Transport infrastructure in Indonesia

Indonesia as a country is expanding at an accelerated manner with foreign investment. Japanese investments are pouring in, and the area Karawang where I work in has a large expatriate Japanese population. Japan is also well known for her infrastructure and efficiency. Transport infrastructure being one of the important factors of productivity is a key focus for countries that are expanding economically.

Indonesia has a long way to go when it comes to infrastructure and productivity is strongly reduced when poor transport infrastructure is in place. From personal experience, the air is much polluted due to the increasing amount of motor vehicles on the congested roads. A 10KM trip on the road which would take a few minutes in Singapore might end up as a 3 hour trip in Jakarta. That is how congested Jakarta is. Recommendations to improve the situation will require the authorities to invest on transport infrastructure. For the short term, these should be considered:-

1) Road widening projects on existing pathways to include more lanes on the expressway.
2) Introduction of dedicated pathways for motor-cycles.
3) Digitalising toll payments for Central Business District Areas and the establishment of a traffic light system.
4) Ground-work for mass rapid train network to improve commute.

It is important that Indonesia have the infrastructure to move people from one location to another as quickly as possible without delay. Without an effective public and private transport [system], people will not be able to work and attend events on time, impeding growth and productivity in the country.

If Indonesia wants further expedite economic growth, productivity would be a big pillar that needs to be scaled. Productivity is closely connected to punctuality and that is a major hurdle for Indonesia right now.

Best Regards,
Syed Mubarak Bin Subukutheen

Ghost Town Chikarang and Karawang, Indonesian Presidential Election

Almost 180 million voters, the world’s third largest democratic country. But, is the country really democratic? That is for the global nations to research and deduce. 9th July 2014 was designated as a public holiday and we were advised not to hang out too much. But then, we still had to go out for our meal for breaking the Ramadhan fast right?

We left the house a few minutes before 4pm. Voting is supposedly until 1pm. Myself and 2 other colleagues started our trip to Lippo Chikarang, supposedly one of the nicest malls near our house. Carpark was full and when we finally parked our vehicle, there was little time to do our shopping. We had to buy some drinks, crackers, cup noodles and other daily necessities. The breaking fast meal came late as the store was busy. We were glad that we had a decent sitting spot.

We went back home to put our stuff and decided to be back on the road slightly after 7pm. Road was empty, the Cafe’s were empty and so were the restaurants.

We decided to get some cakes and we were the only customers at Starbucks. A Venti double chocolate and brownies costed slightly above $7-SGD. If it was back home, it would have been double that price.

A town which is usually not crowded became almost empty on that day. This shows that people are passionate about the voting and they are hoping for a better tomorrow. Let’s see the results of the election and be an observer in the coming years.

With Love and Regards,
Syed Mubarak Bin Subukutheen

My First Ramadhan Overseas

As far as I remember, I have always spent the month of Ramadhan in Singapore. When I was much younger, I usually would make a trip to the Mosque to get the porridge made by the staff working there. The porridge is amongst the most delicious food I have eaten in my life. It is a simple porridge, sometimes with some meat pieces added on to them.

I had the blessing to spend the first 2 days of breaking fast at home in Singapore. The first with mom and dad and on the second day with mom. The rest so far has been in Indonesia. I am currently keeping my morning sahoor meal simple with milk, banana and some cereal. Very western type of meal eh? I need the carbohydrates to keep me going through the day. It has become a tradition to eat banana and milk for sahoor. I believe that this diet is much healthier compared to rice and meat.

So far, this is the first time that I am spending most of my evenings breaking fast with Indonesian food. Indonesian food is very similar to Malay food. The use of black soy sauce is more prevalent and the food is generally spicier. Nasi Goreng (fried rice) and Rendang (spicy meat dish) never goes wrong though, if you cannot make up your mind.

With Love,
Syed Mubarak Bin Subukutheen

Garuda Indonesia should work on their delays.

Pretty decent flying experience for a reasonable price. The only thing that is missing out though is the timing of flights. 4 out of 6 flights that I took through Garuda was delayed. Among the delayed flights were three flights back home to Singapore. My opinion regarding the use of Garuda was that, if I want to be on time, I should stop taking Garuda flights back home. The food that is served when I take a return flight to Singapore is awesome though. It comes with dessert and a tasty meal with bun.

The thing about Bandar Udara International Soekarno-Hatta is that, we can never assume a good arrival time(to the airport). Traffic Congestion in Indonesia, Jakarta is very very common and very very annoying. The congestion can be so bad with people cutting lanes and stuff that if you have a poor driver, the car will not move at all. So, the only means to schedule the trip to the airport is to leave way earlier than the time of check-in.


So imagine the time needed to be on the road + the waiting time at the airport + the news that the flight is delayed. That can annoy lots of people. If I were to recommend something, the roads must be widened, more roadways must be made to facilitate the country’s growth. Garuda, if they wish to maintain their customers must work on their timing of the flights.


With love,

Syed Mubarak Bin Subukutheen

Durian-Lippo-Chikarang Mall

Durian-Lippo-Chikarang Mall

Interesting, it costs over 50 Ribu which is slightly more than 5 SGD. The thing about Indonesia is that GMO has yet to invade completely. The food is definitely more natural and you get hungry at regular intervals. In-fact, with experience of eating processed food all my life, I used to skip meals. But now, it is more difficult and I have to be honest, I do get more hungry when I am in Indonesia.

Indonesia, its been more than a month

A Singaporean working in another country is surprising, unless it is in another developed country. The question then becomes, what am I doing in Indonesia? leaving behind the prosperity of the amazing city state.


Many Singaporeans complain about the high cost of living in Singapore and the thought that we have to work till we die. Question. Have we really ventured out and had a better life elsewhere? Vacations don’t count. Why? Because we don’t have work pulling us down. How many Singaporeans have really worked overseas and found life there easier? Everyone I have met and spoken to, ends up telling me that they miss Singapore. There is nothing like home right? It is true.


Back in Singapore, I contributed to nation building while I was in the Authority (LTA). It was not an easy task but I felt satisfied that I was serving the nation in the manner I could. I am still serving Singapore and my people through my interaction with groups and organizations. I don’t need to be present there physically in Singapore to support in manners I could. That is what a true citizen is, we support the country in the manner we could.


So Why am I here? For a while, perhaps the last 6 to 7 years, I wanted to make a difference to the world. To make it a better place. I wanted to start with developing countries. Big dreams and ambitions? Not really. I am only doing what a good person is expected to do. To make life better for everyone.

When the offer came for me to work in Indonesia, the first thing I heard from my prospective employer is that I am supposed to train the locals. What better way can we improve the state of country rather than the transferring of knowledge? We teach them how to fish rather than merely give them the fish. But sometimes, we have to give them the fish too.


It is also a means to get out of my own comfort zone.


Regards and with love,

Syed Mubarak Bin Subukutheen