Friday, June 27, 2014

Concerns over exploitation of International students- our thoughts

International students are being exploited at work by racism and not being paid correctly. Some are being asked to do trial shifts. Students are being paid as little as $7 an hour as studies say. We explain

Many of them come to Australia with no knowledge of work rights. Many of them are desperate to find part time work and they apply for the first thing that they see without research into what the business
 The universities don't tell them beforehand at the orientation sessions. They just talk about their services etc. AFIS did do a good job about rights but not many students attend these sessions.

CISA is doing a great job on their campaign to stop exploitation which has only just started.
So how can we enforce the students to go?

There are some cases where students are being asked for an ABN (Australian Business Number) so that employers can avoid legal obligations such as tax etc. Students may not know that they are running their own business when legally they are working for the employer. When it comes tax time students don't know how much they can claim.

To the employer: If the Australian employers (the real ones) don't get away with this , why should you?

To the students: Make sure you do your research about the business and a good way to do this is by signing up to forums such as Glassdoor which current and former employees review the business

To the current students: where have you had a less than favorable experience at work?

Lets talk about gambling- a problem that is getting worse for International students

Gambling is a problem that affects many International students. But did you know that it got worse last year? We explain the problem that many International students have.

Image courtesy of RMIT New International students blog.
 Last month the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria had released a paper about gambling in Melbourne and how the problem is getting worse, particularly some pubs and pokie places. Most of them are in the suburbs near the train line. Gamblers Help were thinking about putting ads up around the train station.
Image courtesy of RMIT Newintstudents blog

Gambling leads to a lot of problems such as financial hardships, homelessness etc. Many students gamble because they are lonely and homesick.

 Things the team took out of that paper
 * People (particularly International students) have more freedom when they come to Melbourne or Australia. When they see the casino, they think it is a safe haven to get away from stress
 * Gambling problems remain a secret amongst university students. They are too scared to get help and they worry about losing face.
* The City of Moreland has developed a Smart phone app to help people control their behavior at the Casino.
* Online gambling is increasing and councils cannot stop this from happening
 * The need for more alternative ways to gambling
 * There is a need for more research on Cultural diversity to be done by the Uni's and the Federal Government. Monash has done a lot of research about this which is great

But what about the City of Melbourne? Funnily enough they weren't included in the report. But what the team did last month was to attend a forum about gambling where a Tamil lost a lot of money gambling and he didn't know where to get help

As for the team we don't usually visit places with pokie machines; we usually like to stay away. One solution is for the pubs to focus more on food and drinks and take away the pokie machines. You don't need that to have a good time at the pub. If they really want some games its better to have arcade games or pool just for fun.

We also feel that many students turn to gambling because they feel isolated in society. Actually not many of the City of Melbourne's initiatives are properly advertised to students. Only about 100 students turn up to the Couch's salsa classes at night. Most of them leave after dinner.

But the football on the 15th of June was great as there was a huge turnout. Everyone enjoyed the game.

If you have any problems with gambling do give Gamblers Help a call as they are a free and confidential service that will assist you.

Chefs, Wait Staff and Kitchen Staff can now apply for permanent residency

Did you know that there is a new change to the SOL (Skilled Occupation List)? Well now there is and now is a better time to study in Melbourne, especially in Hospitality. We explain

International students are now eligible to apply for residency after graduation due to a recent overhaul of the 457 visa program.  You do not need a sponsor anymore as Australia needs more of these.

This is due to the new Government changing the regulations which is what they promised at the last election. Under the Labour government this would not have been allowed. But there is a cost and that is that can only limit the amount of places to about 43,000 per year

This is great news for the cafe, restaurant, pub and bar owners as they need staff to work in their business. Lately there has been decline in interest for these job. Hospitality Magazine predicts that there would be about 43,000 new jobs in demand by November 2017

Now is a good time to maybe think about doing a hospitality course with William Angliss Institute and Box Hill Institute of TAFE. There is also other ones that offer courses in cookery but some of them can be very dodgy.

In August there will be a careers expo in Melbourne so stay tuned for the upcoming info and dates. 

Lingham's sweet chilli sauce

Lingham's is a Indian/Malaysian sauce company which started in India in 1908. Hence the spiciness.

I received a few samples of this at Fiesta Malaysia so I thought that I would try it.

It is sweet and very spicy. It is better the Maggi sauces which are more Westernised. In fact this is great for lots of rice dishes.  Unlike other sauces this is unique in flavour and the flavour will keep on enticing you for more.

The ingredients of the sauce are red chilli, vinegar, sugar and salt. I can hardly taste the salt in the sauce which is great for those that don't like salt. And this is not too sweet either.

It is found in a few Asian grocery shops in Melbourne.

For more information head to their site.

Good Neighbour month part one

The Good Neighborhood Month is on for the month of July.  It is run by the Arrow neighbourhood, UrbanSeed and Credo cafe. Here we think about who is our neighbors. Our neighbors are in the City, Footscray, Carlton and Moonee valley. In terms of thinking about our neighbors we tend to think of them as kind loving people. Here we have a four part series and each week we do stuff and learn from it. 

Lentils as Anything and donating magazines
 We visited Lentils as Anything on one cold day for soup and food. Here you pay by donation so we donated magazines and some coins as we know people love to read. We also want to donate a shift.

Donating old things
We had a bag full of unwanted stuff so we donated it to the Salvation Army's Winter appeal. In there was a blanket, toys and a cup.
We didn't expect anything in return, but I got dessert in return.

Buying coffee for colleagues
On another cold day I bought coffee for my colleagues as they didn't want to brave the cold. They didn't want to get out of their warm offices and I had some money on my gift card which I had to use up.
They were happy that I bought them coffee.

Lessons learnt
We gave away a few things, but we didn't expect anything in return. Now we went away with that warm fuzzy feeling.

We want to do more to help our neighbours. In the coming weeks there'll be more things such as buying a meal for a homeless person and giving them some silvers. There'll also be the write up of the Good Neighbourhood party.

Mrs Fields in Highpoint

And yes I did have a surly guy as my server

Mrs Fields is renowned for their cookies and sweets mainly brownies.

The one in Highpoint is a small little kiosk outside Myer.

I had a buy one get one free voucher thanks to Entertainment books, so I used that to buy one macadamia nut brownie and one chocolate brownie. I also added a small cookie to my order.

They actually honor the vouchers so it was a plus in my eyes.

Comparing the two brownies- I actually prefer the macadamia one over the dark chocolate one. The macadamia one was simply decadent and very sweet. The flavour of the nuts was subtle. As for the chocolate one it was rich. A little too rich in my books.

The macadamia one was soft and very moist, the way how brownies should be

The mini bite sweetened the deal for me. It was just like the way that it was done at home.

If I really wanted a good brownie and don't want to spend a lot on a dry brownie (mainly Max's) then I could come here with a good book. And relax over my macadamia brownie.
Editors note: Mrs Fields has been participating in the Entertainment book for many years now and they have always been good to us. They always have three buy one get one free offers. You can buy this from our page
Mrs Fields on Urbanspoon


Meetup is an online site where you can choose different groups and events to attend. Most of them which are free of charge. You can search the nearest meetups by typing in your postcode.

Sign up is free and there is an app for that

I chose to meet up with the Happy Commandos which a lovely, bubbly bunch of people that love to visit bars and pubs in the Happy Hours.

At the bar you have to mingle with everyone and everyone is very friendly. Everyone is welcome to join, even those that are new to the country.

The first time I met the Happy Commandos I was a nervous wreck and couldn't find the location. So of course I was fifteen minutes late. That was alright though as people came and went. Some had dinner plans. The location on Urbanspoon said 168 Lt Collins st, but it was actually on Big Collins st.

I only limited myself to a $3 lemonade but others got really drunk. The bar that night was busy and they had about 150 people turning up for their $5 wines. Some stayed on for food. You order your own food and pay at the bar. Note: there isn't a lot of sharing- it is up to that table.

Online you'll get to mingle with some of the people before you come and there is usually a table reserved. Students its a great way to meet new people in Melbourne. There is an app for the meetups in which you can download from Google Play. Or otherwise just sign up here.  But be prepared to introduce yourself.

The Limerick Arms

I booked this place online via Dimmi. I was very intrigued to try the place after seeing it a few times and seeing their offer in the Entertainment book.

The Limerick Arms Hotel is very old Melbourne style pub. It is an English pub in the heart of South Melbourne. They do support Melbourne Storm.

I had the 25% discount voucher from the Entertainment book so I only had to pay $13.80 for the veggie burger and lemonade. The guy at the bar wasn't bad. 

Pub specials

Love the signage

Pool tables

The place was very quiet on a Tuesday afternoon.
The service was very slow and the food wasn't that great either. People before me had waited ages for their food and I waited about half hour for nothing. But luckily there are feedback forms. I don't know how seriously they take their feedback but oh well.

When it came to the table it looked like a bomb's fallen on it. The patty was obviously bought from the supermarket and looked like the ones that we use at Chill and Grill. Not something worth paying the full price of $14 for. Some of the bits were burnt. I didn't really enjoy the tomato relish. It had that weird sweet sourish flavour to it.

I had to agree with some of the other reviewers though about the cold burger bun. Not only that- it tasted like the ones at McDonalds.

Burnt bits
But the chips were the redeeming factor. Nicely salted they worked well with the chilli sauce.

A tiny hair
At the end of the meal I saw an unwelcome guest- a short hair on my plate :(. It was bit late to say something at that stage.

I hope that they will lift their game, given that fact that there are better pubs in South Melbourne.If they don't they may as well go out of business. I think its best that they just stick to drinks and snacks. And AFL.

Editors note: This pub is featured in this years Entertainment membership and they are offering members 25% off the total bill. Do buy yours from us whilst stocks last
Limerick Arms Hotel on Urbanspoon

Sushi Party

Sushi Party is a small place on Russell st in the city. I saw the advertisement for this at Melbourne Central station and wanted to try the sushi there. They were advertising $2 sushi.

So I thought: why not give this a go as it is soooo cheap?

The guy there was super nice.

They have a small eat in area, but most of their customers are take away customers only.

I visited twice. The first time I had the egg roll and the seaweed roll. The seaweed roll was a little bit bland for my liking but the egg roll was alright.

Then a few weeks later things got better. I had the fried whiting roll and the raw salmon roll. The fish was fresh and whiting roll was flavoursome. Now if I had to choose, I'd choose the whiting.

The avocado was fresh and the rice was just right
Students do visit this place as it is soo cheap and better than your average sushi.
Sushi Party on Urbanspoon

Cooking class at South Melbourne Market

I was invited by GRAM Magazine and South Melbourne Market.

GRAM Magazine is a ultra cool indie magazine that talks about all things cool about Melbourne and events in Melbourne. It is a free magazine which can be collected from many cafes in Melbourne.

South Melbourne Market hosts regular cooking classes that costs anywhere between $55- $125. This was a masterclass that I was invited to and this one was run by John Lawson of Number 8 restaurant in Crown.
John Lawson is an English chef who worked with Gordon Ramsey. He is a humble guy who loves simple food. He is also used to some of the negative criticism online. John always tastes his food before service

During the class and dinner I met up with some of the other foodies and actually mingled with the table. Unlike Joyce from MEL: HOT OR NOT who didn't. The aim of these intimate classes is to mingle with the fellow foodies over good food and wine. But Joyce and I mingled with the chef as well.

John loves to use local produce and he wasn't afraid of showcasing it.
Broccoli pollen which is a garnish in itself. I have never really tried this

John showcased the five course menu which he normally does in Number 8. We also tasted raw celeriac that tasted like young licorice.

First up was bread and butter and a cheese which I have never tried. I really loved the wheat bread as I kept coming back for more. The butter is homemade but salty.

Second course: Baked salmon with celeriac and apple salad. This dish is on their menu for $36. The fish was fresh and the celeriac was very creamy. John used the canola oil which is used at Number 8.

The fish is normally cooked at room temperature.  This fish is from Lakes Entrance.
Wagyu beef

The baby carrots


Third course: Wagyu beef with vegetables and bacon. This is a rustic dish which reminded of Country Victoria and Bendigo.  Now I'm not normally a fan of eating meat outside but John Lawson did a brilliant job of the meat. Meat when cooked well and sourced well is good. John sources his meat from Felice's in Elwood.

John did a really good mash which was creamy in texture and very buttery and salty in flavour. He also did the baby carrots justice as I came back for more of these. I was too full for more meat but I did enjoy the smokiness of the bacon and the tenderness of the wagyu. I also loved the saltiness of the brisket

Fourth course: Rice pudding with truffles. Now I have never actually tried truffles before so I can't really comment on it too much other than to say that it was a little sourish in the dessert

Fifth course was just chocolate with passionfruit praline. What a lovely way to finish the meal.

Many thanks to South Melbourne Market for having me and I hope that Joyce writes her own post about this.

NB: John has a Moet and Chandon event for $65 on Tuesday the 8th of July at his restaurant. My bet is that it will be sold out soon so do book now.

Btw a little birdy said that the Fat Duck in Melbourne has about 1500 seats and they are almost sold out. There is about 50 seats left.

The Address:
No. 8 by John Lawson (number 8) on Urbanspoon
Editors note: Number 8 has an offer in the Entertainment Book for 25% off the total bill. You can buy the book here.


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