Yin & Yang: Bules & Pembantus

Feb 18th, 2010, in Opinion, Society, by

Expat men in Indonesia and their love affairs with lower class women, opposites attract.

The Friend,

Late one night as my Kampung friends and I were guarding our neighbourhood, the age-old question came up: why does the Bule Man (Bulman), like the Pembantu (maid) face ? We contemplate many such questions as I tap on my Bongo drums and my friends sip their Kratingdaeng, staring out from our little pos jaga (guard post) at the corner of the street under the Jambu tree.

Yin YangIndeed, it is like Yin and Yang: white (or pink), tall, educated, from the city, versus dark, short, from the village.  For me, the Bulman’s taste is his own business; that is how our Indonesian system of Bhinekka Tunggal Ika, or Unity in Diversity works.  But many big-haired society Matrons, funky university hipsters, and ordinary Indonesian people alike wonder about the strange attraction of the White Man for his maid.

At our guard post, we try to help the country, so for you, my Indonesia Matters friends, I return to this burning question.

Thang D. NguyenMany writers ever addressed the Bule-Pembantu phenomenon before.  The prominent columnist and thinker Thang D. Nguyen ever wrote about Westerners and maids, putting the attraction down to the law of relativity. Mr. Thang defines Pembantu characteristics as,

a dark complexion, buck teeth, and a high forehead typically found among remote mountain villagers in Java

adding that his Indonesian friend finds such features,

not beautiful.

But, Mr. Thang says:

Beauty, like many things in life, is bound by the rule of relativity.  In other words, what one man considers beautiful is ugly in the eyes of another.

Elsewhere in the Blogosphere and Chatosphere, Java Jive, and Unspun, and Detik, have all discussed the Yin and Yang syndrome.

The Detik chat is an online version of thoughts going through the minds of many Indonesians as they see a fifty-ish Om-Om, or even a debonair well-dressed Bulman mas mas (young man), with someone who looks like a rejected audition from the 1970s classic film Si Inem Pelayan Seksi (“Inem the Seksi Server”). Si Inem was like an Indonesian Cinderella, or the 1990s Julia Roberts film ‘Pretty Woman’, where the poor girl gets the prince.  (Personally I want to see Julia Perez do a Dangdut version of Pretty Woman – Astaga and Aduhai !)

Here are the thoughts of my neighborhood watch group and hang-out friends.

The Bule cannot find it in his own country.

bossyEver since Bule Belanda (Bulbel) came to the Spice Islands to trade nutmeg, Bule has ever come to my country to find something he doesn’t have.  In his country, the woman is tall, White, likes to argue and not follow what he says.  She threaten him with divorce and instead of being allowed to perform manly night-guard duties, like us, he must do housework while she watches “Desperate Housewives”.  Maybe for Bule with his maid it is different.

Opposites Attract

memperbaiki keturunanI ever read that primates seek to make up for shortcomings in their genetic makeup by finding a mate with different DNA characteristics: thus opposites attract.  Maybe the maid wants to improve her bloodline (memperbaiki keturunan).  Bule subconsciously does likewise.  Just like Bhinekka Tunggal Ika teaches us, there is unity in diversity.

Beer Goggles (Alcohol Induced Judgement Lapse)

Friend, we Betawi warriors don’t drink much more than the occasional shot of Arak in our Kratingdaeng, so we are not experts in beer drinking.  But for hundreds of years, Bule has soaked himself in gin, rum, or recently beer. In fact, friend according to Mike Dash, author of the history ‘Batavia’s Graveyard‘, there was one tavern for every seven Dutchmen in Batavia in the 1770s.  Drunken opponents – as well as Silat – was one reason the Betawi hero Si Pitoeng was so easily able to defeat Tuan Scott (see clip below).

At the popular Bule meeting places like Jl. Felatehan Blok M, Bule crashes into everything – the walls, the Preman, and, yes, the one who looks like Maid.  Sometimes true love can blossom and he will marry her.  Then the relationship becomes more like one and two above.

A Call For Discussion

Remember, that not all Bule are alike.  There are short, tall, and even vagrant and poor – known locally as ‘Bule Jaksa’. In turn, some Bule marry the Cinetron star, big-hair high society matron, or local aristocrat, be it from Bali or Java or whereever.  Friend, that is the beauty of Bhinekka Tunggal Ika.

There are many mystery in Indonesia.  Why wasn’t a single member of Dono, Kasino Indro given a cabinet post ?  Does Wiranto, Hanura chairman and retired general, wear a toupe ?  Why is Ulfa so annoying ?

Friend, our late-night guard post Bongo session was an open discussion.  I now call on You, Indonesia Matters reader to share your own insights and thoughts on the Yin-Yang phenomena.

161 Comments on “Yin & Yang: Bules & Pembantus”

  1. MINUL says:

    I’m originaly from village,
    I have dark face and skin
    I’m short
    I’m married with bule.
    I cook for my bule husband
    I have lots f*ck and good sex with my bule husband
    I got money from my bule husband


    i have 3 pembantu’s at home
    I’m well educated and now working as manager in top company.
    I have good taste and stuff (traveling lots country, painting collection, nice cars, good taste fine wine and dine)

    So who I am????????? pembantu or ayam’s or jusr ordinary person that we love each other and being couple and happy. doesnt matter we are black or white.

    So dont overlook about bule

  2. bs says:

    I have lots f*ck and good sex with my bule husband

    That’s a little bit too much information Minul, but otherwise I’m happy for you 😉

  3. David says:

    According to Javanese Primbon yes here below:


    But sorry it is on bahasa, my experience , the accuracy is almost 90%

    Good link Cuk, shame he stopped posting on that blog, or maybe it was a good thing.

  4. wildrosewood says:

    Oh MY GAWD….

    like do i and other people care where you come from or what you have now and then or what you job now or if you get f*cked zillion times with ur bule husband….and i believe the money you get from ur husband is just a bribe as a “GUILTY F***ING PLEASURE” feeling cuz she f*cked you zillion times….lol my f***ing arse..whatever girl….uumm yeah before you are married you aint got that good taste of anything huh…KENCUR!!

    so who are you….??? i dont give f***ing shit…you are still a person who has ur ayam/pembantu’s face….and they will always think it that way…..DOOOHHH.

    D’ya need a recommendation for a plastic surgery doctor?

    Read between the lines Mrs. Manager…!

  5. cowok81 says:

    Pembantu face????? Common…as if there would be anything like that. That is sooo absurd! O.k, they mostly are from poor rural areas, have not been to school for too long, dress in simple cloths and might have darker skin cause they don’t use their salery for whitening porducts….but that’s about it. ONe can’t possibly claim that there is A pembantu face…
    Is there a policman face? Or a civil cervant face? A secretary face or a prostitutes face? I doubt so…it’s just the stereotyps people have.
    Of course it’s not only pembantu that bule are after, I think many of them like Indonesian women in general cause many of them are beautiful 😉

  6. cowok81 says:

    Well said MINUL 😉

  7. bs says:

    Dikkiman, they’re biting! Congratulations on a job well done.
    Pak Achmad trained you well.

  8. Dikkiman Sujengkol says:

    Yeeee haaa !!!

  9. Oigal says:

    Just when you thought one trick Assmad could not possibly repeat himself anymore along comes Dikki. Is this what they mean by dumbing down?

    you are still a person who has ur ayam/pembantu’s face

    So a pembantu face and ayam face are the same, be plenty of pembantus would like to discuss that further..

    GUILTY F***ING PLEASURE” feeling cuz she f*cked you zillion times….lol my f***ing arse..whatever girl….uumm yeah before you are married you aint got that good taste of anything huh…KENCUR!!

    Fairly reeks of good taste n culture..

    Good one you Minul …

    we love each other and being couple and happy.

    Don’t need much else and you will avoid the big hair virus that the ones complaining about villiage girls and ayams are doomed to catch.

  10. wildrosewood says:

    Bite me..!

  11. wildrosewood says:

    Oigal,I’m just saying this as a friend, from a woman’s point of view, for a guy like you ‘of a certain age’ the pembantu/ayam wife is really only doing it for one thing. Maybe u better do a double take & check how much yr kid looks like the other household help driver/satpam or even local cop or kepala desa.
    sorry dude, for us attractive indo women there are just so many options, we’d only get a 50-y.o. guy for the financial security’

  12. ET says:

    Bite me..!

    And catch rabies? No way.

  13. bs says:


    sorry dude, for us attractive indo women …

    Ok, that does it. Now we need your picture.

  14. Dikkiman Sujengkol says:


    Please, let’s be gentlemen about this.


  15. wildrosewood says:

    @ ET: hahaha lol my ass off..rolling on the floor…I already am an anjing gila. So, I suggest ya to get the f**k out..
    @ BS: hahaha…we? Wht? U say wrote we? Who u respresent here? Bunch of geeky bules who chase ayam/pembantu face girls near around BLOK.M and all around! Hahahah…

  16. ET says:

    Wildrosewood, somehow you sound familiar. Could it be that a year or 2 ago you were also trolling this blog?
    Maybe Patung can check his records.

  17. gUnitLA says:

    @ Pak gUnitLA

    Suffice to say, I had an instant boner (white soft silky skin, sexy long hair, very slim and petite figure, very feminine looking)

    Those are some unusual adjectives to describe a “boner”.

    at douchebag, (aka BrotherMouzone)

    I did not know that the sarcasm button is turned on or you’re trying to be funny.

    I believe the author was looking for insights and opinions on the subject matter, and your post(s) does neither.

    you either post why you agree/disagree and argue for it, or just STFU and GTFO. the replies regarding this topic are hijacked by mostly stereotyping and self serving c*nts justifying BS to validate their own self esteem and ego.

    in short, less yapping and more shut-the-f*ck-upping.

  18. Dikkiman Sujengkol says:

    @ gUnitLA,

    Thanks for this:

    I believe the author was looking for insights and opinions on the subject matter,

    And I’m all for acronyms like STFU or GTFO – it’s only an internet chat – not a bar so people aren’t under any compulsion to comply, but I think it’d be helpful to ease up – or cut out (CTFO) the c-word & keep that one for your buddies.

  19. Oigal says:

    Maybe u better do a double take & check how much yr kid looks like the other household help driver/satpam or even local cop or kepala desa.

    Yup I take it back you are all class…laugh

    already am an anjing gila

    anjing perhaps which would explain the inane fear of the woking girls, make life tough for you huh.

    for us attractive indo women

    Woman you may be, attractive you ain’t unless someone has a hankering for foul mouthed, anjing gila.

  20. David says:

    You two, cut it out.

    ET, doesn’t ring any bells for me, unless you have an idea.

  21. Oigal says:

    Ok boss,

  22. Dikkiman Sujengkol says:

    @ Thanks Oigal,

    Appreciate yr input. ; )

  23. David says:

    Right, we’re all good now.

  24. Oigal says:

    Sorry Patung, I do tend to take offence when someone has a crack at my kids. I am fair game!! big n ugly enough to look after myself but ….and yup feel free to delete this one as well.

    See ya all big weekend ahead

  25. Rob Baiton says:

    @ DS…

    You read not like you have been trained by AS, but rather you read like you are in fact AS!


    Some things, as Unspun points out, seem destined to repeat themselves. This topic is one of those “history repeats” itself topics.

    To each their own. However, it might be worth pointing out that ‘those who live in glass houses should really learn not to throw stones!’

  26. Dikkiman Sujengkol says:

    Mr. Rob,

    No friend, I could hardly aspire to such heights of greatness and … Seksiness. I am, amongst other things, merely a humble Betawi air guitarist and player of the bongo drums.

  27. BrotherMouzone says:

    @Pak gUnitLA

    I believe the author was looking for insights and opinions on the subject matter, and your post(s) does neither.

    Telling us all about your “boner” was hardly the height of intelligent discourse, old chap.

    Yesterday’s JP said that they are currently debating that (stupid, stupid, stupid) law requiring westerners to pay a US50,000 deposit on their Indonesian brides but I haven’t heard anything else about it. Anyone know anything?

  28. David says:

    I’m doing a post on that, if you can wait breathlessly…

  29. BrotherMouzone says:

    I will try to contain myself…

  30. Dikkiman Sujengkol says:

    Ha ha ha, see what Ibu Ani (Sri Mulyani Indrawati), has to say about that !

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