Saturday, 18 November 2017

Converting Singapore Licence to Malaysia Licence

Felt Like this Dear Jumping About 
When I first decided to convert my Singapore Motorbike Licence to Malaysia Motorbike licence, I scour the net for information. Most gave me the opposite on how to convert from Malaysia to Singapore instead. I guess it’s just not that common doing it the other way around.

So I decided to record down my experience.

First things first, this is the circumstances of my situation before trying to convert. Don’t know if you are in the same boat but the below was my profile.

1. I am a Malaysian

2. I have a Malaysian Driving Licence Class D

3. I have no Motorbike Licence in Malaysia

4. I have no Driving Licence but I have a Motorbike Licence in Singapore

(I Took my Driving Licence in Malaysia and Took my Motorbike Licence in Singapore)

5. I have never converted any licence between the two countries

6. I work in Singapore on a Work pass

Gathering Information

It was hard trying to decipher the information from the net, especially between Singapore and Malaysia for Malaysian citizen as a lot of the rules publish is meant for general foreigners and not really focus on the special relationship that Singapore and Malaysia has. Some information tells of corruptions and ways to avoid getting blacklisted and some blatantly just condemns each countries for being petty and making life difficult for the common people.

I stand neutral on this for I feel that both Malaysia and Singapore has their point of view but still one small fry can’t avoid being caught up in the mind-set of the whole.

Anyway I decided the best way was to stop speculating and just walk in to get direct information. This prove to be even challenging as most information at counter given by word of mouth by the guards or the information desk lack to instil any confidence.

1st Attempt

I walked up to Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) in Johor Bahru at Galleria Kotaraya going straight for the Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan (JPJ) or in English Land Transport Authority of Malaysia. Going to the queue number ticket collection which had a guard there to assist on directing and dispensing the correct type of queue number I asked for conversion of licence from Singapore to Malaysia.

The guard refused to give me a queue ticket number. Go to the main headquarters office is Taman Daya, Johor Bahru he said. JPJ does the conversion of licence but this office/branch does not do it.

Puzzled, and a bit suspicious I thank him and left googling the main headquarters of JPJ at Taman Daya.

Deciding that it may be a coy I returned a few weeks later to the same place trying to get a queue number again. This time I got the same reply from a different guard. Go to Taman Daya he said.

Guess it’s true that I have to get to the main HQ of JPJ at Taman Daya

Working in Singapore and trying to convert my licence during my free time was not easy, crossing the border to get things done was time consuming. Luckily Johor government working hours were different and Sunday was considered a working day while Friday and Saturday a weekend.

2nd Attempt

A few months later I went to Taman Daya paying a RM 30 for a grab ride to the main JPJ HQ in Johor. The actual address was:

Kompleks JPJ,

Karung Berkunci No.714,

80990 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

The complex was huge and first off was to navigate to the right department. As I follow the signboard getting closer to the goal, lots of so called “runners” were loitering around downstairs and nearby the entrance to the office building for the actual changing of licence, renew, road tax etc.

As I walked a few runners pester me on what my purpose was here.

What do you want? One of the runners called.

Renew Licence? Change Licence? Road Tax?

I decided there was no harm extracting information so I asked which way to the change licence was.

You want to convert licence from Malaysia to Singapore right?

They will blacklist you, but I can help you get around that.

I felt annoyed that before understanding what I wanted I was already labelled.

Oh, you want to convert from Singapore back to Malaysia licence, but last time when you convert to Singapore Licence did they cut your Malaysia Licence? They probably blacklist you already and you won’t be able to convert back until you pay (bribe) them to erase you from the blacklist

Annoyed that I could not even get two words in before being labelled again I decided runners were the stupidest idea to get information from.

Ignoring all the runners, I walked up to the actual office to the queue counter.

The officer asked me if I had a letter from Singapore.

Letter ?? What letter ??

The officer told me that I require a letter from the Singapore Transport Authority to verify that I have no outstanding offences for the past 6 month. I could get it from the Singapore JPJ and with that the process for converting licence can be done. I would also need a photocopy of driving licence, identification card, photo, passport, work pass etc … anything related all photocopy he said but most important was to get that letter.

He even gave me the form for converting licence but would not give me a queue number as I did not have all the documents required.

Helpful information indeed but the monotone conversation told my guts that the small disdain of Malaysian going over to Singapore for work was still there.

I decided that if I was going to convert, it will not be in Johor but will travel back to Kuala Lumpur to do it.

Obtaining the Letter from Singapore Transport Authority

Funny thing is …. If you google Singapore Transport Authority like I did, you will get (LTA) which has nothing to do with driving licence record keeping.

I went to the nearest neighbourhood police and asked for advice and even then the police was uncertain but referred me to the Traffic Police HQ at the address below:

10 Ubi Avenue 3 Singapore 408865

Making my way there one weekday when I was off work, I entered the front door asking the guard for guidance on obtaining the letter for converting licence back to Malaysia.

Ironically the guard said:

Why convert? Singapore licence is international and it’s better here.

I have my own reasons I told him and he then pointed me in the direction to the main office. Go in and ask but I am not sure if this is the place he said.

Going in I was greeting with a police officer in full uniform. Explain to him my situation and he gave me a queue number not explain much.

Once it was my turn, all the counter asked was my Singapore bike licence and after a few moments requested for payment of SGD 10. Payment has to be made using NETS only and no cash transaction is accepted.

Paid and viola, I now had the letter from the traffic department of Singapore stating that the licence is valid and I have no offence pending with the Singapore state.

The whole process took less than 20 minutes including waiting time.

3rd Attempt

Few months later I managed to get leave and headed back to Kuala Lumpur to get the licence finally converted. The location I went was at Bangi a sub branch of JPJ in the Selangor state.

Jalan 7/7c, Seksyen 7, 43000 Bandar Baru Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Went to the queue line to obtain a queue number and the officer told me to speak to their head officer first. Guess it’s not a normal procedure converting licence. Pass both my licence to the officer and I was question the following;

Why do you want to convert licence – (Go Home I Said)

Did you convert this licence from Malaysia to Singapore – (Nope … I took it in Singapore)

Wait a moment. After a few minutes the head officer came back.

Yes you can convert back no issue, but you will need a letter from the Singapore traffic authority. I have it I told the officer and passed the letter.

A few more minutes later and the officer asked me to get a photocopy of the following

1. Passport

2. Driving Licence of both Malaysia and Singapore

3. Identification card

Finally the officer said to me … I will ‘potong’ cut your Singapore licence once it’s converted, is it ok with you?

Sure I said … I was not trying to cheat the system anyway.

They finally gave me a queue number and within a few minutes I was up at the counter again. After a few types the officer just stared at the screen …. Waiting … then I heard their internal conversation

(Notified Singapore already? …. Yes you may proceed)

Interesting I thought … so there is some sort of integrated system now. Shortly after he cut the edge of my Singapore licence and kept the licence with the document for processing. Asked if I would get back the cut piece, they said they will keep it and send it back.

Processing the conversion of licence I had to pay the fee of

Add on Class – RM 5

Conversion of Licence – RM 20

That’s was all and a few minutes later I collected my new licence fully integrated with motorbike (B2) and car (D)

Interesting note was My Singapore motorbike licence was limited to 200cc but after conversion I am now certified to 250cc. A bigger bike was now a possibility ….

1st step done …. Now to find wheels for the road trip

Monday, 13 November 2017

7 Day Road Trip Malaysia – Taiping Gardens

Taiping Gardens. The one reason why I decided to make Taiping a pit stop is to visit the gardens which I remember during my childhood family road trip days. The picture in my head was exactly the same when I drove by the gardens. 

There is a timeless sense to Taiping Gardens, almost like a magical place thinking of peter pan and the Neverland wonders.

Here is a video for picture cant do them justice

Travelled on: Dec 2016

Saturday, 11 November 2017

7 Day Road Trip Malaysia – Fireflies at Kuala Sepetang - Taiping

So I found the only hostel in Taiping quite easily … I actually booked it a few hours ago as I figured if it’s the only one I better book just in case since there won’t be a backup … luckily too coz it looked like a full house thou the people seamed confined to their individual rooms.

Checked in and as I met my roommates … yukov eukov and Jamie while they asked the hostel manager about Kuala Sepetang and how to get there to see the firefly. My ears perked up and asked if they were planning to see this Kuala Sepetang that was 20 minutes’ drive. Yes they said but then they did not know I drove so they were still grilling the hostel manager on how to get there. 

Immediately I said,
Boat to See Fire Flies
let’s go guys I can drive there, 730pm right to see the fireflies …. We only had an hour left …. Their stunt look was priceless but in less than 10minutes I was driving again. So I basically just check in and grabbed 3 backpackers and left for Kuala Sepetang …. How I enjoyed the spontaneity. 

One Canada - one Holland - one Finland – One Malaysian …. Cool …. 

For some reason the GPS decided to bring us though small road .. like road just big enough for one car to go through … reminds me of those kampong paddy field road … luckily it was paved but with a full load of 4 guys I was worried at every bump that the bottom would be scrape … in fact I scrape it a few time too. :…

Came out of a jungle and holy crab we found a huge Hindu temple. Detour I said and parked the car for a quick look. Initially I thought it was a Shiva temple since I saw the signs and the blue bodied god but then after rounding and finally looking at the biggest piece on top of the temple I realised it was a Brahma Hindu temple.

Hindu Temple dedicated to Brahma - Taiping
This was really rare … when I was travelling the whole of India I have only seen one temple dedicated to Brahma and here in Malaysia somewhere between Taiping and Kuala Sepetang I found another, with all 5 heads intact …. 
Brahma Temple - Taiping
Moving on we rushed to Kuala Sepetang and at the pier we just missed the bout out like 5minutes 

Somehow I had a feeling that we were being scammed but I had no way to prove it. Original price RM 20 per pax to go see firefly and a minimum of 8pax … but the dear boat man will take 4 of us or one of us as long he got the minimum 150 per trip … dinner first and hopefully more people later at 830 to share the cost …. 

Kuala Sepetang River Cruise - Firefly RM 20
Dinner I was tasked to order … and I dun really know how to order Chinese food … in the end due to the expansiveness of seafood (surprising since it’s a fishing village-and also the reason I feel being scammed) I ordered the lay man dish … hokkien mee , fried tang hun, thai style fried rice and chicken local style and a baby Kailan …. Have to say they did enjoy the local local food 

Times up and we were the only one so RM150 divided by 4 … nearly double oh well everyone was converting ringgit to some other currency so we went to see firefly. 

New Friends to enjoy the Fireflies
 I have to say, despite being from Malaysia I have never seen the fireflies. It’s everywhere in Malaysia another tourism wonder but downplayed so much only the adventurous or nothing better to do idiots spend the time to go see them. While I decided not to overnight at Kuala Selangor to see it I was glad I got to experience it in Kuala Sepetang. 
Leaving Dock to see Fireflies in Kuala Sepetang
Who knows, seeing stuff blinks a night can be so wonderful

The drive back to the hostel was much better as the GPS brought us though good roads instead of the backyard trail. After that was the usual philosophical talks with beer and cigs that happens in all random stranger gathering in hostels.

Travelled on: Dec 2016
#Fireflies #kualasepetang #kelipkelip

Thursday, 9 November 2017

7 Day Road Trip Malaysia – Towards Taiping, and a Visit to the Oldest Rubber Tree in Malaysia

Carefully setting my GPS not to select the fastest way but the longest way plus no toll and hopefully scenic I headed out towards Taiping.

The drive was always lovely but not much detours. I guess there will be stretch where it’s just driving. I always gape in awe when passing those huge manufacturing kilns in Ipoh … cement factory I think and took a picture on my phone.

Huge Factory around outskirts of Ipoh
Sometime later I passed one signboard that said Malaysian handicraft …. And I passed the building only to quickly stop at the road shoulder. Checking my mirrors, the beauty of country side road …. No cars …. and went into reverse mode.
Malaysian Handicraft Centre - Perak Branch
The Malaysian handicraft centre was a place where they make pottery and had a workshop for tours on how pottery making was about. Unfortunately I was there when the place was closed. There was an event in one of the big towns and all their pottery makers were out showcasing their handicraft.
Old Forgotten Pottery
Somehow I missed Victoria Bridge along the way, supposedly a scenic bridge and before I knew it I was in Kuala Kangsar, the main town of Perak where the Sultan Residence is.
Perak River
Oldest Rubber Tree in Malaysia
Interesting fact of Kuala Kangsar, the first Rubber Tree even planted in Malaysia is here in the heart of the city. Rubber tree is not native to Malaysia and was planted for economic reasons. This useless trivia will now be stuck in my head forever …

The Rubber Tree
Slow drive to Taiping …
The Malaysia country road
Travelled on: Dec 2016

Friday, 3 November 2017

7 Day Road Trip Malaysia – Seeking the Mysterious Gua Tambun - Ipoh

Gua Tambun, the carvings or pre historic markings made onto the limestone still exist in Ipoh. This was nearly 3000years ago …. Wiki said so. So I set the waze, Google map and somehow they always try to turn into the restricted army camp in Ipoh.

Gua Tambun - Pre-Historic 3000 Years Markings

F*ck … GPS navigation is f*cked , still I googled going by old fashion way … manual direction and stopping around to ask locals for direction. I went round nearly an hour driving around Ipoh and this place has now become a hunt a trill that I must achieve.   

Thing is, ask a local in Ipoh about Gua Tambun and most likely you will be guided to the Lost World of Tambun which is a water theme park and hotel resort. I can vouch for this for I got so lost in the Taman Taman (Residential Neighbourhood) in Ipoh asking locals walking their dogs, jogging, sweeping their front gate for the location of Gua Tambun and all pointed me to the Lost World of Tambun. Heck driving around Ipoh looking for any tourism signage help will also guide you to the Lost World of Tambun….. facepalm does not even begin to describe my feeling. 

Best way is to just trust google and wiki travel. Planted my GPS as instructed for Caltex Petrol Station Tambun and drive there. The entrance was a small back alleyway leading to a private property, Ipoh BP Polo Field to be exact

The entry point which was through Ipoh BP polo field which is private property. The pre historic sign pointed that way, and a worn out gate had laminated signs that says no tress pressing private property. WTF.

Mini Sign for the location of Gua Tambun Archaeological Markings
Check the guide in wikitravel again and confirm they said jump the fence. Over and a short walk one would not have known we were still in the heart of Ipoh. Horses were grazing free and I had to walk around them till the abandon staircase leading up to the paintings. 
Jump the Fence - Into BP Polo Club Fields Ipoh
Walking Towards Gua Tambun Limestone Wall

Forgotten Path to the Archaeological Site

Horse Grazing freely ...
Along the way a group of undergrad students on the way out approach me for an interview … they wanted to know where I was headed to, and how I knew about the actual Pre-Historic Gua Tambun and what drives me to go all the way out here to see it. In future they said, they were trying to create more awareness and hopefully get the proper funds and care for the historic landmark

A short work later, it was time to climb up the semi rotten stairs and finally I reach the locations of the painting … so just where is this 3000 year old paintings on a wall …. I saw a mark … xx love xx … peace … xx was here …. (Imagine my disappointment in mankind) …. That’s not it and I would be really passed if it was in ruins by some ignorant kids. 

Semi Rotten Stairs to See the Pre-Caveman Markings

Watch your Step - Walking to Gua Tambun

The Starting Point .... Look for the Markings
 After a while I found them … high up about 15m above, intact and beautiful. I guess the vandal could only reach the lower 3m mark and thankfully for that, the paintings was untouched. Still it was opened to weather and water drips from the limestone all day so one day it will all be gone. A historic marvel …. 
Gua Tambun - Pre Historic Markings

Gua Tambun - Pre Historic Markings

Gua Tambun - Pre Historic Markings

Lime Stone Weathered .... We can only Imagine that this Cliff Edge Used to be a Cave
Exploring Malaysia is like so …. There is so much things we take for granted

Looking Away from Gua Tambun - The Hidden View of Ipoh
#guatambun #Ipoh #heritage
Travelled on : Dec 2016

Monday, 23 October 2017

7 Days Road Trip Malaysia - Visiting Temples in Ipoh

First temple was Sam Poh Tong temple where it was built into the lime caves or at least that’s what wikitravel told me. I soon found out it is a thing in Ipoh to place temple of worship inside those majestic limestone cave they have all around.

Sam Poh Temple - Ipoh
Sam Poh temple was simple from the outside, and even after entering the main hall I tot meh … then the caretaker said I could go further inside to see walk pass a small door though a small short tunnel and it opened into a beautiful enclave.
Tunnel inside Sam Poh Temple - Ipoh

The enclave has a very old temple not open anymore but its architecture and vibe felt like I was in one of those Chinese flying movie in scenic mountain range. Peaceful and tranquilo, I sat down for a while to admire till I heard rock banging sound which startled me. Looking for the source it was two tortoise fucking. Nature is wonderful. 

Sam Poh Shrine

Sam Poh Shrine

Lots of Tortoise Around
Garden Outside Sam Poh Temple
Perak Tong temple … I guess partially because it was along the way and also wikitravel said it was the grandest temple in Perak hence the name. Drove in that direction hoping to see some shops with food along the way but to no avail. Turn into the temple and despite my many many traveling experience of not getting scammed I felled for the standard Malaysian scam which I have seen a million times. 

Inside Perak Tong Temple
Damn Indian uncle with a feather duster waving at me from far away when I turned in signalling me to park my car somewhere on the left side. In my head I though he was just organizing the car park but then again there was like so many fucking empty car park and no one around ….

Opened my door and he said, berapa pun boleh … apa-apa pun boleh …. Ok so RM 1 should be fine I guess, took out my wallet and the smallest change I got was RM 5. I could see the big grin on his face, paid for a lesson learned the hard way. 

The temple was grand indeed with many stairs leading up and up to great views of Ipoh and surround. It was definitely not for the faint hearted climbers for although the steps are good it was the up one way down back to the middle and up another to catch all the different viewpoint or for the more religious …. To visit all the deity and Buddha in every nook and corner of the temple.
Climbing Stairs all around the Limestone Rock Formation
If I were to ever make a treasure hunt game I would ask them to count the numbers of deity and Buddha …. And just to prevent smart guys with smartphones and google … a selfie shot to prove they were there …. Instant time and game killer. 

It was still worth a visit Perak Tong. 

The View of Ipoh From Perak Tong Temple
Next destination for the day .... Sleepy town Taiping

#Ipoh #Roadtrip

Sunday, 22 October 2017

7 Day Road Trip Malaysia – A Few Sights in Old Town Ipoh

Day 2 - Rise and shine and off I went to the Ipoh tourism centre which was 2 minute walk from the hotel. Dang I was too early but turning to head back I spotted the first mural, uncle old town white coffee. I smiled as I know I would enjoy this day.  

Me in Old Town Ipoh

Container Hotel - Pod Hotel in Ipoh
Photo shot and a funny mug by accident, I was off exploring Ipoh on foot. Somehow I reached back the hotel lane and walked through what looks like a back alley to find a very local coffee shop but weirdly a lot of tourist eating there. Did not think much about it and ordered a mee-horfun soup and a local Teh for breakfast or brunch. 

The shops crowd was nostalgic seeing the uncles with their newspapers and a pot of tea sitting with confidence as if the place was owned by them. It was reminder for me a feeling of being home, I love my country, I wonder why I never explored it sooner instead of chasing the western countries. 

Passing Time - Ipoh

Coffee Shop of Ipoh
After breakfast I left through the front door, well I actually entered though the back door and now I kinda understand why all the mix match people local and tourist. It was one of those places, a historic landmark lane but still operating as if lost in time.

So the lane was called concubine lane where once upon a time people hide their mistress in this small lane from their wife …. In modern days it would have been the perfect prostitute lane, discrete yet open enough to do business.

This concubine lane also house the more subtle memories of Yasmin Newseum. I only knew her name after her passing when the newspapers wrote about her life's story. Still I feel that we all Malaysian knows her from her work .... the quirky advertisement from PETRONAS every festive season and holiday season.

The stories she spun could not have touch us enough. Alas I was there on the wrong day and it was closed. It will be a must stop when I go on a longer road trip around Malaysia

Yasmin Newseum Entrance is hidden and only marked as such - Good things are hard to find  
Walking around I saw all the standard governmental building in Ipoh and round two rounds it was time to hit the road. I did not want to leave immediately remembering Andrew words that Ipoh takes more than half a day. I could never finish it or do it justice this time but I figured I’ll do it selectively. 
Ipoh Mosque

Ipoh Rail Station .... I think

Ipoh Town Tree
Next Post : Visiting Temples in Ipoh
Travelled on : Nov 2016
#Ipoh #Roadtrip

Saturday, 21 October 2017

7 Day Road Trip Malaysia – A Night in IPOH

Reached Ipoh at 7pm on the first day. Felt that I packed too much driving in one day but it was all worth it to meet up with Andrew whom I have not seen in ages. Andrew was my hang out kaki during the days in Genting Highlands working as a croupier in the Casino. The other bonus point was of course a proper fully modern equip capsule hotel for RM 50 a night. Accommodation can really be expensive in Malaysia when in the outskirts. 

Container Hotel - Capsule Pod in Inpoh
 Thinking when I was back in South America and always walking into hotels and hotels to negotiate a better price, Malaysia was different … the reception told me to book online instead for it is cheaper … so I had to borrowed wifi from them to book their place for the night … oh well 

Andrew looked the same but he is a successful man now. 10 years and I was happy to see him change so much, so confident compared to when I first saw him in Genting Highlands. He now has a life plan, a goal, and a strong minded opinion. In fact he almost started giving me live lesson advice, since; as from his perspective I was a string less kite flying around wandering a kid that refuse to grow up. 

Andrew & Me - Drinking in Ipoh
“You have to eventually think of the future once you finished all your travels”, he said

I dun blame him I guess, 10 years on and I am still nowhere where he had a thing going in life perfectly. I only laugh as he tried, ….

“I remember when it was I giving you this talk about planning your life, back then in Genting there was no focus for you but look at you now, trying to give me the same talk ….. hahahaha”

Food was local Ipoh food and then we went to his pub for a drink before he sent me back. Have to say I am proud I gave him that talk so many years ago.           

Paradigm Pub - Ipoh

Biker Ambiance - Paradigm Pub