Comment, Prose

A Word from the Editors: Unity

by Jerric Chong Behold, how good and joyful a thing it is: brethren, to dwell together in unity! Psalm 113:1 As I write this, Sam Ryder has just given the UK our best result in twenty years at the Eurovision Song Contest: a goodly 466 points to finish in second place. The victorious act (most […]

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College, Comment, Prose

A Letter to the JCR

by Emily Hudson There is a place for you here.  Oxford, and Oriel in particular, carries the weight of hundreds of years of tradition and stereotypes, not all of which are favourable, and not all of which have quite faded with the times. This is the message upon which I originally ran for the role […]

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Comment, Prose

Fear From Tragedy

by Gregory Davidson [Content warning: gun violence, school shootings, death, and suicide. This piece references the Heidelberg University shooting in January 2022.] For me, it began with an anonymous text on a group chat for international students in Heidelberg, Germany. It asked us to stay inside and stay away from the campus on Neuenheimer Feld. […]

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Comment, Prose

What is Silence?

by Joe Lever Scary. Beautiful. Needed. Hard to find. Isolating. Healing. Rare. Here. Silence is scary. The silence of the night convinces us that something is lurking, waiting in the shadows; it is the frailest of protective veils at any moment to be pierced. In conversations silence hangs over us, drawn out second by excruciating […]

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Comment, Prose

A Word from the Editors: Joy

by Jerric Chong A very happy New Year, and welcome back from all us at The Poor Print as we embark on Hilary 2022! ‘Joy’, like so many other utterances in this language of ours, arrived with the conquering Normans, and derives ultimately from Latin gaudium through French joie (also meaning ‘jewel’), which then became […]

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Comment, Prose

The Illusion of Institution

by Monim Wains Institutions have always been interesting to me. There is a realisation that I have had as I have gotten older: they don’t actually exist, do they? As an undergraduate with barely two decades of life under my belt, you might already be switching away from this article, wondering what on earth I […]

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Comment, Prose

Chicken in a Nightmare

by M. Davies (College Porter) [CW: homophobia] Fred Bickerton started at University College as an Under Scout (more specifically as ‘under bedmaker’) in 1897 and retired as Head Porter in 1950. I thought the following may be of interest from his published memoirs. When Fred first started in the Porters’ Lodge as an ‘under-porter’, he […]

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Comment, Prose

A Word from the Editors: Magic

by Monim Wains What sets magic apart – what makes something magical – is the surprise, I would suggest. It is the revelation of something hidden and unexpected, without any explanation for why it is so. And our reaction, good or bad, depends on what we know, and where the magic remains. When we are […]

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Comment, Prose

The Optimisation Mindset

by Martin Yip Which do you prefer: apples or oranges? Suppose you had two pounds to spend on oranges and apples, eache priced at 40p. What would you do, assuming the money cannot be saved for later? Microeconomics studies, among other things, this sort of question that concerns consumer behaviour. It models consumption as an […]

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Comment, Prose

Minimalism: A Remedy for Chaos

by Martin Yip Life can be chaotic. It certainly has been in the past year, not least due to COVID-19. Students and workers alike have faced greater challenges to their mental health as they grapple with the new realities and rules that the virus has necessitated, in addition to their ordinary sources of stress and […]

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Comment, Prose

Familiar Strangers

by Martin Yip Strangers come in many types. The usual understanding of ‘stranger’ refers to people with whom you’ve never interacted. People whose existence don’t matter much to you. There is another type: people whose paths barely have crossed yours, like two straight lines which intersect at one point and go on their separate paths, […]

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Comment, Prose

A Word from the Editors: Strangers

by Monim Wains What is life but a string of fibres tied from you to some stranger, perhaps momentarily intertwined? What is life but the tangling of those threads into the tapestry of your memories? Were we not all strangers to this world on the day when we were born? From that day on, we […]

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Comment, Poetry, Prose

Pondering an Ending Spring

by ‘Siddiq Islam’ Maybe the golden peal of summer flowers,The friends of God and earth, are formed to fall,A fire in some great coming spring of snow. Your dream was but a passionate loneliness,Broken as the sweet noon of morning light.Your fate is closed in a wrathThat flowers upon the fervour of the night. Transcending […]

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Comment, Prose

There is a Place for You

by Martin Yip When the coronavirus pandemic first hit the UK in March, I hastily left the country and returned home. My family decided that I should quarantine for fourteen days. During those days, I was confined to one room, where I would eat, work, and sleep, and one bathroom which no one else would […]

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Comment, Prose

Reflection

by Anonymous When I was younger, I preferred to look forward to the future rather than reflect. Every New Year’s Eve I would diligently write my resolutions for the year ahead. Common occurrences included ‘learn how to do the splits’ and ‘get long hair’, their repeated appearances are a testament to my inability to reflect. […]

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Comment, Prose

Reflecting on oak trees

by Harriet Strahl Two old oaks frame the entrance to a graveyard in a village somewhere in Germany. A sign nearby tells visitors about the history of the graveyard, which contains the headstones of the local Jewish family deported during the Third Reich, carefully restored next to a stone commemorating the local dissenter, who was […]

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Comment, Prose

Finding the Rainbow Connection

by Martin Yip ‘Rainbow Connection’ is the opening song of the 1979 film The Muppet Movie, performed by Kermit the Frog. Kermit’s laid-back performance did not prevent his song from inspiring generations of viewers over the years, as it contains a profound message of optimism and empowerment that will resonate for years to come. Why […]

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Comment, Prose

Commonplace Insanity

by Martin Yip Insanity tends to be more salient in the mind than sanity. After all, being sane seems to be the default and thus unworthy of comment; any significant deviation from this default, however, merits attention. When Taiwanese basketball player Jeremy Lin took the NBA by storm in 2012, the phenomenon was dubbed ‘Linsanity’. […]

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Comment, Prose

Stardust

by Samanwita Sen In the grand scheme of the universe, all we will ever amount to is just that. Stardust. You could have the highest statute of honour attached to your name, or you could be the stranger that meticulously walks down the same alleyway at the same time every morning – regardless, our existences, […]

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Comment, Prose

To Infinity and Beyond

by Martin Yip ‘Progress’ is one of those words like ‘peace’. Like peace, virtually everyone agrees that progress is desirable to have. Yet, like peace, there is no clear definition of what progress is, to the extent that many thoughts and actions may be justified on the grounds of a certain convenient definition of ‘progress’. […]

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Comment, Prose

United

by Samanwita Sen One of the memories I look back upon fondly happens to be tucked away in the cozy little enclave of a bus seat, lit by the scintillating bobs that blurred outside as we drove past and the shadows of strangers bouncing off the window. I let myself fade into the lull of […]

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Comment, Prose

Lines Must Be Drawn

by Martin Yip ‘Imagine there’s no countries / It isn’t hard to do / Nothing to kill or die for / And no religion too.’ So passionately sang John Lennon in Imagine. The imagery of peace and harmony was appealing: if only the physical and psychological barriers between people could come down, we would all […]

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Comment, Prose

Border Maintenance

by Martin Yip Someone (in)famous once said that borders were very important. Millions of people were rushing across the border every day. They were bad, bad people. They commit so many crimes, tremendously many. They are a threat to security. So, he said, we must BUILD A WALL to protect the borders. Across the globe, […]

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Comment, Prose

Pondering Plentiful Perspectives

by Martin Yip History is written by the victors, they say. I spent much of the past summer in two interesting locations – Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, and Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Both countries share a history of communist rule which are, interestingly enough, depicted from […]

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Comment, Prose

No Sacrifice Too Small

by Martin Yip On 1 October 2019, the People’s Republic of China celebrated its 70th anniversary. In Beijing, the largest ever military parade was staged. Fifteen thousand troops marched across Tiananmen Square with armaments that were all made in China. ‘Patriotism and pride swelled among the Chinese as they celebrated the country’s seven decades of […]

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Comment, Prose

The Ghosts of Protests Past

by ZX and Martin Yip ‘Nostalgia’ has two meanings. Originally, it meant ‘homesickness’. Today, it means ‘longing for the past’. For Hongkongers living in the UK, both meanings are apt. On Sunday 9th June, huge crowds filled the streets of Hong Kong to protest against a proposed law that would allow anyone in Hong Kong […]

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Comment, Prose

Nostalgia

by Peter Gent Four years ago when we launched the print edition of The Poor Print, the editorial team, then led by Jacob Warn, had an idea: we would publish anything anyone submitted. But, we said, we would only do so if we could shape submissions with a strong editorial hand. We wanted concise, pithy, […]

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Comment, Prose

A Farewell from the Editors: Nostalgia

by Michael Angerer The end of the academic year is upon us, vacation-time is about to break out, and so it is time to look back fondly upon our term as Executive Editors of The Poor Print: it is time for nostalgia. You might think that the word ‘nostalgia’ has ancient roots; you would be wrong. […]

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Comment, Prose

The Spirit of Societies

by Anonymous The granting of privileges to drinking societies is incompatible with a College ethos of inclusivity and equality. A contradiction lies at the very heart of the justification for College offering privileges to drinking societies. Two conceptions of these clubs are offered; neither of these are adequate and it is only through the unjustified […]

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Comment, Prose

Searching for Beauty in Law

by Zixin Jiang Having come to law from a background in philosophy, I’m sometimes asked which of the two I like better. The two are similar, e.g. they both test a combination of logical and verbal skills. I find both very interesting. Philosophy can be very abstract sometimes, whereas law has a more obvious practical […]

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Comment, Prose

Dwellings of Immortal Souls

by Harriet Strahl While walking in the park and reading the names engraved on the wooden benches along the path, I realized that there are not many things that Plato, Descartes and most religions agree upon. One of these rare beliefs is the immortality of the soul. Science has not yet even proven the existence […]

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Comment, Prose

Mirror

by Monim Wains I am a ghost in the machine. I am not you, and you are not me. Each of us is unique, different, maybe even special, in our own special way. We are all the results of our actions and thoughts, dreams and regrets, and every single one of us is a sole […]

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Comment, Prose

Indices of the Soul

by Zixin Jiang Why is it said that the eyes are windows to the soul? One common interpretation is that our eyes reveal our innermost thoughts and emotions. There’s probably some truth to that; a person’s eyes can sometimes reveal whether they are lying, or faking a smile. However, a seasoned orator may be able […]

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Comment, Prose

A Word from the Editors: Soul

by Michael Angerer The need to identify the essential being of all things, the underlying truth hidden behind superficial appearances, seems to be an irresistible impulse; it is in any case certain that the concept of a soul, or a psyche, is among the oldest known to humanity, and among the most widespread. And yet, […]

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Comment, Prose

Realising Desires

by Martin Yip In Hong Kong there is a saying that there are five things every university student should do: that is, study, date, live in halls, join committees of clubs and societies, and work part-time. Some might conform to this apparent social norm and desire to do all five, as if that would affirm […]

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Comment, Prose

Like as the Hart

by Zixin Jiang Of all the songs we sing at Oriel Chapel, nothing makes me feel like a hypocrite quite like this line does: ‘Like as the hart desireth the waterbrooks, so longeth my soul after thee, O God.’ ‘Lord, have mercy’? I can sing that. ‘It is right to give Him thanks and praise’? […]

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Comment, Prose

Old Habits Die Hard

by Monim Wains Perhaps the most comprehensive definition of tradition is the idiom in the title of this article; tradition is nothing but old habits that refuse to stay in the past where they first began. Of course, this sounds quite critical. With the constant need for change and improvement in the world, old habits […]

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Comment, Prose

The Paradox of Tradition

by Zixin Jiang At Oriel Choir this term, we are trying to revive (or rather, revive the enforcement of) the tradition of wearing cassocks (those red things we wear) during rehearsals before a service. I knew this was something we were supposed to do, but I never really knew why. Apparently, the point is to […]

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Comment, Prose

A Word from the Editors: Tradition

by Michael Angerer Modernity is the central tenet of our age, which likes to classify itself as ‘post-modern’, ‘post-colonial’, and ‘post-truth’; we tend to look upon tradition as stuffy, out-dated, and generally irrelevant to what our everyday lives should be. As you might have guessed from the presence of this column, however, there is far […]

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Comment, Prose

How Revolutions Matter

by Martin Yip I was first introduced to Les Misérables in seventh-grade music class: whenever our music teacher had time to spare at the end of class, he would go on YouTube and play us clips of its musical adaptations. I was captivated, and when a few years later the film adaptation was released, I […]

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