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. avatar ET says:

    VD can be transmitted through various ways and casting the blame on others won’t solve the problem.

    Let me guess which other way. Dirty toilet seats?

  2. avatar deta says:

    Let me guess which other way. Dirty toilet seats?

    Don’t put the blame on them either. They can’t defend themselves.

  3. avatar ET says:

    Don’t put the blame on them either. They can’t defend themselves.

    Okay, you win. Let’s start a self-help group for toilet seats.

  4. avatar Ross says:

    Toilets in Indonesia would be a good topic to start a new thread on.
    In case we get too far from the current topic, here’s another extract (yes, I’ll do anything to boost sales, which are going steadily enough!)

    Percy’s habit was to burst in, seize the Jakarta Post and commence a rant about its main stories. ‘Bloody stupid sods!’ was a favourite intro, followed by a stream of obscenity and profanity centred on the inadequacies of Jakarta’s politicians and the idiocies of its clerics. Nobody disagreed, but this didn’t halt Percy’s flow, which reached tsunami proportions if politics and religion over-lapped.
    Meanwhile, at lower volume, Ward and Dale would launch themselves into some totally different subject. Usually more down to earth, they one day, that week, cottoned onto the fact that their codes of bodily hygiene were based on different practices. One had gone native, the other retained the practices to which he’d been reared.
    As I sat there, divorced from their chatter, it became enmeshed.
    “Yer bleedin’ arse, gotta be cleaner their way.” (Ward)
    “Friggin ‘arse-holes, country ‘s gotta be cleaned up.” (Percy)
    “I been usin’ their method since the first week I got here.”(Ward)
    “They got their heads up their butts” (Percy)
    “Yeah, man, but you gotta touch yer own crap that way.”(Dale)
    “The whole system’s crap!” (Percy)
    “Imagine, all these guys on tv back home, dirty asses, all of ‘em. Rudd, Howard before ‘im – can’t respect any of ‘em, usin’ tissues…”(Ward)
    “It’s a tissue of lies, that’s all you get.” (Percy)
    Percy of course was talking to himself, though he assumed the rest of us hung on his every word. The two young fellows were debating with each other. The points they argued were quite discrete, but to listen to the ebb and flow of words around the room was to be fooled very easily into thinking it was a free-for-all on …what? Politics or bum-wipes. Is there much difference?

  5. avatar Winmar says:

    This all makes me want to go down to Jl. Jaksa. It’s several years since I had the pleasure of staying there, thanks to the speed of transport from the airport to Bandung these days. I never indulged in any of the interesting human things on offer down there, but it’s an entertaining place to have a wonder around.

  6. avatar Ross says:

    Ya, I was there last Saturday, briefly, but in a few hours met some new people and had some good laughs. It’s rare to leave without a tale to tell.

  7. avatar Winmar says:

    Last time I stayed in a cheap hotel there I left with head lice and scores of red bite marks all over my body. Marvellous! I had long hair then too, which didn’t help matters.

    What’s the best bet there these days? It was probably Hotel Tator last time I visited.

  8. avatar Ross says:

    Well, read my book. it doesn’t deal with head lice but might explain the bite-marks!
    The Tator was my very first home in Jakarta when i arrived all those years ago. Still going strong!
    There is the Margot, a bit dearer, and a new posh one, but again, not that dear, the Istana Ratu, I think it’s called, towards the Kebon Sirih end…

  9. avatar nartoelek says:

    guys want one night stand for free…and indo HO wants money. I think the guys should understand that there is nothing such as free lunch. lol

    u can get laid for $0 if u know how to approach a lady…if u want a short cut and use a cheap trick like bling2 then i’m afraid u will end up with cheap skank.

    If u want to get a nice girl be a nice guy who dont always talk about sex/money. Cool nice girl is so hard to find, u might wont get laid until she see a ring on her finger.

    Indo isnt really a place to find ur soulmate, true that.

    Most indonesians girls are prejudice (assuming u are loaded because u are from another country), dependency like a leech (wanting to be take care from head to toe same like most of the girls in any countries) this mean costing money. The only difference is probably u gotta take care her entire family too haha.

  10. avatar Suryo Perkoso says:

    Ross, your last opus has gone soft on me, I was going to have the gearbox out of the motor next week, it’s a heavy lump, go on Ross, send a few copies dahn my way me auld sahn.

    And what is this fascination for Jaksa? Left with a few tales eh, and as mentioned before above, a few lice too…
    Puts me in mind of one of one of me favorite tunes…..”sewu Kutu”

  11. avatar Ross says:

    You’d be wiser doing book reviews in your journo mate’s blog. He used to like Jaksa, before Romance closed. That pub is missed by all.

    As far as is known, you’re not a noted reader of my or anybody else’s books, so I am not perturbed by your criticism. It would be like floggling a dead horse to respond sensibly.

    Mind you, I’ll grant you have a uniquely offensive style, so should you want to get your teeth into really boring tripe, try some of Arie Brand’s posts on IM. They are spectacularly self-regarding and awful.

  12. avatar NegBuster says:

    As to homosexuality, no, I don’t regard it as normal. This was the general attitude among most people, including professionals like psychologists etc, until purely political pressure caused changes of policy in various countries.
    This is not to say they should all be persecuted. There is a good case for helping them rediscover normal relationships, but they have to want to be helped.

    This just astounds me. I can’t believe with so much nit-picking going on in this thread that no-one picked up on this odious comment. You may not regard something as normal, but then who died and made you the benchmark of normality, Ross?

    This is not to say that they should ALL be persecuted.

    Just some of them? Your right-wing views and chauvinism inform your work and your thinly-veiled references to real-life characters are excruciating. Dale and Ward? Doesn’t take a genius to work out who these two are.

  13. avatar Ross says:

    What’s odious about a perfectly reasonable comment? If being a homo were ‘normal,’ the human race would have died off before it began!

    Oya, so what do you think is normal? Necrophilia, bestiality, or have you some specialty you share with that your ‘literary’ clique on Jaksa? I usually dismiss their criticisms as unworthy, since they are rarely sober, but it’s a quiet day, and I might as well bite back.

    Post under your own name before you try to guess other people’s i.d. from a fictional story. Nobody else seems to mind my slightly askew mirror held up to real folk for a bit of fun.
    As you exemplify, it doesn’t take a genius!

  14. avatar Steve says:

    Ross McKay is certainly not a friend, but somehow he got hold of a relatively defunct email address of mine. He is well-acquainted with and writes about the seedy side of expat life in Jakarta, and in particular the backpackers street of Jalan Jaksa. Strangely, the only time I think I’ve met him was at a meeting in the British Embassy, which is somewhat upmarket from his usual haunts.

    Jakarta Suckers!
    (Yet) another Jl.Jaksa story from Ross McKay (yawn, yawn)

    In this latest Jakarta adventure, Ross McKay adopts a somewhat different approach, a first-person narrative, by Barrie , a character whom the author describes as ‘an agglomeration of personalities I’ve met in recent years.’

    Fighting his advancing years, Barrie goes off the rails with a nifty Jaksa chick, but his troubles are only starting. Losari has a big mouth, which is only handy in certain circumstances.

    When she sees somebody she shouldn’t in a dodgy situation and blabs about it all over town, nemesis descends. Barrie charges off to the rescue, and finds himself in a maelstrom of violence.
    ………………………………………..
    Once you’ve read this book, you’ll feel as though you’ve hung out on Jalan Jaksa all your life!

    Well, that’s a wasted life, Ross. And from the gossip I’ve heard from those who’ve had the misfortune to read it, you don’t have much sympathy for those interesting characters who you do meet on your regular forays. Maybe they have ended up down on their uppers, but don’t forget that there but for your (inherited) fortune could have gone. I certainly won’t bother reading your voyeuristic tripe, but for those who are in need of some crap to read whilst having a crap, here’s some “good news for all you overseas folks.”

    “Jakarta Suckers! is now in an easily sent format. We can email it, if you have the PDF Adobe facility!
    “No more postal costs doubling the price, and because it is not hard to copy, a special price for all overseas customers!
    “UK – £5
    Canada/ USA/Australia/NZ – $12
    Other countries – we’ll quote you on application! ”

  15. avatar Ross says:

    Only came across this Ass and his ‘review’ of a book he hasn’t read yesterday,though he blogs under a different name elsewhere. Claims to be a writer too.,

    I do recall vaguely meeting a stuck-up Englishman at an embassy ‘do’ more than five years ago, but whether it was him or not I don’t know.

    What is most fascinating is his belief that I have inherited a fortune!
    I wish.
    Given my tendency to take buses everywhere instead of taxis, most who know me (even vaguely!) will be aware that I am as thrifty as my genes would lead you to expect, and for good reason.
    A very modest income (by bule standards) allows a reasonable life here, but only if you’re careful.
    No fortune, save the good fortune of living in Jakarta!

    Sympathy?
    I’d have thought my affection for both the Jaksacrats and the Jaksa Chicks comes across pretty clearly in the book, and my sympathy for the circumstances which bring many of them to lead their rather precarious lives on the street.

    But rumour has it that the Ass is upset because I don’t have any sympathy for a certain bule sponger who’s always on the mooch in every which bar you find him.
    Well, the Ass seems pretty well-off, so perhaps he can invite said sponger to move in with him.

  16. avatar Steve says:

    I copied that ‘review’ from the Jakartass blog where I saw it, but I’m not actually Ass as you call him. You talk about your “affection” for the Indonesian women you encounter, which is quite laughable when really your attitude is that of the average sex tourist albeit with an extension on their kms or whatever. Certainly not the kind of bule I’d own up to knowing anyway. (I read the sample of your book, so i’m basing my ‘review’ on that bit only, maybe the rest is better)

  17. avatar Ross says:

    Thanks for the clarification. So you are not the snobby git I met at the diplomatic event.

    I doubt you’ll meet any ladies around town who’ll say I have treated them unkindly.
    Nor does Barrie in the book, and he is a cross-section of guys I know here – some of them have a rather cavalier attitude but they are hardly sex-tourists.
    They get to know the regular girls and are friendly with them, regardless of degrees of realtionship they get into.

    Since you say you wouldn’t own up to knowing me, you’ll have to take my word for it, or buy the book (best option) or have the balls to come down Jaksa one day and introduce yourself. I don’t bite.

  18. avatar Steve says:

    Like you say, Ross, you self-publish small amounts of writing to cater for the small number of Jkt bules, sitting there with a hard-on for the idea that a moneyless javanese rice farmer’s daughter is showing some interest in them. How jolly exciting. How “cavalier”…

    It’s one tiny little pond for the expat bule here, and aspiring to be a big fish in that pond aint much of an ambition in my books. Make a name for yourself beyond jls jaksa/felatio-themed stuff and I might take you more seriously. (Slaps on the back from your bule mates don’t really count).

    Also this broadcast media you take fullest advantage of doesn’t help either, as it makes you
    seem much more of a Something than you really are. That’s the trouble with blogs and self-publishing. (See http://www.equinoxpublishing.com for real writing on indonesia—and no I don’t work for them)

    Me I didn’t come to Indonesia to meet other bules. Call me old-fashioned.

  19. avatar Ross says:

    Broadcast media? Bingung.
    I write for fun. Non-PC, and in touch with some at least of the realities of life here.
    So you don’t mix with other bules, and you don’t want to meet Indonesian girls except the middle-class office sorts?
    To each their own, my friend.
    I am as much a Something as you, and less condescending.

  20. avatar Oigal says:

    and in touch with some at least of the realities of life here.

    Book or non-book hardly likely to read it but seriously saying the trials and tribulations of a bunch of Jaksa Bule’s has anything to with the realities of life in Indonesia is self absorbed twaddle. Nothing against the Jaksa Jokers but they are a mere inconsequential atom in the larger Indonesia creature. In fact, many would say that Jakarta itself by its sheer size and overwhelming mix-mash of cultures has little to do with the realities of Indonesia as a whole.

  21. avatar Ross says:

    You seem very ready to dismiss those who don’t share whatever your own mysterious life-style is, Oigal.
    It’s true that capital cities seldom reflect the character of the country as a whole. But Jakarta has its place and I tend to think the guys (and girls) you meet on Jaksa have a lot more idea of what makes the place tick than do expats in the splendid isolation of Kemang or the Hilton Apartments.

  22. avatar realest says:

    they’re all sheeps ross, they know as much as what goes on in their little box as some hillbillies do in their remote villages.
    /me inserts picture of sheep in a village here

  23. avatar Oigal says:

    guys (and girls) you meet on Jaksa have a lot more idea of what makes the place tick than do expats in the splendid isolation of Kemang or the Hilton Apartments.

    Actually Ross the citizens of Kemang Apartments and Jaksa Dreamers are exactly the same both living in splendid isolation from the rest of Indonesia. The walls of Jaksa are just harder to see but if anything far harder to see over.

  24. avatar gita says:

    i have read private dancer by stephen leather its bout relationship with expat n bargirls in thailand. now in jakarta? hmm interesting. need to have a look.. anyway congrats 🙂

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