The Final Frontier + Exploration Playlist By: Mary Harmer

The Final Frontier
Exploration Playlist
By: Mary Harmer
Road Trippin:THE RED HOT
Wakin’on a Pretty Daze:
Space Oddity:DAVID BOWIE
Supersymmetry:ARCADE FIRE
Octopus’ Garden:THE BEATLES
I Feel Just Like a Child:
The Times They Are a Changing:
Rocket Man: ELTON JOHN
What the Water Gave Me:
Don’t Deny Your Heart:HOT CHIP
The Passenger:IGGY POP
You Pretty Thing:LISA MITCHELL
What a Wonderful World:
Wonder Years:REAL ESTATE
To Just Grow Away:
Island Walking:TAME IMPALA
Keep on Running:ANDY BULL
Frances Vinall
Jessica Bong
Sarah Gross
Phirin Ha
Sinead Halliday
Anna Harcourt
Mary Harmer
Robert Shumoail-Albazi
William Field-Papuga
Emiily Nielsen
Aleczander Gamboa
Julia McConnochie
Michelle Shelly
Oleisha Proksa
Carrmen Yew
Sarah Fern
Jessica Margot
Stephanie Zhu
Hayley Morris
Zoe Kimpton
Zach Beltsos-Russo
Julia Pillai
Hayley Morris
Lachlan Siu
Mill Thompson
Sam Phillips
Georgia Johnson Briese
MONSU Caulfield
Bambra Press
[email protected]
Esperanto Student Magazine
Lvl 2, Bldg S, 2 Princess Avenue,
Caulfield, Vic, 3125
03 9903 1292
Esperanto Magazine is published by
MONSU Caulfield. Views expressed
within do not necessarily reflect those of
MONSU Caulfield, the editorial panel,
the publisher, editor or any other person
associated with Esperanto.
The Final Frontier
Message from Esperanto
This is our broadest theme of the year. It was an experiment in interpretation: we
wanted to see what our brilliant contributors could come up with when we gave
them something as open as ‘exploration.’ They didn’t disappoint.
We have a plenty of stories about personal exploration. Aleczander Gamboa
discovered that Grindr isn’t just for sex—it can also be a salve for loneliness.
Renee Newbury transitioned from male to female while she was at university,
and she told Mary Harmer all about it. Michelle Shelley, on the other hand, found
herself confronted when she visited asylum seekers stuck in indefinite detention.
So after all this—what is exploration? Exploration is about doing something
new. It’s about getting out of your comfort zone, and investigating what’s out
there. As Sinead Halliday and Anna Harcourt discovered, there’s nothing like a
change to trigger falling in love, or having some awesome sexcapades. It’s about
growth: opening your mind, and letting new experiences in.
We learnt a lot putting together this issue. We hope you do too when you read it.
Frances, Jess and Sarah
Fellow wanderlusters
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Then of course, there’s exploring the physical world. Whether that be local—
think Phirin Ha’s guide to urban exploring in Melbourne­— or global—like Vitaly
Demidov’s experience climbing 27 mountains in 3 months—we hope we’ve
inspired you to get out there and have an adventure.
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We know what it’s like to be a Uni Student. Uni Life is hard
work!! That’s why the team at Down Under Day Tours have
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Enjoy a glass (or bottle) of wine in The Yarra Valley? Or get up
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What are you waiting for?! Grab your mates and go on an
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Your fun specialists,
Down Under Day Tours Melbourne
Ain’t No Mountain
High Enough
war & peace
Vitaly Demidov climbed 27
mountains in three months.
He tells Frances Vinall about
his crazy experience
Robert Shamoail-Albazi
gives us a quick run down of
the current exhibition happening
at the MUMA Gallery
We have a quick chat
with artist and designer
Zach Belstos-Russo about his
odd yet beautiful creations
Satellites and the
Search for El Dorado
The Surprising
Humanity of Grindr
eat, build,
William Field-Papuga
explains how modern explorers
harness technology to search
for ancient civilisations
The app we only think of as
sexual led Aleczander Gamboa to
a lifelong friend
Emily Neilsen never thought
she’d be able to build a house,
until she did. In France.
Young, Wild,
Zoe Kimpton captures a group
of modern day explorers in their
quirky, off beat style. Illustrated
by Hayley Morris
Michelle Shelly reflects
on visiting asylum seekers
in detention
Sinead Halliday and Anna
Harcourt investigate why it’s
so much easier to throw it all
away for love (or sex) when
we aren’t at home
Exploring Gender:
What it’s like to transition
from male to female
Esperanto’s Guide to
Urban Exploring
impressions of
an Asian Tiger
Renee Newbury talks to
Mary Harmer about being
transgender at university
Everything you need to know
about Melbourne’s strange,
beautiful abandoned sites
Julia McConnichie has fallen in
love with her idiosyncratic life
on exchange in Malaysia
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The Final Frontier
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Frances Vinall
Vitaly Demidov &
Jessica Bong
as a person so much. It increases your experience of life so much. I realised, I can’t allow
myself to not do it. I have to do it.”
The Final Frontier
Water collected
from each of the
27 peaks
Prior to his three-month mountain
climbing expedition, Vitaly was occupied
with the Swedish army. The military took
him to several exotic places, where he had
the opportunity to climb mountains in Egypt
and Sicily. His curiosity whetted, he began
researching, and soon heard about groups of
thrill-seekers who made a mission of climbing ‘the Crown of Europe,’ the continents
highest points.
“Why couldn’t I do that?” he asked himself. A few weeks later he was in the Czech
Republic, shivering his way up the first peak
of his journey.
“The first week felt like ten years, there
was so much to experience,” he says.
In that time alone, he reached the summits of the highest mountains in the Czech
Republic, Poland, and Slovakia. The next
week it was Hungary, Ukraine, and Moldova.
He’s not done yet, either—out of the 48
mountains in Europe he’s done just over
half. Not a bad accomplishment for three
months; but he’s quick to assure, he’ll be
back. There’s something about mountains
that just draws him in.
“Every single mountain is very different,
it’s unique in a number of ways. The nature
is different; vegetation, all of the flora and
fauna, the animals, the weather, the conditions, it all changes so much,” he describes.
“It changes the experience so much. You
can’t compare them. Every time you go up
there are different obstacles. The diversity
of the whole thing, I didn’t realise how
different they all are.”
“You think, is this really worth nearly dying
for? But then I realised yes, it is.”
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It’s late afternoon on the slopes leading
to Grossglockner, the tallest peak in the
Austrian Alps. Vitaly Demidov, a 24—yearold adrenalin junkie from Russia-via-Sweden,
is not dressed for a snowstorm. He’s fitted
out in shorts, thin rain pants, a shirt made of
merino wool, and a jacket. He’s also soaking
wet; it’s been raining all day. He’s woefully
underprepared for the thick flurry of snow,
icy winds, and increasing blackness that is
descending on the mountain.
“I have never experienced that darkness
before,” Vitaly remembers, warm and dry
months later in a Perth apartment. “It was
complete darkness. I thought I would die
within the next hour.”
“I couldn’t walk anymore. I had to run
because I was freezing to death. I stopped
once to adjust my gear, and I started shaking
so much. I realised that if I stayed standing
here, my muscles would completely seize up.”
Even after the snow turned back to rain,
conditions don’t improve much for Vitaly on
the mountainside. Thick clouds block the
moonlight, and a new layer of crisp whiteness covers the bright markings that usually
indicate safe paths. He is left to wander blindly
around the slopes, trying to stay warm.
“Eventually I realised I was walking down
the mountain, not up. It was low enough for
trees to grow,” he recalls. “I was so happy, I
was laughing my ass off! I was so happy that
I actually survived this shit.”
“When I got back the woman who’d seen
me off the day before started yelling, ‘Oh
my god, oh my god, where have you been?! I
called the police, I called the mountain guide,
I can’t believe you survived!’” He laughs
fondly at her exhortations.
For a lot of people, such an experience
would be the most exhilarating they’d ever
had. Vitaly, on the other hand, is someone
who decided to climb 27 mountains in 3
months on a whim. Each was the highest
peak in a different European country, where
he collected a small jar of water as a souvenir
of every achievement.
“I didn’t do any training before I started
doing this,” he explains. “I just packed my
backpack, got all my gear, picked a flight, and
started climbing.”
“When I was travelling, everybody was
telling me that the stuff I’m doing is crazy,
that I’m crazy, that it’s impossible, and that
I would get myself killed. The funny part is
that when I was travelling I had absolutely
no insurance whatsoever. Now, looking back
at all the times I almost died, how close to
death I was…you do realise how stupid
what you’re doing is, but it advances you
Concrete: a solid state, a construction material, something known or true.
3 may - 5 july 2014
Laurence Aberhart
Jananne al-Ani
Kader Attia
Saskia Doherty
Fabien Giraud &
Raphaël Siboni
Igor Grubic
Carlos Irijalba
Nicholas Mangan
Rä di Martino
Ricky MaYnard
Callum Morton
Tom Nicholson
Jamie North
Justin Trendall
James tylor
Curator: Geraldine kirrihi Barlow
Ground Floor, Building F
Monash University, Caulfield Campus
900 Dandenong Road
Caulfield East VIC 3145 Australia
Telephone +61 3 9905 4217
[email protected]
Tues – Fri 10am – 5pm; Sat 12 – 5pm
Igor Grubic
Monument (work in progress) 2014
video still
courtesy of the artist
The Final Frontier
The current exhibition Concrete at the
Monash University Museum of Art brings
together the work of 16 local and international artists (including Jananne al-Ani,
Callum Morton, Kader Attia, Ricky Maynard,
Saskia Doherty and Spanish artist Carlos
Irijalba). It explores themes of history,
materiality and the monument. The exhibition presents the residual effects of conflict, trauma and loss throughout various
landscapes, and coincides with the anniversary of World War I.
Some works such as Jamie North’s slag
sculptures or Callum Morton’s Monument
#26: Settlement engage with ideas of material and form, while other artists such
as Ricky Maynard or Jananne al-Ani portray
political landscapes in stages of (or with
implications of) post-trauma. Concrete
asks the viewer to consider the role of
materials in the construction of memories
and, as the exhibition’s curator Geraldine
Kirrihi Barlow writes ‘to make our own
assessment of the patterns and expressions
of cultural value embedded in built and
monumental form.’
I’d like to begin by discussing your new film work
Monument. A catalogue for the exhibition describes
the film as a ‘series of meditative portraits of memorials [in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina] built by the former Yugoslav
state.’ In your previous works such as Black Peristyle (1998), 366 Liberation
Rituals (2008) and Zero Balkan Beat (2012) you use public actions or
‘happenings’ to express politically charged statements.
How do you feel the reflective and meditative qualities in Monument
compare to these arguably, more candid styles of representation? Also, I was
wondering how the sites you chose informed the style and pace of the film.
If I understood well, your question talks about
different approaches to different exhibiting
spaces with a different public.
The project 366 Liberation Rituals consisted of lots of minimalistic (micro-political)
interventions in public spaces which I did on
an everyday basis during the whole of 2008
and part of 2009. When working in a public
space I’m always thinking how to present an
idea to a wide range of people as simply as possible, so that everyone can understand. Similar
to the minimalist style in agitprop campaigns,
when transmitting certain messages I try to
make them visually well-designed. I create
simple and clear ideas, like ideograms, because
in a public area you do not have time for a lot of
explaining. People are preoccupied with completing everyday goals, and you’ve got to somehow
get their attention. to stop them and have them
receive the message, to involve them. But when
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Within the exhibition is a new film
work (in progress) by Croatian artist Igor
Grubic titled Monument. Mesmerising and
poetic, Monument details nine monuments
built in former Yugoslav states during
World War II, to memorialise conflicts
and reflect an anti-fascist history.
Grubic talked to Robert Shumoail-Albazi
about some of the themes and intentions
behind this new work, and some of his
earlier pieces.
This interview will be
made available in full
on both the MUMA
and Esperanto websites
I work on film I’m aware that the public will be
the ones intentionally coming to see the exhibition or some film festival and that they will have
a different kind of attention.
I started to work on this movie Monument
keeping in mind the fact that during the war
in Croatia in the nineties there were 3000 antifascist monuments destroyed. The first idea was
to film an activist style documentary with lots of
interviews about this problem. Later I changed
the scenario when I faced the monuments again
(some of which I hadn’t seen since the eighties) and decided to let them speak their own
story about their metaphysical life. All of these
monuments are placed in nature and when
you are near them you can feel peace; have an
experience like you are metaphorically facing the
Monolith in Kubrick’s: Odyssey.
I was also in a period of my life when I
started to focus more intensively on meditation
practice to get back into my centre. Through
filming in a poetical and experimental way, I
have tried to create existential, even spiritual
resonance to the political issue....I really tried
to film these portraits of several abstract, antifascist monuments in a way that they would
cross reference with the nature context and
serve to create poetic, visual metaphors.
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State your full name please.
Zach Beltsos-Russo
What is one thing you’d never leave
the house without.
What are you studying at Monash?
I’m currently in second year
communication design
How long have you been practicing art?
My parents were pretty big on self
directed learning when I was growing
up, so that started a general interest
in art. I enrolled myself in drawing classes at Rings Road Art Studio
during high school, which is when I
started taking it pretty seriously.
State your medium of choice.
It really depends on what’s appropriate for the subject. There’s no real
medium of choice, I like to explore
and see what I can do with different
media. Generally things start out as
thumbnail sketches with a grey lead or
pen, but not always.
What inspires you?
Observation is the starting point for
most of the things I make. I draw a
lot from what I see or experience, and
I generally try and turn that into
something else. I’m really interested in art history as well, and this
almost always forms the grounding for
what I make.
What is your art an exploration of?
There’s no real main goal it’s just
how I respond to what’s in front of
me, so its always changing. In everything though, I try and establish a
relationship between things, whether
that be in the subject, or in the elements that compose the image.
Thanks Zach
No Worries!
The Final Frontier
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Maggot Pie
YEAH Grandpa
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Sarah Fern
El Dorado literally means ‘The gilded one.’ It was the name
Spanish conquistadores gave to the chief of a mysterious tribe
living deep within the Amazon—a tribe so wealthy this chief
would powder himself with gold every day, only to wash it
off in a sacred lake each night.
When the story of the chief reached Europe
in the 16th century, it took on a life of its
own. It changed from a man to a city, a place
where gold was so plentiful it no longer had
intrinsic value.
Countless expedition teams were sent on
fruitless searches scouring the rainforests
for the elusive lost city. Europeans were
so entranced by the myth that El Dorado
became a common feature on many maps of
the new world.
The secrets contained in the dense Central
and South American jungles have fascinated
the outside population for centuries, offering
a new world of discovery. The thrill of finding
the ruins of a once thriving civilization, lying
in wait beneath over a millennia of jungle
growth, is now captivating the imaginations
of today’s generation of explorers.
“The Aztecs thrived with a sophisticated
economic and cultural ethic that rivalled
some of the leading cities of Europe at
the time,” says Dr Patrick Greene, CEO of
Museum Victoria, where there is presently an
exhibit on the Americas’ ancient civilisations.
Today is the greatest age of exploration
in these still under-investigated areas of the
globe, as new sites are being found at an
unprecedented rate. Archaeologists estimate
that as much as 90% of Latin America’s
ancient civilisations are still to be uncovered.
The Final Frontier
Archaeologists estimate
that as much as 90% of
Latin America’s ancient
civilisations are still to
be uncovered.
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“[The Aztec’s culture] developed almost in
parallel with our own,” Dr Greene explains.
This included a barbaric all-encompassing
religion, which demanded the annual sacrifice of thousands, including children, in order
for the sun to rise every morning.
In what resembles the plot of an Indiana
Jones film, entire Mayan cities—a civilisation
that pre-dated the Aztecs —were discovered
during the early 2000s, in an uncharted
region of Northern Guatemala. They represented one of the most ground-breaking
archaeological finds in Central America.
These sites had been concealed by their
remoteness for centuries, requiring explorers to hike for days on end, carving a path
though the overgrowth with machetes to
reach them. They are also completely covered
by jungle so dense that visibility is limited
to 10 feet in some places. Archaeologists
could pass through these cities once home
to thousands, with intricate roads and stone
monuments, without realizing it.
They would have remained hidden without
revolutionary new technology from orbiting
NASA satellites. This futuristic technology is
used by an emerging profession of ‘space’
archaeologists, showing what would otherwise be invisible to the human eye.
By a process known as ‘remote sensing’,
vegetation which has grown over human settlements can be distinguished from other forest growth. This is done via infrared imaging,
which detects minute differences between
the two types of vegetation in temperature
and chemical composition. It is thought that
these differences originate from the farming
and building products, such as lime plaster,
used by the Mayans. Over time this changed
the composition of the soil and, in turn, that
of the jungle which reclaimed the sites.
This ingenious method has been used
to reveal an ancient world of roads, canals,
and dams lying beneath the forest floor. In
an area where the population density in
ancient times rivalled that of modern China,
it has huge potential to unearth countless
other sites.
It could be regarded as poetic that Latin
American societies, which so revered the sky
as the realm of the overseeing gods, are now
being uncovered by a modern day celestial
The legendary El Dorado, tirelessly sought
after by Europeans 300 years ago, might now
only exist as a metaphor of something unobtainable. Yet the lands of South and Central
America still represent fertile ground for
swash buckling explorers of the 21st century.
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You meet the most
intriguing people
on Grindr.
For those unaware of its existence, let me
explain what Grindr is first. A social networking app specifically targeted towards gay
men, it works by tracking down other gay
men in your area. It’s a standard online dating app—though the word ‘dating’ should be
used loosely, considering the vast majority
of gay guys (including myself at times) have
used the app to either:
a. Find a regular fuck buddy or
b. Seek sexy strangers (who you will
probably never see again) for a quick romp.
In other words, it’s an app for horny gay men
to meet so they can then do horny gay things
to each other to satiate their ongoing gay
Or at least, that’s what I thought, until I
met Nick*.
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weren’t as strong as they are now, so helicopters were even above us broadcasting it
live. I was outraged. It’s like the media had
no sense of privacy or humanity during a
time where I was meant to grieve.”
By that last sentence, his shoulders had
drastically slumped in sadness. I stared
at him, and I was immediately hypnotised
by the mixture of fire and fury his eyes
revealed as he recalled the awful memory.
He continued, “Things obviously got worse,
I was betrayed by my sister, someone who
I thought would always be there for me.
She withdrew our family’s entire fortune
and ran away with it. I remember receiving
the bank statement saying I had no money
left, and with no money I couldn’t pay for
anything. Everything was taken away from
me­— the house, the car, the horses—I was
left with nothing, and the only sibling I had
left abandoned me to continue living a
lavish lifestyle. That’s something I can
never forgive.” he said.
Penniless and homeless, he did the
only thing he could do: start from the very
bottom. Seeking refuge from his friends,
he tirelessly worked several different jobs
before climbing the ranks in the car auctioning business. The rest was history, with
fate having brought us together as we continued to talk about our lives. He admitted
that he used Grindr because he felt lonely,
hoping to seek others to have meaningful
conversations with rather than casual sex.
He had been unsuccessful many times.
Meeting Nick changed my entire perspective about Grindr, but in saying that
I would never have known him had I not
explored the app in the first place. I was
actually the first person he told in detail
about his past, as it had been dwelling on
him and he wanted to vent about it. Like
me, he too took a leap of faith when he
messaged me. Clearly it was a good
decision, since we’re now great friends.
So to any guy who thinks Grindr is
beneath them—take a chance and explore
a little. You never know what you’ll get or
who you’ll meet. Whether it is a new friend
or an impressive collection of dick pictures
sent from strangers, you’ll be gaining a
reward either way.
*Name changed for privacy reasons
The Final Frontier
Out of sheer boredom with no plans for
the weekend, I was traversing through
numerous Grindr profiles one day when
the notification sound alerted me to a
new message.
“Hi, how are you?”
How simple and succinct, I thought. A
lot of other guys just send nude pictures
to me. Curious, I looked at his profile. His
display picture was a headless photo of a
man mowing the lawn shirtless. He had a
built physique, but not to a point where it
became unsightly. I couldn’t stop staring
at it - I was memorised. However when
I looked at how old he was I became a
little apprehensive as he was twice my age.
Nevertheless, he was only asking a polite
question, so it’d be rude not to reply, right?
Deciding to take a leap of faith, I wrote,
“I’m good thanks, how has your day been?”
After we both got through the formalities,
I learned that his name was Nick and that
he worked in the car auctioning business.
He was single to mingle, and only lived
about three kilometres away from me. As
time went on, our occasional chats became
more and more frequent as the both of
us enjoyed how easy it was to talk to each
other (along with some loose flirting here
and there.) Eventually, we decided to meet
in person—he would pick me up from the
train station and we would both go back to
his place to “hang out”.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to
expect. Because we met on Grindr, I
thought “hanging out” meant getting my
freak on, regardless of the moderate age
gap (I never really considered myself an
ageist, so really if we were going to have
sex I wasn’t about to complain.) Instead
what I got was much more cathartic than
I had expected at the time.
When he invited me inside his house,
Nick indulged me with more details of his
life. His family was once considered royalty
in the horse racing business in the mid
90’s. Because of their wealth and influence,
they were quite prestigious in the media—
but that all came crashing down when his
parents passed away and his older brother
suddenly committed suicide.
“I remember exactly what the funerals
were like—it was horrible. I couldn’t even
say goodbye to them properly,” he scoffed
as he showed me the Wikipedia page
detailing his family’s past.
“Because of our fame, the media were
all over my older sister and I. They just
seemed so fascinated with the deaths of
my parents and my brother—they even
camped outside the cemetery just to bombard me with questions. Privacy laws
“To be honest, I wasn’t
sure what to expect.
Because we met on
Grindr, I thought
“hanging out” meant
getting my freak on.”
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If you’ve ever built a house,
you’d know that it is a hell of
a lot harder than making a Lego
house. Heck, it’s hard enough
doing it with Lego; I used to give
up after I’d done the walls. Who
even needs a roof, right? Lego
men don’t feel the weather.
Words &
Emily Nielsen
*The exterior walls were made of rocks
and looked like a hobbit’s house in
Lord of the Rings.
** Smores are made of a biscuit-type
cracker with roasted marshmallows
and chocolate blocks inside to form
a sandwich created by campfire gods.
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Anyway, so here I was, an Australian fattyturned-tradie in the middle of the beautiful
French countryside. Despite what I’m making
it sound like so far, it is one of the best experiences you could have. I met people from all
over the world who wanted to try something
different, got to try some (more) of the best
food in the region and got free accommodation—mice rummaging at night included.
On top of that, we saw a meteor shower,
walked through sunflower fields and went
camping where people go to see bands, drink
alcohol and indulge in other substances. For
me, those ‘substances’ involved around 10
Smores, thanks to the American volunteer**.
Do this, and I guarantee you will know what
a true food coma is.
I started out not being able to lift a
breezeblock by myself, but by the end of my
stay was able to lift them with one hand and
clamber up scaffolding without freaking out.
I ended up tanning to the point where I was
almost black, had big muscles (not quite as
big as Schwarzenegger’s) and cuts on my
legs which made me feel badass enough to
join some sort of gang.
Moral of the story, give it a try on your next
holiday. Do it with friends or by yourself. Pick
a place that you like the sound of, or maybe
one that you don’t, and take the challenge to
step out of your comfort zone. You’ll realise
your potential and will find things out about
yourself that you never knew. You’ll become
family with the people you’re with and get to
see some amazing things you never thought
you’d see. You’ll visit countries with fantastic
landscapes, have the best adventures and
meet the friendliest people. Also maybe pack
an Australian flag singlet just in case—you
never know when it will come in handy.
The Final Frontier
This is why I’d never allowed myself to go
anywhere near building work. I always
thought it was for people with muscles
the size of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the
smarts of a mathematician. But I’ve changed
my opinion. How, you ask? I built a house.
My 1 month construction career took
place in the Dordogne after staying in Paris
to do a language course—so that the little
French I already knew couldn’t embarrass
me in front of beautiful French men. (It still
did.) So what does one do when in Paris?
Stuff your face with croissants, macarons,
éclairs, crêpes, cheese, wine, and baguettes,
of course. If it sounds like a dream to you,
that’s because it was. (I also thought I was
dreaming about how much weight I gained.
That part was definitely real.)
After this, I made (more like rolled) my
way to Dordogne in the French countryside
to stay with a family in a program called
Workaway. When I applied, I imagined
working in their antique store most of the
time and doing some light building work
on the side. Boy oh boy, was I wrong. Since
I have the luck of a person who cuts themselves on coral in shark infested waters,
it turned out that we would be building
intensely for five days a week.
Look, it’s not like I was worried about
breaking a nail, they all break by themselves
anyway. But I was a girl who had eaten
enough food in the past month to feed the
whole of Melbourne for a week. Now, I was
expected to lay breezeblocks, wield a pickaxe,
demolish walls and move big rocks*. On top
of that, it was the middle of summer and I
had packed only my best clothes.
Thankfully, I had decided to be a patriotic
Australian and pack an Australian flag singlet,
which I had never taken out of my suitcase
for fear of looking like the typical tourist;
broad accent and camera in sweaty hand
included. Yet that’s exactly what I became.
That singlet became my lifesaver, tan saver
and made me the recipient of all the typical
questions—like, “do you have kangaroos
in your back yard?” I’m actually one of the
few Melbournites who can answer “yes” to
that question, although it was a roo that
had escaped from the zoo near us, and we
weren’t allowed to try and move it because
it could kill itself. Turns out a suicidal kangaroo wasn’t the cute animal story the locals
were hoping for.
Turns out, a suicidal
kangaroo wasn’t the
cute animal story the
locals were hoping for.
Issue Three:
Page 18
Step into the world of
the modern day explorer,
we follow their tracks
through the unforgiving
wastelands of Caulfield east.
Zoe Kimpton
Hayley Morris
The Final Frontier
Issue Three:
Page 19
Georgie (top left) wears: Mill (top right) wears:
Shirt from Ian Conner
Jeans from Tigermist
Shoes from Nike
Issue Three:
Page 20
The Final Frontier
Issue Three:
Page 21
Hayley (left) wears:
Striped Shirt from
North Face, Japan
Shorts from Nike
Socks from Fila
Shoes from Interweb
Lachy (top left) wears:
Button Up shirt from
American Apparel
Shirt from Fun Apparel
Jeans from I Love Ugly
Cap from School
Sam (left/above) wears:
Shirt Vintage Ralph Lauren
Beanie Faux Nike
Jean Cheap Monday
Socks 4 Horsemen
Shoes Ebay
Jacket Incu
Issue Three:
Page 22
Sam (top left) wears:
Cap from 10 Deep
Jacket from Incu
Georgie (left) from:
Jeans from H&M
Shoes from
The Final Frontier
Issue Three:
Page 23
Issue Three:
Page 24
Michelle Shelly
Jessica Margot
Oleisha Proksa
The Final Frontier
After visiting the detention centre in
Maribyrnong, Melbourne, my perspective
and opinion on the controversial issue of
refugees and asylum seekers changed.
This is when I realized that the media
seems to dehumanize people by concentrating on the wrong things. Boat People. Illegals.
Queue-jumpers. Amongst all this emotional
rhetoric, do we know what being an asylum
seeker actually means?
A refugee is someone who has been forced
to flee their country because of persecution,
war, violence, and the fear that their life is in
danger. They are unable to seek protection
from authorities in their own country. An asylum seeker is someone whose claim for refugee status has not yet been assessed. Most
countries take in asylum seekers and refugees, but the bulk of the responsibility falls
on developing nations like Pakistan, Turkey,
and Yemen. Australia, in comparison, takes
less than 1.5% of the worldwide population of
asylum seekers, despite having a much larger
GDP. “Boat people” are mainly those fleeing
Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. This
is because of the constant abuse of human
rights, chaotic violence, and genuine threat to
many people’s lives that occurs there.
Our country thrives on immigration.
Without it, Australia would not be where it
is today. Why, then, are we spending billions
of dollars every year on maintaining detention
centres and offshore processing? Wouldn’t
it make more sense to actually use that
money to process the refugees faster, and
therefore decide whether they pass to be
an Australian citizen or be moved safely
to another country?
If we invested just a fraction of the billions
of dollars we spend on detention centres and
offshore processing, and put it towards helping keep peace in countries that many refugees flee from, maybe the number of refugees
that come to Australia would decrease.
Follow Amenesty International
for more questions and information:
Screening “Between the Devil and the Deep
Blue Sea,” Q + A discussion with 6 speakers who have different insights to the refugee
and asylum seeker brought to you by Amnesty
Monash Caulfield.
When: 30 th of May, 12pm-3pm
Where: Building H, Level 2, Room 237,
$5 Entry Fee, food and drinks provided
Issue Three:
Page 25
On a Thursday afternoon, a couple of fellow
Amnesty International Monash Caulfield
members and I made our way to the
Melbourne detention centre. As we signed in
we had to fill out a contact sheet. It was such
a small thing, but as I was writing I realised
even this would be impossible for the people
living in the centre.
I put my belongings in a locker before
entering the main common room where
refugees and their visitors can connect. As I
entered the room I found that all the refugees
are happy to have visitors, and welcomed
me with open arms. They offered me drinks,
food, and whatever they had to make me feel
at home. I remember feeling confused. Here
I was, with my snacks to give them—and
yet they went out of their way to give me, a
stranger, a bottle of Fanta which was meant
for them.
All the refugees were quite friendly, and
they all introduced themselves to me. They
just seemed overjoyed and excited to be
having people outside the detention centre
visit them. However, one thing that made
my heart sink was when I asked them how
long they would be in the detention centre
for. They mostly had no idea when they were
going to leave, and a sense of uneasiness
filled the room.
When talking with these refugees and getting to know them, a feeling of helplessness
arose in me. I realised that I really couldn’t do
much to try and get them processed through
the system faster. That afternoon I vividly
remember meeting two young boys under the
age of 18. One boy, I would guess he was 16,
always seemed to be in conflict with the staff at
the detention centre, while the other boy was
the quiet type. But both were eager to get contact details such as Facebook to connect with
me later on. It made me stop and realise that
these boys, rather than having an education,
were forced to flee their country and go through
hardships and circumstances that are hard to
fathom for an adult, let alone a child.
There were rumours about a detainee that
had been staying in detention for over 3 years.
There was another man who kept asking; why
would your government lock us up? Most
people talked about having to leave their family, home and country, only to be kept in
the detention centre with no way of knowing
when they were getting out. Some even questioned whether it was worth leaving everything just to come here and be locked up in
a ‘prison,’ as some refugees referred to it.
Issue Three:
Page 26
Two Esperanto writers investigate
why we are so willing to take risks
when we travel, and what makes
that experience so memorable.
Sinead Halliday
Anna Harcourt
Zach Beltsos-Russo
“She grabbed me and kissed
me with raw passion.”
It seems the idea that opposites attract
prevails. For some it is a fling—a brief dalliance—and for others it is a lasting romance.
“I actually had a romantic encounter on
my first trip overseas. I was 21 at the time
and celebrating the Hurling Grand Final in a
pub in Dublin. I was at the bar to get a drink
and looked across to see the gazing attention
of a beautiful young woman,” said Shaun.
“We took the conversation out to the beer
garden where the night went for an eternity.
We talked about our cultural differences. I
explained geographical information about
Australia and in turn she told me all about
the boot (Italy).”
“I said thank you for a lovely evening and
nice to meet you. She said the same. Then
there was a pause. She grabbed me and
kissed me with raw passion. (I still remember
the kiss to this day). After that we exchanged
numbers and arranged to meet up again. The
pure love and passion lasted for a few weeks,
then as sudden as it started, it ended in the
same way. We both just departed from each
other. No hate, no regret. It just was what it
was. I’ll always have that magical memory
Issue Three:
Page 27
There is something rather enticing about an
exotic accent. Hearing an unfamiliar brogue
can be very alluring. Some Australians love
the Irish accent, others like the French.
Young things are constantly venturing off on
adventures all over the globe, and often, find
themselves love’n it up with someone from
another part of the world.
“The accent is one of the most defining
parts of the attraction to a foreigner,” said
Shaun Witherow, who was lucky enough to
experience a fling while travelling.
“I find the Italian and Spanish accents the
most attractive—and probably the French
accent too. Having travelled to numerous
countries throughout Europe, I have to
say these accents portray a romantic and
somewhat seductive element that adds to
the chemistry.”
The Final Frontier
Sinead Halliday
on Love
etched in my mind of something so pure and
perfect at the time.”
When travelling someplace new, there is
that delightful thing: anonymity. You are able
to roam free, disentangled from responsibilities, reputations and expectations. You can
shed the routine, and spread your wings.
“I think you have to have an open heart and
open mind to travel. The idea of opening
yourself to the world and what the unexpected is really reflects on your ability to fall
in love. You are walking out of your comfort
zone, vulnerable to new experience and open
to do so. I think this is why we fall in love so
easy. It’s like a chance to redeem ourselves
or reinvent our new self. I feel like I can be
who I really want to be in a foreign country.
People don’t know you and there are no
expectations. The love is really on a face value.”
These encounters are not always so temporary. Angus Mac met his girlfriend while
on exchange three years ago.
“Her Mum is Scottish, and her Dad is
English, and she has an American Accent.
We just had so many good times overseas,
and since she has come out to stay in
Australia. It was so nice to have her here with
me and all of my friends.”
Distance can be damning though. Some
people cannot make it work in the same city,
let alone from another continent. The time
and space spent apart can often cause worry,
and deep doubt. Without being able to see
one another, relationships can become
uncertain and confusing. That physical reassurance is missing. Then again, some people
manage to fill that void with chit chat.
“When I came back to Australia, and we
had time apart, I think we were a little nervous when she came out to visit, unsure of
how it would go over here,” said Angus.
“Yet, in the interim, I was speaking to her
all the time over Skype, every day. I guess it
works because I quite like the written word,
and she does too.”
Sadly the days of hand written letters are
becoming lesser and rarer than in times
gone by, but the internet now gives an immediacy which makes the absence a little less
challenging. As the old saying goes, absence
may make the heart grow fonder. Variety is
the spice of life, and change can be as good
as a holiday.
Sexploration Secrets:
Backpacker Edition
“I met a girl on a bus at Palermo
airport, and we were going
to the same youth hostel. She
sucked me off on the back of
the bus. I’d only known her for
about ten minutes. When we got
to the youth hostel we went and
had pizza and then went back
and fucked on top of the roof.
It was a genuine pick up. It was
pretty good.”
Would you do this in Melbourne?
“No. Definitely not.”
Issue Three:
Page 28
“I had sex on a train in Poland,
with a Polish guy, in the bathrooms. I met him in a hostel;
we got on a train and went down
to Krakow where he lived. It
was really quick, because people were waiting outside.”
Would you do this in Melbourne?
“No, because you’d feel like you
know someone on the train!”
“On a motorbike in India with
some Austrian guy. I had just
met him before we got on the
motorbike. We were out, I was
drunk, I’d lost my friends and
we were on the way to another
club. He was sitting behind me
on the motorbike…”
Would you do this in Melbourne?
“No, no. I really don’t think
that would happen in that way
in Melbourne.”
Having sex with a girl on the
bottom bunk while a friend has
sex with another girl on the
top bunk in a hostel in Ireland,
all while suffering a severe
bout of food poisoning: “There
was like three other people
sleeping in the room but we
were like, ah fuck it. We’re on
separate bunks, both in animal
onesies, both having sex with a
girl, and (the top-bunk friend)
leans down and high-fives me.
That was pretty much the best
moment of my life! Then (the
girl) left, and I went to the
toilet and spent the rest of
the night in there. I was so
sick, and I didn’t want her to
know how sick I was so I just
slept in there. It was a weird
Would you do this in Melbourne?
“Probably not. Apart from me
telling you this now, no one
would have found out about it,
but in Melbourne someone could
have been like, ‘Did you shit
yourself on that girl?’
Anna Harcourt
on Sex
Sex and travel: the two go hand in hand.
Holidays, hostels, sun and booze allow us
to get loose in a way we never would at home.
Overseas, we can do things we’ve only ever
dreamed of: sex on trains, sex on the beach,
sex in occupied dorm rooms. Things we’d
never be comfortable doing down at St Kilda
or on the Craigieburn line.
When we travel, we feel free. Free of
responsibilities, from work, from school, from
family. We feel the freedom to do what we
want, when we want, with who we want.
Joey Simpson, a Monash second-year student,
says that the freedom of travel allows him to be
“one hundred per cent” sluttier.
“I get involved when I travel,” he says.
“You’ve got more of an opportunity to
do whatever you want, and no one’s gonna
pull you up on it.”
“No one’s going to say, ‘stop being such a
slut.’ People aren’t going to know who you
slept with in the last city you were in. People
aren’t going to know what you did three weeks
ago unless you tell them.”
Kate, a third-year student also at Monash,
agrees that freedom from prying eyes helps
rack up the notches on a traveller’s bed.
“When you’re away,” she says, “there’s that level
of anonymity where nobody knows you
and you can start afresh. You can be whoever
you want to be, with whoever you want to be with.”
“It’s escapism in every sense, you can just
sleep with someone and head off and not have
to think about it again.”
Simon, who is studying arts, told me he’s
not sure if he himself is any more sexually
open when he travels. But the girls, he says,
the girls definitely are.
“Sex is better overseas,” he declares.
“The girls are just way more open. They’re
really trying something new that they’ve always
wanted to do, but for whatever reason they
haven’t done before.”
As Simon sees it, Aussie girls are held back
by a fear of what their friends think.
“They’re more carefree. They’re not held back
by the norms that they are back home. They don’t
have all those eyes looking over them, going, ‘Why
did she do that, why did she do that with him?’
“When they’re travelling, they’re not with
that group of friends so they can be themselves
a little bit more,” he says.
So liberty from judging friends is an important
factor. But what else makes it easier to get laid
The Final Frontier
But is it just us randy Australians that go wild
when we travel? What about people from
other countries? What happens, for example,
when they come here?
“I don’t think I’m sluttier when I travel,”
says Paulinha Hupe, a Brazilian exchange
student studying at Monash.
“Actually, it’s so liberal in Brazil, that we
might be more slutty there.”
Paulinha says that unlike Australia, in
Brazil there’s nothing embarrassing about
kissing ten people in one night.
“When you go out in Brazil, its much
easier and much more normal, I think,
than here,” she says.
“Here people… make a big deal out of it.
In Brazil, you just get ten boys on you in half
an hour when you’re in a nightclub. You just
go out and get people. We even have a verb
for that, ficar.”
Paulinha agrees that there is an enormous
social restriction about sex in Australia. It
goes some way to explaining why we feel we
need to leave the country in order to explore
sexually. In Brazil, she says, sex is just that
much more out in the open.
“Guys here are pussies!” she laughs.
“In Brazil you just look once, you don’t
even need to look twice, the guy will know
that you’re interested.”
In Australia, however, a girl needs to
work a lot harder to get some game.
“Here, you can chat, you can look, you can
shake your ass, and they don’t do anything.”
In Brazil, says Paulinha, there’s less of a
sense of shame and social inhibition about
sex. People do care about what others think,
but not enough to prevent them from doing
something they truly want to do.
So if Brazilians don’t suffer from the same
social repression that we do, do they experience
a similar sense of freedom when they travel?
“Yes,” says Paulinha, “but in a different way.”
“In Brazil, I’m not independent as I am
here. I can’t be. The city itself, the security
in the city there, makes me not be as free
as I could be. Here I’m literally free to walk
around, and to go around without being
disturbed. This kind of freedom. Not of my
If we can draw any conclusions from this,
it is that Australians feel held back from sexploration at home because of the tough social
restrictions we face. We’re worried about
what people will think. We don’t want others
knowing our business or knowing who we had
sex with. We don’t like having to deal with the
embarrassment of bumping into someone
we once had a fling with. We actually have to
leave the country in order to feel truly free.
And when we do leave and break free from all
that repression, we bloom into the slutty butterflies we’ve always wanted to be.
So... I’ve bought my ticket for Brazil for this
November. You coming with?
Issue Three:
Page 29
Partying, according to Joey. Because you
spend most of your time drunk and socialising with other hot young people while travelling, the logistics of sex are much easier.
“When you’re at home, you don’t have
that ability to go out and get involved as
much,” he says.
“When you’re travelling, you’re usually
around people the same age as you, that
are feeling the same as you, and you have
the opportunity to get involved with them
in any way you want.”
Kate also puts it down to the fact that when
travelling, you never have to see the object of
your affections again. At home, you could meet
your paramour at any moment; you might
bump into them at uni, or they could be part of
your friendship group. Shit could get awkward.
“You don’t want that somewhere where
you’re established, where you’re going to school
and you’re living permanently,” she says.
“When you’re away you can escape that.”
Simon agrees. He says that the transient
nature of travel allows a kind of casual sex
that just isn’t possible at home.
“There’s not so much of a taboo on a onenight stand when you’re travelling,” he says.
“You both know that this is only for a short
time, and it just frees you up so much more
than you are at home.”
Issue Three:
Page 30
Sinead Halliday
Anna Harcourt
Zach Beltsos-Russo
The Final Frontier
Monash law student Renee Newbury
was born to conservative parents in
Beaconsfield, a small town south-east
of Melbourne. Her family lived on an
acreage, where they bred Afghan dogs
and kept horses­—until they, and much
of their town, lost everything in the
Ash Wednesday bush fires.
“At this time I was as
heterosexual as society
often expects, I had a
loving partner, gainful
employment, was finally
undertaking tertiary
study, had a car, house,
everything but actual
marriage and a child.
Despite this, however,
I still felt unhappy.”
After passionate demands from Renee,
her parents allowed her to transfer to a
co-ed high school. Her grades and outlook
improved immensely: “My faith in the world
was renewed once again,” she says.
As she grew up, Renee had no problem
attracting and keeping girlfriends. Her most
recent relationship, in fact, lasted for nine
years. (She is now thirty.) It was during this
relationship that Renee first came out as
transgender—initially, only to her partner.
“At this time I was as heterosexual as society
often expects,” Renee explains. “I had a loving
partner, gainful employment, was finally
undertaking tertiary study, had a car, house,
everything but actual marriage and a child.
Despite this, however, I still felt unhappy.”
After her relationship ended, Renee sought
help. She was diagnosed as having Klinefelter
XXY Syndrome (a condition in which males
carry an extra female chromosome) and
a less than normal male hormone level.
Simultaneously, a psychiatrist uncovered
her severe gender dysphoria. After attempting for some time to remain a male, Renee
then began to transition into a woman. She
told Mary Harmer about the experience, and
what it’s like to be transgender at Monash.
Issue Three:
Page 31
Renee was moved to a sport-focused all-boys
primary school to complete her education.
At this point, despite later realising she
identified as female, Renee still seemed—to
herself and those around her—male. She
hated the school, and became a target of
bullying when she refused to take part in the
male aggression of her schoolmates.
It was around this time that Renee started
to become aware of gender. She began digging into her mother’s closet in secret, dressing up in the clothes and make-up she found
inside. At school she would seek out female
parts to play, just for the experience.
“I began to unwillingly follow the male role;
secretly wishing somehow I would change to
become the person I really was,” she remembers. “I craved female interaction, not simply
from a sexual perspective, but for friendship
and solidarity.”
If I’m correct, you’re currently studying
law? How are you finding it? Yes, I have always had an interest in law, equality and
rights, even before my diagnosis. My family and I have had many interactions with
the law (fortunately civil) which has fuelled my belief in change for the better; predominantly better access and the removal or reform of discriminatory laws.
I was actually accepted into an undergraduate Bachelor of Law in 2011.
Unfortunately my medical condition and subsequent Family Law matters, job loss,
and depression, set me back at this time. I then had another unsuccessful attempt
in 2013 whilst undergoing transition. Happily I was able to start again this year, and
have persisted with the support of allies—despite ongoing external pressures.
Issue Three:
Page 32
For our readers who may not
know, can you explain what being
transgender means? Transgender falls under the trans* umbrella term, (the “trans”
prefix followed by an asterix represents a whole spectrum of gender identities) and
is different to other variations such as transvestite and transsexual. Transgender
means moving to the opposite gender role full-time. (Unlike, for example, a
transvestite, who will wear clothes typically associated with the opposite sex but
does not identify as that sex.) As I found, this is an incredibly demanding and difficult process, but also highly rewarding. Through specialist and pharmacological
intervention one begins a journey of physical, mental, emotional and social change:
embodying the opposite gender through a period known as transition. The duration
and intensity of this process varies between individuals, along with the dosage of
necessary hormones to invoke secondary sexual characteristics, such as breast or
muscle development.
Personally, I took hormones for 2 months (less than the usual 6) and successfully
completed 12 months of transition. This legally entitles me to confirm my assumed
gender by means of Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS,) an expensive and permanent process that creates an operational neo-vagina at a cost of around $20,000,
which is not covered by Medicare. This exorbitant price leaves many people, like
myself, stranded between genders.
You have been involved with Queer
Ally training for Monash University,
what does this entail? The Monash Ally Network attempts to bridge the gap between
what society deems ‘normal’ and what is deemed ‘diverse’ by promoting social
inclusion and safety. The training contingent is a program which helps educate
staff and students about gender, sexuality, and the meaning of queer. Participants
may opt-in to professional development style training sessions, and then choose to
become an ally. During the session, a panel of queer and trans* students are invited
to express their story, feelings and concerns, and respond to questions. Since
December 2013 I have aided in the content and delivery of the program, hosting
training sessions and being a panel member. This has given me a direct insight
into the beneficial nature of the program and need for trans* representation.
I believe my participation has been successful. I have been approached by many
staff and students offering support and solidarity. This is reason enough for me
to continue, raising awareness and hopefully helping Monash be a better place for
diverse students. I strongly believe that this group of students suffer under-representation despite facing the most need. Statistically—and relating to my own situation—it is common for queer and trans* identifying students to suffer exclusion,
homelessness, violence, depression, and a high risk of suicide. This critically
affects their ability to live happy, successful and productive lives.
The Final Frontier
“Trans* and queer identifying
students are first and foremost people. They have similar dreams, likes, and aspirations as other students—”
What can students or the university do better to improve
the experience of transgender, or more generally queer
identifying, students? Essentially, not fear them. Trans* and queer identifying students
Can you tell us a bit about your own transition
experience? Transition is an inherently hard, demanding, exhausting and terrifying
experience. At the direction of a treating specialist, you are expected to be able to
suddenly begin life in the opposite gender role, despite often lacking the necessary
physical characteristics. This requires a huge amount of courage and strength. You
have to step into the outside world as a new person, with little knowledge besides
what you have picked up through osmosis or prior learning. No instruction is given,
there is no rule book, and everyone’s story is different.
I have always sought and preferred female traits and fortunately had a supportive
partner who helped me establish my foundations on the other side. Relying upon
information posted on the internet can be dangerous, as there are haters, allies and
chasers (who prey on trans* and gender queer folk for their own sexual gratification); each with their own perspective and opinion on how one should or should
not undertake transition.
Despite some of the negative reactions I have received, I am incredibly grateful
for the opportunity to effectively begin a new life. The transition process to me has
truly been a confirming experience, solidifying my belief that I should have indeed
been born female.
Legal requirements meant I had to undertake a full-year in the opposite gender
to confirm my suitability to be eligible for Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS).
For me, this was a rather daunting prospect at the beginning, but passed quickly. I
have effectively lived through a second puberty which has helped complete my female
secondary characteristics. Being able to be one’s true self is literally amazing, especially
when you have been oppressed by both biology and society. I still remember the first
day I stepped out full time. Two months of counselling had built up my courage and
strength after it had been stripped away. The feeling was incredible and I thought of
Martin Luther King’s speech “…thank god almighty I’m free at last.”
Issue Three:
Page 33
are first and foremost people. They have similar dreams, likes, and aspirations as
other students—it is only their gender, sexuality, or a combination of both that is
labelled different. Labels, stereotypes, exclusion and social isolation seriously affect
and limit the individual—I can speak from experience. Students, if unwilling to
accept those who identify as trans* or queer, should at least tolerate their presence.
It doesn’t hurt to strike up a conversation or make them feel welcome. Increased
understanding, representation and support of trans* and queer identifying students is desperately needed at universities.
Trans* and queer students have different needs and wants to the general student
consensus, such as ‘safe places’ and gender-neutral bathrooms. The latter is yet to
be implemented at Monash despite a national agenda supporting such changes.
The provision of ‘safe places’ has also been a hot topic. Fortunately reason has
prevailed, and through negotiation Ally Network members can now display posters
identifying ‘safe places.’
Issue Three:
Page 34
Words & Images
Phirin Ha
Stephanie Zhu
Urban exploration,
colloquially known as
Urbex, is the act of
exploring man-made structures that are restricted
to the general public.
While it is typically associated
with the exploration of abandoned buildings, the definition loosely includes
drains, pipes, sewers, and skyscraper
rooftops. Melbourne is home to a
plethora of derelict buildings and
abandoned asbestos-contaminated
warehouses, perfect for urban
explorers and adventurers who dare
to enter. Many of these structures
have become home to dangerous
squatters and drug-addicts alike, creating a potentially dangerous space
for curious outsiders. Apart from
its dodgy residents, urban explorers can also expect to encounter
bloody syringes, flea-ridden rats and
weapon-clad security guards, ready
to swoop on any trespassers who
come their way.
While the world of urban exploring can be dangerous, however,
the experience is not all doom and
gloom. Gaining access to these
restricted areas can also be incredibly thrilling and rewarding. There
is a sense of isolation, neglect
and loneliness surrounding these
buildings, which is as spooky as it is
endearing. Naturally, these buildings are a mecca for amazing street
artists to work their magic, often
leaving visitors wondering how such
pieces can be produced in such
restricted conditions.
The Final Frontier
Issue Three:
Page 35
Those wanting to begin exploring
should take measures to ensure
their trip is as risk-free as
possible. These precautions can
be the difference between having a
good time, and winding up bed-ridden
or in a jail cell. This will also
ensure that spots won’t be “blown
out”, which will disallow future
explorers to visit the area without
being hassled by nearby residents,
security guards or the authorities.
Respect your surroundings
Take photos, only leave footprints
There is a fine line between exploring and
vandalising. Simply entering these properties
already raises red flags with the authorities.
While it may seem tempting to throw a rock
through a window, or to leave your mark on
a wall with a spray can that is lying around,
unless you’re a professional graffiti artist it
would be wrong to disturb the environment.
This can also be the difference between getting arrested for vandalism and simply being
asked to leave a location.
Explorers should also respect the surroundings by leaving nothing behind but footprints.
Most of these places will be occupied with
broken glass, litter and food scraps left behind
by squatters and vandals. Explorers should not
leave behind rubbish or scraps to add to the
mess. Take plenty of photos and appreciate
what the venue has to offer. Nothing should
be taken out of the premises. The basic rule
of thumb is to leave the place in the same
condition it was found.
Gear up effectively before your
Act rationally!
Explorers should come dressed in comfortable clothing with breathable materials.
Come in clothes that you aren’t afraid to have
ruined- climbing barbed wire fences and rusty
ladders doesn’t mix well with Ben Sherman
shirts or high heels! Bring a flashlight, phone,
spare memory cards and batteries in case of
Plan your escape routes before entering the
premises. Protective measures, such as avoiding dusty asbestos rooms, are advised. Always
bring a friend and never explore on your own,
you can never predict what can happen next.
Issue Three:
Page 36
Abandoned Mill:
Northern Suburbs Warehouses:
The north of Melbourne has traditionally
been home to several industries. Several of
these factories still remain, many of which
have become abandoned and remain stuck
in a time warp. However, if you do happen to
stumble across these gems, you can expect
to find jaw-dropping artwork and world-class
graffiti murals which will please even the
fussiest of art aficionados
This location has remained largely undamaged since its abandonment in 2007. It’s
fairly safe to visit and features a myriad of
stencil artworks. The overwhelming, drowsiness-inducing stench of ammonia from bird
droppings can be remedied simply by pulling
your shirt over your nose. Don’t hang around
for too long though, you might run the risk of
encountering the local squatters, who reside
in the room underneath the factory. Plans to
demolish this site in place of a multi-million
dollar housing development are expected to
go ahead later this year, so explorers should
visit soon before it’s too late.
The Final Frontier
Issue Three:
Page 37
Disused Mental Asylum:
Forever haunted by its former patients, this is
no place for the fearful. The former psychiatric ward has been abandoned since 1994 and
serves as a stomping ground for explorers
and paranormal investigators alike. There are
hundreds of instances of supernatural activity occurring at the monstrosity of a venue.
Explorers beware—always have your torch
ready, the decaying floorboards could give
way at any moment.
A Final Word
Due to its dangerous and illegal
status, urban exploration can be
daunting for beginners. At the same
time, however, the experience can
be incredibly rewarding for those
who stick to the rules. Have an awesome time, enjoy yourselves and more
importantly, be safe.
There are dozens of these sites
around the city. It would be breaking
urbex rules to publish the addresses,
but the best part of urban exploring
is finding these places for yourself!
Go out and find them, and experience
the strange beauty these abandoned
sites have to offer.
Issue Three:
Page 38
Carrmen Yew
Malaysia was never a country that
was particularly striking to me.
Yet here I am, three months into an
exchange program, enraptured by
what my expectations of this country
have manifested in to. Being totally
immersed in all the glory and ugliness
of an unfamiliar country for an extended period of time, like you are whilst
on exchange, is vastly different to the
heterogeneity of travel. Unencumbered, you are free to explore the idiosyncrasies of a culture- its contradictions, fears, hopes, and the structural
peculiarities that underpin
every day existence.
The Final Frontier
Issue Three:
Page 39
Malaysia is geographically and culturally split
experience, Malaysians are curious, generbetween its peninsular and the east. Its many
ous, open and have an aware self-expression
states, surrounded by tropical waters, are
that perpetually surprises you. Adjusting to
covered in supposedly ‘sustainable’ palm oil
the Malaysian accent takes a little while, and
plantations and immense jungle. As an equato- time-to-time my brain circles in an attempt
rial country, acceptance of the consistently
to decipher what someone said a matter of
excessive amounts of sweat saturating all parts
seconds ago. “Abang saya nak pergi ke KL
of your body is a necessary part of life.
sentral?” Speaking Malay to taxi drivers you
Approximately sixty per cent of Malaysia’s
instantly notice a wide-eyed mental adjustthirty million predominantly Malay, Chinese
ment—you transform from a 20 something
and Indian residents inhabit urban areas.
middle class white tourist to someone with an
Extraordinary amounts of concrete construcassumed understanding of their culture. Then
tion sites crowd the horizon, and endeavthere is the magic buzzword, ‘lah’, tacked on
ours to hide poverty are done so in the true
to the end of any sentence, seemingly embedspirit of what it means to be an Asian Tiger.
ded in the situatedness of what it means to
Regional life exists in contrast with the
be Malaysian. “Jam lah” for example, used
cosmopolitanism of the city. It is governed by primarily in the throws of rush hour, refers to
a simple routine of prayer, farming, fishing,
the taxi driver’s grapple between mountains
and cooking. Resorts, beach bars, shisha and of diesel-laden traffic and the destination.
monkey juice (the local moonshine) make the
Ordering food at a mamak is quintessential
island experience. Yet the inevitable threat
to the Malaysian experience. Unsatisfying
of tourism—and the
imitation western
increasing presence
food is complemented
For the youth this
of jellyfish-like plastic
by an array of rice,
bags—lingers in the air,
egg, chicken, noooften means a cycle
awaiting the arrival
dles, chilli, oily fried
of competitive strugof a conservationist’s
goods, roti, dal and
the occasional hint of
gle, ever dominated
Language, along
a green bean or two.
by a zealous ‘You
with a patriotic
And who could forget
disillusionment with
the pungent smell of
must be number one’
political and human
durian. Vegetarianism
familial pressure.
rights shortcomings,
occasionally translates
unites local identito the acceptable eatties. A corrupt, image wary bureaucracy ironi- ing of fish or chicken, until further clarificacally beats down on crime and drug culture
tion. Inbred cats and dogs sneeze as they dive
with a hard iron fist. It’s an interesting time to in and out of bins in search of the perfect left
be here—amid the political and media circus over scraps. The irresistibility of the food leads
playing up MH370, followed by a much-celeto late night delivery cravings from Jaffar’s, a
brated visit by Barack ‘charisma’ Obama. As a local mamak specialising in spicy tandoori,
student, immersed in the technological savvi- fragrant biryani and chickpea curry goodness.
ness and expected social butterflying of youth An hour or two is a commonly expected waitculture and the music scene, it was also hard
ing time, and a phone call half an hour prior
to ignore the politicisation of drug overdoses
to arrival means students living on campus
at Future Music Festival in March, resulting in congregate outside in hope that the pangs of
the cancellation of its third day.
hungerdom will be relieved pronto. Though,
The increasingly Islamised Malay majority
all is forgiven, as an assuring sense of neware favoured through government schemes
found patience accepts that all will happen
and quotas. Those remaining are left on the
in Malaysia’s time.
peripheries. For the youth this often means a
Kuala Lumpur had always been a stop over
cycle of competitive struggle, ever dominated on a long journey for me. Now, I’ve witnessed
by a zealous ‘you must be number one’ famil- the sky-high condominiums lining highways
ial pressure. Yet, with the contentious and
upon highways beyond the airport, ever
irregular enforcement of minimum wages, the buzzing with protons, Ferraris and scooters
organised chaos of Malaysia is supplemented mounted by back-to-front rain jacket riders. I’ll
by a reasonable quality of life (not ignorant
definitely be back. I’ve dug into the minds of
of progress that still needs to be made.)
locals as an attempt to discover what it means
Malaysians get by.
to be Malaysian, and what it means to live in
Once the ice is broken, often by the mutual Malaysia in the 21st Century. Regulation meets
subtlety of a smile, the Malaysians I’ve
relaxation; jungle meets sea; rich meet the
met have responded with constructive and
poor. The spontaneity and adventure of every
heartfelt conversation. Encounters with staff
day life here has been the perfect environment
at mamaks (street food joints) and coffee
for personal growth. Thank you, Malaysia.
houses, fellow students, colleagues and local
friends have been very welcoming. In my
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