Monday, November 29, 2010

Secret Society Leader turns into friendly helper.

View from Indonesia, how we came home? in a larger map

This is the biggest gamble in our trip. Even we seeked advise from Ulrich, the local travel overland expert, he do not have much information about getting in or out of Indonesia via Dumai. We do read on some previous posting on a forum that it is not advisable to ship bike from Malaysia to Dumai of Indonesia but right now we are doing the opposite way. So we would want to try Dumai. Maybe we can get a system on how the shipping works? Then we can let our Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand friends know and we can ride into Indonesia together!
Most bikers use Medan – Peneng for shipping. Both are major cities and logistic are made easier.
We are in Bukittinggi, 12 July 2010. Our aim is to reach Malacca before Crystal birthday on 20 July. Crystal is one of Samantha’s best friend. 2 of Samantha’s other best friend will be at Malacca for Crystal’s birthday. We want to make this a joyous day and event, marking Crystal being the first of our friends to be ‘seen’ by us.
To meet this target, we have 2 choices.
1) the faster way is to go by Dumai but there we will miss Lake Toba, road to Dumai is bad from what we heard, shipping is not reliable and Dumai is a cow boy town.
2) the safer way is to go north to Medan where many bike travelers has used this port for shipping their bike to Malaysia but it is about 650km and it will take us 3-4 days to reach Medan before we can start the shipping procedures. We may be late for Samantha’s friend gathering date.
I decided to take route #1. we need to go Dumai. It will take us 418km and 2 days journey. In between these 2 town, we would stop at Pekan Baru as we heard there are possible shipping from there, which, nobody wants to entertain us.
14 July 2010: we reached Dumai. We tried to ask around for a ferry that is able to get both of us with the bike on one boat across to Malacca but the only ferry service told us that we have to seek approval from the Port Master of the harbor on putting the bike on the fast ferry. We tried to get the best info on how to find the Port Master. One kind soul sincerely took us to look for the correct person. He is actually late in fetching his 6 years old daughter to school.
As usual, Samantha will be with the bike looking after everything we have and I will go into the office to do the business.
A guy named Mazuki came over. He tried to fulfill our wish but he need to confirm with us tomorrow. No promise. We have to come back again tomorrow.
15 July 2010: we got out of the flimsy HOTEL with a Malaysian tourist pestering us to lend him $200 because he do not have money to go home with his wife as his parents are supposed to transfer a large sum of money to his bank. We went to the harbor office to wait for the Port Master. Waited… from 830am to 11am, we finally saw Mazuki and he introduce us to a Port Master. He has big moustache above his lips. He never smiled. He had lots of badges on his uniform. He lighted his cigarette and blew his smoke onto the air. He did not have eye contact with me. Mazuki translated my English to him on what I wanted. Port Master blew more smoke onto the air, gave me a look that I am disturbing his time and he took up his mobile phone to call someone. His actions were very slow, like a secret society leader drinking tea with another leader. Then he told Mazuki that my request cost 2.2 million rupiah. Passanger cannot go with the bike as the cargo boat cannot take in private passangers.
** to buy off passanger ferry ticket, it cost about 0.5 million rupiah for both of us.**
Then I counter offer him 3 million rupiah inclusive of everything! The bike and 2 passengers together for 3 million rupiah! The port master suddenly put down his both legs on the ground, sat straight, threw away his cigarette to the floor, heads leaning forward to me, eyes enlarged by 50% and trying to reached out his ears:
3 million rupiah for everything? He questioned.
I stressed that it’s for bike and 2 passengers together. I am giving him 0.3 million rupiah extra.
Port master suddenly had a big smile on his face, made a few phone calls and ask me to follow his private car to the port. Surprisingly it was lunchtime now and he would still want to ‘work’.
Port master bought us to the port. Loaded Hope Too onto a big net and hoisted it into a cargo boat.

I asked:
What about us?
He said we have to take passanger boat.
But you just said 3 million including us with the bike?!
He misunderstood… we have to take another boat separately with the bike.
We asked for shipping documents. He said no need, just go to Malaysia side and look for ‘orrr kit’.
Orkit? Any address or telephone number for orkit?
He took out a crumbled paper and showed us : orchid shipping agency with address and contact number.
So now… we are at risk. We paid him 3 million rupiah, we leave Indonesia and he could retain the bike in Indonesia for sale or even ship to other countries. We do not have any proof.

In the port master's vehicle!

In the end, we took his private vehicle, went to the passenger ferry terminal and took a ferry to Port Klang, Malaysia, leaving Hope Too with the cargo boat in Indonesia.

I have to carry so all these panniers and bags. the bag on the extreme left is not mine.
16 July 2010, the bike is supposed to arrived in Malaysia. We called that Orchid Shipping contact number given to us… it was not Orchid Shipping. It was not a correct number.
Oh no…

Friendly port master (right) and the shipping agent (left)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

free sex in singapore?

I am a person that is hard to say no. Finally, I had successfully not give in to 2 organization to help them to ‘make money’ or ‘do free promotions’ or replace their time when they are not able to work for FREE!
during the last seminar at suntec, a lecturer from a local university named Cheehong, spoke to me.
Cheehong: hello Goh, I was very inspired the talk you gave just now. I am from Singapore XXX University. I am from world tourism & tourism class. My students would love to hear your stories and I believe that u can inspire them.
Goh: oh sure! I am always very keen to share my experience with people, especially students.
Cheehong: blar blar blah blah blah……….(talk).
Goh: yes yes yes. Sent me an email on the matter.
After a few days, I received:

Sent: Sunday, 24 October 2010 15:46:00
Subject: Guest Speaker Invitation - World Travel & Tourism Class

Dear Mr Goh
It was a great pleasure to meet you in person at WIT and to hear you speak again. As mentioned I would be honored if we could invite you in to share your journey and thoughts with our students at XXX University. I really feel they will learn so much from you! My suggestion would be for Saturday Oct 30 or Nov 6 at 200pm - 315pm. They are usually quite forthcoming with questions so leaving about 30 mins for Q&A would be good. Please let me know if this would fit your schedule.
Thank you in advance and look forward to hear from you.
With kindest regards,

Then my reply:
On Oct 25, 2010, at 4:47 PM, goh mia chun wrote:
hi Cheehong,
it was nice meeting u at the WIT.
for the session, will it be only a one time off session
a continuity of a few session for the same students
a few similar sessions for different group of students/staff in XXX university?
How keen are your current student 'wanting' to hear about me? what is the rational of me talking to them? what do u want them to achieve after my session?
sorry cheehong, quite alot of questions back for u. i think 6 november would be an easier date for me but yet to confirm.

On Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 9:57 AM, cheehong‬ wrote:
Hello Mr Goh
Thanks for your email. I am thinking of a one time session to the student in my class this term.
I mentioned to the class I was hoping to invite you in to speak and they immediately gasped with excitement which prompted me to invite you in for this term, instead of waiting till next!
I am personally very inspired by your journey and even more so by what insights you picked up from the travelling. I would like the class to learn to appreciate what they have, and to learn to "give" than just to "take" to others.
If you like the idea, I am happy to work with you to fine tune the format and topic contents so that you will be most comfortable with and the class will also find most captivating.
Nov 6 would be great if that suits you. Thank you very much for your consideration.
Best regards,

On Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 2:50 PM, goh mia chun wrote:

Hi Cheehong,
i hope u understand that i have 2 business to start up and run. i am giving up my projects operation on that day.

Sent: Friday, 29 October 2010 11:21:32
Subject: Re: Guest Speaker Invitation - World Travel & Tourism Class

Hello Mr Goh
Thanks so so much. I understand and am really grateful for your sharing your time with us. If there is anything I can help with ever please let me know. Thank you and look forward to seeing you on Nov 6. Kindly proceed to XYZ School of Business security counter and call me on 9876 5432 when you arrive, I will bring you to our lecture theatre.
Thanks again and have a wonderful weekend.
Chee hong

On Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 10:03 PM, goh mia chun ‪wrote:

Hi Cheehong,
have u read my link that i sent u on the last email?

Sent: Thursday, 4 November 2010 03:43:17
Subject: Re: Guest Speaker Invitation - World Travel & Tourism Class

Hi Goh
Of course I had, can I share it with my students
as well? Look forward to seeing you this Sat.
Best regards


On Thu, Nov 4, 2010 at 8:25 PM, goh mia chun ‪ wrote:
Hi Cheehong,
good that u had read the link. ( )

please let me know would you prefer the
a) summary of our trip, 2 hour session, S$1000.00
b) technical info of our trip, 45minutes S$500.00
please advise on media equipment availability.

The he reply:

Hello Mr Goh
Thank you for highlighting your fees. Unfortunately at this stage I would not be able to get approval from XXX for the amount. If you are interested in future I can ask for approval for future sessions but for tomorrow would you be able to waive the fees for our class? Otherwise I am afraid I would have to share the disappointing news with our class. Or if you could give me your phone number I could call you to discuss.
Please reply to both of my emails copied here as I am travelling at the moment. Thank you very much.
Best regards

Then i write to him:

Hi Cheehong,
Since the session of my meeting would be a free waiver, i would definitely love to meet the students outside school hours if only for those that they are interested in my travel and my inspirations.
I can meet them personally not in a academic environment.
Sorry I could not attend the Saturday session at your fixed timing as i have could not afford to reimburse the lost of income.
I am still very keen in meeting the students.
thank you

Cheehong reply:

Thank you for your email.
I am on business travel and communications might be delayed. I will be back in Singapore Studio on 08 November and will reply to you then.
If it is urgent please contact me on my mobile +65 9876 5432.
Thank you.
Kindest regards
Director, Strategic Partnering
XXX Group DesignworksUSA
Singapore Studio

At first, I am supposed to share my trip with his students on 6 November. Once I had let him know the price, his last email was informing me that he will be back on the 8 November. So I am taking over his job?
For your info, this XXX university spend more than S$500,000 on an Aussie guy to shift 2 trees in their new campus.
Why don’t they spend on a Singaporean, to shift that 2 trees?
Why don’t they do something worthwhile with that money?
Why they recruit many foreign students into this university and yet, many Singaporeans have financial difficulties in getting into this university.
Who can tell them what is right and wrong. Now people attend education is for gaining financial statues. It is a wrong step to take.

Remember the radio station interview? A media cum marketing company approached me. This media cum marketing company is doing a project for an alcohol company. This alcohol company is doing an adventure campain, giving free ticket to mount everest. At the same time, this media company also did a survey from 1000 singaporeans on how adventurous they are. Thus, they had a result and ask Samantha and I to give comment on the result.
Also, This media company is inviting other Singapore famous adventurer to comment on the survey result. But it seems that only Samantha and I are doing it for them (for free).
We had a first meeting with them. We had to go down to their office at a specific time for a ‘meeting’. Purpose of the meeting is to tell us about their campaign. Then they promise us that in return, they will give us a glass with our name printed on it. The company did not spoke anything about money, neither do we. So we are doing it for free. But the glass has not reached us yet, which is about 3 months ago that they promise us.
Later, they had arranged an air interview over the radio. They want us to meet 1 day before the interview at their office but I rejected. Instead, we had a telephone meeting. The telephone meeting was half hour. I was with a potential client for my landscaping business. The half hour telephone meeting with the media company affected my lunch meeting with my client.
Other than that, they sent us numerous email and telephone calls just to justify their queries. They just call and ask:
hello Mr Goh, do you have any children?
Hello Mr Goh, can I have your IC number?
Hello Mr Goh, when will you be free?
Hello Mr Goh, can you spell me your email address?
Hello Mr Goh, have you read my email?
On the day of radio interview, we woke up at 830am and went to the studio at 10am, waited till 1130am then we proceeded in. My job is to wait, go into the studio, be quiet, answer to all questions they ask. After the interview at 1230pm, Samantha and I said goodbye to those gals from the media company and THAT’S IT!
3 weeks later, they call me again:

Hello Mr Goh, we have arranged an interview for you with Radio XXX. Will you be free on 19 november?
I replied: ar?? I can’t hear you. Can u sent me an email.
She said: but…. But it is very URGENT you know?
I replied: sorry, something wrong with my phone… I can’t hear u.
At night, I read the email, it was:
Nov (Thursday), 8.45am
Hi Mr. Goh,
As mentioned over the phone, Radio XXX is keen to interview you and your wife on 18 November 2010 (Thursday) at 8.45am.
Will you be available then?
Meanwhile, I’m still trying to get hold of the interview questions.
Do let me know your availability. Thanks!
Best Regards,lily
From: goh mia chun 
Sent: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 10:44 PM
To: Lily Subject: Re: Interview with Radio XXX Nov (Thursday), 8.45am

hi, i am avalible after 10pm.

Hi Mr. Goh,
The DJ’s timeslot is from 6am to 10am, hence, it is not really possible to shift the interview to 10pm.
We’ll have to cancel this if the timing doesn’t fit. Let me know again!
Best Regards,

After this email, they NEVER call me again. They will only call me to ask both sam and I to do free things for them.

Shall I do all these things for free? My motive is just to create public awareness on our trip. Not to be famous but to tell every Singaporean that ‘it can be done’! Sam and I are getting sick about all these interviews and shows. We rejected a few magazine and other organization. If it is for the prison service, for the youth problem kid, we would gladly take our time off for them.
But when it is for business, helping people to make money, im afraid we have to charge a reasonable fee for it.
Like for a bike magazine, Motorculture, one of the editor called me, he said he is giving me 3 pages of his magazine (yes, pull your ear closer, he is giving me 3 pages for free) to write about our trip in their magazine. But I felt offended. It seems like I am begging him and he is giving me a chance. I did not reply him. He is another type of ‘making use of us’ to earn money for him.

Monday, November 15, 2010

tired singaporeans working

i am very tired working.

woke up at 645am,
reach home at 10pm.

what is life about in Singapore?

I want to have our own life. I can't even have time to write a blog.

I have been entertaining people around me. What about my wife and my family?

Most of the time during work, I am entertaining my Indian laborers. I must make them happy.

sometimes when i accidentally look at pictures in the RTW trip, especially pictures of friends and people, I felt very emotional.

Is this the life in Singapore?

My next challenge: to keep away from the Singaporean life but to live the Singaporean way in Singapore.

Give me some time. I still have some more things to share with you guys.

i'm just too tired and sleepy.

drop me a comment to support me.