Couple of weeks back i visited Jakarta, Indonesia. I cannot remember if i have noticed it before but a biometrics lane was there to receive arriving residents or perhaps registered aliens. It was a service from Saphire.saphire Singapore and Malaysia (if i remember it correctly – among asean country) have implemented this solution.  I quickly checked Saphire news feed and according the release it was implemented since Feb this year. I wonder whether this is part of the security measure of asean initiative?

Another 1st was the credit card facility in the Silver Bird taxi service. If it’s your first time landing in Jakarta and you forgot to arrange a hotel pickup – just take any taxi that has a ‘Bird’ brand on it. birdgroupI usually take the silver bird from the airport and blue bird when going around the city. It’s safe and the fare rate is consistent. Anyway, this time around i was quite happy to see that they are already offering credit card facility and so if you haven’t got the cash you know what to do. Which means official receipt comes with it.

SPONSOR:, practical technology solutions for SMEs


Q. What Chowking and Christian Bautista have in common?

A. Their products/services are both striving in Indonesia. Obviously Chowking for it’s pinoy-chinese meal or was it indo-chinese, and Christian’s good looks and voice.

When the first time i set foot in Jakarta, apart from looking for the nearest joint i can find movie titles in DVD ala “pirates of the sumatera“, like in any other destination i’m looking for something pinoy. From the same mall where the goodies are — Mal Ambasador, i found Chowking! Actually after a week of nasi goreng you tend to long for something different, like . . . fried chicken!?. Not that Chowking recipe is unique, initially i noticed that majority of the customers were Pinoys but most recently it’s a success in diversity. I find their halo-halo sweeter but it works for me, by the way it comes free when buying a combo meal.  The spicy sauces also comes in handy on the side, which is not available here. Truly Chowking has evolved into Indo’s local preference.

And Christian Bautista (CB), from a distant i thought i saw somebody familiar, not that we all look alike and came from the same ancestor — Malays, we drove past a billboard advertising his concert (not sure if this pushed through, since i heard there was a strom at the time when the concert was scheduled). Anyway, Pinoy Pop in Indo – why not? We look alike, we speak american english which they admire, and we sing like professionals (compared to the rest of the population) of course CB is a professional.

Convergence, after office with Pasky, Chowking for dinner and CB for background music. Pinoy na Pinoy with Indo flavor. Not that Indo’s cannot rip the music of CB and sell it at a bargain. Chowking can do ala Starbucks and sell original Pinoy music. Play it at the background. Nah, but that’s nothing compared to what Jollibee Corporation (Chowking’s parent cmpany) is selling hamburgers. Did i stop there?

Jollibee entered into entertainment business when starting Jolly Tv kids. With the influence of music on their restaurants here in Jakarta, they can start a promotion outfit to sell Pinoy talents. Indonesia and Malaysia are going goo-goo about Pinoy superstars anyway. One can only imagine the sheer population of this two countries. Jericho Rosales is also big in Malaysia by the way, thanks to telenovela. ABS-CBN or GMA will have a hard time setting this pace. But literally through the stomach of the millions, piped-in music can influence how the talents can become popular.

First toys now entertainment!

I heard that Jollibee tried to set up in Jarkata, but was not successful : ( Perhaps they tried the other entry strategy with the chinese community, thus Chowking. And let’s forgive CB about the national anthem scandal — shit happens.

P.S. when in Jakarta, i always take my dinner at Chowking’s Mal Ambasador branch.