UWA International Students magazine
Edition One 2010
Looking to migrate? Looking to migrate? Studying in Australia? Studying in Australia? Need work? Need work? Then let us help you! Then let us help you! ISA Group specialises in assisting international students studying in Australia with permanent and temporary visa applications. Our experienced recruitment division is also able to assist with your employment needs. Contact us today on +61 8 9346 8888 for more information. ISA Group Pty Ltd ISA Group specialises in assisting international students studying in Australia with permanent and temporary Members of Migration Institute of Australia • Registered Migration Agents visa applications. Our experienced recruitment division is also able to assist with your employment needs. Suite 5, Level 1, 40 Hasler Road, Osborne Park Western Australia 6017 Contact today 9346 8899 8888• for more information. T: +61 8 us 9346 8888on • F:+61 +61 8 8 9346 E: email@example.com www.isa.com.au ISA Group Pty Ltd Members of Migration Institute of Australia • Registered Migration Agents Suite 5, Level 1, 40 Hasler Road, Osborne Park Western Australia 6017 HR Management T: +61 8 9346 8888 • F:Recruitment +61 8 9346 8899 • E:Projects firstname.lastname@example.org Immigration Services Special
MARN Reg. 0000942
Contents 04 04 05 06
Ed itor’s Message ISS Director’s Message ISS Committee Guild President’s Message
TRAVEL AND PLACES The Path Less Travelled Gone Fishing
ENTERTAINMENT The Perth Pleasure Predicament Clubs ‘n’ Pubs
INSIGHT Adapting to the Newness of Beginnings
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Interview with The Food Pornographer
Lighthouse was produced by Editor Hwuey May Kang Graphic Designer Bec Kohn & Su-Anne Lee Editorial Assistance and Advertising Alex Pond Disclaimer: the views of this publication do not necessarily represent the views of the editor, ISS or the UWA Student Guild.
Editor Hey guys, welcome to the first edition of Lighthouse! I hope everyone has had an awesome summer and is ready for the first semester! To those new in UWA, I’d like to say welcome and for the rest who are coming back for yet another semester, it’s great to have you guys back! I was having a glimpse through the articles sent to me the other day and it suddenly dawned upon me that many students are of the opinion that Perth is a really boring place. Thus the clichéd responses we know (and use) so well come up: So how’s Perth like? Really boring, it’s a deadbeat. Is Perth exciting? No, not really. Personally, I think Perth is a great place. I’ve had wonderful memories built in this very city. So in this issue, we give you a glimpse of the places you could visit and activities you can do while you’re here in Perth. The highlight of this edition is definitely the feature interview with one of Perth’s most famous bloggers, the Food Pornographer! We also have interesting pieces in the ‘Insight’ as well as ‘Entertainment’ sections just for you. We hope you’ll enjoy our humble effort and be sure to look forward to the next edition of Lighthouse. So to end with, for everyone who’s taken the time to help me with the production of Lighthouse, I’d like to say thank you for making this edition happen. Hwuey May Kang Lighthouse Editor
ISS Director Hi there! Welcome to the first semester of year 2010. I hope everyone is looking forward to all the fun events and activities that have been planned out just for you, such as the Multicultural Week, the Interclub Social League, the domestic and international students co-organized BOND-AGE event and many more! The International Students Service (ISS) is the voice of UWA’s international students. We are here to help international students with their wellbeing, as well as helping them sort out issues that they face with life away from home. Just to keep you updated, a few changes have been made in the ISS this year. This includes the new ISS logo, which was designed by my fellow committee members and a new layout for the ISS website. Do visit us regularly at www.iss.guild.uwa.edu. au for more information on the ISS as well as upcoming events. All the best and have a fantastic new year! Your Beloved Director, Giselle Sim ISS Director
ISS COMMIT TEE
The ISS Committee
Director: Giselle Sim
cretary: Sports Se ardena naw u G i n ya Ja
Treasurer: Su Ern Lee
MCW Dire Andi Rahmat ctor: Sanusi
Liaison Officer: Javon Sheng Ji Lee
Directo r W& Ron Ne E: vis
Social Secretary: Yasheng Ang
W&E O ffi Li Zhen cer: Siow
Deputy Director Social: Shaun Neubronner
dent who wants to make the Are you an international stu nce? most of your UWA experie a. iling email@example.com ema by Get involved with ISS ted loca 7 2.5 m roo at ge our loun edu.au or by coming up to ld building in the Guild village. on the second floor of the Gui
Interested in taking part in ou annual Multic ultural Week? r Multicultural Week is a wee k-long celebration of mul activities, perfo ticulturalism through rmances and food. We are looking fo r students to get involved in and we have this big event four exciting de partments av choose from; ailable to media, events , logistics and To be involved marketing. in MCW 2010 , email our M Andi at iss.m CW Director, firstname.lastname@example.org .
in writing Interested use? for Lightho share your fect place to lessons Itâ€™s the per e lif nces and tips, experie rnational students! te in er h with ot t mail May a lved, just e . To get invo om email@example.com iss.lighthous
Guild President Hey everyone and welcome to UWA in 2010! To those new to UWA, my name is Emma Greeney and I’m here as your Guild President for this year. It’s my responsibility to make sure you can get the most out of your University experience and feel happy and safe at Uni. To that end, if you ever want to speak to me about something, please don’t hesitate to drop me an email, give me a call or even come by my office. I would love to meet you and talk about how you’re settling in to life in Perth – we could even grab a half price Guild coffee! To those old hands coming back in 2010, I hope you had a fantastic holiday and enjoyed some time with friends and family. I have the greatest respect for International students and how hard it is to be away from the people you know and love whilst working so hard. You’re all champions in my eyes. As for the Guild, we’re here to support you in your time at university, academically, financially and socially (of course!). We offer Guild loans and grants if you find yourself really struggling with bills – just come in and see a friendly member of the Finance
team and they can help you out. If you run into issues with the University and don’t feel comfortable appealing on your own, you can seek out an Education Officer in the Student Centre to represent you to the University. Most excitingly, your International Student Services team along with a myriad of clubs and societies on campus are ready to pack your semester full of fun and enjoyable social activities so you can get to know your fellow students better and take part in the local community. Things aren’t fantastic for International students at the moment and there’s no denying that this makes an already difficult time even harder. The treatment of some International students in the Eastern States truly is cause for concern and whilst we’re lucky not to have seen any of this sort of behaviour in the West it still highlights the hardships facing International students coming somewhere new and foreign. University policy also makes things tricky sometimes and it’s important that in the coming 12 months we continue to push for a better tertiary system for International students. You should never feel that you are second class students or that your opinions and concerns don’t matter. Well that’s all from me for the moment – enjoy your time here at UWA, we have a very unique environment here that I think makes for an excellent University experience. Again, if you ever want to point out an issue, raise a concern or even have a chat, please don’t hesitate to find me. See you around the Oak Lawn! Emma Greeney 97th Guild President
Travel and places
The Path Less Travelled by Michelle Wong
First, congratulations on deciding to study at the most beautiful university campus in Western Australia and welcome to Perth! The best discoveries are made outside your comfort zone, and in Perth, you won’t be short of places to see and discover. “Isn’t Perth boring?” you may ask? Well, maybe if you stick to the same places over and over again. Places like London and New York would get boring too, if you had only frequented the same spots. Let yourself venture out of the Perth CBD area and get lost in Perth’s many hidden streets, and you may find that Perth is in fact a treasure trove of things to see and do. Just a step (or a short bus ride) out of the city, Leederville’s Oxford Street holds a variety of delights for the artist. Record shops, bookshops, and vintage stores line the street. A trip to Greens Cafe marks the highlight of the journey. This vibrant cafe’s walls are lined with posters of past and present concerts, artists and movies. Even the ceiling is a work
of art, with an abstraction of round Japanese paper lights covering the entire surface. Word to the wise – be prepared for an explosion of pop culture upon entering the cafe. So nestle down into one of the many sofas, have a coffee and cake, and immerse yourself in some of Perth’s culture! For a northie such as myself, regular trips to Cottlesloe Beach tend to be pretty demanding for those having to rely on public transport. Therefore, I introduce you to Hillary’s Boat Harbour! Located north of the river, approximately 45 minutes drive from Perth city, this beach-cum-shopping centre is a must visit. Known affectionately as ‘Hillaz’, the hardest choice you’ll ever have to make is whether to start off at the waterslides, lounge around on the beach, or just sit in one of the many cafes to enjoy the atmosphere. For the indestructible shopaholic, there are plenty of shops to satisfy even the most ardent shopper. So if you’re bored of your typical sunbathing beach, this is definitely a visit worth making.
Travel and places
Need something different from your usual everyday Dominos pizza? In Mundaring, a slice of pizza becomes a whole new experience. Little Caesar’s Pizzeria offers your staple pizza and pasta menu. But watch out for the dessert menu! It will blow your mind. It covers everything from ‘Caramello Sam’ pizza to a ‘New York Pecan Pie’ pizza. It is located on the Great Eastern Highway and is a distance away from the comfortable boundaries of the Perth CBD. If you can beg for or borrow a ride to get there, this is one pizza place you don’t want to miss out on. To check out the menu, go to www.littlecaesarspizzeria.com.au. So is Perth still boring? The best solution – grab some friends, find a bus (or a car) and head on out to explore the streets.
Travel and places
Gone fishing with the MasterBaiters: Kalbarri by Ron Neil Nevis It’s December 2009 and we head up to Kalbarri to chase the legendary Tailor. The journey up takes 6 hours but as many of you who’ve been on road trips know, there is so much to see. Dead kangaroos, funny looking plants and long stretches of roads are not classified as a norm for those of us who just came to Perth not too long ago. Along the way, we stop by at Badgingarra – Home of the Badger Burger. Yes, Badger. For those of you who are taking a trip up north, I recommend a stop at the Badgingarra Roadside House for a REAL burger and awesome service. We reach Kalbarri by lunchtime and met an old friend there, Laurie Malton from Murchison Boat hire who has our bargain accommodation covered. After “checking-in” to our cosy little apartment, we grab our gear
and head off to Chinaman’s Point – where many have fallen prey to those who dare scale its treacherous rocks and face pounding waves. At the reef’s edge, we catch our breath, wondering what lurks beneath. We rig up and start popping just for the hell of it, hoping to land something big, but give up after a couple of hours and retreat back home via the IGA. Over a classic Aussie Barbie with a nice cold one, we discuss our plans for the next couple of days. Laurie has suggested fishing at Wittecarra’s Creek about 10 minutes drive away. But before then, Shane has a date with a Fishwrecked fisho, ‘Tangles’, and they are off to Frustrations Reef to have a go at sharks, rays and other big goodies. We decide that Fuzz can go too as he’s going back to Singapore to serve in the Army soon.
Travel and places
Getting to Frustrations Reef – which is aptly named – is not a walk in the park. 1km in soft sand with their gear just to get to this “secret spot”. In four hours, Shane lands a Cobia and a very decent Tailor (finally) and Tangles lands a 50kg Shovelnose Ray. While Shane and Fuzz are out having fun, the rest of us (Stan, Jeremy and myself) are again at our local jetty, this time trying for breams. We catch a decent sized bream between the three of us, with some chopper tailor thrown in but they are all undersized so we release them to fight another day. The mother load came when Stan lands a nice 38cm bream and I land a 34cm bream later that evening. We pick up Shane and Fuzz, and head home to clean the catch; our chef de cuisine, Fuzz, makes awesome fish porridge soup. We sleep like logs and wake at 3am to arm ourselves to the teeth against the cold and against the Tailor. There we are knee deep in water with 1.5m waves crashing down on us in the blistering morning chill, casting bait into the water. We are rewarded, though, with 4 very decent tailors at sunrise. Back at home we rest up - tonight will be a good night. We decide to split up to maximize our chances of getting bigger and better fish. Stan and Fuzz will go to Chinaman’s while Shane, Jeremy and I will go back to Wittecarra’s Creek at sunset…
Over two hours at Wittecarra’s, we fish to our heart’s content, getting ravaged by waves this time close to 2m high, but we catch nine massive Tailors. After filling up the bucket with fresh fish, we decide to go and visit the other two, who don’t have lady luck holding the fishing rod for them. After convincing them to climb up Chinaman’s and not throw themselves in, we head home, and invite Laurie over for dinner – barbequed Tailor and, boy, did it taste good! Alas, the morning comes, and with heavy hearts, we leave this gorgeous town behind and return back to our lives as students here at UWA, knowing that next year, the Masterbaiters will be back again for more epic adventures in Kalbarri, this time trolling for Tuna and Cod. The Author is a proud member of Fishwrecked and Team Masterbaiters. Always remember to fish for the future and adhere to the legal bag and size limits. Always check the tide and wind conditions before embarking on a fishing trip and take 10 minutes to survey new environments for any King waves that might slam against the rocks. Remember, no catch is worth dying for. You can follow the Masterbaiters (mis) adventures at: http://teammasterbaiters.blogspot.com or follow us on twitter at: https://twitter.com/TeamMastBaiters
Perth Pleasure Predicament by David Lefort
Perth can be pleasurable if you want it to be. Great! You’ve chosen Perth! Now after two weeks what is there left to do? Isn’t this then a great time to pick up the books and start your revision? Uni is a real change of pace – workload is heavy, revision is essential and exams are tough. Ok, enough. Lets talk about some fun! Getting out and doing things has been an issue that plagues so many people from more exciting places around the globe. Heck! Even the stores close at 5.30! (except Thursdays in the suburbs and Fridays in the city). What’s there to do after visiting the hottest tourist spots, shopping at all the malls, eating at all the restaurants and swimming in all the beaches? Face it, it’s a little dead after 5. Although with a little bit of alcohol, lots of partying, some stripping and other arts, Perth comes to life again. I know, you are here to study. But all work and no fun makes you a boring person. Time in uni is a time for socalising, fun and entertainment. To do all the things you have ever wanted to do. And there’s one thing that makes it all worthwhile - no supervision. It’s the years left that you can have fun before your career starts. I’m not telling you to play hard, just study smart. For the record so that it’s written in stone: University is a time to work hard and do your best, as it’s the final stage to shine before your working life begins. Having said that, this might be the last time you can have fun. Balance and organization is
key. If you got that in check you can relax a ‘bit’. The car is your best friend, or if you see someone with a car that lives close to you, make good friends with him. Bake him a cake or make compliments, anything it takes. Remember after a while in Perth, you’re getting desperate. We need to keep that drive going. On those late boring nights you might need a place or two to go after hanging with the residents seem stretching your time. As quick as you can, convert your license or get one because when all the malls are closed, your only entertainment might be the bars, pubs or clubs. It’s where the action is. Or if a little naughty entertainment is right up your alley, there are plenty of little tucked away fun that can keep you up all night. Well here we are the guide to clubs, concerts, events and the art festival - when to go and where to go. CLUBS If you want thrills and spills, hit the clubs. Each day would bring you to a different place. On Monday, you might want to check out The Deen or The Shed in Northbridge, Tuesday, your best bet would be The Cott or OBH and Wednesdays, Leedy, Hip-e,
Cargenies or Captain Stirling (down the road from UWA) is the place to be. On Thursday, Clubba in Claremont or Salsa night at The Deen. The weekend, pretty much anywhere will be full of life and hopping will be fantastic. And if you find yourself in a little too deep, take a moment to enjoy the situation, then quickly get sobered up because after this you have to hit the books. Go to the places you like first as there are bound to be long lines. You also want to try Amps and Capitol for these two nights. Sunday sesh at The Cott or OBH is a real hit if you need to end your week on a high note. GAY For you queer folk, you are not forgotten. Connections club and The Court is where the action is. Although you don’t have to be straight up to enjoy the line up of events planned for the year you’ll definitely have a ball. PUB If you’re into a casual pub as opposed to a club, Little Creatures in Fremantle next to landmark seafood restaurants would be perfect. It is a cozy and popular brewery that will surely warm your heart. Durty Nelly’s Irish pup opposite a surely popular Taka Japanese Restaurant in Shafto lane has daily food specials. Food is excellent and the ambiance is fantastic. Pubs make a very nice place for social gatherings over drinks with a fittingly friendly atmosphere either casual or conventional. STRIP If getting up and getting out is your thing, there is plenty for you to do too. Right across from the Brass Monkey is a well-known strip club that goes by the name of Xotica.
This gentleman’s club features lap, pole and strip dances and nudity. Around the streets of Perth, there are many, many more adult entertainment establishments at coverted corners that can peep from the corner of your eyes as long as you want. Looking out for special events in this arena, you might find little surprises like lesbian mud wrestling events (which happens to be our editor’s favourite), the Mardi Gras parade and lots of steaming hot action to be found depending on your stand on the matter. A good tip is to watch for the sliver of saliva and wipe it off quickly as you don’t want to seem over-eager and new. CONCERTS Perth brings a host of concerts, plays and performances from a variety of international artists. Throughout the years we have had acts from Celine Dion to Cirque du Soilel to Slipknot. The venues include The Burswoord Dome, Subiaco Oval, Perth Concert Hall, UWA’s own Octagon theatre, His Majesty’s Theatre and the Supreme Court Gardens among others. All these places are easily accessed by public and private transport. Nothing more can keep you high, a reason to get dressed up and entertained than a nice time at a great event. Prices range from an affordable $11 all the way to $300 for Diamond tickets at certain high profile events. Important ticketing agencies are BOCS (found in octagon theatre), Ticketmaster and Ticketek. Check their website for the calendar of events. To give you a taste, some in the lineup this year include the Big Day Out in January (that
occurs yearly), the comedian Russell Peters and the Placebo concert in March, Kelly Clarkson, Cats, Bursting out and Lady Gaga thatâ€™s sure to be a hit in April. Throughout the year there are more awesome performances that will definitely keep you jumping or glued to your seat. There are also classic plays from Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde with new and unique takes and many original productions. ART FESTIVALS This brings us to the annual Arts Festival. At the beginning of each year, there is the International Arts Festival that stretches on into April. There are both fee and free events. It is a delightful period to immerse yourself in the arts and open your mind. Foreign films are showcased at the Somerville Auditorium at UWA during this time. This is a casual picnic-like outdoor affair where you can watch a foreign film under the stars in the cool summer night with the option of bringing your own food and drinks. The list of films are available on the Festival website. Also, there are artist talks, visual arts exhibitions scattered throughout the city, as well as opera, dance, theatre and music events. Evidently, when the sun goes down and the nightlife does come up. There are thrills around this great city if only you know where to look - the secret corners that Perthians proudly know. Looking around, experimenting, exploring or simply asking can lead you to a great night, free from boredom and stress. Suddenly Perth isnâ€™t so boring, empty or quiet anymore. You just got to know where to go and where the fun is. So go on, get out there.
Clubs ‘n’ Pubs by Javon Sheng Ji Lee
Yo, peeps! It must have been a hectic week with all the enrolment stuff, but hopefully you’re ready to roll for first semester! A lot of words have been flying around saying Perth is boring and stuff like that, but since you have decided to stay, make the most out of Perth and you may well think twice before saying its “boring”. However, being as you’re in a new town, you probably need a guide to help you out. So let’s get ready to pump it!! There are pubs and clubs galore in Perth, but my personal favourite would be Metro City. This three-storied club features dazzling lighting, a sky-high ceiling, massive stage and a sexy dance floor. Need I say more? It is the right place to party! If you want more of the heart thumping beat of trance and techno, then head over to the Rise Danceclub. Besides offering world class decor with mesmerizing lighting, the quality speakers and woofers will awaken the dancer within! If you prefer something close to uni, Club Red Sea is for you. The only club of its kind in the Western Suburbs, the Red Sea offers sophisticated design and atmosphere where you dance your worries away! Are bars and pubs more of your thing? Not to worry as there’s plenty of both around Perth.
First up on my list has to be the Mustang Bar, an American style sports bar which might just be the perfect place for chilling out. A blend of modern, old school and catchy country music plays all night long, making it one of my favourite picks. Another great location is the Brass Monkey, which offers 19 different beers on tap including various international and speciality hand crafted beers. In a separate section lies the Balcony Bar Cafe Lounge with great views, funky tunes and sexy cocktails, so all you really need is a partner. For those staying around Nedlands do not forget The Lucky Shag Waterfront Bar and Captain Stirling Hotel. The Lucky Shag gives you a true experience of the laid back Aussie lifestyle with a dazzling view of the Swan River. Captain Stirling Hotel or ‘Cap S’ never fails to entertain its customers and apart from the Tav, is the closest pub from Campus! These are just a shortlist of mine, there are still plenty more for you to explore. Party Hard, Study Hard!! PS – Oh and before I forget, please remember to always grab your passport or proof of age card before heading out to places serving alcohol. As for the under 18s, just be patient!
Adapting to the Newness of Beginnings by Yasheng Ang
A long time ago, many of our forefathers left their homelands for other countries. Years later, their descendants (that is, us) left our home countries for a foreign land too. Our reasons for leaving may be different but we both came in search for new beginnings. â€œNew beginningsâ€? - it is a phrase that is quite frequently associated with the idea of exciting and bright future prospects. However, while a happy future may stem from a new beginning, there is something that people should bear in mind before they become overly intoxicated by their hopes. Most people forget that where something is new, there is a need for us to adapt to it. If you are unable to adapt to new beginnings, life becomes a struggle - just as it was for some of our forefathers back then. So how do we successfully adapt to the new? While reading the newspapers, I came across
this idea: in order to change your actions and behaviors, you must first change your perspectives. Perhaps, this is the solution. Simply put, a change of perspective is a change of viewpoint. Unfortunately, we often perceive things from only one viewpoint, and then develop our thinking based on this perception which influences our actions. For us students who are studying in a country away from home, there is one thing that we must recognize: in order to truly experience and embrace a new beginning, there are some things from the past that we must ditch. Letâ€™s face it: the country, the lifestyle, the people, and the education system - they are all different from what we were used to. It is not surprising that in the face of the unknown and the unfamiliar, some of us would try to cling on desperately to all that we know or are
familiar with. When things do not meet our expectations, we start comparing Australia to our home countries and may regret our decision to leave. As Arthur Yap, the Singaporean poet wrote, “There is no future in nostalgia.” In our quest for a better future, the new always replaces the old to suit the age. So, for human beings to be able to work towards a better future, we must change to better suit the current situation. In other words, we must ditch some of our past perspectives and adopt new ones that are relevant to this new world. How do we that? First, we identify the past perspectives that had influenced our behavior and actions and identify the situations in which these perspectives were formed. Then, we compare those to the current situations we face. In doing so, we will be able to
understand why these past perspectives are no longer relevant and form new perspectives that can help change us for the better. I do admit this is easier said than done! It requires a reflection and an immense amount of determination to change. However, the truth remains: a bright future does not come easily; the new beginnings you seek could easily become a factor to your failure. If you are a fresher unable to get used to your new life, you know the solution. If you are no longer a fresher but still you hate your life here, same goes for you too. Try a change of perspective; it might just work…
Homesickness – The Secret Psycho Stalker by Suet Nee
Homesickness – which in accordance with the Oxford English Dictionary – is defined as ‘a feeling one has when missing home’. It is not a medical condition that you’d expect to be diagnosed on House, nor will it able to be cured by a general practitioner (the most he/she can do is prescribe you some awfully heavy sleeping tablets to let the feeling slip). When a person leaves a place that he/she has called home for the past God knows how many years, it does get tough. It doesn’t really matter which part of the world you’re in or from, the thought of leaving home and everything you ever knew is sad; unless you aren’t sentimental enough and really don’t give a shit, then I officially have nothing to say to that.
To be honest, I’m nowhere near being homesick this moment simply because, I AM HOME. Over the past couple of years, my friends who left home to study abroad complained about being homesick and found every possible reason to go home the moment their breaks start. I have a friend who was really homesick while she was in her first year of university, and she told me that it wasn’t because she missed her parents or her grandmother; not because she missed that cosy house of hers, but because she missed her dogs. Note: This is completely offtopic but I am really trying to make a point here. If one day her dogs and I were to fall into the sea and she had to
choose who to save, she would have chosen her dogs. Eventually her missing her dogs came to a point that she got her parents to put the dogs in front of the computer so that they could all skype together. But I suppose that’s what homesickness is all about. When you’re far away from home in a place so foreign, whatever dear you’ve left behind will sneak its way to you and start manipulating your feelings even when it’s probably three thousand miles away across the Pacific Ocean. From there, the yearning grows – from one thing to another, from your parents to your siblings to maybe the annoying rat who lives in the crack of the walls at home – and at the end of the day, all you ever think about around the clock is wanting to go home. Don’t worry, although I just portrayed homesickness as a psycho stalker waiting to make your life miserable, it is definitely nontoxic. Homesickness might drive you to the roof but it is not a form of mental illness that will drive you into the psych ward. Also, personally I find it tres ridiculous if someone were to come up and tell me that he/she googled ways to overcome homesickness. The best way, in my opinion, is to suck it up and face it. Technically I can’t really remember how I felt when I first left home, but I do know that the homesickness bug likes to drop in for a visit once in awhile. What I also realise is that the ‘once in awhile’ always, and I mean ALWAYS, happens when I get so stressed out from studying for exams at 4 a.m. Whenever that happens, the only people and things that really make me sit and sulk are my parents and probably my four awesomely comfortable pillows that I left behind at home. Also whenever that happens, I proceed to play my
sad song – Moon River – and text my parents to tell them that I miss them. That is exactly how I suck it up and face the stupid bug. But if you’re looking for a sensible way out, find the root of the problem; in this case, the ultimate cause of your homesickness and start from there – the dogskyping friend of mine is a very good example :) People will grow out of homesickness one day when they’re done being subjected to that cloudy nostalgic feeling. It all comes down to how well you cope in your new environment and who is there to cope with you. Distractions are always handy; it’s definitely better to find your own distractions to counter homesickness than to make it your ultimate distraction from whatever you do. My friend, the one who missed her dogs, grew out of homesickness after all. And as for me, I choose not to- because even though it gets gloomy sometimes, I find it nice to be able to indulge myself in thoughts of my own humble abode. “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”- Maya Angelou
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
The interview with The Food Pornographer by TFP and May Kang
Tell us a bit about yourself. I’m a 34-year-old woman living in Perth with my partner of almost 13 years, Jac, and our two cats Pixel and Billy Lee. Most of the home-cooked meals featured on the site have been cooked by Jac. I have a PhD in English literature and an Honours in creative writing, both from Murdoch University. I work full-time in communications. I love eating, taking photos, computers, books and the Internet. My website is a food blog called The Food Pornographer www.thefoodpornographer.com and my readers know me as TFP. When did you begin blogging about food and why? I taught myself html 11 or so years ago when I first got an Internet connection at home (back in the days of dial-up), and since then I’ve always had a personal website. Over the years it evolved into a personal journal-style site, then a blog, and then a food blog. My journal/blog was originally a way to keep my friends and one of my sisters who lived overseas up-to-date with what we were getting up to here in Perth. The food blog came about after I bought my first digital camera. I never intended to have a food blog specifically. It
just began with me taking photos of the food we ate at family get-togethers, which I then posted on my blog to show my sister who was overseas what she was missing out on – photos from Chinese New Year family reunion dinner, Mum’s beef rendang, Grandma’s lotus root soup, stuff like that. I also took photos of other food I ate, including junk food like McDonald’s and pizza, and meals we ate at home and at restaurants. I was surprised at the enthusiastic response to the food photos, not just from my friends and family, but complete strangers, who would stumble upon my site, presumably after Google searches for various food words. One of my friends made the comment that my photos were food porn, which I thought sounded cool – I decided to start a new blog called The Food Pornographer. Even then I didn’t think of my site as a food blog – to me, it was just a blog by a person who happened to love eating and taking photos of food. I have readers who’ve been reading the blog ever since I started it in 2005 – they’ve been through everything with Jac and me – my PhD, my changing jobs, Jac’s surgeries, our moving house... with all the meals at the time, including hospital food!
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
What is food to you? It’s delicious, it’s comforting, it fills me up, it makes me happy. Jac often says she never sees me looking more content than when I am eating. What do Jac and your family think about your food blogging addiction? I asked Jac for her thoughts on this question, and she said: “TFP loves eating, loves the Internet and is a really creative person, so food blogging is a perfect way for her to do things she enjoys and express herself creatively.”Jac is fully supportive of my food blogging because she can see the passion I have for it. When she cooks dinner and it’s ready to serve, she doesn’t tell me “Dinner’s ready!” – instead, she calls out “Got your camera ready?” I think my family (I include my in-laws here) have grown used to it. They probably find it irritating at times (especially when I’m hovering around the kitchen or when they have to pause for a few seconds while I photograph the food we’re about to eat), but I know they also enjoy seeing their culinary creations on the blog and reading the comments from the readers. Sometimes when I’ve been absent from family gettogethers, family members have expressed disappointment that I wasn’t there to photograph the food! Do you bring your camera everywhere? Like take it out and stopped everyone from eating to take pictures? Yes, I carry my camera in my bag wherever I go. At family events I’ll wear my camera on my belt. I always carry a supply of spare memory cards and batteries too. When I go on a holiday I have a camera, spare memory cards and batteries and if possible, my eee pc to download photos to. At get-togethers with family or friends I tend to hang out near the kitchen or the barbecue so I can take photos before the food is served so I won’t have to stop people from eating.
When we dine out I will take photos as soon as dishes are served, as quickly as possible, so the food won’t get cold and people won’t get too annoyed. Over the years I’ve been doing this I’ve become better at keeping my hands very still so I don’t need to re-take shots too often, so I can photograph the food quickly. The last time we went out to dim sum with friends one of our dining companions said he never even noticed me taking photos of the dishes! I will always take photos of everyone else’s food first so they can start eating as soon as possible; I leave photographing my own food to last. Sometimes this means I eat my meal cold, but I’ve gotten used to it and my enjoyment of the food is not diminished at all. You’ve been interviewed several times and you were nominated in the Best Food Weblog category. How does that make you feel? It was a real surprise to be nominated in the Bloggies as I hadn’t thought about them at all. I don’t seek out awards, recognition or attention; rather food lovers and food blog readers find their way to the site without the need for me to actively promote the site. I think it’s great that people enjoy my site and journalists have thought of me as a person worth interviewing. Obviously, you’ve been in Perth for a while now, are there any favourite food places that you would recommend to international students who are new to Perth? International students from SE Asia who may be craving a taste of home should check out Spencer Village International Food Hall at 200 Spencer Road in Thornlie, across the road from the Thornlie Train Station. I feature photos from meals eaten there regularly at my website! There’s another international food hall, again mainly asian, called the International Eating House, at rear 1020 Albany Highway, East Victoria Park. There is such a fantastic range of cuisines available in Perth - Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Malaysian,
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
leftovers, or fried rice that I’ve cooked specially for my work lunch. I’ve even put leftover Chicken McNuggets in a bento lunch, along with a fresh salad I made.
Vietnamese, Korean, Indonesian, German, Italian, Middle-Eastern, modern Australian (of course that is not a complete list)... I’d suggest especially going to the cafe/ restaurant strips in suburbs like Mount Lawley, Leederville, Subiaco, Northbridge, Victoria Park and trying out what’s on offer. Even shopping centre food courts often have surprisingly good food. Be adventurous! I know this will be read by UWA students, but if you ever find yourself at Murdoch University Campus, the chicken rice and laksa at the Wok Inn in the Refectory (the Ref) are both fantastic! A lot of your posts feature the art of ‘bento’. What are your tips to bento? I’m no bento expert - there are more serious bento bloggers than me out there! The original “bento” is a Japanese boxed lunch that is usually a visually appealing meal (some bento lunches are amazingly beautiful!) packed in a box. Bento lunches can be any kind of food, not just Japanese food. So don’t feel like you have to be good at cooking Japanese food to bento. My own bento lunches very rarely include Japanese or Japanese-style food – my bento lunches have included salads, sandwiches, dinner
In Perth, it’s difficult to get bento equipment. I’ve bought most of mine from eBay or online bento stores - J-list (http://www.jlist. com/) and I Love Obento(http:// www.iloveobento.com/). But my current favourite lunch box for bento is an Aussie lunch box Decor Tellfresh Quarters - they are a good-sized lunch box with four removable compartments. You can buy them at Coles or Woolworth’s supermarket for around AU$7.00. It is more fun, of course, eating your lunch out of a beautiful authentic Japanese bento box. I try to make my bento lunches balanced meals - some carbs (rice, bread or noodles), some protein (meat, fish), and some vegetables or salad. I like to include something sweet in my bento lunches as well – for example: mini strawberry jam or mini kaya sandwiches or fresh or dried fruit. Including something sweet isn’t always unhealthy. I prefer fruit with no pips that can be eaten whole, like seedless grapes or strawberries - easier to eat and no mess. Hungry Jacks or Maccas? Depends on the food item! For chicken nuggets, Macca’s McNuggets win easily over HJ’s. For a fish burger, I prefer Filet O Fish it’s one of my favourite burgers, actually. For a grilled chicken burger it has to be HJ’s. For a battered chicken burger I prefer McDonald’s McChicken (I love McChicken sauce). I do like Big Macs (Macca’s) and Whoppers (HJ’s) on occasion. Sometimes I crave McDonald’s apple pie or Hungry Jack’s onion rings. There’s plenty of room for both Hungry Jack’s and McDonald’s in my life.
Affiliates Asian Students in Australia (ASIA) W: www.asia.guild.uwa.edu.au E: firstname.lastname@example.org M: 70
Japanese Studies Society (JAPSSOC) W: www.japssoc.guild.uwa.edu.au E: email@example.com M: 66
Chinese Society (CS) W: www.cs.guild.uwa.edu.au E: firstname.lastname@example.org M: 12
KAOS German Club E: email@example.com M: 65
Chinese Student & Scholar Association W: www.guild.uwa.edu.au/clubs/cssa E: firstname.lastname@example.org M: 31 DESI Subcontinental Students Society W: www.desi.guild.uwa.edu.au E: email@example.com M: 8 DUNYA – West Orient Society W: www.dunya.guild.uwa.edu.au E: firstname.lastname@example.org M: 27 Indonesian Students Society (INDOSS) W: www.guild.uwa.edu.au/clubs/indoss E: email@example.com M: 60
Malaysian Students Union (MSU) W: www.msu.guild.uwa.edu.au E: firstname.lastname@example.org M: 48 Singapore Students Society (SSS) W: www.sss.guild.uwa.edu.au E: email@example.com M: 57 UWA French Club W: www.frenchclub.guild.uwa.edu.au E: firstname.lastname@example.org M: 26 UWA Italian Club Facebook: UWA Italian Club E: email@example.com M: 16 ADVERTORIAL
UWA Study Abroad: Meet the advisers... Study Abroad Advisers Joel Wittwer & Carolyn Wood have helped hundreds of students have the adventure of a lifetime. Joel went on exchange to Uppsala in Sweden and now helps UWA students do the same thing! Carolyn has travelled extensively around the world and wants to encourage you to explore the world, and get credit for your degree at the same time... What was your best travel experience? JW - Going to the far North of Sweden in late winter, riding reindeers and seeing the northern lights - it is like another planet! CW - A helicopter ride over Iguassu Falls in South America – the falls were spectacular, it’s such a beautiful part of the world What is your favourite city? JW - Prague, Czech Republic - So historic and beautiful. Awesome food and so much to do. CW - Paris. I was lucky enough to live there for a year! Why go on exchange? JW - Difficult to say - everyone goes for different reasons! It’s an opportunity to enhance your academic life, to live like a local, to see the world and perhaps pick up some local language! CW - To experience a different culture, open your mind up to the world, meet lots of people and even further your career opportunities.
Do you have any advice for students thinking about going on exchange? JW - Start thinking about it early in your course so you can accommodate an exchange later on - don’t leave the planning too late! Also, try and take the road less travelled - you will have a unique experience! CW - Do it! It can be hard to get visas to stay in countries like the US for long periods of time – so make the most of the opportunity while you’re there and see a bit of the country (but don’t forget to study hard at the same time!) Destination to watch? JW - Utrecht University, the Netherlands - prestigious and historic university! CW - Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago. We have just sent our first UWA student there on exchange, and hopefully lots more to come! The Study Abroad Office can help you to spend a semester or two overseas and has over 100 universities to choose from! Located in Hackett Hall, Office hours are 9am - 4pm, Monday to Thursday, Ph: 6488 8199. For more info drop in or check out www.international.uwa.edu.au/studentnet/exchange