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.


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. kinch says:

    I have no problem with the proposition that PJK = White Trash.

  2. Raniah says:


    In the hole world,with all the colours of people…poor and rich….the only way to find peace ,is in your self,and love your self …than you could also how to love somebody .
    The hate in somebody’s innerside ,and living in the past…is not good for the future off your children.
    And the future are our childeren.
    Listen to their questions ,and to be honnest to them ,and be a justice of the peace .
    And you will be amaze and surprise how good you feel and also your children.Respect will come finaly for everybody’s seek.
    from: a good Indonesian and also from the hole world Mother & child who dont wanted Wars & fights around us.

  3. Achmad Sudarsono says:


    Yeah, yeah. What are you, a hippy ? A born again Christian ? May as well don some love beads, ditch the deodorant and sit around in a love circle singing kumbayah.

  4. kinch says:

    AS: Better crawl into her warm comfortable womb ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. Tony says:


    Have you been to Taman Rasuna or Aston Rasuna lately?? There is plenty to do there and there is also alot of well to do Indonesians who live there?? Stop by and have a teh sometime you might be surprised and your humor would be welcomed.

  6. AchmadSudarsono says:

    Thank you, Sahabat. Unfortunately, I was threatened by a Golkar member after his mistress fell in love with me after hearing my 2nd album, “Rockin’ the Rice Fields: Achmad’s Love Songs from the Sawah!”

  7. janma says:

    I’d like to say a word or two at this juncture……

    Thanks all. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. janma says:

    Plus…. I could re-write Achmads little treatise above and replace the Australian with an Indonesian in Australia….. been on the crystal meth all night…. staggers up to Randwick Centerlink to get his pension…… which he receives for the ‘mental instability’ which renders him unable to work…. he is not alone….. been there for 15 years along with hundreds of others of his countrymen who stayed on after failing at school but succeeding with the girls….. he makes extra money on the side by advising new arrivals on the best ways to find loopholes in the system and supplying them with drugs….. ho hum… I guess Australia doesn’t own the exclusive stock of parasitic foreigners…. it’s SO much worse for Indonesia…. diddums.

  9. AchmadSudarsono says:

    Thanks Ibu Janma, I try. But why don’t u start with your little spiel above next time you meet some well-to-do folks in Bali.

    Or even better, expand it with a photo byline and full name for the Jakarta Post ! Also throw in a few comments about Indonesian rudeness. But I wasn’t singling out Australia — there are plenty of white trash from other parts of the world, mostly ex-British colonies.

  10. Oigal says:

    Aw come on.. Assmad (Did I read he was claiming to be a white bule now..naagh..I am still going with pilllow chewing rent boy having gone off the overweight ngo female mungbean) is just a trolling again.

    Although the opinion he puts out is very heartening to us White Fellas, as long as those views are reasonably current and Indonesians are happy to accept its all the fault of the dem dang JOOWS and the west. We have Jobs for at least the next generation to come…

    As the dolphins said as they flew away as the Earth was destroyed to make way for an intergalatic highway..”So long suckers and thanks for the fish”

  11. Oigal says:

    Although RD does have a point, IM has been fairly well hijacked by two or three posters at the expense of everyone else..However as the great Ned Kelly said “SUCH IS LIFE”

  12. Oigal says:

    “But I wasnโ€™t singling out Australia โ€” there are plenty of white trash from other parts of the world, mostly ex-British colonies.” Nothing on your friends from Africa Assmad? I would have thought the antics by some would at least deserve a mention..or perhaps not

  13. AchmadSudarsono says:


    Mostly ex-British colonies. If you mean my black brothers – they have been downtrodden by the white man, so it is their century as much as ours.

    Get that rickshaw greased up, Oigal !

  14. Oigal says:

    Yep…The signs are all there…chuckle..

    Just how many zeros are there in a gazillion % inflation rate

    How ever we must admit, the secret trade agreement between Indonesia and some of their black brothers is working well.. of course more than few Indonesians are getting their brains fryed but thats the cost of free trade I guess.

  15. AchmadSudarsono says:

    I think inflation’s about 9.5 percent, per annum, depending on if you’re using year-on-year, core inflation, BPS figures whatever.

    Think about how much your tips for that weekly rub-and-tug cost now, Oigal compared to a year ago, or even last month.

    I don’t think we’re at 1966-style hyperinflation yet ( unless we’re talking your own imagination of your masculine endowment).

  16. Oigal says:

    You are not paying attention again Assmad..come sport head out of the pillow..We were talking about your black brothers…Give you hint starts with Z.. If you and PN are going to hijack a site to try and keep up with the thread

  17. AchmadSudarsono says:

    The inflation tragedies befalling Africa are all caused by the White man’s adventurism in Iraq, driving up food and oil prices.

  18. Benjamin says:

    An interesting rant i must say. I grew up in Indonesia and Malaysia, not by choice, but because my parents moved there when i was 10, Im now 25 so perhaps i fall under the ‘Lifers and Long-Timers’ category, so eloquently portrayed within the conundrum of petty nicknames used by Mr Acmad.

    One thing ive noticed within this society is the concept of outsiders, and the ever present ‘Bule’ association that segments people of European origin from Indonesian society. That said, this mentality is only really prevalent in the older generation, who need a channel to their own resentment, post colonial inferiority complexes etc. As for my experiences, ive met wonderful Indonesian people who will be my life long friends, I speak fluent Indonesian and Hokkien (I grew up in Medan, and studied at University Sumatra Utara) and mixed with people from all walks of life. While Mr Achmad makes some predictable stereotypes about Bule’s, Binting swilling oafs etc etc, i think we should refrain from making stereo types. Lets be honest, anyone making such sweeping accusations is only belittling his own perspective of the world, i recommend Mr Achmad takes a trip up here to Sumatra, away from his Javanese stronghold and he may see the subtle undertones and resentment his own country men have for his peers.

    One of the things i believe have never fully understood, is that fact that a person such as Mr Acmad would show disdain for foreigners, when the basis of his own culture, religion and way of life is itself imported. Islam is not native to the Indonesian archipelago and neither are the traits that come with it, this was imposed on the people of Indonesia, who in their true form are more inclined to their own indigenous beliefs.

    So Mr Acmad, is we are talking about foreign interference here and the negative influences this has on a culture and society, let us not debate something as simple and unintelligent as the beer swilling Bule’s, but perhaps the root causes of your complex, your heritage and your baggage.

    Selamat Malam to all my Indonesian and Bule people here!

  19. Achmad Sudarsono says:


    Horasbah !

    Blahdy, blah, blah, blah. You grew up in Malaysia and Indonesia, how nice for you.

    I can only conclude you live in Medan because you like to eat dog and aspire to become a local Preman.

    My friend, just as the sweet rythyms of my beloved Dangdut come from Arabia and India, so too does culture fertilize and cross fertilize, shifting shores and lands, over the last 6 million years since we came down from the trees. (Many Bules, of course, are still up there, swinging around and trying to save us blackies and brownes) .

    When I say the Bule Dekilare beer-swilling cro-magnons, I’m just stating a fact. The only Stereo-type I use is a Sony !

    Ha ha ha !

    Va Va Voom !

  20. Benjamin says:


    Nice….pure intellect…your clearly a great mind…

    ??? ?????? ?? ??????? ??? ??? ??????

  21. janma says:

    Don’t worry benjamin…. achmad is just jealous cause he lives in Purbolinggo…. (ancient penis… is that right?) he has tried and tried to join the premans but is constantly rebuffed due to his weapon of choice being a ukelele.

  22. Achmad Sudarsono says:


    A potion from the late Mak Erot kept it sprightly and springy, but alas, now it’s reverted to the Purbolinngam state. Va Va Vzzzzz. Looking for a replacement. ;-(

  23. Benjamin says:

    Dont worry Janma, i think Achmad really gets a bang out of this, he clearly spends alot of time thinking about it… I do agree on a couple of points though, their are a large percentage of Bule’s who are nothing short of an embarrassment, i was just struck by Achmad’s across the board condemnation, which clearly wreaks of deep rooted racial prejudice and offensive cultural stereotypes (not Sony), but, every man to his own opinion, i think i would feel the same way if i was him, but then again, i take no joy out of racist or culturally naive profiling of peoples or cultures, it really is the bottom of the pile in terms of intellectual debate…..Ive read a few articles on this site, and it does seem to be something of a sparring ground for racists and bigots of both sides of the spectrum…still its entertaining to see the warped and bitter views they harbor…..

  24. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    But Benjamin,

    How can it be racist to just tell the truth ? Racism – by definition is something done by the White Man to the Brown, Black, and Yellow Man. Achmad, through his poetry, and ukuele-playing seeks to unite, not to divide. But first the truth must set us free — what does the Bule know of the suffering of the people — all tucked away in his apartemen ?

  25. Benjamin says:

    Racism – by definition is something done by the White Man to the Brown, Black, and Yellow Man. “, nice.. you’ve quoted Mahattir Mohamed word for word on that one…your a predictable type, i suspect i know exactly what your like, and imagine i know exactly what you think, infact i could probably finish your sentences for you they are so predictable…


  26. AchmadSudarsono says:

    Sometimes, Benjamin, the Truth is clear.

  27. janma says:

    what does the Bule know of the suffering of the people โ€” all tucked away in his apartemen ?

    yep….. that’s me…. born in the bloody shade! never had to do a days work in my life! It’s terrific being white, just terrific.

  28. dewaratugedeanom says:

    Achmad, through his poetry, and ukuele-playing seeks to unite, not to divide.

    Achmad, you must have told us about a thousand times you play the ukuele. But why do you stubbornly keep calling it ukuele instead of ukulele?

    What I always wanted to know but never dared to ask.

    @ janma

    yepโ€ฆ.. thatโ€™s meโ€ฆ. born in the bloody shade!

    A shady lady? You?

  29. Achmad Sudarsono says:


    Both spellings valid. Will call it ukulele if you like.

    Everyone, let it be known I play the ukulele

    x o


  30. tomaculum says:

    Racism – by definition is something done by the White Man to the Brown, Black, and Yellow Man.
    Such ash*t I didn’t expect to be written by the ukulele playing poet. And what some Indonesian do to the Papua is not a racism.
    Yeah, maybe it isn’t, cause the papuas are for some Indonesian just apes? ๐Ÿ™

    what does the Bule know of the suffering of the people
    I know some white men pay more attention to suffering of the people than some Indonesians. I know some Indonesians don’t care for a penny for the poor sick beggar lying there in Malioboro.

    I know, now will come the reaction: “Go to your white massers, you brown traitor!”
    I just can laugh about such a stupidity. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

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