December 6, 2017

Techie corner. Free basic home user versions of complete security suites: Sophos, Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, ZoneAlarm. *A cellphone’s clock doesn’t gain or lose a second in over 300 million years of operation. *For Indonesian consumers, the price of 4 pirated DVDs equals the cost of a monthly subscription (Rp. 40,000) that gives access to 20,000 movies on the SVod site iflix. *Transvision (, with paket ranging from Rp. 199,000-Rp. 399,000 per month, is cheaper and offers free HD and as many channels as its competitors, has no surcharge and no Fox news. *Free video calls from smartphones using WhatsApp.


Credit card fraud. The just released report Fraud Management Insights 2017 revealed that a full one quarter of Indonesian’s population of 260 million are impacted by credit card fault. To prevent fraud, guard your card ferociously, not letting it out of your sight. Never leave cards unattended in a bag, backpack, desk or workplace counter. If you find a suspicious transaction on your statement, or if your card is lost or stolen, contact card issuer immediately. Never write down or disclose your PIN to anyone. Don’t let anyone distract you, talk to you or come near you when entering your PIN in an ATM machine. Destroy transaction receipts. Avoid the higher limits of Gold and Platinum cards. Shred your old card as soon as your new one becomes valid by signing it.


 Good news for Americans retirees. The U.S. Social Security Administration now makes International Direct Deposits (IDD) of benefits into Indonesian banks. Employees of banks often do not know the regulations or if their bank can accept SS direct deposits. They also may be afraid to ask their supervisors. Banks already receiving SS direct deposits: Maybank, Bank CIMB, Mandiri. SS has a different agreement with HSBC, so if you intend to use them it may take longer to process. First request fillable Form SSA-1199-OP36 (08-2014) via email or fax from the regional Claims Examiner Ivee Dianne P. Gomez, Social Security Administration, U.S. Embassy, Manila, Philippines, tel. 63 2 301 2669, fax. 63-2-7089714, email:, Also, send the completed form to Ivee Gomez. Note that it’s already the cutoff date for changes, so any updates done on your record will not take effect until January 2018.


Foodwise. Make rice healthier and go further by mixing it with sweet potato (ubi) or corn (jagung). Take beras jagung (Rp. 12,000/kg), soak it all night, wash it and cook it at a one to one ratio with regular rice or just cook the beras jagung alone just like rice (great for diabetics). *Double the sell by date on processed food; it’s just an arbitrary date. *The Indonesian equivalent of thick freezer storage bags sell for Rp4,500; ask for plastik es batu. *Buffet-style Warung Ijo near Nomad has the cheapest eats in Ubud center; go with a group so you can share dishes. *Warung Surya, Jl. Mahendradatta Selatan 32, Denpasar, tel. 0361-846-6766), the restaurant with the new Avanzas and Astras parked out front, serves very reasonably-priced buffet-style Javanese and Balinese cuisine costing Rp. 15,000-Rp. 20,000 for an average meal.


Health is Wealth. Indonesian Breastfeeding Mothers Association (AIMI or Asosiasi Ibu Menyusui Indonesia) is a mother-to-mother support group with hundreds of certified counsellors who disseminate information through a mailing list, twitter account and Facebook page. *Harnal OCAS 0.4 mg (famsulosin hydrochloride), available in Bali, are an effective remedy for excessive nocturnal urination. Tell your pusekemas that you’ve run out of your prostrate medicine and they should refer you to a urologist who’ll prescribe you Harnal for free (otherwise it costs Rp18,000/tablet). *Stress can be reduced by exercise, yoga, mediation and eating a healthy low carb diet. *The dengue fever season is upon us again; carry out routine fogging and destroy standing water reservoirs that form mosquito nesting areas.


Rock bottom markets. It’s mind-boggling how much in-season fruit and vegetables you can buy for a mere Rp75,000 at Dauh Palah market in Tabanan after 2 pm when the loaded pickup trucks starting arriving from near and far. Also how rock bottom a huge range of freshly caught fish, oysters, crabs, prawns, lobsters and other seafood costs at bustling Pasar Ikan Kedonganan fish market that opens at the break of dawn. Everybody goes to Jimbaran fish market, thinking it’s the cheapest, but in reality Kedonganan is far cheaper if you go early in the morning. In fact, it is often referred to inaccurately as Jimbaran Fish Market because of its close proximity. Sample prices: Spanish mackerel (tenggiri) Rp. 15,000-Rp. 20,000/kg; Milkfish (Bandeng) Rp. 12,000-Rp. 15,000/kg; Sardines (Tembang) Rp.10,000/kg; Mackeral (Kembung) Rp. 10,000/kg; Tuna (Tongkol) Rp. 15,000/kg; Pomfret (Bawal) Rp. 20,000/kg.


Heads up. Expect more frequent roadblocks over the coming weeks leading up to year’s end as traffic police try to fill their total yearly quotas of citations. Code named razia zebra (Operation Zebra), this campaign targets drivers without driver’s licenses, bike registration or helmets. *On ferries to and from Java get a massage (Rp50,000) that can last the whole passage. *If you think bad weather or an eruption is going to interrupt your itinerary, take the earliest flight on your travel day as your aircraft is already at the airport; delays tend to increase as the day progresses. *Alleviate the stress of cancellations and flight delays by using your Netflix membership to binge-watch favorite shows on your laptop in the airport lounge. * is the one-stop travel resource for visitors to Bali’s airport.


Household tips. The overwhelming number of crimes against expats are household robberies perpetrated by disgruntled ex-household staff members. *Subsidized 3-kg LPG canisters (Rp20,000 each) can be converted to operate water pumps more cost-efficiently than gasoline. *A 100-cm deep Biopori recharge hole absorbs 3 liters of water per minute or 180 liters per hour; filling the hole with biodegradable waste feeds micro-organisms in the soil. *Super Lem G (Rp8,000/) is stronger and adheres 3 times faster than regular wood glue. *Storage rooms built with cinder blocks (batako) and slab roofs (atap cor) make superior storage spaces than those with tile (genteng) roofs. Slab roofs don’t leak due to wind and rain, block mice and other pests from entering, the space is cooler and drier and the roof can be used as a terrace to dry laundry or relax and sunbathe.


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Copyright © 2017 Bill Dalton

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