Category Archives: Life Lessons

KTKLN Card (KPIS card updated May 2017)

Update: 30 May 2017

Well, it seems the KTKLN card is no longer needed (called an agency today and the person confirmed this with me). However, there is still some work to do when your helper goes for home leave (so it seems, based on what my helper says).

And that is to get a KPIS card (an Indonesia worker in Singapore kind of ID card, see the details in the brochure below).

IMG-20170530-WA0002 (1)

And to get this KPIS card, bring along

  • work permit,
  • passport (and photocopy), and
  • employment contract (note: this contract is the one issued from the Indonesian embassy side when you accompany your helper there, and do an interview with the embassy officials (I guess to ascertain that they are paid the minimum sum, have off days, have no issues to report about working for you, … etc).

Note: not sure how all this works out, if you get an maid agency to do it for you, but the price is $150 – $180 as I found out.

========END of UPDATE 30 May 2017 ======

KTKLN Card – what on earth is that?? (this post from 2016, no longer relevant..see update above)

Well, it is for Indonesian workers who go to work overseas and seems to serve as a form of “compulsory” registration/insurance for them to do in Indonesia, before they can depart for their country of employment. In case anyone has to get it done (e.g. for their Indonesian helper), strongly recommend to look at this blog (published 2014) for details of what to do: Apply KTKLN for Foreign Domestic Worker in Batam

We took our domestic helper to to get her KTKLN card renewed recently in Batam too (using info from the blog above), and this post is mostly an update on the information contained there. Most of the points are still valid, but I will add on some of our own “tips”/experiences …

  1. There is a one hour time difference between Batam and Singapore (we are ahead), so do take that into account when booking the ferry. We booked the 9:30 ferry from Harbourfront (to Batam International Ferry Centre) but almost missed the boat!The gate closes (15 min before departure) at 9:15 and for some strange reason, very likely due to the other person’s blog (she took the 9:50 ferry) which made me think I was also taking the 9:50!!, we only arrived at the gate at 9:17, but luckily the security man allowed us to still go in, but we had to rush like crazy to clear immigration etc, and the PA system announced our names to board IMMEDIATELY, haha 🙂
  2. Buy an open return ticket so that you have some flexibility in terms of which ferry to take to return to Singapore … because there may be delays in processing the card, or you may be distracted by the shopping at the MegaMall opposite the Batam International Ferry Terminal (link by overhead bridge).Ferry ticket costs $48 return, per pax and can be bought online (google Singapore Batam Ferry)
  3. Taxi to P4TKI which is the office where the KTKLN card is done still costs IDR50 000 for the 5 min trip (tell the man at the taxi counter your destination, and he will issue you a slip of your destination to give to the taxi driver; you pay to driver on arrival). Below is what the office looks like from outside (the glass doors beside the camouflage building).

    Complex Ruko Greenland Blok E No. 3A


  4. There is no need to get the taxi driver to wait for you. The officer doing the card for us helped us call a BlueBird Taxi when we were ready to leave, and it only cost IDR30 000 to get to MegaMall, for the return trip.
    (btw, we were quoted a rate of IDR90 000 for waiting for 2 hours, which is about the time needed to get the card and other things done)!
  5. After submitting our documents (original and photocopies), we were asked to go to a clinic (see picture below) a few blocks away (block A? or B? the officer will tell your helper where, and give a slip with address) for our helper to do her health check: this is a simple height and weight and BP measurement, and you pay IDR40 000 for it. A slip of paper is then given for your helper to hand back to the office.Remember to have some ID with you (e.g. an extra photocopy of helper’s passport/work permit will do)  … the clinic will ask for it, and your originals are no longer with you when you go to the clinic (the photocopies, 2 sets each of work permit, work contract, and passport are also not with you; they were also handed to the office upon arrival, together with originals)
  6. Back at the office after the “health” check, your helper will fill up some forms and you’ll be asked to pay for the insurance (IDR170000 or IDR290000 for 1 or 2 years).A man will then take the money and leave the office on his motorbike to somewhere else, to process the insurance (this is where the longest wait time happens …)After your helper has completed the forms, you will need to buy this “stamp” from the corner shop three shops away, to stick onto the form:


    says 6000 but shopkeeper asks for 8000 … just pay lah!

  7. In the meantime, you can wait at the office but much better to go to the modern Morning Bakery nearby for “kopi”:

Me and spouse waited at the bakery, and got our helper to go back to the office to await the collection of her card and insurance. Soon, and after almost 2 hours (10 am to 12 noon) from when we first arrived, she was back with us and with the documents!

The KTKLN “card” is now no longer a nice plastic card (like our NRIC), but two copies of A4 size sheets of paper with her photo. One copy is for keeping in the passport, while the other is for laminating …

and after getting help to call for a taxi from the office, we were back at MegaMall, took our lunch (many options), and then caught the 2:10 pm ferry back to Harbourfront.

Allocate one whole day if you ever have to do this! And treat it as a little travel/adventure to Batam  … 🙂



Filed under Life Lessons, Random Stuff, Travel, Uncategorized

Rules for Using the Computer …


Two days ago, while digging my stuff to look for the phone number of a plumber for a friend, I found this “contract” dated 7 April 2006, exactly 10 years ago. Believe it was during the heydays of an online game NEOPETS (seems it is still around??!!). How time flies!!

Love how the two girls have come such a long way together after all these years, and the way they complement and cooperate with (see Rule 7) each other!! oh, and also the “cute” handwriting!!  🙂


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The Songs We Sang 我们唱着的歌

The Songs We Sang 我们唱着的歌

Went with wife to watch this Singapore documentary over the Good Friday weekend, and must say it was really good!!

It is a documentary about the origins and people behind xin yao (新谣 or “Singapore Songs”), and this “movement” actually happened about the time when I was a junior college student. However, I was not really aware about it at the time (but wife knew/knows most of them, people and songs, at that time), perhaps due to my not so strong CL and being mainly amongst English speaking folks.

Nevertheless, it was a most enjoyable movie (like the other documentary movie I really liked, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”)  I was moved many times to see the people talk about their dreams and passion for songwriting, their sincerity, and those who helped these people along. It was also fun to see the way things were (e.g. the fashion back then, the concerts held last time).

Eva Tang, the director, has indeed done a great job in stitching together the many interviews, interspersed with songs and other “nostalgic” scenes of Singapore from the 70’s to make it a local documentary worth your while to see! ( this link for an interview with her about it, and one question that she responds to below:

8. Would non-Chinese or non-Chinese speakers find any resonance in this documentary?

Yes. It is about our struggles and dreams, about friendship, about courage, about following one’s passion. These are universal themes of life.

10 Questions for Eva Tang, the director of
documentary feature film “The Songs We Sang”

Indeed, the show is about universal themes of life (and more), the way Eva puts it!!
Go catch it soon! before Batman v Superman even, as such shows unfortunately, and usually, don’t screen for too long in Singapore!


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Fall in Macritchie … :(

Unfortunately, this is not Fall fall, colourful leaves, nice weather, etc but actually falling …

Silliest thing happened today: I registered my first fall while running in Macritchie 10 m from the finishing point!!:-(

After what felt like a long outward leg to Bt Timah Nature Reserve (10.35k)


& looking forward to a water break, realised that it is (still) closed during weekdays …


Luckily, some shops just along Upp Bt Timah Rd were open and I got to recharge a bit for the run back:



(btw, the 100plus rather ex, costs $2.50, but gell is ok at $3 from bike shop; cheaper if can get from vending machine 2 shops down).

The route via Rifle Range Road connecting Macritchie and Bt Timah is quite shady throughout


and you pass by many army camps along the way, as well as going over BKE


and under PIE


Below is the end of Rifle Range Road, and where the the trail from Macritchie begins/ends..





The return leg route (10.91k) was surprisingly comfortable until the “silliest” thing nearing the end (entrance/exit of trail near Little Sisters Home): I started thinking about eating  beef steak or mutton curry after the run.

Next thing (with10 m more to go), I tripped on some root, fell forward, but luckily reacted fast and managed to cushion myself from having my face on the ground. Just got two small abrasions: on right palm and left knee, and a bruised left thumb…


lesson learnt:
1. It aint over till its over
2. Don’t think abt food (or other thing, or looking at hot babe, haha) on the trails; concentrate 100%, on the moment (which is placing your feet safely at each step)
3.still good for 21k anytime, yay!! 🙂

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March 11, 2016 · 6:13 am

Survived my second “xiong” Monday!!

Phew! so glad today is over … and survived it relatively well in spite of not being perfectly fit to take on such a load today  🙂

Have been going to relief teach at some faraway JC last week and this, and taking on a crazily “xiong” Monday timetable (8 am to 4 pm), 5 hour total lesson time, and then going for a tuition session immediately after..

In hindsight, I should not have agreed to take on such a Monday timetable: caused me a bad throat over the whole weekend and a visit to the doctor on Saturday. Certainly don’t see any good reason at all to sacrifice “health” for work in this case!

But anyway, the worse is over and only 2 more days of RT to go, and then back to my normal schedule, yay!!!


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Why is it good to do difficult things?


for example, painting the above scene … (from ST21Feb2016 of scene around the Sultan Mosque). After more than two hours, I got this:


And then, after another two hours plus, to add colour:


For me, the answer to “why is it good to do difficult things?” is that

  • you somehow surprise yourself by what you can do, and
  • the harder it is to do, the more satisfaction after the whole thing is done, and
  • “the mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions”
    (most often attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes on internet, but also to Ralph Waldo Emerson in Goodreads website).

Time to look for more difficult things to do !! 🙂

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How we got our Mt. Fuji views

One of the highlights of our trip to Japan in December last year was seeing Mt Fuji “up close” … (see the end for some tips if you also plan to do this route!)

Initially, we thought that our stay at Kawaguchiko (the biggest lake in the “Five Lakes area”) near the base of Mt Fuji would be “wasted” as we arrived on a day when it was totally overcast and drizzling, and the next morning looked very much the same; in other words, no chance of seeing Mt Fuji  😦


No Mt Fuji view on the day we arrived (Lake Kawaguchiko, from Mt Kachi Kachi, access by ropeway or hiking)

The next morning, we decided not to go for the skiing at the base of Mt Fuji (as weather forecast was not good) and to make an earlier start to Hakone, which was our next destination. So, we thought this was going to be the best view that we could see of Mt Fuji at the Five Lakes area  🙂


Mt Fuji (cookie) from our room 🙂


So, after checking out, our hotel provided a free shuttle bus to Kawaguchiko station, and lo and behold, this was what greeted us when we arrived!! The skies were totally clear and Mt Fuji was just … THERE!!

We happily snapped away, while waiting for the bus that would bring us to Gotemba station, where we would then change to another that goes to Togendai (a pier on Lake Ashi, in Hakone). We would then finally end up in Motohakone by taking a cruise from Togendai.

kawa to motohakone

Kawaguchiko – Gotemba – Togendai – Motohakone (the last leg is by “pirate ship” across Lake Ashi)

When you see the map above, it is easy to see why this route has such great views of Mt Fuji (and also how Lake Yamanakako is also good for Fuji views)… but remember to sit on the “correct” side of the bus depending on the direction you are travelling in!!

Here are some shots of Mt Fuji that we got on the bus ride … (the roller coaster is near Kawaguchiko station, but definitely not for the faint hearted!!)

While on the boat across Lake Ashi, it is possible to see Mt Fuji on a clear day, and using the map, you can have a sense of where to look (i.e. if travelling from Togendai towards Motohakone, it is “behind” you!! see photo below, left, where the clouds almost block Fuji completely).

From the lake side at Motohakone, where we stayed overnight, there are also excellent views of both the Hakone shrine and Fuji! (early morning is best, before clouds built up) (see the photo above right, and also below) .


Chien, looking out from Motohakone lake side, towards Mt Fuji and Hakone shrine (the orange gate).


early morning view from Hotel Musashiya, MotoHakone … very tranquil scenery

So, in the end, we got our (over)dose of Mt Fuji views after all!! 🙂


  1. the 2 Day Hakone pass is a MUST HAVE, especially if staying overnight in the area, as it covers all the transport arrangements in the Hakone region (includes the bus from Gotemba Station to Togendai, which we did not realise; we only bought the pass at the Togendai pier.  For all our subsequent travel, which includes unlimited boat rides across Lake Ashi, cableway, ropeway, buses, the Tozan “slow” scenic train, the pass really saves you a bomb and any hassle of payment).
  2. Sit on the “correct” side of the bus if you want to take photos/catch the view of Fuji (so, left side if travelling from Hakone to Kawaguchiko, right side if the other way)
  3. Mt Fuji is often covered by clouds, so you have to be on the lookout for breaks in cloud cover (see photos above); early morning seems to be best time to get nice clear skies (and this was our experience too). If unsure of where to look for Mt Fuji, just ask!
  4. Skiing on the (northern) slopes of Mt Fuji base (Fujiten snow resort) – we wanted to do so but skipped as the time we could spare was insufficient (1/2 day), the weather did not appear to be good, the taxi fare to reach the ski resort is very expensive (it may be more worthwhile to rent a car instead; but note that an International Driving License is required).
  5. If staying at Motohakone, be mindful of how to get there! It is easy by bus from Hakone-Yumoto, but not from Togendai. If coming from Togendai, taking the cruise is really the most convenient way. We realised this while looking at the bus schedules and cruise timings (cruise ends earlier in winter) and figured it was best that we skipped the skiing to ensure that we could take the cruise (Togendai to Motohakone), and also get to spend more time in Hakone instead.


Filed under Fifty before 50, Life Lessons, Travel