Category Archives: Good Advice

Wearing Perfume to Work

I wonder whether there is any company or organization in Indonesia that prohibits the wearing of perfume at workplace?  I think wearing of perfume, cologne and scented lotion is an acceptable practice,  as I have seen many people wearing perfume in offices, banks, government offices and shopping malls in Jakarta. The sale of perfumes is a booming business in Indonesia and there are countless perfume counters and shops in almost all shopping malls in Jakarta. As people spend more money on grooming and personal appearance, I believe this would lead to more people wearing perfumes in Indonesia.

A friend of mine has a mild allergy to certain perfumes. He would sneeze or develop symptoms of  blocked nose if comes into contact with it. Fortunately for me, I do not have such problem. But sometimes my nose do feel irritated by the smell of certain perfumes – especially those which have strong musky smell or smelling too sweet. I think the problem is that some ladies and men tend to put lots of perfume on their body; so the smell of the perfume tend to be extra strong. You can in fact smell them even if they are a few cubicles away in the office. Now imagine having to put up with the smell 8 hours a day, five days a week with a co-worker who wears a perfume that irritates your nose. If the fragrance from the perfume affects the sensitivity of the co-workers, the employer should step in and educate the worker concerned. I think if a person wears a perfume lightly, there should not be a problem as the smell would not be overwhelming throughout the office.

Wearing Perfume to Work

I think it is difficult to implement a fragrance free policy in the office or workplace in Indonesia. Besides, it may not be practical to enforce such a policy especially in a workplace where you have visitors or the public have accessed to it – for example hotels and shopping malls. In such instance, the employer can reduce the smell by installing an air purifier machine and through better air ventilation system. Personally, I am not against the policy of people wearing of perfumes to workplace; neither am I for it. I think whether you choose to wear perfume or be fragrance free is a personal choice. However, it would be nice if people who wear perfumes understand that all they need to do is to put a little ( a few drops ) perfume to smell good.

Beautiful Perfume Bottle

How Safe is the Hotel Safe?

My friends and I were having a light discussion last week on the topic of safety while staying in hotel and also on the topic of hotel safe in the room. Of course we were aware of stories from travelers who had lost their valuables in the hotel rooms or items placed in the hotel safe. So the question is how safe is the safe in the hotel room? I think this is not an easy question to answer; or there is no correct answer at all. Personally I have used and placed my travel documents and money in the hotel safe on many occasions and it was totally fine and safe.

Let me just start off by saying that generally the safe in the hotel room is safe. That is based on my personal experience traveling for so many years and staying in many hotels. There are certain precautions that I normally take when I choose a hotel. First, I always do my homework on the location of the particular hotel before I do the booking. I would find out whether is the hotel located in the sleazy or crime areas/spots of that particular city or town. If it was so, I would not stay there. Secondly, I would normally booked a hotel and not a motel. I know that motel and small hotels are cheaper than established hotels; but I am prepared to pay more for added security and peace of mind. Thirdly, are the lifts in the hotels using card access and similarly on the rooms? That would be my preference as card access lifts and rooms are strong security feature in the hotel.

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Hotel Safe

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Now moving on to the room itself. Normally in an established hotel, the door in your hotel room is solid, strong and fire retard with strong lock features. I have seen the doors in smaller hotel and motel rooms that are cheap, thin and with cheap locks. You can literally hear the commotion on what is happening next to your room or outside the corridor. In such instance, the safe in your hotel room is not safe, as it is easy to break into your room. In many good hotels, the hotel safe in the room are bolted down to the cabinet or very heavy. There is no worry of house keeping workers coming in to clean up your room as they do not have the master key or the secret code to open up the safe. If you have forgotten the password to your safe, only the management or the security staff personnel are authorise to help you in opening the safe.

As a precautionary measure, I do not placed all my money in the hotel safe – only a portion of it. I do not wear jewelery or expensive watch when I travel – leave it at home. If I see the housekeeping team cleaning the adjacent rooms in the morning, I would asked them to clean my room while I am still in the room. I would always check that the hotel safe is securely locked and thereafter checking the main door is properly locked after I leave the room. I would also leave the TV and lights on when I leave my room if I am staying on the lower floor of the hotel. Most of the time I would request and get to stay at high floor.

So my answer is that the hotel safe in the room is safe provided that the hotel has strong security features installed and implemented; and that you have taken all precautionary measures to make your room safe. There is no such thing as a 100% theft free hotel but you can take measures to minmise this risk.

Ways to Prevent ATM Robberies in Jakarta

Recently there has been an increase in the number of ATM robberies in Jakarta. The police had asked the banks to increase the security of the ATMs by employing more securing guards in shopping malls and convenience stores. The police had also recommended the installation of more closed circuit television ( CCTV ) around the compound of the ATM. I think most banks will comply to enhance the security of their ATMs. However we must not just leave the issue of security to the police and the banks. I believe there are things that we can do to prevent ourselves from being a victim of robbery at the ATMs. Let me just share some tips and steps which I personally use whenever I need to use a ATM machine to withdraw cash.

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Steps to take to prevent ATM Robberies
Steps to take to prevent ATM Robberies

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1) No all ATM machines are safe. Remember just because a ATM machine is there doesn’t mean that it is safe to use. ATM machines that are in remote area/quiet or hidden by walls, pillars, large trees or any obstruction are not safe to use. If you really need to use them, asked 2 of your adult friends or family members to accompany you.

2) Use ATM machines that are in crowded open area ( along a busy walkway or street ), well lighted and with heavy traffic. For example I would normally use ATM machines that are installed within the bank premises, beside a supermarket, inside a crowded shopping mall or ideally even beside a police station.

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Use ATM machines that are in the bank and on busy streets.
Use ATM machines that are in the bank and on busy streets.

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3) If you are withdrawing a large sum of money from the ATM, get 2 adults to accompany you and use a ATM that is safe ( as mentioned above). Alternatively make multiple withdrawals within one or two days so that you don’t withdraw lots of money at one single time.

4) Do not use the ATM during late night as most robberies happened during the night. You may make a safe withdrawal from a ATM at a supermarket, but you may be robbed as you leave the supermarket to your car or along the pedestrian walkway.

5) Look out for suspicious people hanging around the ATM machine. Scan the area for people loitering within 5 metres of the ATM machine. If you see a person sitting in his car/bike, or someone just loitering around be more alert. If you do not feel safe at that time, move on. You can find alternative ATM machine to use.

6) keep a list of ATM machines in your work or home areas that are safe to use. This list will come in handy just in case you need to make an emergency withdrawal of funds.

7) If you see someone suddenly approaching you while you are in the middle of a transaction, terminate the transaction straight away. Asked the stranger sternly what is it that he wants from you? Remember to remove the bank card and put it safely in your pocket. If the stranger refused to moved off, raised your voice to attract attention or simply walked away from the ATM machine to a crowded area.

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Use ATM machine during the day and on high traffic area.
Use ATM machine during the day and on high traffic area.

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8) most robberies occur after the ATM cash transaction has been completed. Once the cash had been withdrawn by the victim, the robber would moved in quickly to grap the cash. The robber would normally warned the victim that he has a concealed weapon in his pocket. Do not fight with the robber, just hand the cash over to him and remember his features. When you are safe, immediately asked for help from strangers and call the police.

The above are the steps that you can take to ensure safety when using the ATM machines. ATM machines are now part of our daily life and we used it without much thought. With a little planning and an awareness to safety, we can ensure that the cash that has been withdrawn from the ATM machines safely goes into our wallets.

Fire Your Financial Adviser

I wonder how many people actually listen and act according to the advice of Financial Advisers or so called Investment Experts. Some people believes that these financial experts are worth listening because of their in depth knowledge of financial products and markets. I met one financial adviser recently when I was in my friend’s home to catch up with him. So this financial adviser couldn’t help but started to give me some advice on financial matters. Perhaps he is really passionate about his job or otherwise trying to pitch a sale.

This financial adviser told me that this is now the right time to put money in stocks because stocks are now relatively cheap. I told him that when stocks are cheap, they have the tendency to become cheaper real soon. He told me that he sees the US economy will be recovering and the Asia’s economy is strong. I share a different view from him. I explained to him that the consumers spending in US is still weak and millions of Americans are still out of work. Many companies in the US are still not hiring workers because of poor demand for their products, as a result of a cut in consumers spending. I do not see banks lending money as they did before, where it is so easy for companies and people to get loans by just signing on the dotted line of a loan agreement. In fact, there are now extra precautionary measures that makes the banks tightening their lending practices. Banks is in the business of lending money. And if the banks do not lend money to companies, the economy simply cannot pick up as fast as it was before.

My friend joined in and told me to buy gold, as gold prices has not shot up to the roof and is still have the potential to climb higher.. I told my friend that I do not have the practice of predicting the market – be it stock or gold. My view is that gold has enjoyed some very impressive bull runs and when prices get over inflated relative to the actual value, the bull run will run out of steam and prices must then fall. Then the financial adviser told me that I am being quite negative about investment and have shut my eyes on opportunities. I told him that on the contrary, I am open to any sound investment advice. I gave him an example of my investment strategy right now. Stocks are cheap, and yes it will get cheaper. Putting money in the stock requires a prudent approach. My view is that I will put money in buying stocks from utilities, energy, transportation and telecommunication companies. These companies are very strong financially and they are doing very well even during this difficult recession period. What’s more, these companies are paying good dividends to shareholders annually.

In this difficult times, the most important strategy in investment is to preserve your capital So when financial experts comes to you and tell you of great investment opportunities, take it with a pinch of salt. Is he looking after your best interest or simply looking at his own interest, and how much commission he can earn from you?