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. Fred Floggle says:

    The problem really is why bule move to Indonesia in the first place. Some are indeed expats, sent to foreign climes by employers. They keep their heads down, and go home when the sentence is done. They think they are big fish, mainly because they are in a small pond. Good Expats go to New York on a package, the unwanted go to Jakarta.

    Why are the rest there? Two reasons:

    Firstly they are just about unemployable anywhere out of Asia, where being White has some small advantage. So they get a job teaching English (a job for which they have zero qualifications) or open a small business trying to survive on scraps from the real expats.

    The second reason is women. Access to women who wouldn’t look at these guys if they were in the West. A bule with a foreign accent, passport and slightly better income than a Bajaj driver is a good catch for a girl with no future.

  2. Raden says:

    I saw a lot of ‘disturbing opinions’ in this forum especially those who never work for a multinational companies. Please mindful of your words because there are some faithful innocent wives of those expats living & willing to sacrifice her living style in Indonesia.
    Btw, some willing to rotate into Indonesia because his / her skills are needed to ‘fix’ the problem of Indonesia either technicals or financial (audit/scandal) related. Better u local guys introspect ourself before shouting loudly here, after all chauvinism is no longer needed, Mr. Soeharto is no longer in power … understand ?

  3. Fred Floggle says:

    No one goes to Indonesia for the scenery or for the wonderful lifestyle. and to be honest the expat pay is about the same for some of the better overseas postings.

    Take your pick – Paris of Jakarta….

    Its a hardship posting for an expat, and the only advantage is you can hump yourself stupid for USD30/day. Less if you go to the railway tracks or tea sellers.

    The guys who are desperate for cheap sex and cant get an overseas posting to Indonesia move there and teach English.

    You might think it’s a disturbing opinion. Go take a read at Jackchat…

  4. Oigal says:

    Fred, You really are a floggle! What makes you think that Jakarta has any relevance to the majority of expats in Indonesia.

  5. Fred Floggle says:

    Ahhhhhh – sorry I forgot:

    The capital city of Indonesia is now Bungit.
    The seat of government is now Bangbung.
    The financial hub is Beenbag and the largest city is now Bumbum….

    Trust me, the greatest concentration of expats are in Jakarta, and given the alarming frequency with which Indonesians planes crash, ferries sink and the chaotic road system, most of the expats stick there like glue.

  6. Jakartass says:

    Is this topic seasonal?
    I asked this question in October last year (see above) and suddenly this October my inbox gets flooded again. I’m also getting many referrals from the JakChat thread on this same topic from a year ago.

    Could it be the approach of Halloween? Or are there dark forces at work?

  7. Fred Floggle says:

    Well if you take a look Anita suddenly posted on the thread, stating that it was sexist and questioning Parvitas knowledge of expats.

    For the record Parvita is in a VERY senior position in a major company. She deals with expats every day. I would back her judgment against any expats wife:

    “Ohhh honey you are late again”.

    “Sorry dear, damn traffic around Blok M”.

    “So why do you have semen stains all over your trousers and you are roaring drunk?”


  8. Anita McKay says:

    I admit there are some expats who act like an a** when dealing with local and think that they are more superior than us. But honestly, most of them really know what they’re doing, and are not afraid to say what they think and want out loud. Not like us Indonesian, even when we don’t agree we keep nodding but then whispering behind everybody’s back (and yet don’t offer solution). I’ve worked with and for expats (Caucasians or others), and I must say I envy their broad vision even when they are very young (but again, if you see trend, Indonesian bosses now are younger than 40 as well). Working with them actually push me (and my colleagues) to the best limit because they will take no for answer.

    But I must say too that I’ve worked closely with other 8 Asian countries in a project and I was embarrassed to compare my determination to the rest (even after long course that was finished at 10.00PM everybody was still gathering outside the conference room and discuss heatedly about their issues, while I was ready to drag myself to bed). And we see our regional office (mostly Indonesia office report to Singapore, Malaysia, or HK) is also full of expats (Caucasians), but some fresh Asian faces from Sing, Malays, China & HK are also there. I’ve never known an Indonesian transferred to regional office though as the boss :(( There’s an annoying trend (to me anyway) that now we get lots of Singaporean and Malaysian working here as our bosses (see IT, telco and bank industries), but again, they are really capable of what they’re doing.

    So my point is when you point your finger to others, there are 4 other fingers pointed at yourself. We’ve got lots of things to fix, and if we keep continue doing what we do without opening our eyes and absorb the working attitude like either expats or any other Asian countries, we will forever must be worked under their direction.

    Fred Floggle:
    You mock expat with no qualification, looking for easy money and fun and become English teacher. Hmm. If you think that those bules are not qualified, why are they still here? Either they are employed by stupid Indonesian company which is desperate to find students by showing Caucasian face with no certification, or they give private tutorial for, again, stupid Indonesians who thinks that those guys’ have good qualification just because they’re bules. I do know what you mean, I had a friend from the Netherlands who spent 1 year teaching tennis (and he’s not even in the top 100 world ranking, ever, didn’t have coach certificate, but yet, can live for 1 year by his earnings as tennis coach here), and lots of Indonesian signed up for his class. Either way, we (Indonesian) are the one who’s stupid, we know that they’re not qualified yet we still think they’re better than us and keep giving them opportunities.

    Having said that, I’ve met lots of Indonesian here in Scotland and they hold very good jobs in multinational companies. Those are the people who are living proofs that we indeed can compete with so-called westerners/expats. If we’re so bitter to see what expats do in Indonesia, we should go to their countries and prove that we could do as best as they do.

    Like your points. You should move to Scotland, there won’t be any staring.

  9. Fred Floggle says:


    These wankers (and there is no other way to describe them, live on the backs of decent educated honest bules.

    They can’t get a professional job, can’t get an overseas posting, so they get a ticket to BKK, Jakarta, or even places like Cambodia these days. When they arrive they blatantly lie about background, experience and qualifications, and walk into a job. They rely upon the fact that most Asians think bules are honest and better educated.

    In fact 30 years ago when this phenomena started the only bules they came across WERE educated travelers. Then came the 747, cheap travel and idiot backpackers. These morons liked the easy lifestyle and easier sex, and decided to stay. To do that they lied about their skills and education. Now every cheap Garuda flight carries more of them.

    The problem is they devalue all bules. Ask any decent Thai about farangs and see what they say”¦.. Ask them about Garry Glitter, john Mark Karrr, and now Christopher Paul Neil (who was teaching English without any degree).

    Its time Asians woke up to the fact that most bules hiding in their midst are not worth feeding. In the west they would be stacking shelves in supermarkets (or in jail for having underage sex).

  10. taxpayer says:

    As a bule English teacher here in Jakarta, I find some of the statements about us “lowlife” English teachers to be quite disturbing. I have 19 specialized degrees for teaching English as a Foreign language and have been the teacher for Conoco-Phillips, Bank Riau, Bank Lippo, Merck Corporation as well as lecturers from the Universities. Any perception that we come here for the easy women or because we couldn’t compete in our own countries is hogwash.

    In Indonesia, the government has made it very clear that foreign investment is necessary to rebuild the infra-structure and to get Indo back on track. English is a huge part of that future. Almost every sector needs English development in order to take back those specialized jobs that are currently going to outside employment. Only an idiot would devalue those teachers by comparing them to the likes of some disturbing characters who have tarnished the image of English teachers. These people certainly do not represent the majority of the teachers in South East Asia. People’s reasons for coming to Indo or any other country don’t always have to revolve around money. Regardless of why they come, they still have to stand in a classroom every night and teach. The fact that they are not all qualified is not purely their fault. They would all be qualified if the schools hiring them insured that they were but unfortunately that is not the case which, in Indo, is against the law. But…..who follows the law here? These teachers receive legal KITAS work permits and so to insult them for their choice of profession is a bit degrading.
    As for this grand salary they receive, perhaps your information is a bit skewed. MOST bule teachers are paid very poorly as like all teachers in Indonesia. Having been a Director of Studies and having read 100’s of contracts here in Indo as well as Vietnam, they not only are paid like crap but are usually treated like crap by their employers. Contracts are constantly being violated, changed, etc after a teacher is stuck in a year contract. Teachers work almost every night and Saturdays so their social lives are a bit messed up. They usually live in shoddy housing or are stuck living with 3-5 other teachers.
    The bottom-line is that most of the bule teachers are never seen because we are too damn tired to go out and make asses of ourselves in public. I have lived here for 2 years and have not seen ANY bule teachers going out for more than coffee or to the mall. So perhaps the bule you are talking about are in another profession.

    This statement is the most disturbing of all:

    “Its time Asians woke up to the fact that most bules hiding in their midst are not worth feeding. In the west they would be stacking shelves in supermarkets (or in jail for having underage sex).”

    To generalize a whole group of people like this is morally disgusting. Where do you get your information from? 27 Australians just got prosecuted in Australia for sex crimes committed in Indonesia. NONE were teachers. Asia’s problems with sex crimes is far more deep seeded and rooted. Certainly NOT from English teachers.

    As for Christopher Paul Neil (who was teaching English without any degree). He was teaching with certification and a degree as it is required in South Korea to get the work permit. And South Korea DOES do extremely thorough checks of those degrees as they need to be sent to them in sealed envelopes from the Universities. So granted Christopher is a scumbag but he was a qualified scumbag. Garry Glitter was not an English teacher and Gary Glitter is in a Vietnamese prison for 3 years. John Mark Karr was teaching in Thailand and was brought back to the USA where he was promptly released by the authorities because he had not committed the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey.

    Talk about bule all you want but be careful generalizing, especially when you do so without factual information. Teachers here work extremely hard, Bule and locals. You insult all of us when you deliberately assume yourself to be of a higher status of bule. We don’t take away from the country, we are giving something to it. And at a cheap price.

  11. Tuan says:


    Thanks but America is my home and I am a proud American. I think its a better country to express religious freedom and God willing if I have children, a better country to raise my children here.

    ~Tuan-Indonesian American Muslim

  12. Tuan says:

    Concerned Teacher,

    If the pay and the living standard is not really good why stay or continue?

    Just curious are you a male or female teacher? While I agree that teachers are being unfairly judged on this discussion but I would tend to think that female bule teachers and male bule teachers carry themselves differently in public, or take their jobs seriously to a certain degree.

    ~ Tuan- Indonesian American Muslim

  13. Pakmantri says:

    tuan said:

    If the pay and the living standard is not really good why stay or continue?

    What kind of question is that? We teachers believe that we can contribute some good to the future of this country by educating the future generation even if we have to sacrifice some luxuries that we could have if we were in a different occupations. Imagine if all the teachers quit their jobs. 🙁
    We do not want to be praised nor put on a pedestal, but do not judge us just because of a few bad apples.

    We do what we do because we love what we do!

    ing ngarso sing tulodo
    ing madyo mangun karso
    tut wuri handayani

    in front giving examples
    in the middle giving encouragements
    in the back ready to give assistance

  14. JOY says:

    Pakmantri, so you are a teacher. As a mother with 3 elementary school kids, I am very gratefull for you, teachers. Thank you.

  15. Tammy Ho says:

    Fred F:
    I know what you mean. But perhaps you spend too much time in jalan Jaksa rather than hold meetings in SCBD and Kuningan. You might need to ask to meet your CEO for once in a lifetime to realize why amongst so many multinational companies in Jakarta, only Unilever which does have 1 local CEO, the first in their history of 70ish years in Indo. But like any other countries, there are good and bad people. Just like so many Indo fake their documents to work illegally in the US or Australia or Malaysia, and tarnish the reputation of the rest of the Indo community there.

    Concerned Teacher:
    I’ve got lots of bule teachers and they have certification and genuinely work so hard for their classes. I’ve got a friend who’s just back in the UK for holiday, after 14 years saving up being an English teacher in Jkt. However I also know a Canadian lady who accompanies her boyfriend here and after tired doing nothing she decided she would teach English and suddenly she got a job in a government office. Surely being an English teacher doesn’t mean you only are from English native country, right? You must take at least several hundred hours course and pass the test? Well apparently my lady friend didn’t do it but she’s just fine. So agree with Anita that it’s actually the Indo government which is silly enough to hire her (on what basis?) on the first place.

    The trend indeed is frightening. Sooner we will be slave again like 350 years ago, but this time intellectually and sadly not only by bule/westerners but also by Asians. Look at those big banks in Indo and you know that actually there’s one single Singaporean conglomeration behind it. One of the biggest mobile provider has been bought by Malaysian. My ex company has a division head from the Philippines (!?). My other ex company had a HK boss who’s allegedly paid in 6-figure salaries, in USD (!) and he only spends 2 days in Jkt/week. My vendor, the biggest telco infrastructure company in the world, practically closed their Indo office and runs everything from Singapore and when the team came to present their work to us, the room was full of Singaporean and Malaysian. There’s only 1 Indo there, the technical manager. Everything works globally, which means everything becomes smaller geographically. Only those who are the best could survive but I’m afraid that the best Indonesians have already run to other countries to get better living.

  16. Fred Floggle says:

    Since I raised the subject of teachers, and seem to have ruffled feathers, I will state my case.

    To teach in most Western nations you need a relevant Degree (e.g. Engineering, Science, Mathematics), AND a teaching Diploma, requiring a two year training period, both on the job and course based.

    you can get a TESOL in 4 weeks”¦..

    Didn’t do so well at school? Failed to get into university? Sick of stacking supermarket shelves? Do TESOL!!!!!

    FOUR WEEKS LATER you are in Jakarta claiming to be a teacher!!! No other qualifications are required. Just 4 weeks of training.

    Now you see what the moral fibre of these teachers is in question. Its just too easy to become one.

    As for having 19 degrees. With a Degree taking an average 3 years, that’s 57 years in University. I think you need to look up Degree in a dictionary before you start teaching. I suspect what you have is 19 short course certificates. (would you care to list them? I doubt there is a real Degree in the entire list).

  17. Fred Floggle says:

    Please note he following paragraphs in this article:

    * The English-teaching circuit in Asia is filled with transient foreigners, from backpackers needing to make quick cash to recent college graduates looking for experience.

    * Earlier this month, an Australian who taught English in Jakarta, Indonesia, was charged with molesting street children. He told police he videotaped at least 50 teenage boys.

    * Another Australian teacher who faced sex allegations at home committed suicide last week in Indonesia, where he also was accused by human right activists of abusing children.

    * “It’s a very traditional pedophile strategy,” said Bernadette McMenamin, head of the Australian-based advocacy group Child Wise. “If you want to sexually abuse children, what better job would there be?”

    * Fake teaching documents also are cheap and easy to obtain in Asia, and there jobs for the taking.

    From: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/08/19/ap/world/mainD8JJLN680.shtml

    Need I say more?

  18. Fred Floggle says:

    And this is worth posting in full:

    From convicted criminals to fugitives from justice to suspected terrorists, English language classrooms worldwide are becoming havens from those who mean to exploit the TESOL opportunity for their own purposes. Happy Schools’ Newswire intends to chronicle and expose this disturbing trend by linking to news stories from around the world.

    August 4, 2004: Convicted rapist arrested for lying about his criminal history to gain employment as an English teacher at a London language school.

    Jun 23, 2004: London language school owner, Paul Dalton, arrested at Heathrow Airport and charged in the murder of his wife. (Believed to have fled abroad)

    Jun 5, 2004: American fugitive Tristian Hamilton, accused of sexual assualt against a minor, is denied bond after being deported from China where he had fled to teach English. (Returned from China)

    May 13, 2004: Australian pedophile William Brown commits suicide in jail cell after being sentenced to 13 years for molesting two Indonesian boys while teaching English in Bali.

    Mar 26, 2004: Richard Lando Sr. deported to the United States after fleeing to Cambodia to avoid prosecution for child sex crimes in America. This marked the second time Lando had fled abroad to avoid charges at home.

    Mar 9, 2004: English teacher from New Zealand arrested in Cambodia, charged with sexually assaulting boys as young as 12 years old.

    March 3, 2004: Craig Walker, who kidnapped his own children during a bitter custody battle with his ex-wife, apprehended in Brazil where he was using an assumed name and teaching English as a Foreign Language.

    March 1, 2004: American English teacher arrested in Cambodia, charged with sexually abusing girls as young as 10 years old.

    August 8, 2003: British pedophile David Christie is sentenced to nine years hard labour for sexually assaulting boys in his care after opening a home for orphans of the Ethiopian famine and then using it to give himself and his pedophile friends, one of whom was hired to teach English, access to children.

    June 14, 2003: David Sussman, a wanted pedophile and child pornographer teaching English in Costa Rica, is caught using a fake passport and subsequently discovered to be in possession of child pornography. He has been deported to Florida to face child sex abuse charges.

    August 26, 2002: American Eric Rosser, the first child sex fugitive to make the FBI’s 10 most wanted list, was extradicted from Thailand to face child sex abuse charges in the United States. He was arrested on his way to a TESOL certification course. He was planning to get a job teaching English to young children in Northern Thailand.

  19. Fred Floggle says:

    As for Christopher Paul Neil: ( was teaching with certification and a degree as it is required in South Korea to get the work permit. And South Korea DOES do extremely thorough checks of those degrees as they need to be sent to them in sealed envelopes from the Universities.)

    Take a read at: http://www.iluvkorea.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3393

    Notice this section:

    instances of degree forgery among English teachers in Asia do not represent a dilemma for government regulators and judges, but have approached the status of a plague, if statistics compiled by ESL Canada are taken at face value. A representative of the Toronto-based company, Ross McBride, said that there are between 10 and 15 fake degree printers operating out of Canada, China, Hong Kong, Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, the United States and England.
    “I contacted all 12 that I could find and asked how many they sold each year,” said McBride via e-mail. He said that they answered between 2,500 and 3,000. The company’s website also states that “the best estimate for fake certificates sold in Asia to native English speakers since 1980 is (around) 42,000.” A staggering number, considering that his estimation does not even include Thailand, a haven for fake degree makers.
    The Canadian company also puts the percentage of individuals using fake degrees to get overseas jobs in the 60 percent range, although the degree to which that applies to the Korean EFL industry is not differentiated in the statistics.

    Given that he didn’t teach in Canada, and 60% chance that he presented fake documents, I rest my case.

  20. taxpayer says:

    Well Fred, It’s interesting. 5 years ago, I too was teaching in Vietnam with no Certification. Than, after realizing that I did not know what I was doing, I went and got TESOL certified, the basic drivers license, from Global TESOL Australia (In-Class). I hated the blatant attitude of hiring unqualified teachers so much that I became Marketing Director for them in Vietnam and assisted in changing Vietnam’s laws to insure that you must be TESOL certified to even get a work permit. Than, I thought, hmmmm……maybe I should become an Instructor of teachers. So I got certified in all aspects of TESOL including Legal, Children, Adults, Medical, Grammar, Tutoring, CALL (Computer), Tourism, TOEFL, Etc. Than I earned my Professional Teachers Diploma and Continued study at Australasian Training Academy in Australia earning 78 credits and a degree. I apologize for the misusage of the term degree. The point was simply that there are over 500,000 English teachers or more worldwide. So 2% are immoral buttheads who deserve what they get. They would not hide behind English teaching if governments were not so lax in providing work permits to unqualified people. Their are only 5 Internationally recognized providers of TESOL worldwide. Internationally recognized meaning by the Governments of 85 countries. So it would seem that all blame for unqualified teachers teaching English rests solely on those same governments who allow this hiring practice to occur within’ their countries. That does not mean that you are a loser for teaching. Regardless of your opinions, these teachers, foreign and locals alike, deserve the utmost respect for what they do. As for being willing to make such little salary and still accepting the job, some people teach for cultural experience, some for adventure in another country, some to finance their backpacking and some just actually enjoy teaching. Teachers NEVER sign up for wealth and riches but being so studious as you are you probably already knew that.
    Shall we damage the reputations of the people who sell bakso and sate? After all, they walk around the streets all day and make hardly any money. Surely they are worthless people who are too low-life to to do better salary in Indo. Or shall we Sell-out the local beggars who clog the stoplights begging for change? Let’s not go after the scum locals who force children to do the begging and take the money from them because CERTAINLY these children must know better. Or how about the scum locals who sell their children to the pedophiles for 20 or 30 million rupiah?
    I respect people who make an honest living and work hard. I do not respect people who lambaste others and do nothing in effort to change their surroundings in a positive way. The Sate guys and even the beggars work extremely hard to survive and the English teachers as with ALL teachers also are honest and hard working.
    Call bule whatever you want because your donation to a better society is not clearly evident as of yet. But we, the teachers, kindly ask you to limit your judgment to those who have earned the bad image and name. Do not generalize all of us English teachers or all bules when we are desperately trying to do our part to help Indonesians. If it was all about money, we would go home and stock shelves at a supermarket because it pays more, has medical benefits and we have a retirement being built for us through social secutiry. Here we get a sense of accomplishment or develop our pride or maybe we are just too damn lazy to keep up with the jones in our own countries. Whatever the reason, as long as what we are doing is moral and ethical than who is anyone to judge our choice of lifestyle.

    One last thing in regards to being qualified. I have always suggested parents and enrollees to check the qualifications of the teachers. They choose not to do so and, in Indo, they see English as ONLY a course. Somewhat like cooking class is only a course. In the end, Indonesian parents are fortunate that these problems with pedophiles has remained somewhat limited in a business where it could easily be rampant. I and no teachers I know want to see these scumbags in our industry and would hang them from a tree ourselves if we knew who they were.

  21. Fred Floggle says:

    I stand by my comments.

    It is FAR TOO EASY to become an English teacher.

    It takes four weeks. That single piece of paper and a plane ticket gets you in front of a class who are paying a lot of their hard earned money.

    Seriously, would you get on a plane if the Pilot had four weeks training?

    WRT Bakso and sate sellers, its worth remembering that they do not fly to another country to practice their trade, unlike English teachers. They dont trade on the colour of their skin.

    As I said before, English teachers (and many of the other “unofficial expats” in Asia) trade on the good reputation of Bules, and do little to uphold it. Indonesian parents pay money they can scarcely afford to have some backpacker mumble on in front of their children PURELY because he is white and therefore can be trusted.

    This attitude stuffs it up for all Bules trying to do business in Asia.

    If you want to teach English in Asia do a bloody English Literature degree THEN do ESOL.


    Direct paste from your Australasian Training Academy:

    Quick Facts
    No Age Limit
    No Degree or Experience required
    More than 25,000 jobs worldwide
    No need to speak local language
    Study in-class, online or by correspondence

    (Incidentally, Australasian Training Academy issues Diplomas in ESOL, not Degrees..)

  22. Ecky says:

    I think the point is, do not generalize everything, you can not generalize that all bules are bad, you can not generalize all Indonesian women are gold digger, you can not generalize that all English Teacher are scumbags.

    Yes, I found some bules with no brain (what he does is only yes mam and yes sir to the client, without putting to much effort to think about the issues) but managed to be the head of one multinational company, but I also found some smart a@% bules who deserved to be what he is now. And I have Indonesian friends who are now become an expatriate in other counties, not all Indonesian people are lame, we do have some brilliant and smart ones too.

    And about expatriate (Causasians/Asians/Africans) dating Indonesian women, it’s all about taste and type. Some people attract to opposite skin tone (white to brown/black and vice versa) or to other interesting culture than theirs. And if these Indonesian women choose the wrong expatriate to be her partner, it’s their own business.

    Ah do not forget about those diplomats too, they got their overseas posting here in Indonesia or any other contries after gone through some tests and competitive qualifications from hundreds of applicants, and the fact is overseas posting gave them more money than working in their own country.

    Every coin has 2 sides, so in every bad side there must be good side, we just have to see it from all angles.

  23. taxpayer says:

    I agree. It’s far too easy to become an English teacher. Its far harder to BE an English teacher.

    Your copy/paste abilities are amazing and yes, the option to do online TESOL is available. Unfortunately for me, I had to do 600 hours IN-CLASS + 2 years out of class assignments, etc.

    TESOL is higher than ESOL but only people outside the business would say that about ESOL anyway which is why we have so many under qualified teachers in the first place because employers don’t know the difference anyhow. CELTA ,TESOL and DELTA are the highest qualifications in this business but it would be mute, again, to explain that to anyone.

    I would never hire a teacher who earned their quals on-line without 120+hours of in-class study, a verifiable bachelors degree and a police check. Nobody here, today, is going to change this industry. Deal with it. It certainly needs drastic improving. Just stop insulting those of us teachers who actually do not involve ourselves in degradable and deplorable activities and who actually work towards academic excellence everyday. And don’t generalize groups of people because it is convenient to do so. If you are independently wealthy, than use your gains to improve things.

  24. Fred Floggle says:

    My copy & paste abilities are required only to avoid me having protracted discussions with you!

    Its worth re-reading Parvita’s post that resulted in this discussion. Her key comment was:

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

    I fully agree with her, and have amply demonstrated it, by proving that with four weeks instruction you can be an English Teacher in Indonesia. Trust me, with four weeks instruction you would struggle to be a supermarket shelf filler in the West, therefore she is quite right – these people cannot compete in their own country.

    You also took offence over my insinuating that English Teachers in Asia would be in jail for under age sex if they were in the West. I provided several C&P examples where they HAVE gone to jail, and I am assured this is just the tip of the iceberg. The head of the Australian-based advocacy group Child Wise has gone so far as to say “It’s a very traditional pedophile strategy,” referring to teaching English in Asia. As I pointed out and Parvita insinuated, MANY of these teachers are only in Asia because of the easy sex that they can access. If you have been teaching I am sure you know what I mean.

    You also argued that “South Korea DOES do extremely thorough checks of those degrees”. I am afraid you are sadly mistaken. I suggest you read some of the threads about Christopher Paul Neil. It looks remarkably like he had no qualifications, as have many other English Teachers in Korea. They just jailed a Canadian for presenting a forged degree in order to obtain an English Teaching job. (I thought you said they were sent in sealed envelopes direct from the University???)

    Parvita is quite right, and it’s a huge embarrassment that a semi literate who left school at 15 can become an English Teacher in Jakarta. So far you haven’t proved me wrong.



    I am not trying to be rude, but looking at this paragraph from your earlier post, I believe your first language isn’t English. You might want to review the structure of the sentences, punctuation, the textural integrity and clarity. (I still cannot understand the first sentence at all).

    Call bule whatever you want because your donation to a better society is not clearly evident as of yet. But we, the teachers, kindly ask you to limit your judgment to those who have earned the bad image and name. Do not generalize all of us English teachers or all bules when we are desperately trying to do our part to help Indonesians. If it was all about money, we would go home and stock shelves at a supermarket because it pays more, has medical benefits and we have a retirement being built for us through social secutiry. Here we get a sense of accomplishment or develop our pride or maybe we are just too damn lazy to keep up with the jones in our own countries. Whatever the reason, as long as what we are doing is moral and ethical than who is anyone to judge our choice of lifestyle.

    This pretty well sums up the problem. That paragraph is not acceptable, and your students don’t know any better.

  25. Rambutan says:

    Can we generalise and stereotype a bit more, please? Honestly, saying “All bule teachers are sex-offenders” should not be the standard of discussions on this board.
    The motivation of expats to work in Indonesia is manifold, as are their professionalism and capacities. Some people come here because they genuinely like the country and the people. Some come here for their career. Some are posted in Indonesia although they don’t enjoy staying here. Others have an academic interest. Some like the easy life-style and enjoy expat incomes (can you blame them?). And yes, there are expats that take advantage of women; bapak-bapak bule that wouldn’t get a pretty, young girl in their home country. So, it’s a diverse crowd and while there is a grain of truth in every stereotype, please do not generalise. It really insults our intellect and doesn’t help any serious discussion.
    On the teacher issue. The quality of Indonesian teachers is generally quite poor. It’s very easy to become a teacher, even a lecturer at University, without proper qualification. This is more of an Indonesian problem rather than evil bule exploiting the poor Indoensians.

  26. Jakartass says:

    If you want to teach English in Asia do a bloody English Literature degree THEN do ESOL.”

    Is this guy for real? What on earth is the relevance of a degree which proves that you’ve read a few books about what some call “literature“. Will it benefit an understanding of local cultural values? Mr Floggle, who seems to be Dickensian by name but Hogarthian by nature, is hereby invited to enlighten us with a book list.

    For South-east Asia, I could suggest Somerset Maugham, George Orwell, Anthony Burgess and Paul Theroux, except that the few Indonesians I’ve met who actually read fiction (other than comics) prefer chick-lit or Harry Potter.

    We look forward to your further patronage, FF.

  27. Tammy Ho says:

    Fred Floggle is delusional. He said Parvita holds a senior position in her workplace, that means 1) Parvita wouldn’t need an English teacher and 2) What she meant by “expats” here are her colleagues, counterparts, team members, bosses, clients, or vendors, or their friends. Those who came here either by obligation or by choice, but either way, they’re all well educated and qualified and not some Jalan Jaksa backpacker tourists who try to sell fake degrees. In their countries they have similar position and Indonesia is a run-test, if they do better here, they’ll be promoted for ASEAN or Asian region.

    The fact that FF kept pointing at English teacher makes me wonder whether he had bitter experience with his English teacher (bad grades?) or just so unlucky meeting so-called “lowlife” bules and couldn’t open his eyes that there are indeed some descent, good bules who want to give everything for Indonesia to be a better country or to simply try to work hard on their own company.

    I guess FF never works for multinational company so only see one dimensional bule? I guess FF never meets people who work for the United Nations and are stranded in Nias with minimum infrastructure from all over the world but work damn hard to rebuilt Nias. I guess he never has friends in the Embassy to find out there are indeed some strangers who care about our country.

    Go back to see Parvita’s original posting and you’d understand she’s not talking about English teachers. I doubt she’s ever met one!

  28. Fred Floggle says:

    Well we all generalize. There are five year old children who could drive a car, but we generalize on skills abilities and capacities, and don’t let them.

    For the record, if you read my posts, I was talking about two groups of people. The first group were true expats, sent to Indonesia by major companies. I have no problem with them, however since Krismon they are very much in the minority.

    The other group are westerners who move to Indonesia (and Vietnam, Thailand etc) looking for work. It’s a simple fact – either this group would not be employed at this level where they come from, and are trading on being Bules. Alternatively they are earning a poor salary and living like paupers in these countries. You cant have it both ways. And to be honest most of them are teaching English for a pittance, living in a bed sit, and have a very young and beautiful local girl. You only have to go to Stadium on a Friday night to see these guys. There is a running joke that you recognize them by their shoddy clothes and the fact that they buy one coke all night.

    Some of these guys might really be there for the cultural experience. I spent an hour with one guy who told be all about his love of the Temples around Chang Mai. I almost believed him, and then a stunning local girl came running up and put her arm around him. His only comment – “a perk of the job”.

    If someone REALLY wants to help the locals, or immerse themselves in the culture do a medical degree, or engineering degree, and go back under one of the many aid programs. But any guy with a four week ESOL course and a local girlfriend isn’t there for the joys of teaching English. Generalisation or not, it’s the truth.

  29. Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    Tammy Ho,

    What is the difference between Catholic priests in Bules countries and English teachers in South East Asia?


  30. Tammy Ho says:

    Fred Floggle:
    Ah back to the topic of bule dating (or should we say, have sex with) local girl. Seriously, what is the problem with that? If money is involved, so what? Everybody does that, not only interracial couples. Both parties are mature enough to know the consequence.

    But local guys do that too, so what’s the big deal? Go to Bengkel karaoke at 3.00PM and you’d find out the rooms are already full of bapak-bapak wearing safari with 2-3 girls on each arm. Is it because they’re local they’re entitled to do that? Oh come on. They steal working time, they are paid by the government to serve the nation, yet they’re already tipsy before maghrib so after 7.00PM can go home to their wives and be devoted husbands. Ugh talking about hypocrisy…

    Doesn’t matter the skin colour, a scumbag is a scumbag. When snorting coke or paying for sex, what’s the difference between bule and local? Both commit the same crime, as what happens in Stadium shouldn’t happen at all at the first place! I don’t see the logic here at all.

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