Young People & Politics

2015/01/img_1706.jpg Photo by The Brisbane Times.

Today, I voted in my first election.

Well, not quite today, more like last week since I’m currently not in my home state for the state election so I had to cast a postal vote. But details aside. Today I helped to shape the future of my state by numbering all the boxes and voting in candidates representing parties with policies I trusted, for the first time in my adult life.

I know I was excited about this. I’d been sitting back, too young to vote for too long while governments I didn’t like were voted in, and I couldn’t do anything about it. But now I can.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the same for many people my age voting in their first election. Far too many people I know cast a “donkey vote”, drew male anatomy on the ballot papers, or just didn’t vote at all. I saw complaining – complaining about compulsory voting, complaining about the government screwing us over, complaining about people posting their political opinion, complaining about people complaining… But what I saw most of all was a complete disregard for the importance that one person’s vote can make.

In a state of 3 million people, it’s easy to think that one vote isn’t going to decide it all, so why bother? Why bother even having a political opinion other than “everyone is going to screw us over anyway”? These young people have such a mentality that they attack anyone who voices their political views on social media, because how dare a young person be politically active and care about who leads the government? Sure, some people can be a little too strong with their opinions and begin forcing it down the throats (eyes?) of anyone on their Facebook friends list, but unlike most young people, that person cares. That person has looked into the policies of a party and agreed with them, and has decided to back them in the election. Good on them.

One girl from my high school is very politically active and has dined with local members and approached them about their opinions on topics important to her, such as same sex marriage and support for those with mental health issues. Having found a member that shares her views, she began to post about the importance of numbering the boxes, putting her member first, and the LNP last. Every single post of hers in the lead up to the election has been criticized, shut down and ultimately overrun by those who don’t care about the political issues in our state, telling her to stop posting about politics. Solution? Delete her off Facebook and never hear of it again. Simple. But of course, that’s not what they do.

I’m sick of young people being belittled and attacked for having a political voice. I’m sick of young people not caring about the government enough to write a number on a sheet and put it in a box. I’m sick of feeling afraid to post my own political views online because of the backlash it may receive from others my age.

Why should we be scared to have a voice? To want to make a change? To inform others of the wrongs of some parties they may not have noticed yet? Can first-time voters stop only seeing inside their little personal bubble enough to care about the health of the state for one day?

I have a voice. I am a young voter, and my opinions matter. My vote counts, and can ultimately decide a close election. I can post my political views wherever I want – starting now.

My vote was for ALP and The Greens, the parties I believe will make a positive difference to the state of Queensland. Goodbye, Campbell Newman and the LNP.

Sarah May xxx
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Will Taylor Swift REALLY Ruin Triple J’s Hottest 100?


I’m Australian, which means that every Australia Day I spend my day tuned into the Triple J Hottest 100 – a countdown that ranks the best 100 songs of the previous year. There is usually fierce competition for any spot in the top 10, let alone the coveted #1 spot that has previously been won by Gotye (Somebody That I Used To Know ft Kimbra), Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (Thrift Shop), and, most recently, Vance Joy (Riptide).

2014’s countdown is tipped to be won by either Chet Faker with Talk Is Cheap or Peking Duk with High – unless Taylor Swift takes it out with Shake It Off.

Taylor was not played on Triple J all year, due to the fact it is a station that plays predominantly Australian, underground music, which excluded her from the list of eligible songs to vote for in the Hottest 100. Someone at Buzzfeed was made very angry by this, and fronted the campaign for TSwift fans to vote for Shake It Off using the “add a song” feature usually reserved for Triple J Unearthed artists. Naturally, this made hipsters very angry because Taylor Swift making the countdown would taint what is regarded as the best day of the year for Australian music.

I’m a Taylor Swift fan, don’t get me wrong. Do I think Shake It Off is a great song? Not really, but it’s definitely catchy. Should it be in the Hottest 100? No, not really.

Triple J’s own rules prevent artists from making the countdown if there has been an incentive to vote for them – undoubtedly the massive hype and trending Twitter hashtag is publicity enough, yet KFC published the hashtag #Tay4Hottest100 alongside a promotion for a discount card. There is no doubt that all the hype around what has been dubbed the biggest Aussie hipster scandal ever has gained Taylor enough votes to take out the number 1 spot, without a doubt.

Triple J have refused to comment on the matter, leaving listeners in the dark to whether or not TSwift will be included in tomorrow’s countdown (a genius marketing move if you ask me). If they leave her in, she’ll take the number 1 spot and leave most of Australia fuming. If they deem that she has received too much incentive to vote for her and disqualify her, they’ve gained a lot of listeners while still leaving Australia happy that their countdown is still as great as ever.

Typically, though, we won’t know anything until the top 5 songs get played tomorrow night after 7pm. My prediction? She’s out, and the clever Triple J producers will begin to play Shake It Off as 2014’s #1 song before quickly transitioning to Chet Faker or Peking Duk, revealing which song was REALLY the best of 2014.

If Shake It Off makes it into the countdown, though, you bet I’m gonna be dancing.

Sarah May xx
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Movie Review: Big Hero 6

Movie Review: Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6 is Disney’s newest masterpiece. Adapted from the obscure Marvel comic of the same name, Big Hero 6 follows young Hiro Hamada and his older brother Tadashi, robotics enthusiasts living in the fictional city of San Fransokyo (a cross between USA’s San Francisco and Japan’s Tokyo). Hiro is into illegal bot-fighting with the robots he creates, whereas Tadashi attends the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology with his friends who have been nicknamed Wasabi NoGinger, Honey Lemon, Gogo Tomago, and Fred. Tadashi takes Hiro into the lab one night, where he falls in love with the Institute and, in order to receive an offer to attend, engineers microbots to show at the Institute’s robotics exhibition. However, while at the exhibition, a fire breaks out in the exhibition hall and with reports that Institute professor Robert Callaghan is trapped inside, Tadashi runs in to rescue him before a huge explosion destroys the entire building, killing Tadashi. Hiro is left with Tadashi’s project – Baymax, who is essentially a robot nurse engineered to help people. When Hiro and Baymax discover that someone has stolen Hiro’s microbots to use for evil, Hiro, Baymax, Wasabi, Tomago, Honey Lemon and Fred set out on a journey to capture the microbot thief and stop him from killing anyone in San Fransokyo.

From left to right: Wasabi NoGinger, Honey Lemon, Hiro Hamada, Baymax, Gogo Tomago & Fred make up the group of heroes called Big Hero 6.

I loved this movie so, so much. There’s something amazing about how great Baymax can make you feel – his one-liners, naivety and pure care for others make you go from laughing at him to crying to wanting to hug his marshmallow-looking body – sometimes all at the same time. For a robot made purely to heal wounds, he has some kind of humour that will surely solidify him in the Disney franchise as a key character. Hiro, on the other hand, doesn’t have as much character development as a main character should have – he shows great sadness for the loss of his brother, but his emotions fluctuate from being excited to moody to downright maniacal when (*spoilers*) he unashamadly sends Baymax to attempt to murder someone despite it being completely against Baymax’s programming and, in turn, Tadashi’s intentions. However, this movie did a fantastic job of creating such a great brotherly relationship between Hiro and Tadashi in a long enough time to truly believe the connection but short enough to feel like Tadashi was taken too soon in the movie.

One thing that annoyed me about Big Hero 6 was the Americanization of the film by Disney. Rather than setting the story in Tokyo, Disney created the fictional San Fransokyo. Even the characters’ names don’t pay much homage to the comic’s Japanese roots – only Hiro Hamada and his brother Tadashi had obviously Japanese names. Despite this, though, the animators did a great job of incorporating Japan into such an Americanized city, and the mixed ethnicities of the characters is probably what was demanded in such a politically-correct society.

Underneath Baymax’s comic relief and the action of a Marvel movie, however, is a story about loss and how Hiro deals with the loss of his brother. To cope with death, Hiro surrounded himself with robotics and adrenaline, with his friends coming along to help support him through. Big Hero 6 is a fantastic movie that highlights the importance of brains rather than brawn – something rather underrepresented in modern action films. As great as the movie as a whole was, what contributed to 90% of my enjoyment of this movie was the charm and humour of Baymax and, thanks to him, the Big Hero 6 franchise will probably stick around for a while, if not spawning a few sequels.

I give Big Hero 6 9/10 stars – a thoroughly enjoyable movie for kids and adults alike that will change the way you fist bump your friends forever.

– Sarah May xxx
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Is The Stress Really Worth It?

Is The Stress Really Worth It?

My final exam for the year is in two days, and I have found myself in a very low place over the last few weeks. I’ve found myself thinking about the possibility of failing and how disappointed in myself I will be, and then what I will do if I have to come back to Uni for supplementary exams in January… and even if I would come back to uni and try the subject again should I fail.

This mental state is an issue, right? Of course it is. This course has been my dream since I was five years old – now I am eighteen and I made it in. Of course uni was not what I was expecting – I was expecting fun, the best years of my life and making so many new friends. Little did I know that I would be locking myself in my room every night, never going out on weekends just to get assignments done. I’m constantly stressed and sleep-deprived, and I haven’t made friends apart from the ones I met in orientation week because I just haven’t gone out anywhere. I feel terrible, all the time, and I could escape it so easily by just… stopping. I could stop studying. I could stop living away from all my family and friends, I could be with my pets, I could be with my boyfriend. I could be stress-free, I could be working full time and actually earning money instead of living off Centrelink youth allowance payments because the extreme study demands of my course don’t allow me any time to work during the semester. Or maybe I could take up another course, something with less work so I could actually have a good time at university.

So why am I here? Why am I studying this course? Why am I enduring all this stress and anxiety and homesickness? 

Frankly, one reason is due to the expectations placed on me. I graduated my high school as the highest achieving girl in my class, and it seems everyone else who graduated at that high level and even below are actually enjoying their university experience and aren’t getting sucked under with the massive workload. A thought that constantly runs through my mind is, “I have to make my family proud. I got an OP1, I need to do something with that. Everyone would be so disappointed if I dropped out and took a TAFE course in Vet Nursing, because I can do better than that”. I know that I shouldn’t be caring too much about this, but if anyone else has been in a similar situation you will understand completely what I mean.

A second, and probably more important reason is that this is the career that I want. I want to work with animals, I want to help people. Being a veterinarian is a logical career progression for me. Yes, vet nursing could give me the same results with a hell of a lot less stress, but I’ll always live with the regret of not achieving the highest that I could.

I’m also stuck in a spiral of comparing myself to other people. “If the other 100 people in my course can pass, then why can’t I? What makes me so unable to do this?”. I must prove to myself that I can be up there with the best – I don’t have to be the best, but if I keep up, I’m happy with that. (I’m gonna be honest, just passing vet science is probably equivalent to a distinction/high distinction in other courses based on what I know)

So, the bottom line, the reason why I wrote this post – yes, the stress is worth it. Why? Because in 4 years I will be a veterinarian, which is what I want to do. My family will be proud and I will be happy with myself as an accomplished, intelligent, strong woman who overcame every obstacle thrown at her. It will be tough, and this year will be the hardest it gets. If I can get through first year, I can get through the other four years.

Sorry for the rambling today, but I really needed to put this into words. Does anyone reading this relate to how I feel, even a little bit? Help me out and comment with how you overcame/are overcoming this horrible thought process.

Don’t give up on your dream, Sarah. The hard work will pay off one day. 
Sarah May xxx
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