Expats

Oct 3rd, 2006, in IM Posts, Opinion, by

On the "quality", or possible lack thereof, of expatriates in Indonesia.

Visitor Parvita, on the dating Indonesian girls article, makes these, somewhat stinging, remarks about expatriates in Indonesia.

I've gone out both with Indonesian and expat men (western and eastern) and my lesson to learn is: expats are just for fun and not to be taken seriously.

Most of them that comes over here, especially the westerners, are those who cannot "compete" in their country. And when they come over here, they make better living because our country pays expats waaaaaay better than nationals. Then they became like kings, thinking that they are superiors, and some girls fall for them. For instance, would you think a very successful and smart lawyer, or businessmen in England would move to a country like Indonesia? And the houses they live in in Kemang, when they go back to their countries, say, Italy, they will just live in a one bedroom apartment (or a studio) with no driver and a really small car, commuting to the city? The place I live and the car I drive currently is much much better than what they have.

I deal with lots of western expats, some of them are my friends. They told me that when they are here, they are handsome. In their countries, they are invisible. There you go, a confession from an Australian.

Some expats are even so obnoxious, having to live in the states for long, I know they are the loser kind but when they are here, they are surrounded by women and think that they are God's gift to women.

When a smart, rich, independent Indonesian women dates an expat here, that expat must be a really damn good one! [bold added]

Certainly some home truths there, but the "Most of them..." part may not stand up to analysis.


520 Comments on “Expats”

  1. avatar Tony says:

    Even if I’m a male, how can I disagree with Parvita….!
    …but, as Bill Clinton would say:” it’s economy, stupid!”

  2. avatar Riccardo says:

    This line of “reasoning” has long been interesting to me. He states:

    “For instance, would you think a very successful and smart lawyer, or businessmen in England would move to a country like Indonesia?”

    The unstated premise, of course, in that statement is this: ‘Indonesia (presumably the country that he loves) is such a terrible and miserable place, that nobody, who actually had a choice in the matter, would come here to live.’

    And that is the crux of the issue: a really bad case of inferiority complex. He does not feel like he’s able to “compete” on his home turf for jobs or chicks.

    I don’t know if he’s right or wrong, but I do know that out the 100 or so expat acquaintances I’ve known here, if you asked the question of why they are here, you’d get a hundred different answers.

  3. avatar Mohammed Khafi says:

    I have many expat friends, who are paid Rupiah salaries, no special packages, happily married long term with Indonesian wives, who could do their work anywhere, but choose to remain here because they love Indonesia.

    Sounds a little like “Sour Grapes” from Parvita to paint most expats with the same brush. Sounds as if she was a little down when she wrote that comment.

    I won’t disagree with most of what she say however, apart from changing the “word” most to “some”.

    Peace

  4. avatar Oigal says:

    Gee, thats kinda harsh..

    For every obnoxious expat, I could show you a hundred gold diggers but never the less many of us expats find real happiness here.

    I have an Indonesian wife with three beautiful kids and she tells me that the reason a lot of the girls find expats attractive (leaving out the gold diggers) is often they treat the girls as equal partners and friends/lovers rather than the woman out the back whose job it is to raise the kids.

    Want to to test the theory, have a look the next time you are out for a meal, the number of middle age Indonesian men out eating with their “male” buddies whilst the other half has been left at home again..

    Of course Parvita tells us what she is looking for in a man (poor guy) “they will just live in a one bedroom apartment (or a studio) with no driver and a really small car, commuting to the city? The place I live and the car I drive currently is much much better than what they have” Pity the guy when she decides to trade up

  5. avatar expat in frankfurt says:

    “our country pays expats waaaaaay better than nationals”

    Expatriates all over the world have more benefits than the locals, not just in Indonesia.

    Some of what was written may have a hint of truth in it but NOT all are like that. It’s a very narrow minded view and generalization. and, obviously, from someone who does not really know much about why companies have expatriates and/or by someone who is only exposed to the “bad foreigners”.

    Never generalize!

  6. avatar Jakartass says:

    Is this topic seasonal? It seems the same old claptrap is spouted with great regularity, presumably by folk who are feeling unhappy / unloved / inadequate etc.

    The answer to these complainers is simple: DO something, make something of your lives and then you won’t be worried about others.

    And others may be envious and moan about you.

  7. avatar Julita says:

    Answer: I have been and am on both sides, was an expat as well as training or briefing them. Depending on what they are going to do, they have to compete, show their qualification, show their capability. Then comes the training, briefing in all aspects. For instance, language training for China could take one to two years. While on training they get their usual salary, they have one or two instructors. These are all tax payers’ money, so they have to be good. The government or the organization sending them usually continue to pay (whole or part) of their salary while posted. Yes, much higher; if they are sent to Indonesia, they are lucky but how about Africa or Middles East, they think twice.
    ____________________

    Most of them that comes over here, especially the westerners, are those who cannot “compete” in their country.

    A:”¦”¦”¦This is yes and no, depending on what they do, teaching English as a Second Language?
    _____________________

    And when they come over here, they make better living because our country pays expats waaaaaay better than nationals. Then they became like kings, thinking that they are superiors, and some girls fall for them.

    A. Pak SubarI said: “It is cheaper for the Government to pay one professional to come to Indonesia and who is able to instruct 20 to 30 people then sending Indonesians to a foreign country”. So what I mean is, if the Indonesian Government is the one paying the person’s salary, it is still cheaper.

    Girls/women: This is everywhere not only Indonesia, girls/women (they usually go where the foreigners get together, beer parlor, pub??? The places where rich and good girls are not allowed to go by their parents) are just after them. Be honest, usually expats have money, come from a country with good standard of living, they have a good job etc. etc. these girls/women (they are damn lucky), they don’t even care whether their friend have a family back home country or whether she will brake a family apart.
    _________________

    For instance, would you think a very successful and smart lawyer, or businessmen in England would move to a country like Indonesia?

    A”¦”¦”¦Not move but a 3 or 4 months contract would be nice. Also if the placement would not disturb their children’s schooling or wife’s job.
    _________________

    And the houses they live in in Kemang, when they go back to their countries, say, Italy, they will just live in a one bedroom apartment (or a studio) with no driver and a really small car, commuting to the city?

    A”¦”¦”¦”¦..Italy is crowded place, parking is difficult to find even the well off would not want to go by car. It is not wise for a bachelor to have/rent a big apartment/house they have to clean it, insurance, maintenance and they still want to be mobile, travel. So it is sometimes not that they do not want but because it is not wise.

    A”¦”¦.. It is not all flowers. Some expats have a very, very house back home then they take this job and they end up living in a house full of bullets’ holes, like a war zone. They have to be careful where they walk, many people, children got killed by mines in that area.
    __________________

    I deal with lots of western expats, some of them are my friends. They told me that when they are here, they are handsome. In their countries, they are invisible. There you go, a confession from an Australian.

    A”¦”¦”¦..Oh my, here I come. If you see black fishes in a bowl and one is white or orange, than of course it draws attention and when it is put back where it comes from, the fish is just like any other. Handsome? Nanti dulu.
    _______________

    Some expats are even so obnoxious, having to live in the states for long, I know they are the loser kind but when they are here, they are surrounded by women and think that they are God’s gift to women.

    My dear, it takes two to tango. Like I said before ‘it is not that they think’ women are after them too everywhere.
    __________________-

    When a smart, rich, independant Indonesian women dates an expat here, that expat must be a really damn good one!

    A”¦”¦”¦”¦..Yes, if her mother let her go out with them; and yes, make sure that you know more about the person. Though I also, really hope/suggest expats to be faithful if they have family home or find those compatible to them, looks better and happier for all.

    This is just to show the other side of the story, if I can help just one person or a happy family it is worth sending this out.

  8. avatar Molisan Tono says:

    I love Catherine Zeta Jones but couldn’t marry her, she is belong to Michael, hahaha, my expat day dream is gone mate.

  9. avatar Mohammed Khafi says:

    Perhaps this will put Parvita’s comments in perspective: Maybe time for a little love and support guys?

  10. avatar Indcoup says:

    It sounds like sour grapes to me. The expat probably dumped her as soon as she started mentioning the big M word.

    After all, if she were a nice Indo girl, she wouldn’t be messing around with those fornicating lust-driven bules, would she?

    Sure many expats adopt the four f’s code of living in Indonesia (find feel f*ck forget).

    But then again why not?

  11. avatar Jakartass says:

    Thanks Mohammed.
    You’re right that her blog puts things in perspective, but getting low down and personal should be just that, low down, personal and not available for all and sundry on the internet. I wonder if her “sophisticated” and “socially élite parents” have read her posts.

    As I wrote above, it is time she got a life. But what intrigues me is that this theme is not new in the local blogosphere and it has recently surfaced elsewhere with further comments here.

    Is the open season on bules cyclical to coincide with the pending rainy season or is it the hormonal realignment that occurs during bulan puasa (Ramadhan)?

  12. avatar Mohammed Khafi says:

    Oh Jakartass, shame on you! “two swallows do not a summer make!”. I would hardly call it open season, ….. but then again we are only halfway through bulan puasa! ;-)

  13. avatar Anonymous_aloy says:

    Patung,

    I have nothing to say on the matter except that it odd that some in the chat forum have described this is as a debate between expats and “Indonesian intellectuals”.

    The “Indonesian” part is not correct. The main players (“offenders” according to some): Thang is a Vietnamese and Ong is a Malaysian, both of whom happened to be based in Indonesia. They are as “Indonesian” as their debate opponents are (albeit of Asian origin). This is mainly an all-expat brawl. (Yes, I notice some Indonesians did join the fray).

    The “intellectual” part is certainly debatable, especially with regards to Thang whose other blog entries is just as bad and offensive.

  14. avatar David says:

    Well I started this topic on the 3rd which was before the other things started, except maybe Thang’s post but I don’t read there. So this post had nothing to do with what they are all talking about, I just thought Parvita’s opinion was interesting, well-written, and partly true. Actually I felt guilty about it afterwards, maybe taking liberties with what she wrote on the other dating girls post, which I’ll admit was a crap article and probably offended her. She hasn’t been back in a while, hope she’s doing alright. :sad:

  15. avatar Jakartass says:

    I had no intention of offending you, or anyone, Mohammed. However this topic has resurfaced, after an interval of about a year, here, in Thang’s column, on A Fatih Syahud’s reposting on WordPress of his Blogger of the Week, on Unspun and finally (I hope) on Treespotter..

    It is tedious rehashing the same responses to the same old same old offensive stereotyping. We expat bloggers are withdrawing from the fray. As it’s fairly obvious that ‘open season’ will come round again, promise not to jerk my knees next time.

    By-the-by, this has been, possibly, the most moderate thread of them all.

  16. avatar Mohammed Khafi says:

    My friend you did not offend me, passions are running high on both sides of this argument, your reactions to it are completely understandable.

    I am saddened to see that the two main instigators of this trouble are not Indonesian nor Westerner, but that the resulting bad feeling is reflecting on Indonesians and Westerners.

    We would in actual fact be better off focusing our attentions on corruption, law enforcement, judicial performance, government, social welfare, human rights and a multitude of other issues which are ruining peoples lives, rather than making generalised statements about a group of people who have been invited here to help us improve our country.

    Peace

  17. avatar Anonymous_aloy says:

    Well said, Mohammed, very well said.

  18. avatar Julita says:

    If we ask students in the class, to describe an apple: A would say it is green, B would say it is red, C it is sweet, D it is sour etc. etc.
    It is very ignorant to say that A is against B, B against C, C against D. One’s opinion on something it all depends “¦”¦”¦”¦”¦. The Creator create everything very unique. If we, grains of sand in the ocean, do not accept this then we are not appreciating the work of the Creator; for instance the different colour of people which exist, different character opinion etc. etc
    So Parvita, to me you have your own correct opinion, chin up girl, take care and I wish you all the very best. Let them do their empty talk.

  19. avatar Polar Bear says:

    Gentlemen, I have to confess that I am as handsome (or not) in Sydney as I am in Jakarta.

    In fact I must be more handsome, since no Sydney side girl ever asked for taxi money.

    You fail to inspect the other side of the coin. Indonesian girls date bules for two reasons:

    1. What they can get, ranging from taxi money to a ticket to a new life in Australia.
    2. The street credibility that goes with dating a bule. Even an aging, pot bellied ugly bule is still a better option than the local guys.

    At issue seems to be the damaged pride of Indonesian men. In the spirit of cooperation let me offer the following free advice:

    Start treating women better. They are not second class citizens, they are equals in life. They have a life, and are not just there to give you sons. Treat them like partners not chattels.

    They enjoy sex, even the things you don’t like. Romance and oral turns women on, and it takes a long time for them. Take the time. Give them the pleasure they give you.

    Style seems to be the missing link of Indonesian male culture. Flip flops aren’t cool.
    It isn’t a case of adding money and stirring. Take a good look at some good mens magazines. Wear suits – even in the heat. Wear good shoes. Learn how to act with style and grace.

  20. avatar Molisan Tono says:

    and send a box full of chocolate and lingerie from Victoria Secret…
    oh such a nasty bay…

    yo polar bear… everybody like imported material. including expats, so no wonder…. like I said, i love catherine zeta jones.

    I’m marriedm not that it meant I don’t love my wife… it just that everybody have their own taste of life. even my wife prefer bae yong jun than me… so cheer up guys…

  21. avatar Harry says:

    I actually tend to agree with the starter of this topic. Being a bule expat myself and having lived in Jkt for over 11 yearsi can say that many if not most of my bule friends are by Indonesian girls all the time. Many even have a regular fanclub following them around. Their handphones are full of telephone numbers of girls, new ones are added on a daily basis and they are intimate on a regular or irregular basis with all those girls.

    Yesterday i spoke with a 49 yo guy from the UK. He told me that all he does besides working is dating women. It is the rule he has 3 dates per day and sleeps wiht most of his dates (many ask him to sleep with them on the first date) He also gets called many times per day by girls he knows already, they ask him to meet him in his or their apartment. When he is with a girl he always shuts of his HP because he is constantly called by girls and his date would of course not appreciate that.

    He never had to pay one single rupia for any girl he dated or slept with. But he often asks if he can pay the restaurant or movie bill. Often the girls refuse and wanna pay for the entertaintment. He keeps note of all the girls he meets and sleeps with. This year so far he met and slept with 74 different girls, some of them he has slept with twice or more. He never slept one single night alone. MInd you, Not one single night.
    He tells me he really would like to sleep alone some time because his work is quite stressfull and he can use a sound sleep but if he is without a date in his apartment he just cannot shut off the phone (a bit addicted) and he will get called by a girl who wants to come along, and he just cannot refuse.

    He told me his life is quite average for a single bule in Jkt, not even out of line, some of his friends even have more female friends and sleep wiht more than one girl per day. (he never sleeps with more than one girl per day)

    The girls are practically begging to be with him and their numbers grow by the day as me meets new ones every day. How different my life in jkt is.

    I haven’t even had a date so far and I been far longer in Jakarta then him

  22. avatar Molisan Tono says:

    so harry, are you explicit saying, it’s about sex drive these young women or men were looking for?

    I understand that many expat think that their quality is far beyond most local. but I guess it’s not only experiences and about sex drive only… it’s about appreciation of people.

    my dutch friend told me, it’s the way you treat people the key to have great relation…

  23. avatar Mohammed Khafi says:

    Harry,

    If your friend’s experiences are true, and I have to say I have my doubt’s as your account of his story seems much more like an immature schoolboys fantasy, then I would suggest that he seeks medical treatment as he is either hormonally imbalanced or has some psychological problem. He must have a very shallow existence if all he is interested in is work and sex. Hasn’t he found the great joy to be had in a long term relationship with a woman, not just the sharing of life’s experiences, the debate, companionship, and conversation, but the joy of a sexual relationship which can only come from a long term partner? I actually feel sorry for your friend.

    Peace

  24. avatar Molisan Tono says:

    my victoria’s secret cataloq just arrive

  25. avatar Harry says:

    Yes i know from observations that his experiences are real and not imaginary. He is not the only white guy however who lives like that, many do even the ones that are in relationship. Many bule after arriving in Indonesia go through a couple of phases: The initial phase is a kind of kid in a candystore behaviour when they choose all but the right girls, meaning they go for the girls that actually chase them, the so called ayam or pembantu or girls without jobs or very low paid jobs. After a while this novelty wears off and they start getting the girls that are a few steps higher on the ladder (dept. store ladies, secretaries, office girls) but these girls are also easy to get so this will also become boring after a while and then many western guys start to go for the illusive high class women such as models, sinetron or movie actresses or business ladies or ladies from high class families and also girls that are not really interested in bule guys. Normally when they find such a girl they will stop chasing the other girls.Some however just cannot stop chasing all these girls that fall for them I think they become pussy addicts, I think the conquest is more important for them then the actual deed (as one of my bule friends told me). Most of these guys already have a high class indo gf but they just cannot stop the chase.

    Hope this helps a bit (btw. I’m not one of these guys, I’m too shy to even look at a girl)

  26. avatar Indcoup says:

    harry:

    get a f*ucking grip of yourself mate.

    What do you mean by saying you are too shy to look at a girl?

    Jakarta is pussy utopia. Get your sh*t sorted out and get some action.

    My advice for easy pickings: dept stores: fairly low class but lot’s of choice to suit your taste. Go to Sogo WEEKDAY afternoons and you simply can’t fail.

    Once you’ve got that sorted, you can, as someone earlier wrote, “move up the ladder”.

    But please do SOMETHING. Cos it’s f*ucking galling reading the stuff you’ve been writing here.

    Cheers. Indcoup.

  27. avatar Harry says:

    I often went to Sogo on weekday afternoons, also to many other malls but i never even saw one girl who was interested in me. If i make a first move they will not respond or respond in a hostile or negative way.
    I must tell you that I’m 39 years old and 173 cm, so maybe that gives u a clue why i get those responses

    However i saw many, yes very many bule pulling girls there. I think the girls in Sogo are upper class and most bule who go there are the young and handsome and tall type of guy and of course these guys cannot fail with the indo girls.

    I guess u r tall right??

  28. avatar Polar Bear says:

    This has to be a wind up.

    I could exhume 100 yo Jack the Ripper and drag his corpse through any shopping mall any afternoon, And a shoal of Ayams would start fluttering eyelids and smiling.

    At first I thought it was a rip off. I woke each morning, convinced that the girl and my possessions would be gone. They never were”¦.

    There are 1000 reasons why Indonesian girls like bules. The biggest one, in my mind, is the sheer dismal life they lead. They don’t get to visit Europe. Sadly, most know that they never will. So they do the best they can. Having a Bule BF, even for a night, is the best they can do.

    Think about it guys, and when that girl smiles at you, remember she has probably never sat in an aeroplane, and never will. All she can look forward to is a dreary dismal life with no hope of advancement.

    So don’t take advantage, treat her well, but her dinner and/or drinks. Tell her about life where you come from, and if she wants, make passionate love to her. But respect her for trying the best she can. But for a twist of fate, that girl could be you.

    and hey, if you fall in love, good luck, marry the girl and you will have a good wife for ever.

  29. avatar Parvita says:

    I’m here, I’m just not aware that the topic was being dedicated as one topic!

    Sorry guys, the word ‘most’ will be ‘most’ because that’s what I see through my eye glasses. Most doesn’t mean all of them. But sorry to say, in my career, I’ve only met few bule’s that are qualified to be in here in the name of ‘technology and knowledge transfer’ to the nationals, who contribute a lot. In my ‘world’, expats are cost recoverable, which means that they are paid by the government, they cost 20x more than nationals and it really bugs me, and other Indonesians, male or female, when the expats just laze around or do average quality of work.

    In my last company, when I visited their headquarter, there are tons of smart people. But why they send the mediocre ones here? While for us Indonesians to be sent abroad, we have to be the best of the best. Apparently, their boss wants the smart one to stay in the country.

    Of course bules likes to live here, or anywhere in Asia, they are treated like kings! There are some decent ones too, that met their wives here and live happily with kids. Good for them. But mind you, the comment I made about non qualified expats is not solely my own comment; it was one of the comment that came out among us women talking about expats. Some of the comments are even made by an expat, a bule.

    Car with driver, maid, big houses or nice apartments in the middle of the city…do they get that, really, back in their countries? Sometimes I find that they forget their origin, honestly. OK, it comes with the job but it’s not an excuse to be a snob or an a@%&le.

    When it comes to women, one thing that the educated Indonesian women likes about expats are they are open minded because they have travelled to lots of places. That makes them interesting, as interesting as us that also travels around the world. But hey, it comes to the taste as well.

    To end this, am I the only female in this discussion? And I hope the topic didn’t offend too many people but if it did, tough!

    By the way, I haven’t read either Thang or Unspun’s blog on this, this is an independant comment, originally from my observation.

  30. avatar Avi says:

    Parvita,

    Once again I feel obliged to comment on your bitterness. Indonesia doesn’t need the best of the best, yet. There are plenty of challenges here that can be taken on by the most mediocre foreign managers. I don’t mean any offence to Indonesians, but the fact remains that work ethic here is, well, half-assed. Some of the finest, or at least most established, financial institutions’ local hires tend to be from Chinese ethinicity. Chinese Indonesians I mean. Curious. It’s easy to work here, there’s so much to improve upon. The best don’t come here cause the country’s not ready. There are definitely some lazy foreigners working here, buit lazy is ok if they work smart. If they’re lazy and not so smart, well then the company they work for is sh*te. So a non-issue. Get over it Parvita, Indonesia needs a lot of help and overpaid bules are far from being the crux of this country’s problems. Try corruption, pertamina, pollution, illegal logging, a self funded military, overpopulation in Java, traffic in almost every major city, malnutrition, below par education system, indomie as a nutritionally void staple of the country….hmmm…being poor here is perhaps on of the worst places to be poor….did you know that on average, Indonesians are poorer than Africans? !

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