Letter from the Editors

For a while, naïve optimism carried us through the beginning of the past year. But as the months dragged on, the small victories ceased to mean as much. People are feeling spent, crushed, yearning for an ideal past that may not have ever existed.

With this grim reality in mind, when discussing what we wanted to do for our digital magazine, we knew that our contributors would not have the same types of stories in them that they had a year ago. We have all changed, maybe forever.

While holding this thought, something else came to us: what happens when we embrace the changes? We started talking about how most of the time, moments in our lives don’t exist on a binary of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ — we encounter a continuum of experiences that are constantly moving and shifting. This reality is not something we have control over, but when we allow the flux of life to wash over us, we can learn about ourselves and the world around us.

FLUX” is full of stories about people who make lemonade, budge mountains, and rebuild communities. We would like to thank every one of our writers for being vulnerable, sharing their joy and sorrow, and not shying away from what lies in the middle. This magazine wouldn’t be possible without you, and it also wouldn’t be possible without every other person who coaxed this vision to life. For the web developers, copy editors, illustrators, photographers, magazine assistants, business team, and more: “FLUX” is all of ours.

So, let’s embrace the chaos of this past year — as vaguely threatening as that sounds. And to every person who pulled apart the liminal state we’ve been living in and filled a magazine with those stories, maybe we can think of our spring 2021 issue as a milepost, marking not only what has been, nor what’s to come, but everything else in between.

Stephanie Bai, Magazine Editor, and Nathalie Whitten, Creative Director


Ghost Month in Penang: an island haunted by the spectre of dengue fever

The disease is a metaphor for the culture of fear, xenophobia pervading Malaysia

By Zhen Chew

Nostalgic for the present

A video essay about noticing the little details of life as we experience them

By Vurjeet Madan

It might actually be good to confront your friends about middle school drama

That time I finally brought up an eighth grade birthday party thrown without me

By Lauren Alexander

A community built by change: the many movements of the Punjabi diaspora

Even with our backs against the wall, we find a way to move forward

By Angad Deol

The generation that broke all the rules: Toronto’s hippie life in the ’60s

Krystina Godzik-Wooley recounts the partying, hitchhiking, and rock stars of her past

By Emory Claire Mitchell



A love letter to my favourite plants, as told through illustrations

In a world in flux, gardening provides a sense of stability and calm

By Isabella Tan

Tik Tok at U of T: how students have made it big on the viral app

Varied experiences about community building, claims of anti-Black bias in algorithms

By Muzna Erum

What it means to pack a suitcase — lessons from my late father

Learning to order my luggage and my life around versatility and care

By Sherry Ning

Build your own Batcave: Thang Vu on what it means to be an artist today

A U of T designer on shifting to online exhibits, dream to open a diner in Vietnam

By Gladys Lou



Flying in circles: on adulthood and university from your childhood bedroom

When you finally move out, you may need home more than you realize

By Kate Haberl

Feeling stuck as a first-year during the pandemic

A letter on the loneliness of watching my friends leave while I stayed behind

By Anastasia Kasirye

Living in motion pictures: a stop-motion animation photo essay

Trying to capture the way life unfolds before us in frames

By Nathan Ching

Redefining relationships: the lockdown’s effect on the familial, platonic, and romantic

From long-distance breakups to returning home, our lives have been irrevocably changed

By Janus Kwong

How listening to plants helped me believe in people again

We are romantic, communal people who seek connection in any and everything

By Wambui Waiganjo

Making bread during COVID-19: life on the frontlines doing minimum wage (and unpaid) work

Grocery store employees to nursing students — how overlooked occupations became revered nationwide

By Sky Kapoor



What to do when you’re (barely) hanging on to hope

From listening to the words of Mr. Rogers to learning when to quit

By Nancy Dutra

My dreamland rolodex: escapism as a source of relief — and why it’s okay

Coping by intensive daydreaming for everything I can’t control

By Sherene Almjawer

Slouching toward the sky: finding God on an afternoon run

Confronting existential weariness and Sunday school memories around my city’s dike system

By Caleb Chan

Misinformation, uncertainty, and conspiracies, oh my!

What happens to the information ecosystem during crises like a pandemic?

By Shankeri Vijayakumar



Guide to being a well-informed global citizen during the pandemic

Reviewing journalistic credibility, news stories that have defined a complicated year

By Angel Hsieh

Theatre criticism has come to a fork in the road

The practice needs to undergo a reckoning of inclusivity

By Joshua Chong

Toronto transplant: my friends share how the city compares to their distant homes

In the end, the city is a reflection of those who live in it

By Jesse McDougall

My connotated urban spaces: what happened when I lost my childhood playground

To what extent should we overlook personal attachments when redeveloping a space?

By Valerie Yao

Gardens of the future: how your plants at home can help address national food security

Artist Lori Weidenhammer on community building through victory gardening

By Jadine Ngan