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As a child I used to go to Batam very often when I was about 10 as my parents had business partners there. I had many friends my age and they’d teach me games like their own version of Zero Point, and Indonesian folk songs. I remembered teaching them the game “Er Ling Wu” (spelling?).

Batam is the reason why I know more Bahasa Indonesia words than I should, like how chewing gum is “permen karet” and not “shinggam”; towel is “anduk” not “tuala”; fridge is “kulkas” not “peti sejuk”; and underwear is “kolor” not “seluar dalam”. I also remember jokes like “Who’s the actor who cannot run and cannot drive? Dunno, who? Rano Karno!”. Nevermind that I didn’t know who Rano Karno was, it was still funny and I still laughed.

I also remember climbing the cherry trees (Asian cherries are small, not like the plump Western ones), grabbing handfuls to be shared amongst the group. Batam was where running in the rain was de rigueur and no one would chide you for getting your clothes wet. Batam was also where I almost crashed into a car while cycling down a steep hill and while trying not be knocked down I almost fell off a cliff. Batam was where you could visit your neighbour’s house not through the front door but by climbing from each other’s roofs. That I spent part of my childhood in Batam is something I tend to forget, but now that I think about it, it was quite special.

I went back to Batam two weeks ago with the family. It is interesting to return to a place where you spent your childhood, as an adult. It makes me miss being a kid. It makes me think about my childhood friends. Sadly, I do not know where they are now. I don’t even remember their names anymore. I guess life gets in the way like that.


Written by Nabilah

May 11, 2011 at 10:51 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Wow! So cool that you spent part of your childhood at Batam! This post reminds me of my childhood when I was a ‘kampong girl’ in my grandparents’ house in Johor. By the way, I might be heading to Batam for a day trip next month! Any recommendations on places to visit/eat?



    May 11, 2011 at 11:05 pm

  2. What a great nostalgic post šŸ™‚ I’ve never been to Batam, and like Faiz, would love to hear recommendations from you!

    ps: LOL at Rano Karno šŸ˜›


    May 12, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    • Hi ladies! Actually to be honest, not much cool places to hang out at, but one thing I can recommend is the Martha Tilaar Spa, if you ever need a spot of indulging, I highly suggest the “Princess Ritual”, which includes body scrub, massage, a “mandi bunga”, and this steaming thing which I don’t really know how to describe. But at the end you feel super good! Not too ex, prob abt $70 or $80? Also, if you aren’t keen on massage, you must try the “kerembat” or hair treatment, where they give you the most awesome head massage. They even massage your arms and back! The name is literally derived from the English word “creambath” as they use a cream to treat your hair.


      May 12, 2011 at 11:16 pm

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