Category Archives: Fixed Abode


Rumour has it that Winston Churchill once said “I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up at us, cats look down at us but pigs treat us as equals.” In fact we are not equal, pigs don’t sweat very much at all.   Last week we talked about insulation to help keep ourselves cool but insulation can provide other benefits: Itcan provide insulation against noise. Itcan help us to control humidity. Humidity? Now there’s a thing. Humidity is always all around us, we can’t see it but we don’t have to fall in the fountain after a belly full of beer on ... [ Read More ]

Sloppy Armpits

For many people who are acclimatised to life in a tropical climate an open building with well designed ventilation and extensive air circulation provides a comfortable living environment and the use of rotating roof ventilators, ceiling fans and a building design that catches the prevailing breezes can achieve this. Inevitably there comes a day, however, when the ambient temperature soars, our armpits get sloppy and our level of gruntledrops through the floor. We desperately need to find relief so we switch on that ever so expensive air conditioner.   The High Cost of Cooling Those of us from cold climates are ... [ Read More ]

“Snake Oil Futures”

There is good news for expatriates married to Indonesian citizens. On Thursday 28th October 2016 the constitutional court ruled that the need for a prenuptial agreement (which, of course, has to be made before marriage) to allow Indonesian citizens in mixed marriages to own property is unconstitutional. What this means as that Indonesians already married to foreigners but who do not have a prenuptial agreement can now make a contract separating ownership and this will allow the Indonesian to own property. Note that the contract is necessary to nullify local laws that state that in a marriage all assets are ... [ Read More ]

Electrical Lemmings

The earth is big, really really big, it is humungously big, in fact it is the biggest thing we can actually touch. While we may be rather ambivalent towards planet earth, for electrons it is home. As we already know the electron was named after the Greek elektron which, of course, means amber. Amber? Yes, amber and this is because when the ancient Greeks rubbed dead cats on amber it upset subatomic particles which made them run around like idiots and these we call electrons. The collective noun for electrons is electricity. Down in the highways and byways of Surabaya ... [ Read More ]

“Bom Melons and Senna pod Tea”

I am rudely reminded that we haven’t talked about gas for a while, perhaps a nice strong cup of senna pod tea may rekindle the topic. The rude reminder came in the form of a pretty scary experience for a good friend of mine who had a near miss with a gas explosion in his kitchen. He was very lucky and was left with singed eyebrows and a distinct lack of need for senna pod tea. It was a sobering reminder of another friend who many years ago in Western Australia was nearly killed when, wearing only swimming trunks, he ran towards ... [ Read More ]

Hunting Truffles

One of life’s great mysteries is “where does the rest go when I visit the rest room?” A good question and one we should all take a bit more notice of. For most of us it goes to a septic tank and, in many households, trying to find the exact location of the septic tank is rather like hunting truffles (it’s the smell that gives them away). I was once called to a house whose owner had a bit of a problem. “The toilets are blocked” he said, “I don’t know where the septic tank is. Several people have tried ... [ Read More ]

The Tax Amnesia

Last issue’s article about the Indonesian Government’s tax amnesty attracted a lot of interest and raised many questions. This is important for anyone owning property so, if you will bear with me, I will go through it again adding new information that has come to light. As we should all know by now the Indonesian tax department has declared a tax amnesty which provides a one off opportunity for everyone to “come clean” and declare their assets and pay a nominal tax. There has been a lot of concern regarding the amnesty particularly among people who own property or are in the ... [ Read More ]

Taxidermy for Beginners

  “Oh bum, the tax man cometh and I’m stuffed” “Fear not, help is at hand.” Major moves are afoot (or ahand?) in the Indonesian tax department that may or may not have an impact on many people, both locals and foreigners, who live or own property or have other assets in Indonesia. These moves provide a rare opportunity to clear out the closet, skeletons and all, and come clean, a chance to pay a nominal sum, draw a line under all previous history and start again with a clean slate. I am, of course, referring to the Indonesian Government’s ... [ Read More ]

You Are The Drains Beneath My Feet

As we have said many times before a good tradesmen is as rare as a three legged unicorn. We all know about the difficulty of finding a good electrician because we have all heard the regular stories of poor innocent people going to meet their maker while taking a shower, touching their computer while checking their Facebook page or trying to plug in their electric navel vacuum. There are constant reminders of the dangers lurking all around us. Trying to find a competent plumber is, however, a whole different kettle of marine dwelling lifeforms, indeed Holy Grails are mere child’s play considering the difficulty ... [ Read More ]

Pigments and Goat Herders

If you are going to build a new building or renovate an existing one it is a good idea to find a good architect to help you. Good architects understand living spaces and how to make them both beautiful and functional. There are some very clever people about, people that can take what may seem to be a straightforward job and do wonders with it by coming up with ideas you may never have thought of.  Unfortunately, like many things in life, it is a bit of a jungle out there and for every good architect there are a quite ... [ Read More ]