We don’t speak Bahasa, you don’t speak English, but we can all learn handgames.
Not many people visit Pulau Jaga, Indonesia. It isn’t easy to find. Google Maps doesn’t even name it. ‘Did you mean “Java, Indonesia”?’ says the Google search engine, trying as ever to be helpful.
No, I did mean Jaga, an island in the Riau Archipelago, two and a half hours by boat south of Singapore. Jaga is some 2.5km long and 500m across, home to perhaps 90 families, most of them supported by fishing. There are no hotels, no restaurants, no roads and no cars. There is a school, however, and we were invited to visit it. It was a privilege and a pleasure. Continue reading
Dutch gables, but not very convincing ones.
After a few months chained to work and life in Australia (no bad thing, of course), Mevrouw T and I will be taking to the air again next week, flying first to Singapore, then by boat crossing the South China Sea, into Indonesia’s Riau Islands.
It’s become an annual trip around this time of year, visiting Telunas Beach Resort on Sugi Island to lead a writers’ camp for students from Singapore. I love it.
From Singapore we take the Singo Ferry for a one hour trip across the water to the island of Batam. I’ve heard it’s the fastest growing area of Indonesia and it’s certainly one of the most prosperous, thanks to its proximity to Singapore.
The ferry is usually crowded with Singaporeans visiting to Batam for the golf and cheap shopping and Indonesians visiting Singapore for the quality electronica.
But with newfound prosperity comes new development – ‘You want it fast, cheap and good? Pick two.’
Buildings are springing up everywhere and Batam developers are trying to sell property in estates that attempt to imitate ‘European sophistication’.
I know we privileged people who’ve seen the real thing shouldn’t laugh, but it’s hard not to. Continue reading
We are expected.
There’s a lot of interest in the visitors. They don’t have many on Jang Island.
On the rough jetty between rickety stilt houses, a guard of honour is forming. Kids from the Jang Island school beat out a deafening rhythm on hand drums as our open pancung boat pulls up and we file ashore.
Twenty students, two teachers and a visiting Australian author have come to do a writers’ camp at Telunas Beach Resort
, in Indonesia’s lovely Riau Islands, a couple of hours across the water from Singapore. Each morning we set off on a different adventure. Each afternoon we gather back at Telunas to discuss and write about our experience.
There is never a shortage of material. Continue reading
All quiet at Telunas Beach.
I’ll be out of town again for a few days, leading a writers’ camp at lovely Telunas Beach in Indonesia’s Riau Islands.
It’s one of my favourite places, and one of my favourite favourite jobs. There are no roads on Sugi Island, and few inhabitants, all of them very friendly.
My phone won’t work and I don’t expect to have an internet connection. Not much happens there, but I’m sure we’ll find plenty to write about.
Back next week to tell you how it went.
Zeeland, The Netherlands. The shirts read ‘Blijf Jong’ (‘Stay Young’). I’m trying, I’m trying!
Time for another collection of my snapshots of life from our travels around the globe. The world is an amazing place.
My theory is that you can point the camera at pretty much any collection of faces, crop the photo judiciously, and end up with something interesting.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The archipelago of 3000 islands south of Singapore has become one of my favourite places on the planet. I’ve visited them at least once a year for the past seven years. Continue reading