Jayden Kitchener-Waters, SRC Indigenous Officer
Ngaya Jayden Kitchener-Waters. Ngaya Gomeroi Mari Ngemba, wallabanay dhawan Tamworth.
The past few months have been extremely emotional, challenging and often tiring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The groundswell of support that we’ve seen across this nation from our non-Indigenous brothers and sisters has been nothing short of inspiring. However, our mob is concerned that this support will only be a short-lived experience. ‘Black Lives Matter’ is far more than a trend. It’s far more than a hashtag and it’s far more than a blacked out cover page. ‘Black Lives Matter’ is about human lives. My life! And if we don’t fight on the right side of history, it’s likely to be our children’s lives as well. This is a fight that we must continue every single day. We can only approach this fight with the same humility, love and unity of our Old People. Winanga-li-ga marran walaaybaa-ga dhuwi ngaarr ganungu. Embrace this change and embrace the fight. I’ll see you at the next protest and I’ll see you at Yabun.
Henry Chen, Editor-In-Chief
In this issue, our writers reflect on the power of participation – whether at university, in civic life, or outright critiquing what it means to belong in modern Australia. On one hand, participation is the highest aspiration of a democracy. On the other hand, it seems to carry the connotation of a consolation prize.
Our writers don’t shy away from tackling these big questions. These issues take on a new importance in light of the protests against Aboriginal deaths in custody which have justifiably mobilised so many university students in recent weeks. I wholeheartedly defer to our SRC Indigenous Officer, Jayden Kitchener-Waters, for his commentary on this front.
Sometimes we don’t realise what’s holding us back from fully taking part in the communities around us. Socio-economic inequality and Pierre Bourdieu’s idea of cultural capital are among numerous factors that militate against full participation in society. It takes confidence to speak out and make your voice heard, especially when the odds are stacked against you. For that, each and every one of our contributors should be commended.
Thank you for playing a vital part in the UNSW community through your readership of Participation.
Jack Zhou, Sub-Editor
Just when the world couldn’t seem to get anymore turned upside down, our contributors for Participation haven’t stopped challenging the status quo, questioning our institutions, and asking why. Chris Shaw has penned an essay arguing for bringing the age to vote down a few years. He brings some strong points to the table and it’s going to be one of those ideas that flies in the face of everyday convention. Juwariya Malik gives a startling reminder about the real problems of the COVIDSafe app especially regarding our privacy and personal data, something that’s getting more important (and more dangerous) in the digital age. Abhranil Hazra takes the progressive darling Jacinda Ardern to task, questioning her neo-liberal agenda and highlighting some of the major socio-economic problems facing New Zealand. For something closer to home, Nicole Sung asks why we at UNSW can’t improve our class participation experience – compared to how they do things at Singaporean universities, the difference is night and day. I want to commend all the contributors for this issue, for persevering through trying times and for maintaining that sharp, critical eye on the world that we’ve come to expect at Tharunka. And without you, the reader, whose abiding interest in the important issues we rely on, we would not be able to get through this difficult time.
Jo Bradley, Sub-Editor
I have enjoyed working with our Tharunka writers this month to help bring Participation to life. Arleen Wilcox’s essay Australiana: An Open-Ended Question, is a moving reflection about the exclusionary nature of Australian identity from the perspective of a woman of colour, and serves as an excellent companion piece to Anoushka Anupindi’s Memoirs of an Expat Childhood, which I edited for our first edition, Movement. Meanwhile, Shajara Khan’s Sticks and Stones and Words offers a thoughtful take on cyberbullying in the age of internet fandom. We have also had some thought-provoking words on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on students. Micah Emma Chan’s How COVID-19 Exacerbated Inequality Amongst Students is a crucial bit of political reporting, drawing attention to the financial inequality amongst UNSW students that working from home policies have only made worse. Offering a different perspective is the fierce anonymous contribution: Open Letter: I Don’t Participate, I Barely Exist, which sheds light on how difficult student life can be for commuters, and argues for the benefits of online, more accessible learning. Our writers don’t always agree, but isn’t that what makes reading Tharunka so exciting? Enjoy Participation!
Axel-Nathaniel Rose, Sub-Editor
Gothicism arose out of great societal upheaval; social structures, science,
and identity were all changing rapidly. The Gothic expressed the tumult
held just below the surface, the dark that goes unspoken largely because
there are no adequate words for it. Over time, it morphed into a genre that
allowed articulation not just of prevailing social concerns or thinly-veiled
bigotry, but genuine and open expression of pain, fear, absurdism, forbidden joys, and all that goes unarticulated. Participation’s creative works reflect this legacy superbly. Ava Lacoon-Robinson’s ‘First Fleet’ is a heart-wrenching portrayal of the intergenerational violence of colonisation; Vedanshi Bhalodia’s ‘Breathing Parody’ is an exquisite exploration of childhood trauma; Daisy Skerritt’s ‘My Son Used to Have a Mother’ both casually and intimately voices the discord and tragedy of substance dependence; Rosie Bogumil’s immensely tender ‘The Rules of the Game’ flirts with the magical; and Atia Fatimah’s ‘Participant: H. Zoo’ is an all too familiar portrayal of the impact of mandatory standardised testing on a teen psyche.
Saafiyah Hussain, Graphic Designer
Welcome to Participation, a collection of quarantined works from all around UNSW. This issue we have some beautiful artworks from both CJ and Damla, who have both beautifully illustrated the current social climate we live in. It’s chaotic but 110% necessary and I am so glad these two artists have captured that. As I feel we have all found a common purpose with these recent events, Damla has illustrated this in her piece Skin Colour is not a Reasonable Suspicion. It highlights the sense of desperation and outrage collectively felt by all persons and simultaneously acts as a reminder that we should not stop supporting such a powerful movement. CJ’s Don’t Forget Us reiterates this message but specifically for Australia, where so many believe racism is not alive. The colours chosen for this magazine is inspired by the First Nations of Australia, where the colour palettes are derived from earth. Then we have Sandra, Aditya and CJ who have brought life to 100 words of creative writing and have quite literally created artistic pieces which tell 100(0) words. I could not have asked for a better illustration because these blew my mind. Hope you also enjoy reading this as much I enjoyed designing it.
To read the full edition of Participation, check out: https://www.arc.unsw.edu.au/uploads/2020-Tharanka-Issue3-Participation-web_1.pdf