Editor’s picks of 2018

For your perusal, the editor's choice for favourite articles published this year

bestofedschoice

The Angel of Carillon Avenue

by Robin Eames

Jack Kokaua died in February. He was pepper sprayed, tasered and pinned down by multiple police officers on campus.

Media reportage portrayed him as dangerous, a threat to society, and misrepresented his last moments. Most accounts failed to mention his name.

Robin gracefully approaches his tragic passing with a demand for change. They point out the inconsistencies with Kokaua’s treatment, and how legislation fails all members of society with psychiatric disabilities. Their wider discussion around institutionalisation and race are both insightful and needed.

‘The Angel of Carillon Avenue’ portrays Kokaua as just that—a peaceful person, in need of appropriate help, who was failed by the authorities. Nearly ten months have passed by, and Robin’s insight continues to be beautifully haunting. Jack Kokaua deserved better. Millie Roberts

The People vs Kathleen Folbigg: Growing up with a murderer

by Gabbie Lynch

I’m fascinated by small towns, mostly because I’ve never lived in one. I’ve constructed a narrative around small towns informed by extended watchings of Gilmore Girls and listening to Pure Heroine. Gabbie concisely and compassionately breaks through the romanticised fascination with small towns (and the scandals that run through them) in her humanising feature of Kathleen Folbigg. It is an article that combines three ingredients of a fascinating article: a mystery, local history, and social critique. Lena Wang

Meditations on swimming pools

by Lily Langman

“It’s a late summer evening and the twilight sky mixes with the heady fragrance of star jasmine and recently burnt birthday candles. I’m fifteen years old, at a party for identical twins. Sitting by their backyard swimming pool, a friend and I dangle our legs in the water, and she swishes her ankle in circles creating a steady looping current that disturbs the mosquitoes hovering above the surface.

“I had sex.”

This is how Lily Langman begins a personal coming of age narrative with swimming pools at its core. She portrays the Australian summer staple as a complex cultural space, a paradoxical environment of pleasure and pain. The story dives in and out of Lily’s childhood memories, as she interviews famous essayists and ex competitive swimmers on their relationship to pools.

I am not a swimmer. I don’t even know how to float. And I definitely can’t remember the last time I willingly entered a pool. When we received this pitch, I thought I would be far from the demographic this story would appeal to. I was wrong. Lily has crafted a piece of literary journalism that does not rely on relatability or timeliness. More than anything else in Honi, Meditations is like a good novel—it stays with you, way after you’ve put the book down. Lamya Rahman

The Marauder’s Map of USyd

by Jess Zlotnick

The Marauder’s Map. It’s curious and enticing. While the content is what drew readers – new and interesting content about USyd is hard to create and present interestingly – the real strength of the piece is the tension between author and subject. Reading the piece, you’re party to an intimate and exciting event. It’s real and it’s nice. Nick Harriott

Editing USyd

by Joe Verity

This is just so serious and ridiculous at the same time. Spend a few hours on the ‘edit history’ of any Wikipedia page with an IP locator open in another tab and you’ll see the appeal. The Twitter accounts which track edits made from government bodies are testament to the fact that nobody can help correcting their own record. Andrew Rickert

A guide to the best bubble tea around campus

by Chantelle Yeung

Not many writers would visit 12 bubble tea stores and order two drinks, in the name of journalism. Chantelle Yeung’s epic guide to bubble tea places around campus was my highlight of the year. It combined hard work and research, with a timely and unique idea, with beautiful complementing art by Momoko Metham. Food reviews can certainly sometimes be lacklustre, but Yeung’s work was Honi at its best – fun, accessible and quality work. Alison Xiao

this halloween i’m going as sexy joan of arc

by Perri Roach

I love creative writing but I didn’t want to have a creative section in Honi because I thought it would be hard to do well. This piece — clever, funny and irreverent — proved me wrong. Zoe Stojanovic-Hill

Beyond R U Okay

by Dan Reede

Some articles are remarkable for their turn of phrase. Others for their argumentative rigour. And it’s not uncommon to see novel insights in student papers. But only a rare few manage to combine those virtues in a way that necessitates a distinct moment of reflection upon finish. It requires we take pause to review the opinions we once had, now abandoned, and search inside ourselves for new ones now emerging. Dan Reede’s ‘Beyond R U Okay’ article in our semester two, week four edition is of that special kind.

Powerfully integrating a personal voice with philosophical honesty, Reede calls for a substantial reevaluation of mental health structures and the activism attempting to improve them. Though he pays deference to the opinions of medical experts, Reede is at his most powerful when he suggests that discourse needs to better acknowledge the role sociopolitical conditions play in producing challenging interior mental states. Reede considers how neo-liberal discursive patterns, marketing practices, and pharmaceutical profit-motives have coalesced to fasten an image of the mentally unwell as a white male suspended in an existential superposition between being suicidal or being okay.

While not all of its claims are unique, ‘Beyond R U Okay’ is nonetheless loaded with the novel and penetrating insights becoming of a game changing article. Reede synthesises extensive research with personal experience to comprehensively pre-empt criticism and efficiently prove complex arguments. Though at the end he leaves us with a striking moment of contemplation, you’d be forgiven for taking your time to savour the piece, to swoon in the grip of Reede’s magnificent prose. And so, whether though feeling, through thinking, or through thinking about feeling, Reede leaves us alone to review what is inside ourselves in the hope we change what is outside of us. In other words, he takes us beyond ‘R U Okay’. Liam Donohoe

by Liam Thorne

This article is everything that Honi should be: it challenges us to reconsider inherited wisdom on Sydney’s public transport, and mobilises a student’s perspective to do so. Its focus is hyperlocal, and its sense of history brings continuity: the problems of the last century are our problems as well. It synthesises past with present, and makes a powerful case for caring about our city’s transport and its administration. But, most of all, it shows us that things do matter: that institutions like Honi or the student movement are at their best when they’re fighting for something. It’s a powerful read, and it will affect anyone who’s ever lived in Sydney. Janek Drevikovsky

Sunset on the M4

by Annie Zhang 

I never really understood creative pieces. I could read through like a poem or something and have no clue what’s going on and whether what I read was good. Also, why do they do line breaks like that?

When we introduced a creative section in Semester 2, I opposed. But they went ahead with it, so for my edition I commissioned a creative piece.

The result was Sunset on the M4. One of the most beautiful pieces of writing I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Reading Sunset had a feeling; it felt warm. I think I understand how it works now. Elijah Abraham

Check out the other Best of 2018 lists here.