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Food in London: travel without taking the plane

Photo by Alva Pratt on Unsplash

It now has been a year since lockdown started for the first time in the UK due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It forced the majority of us to stay at home for a long period of time, preventing us from seeing friends and family as well as…travelling.

Even though it is still quite difficult to go anywhere at the moment, we are lucky to live in a city like London: there is no better place in Europe to find all kinds of food. Eating is one of the best ways to feel in another part of the world and to discover other cultures (or even feel like home when you are not originally from England).

With the restaurants re-opening on the 12th April, we provide you with the top 4 to try and feel in another part of the world.

Get rid of the anxiety to not be able to move far away easily!

Also watch Roots and culture: the power of food

Korea

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Korean culture and food have grown in popularity in the recent years. Eating a Korean meal means warmth and a great friendly atmosphere as the food is usually placed in the centre of the table and not in individual plates so everyone can serve themselves. You will be able to experience the delicious, varied and balanced Korean diet, from Bulgogi and Kimchi to Japchae and Bibimbap.

Go to Gogi Korean bar and Grill at 451 Edgware Road W2 1TH

Italy

Photo by Jakub Kapusna on unsplash

Known for its great cuisine, it is no wonder that Italian food is one of the most popular type in the world. Meals are a big event in Italy where several dishes (up to 6) are served one after the other (of course in London, you would mostly order one dish and a dessert). Their expertise in the making of pasta and pizza is undeniable and praised by many but there is so much more to Italian cuisine! Enjoy Pollo alla Milanese (Pan-fried chicken breast with spaghetti and tomato sauce), risotto or bruschetta.

Try out La Divina 134 Upper St, Islington N1 1QP

China

Photo by Frank Zhang Rio on unsplash

Chinese food is known worldwide and is very popular. In China, dishes would be put on a round and moving surface in the middle of the table so people can turn it to reach the plate they want (but in London, dishes are usually simply put in the centre of the table). Beyond the traditional spring rolls and Cantonese rice, discover the specialty of the restaurant recommended below, dumplings and buns, delicious dishes among many that you can eat traditionally with chopsticks.

Go to Xi Home Dumplings and buns at 43 Chandos Place Covent Garden WC2N4HS

Mexico

Photo by jarritos mexican soda on unsplash

Want some more latino and tropical vibes? Head out to a Mexican restaurant where avocado is king and taste typical dishes such as burritos, tacos and enchiladas. With colourful restaurants and engaging music, you sure will enjoy your evening. Due to centuries of Spanish influence, Mexican people usually tend to eat late: 1.30-4pm for lunch, (which is the most consistent meal of the day) and 8-9pm for dinner, which consist of a lighter meal (usually tacos and soup).

Taste Mexico at Wahaca Oxford circus at 26-28 Great Portland St, Fitzrovia W1W 8QT

Small private-owned enterprises and their workers

In the last decade, labour-intensive industries represented by the printing industry are gradually declining.

Many of the city centre areas were once factory areas. After going through a series of demolition and rental activities, the price of these properties has doubled compared with two years ago and many factories are no longer able to establish themselves in the city.

It is very common to witness that workers who struggle for dozens of years in Shenzhen fail to own a residence there.

Since the 2020 epidemic, the printing industry, which is already in a slump, has been further aggravated. The current situation of the entire manufacturing industry and its workforce has changed significantly from the past.

Many workers leave their hometown and head for Shenzhen in the hope of making a better living there. They work in factories for several years. All of them had such thought as once they earned sufficient savings they would return to their hometown and get married. However, the reality is different. A majority of workers choose to continue their work in these factories. After all, a steady income can be warranted. Besides, living facilities such as restaurants, groceries and dormitories are available in the industrial zone. In contrast, life in countryside is so inconvenient that even buying a bottle of water may take half an hour.

Those young workers who came to the metropolis years ago with aspirations are now married and have children. They are bearing financial pressure. After years of work, not all employees are able to master technical skills and taking up jobs with high salaries. For those who are not promoted workers with age getting elder, to leave the work of plant and find another job is an unrealistic choice. However, even if they succeed in taking another work, it is still hard for them to obtain a satisfying income.

The rapid urbanisation in Shenzhen is surprising with land rents of the urban areas soaring. As a consequence, the geographical distribution of factories change dramatically. Many factories move from the central parts of the city to the outskirts or peripheral zones with convenient transportation.

A manager of a private printing factory said, “When the real depression strikes in, we cannot bear the cost of labour when no order for good and business support company’s income, rents of the factory, management costs as well as water and electricity fees.” Therefore, many factories closed and workers don’t know where to go and what to do.

Mr Xie, a worker in a private enterprise working in the printing industry, said, “Covid-19 epidemic made many factories experience the worst situation. In order to control the epidemic, the local office had imposed a strict order to stop work, enforcing a blockade and a power cut in the factories in the industrial zones. The factories were forced to stop their business after 2020 New Year for several months, and many of them went into debt. Even now when everything is coming back to normal, whether the factories could survive still remains in doubt. Though most of them do resume full work, the number of orders has drastically reduced, making it difficult to maintain daily operations.

The condition of the workers is closely linked to the prospect of the factory. In the future, there will be fewer small-sized private factories and these plants will gradually lose their place to other larger companies in this industry.

Employee in print factory

A video piece of the interview to a employee who work in the print industry for more than 20 years.

Shiyong Xie, a worker from mainland China, came to a manufacturing based city to worker. He shared his experience and perspective to the current situation of print industry and what is it like to work in a print factory.

Domestic Violence- a deadlier virus

The new Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) was declared a Global Pandemic on 11 March 2020 and as a result, the movement outside was restricted, schools and offices were close and while everyone thought of this pandemic as deleterious, there was a deadlier virus just around the corner.

The stay-at-home order had suddenly paved way for increasing number of cases of Intimate partner violence (IPV), thus confining the deprived women to their homes and abusers.  

The house has suddenly become the most “dangerous place” for women.

In July, the UN estimated that six months of restrictions could result in 31 million additional cases of sexual violence in the world and seven million unwanted pregnancies.

While in countries like Spain, women have started using secret codes such as “Mask-19” to address domestic violence, there are countries like Paris which saw a 36 per cent rise in violent domestic abuse cases in just one week.

However, early data shows that helplines in Singapore and Cyprus have registered a more than 30 per cent increase in calls.  In Australia, 40 per cent of frontline workers in New South Wales reported more requests for help with violence.

Domestic violence not only shatters the victim but exacerbates tensions about security, health, and money. UN has been trying to help the women out there by urging the governments to put women’s safety first:

It’s how time this issue is taken seriously and addressed correctly. What you would probably not realise is that while you took a moment to read this, some woman out there was being brutally abused and needs to have her voice be heard. Let’s work towards a change.

THE IMPACT OF PANDEMIC ON ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY

Photo by Wendy Wei from Pexels

The outgoing pandemic of coronavirus has turned upside down everyone’s life.

A lot of people lost their job and were left on their own as the pandemic impacted a lot of different industries. One of the most touched is the entertainment industry. Once coronavirus took over the world, venus, arenas, etc. shut down immediately. Concerts, festivals and other planned events were instantly postponed or unfortunately canceled.

A lot of venues were forced to shut down. Sandra Johnsson who works in Eventim Apollo in London says her workplace was lucky enough to not be one of them. “My work closed down early March and has been closed since so the pandemic has made it impossible for our venue to get income. But once it opens back up it might take some time for everything to go back to normal.”

The government is trying to deal with the pandemic in the best way possible. Even though almost everything is closed people are getting furloughs and other support. Nevertheless, it doesn’t include all industries.

Sandra thinks the government is not doing enough for the entertainment industry. “Of what I have seen online they haven’t been doing as much for the entertainment industry as they have for other industries. Although I haven’t noticed or been affected by it much myself, it’s still sad to see as in the music industry especially, get most of their revenue from live music.”

A lot of people working in the industry had to take another work to be able to pay bills. Niall Horan in the interview for BBC stated that some people he’s been working on while touring are now working in other places to be able to support their families as the “furlough doesn’t touch them”.

Through the past year a few online concerts took place to raise money for people working in the industry to help them in these hard times.

The Prime Minister declared that concert venues and theaters will re-open from 17 May. A lot of artists already announced new dates for their upcoming tours and some of them are planning to go on the road even this year.

It looks like the entertainment industry is coming back to life and soon we will be able to enjoy live music again. “The venue I’m working at has the benefits of being able to have chairs out so it will be possible for them to sell tickets to events while still being able to do social distancing. The one problem can be when arriving as many people can show up at the same time. But with other venues that don’t have the same benefit of keeping social distancing it might be harder for them to open up” says Sandra.

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