White Men

Dec 31st, 2007, in Opinion, Society, by

White Men in Indonesia: A Guide By Achmad.

Achmad Sudarsono

White Men in Indonesia: A Guide By Achmad

Bule (white expat) wipes the slobbering beer-froth from his jowls, as he stumbles, drunk, onto the pre-dawn dark of the bar-district in Jakarta, Jl. Felatehan, Blok M.

Thirty Bir Bintangs before, Bule had started the night wondering how it had come to this. Now, through the beer-fuelled haze, Bule, a miner in his 50s, could only feel a vague sense of gratitude he still had a place in the world.

He tramples the feet of a rag-clad six-year old child. He collides with a 60-year old beggar squatting amidst the rats.

The bar girls loved him. He was a regular, so drunk and careless he was never capable of using the services he paid for. Snoring his way into a perpetual daily hangover, he never noticed when they ripped off a few hundred thousand extra, distributed to the children of Blok M, some of them his own progeny.

Bule here is fictional. But his story could be that of 90 percent of Bules in Indonesia. Bule Gembel, Bule Kere, Bule Miskin, we Indonesians have many names for them.

In this article, I, Achmad Sudarsono, Ukuele player, poet, dangdut singer, will bust the stereotypes about Bules and Tell It Like It Is. Here is a typology of Bules in Indonesia.

Lifers and Long-Timers

These are the kind of names you'd see on the roll of honour, a wooden shield at "D Bar" in Jl. Felatehan carrying the inscription, "They've Done Their Time", either 10 or 20 years. Like flotsam and jetsam at sea, the scum at the bottom of the pond, they've somehow arrived on our shores. By day, the work in a variety of jobs. They're usually over 50 years old, ageless in their decreptitude.

Haunts: JakChat, Jl. Felatehan.
Dwells: Jl. Jaksa, Kos, random houses in Tangerang or Bekasih.
Sayings: * Vomit * c'mere, darlin' * vomit *, * vomit *, the problem with these Indons is they don't know how to work.

Do-Gooders

20-something NGO workers and journalists. Indonesia's been good to them. It offers a steady stream of natural disasters, crises, and problems (mostly created by the Bule himself), to justify their existences. The exchange rate means they can live the country-club lifestyle they pretend to despise, or at least did on campuses doing their arts degrees that they found out were useless in the real world.

They share with foreign journalists the mentality of a parasite. Poverty, refugees, and general human misery are viagra for their careers. They stay in a country just long enough to whip up a set of prejudices before leaving to the next troublespot.

Haunts: Jl. Jaksa, FaceBar.
Dwells: Taman Rasuna, Apartemen Casablanca, Kos, rented houses in Menteng or Kemang (on the taxpayer's dime), Aceh, anywhere there's marketable human misery.
Sayings: Whining about corruption whilst bitching about the "lazy" Indonesian office staff.

English Teachers and Backpackers

The less said about this motley crew, the better. Scandinavian backpackers are probably the world's most annoying people. That naive, let-them-wear-burkenstocks attitude, the idiotic belief everyone else is nice and likes them; give a shotgun. (That's the men, the women can call Achmad for some special lovin'). What the guys need is a few nights wearing crotchless leather chaps in a maximum-security prison. That'd teach them about reality.

The English teachers do nothing but talk about drugs and swap notes with the lifers about bar girls.

Haunts: Jl. Jaksa, Bali, a nation-wide chain of cockroach-infested Losmen that cost less than Rp.20,000 a night.
Dwells: As Above.
Sayings: Generally competitive bidding wars with other backpackers about who got the best deal on the cockroach infected mattress.

The Truth

Friend, such is Achmad's small contribution to The Truth. Deep down all of you, including the English teachers, know I speak The Truth.

I toast you all for 2008 with my Teh Poci here in the hills of West Java, looking out at the sunset. My quaint rustic brothers and sisters from the village are returning from another day of toil.

If they knew about Bule (in the first paragraph), they'd wonder how anyone could spend so much money on making themselves sick and not give the money to them. I simply sigh and twang a haunting tune on my Ukuele.


100 Comments on “White Men”

  1. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Where can I get it ? Has to be online…

  2. avatar iamisaid says:

    huh?

    Asides is on the home page of IM, look to the right at the bottom. Column title says “Asides” and “Hoakiau, Pramoedya Ananta Toer”. is right beneath it, first article.

  3. […] Find Achmad Sudarsono’s articles here at Indonesia Matters or read his latest article here titled “White Men in Indonesia: A Guide By Achmad”; he has been commenting on some blogs as well, but to link them up here one by one would be utterly […]

  4. avatar adrian says:

    I’m a middle-aged white man. An American. I traveled alone in Indonesia in the 90s, going from Medan to Bali, via bus, auto, train, plane and ferry.

    I enjoyed it very much.

    I never stayed in luxury walled-off resort hotels. Nor did I want to.

    I didn’t hang with Westerners. Nor did I want to. I can do that at home.

    Every day I walked the streets. Exploring. Being. I learned some of the language.

    I drank Bintang beer, but never got drunk. In Bali I politely declined as I was offered women and drugs about every 10 meters. “No, thanks.” I said. Sometimes I had to say it more than once.

    Don’t judge a book by its cover. I don’t.

    Adrian

  5. avatar perseus says:

    But c’mon, what’s the point in a “gotcha” game of comparing Australia’s institutions to Indonesia ??

    Well, Achmad Light beamer, if you can put your hand on your heart and look me in the eye and swear on the loss of your next wife’s virginity that corruption is not a problem in Indo and not a topic that should be discussed in Indonesia Matters – fine 🙂

    Plenty of problems in Oz too. And our history has its fair share of colourful and regretable episodes – White Australia policy, two Wongs don’t make a White, Damned Whores and God’s Police, Aboriginal massacres as late as 1936 and no constitutional recognition as citizens until the 1970s as well as the ones you mention. Even today blackfellas live 17 years less than white Australians which is a disgrace.

    However, one does need to look forward not backwards and we start from where we are now and what are problems are now. Dwelling on the history is useful only to avoid repeating its mistakes.

    Comparisons with other countries are useful if they are getting better outcomes. It is not a question of “gotcha”, it is question of what can Indonesia learn from the Australian experience and what can Australia learn from the Indonesian experience. All part of the wonderful soup of Globalization and International Relations, my friend.

    PS. My girlfriend wants to know what Cyber Entity of the Year: Achmad Sudarsono – Journalist of The Lightbeamers, MD smokes… 🙂

    It must be darn good stuff 🙂

    A little Xyprexa might be in order though, Doc.

    And no, you cannot have her number…

  6. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Perseus,

    I only smoke kretek. Wise of you not to offer me your girlfriend’s number as there are few women who can resist the combination of keroncong on my ukuele, combined with other secrets I will divulge in “How to Pick Up Babes in Malls Pt 2.”

    On comparisons: Alas, I fear there is little for Australia and Indonesia – as countries – to learn from each other. 99 % of each population is too caught up in their own daily affairs to spend the energy to think about things, let alone educate themselves. Perhaps for a small cadre of intellectuals. Small.

    But even Dewi Fortuna Anwar, who has a PHD from Monash, went all kneejerk nationalist back in ’99 when Australia invaded (in nationalist’s minds) East Timor. She told an African American journalist from the Washington Post that a “White man just wouldn’t understand and these are things I couldn’t say to a White person.” That’s inside information, right there. (I don’t think the African American was impressed).

    On corruption, yes, do bring it on. I have yet to hear an articulate answer to the economic, as opposed to political and ethical problems with corruption. China & Vietnam, two of the world’s fastest growing economies are extremely corrupt, as bad as Indonesia. Japan ain’t exactly roses, either. Singapore, through fascist (literally), means has suppressed information about it’s top-down corruption (Lee family’s financial interests, anyone, Bueller, anyone ??).

    Point is: corruption seems to be an ethical or political problem, not an economic one. Foreign investors are perhaps turned off by not getting what they paid for, but they didn’t seem to have a problem in the 1990s, when Indonesia was growing fastest.

    I think corruption’s a political problem, not an economic one.

  7. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Adrian,

    That’s not what I heard about your trip. Informed sources say you drank 10 bottles of Bir Bintang in a row, and then felt up everything in sight, including girls, boys, warung owners, palm trees and Kijangs. Perhaps you’d like to recouch your statement.

    Your friend Achmad.

  8. avatar TheWrathOfGrapes says:

    I think corruption’s a political problem, not an economic one.

    Yes and no, my friend. A little bit of corruption is not really bad – it is literally and figuratively the grease that lubricates the machinery of officialdom and business. However, too much of it can turn it from a political problem to an economic problem. China and Vietnam both have corruption, but the level is not as pervasive as in Indonesia or Malaysia. You bribe a few top dogs and things do get moving and works get done. In Indonesia, you have to bribe an army (literally and figuratively) to get work done, and sometimes things don’t move smoothly even after much greasing of the palms.

  9. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Dear Grapes,

    On China and Vietnam — well, we’re hearing different things. I just don’t agree with you, in other words. I think it’s a question of Asian versus African corruption.

    In Asian corruption, you pay, you get a service. An unfair one perhaps, an illegal one, perhaps, but you get it.

    In African corruption, you’re getting robbed. It’s pure extortion.

    There were always elements of both in Indonesia. But the pendulum, since reformasi has swung towards the African scale of things. You pay, but you don’t get anything but a Javanese smile. Perhaps a few embarrassed looks from friends, combined with (to the foreigner), a look which says, “you don’t understand Indonesia.”

    Even you, Grapes, haven’t given an explanation as to why if corruption’s an economic problem, growth in China, Vietnam, and even Indonesia (6%) versus about 2-3 % in the West, is so high.

    You’ve given an attempt:

    but the level is not as pervasive as in Indonesia or Malaysia.

    But no evidence.

    Evidence, please.

  10. avatar TheWrathOfGrapes says:

    Dear Achmad,
    I thought I said “You bribe a few top dogs and things do get moving and works get done.” Or in your own words, China and Vietnam belongs to the Asian brand of corruption, while Indonesia is moving towards the African model. Not quite evidence, but empirical evidence. Evidently, things get done in China and Vietnam – witness the tremendous amount of infrastructure that has been built in recent years.

  11. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Fair enough. User pays fee (the way it used to be here) vs extortion.

  12. avatar Fred Floggle says:

    Yes we did invade East Timor. The Running Dog Indonesian army stood and watched. In fact they sold us cans of coke at the roadside as we shagged the girls.

    Next is Bali, as we build a new empire of stolen lands. It is so easy, and the Indos are too idle to stop anyone.

    And lets be honest, we cant make a bigger mess of it then you guys. You had your chance. If you cant get in right in 50 years you never will…

    Dont worry Achmad, there will be work for you. I think there is a speck of dirt on my boots, clean it off chap…

  13. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Fred,

    I think you fit into category 1.

  14. avatar Cukurungan says:

    Yes we did invade East Timor. The Running Dog Indonesian army stood and watched. In fact they sold us cans of coke at the roadside as we shagged the girls.

    Next is Bali, as we build a new empire of stolen lands. It is so easy, and the Indos are too idle to stop anyone.

    No, In fact you removed annoying gravel so called the East Timor from our shoes and we also want to thank for your gift in providing us a good justification to keep FPI in business

  15. avatar perseus says:

    Point is: corruption seems to be an ethical or political problem, not an economic one. Foreign investors are perhaps turned off by not getting what they paid for, but they didn’t seem to have a problem in the 1990s, when Indonesia was growing fastest.

    I think corruption’s a political problem, not an economic one.

    Hey Achmad Cyber Entity, your point of view is always entertaining albeit somewhat delirious. Foreign investment is in decline in Indonesia. Corruption and the dubious regulatory environment appear to be the chief causes. Certainly given what I know about Indonesia, I would not invest in your country. I’ll keep the bulk of my money invested at home and blow a few million rups on good times in Jakarta and Bali. For a punt I would put the dough into Malaysia. You may not think this is a problem. Well, its your country… But I would not wish to do business in a country where investor confidence was low and where justice was the result of an auction. The investment figures show lots of foreigners drawing the same conclusion.

  16. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Perseus,

    Have a glass of water and a bit of a sit down. Then we’ll give you a lesson in logic and basic finance.

    China and Vietnam are very corrupt and they’re two of the world’s fastest growing economies. Indonesia was corrupt when it was an “Asian tiger” in the ’90s, growing at 7 % or more growth. Botswana was one of the world’s fastest growing economies from 1968 to the late ’90s and very corrupt.

    Ergo, corruption doesn’t necessarily slow down economic growth.

    On Indonesia, fine. Don’t invest. JSX was up 50 % last year, albeit portfolio and not direct investment (know the difference?). Foreign direct investment actually picked up in the last two quarters of last year. Go check your facts.

    Or if you prefer, stick to wife-rooting jokes.

  17. avatar Brett says:

    Wow, 46 comments! All I wanted to say was nice writing. I enjoyed it.

  18. avatar balibent says:

    Achmad.
    In the defense of Whites let us call them Westerners. White is such a base adjective.

    You have here the same old hash fried again. Try going to churches or some conferences on some sort technology and judge those westerner men rather then using only your seeming detailed knowledge on the ones you hang with.

    The facts are western expat owned and run companies generally pay on average higher wages and give more benifits. The contract companies run by local owners who are suppliers to the market economy firms like Nike and Levis are horrible and only clean up after consumer demand forces buyers to control the conditions of the Indonesian suppliers. The consumers are do gooder Westerners.

    I do not want to get into the list of Indonesian cultural flaws or ills beyond those already mentioned as flaws of the White man.
    One your hung up on Whiteness, watch Indonesian tv you will see dozens of ads that tell you will be happier if you are a whiter women. Not a western concept.

    Womanizing or respect for women, We know what that is here, In Bali they inherit nothing and in Aceh get beat with cains for wearing the wrong thing. Let us also consider
    the export of HUNDREDS OF THOUSAND of Indonesian women each year to what fate.

    Decreptitude? Go to most of dives in JKT no whites in site. There is every thing there that you will have a hard time finding in western cultures. And it is Panci who is the regular there.
    I have benn asked by men on the way to Haji to if I good find them women. Smiling in their fancy hat.
    You are narrow minded and should point out the flaws on man are not only of the white man.

  19. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Balibent,

    Friend, I respect your opinion (sort of), but wish it was firmer than the flabby bellies of the Blok-M drunkards.

    Friend,

    The White Man colonized Indonesia for 350 years. The Melayu man, confident in the superiority of the Mojopahit empire, was kind enough to extend the hand of friendship. The reply was to steal our natural resources.

    Now he returns, when he can’t find work in his own country to trick poor women with false promises of marriage. Frankly, I find it suspicious you are so offended by the article.

    There is only one overpowering, overhwhelming conclusion: you are one of those described in the piece. I suggest you study the Pancasila and convert to Islam. That’d be a start, oke Friend ?

  20. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    In the defense of Whites let us call them Westerners. White is such a base adjective.

    Not all Whites are arrogant. The good Whites are people like the Italians and Greeks.

    Not all English Teacher are pervert. The well respected ones are outside Indonesia, Thailand and the Phillipines.

  21. avatar perseus says:

    China and Vietnam are very corrupt and they’re two of the world’s fastest growing economies. Indonesia was corrupt when it was an “Asian tiger” in the ’90s, growing at 7 % or more growth. Botswana was one of the world’s fastest growing economies from 1968 to the late ’90s and very corrupt.

    Ergo, corruption doesn’t necessarily slow down economic growth.

    When you make $1 a day and you get a pay rise of 50c. You can go woo hoo and say wow, look at the 50% growth rate in my income. You still only made an extra 50c though…

    And indeed when you make $10 a day and you get a pay rise of $1. You can go woo hoo and say – wow look at the 10% growth rate in my income. You still only made an extra $1 though…

    When you get to $200-$300 per day you have add the same value as 20-30 chaps in $1 a day land to crack 10% growth. Bit more challenging that… So amazingly growth rates in next to nothing income states are way higher (in percentage terms) than growth rates in high income states. The same numbers in absolute terms are somewhat more depressing (for you).

    The point (logical and financial) is that high growth as a percentage is pretty darn easy when you are making diddly squat in the first place. If your typical Indo worker could earn an extra dollar a day that would be a pay rise of what 20-30%. If I make an extra dollar a day it is a pay rise of a rather tiny fraction of one percent.

    This is all explained in the standard work on the subject “How to lie with statistics” which I recommend to all spin-doctors (I used to be one y’know) and aspiring politicians such as the Cabinet of the Republic of Komodo.

    Your typical Westerner journo though does not study math or logic or anything sensible. They only study shock, awe, fear, greed and sensation.

    As for corruption, while it can be a facilitator enabling the rich to bypass troublesome democracy / ideology you surely cannot recommend it as legitimate public policy? Or as something good? Or tolerable? It encourages parasitism, discourages investment and is generally a bad thing. Except in Indo where it seems to be an art form…

    I got my info about declining foreign investment from the UI website. So I made a reasonable effort to check facts. And the values of the stock market as you rightly observed do not represent direct investment. On reflection it is direct investment that is heading south I suspect.

    Golden Rule of investment – do not invest in what you don’t understand. So what hope is there for a hapless White Man like me to understand the deep and profound mysteries of investment in Indonesia 🙂 I’d rather figure out the algorithms for derivatives. Zzzz.

    Apropos of wife-rooting, your sister says G’Day 🙂 and she gave me a Tim Tam… Yummo 🙂

  22. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Perseus,

    Hallo Friend,

    Dunno what your discussion of economic growth has to do with our discussion. And yes, it’s basic maths and statistics. The bigger a number gets an incremental unit is less of the principal. Duh.

    My point is corruption is a symptom and not a cause of a country’s economic malaise. It’s neither here nor there at an early stage of development. Try looking into Melbourne’s very own Krismonor monetary crisis, circa about 1891, I think. Weak institutions, weak regulation, human greed out of control plus access to banking funds.

    Foreign investors don’t inherently mind corruption. It’s the relatively recent shift in Foreign Corrupt Practices Acts in some Anglo countries (USA, Australia, UK), that’s the problem. No problem for France, Israel, China, most of East Asia. Those countries understand the need to “grease the wheels.”

    The point is that the White Man caused this mess, so he should clean it up.. Surely you can see the logic in that, Tim Tam or No ??

  23. avatar perseus says:

    The point is that the White Man caused this mess, so he should clean it up.. Surely you can see the logic in that, Tim Tam or No ??

    Hate to remind you but Indonesia is an independent country not a colony so no the White Man cannot fix your roads, your schools, your hospitals, your economy, your infrastructure, your law, your order, your institutions, your corruption or your culture.

    We can’t fix anything. Nor should we. Nor will we. It is all up to you Indonesians, mate. 🙂

    Sovereignty. Freedom. Responsibility. All yours… You have had it for 60 odd years. Enjoy!

    Foreign investors don’t inherently mind corruption. It’s the relatively recent shift in Foreign Corrupt Practices Acts in some Anglo countries (USA, Australia, UK), that’s the problem.

    I am a foreign investor. I mind corruption. And the recent shift will hit the European Union if it has not already before long. The Corrupt Practice stuff will spread to East Asia as well. The richer countries are not going to readopt corruption to keep you happy. It sucks. It is bad governance. It is on the way out. Look at the flak the Australia govt copped over the AWB dodgy deals with Iraq. It is Bad Old Days stuff. You want a decent regulatory environment. You want rule of law, enforcement of contracts, basic basic stuff.

    I have a mate who wants me to buy a share in his Bali dive shop. I say ‘Are you kidding?’ You have staff that steal that you can’t get rid of and a whole bunch of baksheesh seeking officials – priests, banjar, cops, tax men, etc etc you have to pay off. I know one guy who owns a dive boat in Cairns, came to Bali, started a liveaboard dive business and just decided one night after various dramas to load his shop onto his boat at 10pm and sail out of the country at 2am. He just abandoned the business in mid-season he was so ticked off. He was lucky, the boat and the dive gear were the major assets. He sailed them in, he sailed them out. There are better places to put your dough from my limited point of view and my limited experience. I can’t speak for the French or the Japanese or anyone else.

  24. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Perseus,

    Then let me rephrase. All this bullsh*t that foreign investors carry on with about corruption is just that: Bullsh*t. What they want is stability, security, and value for money. Indonesia’s foreign investment was at its peak when it was at its most corrupt. China, Vietnam, very high foreign investment, very high corruption: riddle me that.

    Proper enforcement of contracts won’t be happening for 20-30 years. Fact of life. So let’s drop the bullsh*t. The problem is foreign investors aren’t getting value for money. Corruption doesn’t buy what it used to. That’s the problem.

    So let’s just can the whole moralistic routine.

  25. avatar orangkanada says:

    Good day, night…good good.

    As I have been reading through this thread, I have been trying to find the proper words to impart that would have the least negative impact and somehow leave a ‘think about it for a few moments before you go to bed’ effect. Judging by the proportion of the content, not an easy task. Difficult to not be reactionary and wish to give ‘human rights in the 21st century’ lecture. But, in doing my best to avoid the aforementioned, here goes:

    First, I was looking in the opinion column to see how it’s possible to create my own topic or thread. So far, well…I’m here now aren’t it? 😉

    After having lived in Indonesia for 9 months now, married to a wonderful Indonesian lady, I have been trying to find the best ways to contribute to Indonesians having a more accurate, inclusionary and modern view of foreigners visiting, working in or traveling through their homeland.

    I can certainly understand why foreigners ‘orang asing’ of whatever superficial skin colour, pigment or melanin constitution have been and are still getting a bad reputation. Just as humans go around the world, you have some black some white and some grey. Almost thought I was going with skin colour there, didn’t ya?

    Anyhow, with negative behaviour comes negative perceptions. With good behaviour…well, usually…the negative perceptions take a brief hiatus until another with bad behaviour comes along. It seems to be one’s challenge being an orang asing or in my case orang Kanada here in Indonesia and contribute to a better perception or asing folk.

    I feel that in my neighborhood, the impact has already been felt and some perception have already begun changing.

    For the first few months living here, some people thought I was American, others thought I was Dutch or German and all of them thought that I was the derogatory “bule”. It reminds me of the US during the era of slavery when those in power (at the time) had discriminatory, prejudice and defamatory names for the African Americans. No need to even type the word as it makes me cringe almost as much as the “b” word commonly used to pigeon hole foreigners with a mild melanin constitution…whiteys, right?

    So, then, as I began to say, I feel that a positive impact has already been felt in mine and my wife’s neighborhood. Many of the residents are not shy to pass by and say hello, and often ask if they can come ’round from time to time to practise speaking English. Other times, they’ll bring their children or one of their nieces or nephews with them. This, I feel, is a great investment for the future attitudes of the younger generation who by immense universal fortune do not have parents who are biggots and who wish for their children and family to know more about other cultures first hand. Not much more than a month, and I have the nickname of ‘om’, or ‘mas’, or ‘bang’…by those young and old. Perhaps this lumps me into the 10 perCent category rather than the 90. Either way, it’s of the slightest importance.

    The real importance that I find is that when we’re nice to others, accepting of others and willing to offer our help to others, that’s how other’s see us….and, it then reciprocates. Sometimes, when walking home from work, one of the younger children in the neighborhood that had not seen me before would point at me and then look to their parents and questioningly say: “bule” To this, there have been two reactions from the parents. Some, who do not yet have a moderately positive opinion of orang asing, usually either whisper something unintelligible and snicker to their children or, they try an open minded and awakened parenting technique by looking at their children with disapproval and say “dia orang Kanada”, or “dia Om Jo”. These are the parents that have been open enough to speak with me when passing by or when I’m out and about and share some time and connect with my neighbors, they do not pass judgment as a knee jerk reaction. Bless them all!

    The fact is that, whether it’s me or whether it’s you: like it or not, we daily form the perceptions of tomorrow, and whether inadvertently or not, influence those around us; be it productively or counter productively depends on the impending future results.

    There’s a quote that I recall as: “BE the change you wish to see in the world.”

    It makes so much sense. Since how we ARE can be the only determining factor on whether our contribution to change is a positive or a negative one. Part of the solution (minority….thus far) or part of the problem (majority…thus far)

    BE the change you wish to see in the world. Judge yourself, and have compassion for others. Most of the popular religions and spiritual traditions in the world diffuse these sorts of messages. Let’s work together to BE the positive change in the world.

    Best wishes & Selamat hari damai
    Everyday.

    Orangkanada

  26. avatar White Man says:

    Achmad,

    Wow, Achmad, you really suffer from a massive inferiority complex. Maybe you’re just jealous you can’t get any girls…sorry buddy, with or without the presence of the white man you still wouldn’t pick up. You give such good descriptions of these place like Jalan Jaksa, which means you’ve hung out quite a bit…maybe a white guy stole your girl and you’re still upset? What’s funny, is that the girls “on sale” are not white girls, but Indonesians…as they say in English, “It takes two to tango”. Yeah, the guys who pay for prostitution are bad, but Indonesian girls have no shame or honour. They sell themselves. I applaude the Arabs, for example: they face the same poverty, but rarely do they resort to the same shame and dirtiness as Indonesian girls. This is probably because Arabs still have some faith in their religion and follow it.

    What you should do is focus on improving your own people before you start criticizing others. Look at your country, it has everything: Oil, timber, gold, etc, yet it’s still in the 18th century. The Dutch left years ago…what, you still gonna blame it on the “bule”?

    The fact that you have this term “bule” and use it without shame illustrates your own “colonial” attitudes. Each culture has its own name for other races, but we usually use it carefully and quitely. Nope, not the Indonesians…”Hey Bule, bule, bule..” Man, you guys need to learn some manners.

    Look at Malaysia and Singapore, they obtained Independance around the same time as Indonesia, but have developed light years ahead of Indonesia. Why? Well there’s many reasons, but you don’t want to face the reality and do the hard yards to improve your country. Instead you waste your time making excuses and blaming others for your problems. The white man isn’t forcing the Indonesians to be corrupt, you guys are doing just fine all by yourself. What’s funny is that the Javanese always talk down to the Papuans but Indonesia has only managed to score itself .3 points above Papua on the corruption Index (in 2007, Indonesia scored 2.3 on Transparency International’s corruption index, while PNG got 2.0). Wow, you guys rock…you’re as good as Togo and Gambia. I’d be proud….

    Actually, while I’m on it, the Papua issue goes to show that Indonesians, when given the opportunity, like to colonize others too. What, you think Papuans are Indonesians? I know the Westerners and Europeans have been bad – very bad, and I’m totally against what they have done and continue to do around the world – but Indonesians have proven they can be just as bad…what you should realize Uncle Achmad “Sok Tahu” Sudarsono, is that race isn’t a problem…it’s a human problem. All human’s share the same greedy desires, and most – but not all – will screw their best friend just to improve their own circumstances.

    I like Indonesians, they are one of the nicest people in the world. But Indonesia has some huge problems and Achmad’s inability to realize this illustrates why Indonesia is still in the dark ages.

    Get a life Achmad, you’re a twit!

  27. avatar kinch says:

    Pretty good, actually. A Theophrastus for our times! (You should hear me when I get started on those NGO Tossers).

    PS: When can we look forward to your Richard Oh vignette? 😀

  28. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    All My Friend,

    Kinch,

    White Man,

    Good idea — a piece on Richard Oh.

    I think I’ll send him some of my poetry and see if he publishes it.

    Here’s one:

    Halo Mister,
    All smug in your apartemen,
    But do you know the suffering of the people ?
    You are the Kucing Garong of globalization, Mister.
    And I am the Si Pitung.
    Mister,
    You know BATs. But do you know batik ?
    Mister,
    You know Blok M — but do you know the ASEAN bloc ?
    Soon it will you, mister, that is pulling a becak,
    When the Asian man toasts your downfall and gives you a Rp.500 tip for ferrying him in from Sydney Airport.

  29. avatar kinch says:

    Pak Sono,

    Descendant of Rajahs,

    Consumer of Sampoernas,

    Strummer of ukeleles (in, on, or nearby your Kos),

    Frequent Loiterer in the Furniture Level Men’s Room @ TA:

    If Richard Oh has any sense, he’ll bankroll your ukelele CD as well as publish your poems.

    I remember one Harry Lee going on at length in the early 90s about how Australians were going to end up as the Poor White Trash of Asia. Must have happened by now, so I guess I better head back to the Antipodes and lord it over them given that I’m sure I must be 1/64th Hakka or something similar.

    If I were half the poet you are, I’d compose one titled “Don’t Call Me Mister”.

  30. avatar kinch says:

    The man is a misunderstood literary genius. The muse of Sukarno hovers behind him… but where in this forum, and in these days of dust and disappointment, is a suitable Marhaen to to act as his foil?

    Truly the seed has fallen on fallow soil. Or was it in fact spilled upon the ground?

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