Category Archives: Uncategorized

Shoes Made In Indonesia

Recently I read the news that the Governor of West Java had ordered all his civil servants to buy and wear shoes that are made in Indonesia. Governor Ahmad Heryawan started this campaign to support the local shoe industry; and was reported to give all his civil servants one month grace period before taking actions against anyone flouting his order. Thereafter if he find any civil servant wearing foreign made shoes, he will punish the offender with 200 push ups exercise. Really his campaign of Made in Indonesia shoes are very amusing to me.

Many international brands of shoes such as Nike, Reebok, Adidas and many more are made in Indonesia. So it means that Indonesia has the capacity and skills to made high quality shoes. Then why is it that the shoes with local brands are not in hot demand with the local Indonesians? I think the taste and the aspirations of the Indonesians have changed over the years. Many Indonesians especially the young are fashion trendy and with more money to spend. These young people are fashion and brand conscious, and they won’t want to be caught by their peers wearing local brand shoes or clothes -in their view this would be an sheer embarrassment. Even Indonesians in their forties and fifties are now increasing buying foreign brand shoes, clothes and accessories. When we go to any upscale mall in Jakarta, consumers are buying foreign brand products, eating in foreign brand restaurants, buying foreign brand home appliances and phones.


Hush Puppies Shoe


My view is that if you want more Indonesians to buy local products such as shoes, the manufacturers must first improve upon the quality, design and the brand of the product. When I go to Bandung for shopping, there are locally made shoes that are quite attractive in design, but the quality seems to be lower. I will not hesitate to buy local products so long as it is of good quality at affordable price. The local manufacturers and distributors must have a more competitive business attitude if they want to succeed in capturing the local consumers market.

An example of a successful Indonesian brand is Teh Botol produced by the Indonesian company Sosro. Teh Botol is a sweetened Jasmine tea that is very popular in Indonesia. I loved drinking it just as I also enjoy drinking Jasmine tea produced by Pokka. Drinking Jasmine tea from a glass bottle is unique to Teh Botol and in this instance, the company has a successful marketing strategy. Another example of a successful product and brand in Indonesia is the Bintang Beer. It is a very popular local brand of beer in Indonesia and I drink it all the time when I am in Indonesia.

I do own and wear shoes made in Indonesia but at the same time I also wear foreign branded shoes. I hope that the Governor of Java would not be too harsh on his subordinates. Perhaps he could just made it mandatory for his civil servants to wear local made shoes once a week – like every Monday which is the start of the working week. He could also worked with local shoes manufacturers and distributors to get special discount for his subordinates when they buy shoes made in Indonesia.

Batam Cheap Hotels

A friend of mine asked me whether are there any cheap hotels in Batam. The word cheap is very subjective, as what is cheap to one person is view as expensive by another. I told him that there are many cheap hotels in Batam going for about US$60/- a night. He told me US$60/- is beyond his budget; he was quoting me a rate of US$40/- and below. I affirm that there are many cheap and budget hotels in batam for US$40/- a night but it would not be so comfortable and secure. He said that he does not mind so long as it is within his budget.


Better Quality Cheap Hotel in Batam
Better Quality Cheap Hotel in Batam


There are many cheap hotels in batam and  most of them looked like those 3 or 4 levels high shop buildings. These cheap hotels are easy to find and are plentiful in the heart of Nagoya town. You can get a room for about RP300,000 onwards depending on the location and the grade of the hotels and rooms Most of these cheap hotels offer single or double room and have either standard or deluxe type rooms There is normally a bathroom attached for this price.  A typical room for this rate would have a bed, a small chair plus table, a small TV, wardrobe, air conditioned and a small attached bathroom. The floor of this room will be bare – no carpet. Some budget rooms do not even have a window. My suggestion is to reject any room without windows. There are some budget hotels in Batam that also include a simple breakfast with the booking of their rooms. Simple breakfast means limited choices of bread with butter and jam, or fried rice and noodles with coffee or tea.


Attached Bathroom in Batam Cheap Hotel
Attached Bathroom in Batam Cheap Hotel


The disadvantages of staying in a cheap hotel in Batam is that normally there is less privacy, less comfort and definitely less secure. Most of these budget hotels have very thin walls. It means that you can hear the noise emitting out from the surrounding rooms and along the corridor. The door of the bedroom are non fire proof door with poor door lock system. It is common to have problems like air condition that is noisy or not cool, water pressure in the bathroom is low, or beds that are worn out, dirty towels and sometimes small cockroaches running around the room.

The important factors to take note in choosing a good budge hotel in Batam are as follows:-

1) it must be a proper budget hotel with a small reception and lobby and not those pirated hotel establishment

2)  ask permission to view the rooms – standard and deluxe room before booking. Most of them are fine with this. Tell them that you want to see their standard and deluxe room before deciding.

3)  insist on a room with windows and not too close to the staircase. Noise from people walking up and down the stairs can be heard during the night as the door and walls of the rooms are thin.

4)  make sure that there are no KTV or bars directly on the ground level, otherwise you will have sleepless night. However, if you are a party animal, then this does not matter to you; as you can go down to the bar and join them. Many of these budget hotels are directly facing a main road, so you have to bear with the noise from vehicles during the night – there is no choice.

5)  be prepared to see young ladies in revealing dresses or mini skirts with men. It is a common sight in many budget hotels in Batam. Most men used these budget hotels for one night stand or bringing women from the KTVs and bars into their rooms. Noise from lovemaking, fights and TVs can be heard from adjacent rooms.

6)  of course make sure you like the room before booking – that is is clean and comfortable.


Batam Cheap Hotel
Batam Cheap Hotel


Budget hotels in Batam are useful if you are stuck in Batam without a confirmed hotel booking during the peak holiday period. I have experience twice, when all major hotels are booked during the eve of Christmas as well as during Chinese New Year.  Take your time to walk along the streets of Nagoya and browse through these budget hotels to check for their rates and condition of the rooms. I am very sure there is a suitable cheap hotel to suit your limited budget

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Stress & Pressures Living in Jakarta

A friend called me up for a casual chat on a Saturday evening. She was telling me about her work, family and the daily routine living. There seems to be so many things to do in the office as well as at home, with so little time to do it. Also, the family bills are piling up, cost of food and living is going up, teachers are asking for money from her children to buy books and uniform and many more problems. She find life stressful and feel that living in Jakarta is pressurizing, just like an oven. She missed the casual free and easy living in her hometown in West Java, where her mom is still staying.


I agree that living in Jakarta or other major cities in Indonesia is not easy, as the cost of living is much higher than in villages. But thousands of people flocked to the cities of Indonesia each year – to find a better life, to put their kids in good schools, to get better medical care and the list goes on. But there is definitely a price to pay if you want to stay in Jakarta. Better living, good school, quality medical care and life means a higher cost of living. It simply means that you must pay more for all these things. The cost of a condominium or a landed property is not cheap in Jakarta. In fact, I find that the prices of condominium homes are ridiculously high. Education is also expensive in Jakarta. I just don’t understand why the government and Jakarta administration are not able to make education more affordable, so that every kid in Jakarta can have an opportunity to go to school. Kids from the poor families simply cannot afford to pay the school fees, books and uniform. I am sure the government and Jakarta administration can work out a subsidy program to help these poor families; so that their young kids can get an opportunity to study.


Coming back to my friend, I told her that her problems are similar to many thousands of her fellow citizens living in Jakarta. She has to learn to take things slowly and resolve important problems first. In many instances, we cannot solve all problems, some can be resolved quickly, some problems need more time and others we just simply try our best to manage it. Though life is not a bed of roses, we still can find joy in living under stressful environment. I told her to be realistic in her expectations in work and towards to her husband and kids, learn to relax through meditation or exercise, cut down on unproductive activities – one of it was to stop going to the mall frequently; and look at life more positively. In many instances, problems are in fact opportunities –

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” – Charles R. Swindoll

We are not able to control the situations and things that comes to us every single day. That is beyond our control. But we can control how we respond to situations and problems. So long as we have put in our best effort and interest in the things that we do, we have respond it positively and that to me is good enough. Finally, I told my friend to slow down and smell the roses, admire pretty flowers and what nature can offer us – it does help to relieve stress and anxiety.

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Hot Weather in Jakarta – How To Keep Cool

There are basically 2 types of weather in Jakarta. First, is the hot and humid weather and second is the raining season. If you asked me which is my preference, then my answer is the hot and humid weather. I dislike raining season in Jakarta as flooding is common in this city. Floods can cause plently of inconveniences to you if you need to go out to work or urgently get things done. Raining season in Jakarta normally begins in October to February each year. Floods situation in Jakarta seems to get worse. It is due to the lack of infrastructure in drainage and waterways, deforestation, and the tonnes of rubbish that clogs up the rivers and drains.


If you can’t stand hot and humid weather, then do not come to Jakarta. Jakarta has one of the most humid and hot weather in the world. Added to this woes are dead slow traffic on the roads and lots of dust and garbage on the streets. In order to cope with such harsh weather condition, it is important to know how to keep cool.  For me, keeping a bottle of mineral water in my bag is essential. There are times when I would also bring along a small bottle of isotonic drink such as Pocari in my bag. Isotonic drink replenishes not only body fluids, it also gives you back the necessary glucose and minerals that you have lost through sweating under the hot weather. There is also a cap (headgear) which I use for blocking the sun from my eyes. The most suitable clothes to wear here would be loose and light clothing. Personally, clothes that are made of cotton fabric are the best, as it absorbed sweat, cool and light. If you are staying in a hotel, make sure that you have a room with good air-conditioned. I always check to make sure that the air-conditoning is in good condition; otherwise I would have to endure a warm, warm night.


The local government of Jakarta should take the initiative to plant more trees. More trees should be planted along the walkaways, pavements and road dividers.  More open space should be allocated for public parks. Larger bus stand with shades should be built not only for commuters, but also for people who just want a rest after walking along the pavements. If you are wondering why are there so many people in the malls during the weekends, it is mainly because it is cool there. Of course there is the shopping and entertainment; but for many people, it is to escape from the heat outside. If you are able to adapt yourself to the heat and take steps to keep cool, Jakarta is a wonderful city to visit.

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Cook A Meal – Singapore Chicken Rice

A number of people from Indonesia have told me that they love our Singapore Chicken Rice. It is tasty and fragrance; and it always makes you wanting to eat more of it. Indeed, the Hainanese chicken rice that is sold here is unique and internationally well-known. I have tasted chicken rice that were sold in the food courts in Jakarta. Most of them claimed that it is the authentic Singapore Chicken Rice. But upon tasting it, it is just fake. The taste is flat, the rice does not have the same aroma that makes Singapore chicken rice distinctive.

I have decided to put up  a simple recipe for those wanting to prepare chicken rice. I must admit that I am not a great chef but I do cook whenever I have the time. You can follow the recipe here or change its variation to suit your taste. Cooking is after all an art and not an exact science. So here it is:=

1) obviously the first thing to do is to buy a chicken. Get a medium size whole chicken say approx 1 to 1.2 kg will do. You can buy fresh chicken easily in Indonesia. Ask the seller to remove the head (neck) and the rear end. You can of course keep it if you someone who loves eating chicken neck and bottom. Personally, I will skip it.
2) now that you have the chicken, what’s next? Yes, it is the rice. Use about 4 to 5 cups of rice – approx 1 kg. Wash and rinse it properly. Try to use fragrance rice, it taste better.

3)  2 cucumber. I love eating cucumber. Put them in a fridge. For this menu, you need to wash the cucumber and then slice them. Cucumber taste good even when it is uncooked. It taste better when it is just remove from the fridge – totally cool cucumber.

4) The rest of the things that you need are – rice wine (Optional).  Get those chinese cooking wine. You need approx 1 tablespoon Ginger – sliced about 10 of them. Garlic – about 6 – you need to peel and keep them as whole. Red chillies – about 10  pieces. Sugar – 1 tablespoon. Salt – about 1 teaspoon.

Now for the cooking part. The chicken needs to be placed in a steamer. Just add water and steam it for about approx half an hour until the whole chicken is well cooked. Alternatively you can placed the chicken in a pot with about 10 cups of water, add ginger, garlic and half teaspoon of salt and boil it for about 40 minutes till it is cooked. Do not throw away the chicken broth, you need it for cooking the rice.

You can now removed the hot cooked chicken, just rub a little of salt and rice wine ( outside and inside ) and just wait for it to cool. Then you can slice them in portions. Next, heat up the wok – add sesame oil ( just a little), 5 slices of ginger and then the rice. Stirred fry the rice for about 10-15 minutes until the rice seems to look rather light and there is no more moisture in them. Remember the rice that you are cooking here has not been cooked. You need to pour these rice into the rice cooker. Add the chicken broth that you have kept – approx 6 cups, garlic and a little salt and then cooked the rice in the rice cooker. Once the rice is cooked, it has the unique chicken rice aroma, it is then ready to be served.
Now for the chilli sauce. Take 6 to 10 chillies, 3 slices of ginger, one or two garlic, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoon of lime and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, add some hot water, blend them until it becomes paste.

Now that the cooking is totally done, you can served the chicken slices with the cool slice cucumber placed at the side. Some people loved to eat chicken rice with dark soya sauce. You can get dark soya sauce from any supermarket. Just add it to the chicken rice itself or placed it in a small sauce bowl as a dip for the chicken itself.

Chicken rice is a simple and yet a delicious meal that the whole family can enjoy. You can prepare a jug of ice lemonade or even fruit juices to go with it. Y Alternaltively, if you are a coke addict just like me, nothing beats a glass of ice cold Coke.

I like to acknowledge with thanks Ms Candy Chai for her valuable suggestion and comments in this preparing this recipe.

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