Batam is a small but busy island in Indonesia of 45km x 25km and nearly a million people, hundreds of multinational owned factories, towns, shopping centres and gateway to the Riau Islands.
Located only 20km from Singapore and 25km from Johor in Malaysia, Batam is Indonesia's equivalent to China's SEZ's (Special Economic Zones) - a place where the nation's economic planners test new economic policies and ideas. The island is an industrial hub with electronics factories, a large and growing ship repair industry and an even larger oil service sector. Quite a few expats head there for work, and pubs and golf courses have sprung up to serve them.
Most tourists, on the other hand, used to come from nearby Singapore and were mostly interested in illegal casinos, which have been closed for several years now.
Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) is modeled on the version of Malay which originates from Riau on the Sumatra mainland and the Riau Islands. In fact, Riau Malay is regarded as quite similar to the Malay language and visitors from Malaysia will find the Indonesian spoken here very similar to Bahasa Malaysia, which is the version of Malay spoken back home.
Batam also have a large population of ethnic chinese Indonesians, who also can speak Hokkien (Fujian), Teochew and Mandarin. Besides, there are also large population of migrants from various parts of Indonesia who speak many different kinds of Indonesian dialects.