Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy New Year 2007

Wishing all my Christians friends a joyous and wonderful Christmas.

Wishing everyone a happy new year 2007. Hopefully we're looking forward to a better and wonderful year ahead.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Amazing Race Asia to Jakarta and Bali

I'm sorry if I have to write another article about my favourite reality show, Amazing Race Asia, after my previous article with regards to the show. It's because on its second and third leg of the race, they are going to my home country, Indonesia. Jakarta and Bali, to be exact. I was wrong when I predicted that they went to West Sumatra, after seeing the Minangkabau-style houses and the "plate dance" (tari piring) show. It turned out to be that they performed the dance at the West Sumatra pavilion of the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, instead.

On the second leg of the race, which I watched last week, all teams left Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. Using Asia's biggest budget airline, AirAsia, I believe that it's Mr. Tony Fernandez -- AirAsia's CEO -- himself, who greeted one of the teams at the tarmac before the team boarded the plane. After touching down at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, all teams were on a taxi race on the busy highways of Jakarta, to Ragunan Zoo on the south outskirt of the city. The taxi race really shows the "turmoil" of Jakarta's traffic, with most of the taxi drivers were speeding and used the road shoulder to overtake other cars.

At the zoo, all teams would have to go inside a snake pit to get their next clues. The Indians Prashant and Sahil took the fast forward by going to SMA Negeri 60 school, which is located at Kemang Timur, not really far from Ragunan. This fast forward brought Prashant and Sahil to become the first team to arrive at the pit stop, the National Monument (Monas) of Jakarta. All the other teams went to the West Sumatra pavilion of the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah to perform "plate dance" (tari piring), a Minangkabau traditional dance. Once done, they then went to Kebayoran Baru area, around Jalan Panglima Polim, to be exact, to perform the detour, Push or Sell. Yud, I believe it's somewhere near your house? :) :)

The detour is related to bakso, or meatball soup, a popular Indonesian dish. In "Push", the teams had to push bakso pushcarts without spilling any soy sauce, while singing the "Abang Tukang Bakso" song, an Indonesian children song popularised by a (then) Indonesian child singer, Melissa, about a decade ago. Not too sure why they called it an Indonesian traditional song. It's not, actually. In "Sell", the teams would have to try selling 15 bowls of bakso for 2,000 rupiah each. Once they finished the detour, they have to go to the National Monument (Monas) as the pitstop of that second leg of the race. The Indonesians Mardy and Marsio become the second team to arrive (after Prashant and Sahil who took the Fast Forward) and my favourite team, Malaysian Zabrina and Joe Jer were the fourth team to arrive, while Filipino Ernie and Jeena become the first team to be eliminated on the race.

On the third leg of the race, which I just watched earlier this evening, all teams headed to Bali, again by using an AirAsia flight from Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Once touched down at Denpasar's Ngurah Rai International Airport, they headed straight to Kuta beach to perform their roadblock, digging the sands. The task was quite tiring, causing 5 (read: five) of the teams gave up digging and chose to take a 4-hour penalty instead. After accessing the Internet in an Internet cafe nearby to find the next clue, all teams went to Ubud.

In Ubud, they needed to explore the Ubud Monkey Forest to find the next clue, which leads them to a detour: Wet or Dry. In "Wet", they need to perform white-water rafting down the Ayung River while in "Dry", they need to ride an elephant at the Elephant Safari Park nearby. From Ubud, they needed to go to the southernmost tip of the Bali Island, Uluwatu, and went inside a cave near a surfing centre there to get their next clue. The pit stop of the leg of the race is the Tanah Lot temple, located at the southwest coast of the island.

In this leg of the race, the Sri Lankan team Howard and Sahran came first, since they were the first team who find the "treasure", which is a small wooden surfboard, while digging the sands of Kuta beach. Zabrina and Joe Jer came in the fifth place, while Marsio and Mardy came in the sixth place, because both teams didn't finish the roadblock and chose to take the 4-hour penalty instead, which was served at the pit stop instead of at the roadblock's scene.

The good looking Filipinos, Aubrey and Jacqueline, become the second team to be eliminated from the race, following their fellow countrymen Ernie and Jeena. No more team from the Philippines remains in the race! The only Singaporean team Sharon and Melody came in the third place because they never gave up and managed to finish the roadblock and avoid the 4-hour penalty. Two thumbs up for their perseverance!!

Based on the trailer, it looks like all the teams are heading to Sydney, Australia for the fourth leg of the race. Well, I'm not too sure whether I would be able to watch the next week's show since I'll be in Jakarta, Indonesia next week. Let's just hope that I would be at my parents' place (which TV subscribes to AXN Asia), and not at my mother-in-law's place, at that time. :)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Amazing Race Asia

My favourite reality show, Amazing Race, now has its own Asian version. Amazing Race Asia, its premiere was shown by AXN Asia just now. There are ten teams competing on this race, including one team from Indonesia, one team from Singapore, two teams from Malaysia and some other teams from other parts of Asia. The show is hosted by Singapore-based Allan Wu, who has participated in the US reality show, Fear Factor.

The race started at the Dataran Merdeka (or Independence Square) of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Their first destination was the Berjaya Times Square shopping mall, and Sahran, one of the participants from Sri Lanka, cried when he learned that he would need to climb down the void of the shopping mall, from the 8th floor down, using a rope. But he finished the task, eventually!

I was also laughing to see the contestants from Indonesia, brothers Marsio and Mardy. Looks like they are not "too athletic" enough for the race, seems to be already exhausted while reaching the mall, even though they took the cab from Dataran Merdeka to the mall. My wife even commented that the Indonesian brothers wouldn't be able to even pass the second or third leg of the race.

From Times Square, all the contestants had to go to Kompleks Kraf (Craft Complex) for their detour, either batik painting or pot making, using pottery wheel. Once they completed the detour, all the contestants headed to Shah Alam Stadium for a gokart ride, before going to the pit stop at the top of Menara Kuala Lumpur (the KL Tower). And I was very surprised to see that the Indonesian brothers, Marsio and Mardy, managed to take the lead and become the winner of this leg of the race! Well, actually the Malaysians Andrew and Syeon were the first to arrive after overtaking Marsio and Mardy on the last race to the pitstop (of course!), however they didn't follow the instruction on which route to use to go to the tower, so they had to redo their steps, and Marsio and Mardy became the winner.

It's quite difficult to predict who will be at the top three at this stage. The Singaporean girls Sharon and Melody seemed to be quite difficult to keep up, and came to be the sixth to arrive. My favourites are the Malaysian girls Zabrina and Joe Jer, who were actually the first team to arrive at the Times Square and finished the detour at Kompleks Kraf, but were being overtaken by Marsio and Mardy on their way to Shah Alam.

For the second leg of the race, based on the next week's trailer at the end of this week's show, it seems to me that they are going to Indonesia, West Sumatra to be exact, because I saw some Minangkabau-style houses and "plate dance" (tari piring) show, which is Minangkabau's traditional dance. But I guess, we'll only be able to find out next week!

So, now, I have marked two important times of the week: Monday 9pm (Singapore time) for the Amazing Race 10 show, and Thursday 9pm (Singapore time) for the Amazing Race Asia show. I had to rely on AXN Asia to watch the show now, since Mediacorp's Channel 5 is no longer showing the latest season of Amazing Race, not too sure why. Thanks AXN Asia!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

FeedWordPress and Multiply, WordPress Upgrade and Akismet

FeedWordPress and Multiply

For the first time, I tried to syndicate a Multiply-based blog into Planet Singapura, an aggregator blog which uses FeedWordPress. Even though I can syndicate the RSS feed successfully, however the output is a bit different from others. Usually, a hyperlink from an article will point to the permanent link at the origin blog, however, for Multiply-based blog, the hyperlink will be pointed to a page within Planet Singapura itself.

For example, an article titled Planet Singapura by one of its contributors has its hyperlink to be pointed to a page within Planet Singapura itself ( instead of to the original permanent link at the contributor's blog (, not too sure why. The non-existence of a link to the original blog causes difficulties for Planet Singapura readers to read the full article and add comments, especially since I turned off the comments option on Planet Singapura, to encourage the readers to post comments on the original contributors' blogs instead.

WordPress Upgrade to 2.0.5 (Ronan)

I also have upgraded all my Wordpress-based blogs (Minda Indra, Planet Indra and Planet Singapura) to version 2.0.5. Not too sure why they named this version "Ronan", its website said that they would like to congratulate Ryan Boren (who is Ryan Boren anyway) on his new son, Ronan.

Upgrading WordPress, as usual, is a breeze. The website provides detailed instruction on how to upgrade from version 2.0.4 to 2.0.5, which is exactly the same method as when I upgraded from version 2.0.3 to 2.0.4.

Akismet Activation

Earlier today, I read an article on JalanSutera regarding how the Wordpress-based blog fights spam using Akismet, an anti-spam plug-in for Wordpress to fight spam comments. Pujiono, JalanSutera's administrator, mentioned that the number of spam comments received by the blog reaches 10,000, and thanks to Akismet, all the spam comments were caught.

This reminds me that every day, I also need to delete at least 100-200 spam comments on Minda Indra per day (not reaching 10,000 though), and such spam-deleting work is really time-consuming and irritating. I have heard about anti-spam plug-ins such as Akismet or Spam Karma, but I also received some reports about quite a lot of false-positive incidents on both plug-ins, discouraging me to activate or install such plug-ins.

However, something needs to be done to resolve this, and I tried to activate Akismet on Minda Indra today. To activate Akismet is very easy, I just need to go to Dashboard > Plugins, and once activated, I need to key in my WordPress.Com's API key to get it running. I don't have any issues in obtaining the key since I already have an account on

So far, the Akismet has caught 28 spam comments since it was installed several hours ago, and I have checked, no false-positives so far. Hopefully this will make my blogging life much easier. :)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Hari Raya Idul Fitri on 24 October 2006

Both the Singapore and Indonesia governments have announced that Hari Raya Idul Fitri falls on Tuesday, 24 October 2006, this year.

In Singapore, the Singapore's Mufti has announced that based on hisab estimation, the crescent moon cannot be sighted after today's sunset because it's just 1 minute over the horizon. Therefore, tomorrow (Monday, 23rd of October 2006) will be the completion (30th day) of the Ramadhan fasting month, and that the Hari Raya will fall on Tuesday, 24th of October 2006.

The Indonesian government also announced today that Hari Raya Idul Fitri will fall on Tuesday, 24th of October 2006 because the results of rukyat in 29 places in Indonesia show that the hilal (crescent moon) cannot be sighted during sunset at those 29 places, with hilal of between zero degree and 30 minutes below horizon and one degree over the horizon.

The results are different from Muhammadiyah's announcement, which has decided that the Hari Raya will fall on Monday, 23rd of October 2006 based on its hisab estimation. In this case, the government of Indonesia expressed hope that such differences will not cause any frictions among Muslims in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, the government of Saudi Arabia has announced that the Hari Raya Idul Fitri will fall on Monday, 23rd of October 2006, not because they also have sighted the hilal, but because they have started their Ramadhan fasting month one day earlier, based on the crescent moon sighting result for the start of the Ramadhan month. So today (22nd of October 2006) would be their 30th day of fasting month, and since there's no such thing as fasting for 31 days, they will celebrate their Eid ul-Fitr tomorrow.

Again, I would like to wish all Muslims all over the world, a Happy Eid ul-Fitr celebration. Eid mubarak, Selamat Hari Raya Idul Fitri, mohon maaf lahir dan batin.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Zakat Fitrah

Earlier today, I and Irza went to the Ar-Raudhah Mosque at Bukit Batok East, about 10 minutes drive from home, for us to pay zakat fitrah for this year. This is the first time we paid our zakat fitrah in Singapore, since we will be celebrating Hari Raya Aidil Fitri in Singapore. In the past 6 years during our stay in Singapore, we always went back to Indonesia for Hari Raya, and paid our zakat fitrah there.

Zakat, or paying alms, is the third of the Five Pillars of Islam, and refers to spending a fixed portion of our wealth for the poor or needy. The payment of zakat is obligatory for all Muslims. There are two main types of zakat:
  • zakat on traffic (zakat-ul-fitr, also known as zakat fitrah in Indonesia), which is a per person payment equivalent to cost of around 2.25 kilograms of the main food of the region (this may be wheat, rice or dates, depending on the place), which is paid during the month of Ramadhan by the head of the family for himself and his dependents to the zakat collector (amil).
  • zakat on wealth (zakat-ul-mal, also known as zakat maal or zakat harta in Indonesia), which comprises all other types of zakat, such as on business, savings, income, crops, livestock, gold, etc.
The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) has appointed some mosques in Singapore (but not all mosques, take note) to become zakat collection centres where we can pay for our zakat fitrah there. The list of the appointed zakat collection centres can be found here. We can actually make zakat payment over the Internet (using the e-payment function), but in my opinion, it's best and more afdhal if we just go to the nearest mosques and pay for the zakat directly to the amil.

We can come to any of the mosques which has been appointed as a zakat collection centre, and look for the "Pungutan Zakat" sign. Note that the head of the family will have to pay for the zakat, meaning it's best for the father (instead of the mother) to come to pay for the zakat. The signage will lead us to a room where the amil will then collect the zakat money and give us the zakat receipts. We also have to read the niat (intention) script, which is provided by the amil, in Malay (bahasa Melayu).

For this year, the zakat fitrah rate in Singapore is $3.50 per person for normal rate (based on average grade rice price), and $4.50 per person for premium rate (based on superior grade rice price). The zakat fitrah has to be paid before Hari Raya, otherwise the zakat payment will become sadaqah. Therefore, we need to ensure that we pay for the zakat fitrah before Hari Raya, especially for those who intend to celebrate Hari Raya on Monday instead of Tuesday.

Hopefully this article is useful to those who want to pay zakat in Singapore.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Happy Diwali and Selamat Hari Raya Idul Fitri

Wishing all my Hindu, Jain and Sikh friends a Happy Diwali.

Wishing all my Muslim friends, Selamat Hari Raya Idul Fitri 1427H, mohon maaf lahir dan batin.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Haze in Singapore Worsened

Channel NewsAsia reported that the haze level in Singapore went into the unhealthy range starting from today (Saturday, 7 October 2006) morning. The 3-hours PSI (Pollutant Standards Index) reading first entered the unhealthy range at 8am with a PSI reading of 101, and then climbed up as high as 130 at 10am, before going down to 115 at 12 noon.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) of Singapore reported that the smoke haze situation has deteriorated overnight, and the prevailing winds have remained southerly to southwesterly overnight and they have brought smoke haze from southern Sumatra to Singapore.

It is reported that the same problem currently is also affecting Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur, forcing most Malaysians in KL to stay indoors. The haze has choked the region, and even spreading across Pacific. On Thursday, the haze had even spread 3,600 kilometres (2,250 miles) to smother islands in the western Pacific, authorities there said.

It's confirmed that the forest fires in Indonesia, particularly Sumatra and Kalimantan (Borneo), are the main culprit of the haze that choked the South East Asia region. Not only that this matter has prompted "condemnation" from Singaporean and Malaysian bloggers, some Indonesian bloggers based in Singapore have also voiced out their concerns as well.

Nisa said:

it was not pleasant living with this kind of air. and all because some people back home we burning trees to make profit for themselves. talking about being greedy and selfish!


so please government of my country, not only you should step up in whatever you do but do take more serious action on this greedy people

Rani said:

And we're like, thousands of kilometers away from the smoke source. I wonder how it feels to live in Pekanbaru or other cities in Sumatra.

The effect of the haze is no joke. Nisa is right when she said that we shouldn't make a joke of it. This issue really has given Indonesia a very bad name. The government of Indonesia should take actions more seriously in handling this matter.

Update - 8 October 2006, 05:54hrs SGT:

The haze situation in Singapore got even worse on Saturday evening, with the 3-hour PSI reading reached 150 at 9pm yesterday evening. Currently, the PSI reading is 128.

The Singapore government has expressed its concerns about the situation to Indonesia, stressing the urgency to suppress the forest fires which are causing the haze. Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said: "I just hope that next year, the Indonesians will understand our concerns and do something about the haze."

They also have offered
assistance to Indonesia to fight the problem. This includes cloud 'seeding' operations to induce rain as well as table-top exercises to help farmers deal with land clearing. "It's up to the Indonesian government and its people whether they want to take the offer", said Dr. Yacoob Ibrahim, Singapore's Environmental and Water Resources Minister. Hmm... let's see whether the Indonesian government would take up that offer.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Najib Tun Razak mentioned that ASEAN countries must take joint actions to tackle this haze problem. This includes setting up a sizeable fund to tackle the problem of open burning which is seen as the cause of the haze in the region. This statement indirectly depicts the shameful inability of the Indonesian government to handle the problem, i.e. to even prevent those greedy Sumatran land farmers to use open burning to clear their lands.

It is, indeed, shameful.

[Indonesian version]

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Flight to Batam Diverted to Pekanbaru

Detik.Com reported yesterday that some flights to Batam was being diverted to Pekanbaru due to bad weather and haze. It was reported that a Batavia Air flight from Medan to Batam was forced to land at Pekanbaru at around 13:20hrs West Indonesian Time (or 14:20hrs Singapore time) yesterday (Saturday, 30 September 2006), while another flight, which is a Lion Air flight from Jakarta was also diverted to Pekanbaru and landed there about 10 minutes later.

This is a bit strange, considering the location of Batam's Hang Nadim airport, which is not too far from Singapore, only about 20km away. It's true that the PSI (Pollutant Standards Index) level in Singapore is a bit high in the last couple of days, however there were no reports of very high haze level or very bad weather which can cause any flight disruptions. A check on yesterday's flight information at Changi airport's website also does not show any cancellations on flights arriving in Singapore during the specified period.

Couldn't be that 20km distance can make such a big difference in terms of weather? Or, could it be?

Update on 3 October 2006, 2:15pm SGT:

In the past two days, the haze has thickened over the skies in Singapore. Forest fires in Sumatra is again becoming the culprit. Let us hope that the Indonesian government can do the necessary actions to prevent this issue from getting worse.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Islam and Tourism

In one of his articles regarding Islam and tourism, Patung mentioned that Islam is bad for tourism, because some attempts to forbid activities associated as sinful by Islam, such as drinking, harms the growth of tourism in some Indonesian areas with Muslim-majority population, such as Lombok. While I agree that such attempts will deter tourists from coming to the region, it doesn't mean that the religion itself is bad for tourism.

I would like to emphasize that it's not just a matter of religion.

We don't need to go too far to see an example. Malaysia is also a country with a Muslim-majority population. But the country has successfully attracted tourists from all over the world, especially East Asia (China and the region) and Middle East countries. So, it's not true that Islam is bad for tourism.

What's the issue here, then?


Malaysians are generally more tolerant towards other religions. Even when the Malaysian Muslims forbid themselves from drinking, they do not forbid people from other religions from doing so. Even when Islam forbids gambling, the government still allows some casinos to be built at Genting Highlands for non-Muslim Malaysians and tourists, of course after ensuring that Malaysian Muslims are prohibited to enter the casinos.

So, again, it's not true that Islam is bad for tourism. We just have to be more tolerant to people from other religion. If the Malaysians can do it, why can't we?

Friday, September 08, 2006

A Eulogy for Inong

I remember the first time I knew Inong was on early February this year, when I stumbled upon her weblog, Cerita Bunda Zidan & Syifa (Stories of Zidan & Syifa's Mum). Finding out that she and her family live in Bukit Batok, very near to our place, and also finding out that her son Zidan was studying at the same school as Irza, PPIS, I added comments to her shoutbox. She then visited my Rumah Indra weblog and added comments there, and turned out to be that she knew my wife from the IndoSing-Mums community, and also she knew some of my friends from BemoNet, such as Kukuh TW and Eko Juniarto. What a small world.

After exchanging several comments on each other's blogs, we managed to meet up on several occasions. My wife discreetly ordered a strawberry tiramisu cake from her for our wedding anniversary, and I collected the cake from her house some time in April. I believe that was the first time I met her. I also met her, Haris and the whole family during Adam and Hanan's birthday party at West Coast Park, ISM gathering at East Coast Park and PPIS Sports Day at Bukit Batok, and that's when I started to know Haris. I also met her during Mela's farewell at Harbourfront.

Inong is a great cook. All the recipes at her Dapur Bunda blog prove it. The strawberry tiramisu cake is not the only cake I and my wife have ordered from her. Once we ordered some chocolate and cheese Indonesian-style martabak from her and just two weeks ago, couple of days before she's gone, we ordered Cars-themed two-tier birthday cake for Irza's 5th birthday party. Guess what, everybody enjoyed the cake, a photo taken by Mbak Hany proves it. Nobody thought that it would be the last birthday cake she has made for us. :(

She's also a friendly person. She has many friends since she's very active in the cyberspace. She's a very active blogger, and her Cerita Bunda Zidan&Syifa blog is now on the 15th position of the Hericz's version of Indonesian Top 100 Blogs. She has several blogs, such as Cerita Bunda Zidan&Syifa, Dapur Bunda (Bunda's Kitchen), Puisi Inong (Inong's Poems) and also Inong's Page at Multiply, among others. She's also very active in some blogger communities, such as Blogger Family (Blogfam) and the Indonesian Blogger Muslim community. In Singapore, she's also a member of the IndoSing-Mums and Indo-Sing community.

Therefore, it's obvious that when she passed away, a lot of people missed her, even though those people might not know her personally and only know about her and her family from her blogs. It is even reported that about more than 1,000 people turned out at her family's house in Jakarta, waiting for her body to be sent from Singapore to Jakarta, for her funeral. The way how she wrote her family's journal, especially about her two lovely kids, Zidan and Syifa, touches the hearts of many of her blog readers. Up until now, condolences are still coming in through her shoutboxes and comments on her blogs, showing that a lot of people really missed her and her writings.

Selamat jalan, Inong. May you rest in peace.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Upgrade to Wordpress 2.0.4

Upgrade to Wordpress 2.0.4

Of course, I'm not talking about upgrading this blog, since this blog uses Blogger. I'm talking about upgrading my Wordpress-based blogs, such as Minda Indra, Planet Indra and Planet Singapura. Wordpress version 2.0.4 has actually been released more than a month ago, but I only managed to find the time to do the upgrade last week. Furthermore, now there are 3 blogs I need to upgrade.

But fortunately, the upgrade process was quite easy, in fact, it's much easier than the upgrade from 2.0.2 to 2.0.3. There's a detailed specific instruction on how to upgrade from 2.0.3 to 2.0.4, so it's much easier. We just need to make a backup of these folders: wp-admin, wp-includes, wp-content/themes/default, as well as all the files on the Wordpress root directory, except wp-config.php file, and then replace all the folders and files with the ones from the new version.

Comments on Planet Indra

It seems that some of my Planet Indra visitors were misled by the "Comments Off" signs at the end of each post, causing them to think that they are not able to add comments to my posts. It's actually not true. Planet Indra is an aggregate/syndication of all my blogs and visitors can actually visit the original post on its source blog and add comments there. To avoid such confusion, I have re-enabled the comments on Planet Indra, and when you click the "Comments" link at the end of every post, you will be redirected to the post on its source blog and you can add comments there.


I also have added the feature from IP2Phrase.Com on all my blogs. With this feature, all my visitors can see from which IP address, country and ISP they are accessing from. This feature is provided by Hexasoft Development Sdn Bhd, a research and development company based in Penang, Malaysia. The installation is also very fast and painless, you just need to add one javascript line into your blog or website's template. More information can be found here.

Indo-Sing Blog Has Moved

Indo-Sing Blog, a blog (in Indonesian language) dedicated to the Indonesian community in Singapore, has moved to a new address. Thanks to Polar Bear, now Indo-Sing blog has a new home under the official domain.

This blog still uses Wordpress, and is hosted together with Forum Indo-Sing and Wiki Indo-Sing. Its contents, as well as all its comments, have been migrated to the new place, thanks to Polar Bear and Renatha. As a result of this, the old Indo-Sing blog at Blogsome has been officially closed.

[Indonesian version]

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Blogging in English or Indonesian?

Firstly, I would like to thank Fatih for choosing this blog as one of his version of Indonesian Bloggers of the Week. What a nice and pleasant surprise, if I may say. Thanks Fatih for the compliments. :)

Secondly, I'm quite interested in reading Fatih's article regarding ten reasons on why he blogs in English, followed by Firman's article regarding ten reasons on why he blogs in Indonesian language. Interestingly, both articles were written on the same day, and I'm not quite sure who wrote first (and who debunked who). Nevertheless, that is not important. :)

The most important thing is that I think both have valid points. Fatih is right when he says that blogging in English is important. And Firman is also right when he says that blogging in Indonesian is also important. For me, both are equally important, actually. It depends on what is the topic of the articles we are writing, and who are the target audiences.

I write articles in both English and Indonesian. I even have different blogs for different languages, and have an aggregate site, Planet Indra, to aggregate all the articles in one single site. The reason is because I want to reach out to different audiences, both Indonesians and non-Indonesians.

Let me give you an example. According to Google Analytics, one of my popular articles in Minda Indra is the tips and trick of going from Jakarta to Singapore via Batam (part 1 and part 2). As you might have known, these articles contain some guides (tips and tricks) on how to go from Jakarta to Singapore via Batam. Which means, these articles are useful mostly to Indonesians, especially those living in Jakarta, who wants to come to Singapore cheaply, which is via Batam. That's why I wrote those articles in Bahasa Indonesia, and didn't create the English version of the articles.

Another example, is my opinion regarding the war in Lebanon which has been going on since last month, and hopefully would end soon after the UN Security Council resolution took effect. Those articles are meant for both Indonesians and non-Indonesians, that's why I wrote those articles in both English and Indonesian.

So, if you ask my opinion on whether we should blog in English or Indonesian, my answer will be: both. Again, it depends on the target audiences. :)

[Indonesian version]

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Immediate Ceasefire, Please...

United Nations chief Kofi Annan has reiterated his call for a ceasefire in Lebanon and said he had discussed the matter with the leaders of Lebanon, Britain and the United States.

"I hope that within the coming days there will be a (UN Security Council) resolution that will ask the parties to cease hostilities and that that can be followed shortly afterward by a second resolution so that ... the international community can deploy forces," said Annan.

This is a sincere and sensible appeal from the UN chief, considering the shocking number of civilian victims, including children, due to Israel's heavy attacks to Palestine and Lebanon, and also considering that this rational appeal is still not happening until now. It's almost a month, since 12th of July 2006, Israel has been launching non-stop attacks to Lebanon, and up until now, only 40 Hezbollah militants have been killed, compared to more than 900 civilians killed by the attacks.

You can imagine, 900 civilians casualties, and almost half of them are children, compared to only 40 Hezbollah militants, which are Israel's main targets. Everyone can justify its effectiveness, it's not worth it!!!

In Kuala Lumpur, Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad even has the answer to the conflict in Lebanon: the "elimination of the Zionist regime". "The real cure for the conflict is elimination of the Zionist regime, but there should be first an immediate ceasefire", said Ahmadinejad. It may be true, however of course it might be too extreme, and even the government of Singapore has slammed Ahmadinejad's comments by saying that it's intended to inflame Lebanon conflict.

Nevertheless, the majority of the international community has agreed that the war has to be stopped. I heard there's a resolution being discussed by the UN's Security Council, however there are still some debates on how to "word" up the resolution. I heard that the draft being proposed is not adequate to end the hostilities, causing the Lebanese government to even reject the resolution draft.

It's quite a sensible rejection. What is the use of a UN Security Council resolution, if it's inadequate to stop Israel from attacking Lebanon?

I personally do not know yet what is the content of the resolution draft, however, I really hope that the resolution is strong enough to ask Israel to stop their hostilities towards the Lebanese people. That's the most important thing. Again, the resolution will be useless if it cannot stop the hostilities, which have been going on for almost a month!

[Indonesian version]

Friday, August 04, 2006

Creating A Lipogram

The first time I read Renatha's article titled "A Lipogram", I was a bit confused. What is a lipogram, and what kind of article he was writing? Only after I checked its definition from Wikipedia, then I understand what he was trying to do. He was trying to write quite a long article, without using a common vowel e.

According to Wikipedia:

A lipogram (from Greek lipagrammatos, "missing letter") is a kind of constrained writing or word game consisting of writing paragraphs or longer works in which a particular letter or group of letters is missing, usually a common vowel, the most common in English being e (McArthur, 1992). A lipogram author avoiding e then only uses the 25 remaining letters of the alphabet.

After Renatha, Mbak Okke also wrote her lipogram here. And she even used her project site to collect lipograms written by other Indonesian bloggers. And this invitation motivated other Indonesian bloggers to also write their own lipograms, such as Inong, Mbak Han and Wisnu.

As such, I was also writing my own lipogram. The lipogram can be found here. I'm using English and the missing common letter is o.

So Ren, Mbak, is the article satisfactory enough to be included there? :)

[Indonesian version]

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Indonesians' Neutrality

I read, with interests, Fatih Syuhud's article regarding how Indonesians view and comment on international political issues. He's comparing Indonesians with Indians, which he claimed are more "neutral" and can see from many more different views in commenting on such issues.

As an example, with regards to the Israel's attacks to Lebanon, Fatih thinks that most Indonesians are more divided in their opinions with regards to the attack, and the division is interestingly based on the line of religion, whereby most Indonesian Muslims condemn and disagree with the attacks, while most Indonesian non-Muslims tend to think that Israel has the right to defend themselves by launching the attacks.

I'm not too sure, but I don't think that I see the same situation, especially within the Indonesian community here in Singapore. Here, quite a lot of my non-Muslim friends also disagree with Israel's attacks to Lebanon. We see it more as an attack to a sovereign country, causing a lot of civilians become victims of the attack. Regardless of what is the religion of the victims, such an attack is despicable.

I guess Fatih might have seen the "division" after reading Patung's comment on one of his posts, and based on the articles he has written, I can see that Patung's anti-Islam level is a bit high. However, kindly reminded that not all our non-Muslim friends are like him, and it's not fair to generalise and think that all our non-Muslim friends share the same views with him.

What I can see, most of Indonesians, both Muslims and non-Muslims, do not tolerate violence and terrorism. We can see that a lot (if not almost all) Muslims in Indonesia condemned all the terror attacks conducted by Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist group, and we also can see that a lot of non-Muslims in Indonesia disagree with the US's invasion to Iraq. So I don't think it's just a matter of in the line of religion.

We have to admit, there are some Muslims in Indonesia, who are too fanatic and dislike non-Muslims and religions other than Islam, and there are also some non-Muslims in Indonesia who are also too fanatic and dislike Muslims and Islam. Those are the people we have to worry, since they are the most definite danger to the racial and religious harmony in Indonesia.

[Indonesian version]

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Calling all Indonesian Cooks: Recipes in English Please

On my article about good Indonesian food in Singapore, I was mentioning about some weblogs containing Indonesian food recipes, such as Inong's Dapur Bunda and Nisi's Food Corner. One of the visitors from Germany, Angelica, added comments saying that it was too bad that those recipes are written in Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language), instead of English. She and her husband really love Indonesian food, however it's quite difficult for them to find cookbooks or recipes of Indonesian food in English.

I also noticed that most (if not all) of other blogs containing Indonesian food recipes, which I subscribe through Bloglines, are in Bahasa Indonesia. Those include Dhonatneth's Kitchen (which now has been renamed to Dhonatneth's Apa Kabar) and Dapur Wati, on top of the two I have mentioned earlier (Dapur Bunda and Nisi's Food Corner).

So, Inong, Nisi, Dhona, Wati and many other Indonesian bloggers who are also great cooks, are you ready to take up this challenge? :) When will you write good Indonesian food recipes in English? :) :)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Rude Taxi Driver

Well, I don't say that all taxi drivers in Singapore are rude. However, I would say that about 60%-70% of those rude motorists I usually find on Singapore roads are taxi drivers. What I mean by rude here is that they have lack of consideration to other motorists while driving.

Some of such inconsiderate driving acts include reckless driving, sudden stop to pick up or drop off passengers, and cutting other car's lanes. They also tend to drive above the maximum speed limit on all types of road, be it expressways or normal roads. They always want to get to their destinations at the soonest time possible, since it seems that every second wasted on the roads means lesser income for them... not too sure whether it's true or not, perhaps anyone can clarify? :)

One example of such inconsiderate acts: On 14th of July 2006, about a week ago, at around 9:30am in the morning, I was driving to my office at Science Park. Along South Buona Vista Road, just after the Buona Vista flyover and before the junction to Science Park Drive, the first and second lane from the left are merging into one. As you might have known, the rule for merging line in Singapore is that cars on each line have the right of way on a round-robin fashion.

My car was on the second lane from the left, and on the most left lane, there was another car and a TransCab taxi tailgating it. Based on the current position of all the three vehicles, whereby my car is in between the two vehicle even though it's on the other merging lane, I should have the right of way right after the other car, before the taxi. But guess what... the taxi kept on tailgating the car in front of it, and the driver never had any intention to give way even though I had the right of way at that time. So no choice, I had to slow down and give way, since I don't want to risk my car to be involved in an accident. No wonder why most of all accidents in Singapore usually involves taxis...

That's not the only incident I have experienced involving taxi drivers while driving here. Well, I really hope that the taxi companies will be more selective in hiring their drivers.

Monday, July 17, 2006


ZingDo restaurant is one of only a few halal Korean restaurants in Singapore. This chain of restaurants is managed by Zingrill, together with Seoul Garden and Breeks Cafe. Usually the ZingDo restaurant we visit regularly is the one at Ngee Ann City, which is on the same roof as the Breeks Cafe there, which is on the 5th floor, just opposite Seoul Garden. Now, ZingDo has opened a new outlet at Jurong Entertainment Centre, just opposite Jurong East MRT station, and it's not quite far from where we live here in Singapore. So, last week, 11th of July 2006, exactly, I and my wife went there for lunch.

The restaurant is located on the first floor of the building, which also houses the Jurong Cineplex. The outlet here adopts the fast food style of food ordering, so we need to order the food at the counter and make the payment first. Then, we look for an empty table and wait for the food to be served there.

I ordered the beef bulgogi set (left picture), the Korean-style minced beef steak, which is my favourite. My wife ordered the chicken bulgogi set (right below picture), similar steak but made of minced chicken. Both foods are served on hot plates, and when the food came, the meat was served raw. So we need to cook the meat, as well as the vegetables, on the hot plate, mix them with the sauce paste provided on the table, before we eat them.

How's the taste? Amazing! Very delicious. The meat absorbs the sauce quite well, and it's delicious up until the last bite. I also tried my wife's chicken bulgogi and it's just as nice! The bulgogi set is served with a bowl of rice, and a bowl of kimchi soup, which is also delicious. Just be careful, the soup is full of chilli seeds, so it's a bit hot.

The price is also reasonable for Singapore standard. The chicken bulgogi set will cost you about $7.90, while the beef bulgogi set is only $1 more expensive. Other than that, they also serve Korean Rib-Eye Steak at $15.90 per set meal. You can browse through the menu and the price here.

[Indonesian version]

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Civilians Become Victims of Israel's Brutal Attacks to Lebanon

Quoted from Channel NewsAsia:

"Twenty-eight Lebanese civilians, including 10 children, were killed in dozens of Israeli air strikes across the country on Thursday after Hezbollah militants seized two soldiers and killed eight."

On the same report, it mentioned:

"A Shiite Muslim sheikh, his wife and eight children were killed when an Israeli missile struck their home in the village of Dweir, near the main central town of Nabatiyeh, police said.


"Another family of seven, including a 10-month-old baby, was killed in the village of Baflay, near the coastal city of Tyre, police said."

I still don't understand, why Israel has to kill a lot of innocent civilians, including children, only because they want to save two of their soldiers which are being captured by Hezbollah militants. Why they have to bomb the Beirut international airport? Why they have to sacrifice the life of a lot of Lebanese civilians, including children?

Why all countries around the world did not immediately condemn the attack? When North Korea did a "show-off" with its missiles, most of all countries around the world immediately condemned the move. When terrorists strike Mumbai's rapid transportation with several blasts to its trains, all countries immediately condemned the attack. Why up to the moment, it's quite difficult for most countries around the world to condemn the Israel's attack? Why so far, only Indonesia condemned the attack, while the Philippines only issued Lebanon travel ban for its citizens? And why the UN Security Council finds it difficult to come out with a resolution to condemn the attack?

I really hope that the international community can immediately look into this matter. This matter is obviously more serious than the North Korea issue. North Korea only performed a show-off, while in this case, a lot of civilians, including children, has been killed by the brutal attacks. I also really hope that the international community can do the necessary to stop Israel's attacks, so there's no further innocent people become victims.

[Indonesian version]

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Singapore: A Heaven for Indonesian Food Lovers

Since my wife joined the indosing-mums (ISM) mailing list, which belongs to the Indonesian female community in Singapore, she has made a lot of new friends here in Singapore. And not surprisingly, most of the members of the community are great cooks. Therefore, I would say it’s actually quite easy to find good Indonesian food here in Singapore.

There are two reasons. One, there are now numerous middle-class restaurants serving good Indonesian foods here in Singapore. Several years ago, we would need to fork out quite a lot of money to enjoy Indonesian food at those high-class restaurants, such as Sanur, Tambuah Mas, Desa Kartika or House of Sundanese Food. Now, there are plenty of middle-class restaurants serving Indonesian food, such as Es Teler 77, Ayam Penyet Ria, Kantin Aneka and Ayam Bakar Ojolali. Those restaurants also serve good Indonesian food such as ayam bakar (grilled chicken), ayam goreng (fried chicken), gado-gado, empek-empek, batagor and many other native Indonesian foods, at a friction of the cost of those high-class restaurants.

What’s the second reason? Well, there are quite a lot of our Indonesian friends, who are also great cooks. :) So it’s quite common to see my wife contacting some of her friends to order certain type of food, which might be difficult to find elsewhere in Singapore. Inong’s Dapur Bunda, is one example. Its close proximity to our house (only 10 minutes drive) makes it quite convenient for us to order some food from her and I just needed to go to the lobby of her apartment to pick up the food and make the payment. Some of the foods we’ve ordered from Dapur Bunda include the Strawberry Tiramisu Cake and the Chocolate and Cheese Martabak.

Yesterday, my wife also ordered chilli crab from Nisi, one of her friends, and I dare to say that this is the best chilli crab I have tasted so far. It’s much better compared to the usual chilli crab we usually bought from Al-Ameen Eating House. It’s also very convenient, my wife just needed to contact her through Yahoo! Messenger to order the crab, and then during lunch time, I dropped by to her place around West Coast to pick up the food and make the payment.

Other than that, fortunately, I also had the chance to taste Mela’s Tongseng Mela Kumis, and of course Hany’s Braddell Satay, which is reputably still the best Indonesian satay in town. If you notice, all of the cooks are my wife’s friends from the ISM community, so some words of advice to my fellow Indonesians men: if you are currently living in Singapore, and you’re married, ensure that your wife joins the ISM community!

And the best of all, sometimes we can enjoy the food for free. Really! Sometimes when the ISM community gathers, like this one, for example, we would be spoiled with lots of variety of food during the gathering. Sometimes, my wife and I would also got some invitations from some of her friends (which sometimes turn out to be some of my blogger friends as well) to visit their home and try their specialties.

So, who said that living in Singapore is boring? :)

[Indonesian version]

Monday, July 10, 2006

Great News from Switzerland

What a great news I received from Switzerland, my fellow blogger friends who lived there: Tata and Wati have just been blessed with the birth of their newborn girl: Nadia Aulia Yusuf. She was born on the 3rd of July, 2006, 21:03hrs CET, at the La Tour Hospital, Meyrin, Geneva.

On behalf of my family, I would like to congratulate Tata and Wati for the birth of their second daughter. Best regards and congratulations also from Inka and Irza to Kakak Annisa for having a younger sister now.

More information can be found here.

[Indonesian version]

Friday, July 07, 2006

FeedWordPress and Recent Comments

Planet Indra Migration to FeedWordPress

After I tried to install FeedWordPress for Planet Singapura and satisfied with its features and flexibility, I decided to also migrate Planet Indra to use FeedWordPress as well. I am still keeping the old Planet Indra, which uses Gregarius, on another URL:, while the new Planet Indra, which uses FeedWordPress, will use the current Planet Indra URL:

For me, there are more advantages of using FeedWordPress compared to using Gregarius, however the most advantages are:
  • FeedWordPress provides RSS feed for the aggregate blog, while Gregarius doesn't provide it. So now, Planet Indra has its own RSS feed, which is located at
  • Since FeedWordPress is still running on a Wordpress blog, we can use our favourite Wordpress themes for the aggregate blog. As for Gregarius, the choice of themes is limited.
Unfortunately, the Blue Horizon theme which I'm using for Planet Indra still have its own limitation. I might want to change it to another theme later if I have the time.

"Recent Comments" Feature for Minda Indra and Rumah Indra

I also have recently added the "Recent Comments" feature for Minda Indra, my Wordpress-based blog. This feature is being added on the right sidebar and is showing all the recent comments of all the articles on the blog.

This feature uses a Wordpress plugin called Simple Recent Comments, written by Raoul. The installation is quite easy and straightforward, I only need to download the plugin, which is actually a single .php file which was zipped. And then, I need to unzip the file and copy the unzipped .php file to the wp-contents/plugins directory of our Wordpress. I then activated the plugin on my Dashboard > Plugins and put the template tag into my sidebar, which is the sidebar.php file. And voila, the "Recent Comments" feature will then show up on the sidebar. Very practical.

I also added the same feature on Rumah Indra. Since it's a Blogger-based blog, I followed this instruction to add the feature. Different from the Wordpress plugin, which is quite easy to install, this method requires some modification to the Blogger template which is quite troublesome and need to be done carefully. And the result can be found on the right sidebar of Rumah Indra. Over time, I might also install the same feature on this blog (Info) and The Journey of Inka and Irza as well.

Unfortunately, I can see that the order of the comments is not right, so the latest or recent comments might not appear on top, which is supposed to be the case. Until now, I still do not know how to fix this problem. Anyone knows? :)

[Indonesian version]

Friday, June 30, 2006

Oggix’s Antispam Code Implementation

I received a report from my friend Tata that she was not able to make any comments on my shoutbox. She said that the shoutbox kept on asking for the antispam code. I then tried myself and was able to replicate the problem on my Oggix’s shoutbox. After I entered one entry, it will prompt me to enter the 3-digit antispam code shown.

The problem is that even though I have entered the correct code, it kept in prompting me to enter another code. So it looks like the system didn’t accept my code, even though the code I entered is correct. After trying, I found out that the code would be accepted if I put a space before the 3-digit code. For example, if the code to be entered is “466” (without the quotes), then I would need to enter “ 466” (without the quotes, with a space before the first digit), then the entry would be accepted.

It looks like this is a bug in the anti spam script, which need to be fixed by Oggix administrator. I have contacted Ogi (Oggix’s administrator) on this matter. In the meantime, if you would like to add comments on my shoutbox, don’t forget to put the space before the 3-digit code.

Update on 2 July 2006: In the meantime, Ogi has disabled the antispam code feature until the problem is resolved. Thanks, Gi. :)

BTW, should anyone would like to give feedback to, you can do so by visiting their forum at

[Indonesian version]

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Planet Singapura is now Equipped with Shoutbox

As you can see, the comments on Planet Singapura are turned off. This is to prevent visitors from leaving comments regarding one of the contributors’ posts there. This will encourage visitors to visit the respective contributor’s blog and leave comments on the original blog instead.

The only page which allow visitor to add comments is the About Planet Singapura page. This is where visitors can give comments and feedback regarding Planet Singapura, the aggregator site, itself. So far, nobody has added any comments yet. :)

To make it easier for visitors to send feedback about Planet Singapura, I have added a shoutbox, which you can find on the lower right sidebar of the site. The shoutbox is powered by Shoutmix. Feel free to give your suggestions, comments and feedback regarding Planet Singapura there.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Al-Ameen Eating House

Al-Ameen Eating House is a popular “makan” place around Bukit Timah area, near my place. It is located opposite Beauty World Centre, along the numerous coffee shops on Cheong Ching Nam Road, not far from Al-Azhar, another favourite makan place there.

This place opens 24 hours, and all the food served is halal. One of the best things about this place is its variety of food being served, from seafood, Thai food, Indian food such as roti prata, naan, masala, and varieties of fried rice, all under one roof. Although, certain menu only available on certain periods of the day. The service is friendly and efficient; with most of the staff are Indians who, surprisingly, can speak Malay.

Last month, I and my wife went there because my wife wanted to have the roti naan and masala, one of our Indian food’s favourites (see right picture). Roti naan is similar to roti prata, except that it’s oven-baked, not fried, and it comes with different flavours, such as butter, onion/garlic, cheese, or just simply plain. Roti naan is usually served with masala, mutton or chicken minced meats covered with thick curry from Indian spices, similar to Malay’s rendang curry. Previously we tried the chicken masala and chicken tikka masala, so last month we tried the mutton masala, and it’s as good as the chicken one.

[Indonesian version]

Thursday, June 15, 2006


On my trip to Jakarta this month, I had the chance (again) to try Valuair, one of Singapore’s budget airlines. Valuair previously positioned themselves as a semi-budget airline, providing value-added services normally not given by full no-frills budget airlines such as snacks on board and assigned seats. This caused their tickets to be slightly more expensive than any other budget airlines such as Air Asia or Tiger Airways, although it’s still cheaper than full-service airlines such as Singapore Airlines or Garuda Indonesian Airways. Its business concept is similar to Indonesian Lion Air’s and Adam Air’s.

Unfortunately, such concept was not working well. They almost went bankrupt before they were being acquired by JetStarAsia, another Singapore-based budget airline which is a subsidiary of Qantas, Australia’s main airline. Even though Valuair is now acquired and managed by JetstarAsia, however Valuair still retains its logo and flight code.

Similar to AirAsia, Valuair uses ticketless system. Purchase of its flight tickets can be done over the Internet, at their website:, or you can also visit its parent company’s website: Payment is made online using credit card, and a printable ticket will be sent through e-mail on PDF (Adobe Acrobat) format. We just then need to show the printed ticket during check-in, together with our passports. Very efficient.

Valuair’s service is quite good, and two things which make its service is slightly better than AirAsia are (1) assigned seats during check-in; and (2) snack, water and coffee/tea which are provided on-board, free of charge. As for the rest, its service is comparable to AirAsia’s. The food provided on sale is also generally more expensive than AirAsia’s. My flight at that time was on-time, taking-off from Singapore’s Changi airport at 8:40am sharp and reaching Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta airport at 9:15am local time, 5 minutes ahead of schedule.

[Indonesian version]

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Upgrade “Minda Indra” to Wordpress 2.0.3

Wordpress has just released its newest stable release version, Wordpress 2.0.3. This new version was released to address a security bug raised on Bugtraq couple of weeks ago. This security vulnerability affects Wordpress version 2.0.2 (which I used for my Indonesian blog, Minda Indra) and earlier versions. Two thumbs up for Wordpress which released the new version just days after the vulnerability was being raised.

I was just about to go back to Jakarta for a short one-week holiday when I read the news on the 2nd of June, so I decided to perform an upgrade before I leave. This is the first time I upgraded Wordpress since I first installed the version 2.0.2 for “Minda Indra” last April.

Wordpress upgrade turned out to be quite difficult for a beginner like me. All the Wordpress files have to be replaced manually, and there’s no such thing as automatic script which can do the upgrade seamlessly for us. I have tried to follow the upgrade instruction carefully, nevertheless I was shocked to find out that all my permalink pages were gone, leaving 404 error message! Luckily later I found out that the problem was due to missing .htaccess file, and all my permalink pages were back up after the missing file was restored.

Other than that, I didn’t encounter many problems during the upgrade process, except some small problem while I was performing mysqldump to backup my Wordpress database. For those who want to perform the same upgrade, I would recommend you to read all the upgrade instructions carefully, and don’t forget to backup all your Wordpress files before you replace the files.

[Indonesian version]

Thursday, June 01, 2006

"Road Rage" Cases in Jakarta

There is an e-mail currently spreading in some Indonesian mailing lists about a road rage case involving a black Honda CR-V in Jakarta's expressway. The e-mail is in Bahasa Indonesia, and a copy of the e-mail can be found here.

Of course, we are not able to confirm whether the case is really true or not, in fact, quite a lot of Indonesian bloggers are discussing about the issue here (in Bahasa Indonesia, unfortunately). However, this is a sign that road rage cases in Indonesia, especially in its big cities such as Jakarta, are growing. I agree that road rage cases happen anywhere in the world, however I believe that the number of cases in Indonesia, especially Jakarta, is much higher than other big cities around the region, such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok. I noticed that these might be the reasons of the high road rage cases in Jakarta:
  1. Unclear traffic rules, and even if there are rules, they are not fully enforced and implemented.
  2. Jakarta's very bad traffic, increasing the stress level of Jakarta's drivers.
  3. Jakarta drivers' bad driving culture and habit, always kiasu and inconsiderate to other drivers.
And, unfortunately, the third problem has become more common on almost all Jakarta drivers, regardless whether he's a minibus driver or a high-rank government official.

Here are some tips if you have to drive in Jakarta, especially for those who are used to drive in built-up cities such as in Singapore or cities in Australia:
  1. Drive relaxedly, no need to hurry. Plan your journey, allow some extra time to accommodate some unexpected traffic jams, which unfortunately are common in Jakarta.
  2. Traffic jams are common in Jakarta, don't allow traffic jams to increase your stress level.
  3. Drive defensively, to avoid road rage. Cutting off other cars is the most common issue in Jakarta which can lead to road rage.
Overall, defensive driving is the best way to avoid road rage, or to avoid become a victim of road rage.

[Indonesian version]

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Tobacco: Deadly in Any Form

Celebrating the World No Tobacco Day 2006 in May 31, 2006, we -- concerned weblog writers -- would like to remind us all about the danger of smoking.

1. Reminding us all that tobacco is DEADLY IN ANY FORM. Cigarettes, pipes, bidies, kreteks, clove cigarettes, snus, snuff, smokeless, cigars… they are all deadly.

2. Reminding us all that tobacco in all types and names and flavors are deadly alike. Tobacco is DEADLY IN ANY DISGUISE. Mild, light, low tar, full flavour, fruit flavoured, chocolate flavoured, natural, additive-free, organic cigarettes, PREPS (Potentially Reduced-Exposure Products), harm-reduced… they are all deadly. Those kinds of labelling doesn’t show the products are any less dangerous.

3. Demand the Government of Republic of Indonesia to ratify the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) as soon as possible, for the health of future generation. Indonesia is the only country in Asia that is still not in the FCTC.

Internet, May 31, 2006

The Undersigned,

Indra Pramana

Related Links:[Indonesian version]

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Indo-Sing Blog

Indo-Sing mailing list is a mailing list dedicated to the Indonesian community in Singapore. Currently there are 683 registered members, and the number is still counting. This is because the mailing list is not only for those currently living in Singapore, but also for those who are still in Indonesia or other countries and have a plan to migrate to Singapore. The community has also conducted a gathering (article in Bahasa Indonesia) at Kantin Aneka, Lucky Plaza, end of April this year.

Right now, the Indo-Sing community has launched a new blog. The blog is using free Wordpress facility from Blogsome, and it's located at The articles will be contributed by all mailing list members who already have the necessary Wordpress account to post on the blog.

This blog will contain a lot of information which -- hopefully -- will be useful not only for Indo-Sing community members, but also for other Indonesians currently living in Singapore, or for those Indonesians who plan to migrate to Indonesia, either for work or study. Most of the articles will be excerpted from discussions in the mailing list.

Hopefully the blog will be useful to anyone. :)

[Indonesian version]

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Hyperlink from Planet Indra to Technorati

Let me create the hyperlink first:

Technorati Profile

To claim Planet Indra into Technorati, I would need to add the above hyperlink into the site. Since I don't know (yet) how to edit the template of the Gregarius-powered aggregator, I would need to put the hyperlink on one of its posts. Since this blog is one of the blogs it aggregates, so I just put the hyperlink here. Hope it works. :)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Lau Pa Sat

Last Saturday (20/5) night, I and my wife went to Lau Pa Sat, a big food court located right in the heart of Singapore's Central Business District, not far from the Raffles Place MRT station. This building actually holds quite a lot of historical value, it was a wet market before it was being renovated and now it's being restored as a favourit makan place among locals and tourists, serving Singapore local food.

Actually, during the normal days, there's nothing special with this food court. All the food served there is similar to the one we can find on any other food courts around Singapore. However, one special thing about Lau Pa Sat is if we visit the place at night, especially Saturday night. Why? Because on Saturday night, the stretch of Boon Tat Street south of the food court is closed to traffic, and the road is filled with tables and chairs for all the visitors. It's such a great ambience under the stars (provided it's not raining) between all the office towers with the lights.

Satay is their anchor menu. You can have chicken satay, beef satay, mutton satay, and even duck satay, including the peanut souce, at 50 cents per stick. They also sell the lontong (rice cake) at $1 per portion. Other than that, you can also order BBQ prawn and chicken wing. We ordered 10 sticks of chicken satay and 10 sticks of mutton satay, including the rice cakes (see left picture).

On top of that, they also serve a variety of BBQ seafood, such as mussels, stingrays, etc. We ordered "mee goreng seafood" (see right picture) for $4, and it's indeed a good choice. The noodles are fried with quite a lot of seafood ingredients such as squid, baby octopus and crab sticks, very nice. :)

How about the drinks? Even though there are quite a lot of cold drink stalls available inside the food court, you shouldn't miss the teh tarik served by a makeshift stall near the corner of Boon Tat Street and Boon Tat Link (see left picture). They also provide ginger tea, cino tea, milo, and coconut ice. The teh tarik is really unique, and different from the other teh tarik we usually get from other food courts. The queue is quite long, expect to wait between 10-15 minutes to get your teh tarik here.

More pictures can be found here.

[Indonesian version]

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Interview with RSI (again)

Last Saturday (20/5), again I had the chance to take part in one of Radio Singapore International (RSI)'s programme in Bahasa Indonesia, "Kutak Katik IT". Different from the previous interview which was conducted over the telephone, this interview was conducted on-site at RSI's studio in Mediacorp's Caldecott Broadcast Centre, on Andrew Road.

Similar to the previous interview, this interview is conducted by my friend, which is also an RSI staff, Rane "JaF" Hafied. Thanks to his kind invitation to conduct the interview on-site at RSI's studio, I had the chance to visit the Caldecott Broadcast Centre and see all the facilities myself. All Mediacorp's TV and radio channels are broadcasted from here.

Similar to the previous interview, the IT topic being discussed is quite basic and not too advanced. On this interview, we discussed about search engines and blogs. Specifically on blog topic, we discussed about what is a blog, how to create one and what's the purpose of having a blog. Quite a bit nervous since I'm also considered a beginner in the blogosphere. :) On the session, we also discussed and answered some questions from the listeners with regards to the topic we discussed on the previous interview, which is about e-mails.

Again, for me, it's really a priceless and great experience. And again, I would like to say a very big thank you to Rane for the opportunity being given.

[Indonesian version]