Friday, August 31, 2007

Selamat Hari Merdeka, Malaysia!

Today, Malaysia is celebrating its 50th anniversary of the independence day. There are many events are held throughout the nation to celebrate the day and semua dijemput hadir (everyone is invited).

The Star newspaper today's edition is super thick. It contains the story of merdeka day and how this country has come along way to build the nation to be what it is today.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Singapore - Hongkong - Malaysia

Just my 2 cents worth to help you planning your travel in December, my dear friend.

At this moment, it's better for you to go to Hongkong directly from Singapore rather than from Malaysia because the plane ticket is cheaper (SQ VS MAS). If you book a tour package, check it out here
Reliance is ok. You can plan your own trip to HKG at From Singapore, then you can take Aeroline ( bus/train to Kuala Lumpur. But then it's up to you.

From Kuala Lumpur, you take a taxi to Ipoh. Just let me know when you want to go to Ipoh so that I can book the taxi for you. This is my appointed taxi so you don't have to worry. From KL (city) - Ipoh, the taxi fee is RM180 (not RM180 anymore. See update below).

Update: Taxi fee from KL (city) to Ipoh is RM200, while from KL airports (LCCT/KLIA) to Ipoh is RM220.

From Ipoh, you can go to Thailand easily. Here are the options for you:
  1. Take train (Kereta Api tanah melayu) from Ipoh Central Station to Hatyai (south Thailand). Just buy a one way ticket unless you want to visit Ipoh again on the way back..;) In Hatyai, you can shop and eat till you drop because things are cheap and yummy. If you visit Hatyai then you want to go back to Malaysia, you can take train again directly to Kuala Lumpur Sentral station.
  2. Take a plane (MAS or Air Asia) from Penang airport to either Bangkok or Phuket. My appointed taxi driver can take you to Penang airport. It's 2 hour-driving the most from Ipoh so it's nearer compared to if you fly from KL ( 2.5 - 3 hours). If you want to join a tour, you can find out from, or
You can buy a return plane ticket. Then from Penang, buy a 1-way ticket to fly to Kuala Lumpur.

From Kuala Lumpur airport ( LCCT if you take Air Asia. KLIA if you take MAS) or from Kuala Lumpur Sentral station (if you take train from Hatyai), you can take taxi directly to Melaka. It's not too far. It will be about 2 hour the most (1 hour or less if you depart from KL airport). Check out the route here:

There is no flight from Ipoh to Melaka.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia part 2

Since I have many examples on how misunderstanding can be created because how different the 2 languages are, it's better to create a new post so that you can read them easily and learn together from my experiences.

Story 1:
This incident happened when I just got married for a week.
My Malaysian husband asked my help, "Dear, tutup lampu, please." - Dear, switch off the light, please.
I automatically answered him, "Tutup pakai apa?" - Close with what?
He realized that I have misunderstood him and said, "I mean, just switch off the light."
I misunderstood him because in bahasa Indonesia, tutup means 'close' and in bahasa Melayu tutup here means 'switch off'.
In bahasa Indonesia, we usually use the word 'matikan' for switch off and we say, "Tolong matikan lampu." for "Please switch off the light."
In both languages, matikan = kill, but Malay language doesn't use 'matikan' for switch off.

Story 2:
My husband was having a hair cut in one of Indonesian hair salon. He saw there was a heavy traffic jam on the road. He talked to the Indonesian hair dresser, "Ada banyak kereta di luar. Macet sangat. (There are so many cars (kereta in Malay language = car) out there. It's heavy traffic jam.)"
The lady hair dresser was shocked and quickly looked over her window and said, "Mana ada kereta?Itu semua mobil yang kena macet. Kereta tidak jalan di jalan raya. (Where's a train? (kereta in bahasa Indonesia = train) I see only cars that stuck in the traffic jam. A train doesn't run on the road.)"
I was sitting there listening to the conversation, burst into laughter! :D
I just had to explain to them to avoid the confusion.

Story 3:
My parents were in Malaysia for the first time and my husband was driving them around the city.
My mom asked my husband, "Kita mau dibawa ke mana ini?" - Where are you taking us?
My husband answered her, "Pusing-pusing saja." - Just driving around.
My mom was shocked and said, "Walah...datang jauh-jauh buat liburan kok malah mau dibuat sakit." - Walah (to express her disappointment)...we come to have a holiday not to get sick.
She has completely misinterpreted what my husband said because 'pusing' in bahasa Indonesia means headache.
I couldn't hide my laughter. When I settled down, I explained to my mom what my husband meant by saying "pusing-pusing".

Another confusion caused by the differences in our languages:
imagine this situation: an Indonesian in Kuala Lumpur was in panic to call a police and she screams around "Polisi...polisi...mana polisi? Panggil polisi! (Police...Police...where's the police? Call the police!)" and the nice Malaysians trying to help get confuse, "Polisi? Polisi untuk apa? insurans polisi kah?Insurans polisi awak hilang kah? (Policy? Policy for what?Is it your insurance policy? Are you loosing your insurance policy?)"

Wha lo! Aren't you confused? Bingung kan?

So far, these are all I could remember. If I remember more incidents I will add them in here. Keep on checking this post.

Additional stories:
Story 4:
This incident happened when my husband drove my parents to show them the headquarters of his office.
My husband said,"Ini ibu pejabat tempat saya bekerja." - This is the headquarters where I work.
In Malay language: ibu pejabat means headquarter
My mum looked puzzled and asked my husband, "Ibu pejabat di tempat kamu kerja sanggulan juga gak kayak di Indonesia?" - Do the officers' wives in your office have a bun on their head too just like in Indonesia?
In Bahasa Indonesia: ibu pejabat means wives of high rank government officers, and usually, these ladies have a bun on their head.

Story 5:
I experienced this incident during my 1st visit to a hospital in Malaysia. I had to wait for my turn to pick up and pay the prescribed medicines. While waiting, I saw a big note on the door of the dispensary unit. It said "Dilarang masuk selain kaki tangan"- only employees are allowed to enter.
In Malay language: kaki tangan here refers to the employees of the dispensary unit.
In bahasa Indonesia we will say, "Dilarang masuk selain yang berkepentingan" or "Dilarang masuk selain pekerja farmasi"
While in bahasa Indonesia, kaki tangan means foot and hand.
I got confused for a while. I thought I really had to make sure that my head and my body did not enter the room when I collected and paid the medicines because only my foot and my hand were allowed to be in.
Luckily, my husband came to the rescue and cleared up my confusion.. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Loan $25 to change lives through

I came across this story when I was browsing People of the web news and I want to let you all know about a cool non-profit organization that is doing great things: allows individuals to make $25 loans to low-income entrepreneurs in the developing world (microfinance). By doing so, individuals like you provide affordable working capital for the poor (money to buy a sewing machine, livestock, etc.), empowering them to earn their way out of poverty.

It's a new, direct and sustainable way to fight global poverty, and the way I see it, I get a higher return on $25 helping someone build a future than the interest my checking account pays.

Anyways, if you have a minute, please check out the site: If you need more "reputable" validation than my recommendation :), know that they have received great press in publications ranging from The Wall Street Journal to NPR to BusinessWeek.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia part 1

Many people think that Bahasa Melayu (Malay language) spoken in Singapore and Malaysia is the same with Bahasa Melayu in Indonesia. This is actually not right. The 2 languages are similar but not the same. Most Indonesians can understand the Malay language spoken in Singapore/Malaysia but on the other hand, the people who speak and understand Malay don't necessarily understand Bahasa Indonesia especially when Bahasa Indonesia is spoken very fast. This is because some Indonesians (those who live in Sumatra Island) do speak the same kind of Malay language like in Malaysia and Singapore. To them, the Malay language is their dialect so they still have to know Bahasa Indonesia as their national language. But in Malaysia and Singapore, the Malay language is their national language.

Because of the similarity in the 2 languages, we often go ahead talking to each other with our own languages thinking that the other party will understand what we talk about forgetting the fact that many words have a completely different meaning and some words are not used in the same way. But we just don't care. The Indonesians go ahead talking to the Malaysians/Singaporeans using Bahasa Indonesia, and the Malaysians/Singaporeans talk to the Indonesians using their Malay language. Sometimes, this thing poses no problem at all; but some other times, this can create a misunderstanding and miscommunication problem.

Just to give example on how different the languages are:
  1. In Bahasa Melayu: budak means 'children'
    In Bahasa Indonesia: budak means 'slave'
    So, the Indonesians can get offended if someone calls their children 'budak'.
  2. In Bahasa Melayu: boleh means 'you are allowed to/you can'. In Bahasa Indonesia: boleh means the same thing but we don't usually use 'boleh'. We use 'bisa'. 'Bisa' means 'poison (usually referring to snake poison)' in both languages, and in Bahasa Melayu, bisa is only used when someone is referring to poison, not to say 'you can/you are allowed to'.
  3. In Bahasa Melayu: polisi means 'policy' - like insurance policy for example. In Bahasa Indonesia: polisi means 'the police', while the police in Bahasa Melayu is polis. But polis in Bahasa Indonesia means 'policy', for example: the insurance policy - polis asuransi in Bahasa Indonesia.
Before I got a chance to live in Singapore and Malaysia, I always thought that I would not find any difficulties talking in bahasa Melayu. But I was wrong because when every time I try to speak bahasa Melayu, many Malaysians still don't understand me. Apparently, I speak in Bahasa Indonesia but trying to use Melayu accent and it turns out to be so weird and I get people staring at me trying to understand what I say... :)

For example when I wanted to order a bowl of cold Leng chee kang dessert, I said, "Kak, boleh kasih satu leng chee kang, dingin." - (May I have a bowl of cold leng chee kang, mam?)
I heard the lady asked me again, "sejuk kah atau panas?" - (cold or hot?)
Hmmm... I wondered why she still asked me again when I have clearly said "dingin" which means "cold".
So, I repeated "Dingin". I made mistake here by forgetting that in bahasa Melayu, cold is translated into 'sejuk' not 'dingin'. While I do understand the word 'sejuk' refer to 'cold', I am not accustomed to use the word 'sejuk', so I kept on repeating the word 'dingin' instead.
Then the lady changed the word to "ice or no ice". I replied to the lady "Ice". Both of us understood this one so I finally got my cold leng chee kang... :)

Another time when I wanted to buy an oil splatter screen but I did not know what is the name for it so I said, "I nak beli tutup minyak yang bolong-bolong." - (I want to buy oil cover that has holes on it) trying to explain what I wanted to buy. Bolong-bolong is a slank in Bahasa Indonesia for 'holes'.
The shop keeper stared at me and asked me back, "Apa itu bolong-bolong?"
I stared back at her trying to remember the malay word for bolong-bolong and I could not remembered it at all so I kept on saying "bolong-bolong is holes". Then I heard the lady said "Oh, lobang-lobang. Kita tak cakap bolong-bolong lah. Kita cakap lobang-lobang." - (Oh, the holes. We don't say bolong-bolong for holes. We say lobang-lobang).
I was so relieved she finally got what I meant. I said to her, "Yah. Tutup minyak yang berlobang-lobang."
The same reason as the above example, I do understand the word 'lobang' for 'hole' but I don't remember to use it because I am so used to say bolong for 'hole'.
At the end, I found my oil splatter and bought it.

For the past 2.5 years living in Malaysia, I have learned a lot about the differences in our languages and now I am very careful if I want to speak in Malay language. I will make sure to use the words that can be understood by both parties. If I get stuck, then English is the common language.
So far, I notice that more and more people who speak Malay language are willing to adapt the words and accent of Bahasa Indonesia. I can see that they have no difficulties in doing so. As a result, the Indonesians feel more comfortable and a lot more confidence when talking to them.
The Indonesians also on the other hand, are trying do the same towards Malay language.

Understanding and willingness to adapt to each other language are the best way to bridge the differences of the 2 languages so at the end we will not have miscommunication and misunderstanding toward each other.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My choice of Kuala Lumpur hotels

As for the hotel, my favorite hotel in KL is Prescott Inn ( ). You can book online from that website. It's a 3-star hotel so it is cheaper compared to the rests but the location is very convenient. It's near Medan Tuanku monorail station so it's easy for you to go around KL. It is also near SOGO shopping center, Pertama Kompleks shopping center, and Maju Junction Mall. There is Nasi Kandar stall that opens 24 hours in which you can find your typical Padang food there (of course it's not exactly the same like in Padang but it is close enough). My parents love to go to this Nasi Kandar stall. They said the food suits their taste.

My next choice hotel in KL will be Corus hotel ( ). This is 4-star hotel and link to KLCC (Petronas towers) and Putra LRT station. If you take Aeroline bus, Corus hotel is the start and final destination in KL to Singapore vice versa. So, when you arrive in KL from Singapore by Aeroline, you can check in immediately into Corus hotel and start everything else from there.

If you are into shopping, you can check out many hotels around Bukit Bintang area ( My choice will be Berjaya times square hotel ( This hotel shares the same building as Berjaya times square mall. Berjaya times square mall is my favorite mall. It's big (but not the biggest. the biggest is Midvalley mall) like that mall in BSD tangerang in which you can find roller coaster inside the mall. There is 3D imax cinema in there too. I would love to watch Harry Potter there... :D

Adjacent to Midvalley mega mall there is Cititel and Boulevard hotels. Both are 3-star hotels but Cititel is cheaper than Boulevard. Midvalley has a link to KTM komuter that will bring you to KL Central station. From Central station, you can go anywhere in KL/Malaysia and even check in your luggages if you fly with Malaysia Airlines then take the KLIA express to KLIA airport in 27 minutes only (as compared to 1 hour by taxi/bus). To go around KL is very convenient using its train system( ). If possible, don't take Taxi in KL because if you don't know the exact price to your destination, the taxi drivers will be happy to give you their price which will be a lot higher than the original price. But in places where you must buy coupon first before you take a taxi, such as KL Central station and Berjaya times square mall taxi stand, you are safe to take taxi from there.

Depending on where you want to go and which places you love to visit, you can decide which one is more convenient for you, book local tour or tour on your own. You can visit this website for reference:

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The haze is back...

and it brings all kinds of sicknesses to test your body resistant.

My whole family are down with running nose, sore throat, and sticky red-eyes! My husband got it first, then passed them to my son. Since I am taking care of my son, I get it too now. My runny nose really gets into my nerve. My throat is so painful I'm struggling to talk, and to make it worse, my son keeps on asking me to sing for him. What a great way to celebrate my coming birthday... :(

Take care yourself and drink plenty of water. I'm going to see my GP now.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Indonesia National Anthem

I just received a link to a video of the first and the original version of Indonesia Raya, my country National Anthem.

When I watched it, honestly, I got goosebumps. I have never heard this version before. During my school years, I had to sing the shorter version every Monday during Merah-Putih raising flag ceremony. To be able to watch and listen to the original version of Indonesia Raya today, it made me realize that I have been away from my country too long. The last time I sang or heard the shorter version was around 11 years ago. Oh my God! It's been ages! And for 11 years, I have learned to sing other countries' National Anthem: Majulah Singapura, The Star-Spangled Banner, God Defend New Zealand, and Negaraku.

To all my Indo friends where ever you are,
Do watch and listen to this song. I hope you'll never forget it even if you hold a different passport and sing a different national anthem now. It's a reminder where you came from.
Just click this link:
kudos and terima kasih to krawul258 for sharing this precious video. I don't know where you got it but it sure brought back all my memories about my Indonesia.