Therry says overseas educated Indonesian women are faced with prejudice back at home and poor choices on the men front.
For single Indonesian women who
while we're women who are fortunate enough to have earned an overseas degree and are able to speak in another language, people often assume we are outrageously rich and likely to be snobs, and we are left with the dilemma of finding the right kind of man.
In a country like Indonesia, where everyone seems to get into a state of frenzy if they aren't a part of a "couple", it has become almost a sin to be walking around without your so-called other half. No matter how emancipated women have become, they still feel it's imperative that they are to be wedded off - soon, hopefully, no later than the age of 26. As soon as they hit 30, sirens start to blare off from their ears, forbidding them to enter places like cinemas or cafes with dimmed lights - as if these places have invisible placards on top of the entrances blazing "No singles allowed" blinking on and off in garish purple neons.
At times like these, it is possible lose our belief that it is okay to be single - no it's definitely fine spending Saturday evenings in front of the telly watching repeats of soap operas, munching on crackers and glugging wine down to the very last drop - but when it comes to the topic of "boyfriend", we often get into a desperate state where we'd ask each other if there's any guy - anyone? anyone at all?
But to our despair we have come to a realisation that we know - yes, we know - that it is a tough battle to find the man who could really come anywhere near our expectations - even though we don't expect that much. Well, so long as he's presentable, not like someone that even your dog would recoil from, and comes with a decent form of transportation and doesn't scab money from us - won't it be alright?
Even so, the choices aren't great:
So the question - plus the quest itself - remains the same: How on earth are we going to find the man who doesn't have all those dreadful characteristics? The time left is getting shorter by the day and the numbers of eligible men are definitely getting smaller. I am simply clueless as to think whether we are simply left with no hope or should remain optimistic.
To hell with it. I'm just going to purchase another dog and be done with it.
Being the naive girl that I was, upon returning from my study overseas, I thought getting a job would be an easy task, because an overseas degree must have been more appealing than a local degree, right?
Wrong. It was difficult for me in finding a job. I sent out resumes after resumes only to usually receive zero response, and even if I did manage to score some interviews, they never led anywhere.
I had thought that my resume and the abundant amount of work experience I had was something that would have floored them - but it seems a lot of work experience probably meant I was not loyal enough (even though they were all mostly part-time jobs that I did during college) and carrying the title of an overseas graduate scared most people off because they probably thought I was going to ask for a huge starting salary which was equal to the salary of a person who had worked for ten years.
It was when I was almost totally fed up with all the useless interviews that I finally, finally, got a job. Unfortunately, before I even started working, someone had leaked the fact that I was (gasp!) an overseas graduate, and before I even knew it, I had my very own persona labelled onto me; the snob girl who must have had a very grand life and very loaded parents at that.
That wasn't the first time it had happened to me. In the brief period of me working as an English teacher in a small institution in Thamrin, I had received the same treatment - the other employees were not keen to be friendly with me, and I couldn't immediately start chit-chatting away with them for fear of being too friendly aka SKSD (Sok Kenal Sok Deket) and scared them even more; besides, the Indonesian Art of Basa-basi was not one I had mastered yet.
Which was why it was funny that when we finally got to know each other, they were surprised that I wasn't at all what they thought. As a matter of fact, I was just like everybody else.
I went to work using public transport, instead of a hand-me-down BMW and a personal chauffeur.
I bought my clothes at places like Matahari and sometimes Mangga Dua, not from Guess or Mango. Although if I had a lot of money I probably would gone to the expensive stores, but clothes have never been an important thing for me - I'd rather spend my money on books, to be completely honest.
I cut my hair at the local Johnny Andrean and experienced bad hair days because it was the wrong style, instead of colouring and rebonding it at LuVaze - I'm not freaking Agnes Monica, for God's sake. I wasn't at all as glamorous and snobbish as others assumed by default.
Perhaps it is common to label supposedly rich people as snobs - because they are wealthy, then they are assumed to be arrogant. So it must be weird to see a rich person not being smug about their richness, because many of them are like that.
I remember what this other colleague said about this Javanese girl in the R&D department who drove to work using a Suzuki Katana and just recently changed her car to a Toyota Soluna, (bear in mind we're talking about Japanese cars as opposed to European);
"Even though she's rich, she's a very friendly person."
Wow. That "even though" bit really got me. As if being wealthy - or living an abundant and sufficient life - was a weakness, something to condemn to, and an excuse to make sense of their judgement.
Which is why whenever I met new people, I dread the very question of,
"Where did you graduate from?"
I'd contemplate lying, but I have never been a very good liar, and if I do lie, it will all just get out of hand in which they probably go,
"Oh, you went to so-and-so university! What year did you graduate? Perhaps you know my friend Budi, he was the manager of the student lounge?"
See? Not a very good idea. So now you would have understood my dilemma - if I'm being honest, I'm definitely going to be judged as a snob as to what has happened before, and if I do lie, I'll just get myself into more trouble. And all because I spent a few years of my life being overseas.
Hardly a big deal - but not to some people.