Jakarta Suckers!

Mar 22nd, 2010, in Opinion, by

Ross McKay's latest novel 'Jakarta Suckers!', bule-prostitute romance blossoms on Jl Falatehan.

Having only recently begun following the thread about 'Dating Indonesian Girls', I was intrigued by the variety of wounded westerners/bules littering its back-roads, intrigued and mildly miffed that I hadn't time to revise my latest work of fiction to include more of their experiences.

But JAKARTA SUCKERS! (out now, from Morfiny Books, 85000 rupiah, available from morfinybooks@yahoo.ca or PM me - free delivery in Jabotabek) is still a useful read for anybody who hangs out after dark in the dives of the Big Durian.

My first experiment in writing in the first person, it centres on a guy named Barrie (who, once you read the book, you'll know is not me!) and his dalliance with a slapper named Losari. Having gotten into her, he finds it hard to disentangle himself, because he thinks she's "different!"

Jakarta SuckersSome cynics say you can always tell if a bar-girl is lying, because you can see her lips move. I don't agree - just ask her what she wants to drink and she's guaranteed to tell the truth!

But cewek2 licik and bule2 gila will continue to interact, because they're made for each other. And it is mutually advantageous, as the former get richer and the latter get wiser.

I have frequented Jaksa and Falatehan for a decade or more and listened to many a forlorn fellow lamenting how he was taken for a ride by these delightful demimondes, so it seemed timely to fictionalise their down-falls.

But to make it more fun I applied my colourful imagination to embed the morality tale in an adventure yarn, which I hope only emphasises the point. Mendacity begets misfortune. The story also gives hints on how to detect prevarication, with anecdotal evidence as 'awful warnings' to new kids on the block.

I enjoyed writing it so much that I'm already started on my next.

Excerpts from 'Jakarta Suckers!'

(Why a Prostitute?)

Again, sage old bules will ask you why you’d expect a hooker here in Jakarta, or in Bangkok, to be good settling-down material. If you want a soul-mate in Michigan, or Manitoba, or Manchester, you’d not go rushing down to the red-light district, would you? And nor would I. Having commuted through King’s Cross Station in London at all hours of day or night for several years, and seen how frightful the hookers there are, it would seem an act of madness to go prospecting for a partner in that sort of locale.

But the girls here are not the same as prostitutes in the West, who have alternatives, not least to do what so many young women do there and sponge off the welfare state. There are millions of poor people here with no prospect of real jobs and not a trace of any serious welfare system to tide them over until an economic miracle arrives. They include large numbers of young, and not so young, women, who often have elderly parents who depend on them, or babies to feed, or, sadly, shiftless husbands or live-in lovers who whack ‘em around if they don’t go out and bring home sustenance.

So what do they do? They are not, many of them, stupid, and they are, most of them, attractive. Indonesian women are magnificent specimens of their sex, and we bules, by our reactions, remind them of this daily.

(Why a Bule?)

So the girls go out for bules, not because we have big dicks, though they tell us that, nor because we are handsome or consummate raconteurs, though they give us to believe those things too (lies, remember?) but because we have money, in amounts they can only dream about. English teachers are on the lowest rung of expat salary levels, and their pay is equivalent, so I’m told, to about the same as a judge’s or a middle-ranking police officer’s. (though those fine fellows have ways of supplementing incomes not open to the teachers)

The girls in the bars see it as their mission in life to detach us from our cash. Or more precisely, detach the cash from us, because they don’t want us, they want the nice green stuff.

To this end, guided by the imperatives of survival, and advancement – which means buying plots of land back in their kampungs, building a house on it, and boosting their bank account to a level whereby their ‘post-sell-by’ date in bar-life will be comfortable – they will tell you whatever you want to hear, or whatever they think will motivate those dollar bills and pound notes to flit from your pockets to their purses.

This goes far beyond haggling over bed-fees. It encompasses gulling the dumbest into financing courses in hair-dressing or typing or anything the poor sod will believe is a stepping stone to ‘liberation’ from a life of sin!

Big Yuli, not the scrawny little Yuli from Tebet who got a few hundred out of me to pay her dad’s debts, but the gal with enormous assets who did the ‘Johnny Andrean’ on me, yes, the full monty hair-dressing course, never actually convinced me she wanted a new career, but I was so fixated on her chest at the time that I happily handed over the money.


144 Comments on “Jakarta Suckers!”

  1. Hi Ross,

    Congratulations on getting it out. Let’s hope you’ll still be on terms with your drinking buddies after they learn about the ‘fictional’ characters in the book. : )

  2. avatar ZZZBRILJANT says:

    Each year, sold and purchased between 600 000 and 800 000 thousand people across national borders.

    Many times more are trafficked within their own country.

    The real figure is large, while calculations show a sharp increase in recent years. Today the trade in human beings is the third largest form of organized crime, after trafficking in drugs and weapons.
    Trafficking, or trafficking, usually defined as the victim has been forced, tricked or threatened to be used in different ways.
    Trafficking has major implications that can be divided into three different areas. Sub takes human beings from an individual, her fundamental right to be free and self-control in their lives, and give the revenue and fuel organized crime. Moreover, human trafficking a global health threat.
    Most victims of trafficking are women and children. Women and girls are often sold into prostitution but also to forced marriage and domestic work or as cheap labor in farms and factories. Boys are generally used as labor in the fishing or mining, or farming.

    From poor agricultural area of the city
    The trading is mainly in two directions, from rural to city and from the poorer parts of the world to the richer parts. Into Western Europe every year between 120 000 and 500 000 women and children from poorer countries in Eastern Europe and Asia for sex trafficking.

  3. avatar bs says:

    @zzzbriljant

    It’s not particularly briljant to copy stuff from the internet and paste it here all the time.

  4. avatar madrotter says:

    Congratulations Ross!!!

  5. avatar Ross says:

    Thanks for the congrats, guys.
    The numerous sources that I mined for the story will be protected by judicious switching of adventures between individuals, plus alteration of tell-tale details.
    I have no wish to embarrass anyone, but there was such a myriad of mishaps that it just had to be set out in the printed word.
    I’m rather fond of both the Jaksa Chicks and Jaksacrats, so hope they appreciate their ordeals being enshrined in this little book. Sales are going well. Another visit to the printers is in order!

  6. avatar madrotter says:

    been quiet a while since i’ve been to jaksa myself, i always like it there, hunting books, hangin’ around, playing pool…

  7. avatar adinda says:

    …because, even fat ugly bule with noisy breathe will be surrounded and treated like a king by poor, low-educated young hookers…

  8. avatar Laurence says:

    Whats noisy breath??

  9. avatar Oigal says:

    Noisy Breath?? not sure must have do with low-educated..

    I am often amazed at the venom spouted at the “working” girls and their patrons by other “ladies” is it an insecurity thing or just jealousy?

  10. avatar Ross says:

    She means noisome, perhaps, but yes, Oigal, as occasionally happens, I agree with you. There are a lot of voyeuristic ‘respectable” Indonesians who frequent Jaksa on a voyeuristic basis. Strange phenomenon. Glad I’m not fat!

  11. avatar Swagman says:

    Noisy Breath?? not sure must have do with low-educated..

    I am often amazed at the venom spouted at the “working” girls and their patrons by other “ladies” is it an insecurity thing or just jealousy?

    I think the venon was not directed at the “working girl”, but at the fat, ugly and loud (I do like the term noisy breath) foreigner with fat wallet – the true “low-life” of this society.

    If that is the case then I whole-heartedly agree with adinda.

  12. avatar ET says:

    I am often amazed at the venom spouted at the “working” girls and their patrons by other “ladies” is it an insecurity thing or just jealousy?

    Yes, the moment they can count to three they start looking down on others. It would be interesting to count the number of times so-called ‘educated’ Indonesians in this forum have patronizingly referred to the less fortuned ones as ‘low-educated’.

  13. avatar madrotter says:

    i love watching those new bule’s here, usually in the nordsea bar, they got a whore they think they the man and then they start to…….dance… or at least, what they think is dancing… white men can’t jump but shit, these types can’t dance…

  14. avatar venna says:

    Ross, don’t forget to set aside 2 books for me! 😀

    ET, i think it’s not about jealousy, but insecurity, maybe or yes. In all societies that praise social status, people need to do something to ensure their class/caste is pure and not contaminated. They start building stigma, mistreatment, judgment, etc to others. Unfortunately, when most of them never try to help the unfortunate to gain better access for improving their life. But it is understandable though, because doesn’t it feel good to stay on top of the tower without too much competitors?

    Ross: To tell you the truth, when I read the excerpt – especially about the money-honey relationship between those cewek & foreigners, I felt insecure and offended too. I know you wrote the truth, but….. man, I don’t want to see or even admit it. As much as I don’t want to call those girls as “cewek murahan”. Who am I that I have a right to call them like that? I never help them, never give a hand to them, and never do anything for them. So when I still cannot do anything, better to shut my mouth up. But….. I don’t know, maybe if someday I walk with a “working girl” in Jakarta and meet a foreigner, big chance I will act unfair. I can predict myself to stay away from her and feel offended and start yapping about my “high qualities”, yadda yadda yadda….. to ensure that this foreigner won’t look at me the same way as he does to that “working girl”. Jeez, it is painful to be torn apart like this.

  15. avatar venna says:

    Madrotter:
    Your pic reminds me of a type of endangered monkey in Kalimantan – the Nasalis Larvatus 😀

  16. avatar Ross says:

    Glad to see this is livening up!

  17. avatar Odinius says:

    I’m no prude, and do believe that people should be able to make decisions for their own lives, but always feel uncomfortable by the exploitation that goes with the sex industry. It’s mutual exploitation, in a lot of ways, but there’s all kinds of ugly stuff going on under the surface–spread of disease, pimps and organized crime, abuse, etc. I read a study not too long ago that said this is far worse in unregulated sex industries like Indonesia’s, Cambodia’s and America’s than regulated ones like the Netherlands or semi-regulated like Thailand.

    As for why Indonesian women, who are not pros or semi-pros, might feel uncomfortable about this? Well, I can think of one reason…if that woman were to date a foreigner, many Indonesians would assume she is a prostitute or gold-digger. As we all know, there are plenty of romantic relationships between Indonesians and non-Indonesians (regardless of gender matching) that have nothing to do with monetary exchange or ‘class-jumping.’ Some Indonesians in these kinds of relationships resent the pros and semi-pros because of how they themselves are (unfairly) perceived.

    I can understand this, even if I don’t share resentment of these girls. I often find myself cringing when I see certain kinds of bules–probably the same ones Madrotter notes can’t dance–but for me, what I can’t stand is seeing the bules who, fresh off a divorce or other personal crisis at home, come to Indonesia, find some local working girl and then treat them like ‘sex pembantus.’ It’s all very nauseatingly neo-colonial. A little respect for the ladies, fellas, working or no!

  18. avatar Swagman says:

    Circular argument … blame the girl, blame the foreigner, blame the girl …. the dogs bark and the caravan moves on ….

  19. avatar madrotter says:

    that’s freewheelin’ franklyn venna!!! one of the fabulous fury freakbrothers…

  20. avatar Ross says:

    A lot of what you say is true, Odinius.
    The drug trade overlaps with this issue as well, as I discovered during my long talks with many of those who drifted into my book (both bules and ceweks). Never use illegal narcotics myself, but a lot of these girls do, ‘to keep themselves going.’
    It’s well-known that ecstasy is peddled in certain bars/clubs, probably by some of the same people who live off the girls. All profit, and though it’s a bit of a tangent, it is relevant to the so-called ‘sex-business.’

    And yes, it’s true about non-slappers being derided just for going with bules. In one part of Jabotabek, where i used to live about eight years ago, I couldn’t walk down the street with any female, student, colleague, neighbour or girl-friend, without the street-scum making their usual imbecilic remarks, as always, of course, from behind. never upfront. And NEVER unless there was more than one of them on the scene.

    I always try to be polite to girls, of whatever profession, though in a few cases this wasn’t easy! Honkytonk angels, a lot of them, but not all!

  21. avatar venna says:

    that’s freewheelin’ franklyn venna!!! one of the fabulous fury freakbrothers…
    __________
    LOL….. Okay, just found it. I never read those comics before.

  22. avatar diego says:

    Though a bit out of topic, Odinious’ post somehow reminds me of why I never went to gay hang-out places when I was in indonesia / bali. This part, specifically:

    Some Indonesians in these kinds of relationships resent the pros and semi-pros because of how they themselves are (unfairly) perceived.

    Apart from the fact that I was closeted back then (with lots of prejudices toward gays), the other reason I didn’t want to come to places like Kudeta or Double Six, for example, is because there are a lot of foreigners there (bules) and local money-boys. Being a local myself, I didn’t want to be sneered at as one (money-boy), both by the bules and other indonesians.

  23. avatar Inez says:

    Ross, congrats for your books. I read the excerpt…. Thanks for being so honest about the relationship bule-Indonesian girls in Jakarta. I hope your book will open our whitewashed brain a bit…

  24. avatar Oigal says:

    Circular argument … blame the girl, blame the foreigner, blame the girl …. the dogs bark and the caravan moves on

    All a pointless and reveals the authors insecurities more than anything else. Fact is, sex for money (or other rewards) is part of the human condition. The issue in so many countries like Indonesia is the lack of alternatives for so many girls/women.

    Some women will always choose that lifestyle for a myriad of reasons and there will always be clients willing to partake. Unfortunately, the decision process is markedly different in Indonesia than many other places.

    The evil foreigner is exploiting the women is generally a bit of neo-nationalist wank and ignores the vastly larger “domestic” market with all of its abuses.

  25. avatar Oigal says:

    i love watching those new bule’s here, usually in the nordsea bar, they got a whore they think they the man and then they start to…

    In all fairness, its a pretty hard thing to ignore when you first enter one of those establishments as a “newbie”, the kid in the lolly shop effect is very hard thing to suppress.
    Most of us understand the rules of the game very quickly, as a friend always used to say..

    Well its friday and I am off to sit on my pocket full of personality and see what develops

    Most of us grow out of it, some don’t but I think very few could honestly say that have not slipped at least couple of steps down the ladder of decorum at some time or other in country.

    Again, at places like the Nordsea bar at the like, one needs to be careful when pointing out prey from predator..very grey area that one.

  26. avatar venna says:

    @Oigal:
    The evil foreigner is exploiting the women is generally a bit of neo-nationalist wank and ignores the vastly larger “domestic” market with all of its abuses.
    ___________

    If you have comparison on how many percent of those working girls that jump into domestic market and how many percent actually that choosing different segment, it would be helpful. Ohya, and also comparison on this issue: do working girls in domestic market get better treatment and appreciation from people than working girls who choose foreigners?

  27. avatar ET says:

    It may sound one-sided and simplistic but I consider the one who pays for some casual sex as the sucker. In the relation between hooker and client it is the former who holds the power and the latter who is the testosterone driven junkie. Just like in the drug trade.

  28. avatar Swagman says:

    Oigal said …

    All a pointless and reveals the authors insecurities more than anything else. Fact is, sex for money (or other rewards) is part of the human condition. The issue in so many countries like Indonesia is the lack of alternatives for so many girls/women.

    Very true … as someone once said – it is the world’s oldest profession. Prostitution is both economically (need to make money) and socially (acceptance of the profession) driven. Don’t need a book to tell me how that fits into Indonesia 🙂

  29. avatar Laurence says:

    I cannot imagine having to pay for sex in Jakarta, I have told a few hookers to leave me alone. Easy place to meet so many girls, why pay?

  30. avatar deta says:

    I cannot imagine having to pay for sex in Jakarta

    Wait till you’re fat and have a noisy breath.

    Oh, congrats for the book, Ross.

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