education Conference in Sydney, where we got a closer look<br />

at the campaigns being run by the National Union of Students (NUS), and we began planning for the August<br />

24 th National Day of Action which are pivotal in showing the government and the public that students are<br />

heavily against any changes that endanger our right to a fair higher education. We’re a little less than 2 weeks<br />

away from the protest, and with that in mind have been promoting the protest as much as we can. Finally,<br />

we have established the Monash People of Colour Collective (MPOCC) and have had our first meeting, which<br />

was a success! The collective will further the campaign for a People of Colour department within the MSA, as<br />

it is necessary to have a space in the student organisation where the voices of ethnic students are heard. If<br />

you’d like to become a part of a team advocating for student issues than you can come to our offices located in<br />

the MSA, or you can join the Monash Education Action Group on Facebook and come along to our meetings.<br />

We look forward to seeing you around campus. Sumudu Setunge: sumudu.setunge@monash.edu Sulaiman<br />

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

Hello all! D&C week has left us quite satisfied as we managed to increase the visibility of our department<br />

and gained some wonderful new members - from this we’ve also started establishing weekly afternoon coffee<br />

meets in the disabilities office on Thursdays from 2-4 pm (come join us! We will provide foods and drinks). At<br />

the moment we are talking to the DSS and are planning meetings with the university counsellors to be able<br />

to figure out potentials to improving student access and support in terms of counselling provided here at<br />

uni. We also are in the process of establishing discussion groups to help direct us how to run the department<br />

as well as creating an official committee. If you are interested in joining one, both, either - anything really<br />

please do contact us! Last and certainly not least; we are offering our office as a quiet space for any students<br />

who may require a private place with low stimuli to relax (or even nap - our couches are comfy!) We’re also<br />

planning on talking to security about keeping the office unlocked even if we’re not in so come visit us! Have<br />

a fantastic week,<br />

Viv and Denise<br />

16 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


OFFICE BEARER REPORTS<br />

QUEER<br />

After recovering from the National Queer Conference we’re back in gear again with semester 2 and ready<br />

to make it an extra fab one.<br />

So far we’ve kicked off this semester with our regular events like Tuesday morning tea, Wednesday queer<br />

beers, and Thursday discussion groups but we’re also ramping things up by running an additional morning<br />

tea ‘LGBTea’ in Wholefoods and screening Orange is the New Black after every Queer Beers. Already this<br />

semester we’ve had exciting ‘Loud and Proud’ musical performance night where all number of acts took the<br />

Wholefoods stage and showed us their best. Now we’re getting prepared for Queer Week in week 6, with<br />

plenty of events planned like our future themed Queer Ball on the 2nd of September.<br />

If you want more info, or would like to be added to our secret Facebook group email msa-queer-l@monash.<br />

edu or the public MSA Queer page.<br />

WELFARE<br />

Isn’t Spring just beautiful? When the flowers are in bloom, we just can’t resist long strolls across the Menzies<br />

lawn, a refreshing skinny dip in the murky pond – watch out for those grubby leeches; those things like to bite -<br />

and wistfully swiping through Tinder, in search of our one true loves. But fellow students, you must know that<br />

Tinder isn’t everything. Whilst we have loved our experience serving you hella good vegie grub on a Monday<br />

evening and practicing our downward dogs and child posing, we have a confession to make. It is with a heavy<br />

heart that we inform you of our plans to join the next season of The Bachelor, in the spinoff series Bachie x 2: We’ll<br />

Take Care Of You. We know you’ll miss our saucy struts, socks + Birkenstocks, brooding demeanours, and furrowed<br />

brows in the corridor, but just remember, if you’re feeling lonely, we’ll be back in week 10 hosting a series of<br />

events and a BBQ. Come grab a few of our sizzling sausages ;)<br />

ACTIVITIES<br />

Welcome back to uni everyone! After the excitement that was AXP, MSA Activities is ready for another<br />

world wind adventure in semester two! The department’s annual Oktoberfest event will be happening in<br />

week 9 that sees free bevs, German food and the chicken dance played so many times your arms fall off.<br />

Everyone dresses in their fanciest wench or lederhosen to forget about semester two blues. There will also be<br />

a new karaoke event and of course AXP II. Can’t wait to see you all this semester!<br />

ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIAL JUSTICE<br />

The first few weeks of semester we’ve been occupied with the campaign to stop the deportation of one<br />

of our staff members. Dr. Biswajit Banik has taught Medicine at Monash for five years, and is now being<br />

threatened with deportation on the grounds his son’s autism is a potential “burden” on Australia’s health and<br />

community services! This is the reality of a capitalist immigration system, making decisions through the lens<br />

of profits and disregarding the human toll it will take.<br />

Fortunately similar decisions have been overturned before, and we hope to do the same. We held a solidarity<br />

photo with Dr. Banik on the Menzies Lawns with the NTEU and 150-200 Monash students and staff there<br />

to show support. We created and have been circulating an Open Letter calling on the Immigration Minister to<br />

overturn the decision, with well over a hundred signatures from academics, as well as from Greens Senators,<br />

Trade Unions and public figures. We also plan to hold a forum on campus for Biswa to tell his story and for us<br />

to plan what’s next for the campaign.<br />

To get involved or find out what else we’re up to, check out MSA.ESJC on Facebook.<br />

INDIGENOUS<br />

WOMEN’S<br />

Hello, all! Since our last report we have continued or weekly events like our discussion groups. Over the<br />

break we took a delegate of Monash students to the NOWSA conference at University of Technology Sydney.<br />

We all learnt many new things and everyone felt they have been greater for the experience. This semester we<br />

are working on our publication, DISSENT magazine, with the assistance of the Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> Editors. In terms<br />

of advocacy we are continuing our efforts to push for better University services and greater action on sexual<br />

assault on campus. With the incoming Australian Human Rights Commission Survey into this, we will work<br />

to ensure it reaches as many people as possible to help put pressure on universities nationwide. We are also<br />

getting underway in planning our department week in week 7. We hope to have ongoing connection and<br />

cooperation with other departments so that we may achieve the most this year.<br />

A lot has been happening with the Indigenous Department over the past couple of months. Two prominent<br />

events, the National Indigenous Tertiary Games (NITESG) and the <strong>2016</strong> NAIDOC Ball, went ahead and<br />

Monash participated in both. The NITESG went extremely well for Monash. Our team competed in and won<br />

a variety events, leading to our best results yet. The NAIDOC Ball was also a hugely positive experience for<br />

Monash. We had a group of 20 students attend the Victorian NAIDOC Ball on the 9 th of July. This event was<br />

one of the largest events on the Indigenous calendar for the year, and it was incredibly valuable to have our<br />

university represented. With these events finished, we now look forward to our department week in week 5.<br />

We encourage all students to look out for what we have planned ahead.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 17


Sexual <br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

The reality is that engaging in any sexual act without<br />

consent is an act of violence, it’s a crime and it’s wrong.<br />

<br />

MONASH<br />

SAFER COMMUNITY UNIT<br />

T: +61 3 9905 1599<br />

E: safercommunity@monash.edu<br />

monash.edu<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

For information, advice and support in a safe environment, please contact the Monash University Safer Community Unit on 9905 1599 or just dial 5159<br />

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/


9<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 19


Dr. Biswajit Banik and his family in Mount Gambier, SA | Courtesy of Dr. Banik.<br />

“Legislation should be made<br />

for human beings!”<br />

Interview by Jasmine Duff<br />

Dr Biswajit “Biswa” Banik, a lecturer in the Faculty of<br />

Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash<br />

University for over five years has been confronted with the prospect<br />

of deportation by the Australian Government. Why? Because<br />

his twelve year old son, Arkojeet, is autistic. The Immigration<br />

Department reasons that he may be a burden upon the Australian<br />

economy and health services. It is on this basis that the family’s<br />

application for permanent residency has been denied, and after nine<br />

years of living and working in Australia, they face being forced to<br />

return to Bangladesh.<br />

As the deadline for attaining permanent residency status<br />

approaches, a serious campaign to help keep Biswa, his wife Dr<br />

Sarmin Sayeed, and their son in Australia was launched in the form<br />

of a Change.org petition by Health Watch Australia, followed by an<br />

on-campus campaign headed by the Monash Student Association.<br />

The MSA’s Environment and Social Justice Department (ESJ)<br />

has organised the collection of names in an open letter, calling on<br />

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to overturn the rejection of<br />

the application. On Friday 6 August, over 150 people gathered<br />

on the Menzies lawn to take a photo in solidarity with the Banik<br />

family. Jasmine Duff from ESJ spoke with Dr Banik after the<br />

demonstration.<br />

Today over 150 students and staff gathered to stand in solidarity<br />

with your family. How did it go?<br />

It was a great, well organised initiative taken by the MSA’s<br />

Environment & Social Justice unit. I was overwhelmed and<br />

highly supported by Monash community: students, colleagues;<br />

all the staff at Monash. Everyone showed so much<br />

support, standing by me, by my family, by my son in particular.<br />

Everyone gave such a high level of solidarity. I feel today that<br />

the Monash family is beside me. It gives such a strong spirit to<br />

stay positive; it feels like I am not alone.<br />

You and your family have had a long, tumultuous journey in<br />

applying for permanent residency. What has happened so<br />

far?<br />

We submitted our application for permanent residency in<br />

December 2014. We got notified in July 2015 that my son did<br />

not meet the health criteria, and on that basis they had rejected<br />

the application for all three of us to stay in Australia. They gave<br />

us two weeks to appeal the decision.<br />

We had done our research and knew that we would have to<br />

go through this process, so we applied to the tribunal and had<br />

our hearing in December. The tribunal rejected us; they said<br />

20 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


INTERVIEW<br />

Monash staff and students in solidarity with Dr Banik and his family | Courtesy of Monash Student Association<br />

they are bound to Australian immigration legislation. They<br />

forwarded our application to the minister [Peter Dutton], and<br />

we hoped that he may exercise his special power and allow us to<br />

stay. We trusted and hoped that we would get our result from<br />

him in 6 months’ time, but in the mean time it was two months<br />

since we had submitted our paperwork to the immigration<br />

department and we had heard nothing back from them.<br />

Then our son’s visa expired on 7 July.<br />

That’s when I contacted the immigration department again.<br />

I said “What will happen to my son?”<br />

They said my son is unlawful now. The department granted<br />

him a three month visa, but the visa came with restrictions: he<br />

cannot travel, and if he does travel he will not be allowed back<br />

inside the country.<br />

They said after the three months we could be given another<br />

extension, but after that if the minister refused to act my son<br />

would have to leave the country within 24 days. No appeal, no<br />

consideration.<br />

What has it been like, the waiting?<br />

It is emotionally, physically, mentally draining. Every second,<br />

every minute I check my email to see if there is anything<br />

from my lawyer or immigration. It’s like a compulsive disorder.<br />

Most people are not constantly, obsessively checking their<br />

email, but I check it any time I hear a beep or a vibration. Is it<br />

my lawyer? Have they heard anything?<br />

I work in a demanding profession. At Monash I need to<br />

provide a high standard of work. My students have expectations<br />

and I have a responsibility to them. But when I have this<br />

level of anxiety… I am a human, not a machine. Yesterday was<br />

the worst. I was in Berwick, and I suddenly got an email saying<br />

that I was meant to be teaching a tutorial in Caulfield! I teach<br />

it every week. In five years I have never been late, I have never<br />

missed a class, this was the first time. I am completely out of<br />

my mind. As a doctor, I recognise the symptoms of depression,<br />

of mental anxiety, anxiety disorder.<br />

Suddenly I have realised this is affecting me, taking a toll<br />

on my health. My wife is treating hundreds of thousands of<br />

patients. If she slips up, it is someone else who suffers. Both of<br />

us are doctors. We just want to get back to our normal lives.<br />

What made you decide on a public campaign?<br />

I have been living in Australia for ten years. I have been<br />

a good citizen, abided every law; we work hard. Now we are<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 21


INTERVIEW<br />

Dr. Biswajit Banik and his family at the beach | Courtesy of Dr. Banik<br />

being treated like paperwork. All these policies, legislation.<br />

Legislation should be made for human beings!<br />

They are treating my son like a criminal. All our hard work of<br />

the last 10 years, is this something we deserve? Over time we<br />

have tried to be positive, to appeal to the minister [for immigration],<br />

ask him to show some compassion. I felt that the time<br />

had come to give him a message.<br />

We wanted our voice to be heard by Australians and eventually<br />

by the government. We have done all the paperwork, but<br />

now we wanted to show how much affection and love we have<br />

in Australia. We want to show that people are supporting us.<br />

My wife is a general practitioner, and her practice supported<br />

her to make a petition. Straight away –you have no idea<br />

how much support we received! People wanted to express<br />

their anger, their frustration, their solidarity, their love! My<br />

students, and Monash, and the Environment and Social Justice<br />

unit at the MSA gave us their support, and now we have been<br />

all over the media.<br />

What makes you keep going?<br />

My inspiration is my son. All I want is for him to live a<br />

happy, independent life. I am happy to do anything: more<br />

training, more work, so I am not being considered a burden to<br />

society. It cannot be measured in money, economics cannot<br />

explain the work we do. Though, if you do want to measure<br />

economically, have a look into our tax records!<br />

In spite of all our mental turmoil we feel that we should<br />

remain positive, that we should remain strong and the Monash<br />

community has shown me that.<br />

The MSA, the ESJ, NTEU (the National Tertiary Education<br />

Union)… we are grateful to them and we urge everyone to keep<br />

up your support. I wasn’t a member [of the NTEU] before, and<br />

today – oh my god. I have always had faith in my colleagues.<br />

They stood so strongly beside me.<br />

We feel that this is our home.<br />

Following the demonstration, the MSA’s Environment and Social<br />

Justice Department issued this statement:<br />

“The campaign to oppose the deportation of the Banik family<br />

is ongoing, and is not isolated. It is a testament to neoliberalism<br />

that only those seen as profitable by the immigration<br />

department may live in this country, with full rights granted to<br />

the minister to boot out anyone else. These laws are used often<br />

to discriminate against those that the government wishes to<br />

scapegoat, and today they are being used to send away a family<br />

who has made their home here for the past nine years.”<br />

If you would like to get involved in the campaign at Monash,<br />

please contact the MSA Environment and Social Justice collective<br />

for information about the open letter and future campaign events.<br />

22 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


OPINION<br />

By the skin of their teeth:<br />

the changing face of Australian politics<br />

by Ninad Kulkarni<br />

As the dust settles on the recent federal election, it is<br />

becoming increasingly clear that both the Labor and<br />

Liberal parties are attempting to frame the close result as a<br />

victory. This might have been a compelling narrative were it not<br />

for the inconvenient fact that both parties have suffered a clear<br />

decline in their primary vote. The significance of this has largely<br />

been ignored in favour of leadership speculation and Cabinet<br />

reshuffles, meaning a deeper narrative from the election was<br />

missed. The electorate is deeply dissatisfied with the major<br />

political parties meaning we are likely to see even more political<br />

instability in the future.<br />

It’s a bit of a cliché at this point to suggest that the public<br />

is unhappy with politicians; however, it’s only in recent times<br />

that this unhappiness has threatened the continued viability of<br />

the major parties. In the twenty-four years prior to 2007 there<br />

had only been three changes in Prime Minister; from 2007 to<br />

present there have been five. Politicians are quick to deflect<br />

blame for this instability - it’s the journalists, it’s social media,<br />

it’s Getup! But the more likely explanation is that modern<br />

politicians are just unrepresentative of the wider population<br />

and this perception of being unrepresentative has damaged the<br />

standing of politicians in the community.<br />

There is a clear career trajectory that has emerged in the past<br />

twenty or so years for people interested in taking up a career in<br />

politics - study a degree (usually law), work for either a union<br />

or a business before a stint as a staffer and then win a safe seat<br />

in Parliament. While it could be argued that it makes sense for<br />

aspiring politicians to get as much exposure to how politics<br />

works as possible, it seems as though the balance has gone too<br />

far in the wrong way, especially considering that politicians are<br />

supposed to be representative of the community. It’s difficult to<br />

be representative when your career path only reflects the views<br />

of a narrow subsection of society.<br />

The perception of being unrepresentative leads to the further<br />

problem that the community doesn’t believe that politicians<br />

serve the interests of the community. Politicians make<br />

decisions based on what they believe is best for the community<br />

rather than what the population actually wants. To a certain<br />

extent they appear to be self obsessed - part of what made the<br />

Gillard Government so unpopular was the view that it was<br />

more focused on leadership and factions than governing. These<br />

problems have paved the way for ‘anti-politicians’ like Pauline<br />

Hanson to make their way into Parliament.<br />

The individuals who were the clear winners from the election<br />

don’t really have common policy ground - while Pauline Hanson<br />

is Islamaphobic, Nick Xenophon is not. But what is common<br />

amongst figures such as Hanson, Xenophon or Derryn Hinch<br />

is that they are outside the system. They don’t have the same<br />

career path as politicians, when they’re offered a question they<br />

generally answer directly and they all have very high public<br />

profiles based on campaigning on issues important to them -<br />

Xenophon is anti-pokies, Hanson argues against foreigners and<br />

immigrants while Hinch criticizes politicians for being soft on<br />

crime. The attraction for voters here is probably that there is a<br />

sense of ‘what you see is what you get’ whereas candidates for<br />

the major parties merge into a monolithic blob.<br />

It’s also interesting to note that different ‘anti-politicians’<br />

were more successful in different states - for example,<br />

Xenophon did extremely well in South Australia where there<br />

has been strong debate on local issues such as submarine manufacturing.<br />

The attraction for voting for minor parties ahead<br />

of the major parties is actually pretty clear - you could vote for<br />

someone like Christopher Pyne who has to balance advocacy<br />

for South Australia with his national responsibilities or you<br />

could vote for Xenophon who you know will be able to put<br />

South Australians first.<br />

The election has made clear that the major parties face an<br />

existential threat to their continued relevance in society. The<br />

Labor and Liberal parties are obviously aware of this, as evidenced<br />

by the Government claiming that voting for independents<br />

would lead to instability or Bill Shorten ruling out a deal<br />

with the Greens. However, the problem with this tactic is it<br />

is a Band-Aid solution to the much deeper problem of resentment<br />

towards politicians. The true test for whether the parties<br />

can bounce back from the election is whether they attempt to<br />

change course or continue with their stale brand of unrepresentative<br />

politics - all evidence so far indicates that they are<br />

effectively doomed.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 23


Laughing all the way to the right<br />

by Julia Pillai<br />

Illustration by Christina Dodds<br />

As previously laughable populist right wing movements<br />

such as the Leave campaign and One Nation have seen<br />

success in <strong>2016</strong>, the attention now falls on America. It is<br />

official that when America goes to the polls in November, their<br />

choice is now between ultra-establishment Democrat Hillary<br />

Clinton – a seemingly radical choice for all reasons except for<br />

policy – and the anti-establishment, loosely Republican candidate<br />

Donald Trump.<br />

How we got here is a bizarre tale. The reality TV show star<br />

who consistently admits that he is not a politician, who has<br />

literally no experience in political leadership, is making his<br />

debut. Not in a local council, or a mayoral or state election, but<br />

in the bid to become the leader of the free world. Viewing this<br />

from the context of Auastralia where our prime ministerial<br />

candidates are chosen from within the Labor or Liberal parties,<br />

from a pool of individuals that already have a mandate in their<br />

electorate, this prospect is ridiculous. Since declaring that he’d<br />

contest the election last year, through the many sexist, ableist,<br />

racist, and homophobic gaffes we’ve laughed at him. We’ve<br />

found him amusing, we’ve found his entourage amusing and<br />

we’ve found the very original speech from his wife, Melania<br />

Trump amusing. We all laughed, as if the problem of Donald<br />

Trump would vanish by merely discrediting him. If anything<br />

our laughter and relentless judgment of him, his policies, and<br />

his neon orange skin and hair made him and his followers<br />

stronger. America has laughed its way to the Republican national<br />

convention. Then they laughed a bit more. However, with<br />

Trump becoming the Republican Party candidate, he has a very<br />

real chance of getting those nuclear codes.<br />

The Grand Old Party ultimately brought the force of Donald<br />

Trump, a force akin to the worst Facebook comment thread<br />

ever, upon itself. As explained in his article, ‘Britain allowed<br />

its populist right to rise. America should heed the warning’,<br />

Richard Wolffe claims that “the rise of charismatic, far-right<br />

leaders can only happen when the weak leaders of the centre-right<br />

surrender to them”.<br />

Charismatic Trump certainly is surrounded by his ragtag<br />

supporters. The “Twinks for Trump” group, including alt-right<br />

commentator and self-proclaimed “most fabulous supervillain<br />

on the internet”, Milo Yiannopoulos, are calling Trump ‘daddy’;<br />

Sarah Palin is stumping for Trump, and KKK figures such as<br />

David Duke are in support.<br />

Is the rise of right wing populism the defeat of the ordinary,<br />

uninteresting centre? And if so, why aren’t we seeing a reaction<br />

in the left wing? The Democratic establishment was able to<br />

pull down the radical left wing of the party, hence nominating<br />

Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders as its candidate. Is the left<br />

rushing to the centre in fear of what the right will bring? With<br />

big name republicans such as Doug Elmets coming out in public<br />

support for Clinton, have the democrats alienated their faithful<br />

for a safer choice? Has the disintegration of the Republican<br />

Party’s norms seeped into the Democrats’ campaign?<br />

Trump, like One Nation and Brexit, is a ser ious challenge to<br />

America’s political system, and could destroy any form of stability<br />

in the country. No one should be laughing now.<br />

24 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


SOCIETY<br />

Jerks and circles:<br />

political discussion in the meme age<br />

by Ovindu Rajasinghe<br />

The Libs may have won the federal election, but the clear<br />

winner of the meme election is Labor.<br />

Throughout the cold, miserable, eight week shitfight that<br />

returned Malcolm to the Lodge, the ALP Spicy Meme Stash<br />

shone a light through the darkness. Their memery was a beacon<br />

of hope in an otherwise bleak election campaign. Their closest<br />

competitors were the Liberal Party’s Agile and Innovative Memes,<br />

who tried really hard, but came across as very stale. In a baffling<br />

strategic choice, the Greens didn’t even make any memes.<br />

There’s something strangely comforting about people with<br />

similar political views to you laughing about politics in this<br />

country in a post-post irony internet. The images and short<br />

videos that were produced were really funny.<br />

I never thought Bill Shorten could undergo an Ed Millibandesque<br />

transformation into a sex symbol; never have I been so<br />

glad to be proven wrong.<br />

As much as I enjoyed all of the golden material that this election<br />

produced, is the proliferation of (supa hot) fiyah election<br />

memes good for our political discourse?<br />

My initial response to that question was: of course it is.<br />

Swathes of people across the country are disengaged with politics,<br />

particularly young people, and part of that is feeling excluded<br />

from the elite institutions of politics. Most people don’t<br />

sit down and read Guardian op-eds, or listen to the interviews<br />

on 7:30, because they simply don’t care.<br />

In such a context, isn’t it good that politics is spreading back<br />

into the mainstream through memes appearing on people’s<br />

newsfeeds? Someone who might not have even known who<br />

the Labor leader was could have a picture of Shorten painted<br />

for them by ALP Spicy Meme Stash taking the piss out of him.<br />

Someone who didn’t understand the debate around Liberal cuts<br />

to Medicare could have the issue pop up on their feed. At first<br />

glance, the memes seem like a great thing.<br />

But when you look at it more closely, meme politics is very<br />

much a circlejerk, even more so than regular politics.<br />

When pages like ALP Spicy Meme Stash post something, hundreds<br />

of people will tag their friends. The people that like the<br />

page are generally going to be leftie types, who will lap up the<br />

content. While some people will see the memes appear on their<br />

newsfeed because one of their friends liked or commented, the<br />

majority of people that engage are believers.<br />

The result of this is an echo chamber. The Labor-Greens<br />

types that like these pages have certain preconceptions about<br />

the world, and constantly seeing these reinforced is unhealthy.<br />

We become convinced we are morally superior without ever<br />

having to confront alternative arguments, or defend our positions.<br />

This echo-chamber is true of most media, but memes are<br />

particularly susceptible.<br />

This culture also creates an insular ‘us and them’ mentality.<br />

There is no debate, or dialogue, but simply “the Libs are stupid,<br />

let’s laugh at them”. As much as I think Liberals are stupid and<br />

we should laugh at them, it’s not always the most productive<br />

way to do politics. You’re not going to win the vote of a swinging<br />

young person whose parents are rusted on Liberal voters<br />

by insulting the beliefs they grew up with, with no productive<br />

dialogue accompanying it.<br />

These things might not seem particularly bad when you<br />

think about them in the context of left-wing meme pages. But<br />

what happens when you flip it, and look at right-wing meme<br />

pages? Take God Save Our Gracious Meme, a UKIP-supporting<br />

nationalist page from the UK. They are often genuinely funny,<br />

but also mock and degrade immigrants, people of colour,<br />

women, and other minorities. God Save Our Gracious Meme has<br />

a base that is made up of young nationalists from England,<br />

some of whom have some pretty radical views. In the comments<br />

section you will regularly see more of the same bigotry,<br />

and people tagging their mates in memes that reinforce their<br />

values.<br />

Take one of those UKIP, or United Patriot Front, or Trump<br />

supporting pages run by old people, making unintentionally<br />

shit memes. Imagine them posting a crude image denigrating<br />

immigrants. Imagine the comments section:<br />

‘you can’t even see any white faces in london any more!!! we<br />

need to put our foot down and stop all immigration now’<br />

‘OMG so true Barbara, so many brown people, they’re taking<br />

over MY country!! hope you are well love from me susan and<br />

the kids’<br />

The circlejerk doesn’t look so good from the other side of the<br />

fence.<br />

Th e ALP Spicy Meme Stash is really funny, because I subscribe<br />

to most of their values. But what it can’t do is replace conversations<br />

and dialogue about politics.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 25


26 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong><br />

SOCIETY


REVIEW<br />

Chasing Asylum<br />

Chasing Asylum, directed by Academy Award winner Eva<br />

Orner, is arguably the most important piece of investigative<br />

journalism in recent Australian film history. The documentary<br />

frankly reveals the shocking conditions of Australia’s<br />

offshore detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru, and<br />

explores the physical, mental, emotional and financial costs<br />

of this detrimental asylum seeker policy. Just a month after<br />

the <strong>2016</strong> Australian Federal Election, and the solidification of<br />

Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, Chasing Asylum is becoming<br />

increasingly relevant in the domestic and global context of the<br />

refugee crisis.<br />

In recent weeks, xenophobic outrage has been strongly<br />

expressed across the globe: Republican Presidential candidate<br />

Donald Trump’s hate speech; the elevation of Pauline Hanson<br />

to the Australian Senate on an anti-Islam platform; Sonia<br />

Kruger’s recent calls to ban Muslim immigration into Australia;<br />

and the history-making ‘Brexit’ decision. There have been<br />

repeated vocalisations of ‘anti-Other’ sentiments around the<br />

world.<br />

Unfortunately, this is not novel, nor is targeting ‘illegal’ asylum<br />

seekers unprecedented. Australian asylum seekers policies<br />

have been a major political issue for over a decade as Chasing<br />

Asylum reminds viewers of the 2001 ‘Tampa’ and ‘Children<br />

Overboard’ incidents that were unfolding in Australian politics.<br />

Such affairs involved the Australian Government stirring moral<br />

panic regarding asylum seeker arrivals, which ultimately catalysed<br />

the beginning of offshore detention as part of the ‘Pacific<br />

Solution’. While the topic of asylum-seeking remains heavily<br />

politicised today, the global refugee crisis continues to mount:<br />

the numbers of refugees are the highest since the aftermath of<br />

World War II.<br />

Chasing Asylum is a ground-breaking insight into how far<br />

we haven’t come. The documentary thoroughly canvasses the<br />

current policy of offshore detention of people arriving via<br />

‘illegal’ channels, accounting for the three-word slogans (“Stop<br />

the boats”) which have been drummed into national consciousness.<br />

Through the testimonies of camp staff, interviews<br />

with journalists, and secretly recorded footage, Chasing Asylum<br />

provides a rare glimpse into the closeted lives of detainees on<br />

Manus Island and Nauru. In doing so, the documentary persists<br />

in fostering serious public discourse, which has been largely<br />

absent due to restricted media access to the centres.<br />

Successive Australian leadership, on both sides of the<br />

political spectrum, have pursued offshore detention in order to<br />

reduce the number of the so-called ‘illegal’ boat arrivals, and,<br />

to limit the number of deaths at sea. While the documentary<br />

acknowledges the veracity of claims that deaths at sea have, in<br />

fact, reduced, Chasing Asylum also articulates the human cost of<br />

this reduction.<br />

by Jennifer Worthing<br />

Illustration by Karla Engdahl<br />

The documentary contends that the current political stance<br />

has devolved into a policy of deterrence: poor conditions in<br />

offshore detention centres and long-term incarceration are<br />

intended to dissuade future asylum seekers from arriving by<br />

boat. This point is reiterated by camera footage, which draws attention<br />

to the threatening Australian Government posters peppered<br />

throughout Indonesia. These posters, and accompanying<br />

video propaganda unequivocally advise asylum seekers that if<br />

they attempt to reach Australia via ‘illegal’ boat channels, they<br />

will never be settled in Australia: “You will not make Australia<br />

home”. Furthermore, Chasing Asylum elucidates the extensive<br />

financial strain involved in implementing this deterrence, citing<br />

that over a billion dollars annually is sunk into remanding asylum<br />

seekers offshore, which amounts to around $500,000 – per<br />

refugee, per year – for however long they remain in detention.<br />

The ramifications of long-term detention are both physical<br />

and mental. The documentary details the extent of guard<br />

aggression, provides footage of violent riots at the centres,<br />

and remembers the tragic deaths of Reza Barati and Hamid<br />

Kehazaei whilst in detention. Chasing Asylum projects the<br />

shocking effect of detention on mental health, detailing medical<br />

reports of self-harm in children, and evidence of detainees<br />

engaging in lip and eyelid-stitching, cutting, and the ingestion<br />

of poisons.<br />

Australia is the only country in the world with a policy of<br />

indefinitely detaining children. There are irrevocable, pervasive<br />

ramifications of detaining young children. Chasing Asylum<br />

suggests that, in addition to mental health concerns, these<br />

children also exhibit behavioural issues such as identifying as<br />

their boat identification numbers and presenting highly sexualised<br />

conduct. As the illicit camera record the camps, desperate<br />

slogans scrawled across the tents and living spaces are revealed:<br />

“we hate Nauru”, “kill us”. Overwhelmingly, offshore processing<br />

is depicted as seriously failing vulnerable people.<br />

Chasing Asylum is a candid examination of Australia’s asylum<br />

seeker policies in practice. Providing a rare, confronting insight<br />

into the conditions on Manus island and Nauru, and questioning<br />

both the political motivations, and the tangible human cost<br />

of persisting with these policies, this documentary is one of the<br />

most salient commentaries on Australian immigration policy.<br />

There will be a free screening of Chasing Asylum hosted<br />

by the Environment and Social Justice Department on<br />

August 29th at 4pm in the Campus Cinema.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 27


Wot’s Life with Pauline Hanson<br />

Illustration by Genevieve Townsend<br />

If you still owned your fish and chips store, do you think you<br />

might have expanded your repertoire and started making<br />

HSPs?<br />

No. No, I definitely wouldn’t have been interested. I would have<br />

kept my shop traditionally Australian and only sold fish and<br />

chips. We need to stick to our country’s roots.<br />

Didn’t fish and chips originate in England?<br />

Well. Look, they might have. I don’t know. Moving on.<br />

Hey, you’re probably the best person to ask. What’s a surefire<br />

way to ensure a large collective of people don’t like you?<br />

What an appropriate question. I am the best person to ask,<br />

because I’ve been seeing this for years. If you come into our<br />

country expecting special treatment, while trying to bring in<br />

ISIS so you can break apart our nation, destroy our ancient<br />

culture, force your foreign cuisine on me, poison our waterholes<br />

and corrupt our children, you can expect that most Australians,<br />

such as myself won’t like you.<br />

Would you rather be gay for Moleman or have your dick out<br />

for Harambe?<br />

*sigh* I’m not going to answer that question, there’s many<br />

other questions that need answers, and frankly I’m not a fan of<br />

that one.<br />

How do you feel about the fact that One Nation now holds<br />

four seats in a much larger and diverse Senate, with a 20<br />

person crossbench, where it’s going to be extremely difficult<br />

to pass the policies that you want to focus on, particularly<br />

on decisions relating to Muslim immigration?<br />

I don’t like it.<br />

28 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


13 15<br />

19 20 21<br />

designed by Lucie Cester<br />

1 3<br />

7 8 9<br />

26<br />

27


4 5 6<br />

10 12<br />

16 17 18<br />

23 24<br />

28 29 30<br />

Want your event featured in next month’s calendar? Email us at msa-lostswife@monash.edu<br />

October already?<br />

Turn over for an illustration by Harmony Wong


Calling all writers, designers and illustrators to get involved<br />

with<br />

DISSENT<br />

Dissent is a yearly zine published by the MSA womens deparment that features the talent, ideas, rants and<br />

musings of awesome women. We are seeking contributions from all mediums, such as poetry, prose, drawing,<br />

comics, design, commentary, etc. If you’d like to get invovled, send an email to dissent<strong>2016</strong>@gmail.com<br />

***Dissent is a publication open to all those that identify as or with women, including non-binary individuals***


Beyond the black tub:<br />

Aussie-born inventions<br />

by Sasha Hall<br />

Illustration by Jena Oakford<br />

34 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


SCIENCE<br />

When most Gen Y’s think of Aussie inventions, one<br />

that may spring to mind is Wifi: an indispensable tool<br />

(unless it throws a temper tantrum… looking at you, eduroam).<br />

But sitting on my couch binge-watching Shark Tank for no<br />

apparent reason made me wonder what other ingenuities<br />

Australia has created: apart from Halal Snack Packs, Vegemite<br />

and Bunnings BBQs, of course.<br />

So, here are a few home-grown inventions that may surprise<br />

you.<br />

The Fridge: This multi-billion dollar idea came from the humble<br />

James Harrison, a Geelong politician who also later edited Th e<br />

Age. He patented a vapour-compression refrigeration system,<br />

where gas was passed through a condenser and liquefied,<br />

becoming cool. The cool liquid was then passed through coils<br />

until it turned back into gas. This process cooled the air around<br />

the coils, eventually freezing the water that was in the unit and<br />

making Harrison a nice bit of profit from ice-making machines.<br />

Eventually, the idea was turned into the indispensable frosty<br />

safe-house for midnight snacks found in kitchens worldwide,<br />

revolutionising food storages and human history.<br />

Google Maps: how else are you supposed to play Pokémon<br />

GO get places? The genius idea of Google Maps was cooked<br />

up by two brothers at their Sydney based company, Where 2<br />

Technologies, as a C++ desktop program. After pitching their<br />

idea to Google, their entire company was purchased by Google<br />

in 2004. Shortly afterwards, Google had turned the initial<br />

model into the version we couldn’t game live without today.<br />

Notepads: 100% Australian. In 1902, a Tasmanian stationary<br />

shop owner got fed up with selling ordinary writing books,<br />

where pages were folded in half and stapled or sewn at the<br />

crease. So he decided to just stick some glue on the top edge of<br />

a stack of pages, and whack a cardboard backing on it. On ya<br />

mate.<br />

Dual flush toilets: it’s nice to know that we have made sustainable<br />

contributions to the world as well. Bruce Thompson<br />

designed and developed the first dual flush toilet in 1980,<br />

subsequently saving millions of litres of water, and giving us<br />

the freedom of choice in the dunny.<br />

Plastic spectacle lenses: at least someone understood the<br />

need for lenses that survive the fall to the solid concrete floor<br />

(when you drop them in your unfathomable clumsiness).<br />

Scientists from the University of Adelaide, we are sincerely<br />

grateful.<br />

Black Box recorders: providing new hope and answers for<br />

air crash investigators and those affected by mysterious plane<br />

crashes, this device combines a flight data recorder and a<br />

cockpit voice recorder to provide an informative overall picture<br />

of a flight. Without it, we would never know what happened in<br />

those final moments. We can credit this to Australian engineer<br />

David Warren.<br />

Baby Safety Capsules: this one is pretty smart. It’s not just ya<br />

mum’s baby car seat; this one has a cushion of air between the<br />

child’s bassinet and the base of the seat. In the event of a crash,<br />

the cushion of air allows the bassinet to rotate within the base,<br />

dissipating force and minimising trauma, leaving the little bub<br />

safe ‘n’ sound.<br />

And here are a couple of inventors we really should all know<br />

about:<br />

Lawrence Hargrave: yes the same cool guy that HAL is<br />

half-named after. He made some extremely important<br />

advancements, namely that curved surfaces on kite wings<br />

provide more lift than flat ones, and invented the box<br />

kite. He was also an admirable academic who, instead of<br />

patenting his inventions, decided to publish them openly in<br />

the spirit of communication and free access: no wonder our<br />

library is named after him! He invented the radial rotary<br />

engine which was driven by compressed air and used in<br />

planes up until the 1920’s, and in 1894, he attached this<br />

engine to four box kites and managed to hoist himself 5<br />

metres off the ground, making aviation history! Although<br />

they never credited him, his work was instrumental to the<br />

development of the Wright Brothers’ early airplane, and<br />

thus to air travel today.<br />

David Unaipon: credited as Australia’s Da Vinci, he was<br />

a pioneer in engineering and science, who invented a<br />

mechanical motion machine that revolutionised sheep<br />

shearing, turning circular movement into straightened motion<br />

within the device. He lodged an astounding 19 patents<br />

on machines, such as centrifugal motors, but was unable to<br />

afford the costs and thus ended up having ideas taken from<br />

him, instead of rightfully profiting from them. A member<br />

and advocate of the Ngarrindjeri people of South Australia,<br />

David Unaipon was a pivotal activist for the Indigenous<br />

community, and the first Aboriginal writer to be published<br />

in English, writing about many Aboriginal legends in newspapers<br />

such as the Sydney Morning Herald. It is only fitting<br />

that his work as an inventor and activist, despite a lack of<br />

monetary gain, has gained him lasting commemoration on<br />

that $50 note you probably don’t have in your pocket.<br />

*BONUS LEVEL*<br />

Medical things:<br />

• Ultrasound scanner: uses really high pitched sounds<br />

to create an image (echolocation) of internal tissue,<br />

from a screwed up knee to a pregnant belly.<br />

• Spray on skin using the patient’s own skin cells<br />

• Bionic ear or cochlear implant<br />

• Pacemaker<br />

• Egg freezing technology required for IVF (thanks<br />

Monash)<br />

• Anti-flu medication<br />

• HPV vaccine<br />

• Other things:<br />

• First ever Feature film: The Story of Ned Kelly, which<br />

ran for roughly an hour long, not only brought in its<br />

producers a nice profit but also made history.<br />

• Plastic bank notes- because the Reserve Bank of<br />

Australia can invent things too.<br />

• AFL, duh<br />

• The Hills Hoist (AKA the rotating clothes line thing<br />

you used to swing off in your grandparents’ backyard)<br />

• Digital music sampler or synthesiser<br />

• Military tanks<br />

• The electric drill<br />

• Goonbags- because what is a better idea than putting<br />

cheap wine in a bag in a box?<br />

Note: This list is just my top picks. But even so, I feel<br />

happy that now when I pick up a bar of Cadbury top deck, it<br />

comes with the awareness and pride that we have invented<br />

a fair deal more than seriously good chocolate.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 35


SCIENCE<br />

Can the pill cause depression?<br />

Have you ever thought that the pill may be changing your<br />

mood?<br />

Whilst the physical side-effects of the pill have been well<br />

established, relatively little research has been conducted into<br />

what, if any, psychological side-effects it may have. Indeed,<br />

these effects are not limited to the pill, they encompass all hormonal<br />

contraceptives including implants and injections.<br />

Many of our patients report thinking that the mood changes<br />

were their fault (“just me”, “being moody”) or due to circumstances<br />

occurring in their life. Most of our patients were not<br />

aware that hormonal contraception could affect mood before<br />

hearing about our research.<br />

All hormonal contraceptives, unsurprisingly, contain chemicals<br />

that are similar to hormones found in the body. Hormones<br />

are chemical messengers that the body uses to control its<br />

functions including reproduction. Hormonal levels fluctuate<br />

throughout the menstrual cycle and it is these cyclical fluctuations<br />

that bring about reproductive events such as menstruation<br />

and ovulation.<br />

Emerging research suggests that these hormonal fluctuations<br />

play a role in mood and mental illness. Research has<br />

shown that mood fluctuates along with these hormonal variations<br />

with mood being lower at the beginning of the menstrual<br />

cycle compared to the middle. Many mental illnesses may be<br />

exacerbated at certain times during the menstrual cycle as well.<br />

Thus, it may come as no surprise that adding in hormone<br />

mimicking substances to the body could affect a woman’s psychological<br />

state. All hormonal contraceptives contain a chemical<br />

similar to the hormone progesterone, many also contain a<br />

chemical similar to the hormone oestrogen. These progesterone-like<br />

substances, called progestins, are the chemical that is<br />

chiefly responsible for preventing pregnancy.<br />

Progestins mainly achieve this by inhibiting ovulation, the<br />

36 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong><br />

by Jake Kirk | Illustration by Karla Engdahl<br />

release of an egg ready to be fertilised by sperm. Progestins<br />

also prevent pregnancy by thickening cervical mucus (making it<br />

harder for sperm to reach an egg) and thinning the uterus lining<br />

(making the conditions less hospitable for a fertilised egg to<br />

survive). The combined oral contraceptive pill adds in estrogen<br />

to provide more predictable bleeding and is more effective at<br />

preventing pregnancy.<br />

Preliminary research suggests that estrogen may have a<br />

beneficial effect on mood. Progesterone may worsen mood.<br />

Indeed, our research suggests that women using progesterone-only<br />

contraceptives may have worse mood compared to<br />

women using the combined oral contraceptive pill. Both these<br />

hormones affect the brain directly and are further broken down<br />

into other chemicals which can have psychological effects.<br />

This research is important in furthering women’s mental<br />

health and reproductive rights given 88% of Australian women<br />

will use hormonal contraception in their lifetime and women<br />

suffer from depression at twice the rate of men. Indeed, the<br />

largest reason for discontinuing hormonal contraception is<br />

dissatisfaction, this includes psychological, sexual and physical<br />

side-effects. As the pill is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy<br />

when used correctly, many women swap to less effective<br />

methods of contraception like condoms.<br />

So, if you are feeling depressed after swapping or starting<br />

hormonal contraception, it is important to factor in the new<br />

hormone contraceptive when searching for causes and treatment<br />

of your depression. If this happens to you please let your<br />

doctor know, since there are many different formulations of<br />

hormonal contraceptives on the market, (with different individual<br />

effects); it might help to swap to another brand.<br />

Jake Kirk is a Bachelor of Science (hons) research student at<br />

Monash Alfred Psychiatry research centre. If you are interested<br />

in participating in research about the oral contraceptive pill and<br />

mood or want more information you can contact jake.kirk@<br />

monash.edu or SMS 04 6849 5245.


SCIENCE<br />

Following the piper:<br />

science can’t save the world<br />

by James Quintana Pearce<br />

Scientism: the uncritical application of scientific or quasi-scientific<br />

methods to inappropriate fields of study or investigation<br />

- Collins English Dictionary<br />

Science, as a paradigm, has had remarkable success in<br />

answering the questions it was created to answer, namely<br />

those that relate to physical reality. This has led many to wallow<br />

in the belief that science is the only legitimate paradigm with<br />

which to answer any and all questions. Although science isn’t<br />

a religion, many people misuse science in the same way that<br />

many others misuse religion -- they apply the paradigm to<br />

inappropriate questions, and dismiss alternative answers.<br />

Signs that suggest a person is a follower of scientism:<br />

- They deride something as being unscientific, when it has<br />

nothing to do with science.<br />

- They quote a famous scientist, or a popular writer, as if the<br />

quote ends the argument.<br />

- They say science can solve any problem, often going further<br />

by saying that science will solve all problems.<br />

- They dismiss hypotheses that challenge what they perceive<br />

as the scientific status quo, for example claiming that an idea<br />

is “un-Darwian”, even though they also cite science’s ability to<br />

reject long-held ideas in favour of new ones that better fit the<br />

evidence as making the field superior.<br />

- They believe science will allow them to live forever in some<br />

way, and if they die science will resurrect them to live forever.<br />

- They believe science will inevitably create a utopia.<br />

For the most part, these behaviours are no more damaging<br />

than other irrational modes of argument, but there is one<br />

result of this belief that is a problem: when people abdicate the<br />

responsibility of altering their behaviour to make the world a<br />

better place, because that is the job of science.<br />

They think it doesn’t matter if species go extinct and ecosystems<br />

get destroyed, because science will just recreate them.<br />

It doesn’t matter if wealth inequality is increasing, because<br />

science will invent new things that will grow the economy. It<br />

doesn’t matter if their products create new forms of pollution,<br />

because science will just clean it up.<br />

However, time and time again science has been shown to be<br />

inadequate to the task of saving the world on its own. Usually,<br />

the solution to one problem creates one or more new problems<br />

that need to be solved, and sometimes the negative effects are<br />

hard to predict. When people proposed the use of chloroflurocarbons<br />

(CFCs) as a refrigerant, to replace the toxic compounds<br />

used at the time, it is understandable that looking at the structure<br />

of CFC, one would not have made the leap to the destruction<br />

of the ozone layer.<br />

Often the consequences are entirely predictable, however.<br />

When antibiotics, used in intensive farming to increase the<br />

growth rate of animals, led to deadly bacteria which were<br />

resistant to multiple types of antibiotics, that consequence was<br />

obvious and inevitable.<br />

More damningly for scientism, oftentimes science simply<br />

can’t solve a problem. Often, the ‘Green Revolution’ is used<br />

as an example of the omnipotence of science, but I would<br />

contend that it is in fact a demonstration of the limitations of<br />

science. The Green Revolution aimed to solve the problem of<br />

chronic hunger in many parts of the world by increasing crop<br />

yield. New farming techniques such as irrigation and artificial<br />

fertiliser use, as well as improved seed strains, were introduced<br />

to developing nations in the 1970s. As a result, cereal output<br />

doubled over the next few decades, which would be a clear win,<br />

if the population hadn’t also doubled over the same time period,<br />

increasing the total number of people living with hunger.<br />

According to the United Nations, “the number of hungry<br />

people in the world grew by 15 million from 1970 to 1980, to<br />

475 million … [then the rate grew faster] reaching 512 million<br />

in 1985”. The people living in hunger didn’t own land, and<br />

didn’t benefit from the increased crop yields. Additionally, the<br />

increased population and profitability of farmland exacerbated<br />

the problem of wilderness areas being cleared.<br />

Is the problem intractable? No. Hunger continued to increase,<br />

peaking at more than a billion people during the 1990s,<br />

but since then has been steadily declining. The change the realisation<br />

that using science to increase crop yields wasn’t enough<br />

without social change to reduce and reverse population growth,<br />

economic change to direct funds to the most poor and lower<br />

income inequality, and political change to provide people the<br />

freedom to control and improve their lives. None of this could<br />

be provided by science alone.<br />

Science will be instrumental in solving problems to make the<br />

world a better place, but on its own, unscrupulous use will be at<br />

the expense of us all. Other disciplines, such as sociology, politcal<br />

science and social justice need to be supported by science so<br />

it can make appropriate contributions to society, and the world.<br />

Individually, we need to stop abdicating personal responsibility<br />

in favour of relying on science (or anything else), and<br />

accept that we are accountable for the changes we make to the<br />

world, and obliged to make our effect a positive one.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 37


SCIENCE<br />

Forever young<br />

by Kathy Zhang<br />

Scientists spend a lot of time reading papers to stay on top<br />

of the latest discoveries. So when I stumbled upon the<br />

headline: “Russian Scientist Injects Himself with 3.5-Million-<br />

Year-Old Bacteria, Reckons He Might Now Live Forever” that<br />

meant one of the two following things: one, this guy is about to<br />

win a Nobel Prize a la Marshall and Warren, who showed that<br />

most stomach ulcers were caused by the Helicobacter pylori<br />

bacterium when Marshall swallowed a vial of the stuff and took<br />

himself to hospital for the subsequent ulcer; or two, Vice may<br />

not be a particularly reputable scientific publication.<br />

As it turns out, it meant the latter. The Bacillus F bacteria<br />

was found by geocryologists in the permafrost of Mammoth<br />

Mounter, Siberia. It had survived for millions of years in the<br />

ice. While treating mice with the bacteria seemed to increase<br />

longevity and fertility, the reported effects on humans are<br />

purely anecdotal. That is to say, this Anatoli Brouchkov scientist<br />

guy injected himself just for kicks, felt more energetic and now<br />

believes the bacteria may hold the key to immortality.<br />

Although this seems farfetched, chief futurist at Google,<br />

Ray Kurzweil, suggests that immortality is possible within our<br />

lifetimes. Our understanding of the human genome now allows<br />

us to edit it in previously inconceivable ways. Kurzweil suggests<br />

that biomedicine may no longer be just a science, but an information<br />

technology where we can add, subtract or reprogram<br />

our genes or the “software of life” in more beneficial ways. He<br />

predicts that by 2020 we will start using nanobots to bolster<br />

the immune system, and technology will add years to our life<br />

expectancies.<br />

This extension of life will be accompanied by an expansion<br />

of life in an era known as ‘the Singularity’. By 2045 when<br />

non-biological intelligence will become a billion times more<br />

powerful than all human intelligence today, Kurzweil predicts<br />

biotechnology may allow our brains to connect to “the cloud”<br />

and become more intelligent and powerful. Recreational activities<br />

will also develop to combat the tedium of life everlasting.<br />

Your favourite cyberpunk visions may become a reality yet (I’m<br />

voting for Ghost in the Shell).<br />

Transhumanism and sentient cyborgs aside, there are easier<br />

ways to live forever. Among the world’s oldest people, most are<br />

women, several of whom attribute their longevity in part to<br />

avoiding men. “They’re just more trouble than they’re worth,”<br />

said Jessie Gallan, who lived to be 109. Perhaps she too was<br />

aware that domestic violence is the number one contributor to<br />

death, disability and illness in Victorian women aged 15 to 44.<br />

Diet is also considered a major factor. The Indigenous<br />

peoples of the Ryukyu Islands of Japan have the longest life<br />

expectancy in the world, making the Okinawa diet the object<br />

of some interest. It mostly consists of vegetables, Okinawan<br />

sweet potato and pork, and contains much less rice, fish, meat<br />

and sugar than the standard Japanese diet. With the shift away<br />

from the traditional diet towards more Western and Japanese<br />

patterns however, longevity has decreased.<br />

Certain animals also display biological immortality, meaning<br />

their chronological age and biological aging processes are decoupled.<br />

Contrary to popular belief, lobsters do not live forever.<br />

However, they are able to live for a very long time thanks to<br />

the enzyme telomerase. Telomeres are like protective caps on<br />

the ends of chromosomes. These shorten over time after cell<br />

division. Telomerase repairs telomeres, preventing them from<br />

shortening and damaging the DNA, leading to aging. The good<br />

news is this stops lobsters from aging. The bad news is this may<br />

cause cancers in humans.<br />

Say we could live forever, would we want to though? A very<br />

rigorous Facebook poll of my distinguished peers revealed that<br />

2 out of 7 would want to live forever. Major concerns included<br />

boredom and loneliness. Some of the ethical implications of<br />

immortality include increasing the world population, strain on<br />

the world’s resources and the furthering social and economic<br />

inequalities with unequal life expectancies.<br />

In any case, if any of this is true then there may be time for<br />

me to get even with the casting director of Ghost in the Shell<br />

after all.<br />

38 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


SCIENCE<br />

Saving crops with robots<br />

by Shivani Gopaul<br />

Illustration by Angus Marian<br />

Since the dawn of time, humankind has delved into available<br />

resources to alter the environment, making it more<br />

liveable and more comfortable day by day. Being able to use a<br />

spear-shaped rock to hunt, or using a cattle-driven chariot to<br />

transport goods were considered marvels, and greatly influenced<br />

the agricultural sector and ensured food security for man<br />

over time.<br />

It all started with the use of simple mechanical systems<br />

to assist farmers in transporting heavy loads, or in crushing<br />

cereal to make refined products and widen the variety of foods<br />

available for consumption. Over the years, we witnessed the<br />

development of railway tracks, making transport of agricultural<br />

goods faster, more efficient and cost-effective. Later, we<br />

saw the advent of automatic systems in agriculture, such as<br />

the use of machinery to milk cows and sort milk according to<br />

quality, to the use of highly precise sensors to track the pH<br />

of soil. Data analysis tools, combined with crop monitoring<br />

via satellite, have revolutionised our ability to predict soil<br />

fertility trends. We also make use of genetic modifications to<br />

make environmentally stronger crops, able to better withstand<br />

climatic, biological and chemical damage. With these scientific<br />

breakthroughs, man has seen agriculture metamorphose into a<br />

mechanised and automated world, where technology complements<br />

human ingenuity.<br />

Today, humankind has reached new heights as far as agricultural<br />

technology is concerned. Agricultural robots, commonly<br />

known as ‘agbots’, will soon become a fully viable solution to<br />

various farming problems. One of the most serious problems is<br />

colony collapse disorder, faced by pollinator bees, triggered by<br />

ecological imbalances and climate change. Environmentalists<br />

have noted a massive decline in the bee population in the<br />

world, which directly impacts food production as pollination<br />

rates drop, threatening food security all over the planet.<br />

A few decades ago, the focus was on trying to resolve the<br />

issue, by artificially breeding bees and re-introducing them into<br />

the environment when they became mature and environmentally<br />

resilient. Others would emphasise the need to make use of<br />

genetically modified insects or cloning as a means of boosting<br />

the bee population growth. However, today there is an unprecedented<br />

way to address the issue: miniature robotic bees. These<br />

agbots are known as RoboBees, as nicknamed by the Harvard<br />

University researchers working on the project, led by Professor<br />

Robert Wood.<br />

With advancements in robotics and material technologies,<br />

what was unthinkable in the past is today’s reality. Carbon<br />

fibre, titanium and plastics are combined to make micro-mechanical<br />

structures, which are rigid all while having flexible<br />

joints so as to achieve different flight manoeuvres and carry<br />

out exceptionally specific functions. Highly precise refining<br />

methods such as laser-cutting are used to manufacture the<br />

outer bodies of the RoboBees, and state-of-the-art materials<br />

engineering technologies are employed in the circuitry of<br />

the agbot: printed-circuit micro electromechanical systems<br />

(PC-MEMS). The overall structure is very light, owing to the<br />

low-density materials used, and thus RoboBee has low power<br />

consumption and can move around quite fast - the wings are<br />

able to flap 30 times per second. Only a few centimetres long ,<br />

once put into use, these RoboBees will have a massive influence<br />

on the agricultural sector. It will serve as temporary solution to<br />

the danger of extinction of natural bees and boost pollination,<br />

thus ensuring the continuity of plant reproduction.<br />

However, more progress is yet to be achieved in regards<br />

to the large-scale implementation of this project. The next<br />

challenge is to enable the RoboBees to communicate with one<br />

another and coordinate their actions as a unit, to biomimic the<br />

natural hive behaviour of bees. This would promise an imminent<br />

revolution in terms of using the robotic bees for other<br />

purposes, such as the identification of chemically-hazardous regions<br />

through the use of sensors, or the simplification of search<br />

and rescue operations using small size of the robot.<br />

While still at the prototype stage, the RoboBee project is<br />

bound to push the limits of the use of technology in agriculture,<br />

and open up a world of endless possibilities in terms of<br />

the future possibilities of agbots. Get ready to say hello to<br />

Nature 2.0!<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 39


40 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong><br />

Illustration by Lucie Cester


SCIENCE<br />

by Rajat Lal<br />

ANSWERS AT LOTSWIFE.COM.AU<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 41


CULTURE<br />

Paying their debts:<br />

Game of Thrones<br />

season six<br />

by Rachael Welling<br />

Illustration by Olivia Rossi


CULTURE<br />

H<br />

BO’s Game of Thrones is a massive cultural phenomenon.<br />

We all know this. We’ve seen the endless recaps,<br />

the ubiquitous Winter is Coming meme, the photoshopped<br />

pictures of political figures sitting the Iron Throne and so on.<br />

Even my Mum vaguely understands that Game of Thrones is well<br />

known for ‘tits and dragons’, and she consumes no television<br />

except for ABC news and My Kitchen Rules. As of 2014, Game of<br />

Thrones became HBO’s most watched TV show of all time, and<br />

with a steadily climbing viewership (ostensibly not including<br />

the droves of sea faring bandits who watch the show), GoT<br />

won’t be disappearing from the cultural sphere any time soon.<br />

The question is: Does this god-tier status of cultural infamy<br />

affect the production of Game of Thrones in any way? At first<br />

glance, no. Showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss have<br />

specifically stated they don’t directly listen to fan criticism.<br />

And it is doubtful that Benioff and Weiss could even begin to<br />

satisfy all of the shows fans if they deigned to listen to them.<br />

The show has so many subsets of fans; casual watchers, avid followers,<br />

fans of the show’s source material A Song of Ice and Fire<br />

(ASOIAF), people who film themselves watching the show in<br />

bars, the aforementioned sea-faring bandits. Game of Thrones’<br />

showrunners have the monumental task of making the show<br />

work for each of these subsets. This isn’t to say Benioff and<br />

Weiss completely disregard their fans – surely they want the<br />

show to be popular – in fact they clearly consider all of them.<br />

Hardcore fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire often complain<br />

of the show ‘dumbing down’ the plot of the books. It’s easy to<br />

see where this is true; storylines are cut (Aegon Targaryen) or<br />

streamlined (Dorne’s entire plot), characters are lost (Arienne<br />

Martell, Lady Stoneheart, Victarion Greyjoy) or combined<br />

(Sansa Stark and Jeyne Pool), and characters’ involvement<br />

diminishes (Doran Martell) or ends prematurely (also Doran<br />

Martell). While it’s impossible to state the true intention of<br />

the creative decisions in the show, many of these changes were<br />

likely due to the need to keep the show both engaging and<br />

well-paced for a majority of watchers. George R. R. Martin’s<br />

A Song of Ice and Fire is a saga so expansive it has its own<br />

published encyclopedia. We may frown at the loss of a cool<br />

speech or intrigue from the books; but how many fans would<br />

rather see Game of Thrones slow to a crawling pace trying to<br />

incorporate every aspect of George R. R. Martin’s epic? Instead<br />

it’s something more crisply paced, riveting, and ultimately<br />

simpler. It isn’t as if the show is without scenes and references<br />

pulled straight from the books: the fight between Oberyn<br />

Martell and the Mountain in Season 4 occurs exactly as it is<br />

written, ex-maester Qyburn’s speech to Grand Maester Pycelle<br />

before the latter’s death is word for the word the speech given<br />

by Varys to Kevan Lannister in A Dance with Dragons – among<br />

other, smaller examples. Regardless of whether fans agree<br />

with every decision, all the showrunners can be accused of is<br />

adapting a story for television, and making needed sacrifices<br />

along the way.<br />

Another factor in the evolving production of Game of Thrones<br />

is the fact that the show has long overtaken its source material.<br />

If Martin were to never finish ASOIAF, it would be the<br />

first major saga to begin in one medium and finish in another.<br />

Game of Thrones’ showrunners essentially have it in their power<br />

to dictate another man’s legacy. Does this, and should this,<br />

change the way the adaption is made? It depends who you ask.<br />

Naturally, its makes little sense for the showrunners – who<br />

are making a TV show – to be held accountable to fans of the<br />

books. But it doesn’t mean they won’t be.<br />

Following the death of Shireen Baratheon in Season 5, David<br />

Benioff offhandedly says, ‘When George first told us about<br />

[Shireen’s burning]…we were shocked’. No biggie, Martin has<br />

to tell the showrunners about book developments for the two<br />

series to essentially line up. But it was a biggie; it was a book<br />

spoiler. Five years have passed since Martin’s last book, and<br />

some fans lost it. Elio Garcia, owner of Westeros.org, who actually<br />

swore off Game of Thrones after Season 5, called Benioff’s<br />

revelation ‘thoughtless’. Fans on the /r/asoiaf subreddit and<br />

Westeros.org forums called it ‘shitty’, ‘absolutely atrocious’ and<br />

‘unprofessional’, with some denying the truth of it outright<br />

(‘What if this is exactly what GRRM planned all along?’ says<br />

one particularly far gone fan). So does Benioff have a duty to<br />

protect the sanctity of book spoilers? Yes, and no. Yes, because<br />

Game of Thrones is now part of the wider ASOIAF fandom, and<br />

no, because the showrunners are no one’s bitch (except maybe<br />

HBO’s). The show has already spoiled future book plot points,<br />

and I doubt Benioff’s comment will hurt the sales of Martin’s<br />

next book. Still, many fans have dedicated twenty years to this<br />

story. All they want is new material from Martin, but it seems<br />

like they’ll have to make do with snippets from the producers.<br />

Game of Thrones’ production quality has certainly improved<br />

– and unsurprisingly so, with the show’s Season 6 budget<br />

reaching $10 million per episode, up from $6 million in Season<br />

1. The Season 6 episode ‘The Battle of The Bastards’ – featuring<br />

a full scale pitched battle, a CGI-giant, and arse-tighteningly<br />

tense action – is undoubtedly a technical marvel, especially for<br />

a TV show. But while ‘The Battle of the Bastards’ was a good<br />

hour of television, was it really a good hour of Game of Thrones?<br />

As much as I personally enjoyed the episode, lingering questions<br />

remain. Why did none of the Northerners flinch at seeing<br />

their liege lord Ramsay literally murder an innocent child and<br />

Eddard Stark’s last remaining son? Why have Sansa warn Jon<br />

not to fall into any of Ramsay’s traps only to have Jon instantly<br />

fall into one of Ramsay’s traps? Why did the Knights of the Vale<br />

save the day at exactly the most dramatic moment? I’ve already<br />

stated that Game of Thrones must be entertaining for the vast<br />

majority of us, and that’s ok, but Game of Thrones reached its<br />

cultural status in part because of its realism, and subversion of<br />

classic tropes. Shock value moments in Game of Thrones are not<br />

new, but will the show’s lasting legacy be as positive if it’s most<br />

climactic moments prioritise spectacle over substance? If the<br />

remaining seasons become predictable, it won’t just be the book<br />

fans souring on the plot.<br />

Game of Thrones is rocketing towards its climactic finish with<br />

(sadly) only two seasons left. From relatively humble origins<br />

to a major cultural staple, it’s natural that more eyes watching<br />

means more criticism all round, and that its production will<br />

continually evolve in response (or otherwise). Issues aside,<br />

Game of Thrones is still one of the best and most consistently<br />

good TV shows around. It’s important to remember with any<br />

work, its creators are human, with their own interpretations<br />

and priorities, and that the act of simply not fucking it all up is<br />

admirable in its own right. If I was handed 100 million dollars a<br />

year to create a TV show, I think all I’d achieve is getting myself<br />

done for money laundering.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 43


CULTURE<br />

Don’t paint<br />

yourself into<br />

a corner:<br />

making art<br />

pay the bills<br />

by Brittany Wetherspoon<br />

Illustration by Lily Greenwood<br />

Living off your passion would be a dream come true for<br />

pretty much everyone. However, there are many pitfalls<br />

that can halt a budding creative entrepreneur in their tracks.<br />

Many of these things I have found are not discussed between<br />

us and our teachers, which will leave many students stranded in<br />

the deep end when their degree ends and they’re not prepared<br />

for the world outside of Uni.<br />

When I use the word ‘creatives’ in this article, I’m describing<br />

anyone with a passion within the creative industry. Whether<br />

that be musicians, visual artists, directors, writers and anything<br />

in between. If you enjoy using the right hemisphere of<br />

your brain, this article is for you.<br />

The creative industry, like most industries, requires hard<br />

work, dedication and desire to achieve and succeed.<br />

Most degrees teach the necessary skills for students to get<br />

by, but there is a hidden expectation that many do not realize<br />

until it is too late: that most of what you actually need to know<br />

you have to find out yourself.<br />

Too many creatives rush into creating content and neglect to<br />

sort out the business and planning side, only to run into issues<br />

later on down the track because they didn’t take the time out to<br />

sit down and do the research.<br />

So, through my own experience and research, I’ve created 5<br />

key points that I wanted to share with others. These are things<br />

that people might not necessary think of at first, but can be a<br />

major thorn in your side.<br />

1) You need to have a clear idea of what you want to do.<br />

“But I just want to sell my art/music/work! Isn’t that clear<br />

enough?”<br />

No, it is not.<br />

When you want to sell yourself and your work to others, you<br />

need to be clear about what that work actually is. You want to<br />

sell your music? What is your style? What format do you want<br />

to sell your work in?<br />

‘Art’ is hard in this sense as it is fluid, and can come in so<br />

many forms. However, the same questions do apply to all<br />

creative industries, such as what format will you put your work<br />

forward as? Where are you going to sell?<br />

It is important to take the time to map out all of your ideas<br />

first before moving on to anything else. Having your ideas out<br />

on a page, whether you have just one idea or 20, is so helpful in<br />

piecing together what you are about and vital in creating a plan<br />

or timeline for you to work by.<br />

2) You gotta know about government support and funding<br />

I’ve put this point second because it is something most people<br />

overlook when starting a profit-based venture. In the end,<br />

ignoring the Australian Tax Office and Centrelink is one of the<br />

most commonly spoken grievances aired by creative business<br />

owners.<br />

For those who receive student support, always remember<br />

that Centrelink can be controlling. They have no issue with<br />

44 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


CULTURE<br />

being invasive, and will always want to know when you are<br />

earning income. The ATO is similar in the latter point.<br />

Another issue that trips up some people is deciphering<br />

the fine line between a small business and a hobby. The<br />

simplest way to find out which one you are is to go onto the<br />

official ATO website and search: “Hobby or Business?” When<br />

I searched this, the first entry was a page that walked me<br />

through the process of figuring it out. But if you’d rather type<br />

down a URL, here it is: https://www.ato.gov.au/business/<br />

starting-your-own-business/business-or-hobby-/<br />

When it comes to the ATO, I can’t give more advice other<br />

than do your plan from Step 1, and then take this quiz.<br />

Whatever result the quiz fires back at you is the one that<br />

Centrelink will normally accept. If you are still confused, both<br />

the ATO and Centrelink are available to contact in person or via<br />

phone, a step I would highly recommend.<br />

Yes, establishing contact with these two services as a small<br />

business will mean you will have to stop creating content and<br />

work on paperwork regularly, but this is what running a functional<br />

business of any kind is all about! Rejoice as you leap into<br />

the exciting pool of the self-employed!<br />

3) You have to know your basic business accounting- or<br />

know someone who does.<br />

Following on from the point before, one of the other most<br />

crucial things you need to know or have someone help you with<br />

is business documents. This goes without saying for any sort<br />

of profiting venture. What I mean when I say basic business<br />

is: profit and loss statements, business budgets and efficient<br />

recording keeping. Don’t be freaked out like I initially was!<br />

These documents are just records of all your income and<br />

receipts as well as all your expenditures and expenses that your<br />

business has incurred. When reporting to Centrelink and the<br />

ATO, all they need is your profit and loss statement for specific<br />

periods of time. In the case of the ATO, it may be for financial<br />

year end whereas Centrelink may require them fortnightly.<br />

Budgets are a great way to keep track of expenses, and for<br />

potential funding. Therefore, it’s highly recommended you get<br />

used to writing these. Budgets are the assumed future cost<br />

and expenses that you think may occur and they are good at<br />

showing you how your business is developing, or if you sell on<br />

commission based such as writing, it’s still good to see how<br />

much income you hope to be getting against your living costs.<br />

The best site I can lead you to in terms of this information<br />

would be www.business.vic.gov.au - this site lists all of these<br />

things, but in much more detail and is generally useful to have<br />

open close by.<br />

I understand that there are some very shy people out there,<br />

and the very thought of having to put yourself out there and<br />

mingle with strangers can be daunting. However, the amount of<br />

opportunities that can open themselves up to you the moment<br />

you start networking is astonishing. You never know when the<br />

next person you meet will be inspired by your passion for your<br />

craft and work and offer you a new opportunity to grow.<br />

Half the people I have met that have helped me grow, have<br />

been found in most unlikely of places. One of the easiest places<br />

though I think is definitely in our university environment. We<br />

are really lucky to be here, and there are many opportunities<br />

to network and set ourselves up, you just need to be willing to<br />

look. Start with clubs!<br />

5) Are you an artist or a brand?<br />

Finally, I want to talk about something that seems so fun<br />

and easy to do, but can in fact halt the process altogether: the<br />

name you work under.<br />

I had come up with this awesome design for a bag, and<br />

thought that if I made this, I would be able to make a lot<br />

of money. I had skipped the most important step (which I<br />

outlined in point 1) and was then stuck between creating a<br />

product-based business and working as an artist.<br />

Working as an artist, I would keep my name and promote<br />

everything I make as work handmade by me. But if I wanted to<br />

chase the dream of running a business as an owner (and maybe<br />

hiring people one day) it could be better to use a brand name,<br />

or to use my name as the brand.<br />

There are some cases where people have done this, and it has<br />

been super successful, but the only reason I struggled with this<br />

at first is because I didn’t do Step 1. I had so many ideas in my<br />

head. The moment you have a clear picture of all the things you<br />

want to do and be, whether that’s to be brand or just a self-employed<br />

artist, this last point will come along as easy as pie.<br />

So there it is, my 5 key points to being a self-employed<br />

creative that you may not have thought of. I hope this will save<br />

you time and help you in your endeavor in turning your passion<br />

into your life!<br />

4) Networking!<br />

This is something I have to admit we did get told about,<br />

however I really have to bring it up.<br />

NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!!!!<br />

You could be a writer looking for your next magazine to submit<br />

to, or an artist looking to exhibit or even a musician looking<br />

for your next venue; and the most common and successful<br />

way to find these opportunities is- you guessed it- through your<br />

contacts.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 45


CULTURE<br />

Pink Flappy Bits<br />

by Emily Holding<br />

Cabaret’s roots date back to the 1880s when bohemian<br />

poets, artists and composers would gather in French<br />

saloons to share creative ideas. It developed into a style of<br />

alcohol-infused risqué musical performance, notoriously<br />

characterised by improvisation, audience interactivity and<br />

small, intimate venues. In <strong>2016</strong> performers Tara Dowler and<br />

Louise Mapleston infuse cabaret, musical comedy and clowning<br />

in their two-woman act ‘Pink Flappy Bits’ that debuted at the<br />

Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) to sold out<br />

audiences throughout the season.<br />

How did ‘Pink Flappy Bits’ come to be?<br />

Tara: Lou and I met in a MUST cabaret show in 2014 and<br />

bonded over our love of music and theatre. We have diverse<br />

performance backgrounds that seemed to complement each<br />

other and we had both decided that we wanted to perform in<br />

the MICF. We sat down and asked ourselves how we could use<br />

each of our entertaining skills to create a piece that would be<br />

funny and entertaining, which is how we came to what ‘Pink<br />

Flappy Bits’ is at the moment: a musical-comedy feminist<br />

cabaret. At first we didn’t intend to carry on after the comedy<br />

festival but we had such an amazing response that encouraged<br />

us to see what else we would explore together.<br />

Cabaret is a particularly intimate genre of theatre, you’re<br />

in a small space and there’s not much dividing you and the<br />

audience. Did you find audiences at the MICF receptive or<br />

was it difficult to get break the ice and get people feeling<br />

comfortable?<br />

Lou: Our subject matter can be challenging to some people,<br />

but the feedback we got from a lot of audience members was<br />

that they found the show to be a very “approachable form of<br />

feminism”. My family actually didn’t want to see the show at<br />

first because they felt uncomfortable with the subject matter,<br />

and when my Mum eventually decided she wanted to see it she<br />

couldn’t get a ticket because there was so much interest!<br />

Tara: We try to create a safe and comfortable environment for<br />

people because of the nature of our show. We do present some<br />

soft-political ideas but I think it’s done in a fun and accessible<br />

way. It was interesting, though, to see some people’s reactions<br />

to certain euphemisms and the way we talk about our bodies.<br />

I think it’s demonstrative of how even in our ‘free and easy<br />

Aussie society’ there are still a lot of hang-ups about bodies and<br />

sexuality. It was amusing for us at times to see how people responded<br />

to these terms that we thought were pretty innocuous.<br />

Did you find it personally challenging to present these topics<br />

in such an intimate space?<br />

Lou: It wasn’t too much of an issue for me because I’d say that<br />

I’ve always been an activist. I’m studying social work and part<br />

of that is having a core belief in social justice and basically<br />

putting challenging ideas into social arenas.<br />

Tara: We had some very talented and experienced cabaret performers<br />

come to see our show which was a little bit challenging<br />

for me at first, particularly as we’re not strictly a cabaret show –<br />

I would probably classify us as more musical comedy. It is quite<br />

a unique challenge to be on stage every night not knowing how<br />

the audience is going to react, particularly during the audience-interactive<br />

moments. However, I feel like Lou and I have<br />

cultivated a sense of safety between us and Lou has had quite<br />

a lot of experience in improvisation so I feel pretty secure on<br />

stage with her.<br />

46 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


CULTURE<br />

‘Pink Flappy Bits’ is an interesting title because often when<br />

we talk about genitals we like to use language that is as<br />

non-descriptive as possible, almost as if we can pretend<br />

we’re not talking about our actual physical body parts.<br />

What is the story behind the title?<br />

Tara: I came up with the title because I think our culture has<br />

a problem with infantilizing body parts, especially when we<br />

talk about reproductive organs or “rude areas” I think this can<br />

interfere with our development and the way we relate to our<br />

bodies…but I also thought it would be a funny joke to wear<br />

pink legionnaire hats and have a title that’s a euphemism for<br />

the vulva.<br />

What are your other favourite terms for your genitals?<br />

Lou: “Vagina”<br />

Tara: “Snatch”<br />

Lou: “Ham Wallet”<br />

Tara: Oh yeah, definitely “Ham Wallet”<br />

Your show has been described as a “feminist, musical-comedy<br />

cabaret with all the excitement of a year 8 sex-ed class”.<br />

If you could go back to your sex-ed class and impart some<br />

wisdom on your 14-year- old self, what would you say?<br />

Lou: I would emphasise that it’s okay to say ‘no’. The anatomical<br />

part of sex-ed is obviously important, but I wish there would<br />

be more emphasis on consent and knowing that people will still<br />

want to be with you if you say ‘no, I don’t feel like this right<br />

now’.<br />

Tara: I would impart that whatever is going on with your body<br />

is okay and has probably happened to someone else. You don’t<br />

need to carry shame about your body and whatever you experience<br />

within it.<br />

Female nudity in art is a hot topic for feminism at the<br />

moment because it seems that some critics find it contradictory<br />

when feminist voices like Lena Dunham in ‘Girls’<br />

and Caitlin Stasey say they don’t want to be objectified<br />

or defined by their physical appearance, but at the same<br />

time really put an emphasis on the naked female body in<br />

their art. Tell us about your decision to wear vulvas on your<br />

chests every night and what you think about the naked body<br />

in feminist art?<br />

Tara: I think it comes down to not trying to speak for other<br />

women. If someone feels empowered by publishing images of<br />

their body and saying this is me owning my sexuality or expressing<br />

my artistic and creative self, I would be very reluctant<br />

to tell them that that is an improper way to express their feminism.<br />

I don’t think Lou and I are trail-blazers by any means but<br />

I think that continuing to demystify bodies, in our own little<br />

way, is really important.<br />

Lou: Tara and I are both very conscious of our privilege in the<br />

sense that we’re both white women, neither of us are obese<br />

and there’s nothing about our bodies that would be considered<br />

particularly abnormal or grotesque. However, we do still challenge<br />

perceptions of beauty on a micro-level by showing two<br />

very different bodies that have achieved lots of things and are<br />

very intelligent - but are not athletic bodies or the size 6 type of<br />

bodies we usually see unclothed in art.<br />

You have a song called “White Feminism”, can you tell me<br />

what that song is about and how you view your role as white<br />

women in the feminist movement?<br />

Lou: Our show is so white feminism. It’s an entry point for<br />

people who may not have thought about these topics too<br />

deeply in the past and we create a very accessible, non-threatening<br />

place to start. We are aware that as two white women,<br />

with bodies that are pretty stock standard, we are able to be<br />

on stage and present these ideas without receiving as much<br />

flack as a person of colour likely would. A lot of people will ask<br />

us even before they’ve seen the show if we are trans-friendly<br />

or queer-friendly, so we have this song which is very much<br />

a tongue-in- cheek way of acknowledging that we are white,<br />

middle-class, heterosexual, cisgendered women sharing our experiences<br />

and we can’t (and won’t try to) speak for anyone else.<br />

Tara: We use the term ‘white feminism’ a lot, which we know<br />

has a lot of negative connotations. We’re nottrying to show<br />

pride in that label but rather to situate ourselves in the discourse<br />

of our art form and be upfront about the fact that we<br />

are only speaking from own experiences and a place of some<br />

privilege. I think it’s important in comedy to be able to say that<br />

you are speaking only for yourself and that you are open to<br />

whatever criticism may follow that.<br />

Do you think comedy is still a male dominated scene?<br />

Lou: I absolutely think it’s a male dominated scene.However, I<br />

think that there’s a difference between the stand-up world and<br />

the cabaret world. The stand-up world is 100% male dominated<br />

but in our work in cabaret we’ve come across a lot of great, successful<br />

women - particularly in the online comedy spaces and<br />

communities we choose surround ourselves with.<br />

Are there any women in comedy that you particularly look<br />

up to?<br />

Tara: Absolutely! We both really look up to Jude Perl.<br />

Lou: Yeaaaaah! Jude Perl!<br />

Tara: And Laura Davis, another fantastic and intelligent voice<br />

we saw at the comedy festival this year…<br />

Lou: And Tessa Waters, a Melbourne based clown. And Liz<br />

Skitch!<br />

See ‘Pink Flappy Bits’ Live:<br />

Miss K is Wrong.com - The Album Launch<br />

27th August, 7:30pm<br />

St Kilda Army & Navy Club (upstairs) 88 Acland Street St Kilda<br />

Tickets: trybooking.com<br />

Pink Flappy Bits Fringe Show<br />

19th of September (Media and Industry Night) 27th, 28th and 29th of<br />

September, 1st and 2nd of October, 10pm<br />

The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne<br />

Tickets: thebutterflyclub.com<br />

Find Tara and Lou online at ‘Pink Flappy Bits’ on Facebook or<br />

@Pinkflappybits on Twitter.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 47


CULTURE<br />

by Rachael Welling<br />

Illustration by<br />

Brittany Wetherspoon<br />

wikiHow to catch them all<br />

Welcome, trainers.<br />

While I am not<br />

some flora based professor, I am here<br />

to guide you down the path of the true<br />

PokémonGo master. Many have come<br />

before you, and many will come after<br />

(subject to server capacity). You all think<br />

you know the basics: seek out lures, catch ‘em<br />

all, wantonly waste Pokeballs and Razzberries and<br />

incubators for your own personal glory. And in the end nothing<br />

to show for it but a Pokédex filled with all 142 Pokémon, one<br />

that cannot be shared or even traded. That is not the true way.<br />

Following this doctrine guide, you too can be the very best. We<br />

all can.<br />

Intuition, Observation, Strength. Glory awaits, trainers.<br />

1. Your team is your identity, your struggle, your legacy<br />

Once a trainer has completed initiation and reached Level<br />

5, they select for themselves a team: Instinct, Mystic, or<br />

Valor. This decision is the trainer’s alone, not to be influenced<br />

by petty lobbyists or promises of free food from capitalist<br />

Pancake Parlours. This decision also reflects the trainer’s<br />

true inner principles. There is no shelter from the storm for<br />

Team Instinct, Victory is temporary, glory is eternal for Team<br />

Valor, and DABIRDINDANORF, for Team Mystic. The infinite<br />

wisdom contained in these mottos is for the trainer to unravel<br />

in their journeys. It does not matter which team has a smaller<br />

or larger following, but the essence of the motto that matters.<br />

Ultimately the choice is not important, and only the weakest<br />

trainers succumb to justifying their allegiance. What is paramount,<br />

trainers, is unwavering loyalty, dedication, and no less<br />

than two permanent tattoos of the chosen team’s logo.<br />

2. A trainer alone is a trainer without meaning, or purpose<br />

Once a team is chosen, the trainer continues to evolve and<br />

collect their Pokémon until they are able to claim gyms for their<br />

team through glorious battle. The mechanics of war are simple:<br />

good trainers know their Pokémon type advantages, and are<br />

proficient in spamming attacks and occasionally dodging at the<br />

actual correct moment for once. As we know, the goal of every<br />

Pokémon battle is victory. But for the team to achieve victory,<br />

all trainers, irrespective of level, must be united. A single<br />

Vaporeon cannot stand forever against an army of Arcanines,<br />

and so it is the duty of the trainers to battle their own gyms,<br />

bring more trainers into the fold and multiply their strength.<br />

And regardless of affiliation we all share a common enemy: the<br />

other teams.<br />

Do not hesitate, trainers, when<br />

a rival team claims from you a gym.<br />

Defeat them swiftly in battle, or<br />

through other, real life, punching-based<br />

means.<br />

3. Pokéstops are abundant, but their improper<br />

use nullifies their advantage<br />

The All-giver, Niantic Inc, has seen fit to bless the trainers<br />

with abundant Pokéstops and micro-transactions. Our teams<br />

now need Poké Balls, Razzberries, Eggs and Potions, like the<br />

air they breathe, like the instant noodles they eat. But it is<br />

not enough to simply horde resources. Poké Balls must be<br />

thrown with grace, and the appropriate amount of spin. Eggs<br />

should not sit idle in inventory of trainers who forget to keep<br />

PokémonGo open to track their steps, and fail to invest their<br />

income in battery packs. Greatballs should not be wasted on<br />

Pokémon with CP less than 200. Stardust and candy, resources<br />

that cannot be bought or spun at Pokestops, should be<br />

treated as the trainer’s own lifeblood. Waste them not on low<br />

CP Pokemon. Instead, combine the XP doubling power of the<br />

Lucky Egg with the act of mass evolving all of your Pokémon.<br />

4. It is braver to retreat than to advance<br />

Trainers, sometimes even the very best cannot win.<br />

Sometimes Team Instinct is simply outnumbered. Sometimes<br />

Team Valor cannot rely on strength alone. Sometimes Team<br />

Mystic can’t do, whatever it is they do. Gym leaders come and<br />

go, but only the team remains, and the team is immortal. And<br />

so to preserve your team, trainers must know when to stop<br />

battling that gym, when to give your hard-working Pokémon<br />

a much needed rest and a heavy dose of super potions, and<br />

when to tactfully return in the middle of the night to claim<br />

the gym without resistance. Savvy trainers know that frequent<br />

resets are needed to maximize play time. Savvy trainers know<br />

the only way to resolve server issues is to check back every five<br />

minutes while mass messaging their friends, ‘servers are down,<br />

fuck my whole entire life’. And real trainers know, that the<br />

only way to find eternal glory, is to put away your Poké Balls,<br />

delete PokémonGo, and retire while you can still call yourself a<br />

Pokémon master.<br />

So now, trainers, that you know the true way of the<br />

PokémonGO master, you can travel across the land, search far<br />

and wide, and fight tooth and nail for the glory of your Pokémon.<br />

48 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


REVIEW<br />

Goldstone<br />

by Nick Bugeja<br />

The sequel to director Ivan Sen’s 2013 film, Mystery Road,<br />

Goldstone takes with it the quiet strength of the original,<br />

while clearly taking new paths in terms of narrative and its<br />

depiction of Australian culture.<br />

We are immediately confronted by a dishevelled Detective<br />

Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen), who has found himself in the town<br />

of Goldstone, on the lookout for a missing Chinese teenager.<br />

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the search for the missing girl unearths<br />

a whole spate of greed and corruption among the town’s mayoral<br />

office and a moneyed up mining company. Swan and his<br />

conflicted ally, local cop Josh (Alex Russell), are the only ones<br />

capable of restoring order to a fractured Goldstone.<br />

Sen, who acts as the screenwriter, composer, cinematographer<br />

and director of the film, really knows how to get the most<br />

out of what is a pretty standard tale of high-end human-trafficking,<br />

indifference and criminality. The adaption of this<br />

familiar narrative is inherently elevated due to its observance<br />

of Australian hallmarks: the picturesque desolation of the<br />

outback, racial division and unresolved conflicts. As a result,<br />

the screenplay really packs a punch where it perhaps would<br />

not have. It becomes something identifiable, particularly to an<br />

Australian audience, as we can acknowledge White Australia’s<br />

exploitation and utter disregard for racial minorities. Sen is<br />

perceptive to this, and aptly reminds us there is still a lot to do<br />

in the way of harmonising Australian culture. ¬<br />

Even though Goldstone focuses on the sexual exploitation of<br />

young Asian women, its layering of social issues is quite powerful.<br />

Its exploration of Australia’s enduring mistreatment of the<br />

First Australians is seamlessly woven into the overall narrative,<br />

as Goldstone’s Mayor, Maureen (Jacki Weaver), is interested<br />

only in acquiring their land for mining purposes. There is not<br />

a shred of respect shown to the First Australians by Maureen,<br />

or the mining industry, as represented by Johnny (David<br />

Wenham). Sen’s most provocative assault on racial subjugation<br />

comes in the form of a scene featuring Indigenous man Jimmy<br />

(David Gulpilil). The scene is uncompromising, and designed to<br />

make us as angry as Sen at the bygone and current treatment<br />

of the First Australians. Furthermore, the many close-ups of<br />

Swan’s face display a man tired of his demanding work and his<br />

subjection to a netherworld of racial oblivion.<br />

What the film toweringly succeeds in is making a connection<br />

between oppression and prospective economic gain. Josh is<br />

bribed early on by Johnny to ensure that he does not interfere<br />

with mining operations, and the human-trafficking of the Asian<br />

girls is solely motivated by money. Weaver is wonderful as the<br />

duplicitous Maureen; balancing her character’s sinister nature<br />

with a maternalistic façade to will Goldstone’s residents into<br />

thinking she is a harmless grandmother. Sen obviously refutes<br />

this, asserting that economic interests can quash our own sense<br />

of humanity. This thematic concern could not be more timely,<br />

as mining operations have been further dispossessing the First<br />

Australian’s of even more land.<br />

Alex Russell’s performance as Josh is a hit and miss.<br />

Russell’s attempt to play up Josh’s ignorance of Goldstone’s corruption<br />

can feel inauthentic, and he clearly comes out second<br />

best in his exchanges with Aaron Pedersen’s Swan. Once Josh<br />

wises up to the evils being perpetrated, Russell’s performance<br />

is a lot more effective. Pedersen carries on his great work from<br />

Mystery Road and his acting presence dominates every scene.<br />

This is notable, as Pedersen does not have the kind of screen<br />

time as he did in Goldstone’s predecessor. Wenham and Gupilil,<br />

who are both Australian cinematic mainstays, deliver performances<br />

that maintain the film’s core intensity.<br />

Sen’s cinematography is again informed by the Australian<br />

landscape. Rather than go to great pains to manufacture individual<br />

shots, there is an artistic ease with which Sen chooses to<br />

capture the Queensland small-town. His use of the long shot<br />

is certainly a highlight, as it further adds to the visual style established<br />

early on in the film. The likewise plethora of overhead<br />

shots of diverging roads is striking, evoking in them a sense of<br />

George Miller’s Mad Max (1979).<br />

In keeping with the noir style that Sen develops, there is a<br />

predominant focus on dialogue and the establishment of character<br />

and themes in the first two acts. The tension and moral<br />

outrage Sen intends us to feel is rife by the film’s climax, which<br />

erupts on an explosive scale. We are right behind the protagonists,<br />

and the hostile engagement that unfolds is produced<br />

with great effect. The violence, of which there is a considerable<br />

amount, is rather cathartic.<br />

Sen’s second effort on Jay Swan’s story is compelling, as he<br />

takes with him the good bits and discards the bad ones from<br />

Mystery Road. This film is probably the closest thing we have, as<br />

Australians, to Polanski’s seminal 1974 film Chinatown, and it is<br />

about time we pay attention to the merit of Australian cinema.<br />

Playing in Selected Cinemas.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 49


CULTURE<br />

Feeling the effects of class: inequality<br />

in a two-tiered education system<br />

by Sophia McNamara<br />

ear your uniform with pride,” they would always<br />

“W say.<br />

Private schools exist to perpetuate divisions of class, and my<br />

final high school year made me realise this. They gladly fill the<br />

expectations placed upon them by the parents, who pay good<br />

money to show that their child is a class above the majority.<br />

I grew up in New Zealand and went to a public school for the<br />

first 12 years of school. In my final year I moved to a private<br />

boarding school. Elitism and snobbery aside, it was remarkable.<br />

The teachers were much more helpful, the study conditions<br />

were ideal, and every talent and interest I could possibly have<br />

was nurtured. My academic performance improved immensely,<br />

just in time for university applications. My mum, as a single<br />

mother of two with no university qualifications, had to work<br />

extremely hard just to send me there for a year. As grateful as<br />

I was, I couldn’t help but feel immense guilt. If my academic<br />

results were so dependent on going to a private school, how<br />

was this fair on the majority of students who did not?<br />

When I entered the University of Auckland law school the<br />

year after, I was comforted by the fact that only a handful of<br />

students were from private schools, proving that the more<br />

traditionally academic professions were mostly universally<br />

accessible. In my second year of university however, I moved to<br />

Melbourne to go to Monash law school and to my surprise, almost<br />

every single student I met was from a private or selective<br />

school.<br />

Two years later since my first day at Monash, I’ve only met<br />

one other law student from a non-selective public school. Was<br />

it not possible to get a high ATAR at a public school? Why did I<br />

not see this as much in New Zealand? What about those hard<br />

working and talented students who come from public schools,<br />

why are they so underrepresented? It seemed that private<br />

school students were competing with an advantage so great<br />

that public school kids were almost locked out from getting the<br />

top grades.<br />

Australia likes to think of itself as a merit-based society, a<br />

land of the fair go -where the school systems guarantee that all<br />

children, no matter their origins, can access a quality publicly<br />

funded education that will give children an equal chance at success<br />

in life. If this is really true, if we truly live in a merit-based<br />

society, why are about 35% of secondary school parents in<br />

Australia sacrificing tens of thousands of dollars each year to<br />

make sure their children don’t go through our publicly funded<br />

education system? If we are proud of this country and its<br />

equality, why do we clearly have such little faith in the public<br />

education system that we’ll spend thousands just to avoid it?<br />

We’re in a two-tiered system, where private school kids compete<br />

mostly in a league of their own. It begs the question: is a<br />

class system really just a relic of the 19th century, or does it still<br />

exist in modern Australia?<br />

Australia has one of the highest levels of private schools in<br />

the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development<br />

(OECD) countries and is at the bottom end in terms of equality<br />

and education outcomes. The reality is that it’s not a merit-based,<br />

land of the fair go at all, and rather is inherently unequal<br />

and socially stratified, even more so than other developed<br />

countries like New Zealand, Canada or the United Kingdom. I<br />

noticed the divide much more over here due to the difference<br />

between 4% of Kiwi students going to private schools and 35%<br />

in Australia. The high number of private schools here are the<br />

result of such a high demand, caused by parents losing faith<br />

in the public system to such an extent that they’ll spend what<br />

they can’t afford. If the Australian economy is dependent on<br />

workforce participation and productivity, why is education a<br />

prime target of budget cuts, time and time again?<br />

The public system clearly isn’t disregarded in New Zealand<br />

to the same extent it is here. Selective schools don’t exist there,<br />

meaning about 96% of the students go to a public, non-selective<br />

school, making it much easier for them to compete when<br />

they are on a mostly-level playing field and only such a small<br />

minority have the advantage of a private school.<br />

But the inequality doesn’t stop there. While private schools<br />

discriminate based on income and wealth, selective schools<br />

discriminate on academic talents and public schools discriminate<br />

on geographical location, meaning those located in<br />

higher income areas attract better-off students. So either way,<br />

students of similar socioeconomic class will be placed together,<br />

and social segregation of our school students will continue to<br />

widen.<br />

The one friend I do have in law school from a public school<br />

went to Melbourne Girls’ College, in the wealthy inner-city suburb<br />

of Richmond, with a reputation of being one Melbourne’s<br />

best public schools. “I really think there’s not enough public<br />

school kids doing law”, she said.<br />

The “good” public schools in Auckland were all in the inner<br />

city. The best ones, arguably, are Epsom Girls’ Grammar and<br />

Auckland Grammar in the expensive suburb of Epsom. The two<br />

single-sex schools are situated right next to each other and they<br />

raise the house prices significantly in the zones around them<br />

more and more each year. Houses for sale in the area would<br />

50 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


CULTURE<br />

have “Double Grammar Zone” plastered all over them. A 2015<br />

suburb report shows that the average house in Epsom has 3<br />

bedrooms and is worth $1.3 million. Strict school zoning and<br />

house prices like that make the “good” public schools arguably<br />

just as exclusive as private schools.<br />

An increasingly lucrative market for tutoring that targets<br />

parents of already advantaged private school kids, further<br />

exemplifies socio-economic segregation between schools.<br />

Costing upwards of $50 an hour, a student’s access to tutoring<br />

is entirely contingent on a parent’s capacity to spend, and<br />

gives students a significant competitive advantage in exams.<br />

Students in a non-conducive environment with limited ability<br />

to spend simply cannot compete to the same extent. The 2015<br />

New Estimates of Intergenerational Mobility report commissioned<br />

by the NSW Department of Education found that social<br />

mobility is far more restricted in Australia than previously<br />

thought, with family background and earnings playing a much<br />

more significant role on a student’s outcomes compared with<br />

individual ability, talent and hard work. How is it fair that your<br />

postcode defines your opportunities, and your parent’s income<br />

dictates your success in life?<br />

The private/public school divide in Melbourne made it clear<br />

to me that the school you went to is so much more than where<br />

you went to learn; it is a symbol of class.<br />

Some may believe a class system no longer exists, but<br />

looking at statistics and the people I’ve met studying law and<br />

medicine, I have many reasons to believe that this isn’t true.<br />

As cheap credit becomes easily accessible, class statuses are not<br />

as visible as they used to be. Or perhaps we try and ignore it<br />

as best as we can in our own worlds rather than facing such an<br />

ugly truth. I see the biggest problem as public ignorance. After<br />

all, we are the population that just voted a conservative government<br />

in for a second time. Christopher Pyne, when he was<br />

Education Minister, specifically said that him and his government<br />

had an “emotional commitment” to private schools.<br />

With the massive cuts to education that just came from the<br />

<strong>2016</strong> Turnbull government budget, people are simply losing<br />

more faith in public education, and a parent’s capacity to<br />

spend on their child’s education is more important than ever.<br />

Turnbull has already expressed interest in deregulating university<br />

fees, giving universities the ability to multiply the amount<br />

they charge - hence the “no $100,000 degrees” campaign. While<br />

the possibility of this is still uncertain, especially due to the<br />

Coalition making up a smaller-than-expected proportion in<br />

Parliament, partial deregulation for certain courses is already<br />

underway. Turnbull has said it will “allow universities to concentrate<br />

on the things they can do best”, however, this would<br />

clearly further limit low socio-economic status (SES) students<br />

from accessing quality education. For someone like myself who<br />

is ineligible for HECS debt, increased university fees would simply<br />

mean that I wouldn’t be able to afford to study in Australia<br />

anymore. But even for those who are eligible for the loan, a<br />

financial burden of that size is simply unthinkable for low SES<br />

students.<br />

As young people, there’s little we can do about this alarming<br />

inequity. However, being aware of this sharp divide in privilege<br />

and making informed choices about the federal election<br />

Good students are<br />

the product of good<br />

teachers, but the<br />

allure of a bigger salary<br />

package at a private<br />

school often wins out.<br />

is a good place to start. The difference of educational equity<br />

between Australia and New Zealand, as well as many other<br />

developed countries, shows that successful education reform is<br />

possible.<br />

Good students are the product of good teachers, but the<br />

allure of a bigger salary package at a private school often wins<br />

out. As private schools appear over-funded relative to the<br />

funding public schools receive, most of the change needs to<br />

occur at a state level. But here on the ground we need to make<br />

parents want to send their kids through the public system like<br />

they do in New Zealand. We need to put our faith back into<br />

public schools, encourage tertiary students to pursue education<br />

and respect our hard-working teachers in public schools who<br />

haven’t already been lured away.<br />

I may not have noticed the disparity of Melbourne’s notorious<br />

private school culture if I didn’t move here from another<br />

country. What it did teach me however, is to have a hell of a lot<br />

of respect for the students in medicine, law and similarly competitive<br />

courses who may be from under-funded public schools,<br />

from low-income suburbs or from under-resourced rural areas.<br />

Coming so far with all the odds stacked against them shows<br />

that their achievements are truly phenomenal.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 51


Illustration by Angus Marian


CREATIVE<br />

Voiceless<br />

by Manon Boutin Charles<br />

I<br />

had always lived in Paris.<br />

8, rue des Wallons. For as long as I can remember.<br />

I had never seen anything else: I had never travelled before<br />

last year. That’s why when I had the opportunity to study<br />

abroad, I chose to apply far away. Really far. The other side<br />

of the world...Australia. When I was a child someone told me<br />

people there were upside down, and that they would celebrate<br />

Christmas in shorts.<br />

It might seem stupid, but I thought the distance would help<br />

me find myself. Wherever I was. Maybe it was there.<br />

I wanted to try everything. Start a new life. I was in the<br />

“Great Unknown” all my favourite adventures books were<br />

describing, experiencing a feeling I’d been reading and dreaming<br />

about since I was a child. A new culture, a new life, a new<br />

language ; that’s what I was about to see.<br />

That language part was the most appealing, yet the most<br />

frightening. Of course I knew English, but I didn’t feel comfortable<br />

with it at all. I am a writer; I love puns, poems and play on<br />

words in French. What would happen with a new code I did not<br />

have mastery of at all?<br />

I had no idea how difficult it would be to deal with that new<br />

language, and that was the greatest part of the adventure. I felt<br />

lost in new linguistic difficulties, drowning in a world where I<br />

suddenly became voiceless.<br />

*<br />

Quarter past eleven. I’ve overslept, again. I’ve been here<br />

for a year, but lately I have felt constantly jet-lagged, trying<br />

to keep in touch with France by staying up late. I’ve missed it.<br />

I’ve missed my language. I dream in English now. I have even<br />

started using Australian slang. It all makes me sick.<br />

Another quick glance at my phone screen tells me I have no<br />

new messages or calls. I go from disappointment, to sadness,<br />

then to mingled anger and disgust. I try to tell myself I am<br />

worth more than that. I try to believe that I am not the one<br />

who was losing something, that I am not the one who is going<br />

to regret something. But if I am perfectly honest, I feel like I am<br />

experiencing a forced weaning. It is emotionally hard, but also<br />

physically. I can’t handle the loss any longer. I need to hear that<br />

voice again.<br />

I’ve always been passionate: maybe that’s my fault actually,<br />

perhaps that’s why it did not work. Maybe I loved too much.<br />

Maybe I was oppressive? I tried hard to put the fault on myself<br />

so I don’t feel hate, but it felt wrong: who chased the other? not<br />

me! It was not my fault. I couldn’t imagine someone chasing me<br />

and then changing their mind. It was unbelievable. It sounds<br />

stupid. Useless. “A total waste of time.”<br />

I remember the first day we’ve met. I’d just arrived in<br />

that new country, and felt like discovering Melbourne’s cold<br />

nightlife. To discover a people, a culture... Everything was so<br />

different from Paris. My wandering drove me to a pub. A band<br />

was playing, people were drinking and dancing, but I don’t really<br />

remember any visual details. All I could focus on was a voice.<br />

The voice. It wrapped me in a feeling I’d never known before. A<br />

weird warmth; powerful, smooth but tough at the same time. It<br />

was like the voice wanted to say something. It could reach notes<br />

I’ve never heard before. It was calling me. Asking me to join, to<br />

stay with it forever. It said it would be there for me anytime. It<br />

said it would never leave me.<br />

I remember that voice. I’ve never been able to detach from<br />

it since then. It was like it was part of me now, it penetrated<br />

me, it cast a spell on me, maybe. I entered that pub, without<br />

the faintest idea how much my life would change from that<br />

moment. Without the faintest idea how that voice would never<br />

leave.<br />

*<br />

Still no new text message, and it was pretty late. I found<br />

myself wondering what I did wrong to deserve that. All the<br />

people I love always end up leaving me at some point. Watching<br />

my phone screen with empty eyes, re-reading our conversations,<br />

memories of a relationship that started well. Finding this<br />

message from a few months ago:<br />

« I can’t control it. I want to talk to you forever. I feel guilty for<br />

giving you all of my attention right now when I have so much work<br />

to do... but I just can’t stop myself. I want to talk to you, I really like<br />

it, I really like you. It’s hard to explain because it’s hard to understand.<br />

I don’t want to do anything else. »<br />

At the time, I found it eerily cute. Today, I read it as a wake<br />

up call, a warning. It was too intense, too dangerous. Now I<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 53


CREATIVE<br />

understand what that means, and that’s not because I speak<br />

English better. It was not a declaration of love. It was grievances.<br />

It was complaints. It was the expression of a fear I couldn’t<br />

understand in time. I hadn’t taken it into account. Maybe that’s<br />

why it didn’t end well. We’ll never know.<br />

Since I had to, I went to bed, thinking about all the things<br />

I might have misunderstood since I’ve been living in that<br />

strange land. I speak English, but I feel like there is a language<br />

I don’t speak. I can’t understand feelings. I can’t express them<br />

anymore. They’re different over here. When I finally understood<br />

the real language barrier, I felt like someone just had just stolen<br />

my right to speak. One does not simply translate a feeling. Even<br />

though I was trying to scream my feelings out loud, my voice<br />

just couldn’t reflect them. And even if it had, they couldn’t have<br />

reached anyone. I was voiceless.<br />

Everything reminds me of that story, and I wonder if I’m obsessed<br />

yet. I remember we use to talk about words a lot, about<br />

how they could make us closer or drive us away. Our scales were<br />

so different, we used to have fun comparing them.<br />

Then we’d laugh. “Have you ever noticed how when you<br />

repeat a word over and over, it becomes funny, and makes no<br />

sense anymore?” Maybe those were the words I loved. They<br />

sounded better when pronounced by that voice. I’ve always<br />

thought I was talkative, but it’s usually small talk, like I have<br />

nothing interesting to say. Like I couldn’t express the things I<br />

had to say. I think we both felt that way. I could have chosen<br />

music, like you did, but I chose to write. I could have written<br />

songs instead. I still hear that voice telling me they were hiding<br />

“more secrets about me than I could ever tell you.” I loved that<br />

idea, and I studied each song just like I used to study literature,<br />

phrase by phrase, word by word, searching for a hidden meaning<br />

in every voice variation, in any string vibration.<br />

I thought we were able to communicate, but our linguistic<br />

repertoires never tuned. After one or two misunderstandings,<br />

a false note, a wrong word, everything stopped. Words hurt,<br />

they’re dangerous, and maybe they shouldn’t be carelessly<br />

touched, especially by my inexpert hands. I yelled for the last<br />

time, trying to express a feeling that didn’t exist in that country,<br />

and that’s how we split, mutually misunderstood, maybe<br />

forever.<br />

they were saying out loud what I’d spent my whole life secretly<br />

thinking. That song especially, expressing that fear, that feeling<br />

to be in front of the unknown, to be a whole person. About this<br />

relationship that nobody knows how long would last. “I don’t<br />

know, a second? Or a billion million years? In the grand scheme<br />

of things, hell, I don’t have a clue. But I’m certain that this fraction,<br />

now, is really all we have, I’m just happy to be in this time<br />

with you”. And eventually, I understood. I knew the song by<br />

heart, but I had to wait for that day to finally get what it meant.<br />

I left before the show ended. I didn’t need to be here anymore.<br />

I enjoy thinking about us: how we could have spent our lives<br />

together, talking another language we’d have created, playing<br />

with our differences. But we couldn’t. We didn’t end up together.<br />

There were no emotional reunion, no heart-rending cry at<br />

the airport, no kiss under the tropical rains of the Southern<br />

Hemisphere. No voice begged me to stay. Nobody tried to block<br />

my way to the gate. I entered my plane like nothing was holding<br />

me in that country... nothing did. The link’s broken, and all that<br />

remains from this voice are the few CDs I kept. I can hear it,<br />

but I’m not sure my own voice will ever reach anything down<br />

there. Maybe it will send a scrambled, indecipherable message,<br />

in an unknown language, through these words or others, yet<br />

unknown.<br />

*<br />

I discovered, travelling, that we don’t just learn a new<br />

language; we create it. I’ll never speak English; I’ll master its<br />

sounds, its words, its grammatical rules as much as I can, but<br />

I’ll use them all to speak my own language, a new one that<br />

comes from my experiences, and that’s spoken by nobody else.<br />

Maybe we don’t need the others to build ourselves: we just need<br />

a voice, resonating in ourselves forever. The ones from those<br />

songs which, I hope, will keep inspiring me for many years. I<br />

may have not found my way at the other side of the world, but I<br />

found that voice, and that’s more than enough.<br />

*<br />

Yesterday, for my last night here in Australia, I decided to go<br />

back to that pub, and some weird coincidence decided that the<br />

voice was there again. I didn’t plan it, but I thought perhaps it<br />

was meaningful to hear it one last time, where we met a year<br />

ago. It was like a loop, or the end point of a great adventure.<br />

I don’t know if I wanted to live something more, to try once<br />

more, I just wanted to hear it again. I wanted to write the end<br />

of the story.<br />

And while the gig started, I remembered. I remembered our<br />

laughs, I remembered our fights. I remembered our words, I remembered<br />

our fears. Nights spent talking about the differences<br />

between our lifestyles, and between our countries. Or the ones<br />

spent singing, listening to that voice, listening to that guitar.<br />

I remembered the songs, their lyrics resonating in me like<br />

54 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


FICTION<br />

Somewhere in Australia<br />

by Ina Lee<br />

Claire was bad at maths, Iffah at science and Kevin at<br />

social interactions. But none of that mattered, because<br />

together they were the ultimate team for the job. Tasked with<br />

saving the world from an impending alien attack, the trio sat in<br />

the abandoned Hargrave-Andrew library of Monash University,<br />

devising their next move.<br />

The Earth had acted quickly in the face of its approaching<br />

doom. The alien ship appeared in the sky at 5:32pm Eastern<br />

standard time on Sunday the 26th of March and by Monday<br />

the 27th of August the following year, the world’s leaders had<br />

finally reached the consensus that they should probably do<br />

something. An eviction notice of sorts had already been sent<br />

via transmission from the alien ship. And while no one could<br />

translate the message, the mixture of aggressive static and<br />

grunts heard, were enough to finally convince the suit-wearers<br />

of the world that the situation was serious.<br />

After rigorous standardised testing, three individuals worldwide<br />

were selected to save the human race. Coincidentally, all<br />

three happened to be Australian students enrolled at Monash<br />

University. The Clayton campus was shut indefinitely for the<br />

duration of the alien threats and the team was allowed to<br />

freely roam the campus, with unlimited access to all university<br />

resources. The world was watching, anxiously waiting for these<br />

bright young kids to save the world, or for the aliens to finally<br />

invade. The former was preferred.<br />

Every five minutes Claire tapped at the keys on her<br />

Macbook, informing the world via twitter of their progress and<br />

her obsession with teacup Pomeranians. So far there hadn’t<br />

been much to report, but they were trending at number one<br />

with the hashtag #somewhereinaustralia, so that was progress.<br />

Sitting across from Claire was Iffah, the smart one of the group.<br />

Iffah clicked out of the page she had just been reading and<br />

reached for the “physics for dummies” textbook on the table in<br />

front of her. So far all she’d found were numerous articles referencing<br />

Star Trek, Doctor Who and Stargate. She was starting<br />

to question the legitimacy of her resources, but the educational<br />

programmed Farscape seemed reliable, at least it wasn’t vaguely<br />

familiar like the others. She was going to follow up on it.<br />

Kevin, sat on the front half of his seat next to Iffah, hunched<br />

over a small workbook, scribbling random equations and<br />

doodles (the penis kind). He’d been at it for the past 5 hours,<br />

over which he’d had to switch writing hands seven times. He<br />

couldn’t write with his left, but his hand writing hadn’t been<br />

the best before, so illegible was a slight improvement.<br />

“I’ve got it!” announced Kevin, rising from his chair so quickly<br />

the table wobbled and his chair fell back crushing a cockroach<br />

to death. “I’ve got it! I’ve found a way to humanly get rid of the<br />

aliens!” Kevin’s face had never been so red and he no longer had<br />

full control of his hand gestures, yet he continued. “All we have<br />

to do is reverse the polarity and crank up the volume of every<br />

wind turbine in the world.” His arms flapped about here and<br />

there, making grand gestures at the wrong intervals. “Then, we<br />

turn on all the heaters we have and set fire to the forests. The<br />

aliens will see the planet as being too hot and leave us alone”.<br />

Kevin picked up his chair and sat back down, exhausted from<br />

both the physical and emotional strength it took for him to<br />

stand up and deliver his speech.<br />

Claire liked the idea and sent out a tweet. Iffah on the<br />

other hand wasn’t too keen on the plan. ‘What if the aliens are<br />

unaffected by increased temperatures or they prefer warmer<br />

environments?” She asked and with that the team was back to<br />

square one. Kevin started to cry and Claire announced a team<br />

break.<br />

The big idea came during the team break. Kevin was in the<br />

bathroom and had been for the past 30 minutes, Iffah was eating<br />

a banana and Claire was on YouTube. Claire was trying to<br />

find something to watch, something that didn’t involve aliens,<br />

when she came across ‘THE BEST OF FRIENDS – SEASON<br />

1’. Claire had been a big Friends fan when she was 13 and to<br />

watch it again brought back so many memories, mainly of going<br />

through puberty and failing year 7 English, but also all the good<br />

stuff. And then the idea came.<br />

“Guys! Guys! I have an idea!”<br />

Kevin rushed out of the bathroom and Iffah swallowed her<br />

banana whole. “What is it?” They collectively asked.<br />

And so Claire explained her idea, the group agreed and put<br />

it into action straight away. The team compiled a collection of<br />

Friends episodes, deemed to be the best, and then transmitted<br />

them up to the alien ship.<br />

The response wasn’t immediate, the aliens had to first watch<br />

the 960 hours’ worth of video and then process the information.<br />

But eventually the desired outcome transpired. Through<br />

watching their social interactions and how they cared for each<br />

other, the aliens gained an appreciation for the human race and<br />

decided not to invade. The alien ship left in search of another<br />

planet, one a little less occupied, and the trio were celebrated as<br />

heroes and the world got back to normal.<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 55


POETRY<br />

I’ll keep you wild<br />

by Ed Jessop<br />

56 | Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong>


Illustration by Olivia Walmsley<br />

Lot’s <strong>Wife</strong> | 57


y Emily Dang


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