Sunday, April 30, 2006

Who says only pubs prefer female staff?

The job market in Oz is very much a seller's market.

The extent of the desperation of the employment crisis:

Over the past few months the hospital has sent agents into the Wayside Tavern on several occassions, and almost all of Mine Host's female staff have while at work, recieved a surreptitious approach, offering to train them as nurses.

I never imagined in my life this would happen, that hospital management would be coming into pubs and bottleshops, repeatedly, attempting to cajole the girls into a nursing career.

Clearly the hospital management is under extreme pressure.

Mine Host, who has to fend off poaching attempts from many directions, at least has not to worry about this new threat, as the ladies have all informed the hospital recruiters that they prefer pouring beer to wiping bums.

In a sexist twist, None of the male staff have been targeted by the hospital.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Just When I think I have Seen it All (part 4)

Jennifer responded to a job ad. Married 9 years, with 2 young children and a skilled technician husband she was in a different league to most pub staff.

A former legal secretary, she was more than competent at most aspects of pub work. She was demure in behaviour, eager to work, wore petticoats and singlets, could handle almost any situation. She was working for extra mortgage money.

For several months Mine Host and his senior manager quietly congratulated themselves on landing such a versatile, hardworking and reliable person. She was competent at bar work, bottleshop, ordering liquor, all aspects of poker machine handling, making beds, kitchen work, and supervising of any part of the hotel. This lady had class and style. Nothing would go wrong with her. (We should have known better).

A couple of years after Jennifer started at the Wayside Tavern, it became obvious that all was not well with her domestic situation.

It all came into the open when on the same day she and the children moved out of the house, and she was caught "having it off" with a (long haired) dole bludger by several staff who entered a supposedly empty storeroom without knocking.

Single again, Jennifer's petticoats & singlets disappeared, her work shirts were no longer buttoned to the neck, lacy lingerie became slightly visible, skirts shorter.

Her slide into previously unsuspected depravity became complete when an obviously quite distressed staff member reported to Mine Host about midnight one night that "something" was happening in the car park.

What follows can only be described as beyond Mine Host's belief:

Quick questioning revealed that Jennifer had gone into the car park with a small group of customers, opened the drivers door of a car, sat down with her feet remaining on the ground, slipped her underwear off, over one foot at a time, then lifted her skirt up to her waist, placed one leg through the gap between the open door & the frame of the car, her knee on the rear view mirror, the other kneed placed on the hook of the seat belt.

With the group of customers forming a semi-circle around her, Jennifer was splayed in possibly the most vulnerable position a human can be in. Several of the customers would then come forward in turn to insert a finger. (One would hope here that the boys had been washing their hands)

After the exhibition Jennifer exited the car, dressed, closed the door, and returned to work.

Mine Host verified in person only the fact that Jennifer was absent from work, and that her time sheet did not reflect the unauthorised (and un-covered) "break". She chose on the spot to finish her employment voluntarily.

Far from being bashful about her activities, Jennifer was insulted and angry that her timesheet extensions had been detected by Mine Host and the Wayside Tavern would not now be paying her the barmaid hourly rate for the time spend engaged in such activity. Apparently the exhibition had been a regular event.

Just When I think I have Seen it All (part 3)

A violent incident has occurred in the street, one in which a young man has recieved a serious injury which will leave him carrying a lifelong scar.

Ambulance and police are in attendance.

Thankfully it is several doors down. Passing motorists will notice the next pub down as being the closest, and the Wayside Tavern shall not be blamed. (Always a nervous experience having an ambulance attend the premises, is very bad for business)

From the door of the Wayside Tavern I saw the entire drama played out.

Two young men had been standing talking, alcohol fuelled, it was difficult to ascertain if they were arguing, or merely having a boisterous conversation.

Police have coasted to a halt nearby, the situation looks to them as if they should keep an eye on it, which they do, from a range of 5 metres. The street is otherwise empty.

One of the young men is holding an empty beer glass, he raises it in a threatening manner, intending to do someone harm.

Suddenly and violently he brings the glass crashing down on his own head, inflicting a very long and jagged cut to the bone, causing blood to flow freely.

The police, as stunned by anyone else by this turn of events, call an ambulance. Young people nearby who claimed to have known the young man are perplexed as to the reasons for his actions.

Mine Host & gathered staff shrug shoulders & ponder yet again the merits to society of abortion being allowed from conception through to 23 years after birth.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

My Photo

The background does not give much clue to the location, but there is not much of the country where part-Percheron breeding is preferred in the steeds, and there is lots of roly-poly.

This fellow had a mouth like iron, & steered like a one-way plough. But he was a very smooth ride, and continually surprised me with the extent of his hurdling ability.

Full saddlebag, midday sun, fenceposts to indicate we are at a waterpoint, roly poly indicates the environs have been unstocked.

Does this silence all those who complain that I don't show myself on blog?

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Missed Flight!

Stewie was one of the most talented chefs to ever work for Mine Host.

Shaven headed, with tattoos front & rear of his neck (which being blood red, looked much like entry & exit bullet wounds). A most imposing sight he would have been, had he been a heavyweight instead of a bantamweight.

The tattoos and shaven head, while harmless personal choices of Stewie's, indicate an attitude toward societal norms which any employer, when hiring, is well advised to keep in the back of their mind.

One of the few chefs to serve the full term of his contract, Stewie then took holidays down south, after which he would return for a second term.

Mine Host gladly funded the return airfare south (one of the benefits to staff who actually complete their contract).

However on the day of return, Stewie did not disembark from the flight.

Shortly after came a phone call:

"I missed me flight, send another airfare"

"Return airfare was supplied, if you didn't make use of it then it is up to you to organise getting here. But be quick, you are late for work"

"Not my fault, the plane left without me, it musta been early or something" (Yea right - to use Stewie's own vernacular)

When Stewie arrived back at work (self-funded trip this time) he tried to spin some far-fetched yarn about how "Qantas was at fault".. how the flight had left before schedule, without him.. etc etc.

However the real story rapidly came to light: (facts can never be suppressed)

"Er... boss, I gotta be back in the big smoke on the 23rd"

"Like fun! On the 23rd you will be at work Sonny Jim. You just got back from holidays, no more time off for a while!"

"Er... I really gotta be there, I gotta appear at court, if I miss the hearing on the 23rd, there will be a warrant for me on the 24th....."

This is where the facts of the "missed flight" emerged:

Stewie had arrived at the airport still "half-charged" from his holiday bender.....

......had got into an argument with Qantas check-in staff. ....(Perhaps over his suitability to fly when already so obviously inebriated, but this is speculation on my part) ......

..... the argument culminated in Stewie taking a swing at a Qantas staff member.....

So when Stewie's flight departed he was in a paddy wagon on his way back into town.

Violence toward airport staff, at an airport, is a most serious offence. Stewie will be a very sorry little boy before the legal system has finished with him over this.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Riots and street marches!

With wry cynicism Mine Host noted the "riots" of Cronulla.

Mine Host hasty formed the opinion that anyone who called cronulla a "riot" doesn't know what a riot is, as was proved when the same people who used the word "riot" whilst standing with a TV camera & notebook virtually in between the police & "rioters", had the sense to go no closer than a half mile or so to gangs of "men of middle eastern appearance" as they formed up & went on an actual mindless rampage of violence.

Noting how the cronulla riot consisted of several hours of loitering, followed by a few mad dashes hither & thither after one or two hapless swarthy people, Mine Host was of the belief that more than anything else it resembled the greasy pig chase at a country gymkhana.

Mine Host thinks back to his time at the Penang Commonwealth Arms, when a riot occurred outside the adjacent police station.

In marked contrast to how such an event would be (mis)handled by the well resourced police and courts of of the really good system we have in Australia, Mine Host now shares his observations of the inefficient and tactless developing nation customs of the Malaysian police and protestors.

Naturally a developed nation (ie. Australia) would have streets which one may walk free from random assault, mugging etc, and violent protests couple with attacks on police would not be tolerated.. Naturally......

Naturally a developing nation (ie. Malaysia) would not yet have advanced to the stage of peace quiet and brotherhood which Australians enjoy.. Naturally.....

The first example of developing nation inefficiency was the sheer numbers of police who turned up. (Don't they have any paperwork to do?) A seemingly never ending stream of black trucks disgorge platoons of officers. Another inefficient use of resources was the volume of equipment carried: Each officer has a shield, baton and helmet. Clearly the police procurement section had overspent on equipment. Perhaps they got them second hand somewhere, as the batons and sheilds appeared to have had significant previous use, though the helmets did seem to be unmarked.

Without recieving any loud orders or string of macho hand signals, the police stand in a formation. They just happen to have formed up in an "L" shape around the protestors, what a coincidence, if things turn into a fight, the formation the police are in will be very bad for the protestors. *tsk*tsk*

The demeanour of the massed police is very relaxed, it is almost as if it is a foregone conclusion that in the looming confrontation they will defeat the protestors. One would almost think from their manner, that the police have not only the power to stop the protest sharply, but actually intend to do it.The waiting lines of police beat a tattoo on their shields with their batons. Perhaps they don't have pipes & drums and are making music to soothe things? (all the money spent on batons & stuff?). But the sound isn't very soothing, it is rather scary and there is a strange feeling in the air that the police are fair dinkum. Perhaps this batting on the sheilds is how the batons & sheilds got their "pre-used" look? Surely the police minister, prompted by tomorrow's outcry in the press, will reprimand the police situation commander for allowing his men to engage in conduct which intimidated and alarmed the protestors? Surely....

The protestors are not showing the courage and steely fortitude of their Australian uni student cousins. These Malaysian protestors are not talking sassy to the police. They are throwing palm fronds and hurling buckets of water at the police. Don't they know these things will not hurt a single police officer? Surely they know about ball bearings, caltrops, paint, rocks, bricks etc, Why don't they use these things?

Suddenly, the police without warning pop tear gas amongst the protestors. (Once again tomorrow's press outcry will cause political pressure on the police to give warnings and show more sensitivity). Surely....

There seems to be no emergency medical facilities on hand to treat any protestor who is overcome by the tear gas. *tsk*tsk* what an oversight by the police! Apart from that, the tear gassing (in a series of colours) is quite a crowd pleaser! (er.. not for the crowd of protestors however)

Strangely there seems to be no TV cameras on hand to beam these scenes into the lounge rooms of the nation. There are reporters present, but they seem to be playing down their presence, and are making a point of obviously not filming any police or anything.

The police charge into the tear gassed protestors. Not to render aid to those who are overcome by the gas, they seem concerned only with those protestors who are still able to run. (More sensitivity training needed for these police) The police run after the fleeing protestors, who seem to be trapped by the tear gas and the advancing lines of police. Rather good luck that the police just happened to adopt the "L" formation as they did. It means none of the protestors will escape.

In another divergence from Australian accepted protesting choreography, whenever a police officer merely touches a protestor, that protester freezes on the spot. They don't move a muscle, they are like players who are "tagged" in a schoolyard game of Tiggy, no longer in the match they just stand on the spot and casually watch the outcome.

Don't these people know how to kick and struggle with police? Why don't they do it? Don't they realise that unless a policeman is physically holding them down they are able to run away? Why don't they stand for a minute, then run away? Thus outsmarting the police? Who haven't even bothered to handcuff them or anything?

Another developing nation inefficiency is displayed when a stream of black mariahs start arriving. Clearly the police have overspent on these things, there seems to be lots of macho law & order toys. It is almost as if the misguided Malaysian government has resourced and tasked the police to arrest and lock up rowdy anti-social elements. (Clearly more sensitivity training required!)

Aha! The police have miscalculated at last! There were insufficient Black Mariahs to load all the captured protestors at the same time, multiple trips to the calaboose required!

The protestors who don't fit into the first load are told to stand in several groups and wait. Only a token number of police remain with them.

They seem content to wait, like kids on a school parade.

When transport arrived the protestors calmly boarded the black mariahs as if they were commuters onto buses. When the black mariahs are full, the police and protestors agree that the protestors can ride in the back of the open police trucks, should be easy to escape from there. Wonder how many tried it on the way back to the police station?

Don't the protestors realise that if they go limp, or kick and scream, that the police will have to work hard physically lifting each protestor into the waiting trucks. Don't they realise this will cause inconvenience to the police, who will get all puffed from having to lift so many arrestees? And that this is very hard on the police, as they then have to avoid the kicks and bites and spitting without retaliating, as the TV will be filming them. Why don't the protestors try biting, kicking, screaming and other tricks to annoy and inconvenience the police?

If the protestors did harass the police more, some of them would be able to escape. Escape may not be a bad idea, as the general opinion of the watching crowd is that the arrested ones are in for it, they are being taken back to the station, but not for a cup of tea, quick processing and release on bail within a few hours.

In another divergence from accepted Australian protest march choreography, no human rights activists walk among the arrested people giving cards or advice to them. Nor do lesbian looking women clad in overalls and hair bands, drive up in VW beetles, load some protestors aboard and spirit them away from police and into a "safe house". Gee, wonder why nobody does this? It would be so easy, the police are clearly outnumbered.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

How to negotiate a workplace agreement

One of the quirks of the Australian full employment economy is the novelty of a negative ratio of job ads to respondents.

That is: There are more job ads run by Mine Host than there are people who respond. Discussion with competitors reveals they have an even worse ratio.

In a stroke of luck Mine Host recently recieved a response to a chef ad. (Such event is INDEED a rarity). The fellow was in Sydney, out of work, couldn't get a job, and most importantly, was prepared to move to the Wayside Tavern.

With mild trepidation Mine Host hired the chef. He was a new Australian, almost impossible to understand due to very broken English (despite 35 years in Australia).

However, he was hired to cook, not read the news. Work is an essential requirement at the Wayside Tavern, language is not.

The chef seemed quite good, could actually cook and cook well. (there are plenty of chefs who cannot cook). He cooked the sort of food the Wayside Tavern customers perfer to eat, a contrast to many chefs, who prefer cooking to their own desires.

As expected the reason he was "out of work" in Sydney didn't take long to surface....

On his second week the chef fronted the office and wanted to discuss "his pay". The office staff reminded chef that Mine Host (boss) was away on business and would not be back for another week.

Within half an hour of Mine Host returning to the Wayside Tavern from an eventful two weeks abscence, the chef confronted him and demanded "fair pay".

Mine Host was unable to comprehend how above award pay was considered to be "unfair", on top of that the chef got full board and keep, and Mine Host had met the chef's costs of moving from Sydney.

The agreement was to increase pay after three months, if the financial performance of the kitchen improved, meantime the chef would work on the agreed above award payment. Mine Host has a dim view of people who break a deal

"I need $1,800 per week" <---- (translated from broken English) (This is more than any chef in Australia is paid, never mind for an off-the-street job in a pub) Mine Host was expressionless as he digested this, weighing up factors such as the excellent cooking, inability to relate positvely to kitchenhands, inability to control kitchen costs.... and that this fellow less than a month before had been long term unemployed.

Still grasping to cope with this demand, Mine Host almost missed the follow up:

"The $1,800 per week is backdated from when I started here, or I walk"


New chef required at the Wayside Tavern!