Oct 3rd, 2006, in Society, 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. Tika says:

    Well it’s sad really, it looks like education itself should start from the employers. It’s still a very long way for Indonesians to acknowledge good, talented and qualified local English teachers. Until parents also realise that status is not just about how much wealth you can display, why on earth do employers recruit people without asking for their qualifications? In my opinion, any foreigners, white or not, not just teachers but also in other sectors are always going to be needed in Indonesia because that’s the way of modern life ( economic migrant ), to help Indonesia integrate with the outside world. We can’t afford to be racist because we need the help of foreign countries in order to keep the economy going. Many of my Chinese friends that I grew up with in Jakarta, they worked hard to establish their businesses and we can’t just shoo them away. Indonesia is the only country that they feel belong to and they are just as proud as any other natives being Indonesian. In addition of other concerns for the white expats, don’t be overwhelmed when local girls try to approach you because you look different and they think you’re educated so they would like get to know you better. Because the same thing will happen if it’s the other way around For example, I’m an Indonesian who lives and works in England, and the same thing happens to me. A lot of people sometimes stare and a lot of them would like to know me better, and I don’t mind, and I know I am different, but I never take it in a negative way. I am not married to an Indonesian man not because I have a problem with them or they’re no good, most of them that I know are very equal, respect women and some of them earn more than expats, I am not married to Indo men just because it’s not the right path for me at least that the way I look at it. Some girls that you bump into may have chosen prostitution as profession, that is one of the oldest profession for women, sadly we can’t get rid of it, because we find it everywhere else in the world not just Indonesia. And who are we to judge them? There are sad hypocrites who are happy to use their services.

  2. Andy says:

    Taxpayer is spot on….One of the strangest things I saw when I lived in Jakarta was a huge anti Playboy rally led by the one and only FPI through the streets of Blok M (Melawai). They hunted down all the newstands that were selling it apparently. Funny thing is I and most others had no idea the magazine was even being sold there until these clowns atarted carrying on like pork chops about it.

    What is even funnier is that hard core porn is sold freely by locals and they will harrass people to buy it. Especially if you are bule. So the truth is locals peddle porn there with no objection from anyone but how dare bules introduce a magazine that may feature sexy, attractive women who are still dressed. mmmmm Just perpetuates the myth doesn’t it.

  3. taxpayer says:

    Funny thing is….a Bule does not own Playboy here and it was not introduced to Indonesia by a Bule!!

    The issue here is actually simple…..Indonesia is not an Internationally diversified country like the USA and England. I highly doubt anyone is amazed to see a chinese woman in England anymore than any other nationality. Westerners have been programmed, perhaps through fear of lawsuits, to not visually or vocally show indifference to anyone particular person, group or religion. And any indifference we do have is generally kept to ourselves. Therefore, we don’t go out of our way to express our surprise or amazement of seeing a different skin color, culture, etc.

    As for FPI….amazing they marched past ALL those prostitutes to harass people over a magazine that is less “IMMORAL” (by their standards) than the local Cosmopolitan which consistently has articles about achieving female orgasms and better sex techniques. Prime reading for the man who is trying to understand women, by the way:-)

    Any attitude that foreigners are the bane of Indonesia’s problems is just another way for Indonesians to sidestep and avoid the real issues here. Of the 25,000 foreigners in Jakarta, most are married and toting 1-3 kids to International schools here. So the pool of single, foreign men is actually quite small. I highly doubt all the orphanages here are full of 1/2 bule babies. The sins of man are universal and are present in every country. Those, such as FPI, who are the loudest in spouting moral judgments are usually the most guilty in violating their own ideals. Creating 3 sins to be rid of one makes no mathematical sense. It would seem to me that Indonesians would want to…per say…lose the title “Pedophile Capital of the World” in Bali, or “Most Corrupt Country” before marching over a magazine of fully clothed Indo women.

    At the end of the day, for those foreigners working here, the “newness” of Indonesia quickly wears off and like every other person here, we settle in and spend every day supporting our families, paying our bills and not giving a sh*t if people are Chinese or Indonesian, Moeslem or Christian, Rich or Poor. We want the same as anyone….and we don’t impose ourselves on others. Most of the Bule who live in Jakarta stay home. Jakartans have not even met them and certainly have no information on judging their characters or personalities. The clubs are full of Chinese and Indos, not bule. Blok M, is full of Chinese and Indos, not bule. The strip clubs throughout the city are definitely full of Chinese and Indonesians and Koreans. Not bule. And the Prostitutes are most frequented by Chinese and Indonesians, not bule.

  4. dillinger says:

    Any one going to comment on how Indos behave in the States or other Western places? That’d be interesting.

  5. Purba Negoro says:

    The main group of Indonesians in the US are generally ethnic Chinese living in California.
    Berkeley and San Diego are favourite haunts- UCLA and USD.
    The government scholarships go to Vanderbilt, and some Ivy Leagues.
    The wealthy natives or diplomat types are generally in New York.

  6. David says:

    Any one going to comment on how Indos behave in the States or other Western places? That’d be interesting.

    Dragonwall once made a post about Indonesians in Philadelphia – Indonesians go sex mad abroad, he he.

  7. micmoc says:

    Hi I am newbie here. Well about it patung I think you cant judge them generally.

  8. DUiToL says:

    hey c’mon come to understand it ourself. it is everywhere in every country.
    There are every best in every country we not need to fight as same human being here. understanding please

  9. richard says:

    Fred Floggle makes sense when he says study English literature before you teach English. (Studying English literature is a good way to improve one’s knowledge of English).

    jakartass is such a moron he does not understand this.

  10. diego says:

    some in my family actually said that “bules working in indonesia are left-overs, otherwise why would they go to indonesia”.

    but well, this is the same person who commented about my other relative’s being active in hare khresna: “it’s because his wife is a devout muslim, so he’s trying to compensate for it.”

    and the same person who commented about me being gay: “this is because your parents miseducated you.”

    oh well.

  11. Achmad Sudarsono says:


    Keep fighting the good fight, brother. It is Indonesia’s womenfolk in all their guises, pembantu, farmers, singers and artis, who light the romantic fires of Achmad, poet, pencak silat masters and ukulele player.

    But it takes a real man to follow the path of Oscar Wilde. I don’t know what’s wrong with these people…you like jengkol, I like pete, you like keroncong, I like dangdut, you like djoget, I like goyang. Bhineka Tunggal Ika, man.

    Merdeka !

  12. diego says:

    Thanks for the kind words AS,

    As a balas budi, I would like to give you this “news” (you now live in Purbalingga, right?):

    Caleg Gila Cantik Ditemani Sumanto Pemakan Mayat.

  13. orang-Aus says:

    Ahh expats,

    Annoying no matter what the race or country!!!

  14. Jonah says:

    I have reviewed my initial plan to teach in Indonesia for a while after reading through these remarks. I have taught ESL for eight years in Thailand, South Korea and Bangladesh. In eight years I have travelled to 55 cities and 18 countries in between holidays and breaks and contracts so you can see I chose teaching as a means to see the world, educate and learn more about cultures.

    I have a TEFL certificate, two management certificates but no degree. I’ve owned a house in the United Kingdom and lived a home social life but it was never enough and I needed to find a means to supplement my travel plans for a new life. I have never stacked shelves at Tesco’s or for that matter hurt anyone in any physical or mental way but reading this thread makes me wonder how these people know that teachers are to blame here. If I posted my resume with links to projects I have taught and lessons I’ve planned you wouldn’t mention this about teachers without degrees because I’m sure you would be amazed at what I have achieved for my students, schools and colleges. I have my whole eight years in a portfolio because I am proud of my achievements as a teacher in Asia. I was given another chance in life after working in a factory although at management level for ten years.

    If we put all the expatriates together from Indonesia from all careers as a survey about their previous lives before settling in Indonesia do you still think teachers would come out the worst in reputation?

    Some people are born to educate, it’s written in every religion and language around the world. These people are natural teachers that should have been given a better chance from birth to be able to afford a good education. The truth always comes out later in life. Just becasue you studied for an extra ten years to be priest doesn’t mean to say that your able to change the lives of others through your knowledge. It’s not whats in the books you learn from it’s what’s in your heart mixed with personal experiences. These are tools every teacher regardless of qualifications should untilise.

    On a cheerful note perhaps educational departments worldwide have taken on the fact that real teachers come with a pro-active knowledge that works much better than continuous revision of books. You travel the world, meet more people, new cultures, share their stories and ideas and teach. ?

    Good Luck


  15. Mike says:

    I happen to be a millionaire having done things successfully the first time around and worked hard for it, i too am planning on soon living as an expat. In as much as someone or even a few may have told “Parvita” similar things it doesn’t mean all expats let alone men are no good because of their motivations even if it were in fact because of a lack luster past life.

    In fact her tale shows definitive signs of the very type of disgruntled unappreciative kind of woman that men here in the states seek to desperately dodge which is downright scary.

    Try thinking in terms of the families and lives that are transformed for the better by anothers actions and of anothers happiness rather than the past performance of such a person in a previous state not to mention the fact that there is nothing wrong with wanting to accomplish more sometimes with less with is the mark of a wise consumer which women are well aware of as they are just as savey when it comes to budgeting or shopping for specials which in reality is no different.

    Last but not least it is not easy for any person to just get up and decide to live an expats life while leaving behind an entire life in exchange for a great unknown or only like some to be used and discarded once the money well dries up.

    Honey sacrificing it all in the attempt to hopefully achieve something wholesome or a little peace of mind and hopefully a little bit of genuine happiness is not a crime and frankly did it ever occur to you that foreign women represent a dream to us because of those whom might exist which we have heard of as being faithful and making great wives and this dear is something which we do value and would move heaven and earth for it was within our reach.. wouldn’t you if you thought that it was something actually within your reach?

    Men are not perfect nor are expats but it takes two to tango and its not like women are perfect either so be nice and just live and let live.

  16. HAHA says:

    that is the biggest bunch of bullshit ive ever seen. Brain drain is certainly an excuse for the educated minority to leave developing countries for rich developed ones. However, today we live in a globalized world where peoples and cultures cross oceans and borders, not only the products and resources they provide. That is a fact, and the reality of globalization and its market-based capitalist institutions.
    Parvita’s theory that the majority of expats in indonesia are unable to compete and succeed in their home countries as well as dumb, ugly, socially awkward and alone is a load of shit and completely untrue.
    All expats and migrating people leave their homes for a better life. Some people leave their homelands seeking consumption and wealth and the ultimate goal of “Western prosperity”- the mansion, rolex and nice car.
    Others are looking to avoid that exact same thing- the “western” standard of wealth and happiness. Parvita obviously cannot understand or has fallen victim to western theories, such as GDP as the global standard of living.
    The fact is all countries hold foreigners and expats, some come for the right reasons, some for the wrong; some are beautiful and many are ugly.
    So Parvita, dont hate just because your dumb, ugly and living life for all the wrong reasons. White there are many expats like you; most of us arent.

  17. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Halo Mr. Joe,

    Please see this explanation to amend Parvita’s theories on white men.

    It is a more comprehensive explanation of why they are here.

  18. diego says:

    Speaking of whites (caucasians) living in Indonesia.

    Let’s take the following two assumptions (neither of them is necessarily true):

    (a) Caucasians are not wankers (by nature)
    (b) Indonesians (like any brown men) are wankers.

    Now, after living for years in Indonesia, do you, white men, feel that you’ve been wankerified? Would you dare to say Indonesia is like a big wankerizator? Do you feel like wanker? Thank you for your answer.

    Speaking of wanking, I have a quiz:

    Question: What do you call a wanker who keeps faffing around about federal reserve, free-market capitalism, history of money, anarchism, and socialism?
    Answer: A wanker.

  19. Oigal says:

    Ho di Ho….

    Parvita’s theory that the majority of expats in indonesia are unable to compete and succeed in their home countries as well as dumb, ugly, socially awkward and alone is a load of shit and completely untrue.

    I wonder if the dipsh**s who spout these theories actually understand the irony of what that are saying if we accept the toss as fact..Probably not, people like that are hardly the sharpest tools in the shed.

    Meanwhile, what do we call a Javanese milking Papau for all its worth…an expat or something worse.or somehting better…one things for sure he ain’t Papuan?

  20. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Hi Oigal,

    I we call something milking Papua for all its worth a Freeport McMoran or a “one percent fund”

  21. Cukurungan says:

    Meanwhile, what do we call a Javanese milking Papau for all its worth…an expat or something worse.or somehting better…one things for sure he ain’t Papuan?

    hu a ha ha… Maling teriak Maling….Tell me who is benefactor for the Javanese Milking Papuan? Tell me who are the most profiteers from Milking Papuan? in case you do not know just check by your self who is the main stake holder Freeport Mc Moran

  22. primo says:


    Speaking of wanking, I have a quiz:

    Question: What do you call a wanker who keeps faffing around about federal reserve, free-market capitalism, history of money, anarchism, and socialism?
    Answer: A wanker.

    I assume you are talking about the government not the people in here? Otherwise you are definitely a wanker!

    If you are an expat and want to be called smart, act like one mate! generalizing people makes you looks stupid.



  23. Oigal says:

    Outstanding !! 🙂 ..A double hook-up from one bait..although tis pond full of wide mouth trout.

  24. diego says:

    Ha ha ha ha….

    OMG. I should stop trolling now.

  25. Brother Mouzone says:

    It may feel sometimes like there is an unfair valuation of expatriate skills here (although this is by no means exclusive to Indonesia). But this is a marketplace; a company will always try to get labor at the cheapest possible price, if companies think that they can hire a local to do the same job as an expat for a lower price, they will ALWAYS hire the local.

    When it comes to a market like this, he who pays the piper calls the tune. It is the managers and shareholders of companies that make the decision to hire a more expensive expat over a cheaper local employee (and don’t try and say that it’s because those managers are expats too, this is prevalent in Indonesian-owned companies too).

    Unfortunately for Parvita, her arguments don’t count for much because she isn’t paying the wage bill. My suggestion is that she apply herself, work her way into a managerial role, and then she can replace all her expat staff with equally competent locals and see how that works out. Just because Parvita cannot see the value of the expatriates she works with does not mean that value does not exist. Companies are pretty selfish and if there was a cheaper way to do something, they would already be doing it.

  26. Astrajingga says:

    My experience told me, expats are like Indonesian, most of them are wankers and bullshitter and amateurish. The only difference, we pay expats 10 times higher.

  27. Oigal says:

    BM, Makes a valid point, publically listed companies are concerned with cashflow, EBIT and shareprice. Whilst it may salve some bruised egos to think otherwise, companies will always look to the dollar before skin or nationality (important to note the huge difference between cost and price..the deaths in the mine in Sumatera for instance is an example of cheap price high cost).

    Example look at multinationals in Singapore, the expat is a dying breed with Singaporeans driving the companies. Of course, than means a long term focus on qaulity education for the majority not the elite minority.

  28. Oigal says:

    The only difference, we pay expats 10 times higher.

    Unless it’s an NGO or government position..You don’t pay anything, the company does and unless you are a shareholder or owner it has sweet FA to do with you or anybody else.

  29. Lairedion says:

    Eerm, I believe Kang Jingga meant “we” in the sense of a cultural habit to overpay expats.

  30. Brother Mouzone says:


    My experience told me, expats are like Indonesian, most of them are wankers and bullshitter and amateurish. The only difference, we pay expats 10 times higher.

    Agreed, there are bullshitters in all walks of life and of all creeds and colors and some of the expats in this country would definitely fall into that category.

    But you can’t seriously believe that hard-nosed, money-hungry, efficiency-seeking corporations and companies would pay 10 times as much unless they felt that they were getting their money’s worth?

    They aren’t charities, they are businesses and from their perspective it is worthwhile paying the extra for the perceived difference in performance. It’s fine if you can’t see that difference; the people who matter (those that pay expatriates’ salaries) can.

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