Traffic Control

To say Singapore is efficient is stating the obvious. Everybody has heard about the amazing public transport system, but I have found it goes a long way beyond just public transport. I have to deal with three organisations in order to get my bike to Dili, the Land Transport Authority (Think RTA, nationally), the Autombile Association of Singapore (Think NRMA, nationally) and DB Schenker.

I qued at the LTA for about 30 seconds, to speak to an information officer wbho directed my query and provided me with a que ticket. I waited about 2 minutes for my ticket to be called, the person I spoke to  listened, asked a few questions and knew exactly what I needed (Insurance, a Permit and an autopass). he provided me the address of the AAS and a slist of things I neededto obtain and explained the overall process. He also promised to look into the viability of export by ferry to Batam for me.

I qued at the AAS for about 30 seconds, spoke to an information officer who directed my query and provided me with a que ticket. I qued for about 5 minutes. The AAS provides the insurance and the ICP. Once I have these I can get the Autopass from the LTA and ride my bike out of customs.

I discussed my plan with the Denise at the LTA, who informed me that it was no longer possible to take vehicles on the ferry to Batam due to previous illegal importing/exporting through that route. We spent another 2.5 hours on her phone and internet trying to determine the best way for me to get my bike to Dili.

Then the Insurance quote came through. I was warned, insurance for a year can cost upto $6000 SGD for a standard car in Singapore! One weeks insurance cost would be $270! What a good way to ensure traffic control and make sure that there are not too many cars on the road, and that the cars on the road are paying there way. Now consider how much registration/insurance a singapore motorist is paying per KM of road that teh Singapore government has to pay for, and also the fact that alsmost all major roads are toll roads, charged on a KM travelled basis. Think about the ramifications if this principle was applied to Australia, where the road network is soooo marge larger. User pays works for me.

Eventually we got a hold of Mary Choo at Schenker who is now looking into forwarding the bike to Batam for me in order to avoid storage costs here in Singapore and avoids paying the insurance costs. Fingers crossed.


I have arrived safely in Singapore! A little bit of a scare from the V Australia crew who delayed oproviding me my boarding pass to Singapore because I didn’t have a return ticket. Apparently they could be up for a $10,000 fine if I get rejected by Singapore customs. No fear there, the guy didn’t even ask to see my itinerary – all he asked is how long I wanted to stay for. When I said as long as possible he gave me a 90 day visa! Hopefuly unecessary, but with customs clearance who knows!

I’m staying at NJM’s old haunt, the Prince of Wales for a few days. Its a bit expensive but clean with free Wifi andbreakfast included.

I’m impressed with how easy everything is in Singapore. At 8:30pm at night I managed to find a new camera bag, get a price on some Kawasaki racks, put my phone in for servicing and locate the Land and Traffic Authority. Plus i’ve also identified that the nay-sayers on Singapore are totaly wrong (so-far), I have seen numerous ads for museums and art galleries since I arrived…

Good to see a few things swinging my way today. Not to mention the three Norweigian sisters I was sitting next to on the flight… shame they were flying back to Norway via Singapore, via Abu Dhabi via London. Spare a thought for them.

Renovations complete

The kitchen is complete! In fact, the whole renovation is complete! Thank heavans because i’m in Singapore! I had a lot of help getting the kitchen off the ground from Lassie Ng of Interior Arc and I can highly reccomend her work.

Check out the complete set of pictures on picaso, but here is a sample:

Kitchen Before

Kitchen demolition in progress

Floor sanding complete & varnishing in progress

Restoration of floors in master bedroom in progress

Sanding and varnishing of floors in progress

Russell drawing up his interpretation of the supporting beam that runs along the proposed breakfast bar wall, note the dedication represented but dust, plaster and writing materials consisting of blunt pencils and wood panel.

Close up of the new lights.v Purchased from Ikea with switches, cut down and installed with only one case of minor electrocution and multiple fuse meltdowns.

Demonstration of teh new curtains which are not white.

The Kitchen in semi-demolished, semi-operable status just prior to Ange’s departure.

The new (light) green kitchen wall
The previous owners poo brown feature wall re-painted to be consistent with all other walls.

Installation of the skeleton of the first Kitchen cabinet in the kitchen Alcove.

Working on the Le-Mans Cabinet for the 17th time.
The almost finished kitchen (I wasn’t happy with the splash-back edges)

The Le Mans in operation at last!

The new gas stove and combination oven/microwave/grill
Fixing the edges of the splashback
The new sink – double bowl in a 600mm cabinet. Don’t try it at home.

The electricians handy work
The Skirting boards deserved a special mention since they took nearly 9 months to complete.

The Architrave addition to make it all look in-built. 
The finished products (incl hand-crafted paintings)

Timor Leste Terms of Reference

The terms of reference for my 3 months in Timor Leste are exciting! My role will basically be to act as a facilitator and co-ordinator for Good Returns/World Education Australia Limited between Moris Rasik, a Timor Leste based Micro-Finance Institute (MFI) and Mercy Corp, an aid organisation.

Mercy Corp has some cash from the EU that it wants to use to establish a renewable energy technology program in Timor Leste. Moris Rasik has the micro finance clients and micro finance infrastructure and social networks needed for the renewable energy technology to reach the local people. Good Returns has the knowledge capability to deliver the program and the education backing of WEAL to assist in promoting and training local service providers so that the program is a success. Good Returns also has a renewable energy technology porogram agenda, and currently work with Moris Rasik in delivering donations from the Australian public to Moris Rasiks micro finance clients, hence the need for someone (me!), to facilitate the whole thing. Who ever said aid organisations rarely work well together?

However, before I get stuck into any aid work, I still need to finish my kitchen. After a crazy couple of weeks I realised that I was imposing all the stress myself, Russell and Lassie were experience on all of us. I had the ability to post-pone my flights, bring the stress levels down and get back to enjoying the kitchen renovations. So that is what I did, thanks in part to some good guidance from mum and dad who provided the support I needed and helped me realised that I wouldn’t be failing if i left later, I would only be failing if I didn’t enjoy what I set out to enjoy doing. So, my new departure date is now Thursday April 28th. It will still be a tough ask, but it will mean I can leave the apartment polished and should be able to see the final finished product. Pictures soon.

The Start, again

I decided late last year that it was time to take another long journey. I’m happy to say that I’ll be heading off on Sat 16th April to ride my motorbike from Timor Leste to London.

The journey actually starts in Singapore, I head by Ferry through Indonesia to Timor Leste where I will spend 3 months volunteering for micro finance organisation Moris Rasik.

Once my tasks are completed I will journey back to Singapore and head towards India via China. After India the plans become much less detailed, but I intend to head through Pakistan into China via the Karakoum Pass, avoiding Afganistan by travelling North and then tracking back to the West through Kazakstan onto Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Poland and on to the UK via Germany.

It should be a fantastic trip, but first I need to complete my kitchen renovations!