Zines 1 – 10

1/2 #1

Issue one of 1/2 introduces us to the fraught concepts of nationality, ethnicity and otherness in Australia. With patience and wit, Sarah answers, in turn, questions she is posed on a regular basis by complete strangers about her ethnicity and family histories. This zine is not only a sharp and funny insight into one person’s experience of racism and what’s wrong with national identity, but an incredibly beautiful artefact: the zine resembles a full-colour passport, each page interspersed with excerpts from books, calligraphy paper, family photos and Japanese fashion mags.

Still lost? Remember Sarah’s take home message: Not. All. Australians. Are. White. (dickhead!)

64 A6 pages. $10

1/2 #2

In issue two of 1/2, Sarah teams up with her other “half-bred” friend Emily to delve deeper into the fluid concepts of race and culture in an Australian context. Throughout the zine, Sarah and Emily play with racial stereotypes and alternately adopt “White” and “Asian” personas, alluding to concepts we’re all familiar with like assimilation, belonging and otherness. In testing the boundaries of “passing” for White or Asian, we’re forced to question our assumptions about representations of race in image and culture. Sarah also talks about the so-called “Whiteness” of manga characters, memories of being marked for her background and more.

Like issue one, the second installment of 1/2 is a beautifully crafted zine, full-colour images and text interlaced with maps, pages torn from books and awesome photo booth pictures.

76 A6 pages. $10

1/2 #3

Issue four of 1/2 is what got me hooked on Sarah’s amazing zine series. I stumbled across it in Wellington zine library earlier this year and couldn’t believe my eyes. FINALLY, here was the zine I’d been wanting to read ever since… well, ever!

Sarah turns her sharp eye (and wit) on Australian mass media, spanning “yellow peril” WWII propaganda, the Enid Blyton and John Marsden of everyone’s childhood, to Gwen Stefani’s “Harajuku Girls” and cringe-y ad campaigns. There are so many laugh-out-loud moments in here as Sarah rips into some of the worst that modern commercialised culture has to offer, that she contextualises so clearly that it would be hard for anyone to miss its sinister implications (Pauline Hanson: hi).

This is one of my all-time favourite zines. It is beautifully-crafted, full colour, belly-laugh inducing and pulls no punches. Read it!

120 A6 pages. $10

1/2 #3A

The hometown of Sarah’s mother, Taiping in Malaysia, is the backdrop to issue three of 1/2. The “eternal boredom” of her mother’s Taiping makes for a comfy idleness that rubs off the pages and onto me while I read it. First forays into Asian pop, Hokkien tele-dramas, “50 cents rain”, hours whiled away at the tea shop and more. What stayed with me was Sarah talking about finding other Eurasian women staring back at her from the pages of glossy magazines for the first time:

“In my early teens, I bought a copy of Malaysian ‘Cleo’ from an Ipoh bookstore. I was dumbfounded. I’d never seen Asian people in a magazine like that before… inside the pages were filled with Chinese girls, Eurasian girls, Indian girls, Malay girls in headscarves. This blew my teenaged mind! …they weren’t white. It was such a revelation.”

Like previous issues of 1/2, issue 3A is at once a wonderful read and a beautiful object. Full colour pages interspersed with found objects: pages torn from dictionaries, newspapers and a “hell banknote” from a local god shop.

60 A6 pages. $10