Category Archives: Uncategorized

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  … 🙂



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罗大佑Concert@Star Theatre

Lol! Didn’t know he was such an important songwriter/singer until two days after the concert (7 May 2016, Star Theatre)!!


And double LOL, I even knew (i.e. have heard/can recognise) these FIVE out of the many songs he sang during the concert:

And he wrote 明天会更好 too,inspired by the success of the charity single We Are the World by USA for Africa

Performing to a full house (of mostly people above 40), definitely am glad to have been there to see “a major cultural icon” live and re-acquainting myself with some of these songs from “my younger days” (童年)!!  🙂

(Wikipaedia extract, Lo Ta-Yu

(simplified Chinese罗大佑traditional Chinese羅大佑pinyinLuó Dàyòu; born July 20, 1954), also known as Luo Dayou and Law Tai-yau, is a Taiwanese singer and songwriter who, during the 1980s, affected Chinese pop and rock music …  his love songs, and his witty social and political commentary that he infused in his more political songs, often to the point that some of his songs were suppressed in Taiwan and China during the 1980s. He is recognized as a major cultural icon in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China.)


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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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The Emergence of the Modern Middle East Part 1

Increased “understanding” of the Middle East by several times after completing my first self-paced Coursera course for 2016! 🙂

The Emergence of the Modern Middle East – Part I | Coursera





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Last day of Jan2016!!

So quickly, the first month of 2016 is almost over … and time to look back/forward/record some stuff that took place (so this post will seem quite random) …

Maybe it was the last day of Jan (the last day for the “Early Bird” registration for the Sundown Marathon) that made me do it … YUP, decided to sign up for full marathon today!! and also bought air tickets (also today!!) to go trekking on Mt Rinjani in a few months time … these two will keep me pretty excited and motivated to keep up my physical training/fitness for the next few months 🙂

For the record, probably the most significant event involved SM getting her exam results and edusave award!! (both very well done 🙂 ) The days following the results were quite exciting too, to make the choice for the next stage of her education and finding out about polytechnics … Other than that, managed to go for various concerts (SCO, Israel Philharmonic at Botanic Gardens, dizi performances by Joyce and the groups she’s in) and talks (Nobel prize winners here for the Global Young Scientists Summit gave public talks, National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry@NTU on ocean photography), and exhibitions (World Press Photo Exhibition just opened at National Museum, 3rd year in attendance; Future of Us at Gardens by the Bay).

On the “learning” front, still looking out for something in the SkillsFuture catalogue to go for, but for now, have just put myself into three “on-demand” Coursera courses

  • Understanding Europe: Why It Matters and What It Can Offer You
  • Evolution: A Course for Educators
  • The Emergence of the Modern Middle East – Part I

Reading wise, have gone into some books recommended by WR (just finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, now onto the next book in the trilogy, and also Midnight’s Children), … should take a bit of time to finish considering they are all quite “thick” books.

Looking forward to the rest of the year ahead!! and, btw my next most immediate thing to do is see the 5 planets aligned 🙂

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3 things I would do earlier in life …

I looked back at the last 10 years and thought about “3 things” I would do earlier in life, if I had known about them … . It seems that while I had learned and did (and am still learning/doing) all kinds of stuff, perhaps it would be interesting to see which were the top three that I would put down in this first (kindof reflective) blog post for 2016. In no order of “significance”… (1. and 2. are quite normal, but 3. is rather surprising to me, how it just pops up, whenever I do this “exercise”)

  1. Learn yoga
    (in 2007, I started learning Ashtanga Yoga while taking a 3 month break from MOE, thanks to my spouse who had been practising it for almost 10 years by then)
    Even though I do a pretty “slack” practise, usually after my long runs, I think yoga (or perhaps, any similar practise) is a great thing to learn for everyone, at least as a form of physical exercise, although it is much more than that  e.g. as a means to cultivate mental focus and discipline, and to breathe properly.
  2. Learn dizi
    (in April 2014, I finally went for dizi lessons (link to earlier blog post) after my time spent on motorbike lessons was freed up when I passed the test)
    Yup, I believe learning a musical instrument is much better done when young, but at the same time, there’s nothing to stop one from doing so in your later years. Its just a fun thing to do to be able to play some tunes, and for me, the dizi fits me well (e.g. breath training, light and easy to carry around, “simple” in its construction, made from natural bamboo, can take a lifetime to master …)
  3. Wear sarong at home
    haha, this was quite surprising, but it came as quite a revelation how comfortable and convenient it is to wear one …)
    I got a sarong from Cambodia in December 2006, during a CIP trip with students from VJC, but had left it in the wardrobe all the while. Then somehow, one fine day (in 2013, after leaving the teaching service), I tried it and have not looked back since!! Even got another piece during my Bromo trip in September 2015 🙂

And that’s it, my first blog post for 2016!!

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Almost no need to go overseas…part2

(continues from earlier post)

5. Swan Lake (by Singapore Dance Theatre, Esplanade 3-6 Dec 2015)

watched the Friday 4 Dec 2015 show – review in ST on Monday 7 Dec was not that great; but I could not really see the difference between the good, the bad (and ugly, haha). Pre-show entertainment by scouts singing campfire songs (yes, that is a real fire) of which I do not know a single one (hahaha, again) and some accapella group inside … more free stuff coming up in December nearer to Christmas, and may be good to check out the Esplanade webpage.

6. Orchard Road Pedestrian Night 5 Dec 2015 (and every first Saturday of the month) (street entertainment, festive lighting, and a relaxing night out)


7. Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2015 (6 Dec 2015)

Spouse and me went to support no one in particular, but were fortunate to be able to meet up with Uncle Chan Meng Hui, Singapore’s oldest marathon runner (age 85) and his son (see picture above) at the 17 km marker at East Coast Park and cheer him on!! He was doing his 101 Marathon and we chatted a little bit (last thing he said to me was “next year you take part, I take part!”:) . We were the only ones taking the free supporter shuttle doing the East Coast Park route from the bus stop opposite Capitol, and the volunteer in the bus was a girl from Indonesia who was here to do her Masters at James Cook University (thanks for helping out!).


Uncle Chan! He finished in 8 1/2 hrs, no simple feat considering the weather (and how it was getting hotter), and that he was almost on his own at this point going towards the National Sailing Centre (in the sense that most runners were heading in the opposite direction as photo shows). However, there was no shortage of people who were Hi-Fiving him and encouraging him on 🙂

8. 8th ASEAN Para Games 2015 (until 9 Dec) (free entry to venues, different locations around Singapore, see website)

After East Coast Park and meeting with Uncle Chan (this happened by chance only), we wanted to take the free supporter shuttle bus back to Marina Barrage area (one of the drop off points) but it seemed that there was no more bus to bring us back. So we caught a cab and dropped by the Para Games at the OCBC Arena and caught some table tennis and boccia action 🙂

9. Treasures of the World from the British Museum (National Museum, until 29 May 2016) (free for Singapore citizens and PR in the following categories: students, seniors, NSF and teachers! Fee applies otherwise)

Visited 7 Dec and witnessed an awesome display and celebration of human ingenuity, artistry, and creativity! A wonderful collection of artefacts that traces human history from 800 000 years ago (stone flint) to the modern art of today (see below):


Truly a great year end treat for all Singaporeans to enjoy in their own “backyard” … almost no need to go overseas!

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