Lunch Money, a new online magazine co-founded by UNSW Art & Design graduate, Kurt Feng, and dedicated to long-form essays, is all about about food, life-style choices, colourful experiences and people  It’s also a sassy snapshot of a new generation of international creative types who combine extended personal stories with detailed research.  

Each of the main contributing writers (editors and translators) have lived in China, Australia, and the US. Their stories traverse high-end and low-end everything, revealing contemporary compulsions and lives gone terribly wrong. The writing is fresh, irreverent, and at times, remarkably revealing.

My Weird Homeless Friend, originally written in Chinese and subsequently translated into English, tells the true story of Zhang Lei, an educated young man born into relative privilege who now lives homeless on the streets of Beijing. The writer spends several days with Zhang Lei stealing food and skirting madness. It’s “an adventure” according to Zhang Lei, one wherein he refuses to spend any money, won’t associate himself with other homeless people, and summons a “higher power” in the sourcing of restrooms and safe sleeping spots. Punctuated with pictures of places important to Zhang Lei, the essay presents a disturbing insight into human frailty in a city of more than 20 million people.

In Raised on Beauty Ads, Cathy Song makes a comparative analysis of female beauty regimes in China versus the West. Song grew up in Australia, spent her high school years in the United States and now lives in China. She’s interested in the universal hard-wired human desire for beauty – and what we will do (and spend) to get closer to it. Song charts her own life lessons, those of her mother, and a selection of celebrities in a journey through adolescence, middle age, and later years never deserting the hope and goal of being as pretty as possible.  

Other projects and picture based essays include National Street Culture Battle, Eat Like A Man – Talk Like A Man, One Minute Song for Shower, Phone Down Chat Up, Drawings on Men’s Urinals, and the Energy Odessey.

If you’re looking for an entertaining distraction to see you through your lunch-hour, Lunch Money is food for thought.