18 March 2008

Comments from Another Blog - Unspun

My apologies to Unspun...but for some reason his blog would not let me publish a lengthy comment. So, I have cut and pasted the whole thing from his blog, which can be found at http://theunspunblog.com/2008/03/13/and-what-do-javanese-girls-think/. I have inserted the comment that I could not post at the very bottom...I can do these things in my blog, right?

And what do Javanese girls think?

March 13, 2008 by unspun

Here’s advice for travelers and tourists about dating Javanese girls. Unspun wonders what the Javanese girls themselves have to say about such wisdom about them?

clipped from www.baliblog.com

Regardless of what any Javanese girl says about food, she prefers rice with everything. Do not waste time taking her to Bali Bakery for breakfast, wait until 10am-11am and go over to Warung Batavia on Jl. Raya Kerobokan, she will love it. Warung Batavia serves distinctly Javanese food and you will get no complaints. Javanese girls often catch a lot of flack from Balinese locals who attach a label to them of being bed-warmers for bules. A girl who works in a regular job may feel uncomfortable accompanying you in an environment where there are a lot of Balinese locals, especially men.If you date a Javanese girl and she starts waving to other customers in the restaurant / bar, that is a heads-up that she has been around. You may not want to pursue that situation too long. Do not offer to buy drinks for a new friend and all her companions. Latching onto a friendly tourist is a sport out here.

Posted in 1 21 Comments
21 Responses to “And what do Javanese girls think?”

on March 13, 2008 at 9:27 pm1 bob
‘Javanese girls’? An island with one of the richest cultures on the planet shudders at the offensive generalization.
Unspun, you’re debasing your excellent blog with this kind of trash. Like your occasional ‘pembantus are common’ stuff, this just reflects the usual racist nonsense of people who think Indonesian women are a type. We know what the blogger you’re quoting here is talking about, but does it need to be repeated in a more civilized forum such as yours?
If these foreigners can’t see beyond these stereotypes then let them stew in their own post-colonial swill, but I know you don’t think like that so don’t pander to them. Please.

on March 13, 2008 at 10:05 pm2 andiesummerkiss
That is quite unfair stereotyping. I hope some Javanese girl can come up with something good and smart to say back to baliblog.com. He needs to keep his “tips” for himself.
It is not only a rude insult to a rich ethnic group, also horrible offence to Indonesian women in general.
Bob is right, that is just pure trash-blogging. In his part, of course.

on March 14, 2008 at 12:15 am3 unspun
@Bob: Chill man. Why are you trying so hard to display the ingenuousness and naivety of a an American liberal? Has it occured to you that Unspun finds such postings repugnant and needs to be unspun, but unlike you who presume to speak for the javanese (”An island with one of the richest cultures on the planet shudders at the offensive generalization”), Unspun feel unworthy of such pretensions.
Perhaps that is why Unspun is inviting the Javanese women to speak up for themselves.
@Andie: I hope some smart Javanese woman, and there are so many of them out there, would too. So any Javanese girls out there who want to put these guys right?

on March 14, 2008 at 2:58 am4 Marisa
Funny how a travel blog can provide dating tips as well.
From the author’s About page.
Living in Bali means a ceremony can be taking place outside my house, a beautiful girl will lay offerings outside my door each day, and stop to say a prayer, people enjoy greeting others with a smile and have time to talk.
A beautiful girl will lay offerings outside my door each day. Really!? Last time I went to Bali, the offerings laid outside my door is from a dog.Love the island, nonetheless.
And just as andie said, Javanese women, have your say!

on March 14, 2008 at 5:26 am5 Rob
You know that I live for these postings. I have to disagree with Bob on this one. This is not beneath you or the blog! Besides it is not your opinion but the relaying of a stereotype and it is the stereotype that is offensive and not the posting of it.
The biggest problem that us leftist leaning loony liberals have is burying our heads in the sand. The way to break a stereotype down is to expose it for what it is and not pretend it does not exist.
But reverse this one and see what happens. When a Javanese girl walks into a mall, a restaurant, a bar, or a nightclub and all the girls start waving to him or come up offering to massage his obviously tired shoulders after a hard week, you know the bloke has been around! So, he probably is not worth spending any time with as you undoubtedly will become just another notch on his belt and a drunken story he shares with his mates, assuming he even remembers that he spent the night with you on the morning after!
Besides, male tourists in Bali consider latching onto Javanese women in all manner of places a bit of sport and a good way to waste a couple of lonely hours (ouch, an equally harsh stereotype).
Yep, generalizations whatever way they come are offensive but pretending they do not exist is not the way to go!
Unspun, as always, a thought provoking post…

on March 14, 2008 at 12:34 pm6 ambar
well well well unspun, you’ve surprised me that put this ’stereotype’ clipping on your blog. As a javanese girl I felt offended with baliblog remark, even probably some of his view might correct (his wife from east java, doesn’t she?).
I think his view might be correct in Indonesia’s setting. Being a bule means you will get more local girls than ever. Baliblog seriously thinking that he was benefit from that position. Hm typical mindset of westerners living in developing country. Good point though!

on March 14, 2008 at 1:41 pm7 pj_bali
“being a bule means means you will have more girls than ever”
“typical mindset of westerners living in developing country”
thats kind of a stereotype too isn’t it?
I asked my (javanese) neighbor what she thought of the posting and she just laughed. I do seem to remember her coming home one night quite distressed about some remarks made behind her back while having dinner with her expat boyfriend (now husband). It may be fair to say that some elements of Baliblogs posting are true some of the time. I am only guessing here but maybe these kinds of stereotypes are the result of experiences real or shared. I mean if you had a bad experience with a certain type taxi say 3-4 times wouldn’t you tend to avoid that type of taxi.
BTW there is a Warung Batavia on Jl Kunti ( just off the road which has a much better ambience than the one on Raya Kerobokan.

on March 14, 2008 at 2:47 pm8 Unspun
@pj: perhaps baliblog’s observations would be acceptable if he headlined it ”Dating a Cheap Javanese Girl?” As opposed to a Javanese with more class, of course.
on March 15, 2008 at 8:04 am
9 Bonar
Now you make bules wondering whether they get “cheap javanese girls” or the “not so-cheap” ones. Some may get offended that you call their wives cheap.
on March 15, 2008 at 9:33 am
10 unspun
@Bonar: well, as they say, water finds its own level. Some bules will go for cheap, easy Javanese girls becoase they themselves are cheap. Others with more finese would go for classy ones. Works for everyone, not just the Bule-Java combination. Those who take offense can ponder on the saying: siapa yang makan cabe dialah yang rasain pedas nya (I hope I got it right)

on March 15, 2008 at 11:23 pm11 Rob
On the saying front:
“belum makan nasi, belum makan!”
I would have thought that taking your acquaintance to the warung would have made sense, particularly if you are a cheap bastard! Simply, if you take her to Bali Bakery for breakfast and she eats there, then you will have to treat her a second breakfast where she can eat rice because after all “having not eaten rice is the same as having not eaten at all!”

on March 17, 2008 at 9:35 am12 Oigal
So what are the Indonesian men getting so upset about ? It’s exactly the way a significant portion of men (Majority?) treat women in Indonesia.
The snide comments, winks and whispers.
I was out yesterday with my wife (Indonesian) and we had the misfortune to be at place where a herd of government types turned up in their shiny new cars and arrogant tax payer funded glory. Sure enough, it was only a matter of time before one of the little pr*cks made a snide remark about my wife (and mother of three children) in bahasa to the laugher of his mates.
He made two mistakes, one …I speak bahasa, two.. my wife nor I am are short of words or courage when it cames to dealing with anjing. Was an ugly scene tho and he did decline my forceful offer to deal with it like men..cowards all..Better still was the look on his wife’s face, as the character flaws of her husband was expalined to her by my better half.
Instead of worrying about what a blog has to say. You might want to consider why so many women are forced to prositute themselves. Absmal education standards, no support for women with children whose coward husbands decide to desert them. Staving children in the provinces..
Before the xenophobes start talking perhaps you should look at what is really happening in your own country.

on March 17, 2008 at 1:17 pm13 Rob
Straight shooter as always! That is why I read your blog!
I did not know you were married to a local. I guess I have learned something new about you today and you are not as anonymous as you were yesterday!
I agree there is a double standard here and the way that some Indonesian men treat their women it is hardly any wonder there are increasing numbers of Indonesian women seeking out other nationalities to become their other half.
Rather than confront the real issues, the general misogyny of some Indonesian men towards their women, it is all that much easier for Indonesian men to label Indonesian women with foreigners as prostitutes (the term of preference that I have foundmost use is “whore”).
I am married to a local too and at first my wife encouraged me to ignore the snide remarks and forget about it but after 12 years or so I guess it has worn a little thin and now I get active encouragement to go for it! I speak Indonesian and have found that I use “babi lu!” in preference to anjing
Not surprised that it was not taken outside and resolved like men. But, the dressing down he got from your missus in front of his missus and his mates would have meant there was no saving face…

on March 17, 2008 at 1:42 pm14 unspun
@Rob @Oigal: maybe we should all form an association of expat bloggers with Indonesian wives

on March 17, 2008 at 2:56 pm15 Rob
Now there’s a thought!

on March 17, 2008 at 2:58 pm16 Oigal
Hi Rob,
Thanks bloke..
Term they use here is pelacur, they are not smart enough to use english. Although the term would be better suited to the types supposedly looking after the peoples interests.Despite all the xenophobic rubbish you hear, ask one of your Indonesia blokes to take you to see one of the Indonesia brothels that exist in every town, you better be prepared for some fairly soul destroying scenes tho.
Perhaps thats good idea, as Rob said “we have about had a gutful of the rude, ignorant types” that pass for representatives of decorum”
BTW..That’s why I figure I have the right to speak out. In any “normal” country I would qaulify by rights of family, time in country and contribution to the country to qualify as a citizen, so the whiners had better get used to the stumps rants and raves.

on March 18, 2008 at 12:30 am17 Marisa
I speak Indonesian and have found that I use “babi lu!” in preference to anjing
Actually, that isn’t in preference to anjing. That’s in preference to, err ..another mammal.Have you been receiving such remarks yourself? It’s a shame. Really. You must take this things seriously though, especially concerning on how safe is your living and working environment, and know where to file a complaint.My guess is you’re not living in Jakarta, or Bali.
For expat husbands, with all due respect, does it ever occur to you gentlemen that this type of incidents isn’t exactly about you being a Caucasian? Perhaps it’s more of how your wives represent herselves, the lifestyle you both share, or how the both of you relate to the locals.
Do a small talk, basa basi, give Lebaran parcels, say Hello, or Assalamualaikum/Walaikumsalam when you bumped into natives you happened to know, join in and be a participative citizen. And you’re Caucasians/bules, it’s easier to get the natives laughing if you’re a Caucasian, since basically you’re like people coming out of their television set. But they are not laughing AT you.
Anyways, I am an Indonesian, I’d get sneering remarks too if ever I behave “unwisely”. That’s Indonesia, what do you expect? Las Vegas?
Those are just tips though, surely you know better about your spouses, and yourselves, than I do.

on March 18, 2008 at 1:50 am18 Marisa
On second thought, nevermind the Assalamualaikum/Walaikumsalam part, natives will assume you’ve converted and that would lead to a major misunderstanding. Unless you actually have.
That’s just how people like me do stuffs around the neighbourhood.

on March 18, 2008 at 8:34 am19 Oigal
Ah Marissa… I appreciate your comments and believe you are serious about trying to help. Don’t get offended but by your own comments you prove how far Indonesia has to go to get out the xenophobic rut it is in.
“know where to file a complaint” surely you are not serious? government types are the worst offenders..
“all due respect, does it ever occur to you gentlemen that this type of incidents isn’t exactly about you being a Caucasian? Perhaps it’s more of how your wives represent herselves, the lifestyle you both share, or how the both of you relate to the locals.”
Despite the obvious and with due respect, obnoxious undertones of that statement. Whose business is it anyway to judge our life styles and how we represent ourselves and by right does give anyone to comment (always to the woman never brave enough to confront the male head to head).
Despite that your inference about life styles and represent ourselves stands on its own as insulting anyway. For the record (and to have to state this is a slur on Indonesian attitudes) we dress politely (no bikinis, no high heels or cheap dresses which to what you are alluding to I assume).
Thanks for your tips on how to get along with the “locals”. Speaking for myself we have live in our village for a lonng time and obviously have no issues there. As the odd sexist, insecure moron has been dealt with and the rest we have good relations with. (Again with due respect, pretty patronising comment M)
It Is the general attitude amongst the larger populace and it has everything to do with being an expatriate’s wife or gf.
“I’d get sneering remarks too if ever I behave “unwisely”.”
Insulting comment M, who are you to assume I or anyone else are acting “unwisely”..take a breath and look around and see how women are treated in this country.
“say Hello, or Assalamualaikum/Walaikumsalam Assalamualaikum/Walaikumsalam” Here is another classic!! ..Why on earth should I or anyone else use that greeting? Fairly sure I am in South East Asia not the Middle East. The fact that you throw that in, demonstrates prevailing inability of the majority (?) to accept there are other cultures and norms of behaviour that go to make up a significant part of Indonesia. It’s about time for a lot of the little children to grow up.
Sorry Marissa, I believe you really did what to help but your comment is both condescending therein and insulting. Worse than that your assumed generalisations, were as bad as the comments made by the layabouts and to be honest to hear such a comment from an educated woman in Indonesia.
I realise this has probably offended you, but may I suggest you go back and read what you wrote and what subtext of the comments really are.

on March 18, 2008 at 8:54 am20 Rob
Wrote a really long post in response to this but it has not appeared. I have tried to re-post it and get a wordpress message about it being a duplicate…
Oigal has made many of the same points that I tried to make in my missing post…

on March 18, 2008 at 9:03 am21 Rob
Unspun… I still cannot post the comments I want? but if I try and re-post them I get a wordpress message that the comments are a duplicate post but they do not appear? Help lah!

This is my comment in response to the posts by Marisa...

I am not sure what mammal you are referring to, but OK.

My living and working environment is plenty safe enough. If it wasn't I wouldn't be here!

Good guess, but you are wrong. I live in Bekasi and work in Jakarta.

If it is not about me being a bule, then what is it about? Are you suggesting that my wife presents herself in such a way that she deserves to be called a pelacurS or any of the other possible derivatives, and a traitor to her culture for marrying a bule? Interesting observation considering you neither know me or my better half personally.

In the kampung where I live there are no problems! Be a participative citizen, enough with the assumptions already. You do not know me so where do you get off telling me about how I should participate in my community?

What we are talking about here is not making small talk or doing the basa basi thing with the locals but rather when we go to a shopping centre or the movies or to lunch and there is some fool thinking that he can say whatever he wants and be as rude as he likes because an Indonesian women has fallen in love with and married a bule or just enjoys hanging out with a bule friend! I do not really get the point about how doing any of the things that I note above constitute behaving unwisely!

Feel free to explain how going to a mall to do a little shopping is unwise behaviour and how that then gives the right to some poor imitation of a man to abuse either my wife or I?

I wonder if this was reversed and we were talking about Indonesian men going out with bule women would the arguments be any different?

Sorry Marisa but this is not how it works in the neighbourhood! Your naive and prejudiced response should probably amaze me but it doesn't. Your suggestion is that once my wife and I have been abused that the reason for the abuse is our own fault and that we should be thankful and start dishing out the lebaran presents. Reminds me a little of the idea of "Hey Mister, mana duit?" The simple rationale being if you’re white you should give and give generously and give often.

I have been living in Indonesia for more than 15 years now. Yep, I know the language, I know the culture, and I know the hoods! Yep, I know it is Indonesia and I do not expect anything else but Indonesia. I am here because I want to be here. If I wanted to be in Vegas I would watch CSI!

I am not sure that either of your posts are serious, particularly after reading the tip that I should not worry about the abuse because whenever someone sees me they have the right to abuse me because I am white and it looks like I have just come out of the TV. Are you kidding me???

If they are not laughing AT me then what is it that they are laughing at and what is it that gives them the right to behave badly and rudely? You are Indonesian, right? Perhaps you can explain your culture to us uncultured white folk who do not understand or know better.

Your "tips" convey a deep misunderstanding of the original post, but even more interesting is your justification of the behaviour of a minority of your fellow Indonesians as "that is just the way it is!"

To each their own...I will leave any other analysis or comments to my equally, perhaps more, capable bule colleagues!


oigal said...

Wow!! Thought I was being a harsh and to the point. However fully concur but didn't want to get that far into justifying myself and family..

Although..for F sake, how does she think a mother of three kids conducts herself? Laugh.. I should give the comments to the princess and see what she says...ouch..

To be fair, last time we got one of the comments. Princess and I were playing Golf and no ,she was not dressed like a dressed sheep with the fly blown protective covering ..nor was she dressed as a whore (which was the inference). The concept that we enjoy sport as couple does not strike me as unwise. By the way, whilst dressed for sport, there is no way we would stop on the way home to go shopping..

aah they make me angry!!

Sad part is was a woman's comment. until more women start telling the morons to grow up, women will always be just meat in this country.

Rob Baiton said...


btw I left my email address as a comment on your blog and seeing you moderate you can choose to post it or not...up to you!

Harsh but fair...if you want to give people tips about how to live their lives and conduct themselves then you gotta be prepared to be called on what you offer up!

I was not necessarily trying to justify myself or my family even if it came across that way...I was highlighting real life personal examples of the narrow mindedness that the missus and I encounter every now and then!

I wish I could convince my missus that golf was a game she could enjoy :)

I guess I was a little annoyed at the generalizations and the assumptions. You wanna stick your head in the sand then it leaves you somewhat exposed don't ya think?

I agree it was a little disheartening that the rationale and justification came from someone who is obviously pretty well educated (I have had a squizz at her blog) gotta help yourself before you can help others...

Have a good one with only two days to go to another long weekend!

oigal said...

Mate, I will dump the post with email as soon as I get it..big on Anon as you know laugh...

will email later

pjbali said...

Hi Rob

Always amazing how these threads progress. Enjoyed your's and Oigal's comments. A lot of Indonesian men make these sort of snide remarks, relying on the assumption that the wife/girlfriend will say nothing and that the husband /boyfriend does not understand the comment. It's always enjoyable to hear them being called out on this sort of thing. Personally I try to ignore this kind of stuff. In Bali this happens all the time - You would find youself in a lot of arguments! - easier just to ignore it. Its more a reflection of peoples poor upbringing that enables them to say such impolite things. Next time you feel like having a go with one of these rude types you may want to vary your response from the standard "babi loe" to "kamu dibesarkan seperti ini".

patung said...

"I can do these things in my blog, right?"

Actually no, you can't, the Official Indonesian Bloggers' Ethics Committee will be dealing with you shortly.

Rob Baiton said...


That is too bad! I really enjoyed my time in Indonesia, but if I gotta go then going its gotta be! I would prefer it be after lebaran so I can score my bonus month of pay! I have worked bloody hard this year and already deserve it!

Now I know why I should have been blogging anonymously...sounds like an old post or perhaps a new thread :)


Truth be told, I and the missus ignore most of the comments thrown our way, it seems that time thickens the skin. Yet, sometimes there are those commentators who should know better and I guess this is where the "so, this is how you were raised" comment might do the trick!

Yet, this is too subtle for some and adopting the sledgehammer over the head approach of greeting offence with even greater offence some times allows us to walk away knowing that we have given as good as we had to take!

oigal said...

"Truth be told, I and the missus ignore most of the comments thrown our way, it seems that time thickens the skin."

But why should you tolerate it? I admit I pick and choose my targets (also depends on the day I am having) although the mystic princess does not need much help from me.

Walked around the back of the counter at immigration the other day and help herself the the documents she needed..as all the drongos came rushing out to stop her she just pointed at the sign (hours of business) that said they were supposed to working 20 minutes ago not still having lunch and the rest of the crowd cheered her.

Rob Baiton said...

Maybe it is tolerated maybe it is just a case of picking and choosing. I tend to think it is a case of picking and choosing our targets...

Some people just do not know any better and I tend to go after those that should know better because generally they are the ones that are showing off to their mates or are on some kind of power trip!

But I gotta say I like the princess' style of if you're not going to do your job then let me help you out by me helping myself to the forms...

The fact that the crowd cheered her on tells you something about Indonesia -- Indonesians know when they are being screwed by the powers that be, but tolerate it because they have been indoctrinated to this is the Indonesian way. Yet, they love it when one of their own finally says "bugger it, I am not taking this crap anymore" and then does what needs to be done by themselves.

Unspun said...

@Rob: Your comments were arrested by Akismet but Unspun's negotiated a release so feel free to continue the thread there or here :)

Sure you can do this, why not?

Jakartass said...

Ah, "picking the time of day" to respond. And month?

I've long thought that suggesting that these uncouth yobbos use bahasa monyet is the best response. It certainly sends them scurrying back to where they've emerged from.

But why has this topic emerged yet again? Is it a seasonal thing?

Given that this little drama is regurgitated by folk with enough 'literacy' to use the internet, one should surely expect greater understanding of other cultures.

Ah, but then perhaps we only want to read what we agree with, eh?

Rob Baiton said...


Insightful as always.

Picking and choosing is not really the time of the day or the month but more so the target...In the interests of fairness I probably should give all or none a spray but such is life :)

I guess this topic periodically emerges (not necessarily seasonal) because new comers arrive on the scene or some one posts something that the majority of us cannot let pass without comment...

Your point about only wanting to read what we agree with is an interesting one...

Patung said...

I'm in the same situation as the other fellows on this page but we don't often get rude comments, far more common is just rude looks. It's not just bules either, I've noticed that in some less than cosmopolitan places when some people see an ethnic Chinese man with a Javanese woman there tends to be a bit of staring at them - maybe it's different in the big smoke of Jakarta, don't know.

Jakartass said...

Hi Rob.

Like you, I may have been 'banned' from Unspun. Having a spare couple of hours and access to broadband, I composed the following. If it's there, so be it. If not .....

Anita C. brought the topic back to where it started: food. Javanese girlfriends(and wives)wanting a taste of home have been given a sound piece of advice (with a neat follow up from PJ).

Presumably Balinese girlfriends of Caucasians in Bali choose dining spots according to their upbringing. Lasses from Sumatra can find good Padang food just off Monkey Forest Rd. in Ubud and, no doubt, elsewhere.

So, where are the good vegetarian restaurants for left-leaning libertarians such as myself?

The original posts are indeed about Javanese girls who are in Bali seeking a measure of financial security. That many end up (or start out) as bar girls is a fact of life, albeit one that annoys the 'indigenous' Balinese. As usual, Unspun has been selective in his clipping and latched onto the ethnic labelling rather than the intent of the original posting on what is essentially a tourist guide for non-residents.

And, as usual, having baited his trap, we left-leaning ~ or right-minded in the case of Oigal ;-)~ libertarians have fallen into his trap and given a boost to his circulation, which may well have been his intent. He says that he finds "such postings repugnant". Strange, then, that he feels the need to give them such prominence.

The Bali Blog post concludes thus: "If your girlfriend is Muslim, try to respect and support her in her religious commitments especially during the month of Ramadan. Dating a Javanese girl can be an interesting experience if both parties are open and relaxed."

This displays a degree of cultural sensitivity which many of the comments (on his site) do not.

Rob Baiton said...


Yep, I read the original on Bali Blog too.

I agree that the point of the Bali Blog post was really for those touristy types needing a bit of a guide as to how to deal with the situations they will undoubtedly find themselves in :)

I would have thought that most hotels would have had rice on the breakfast menu...but that assumes you're staying in a hotel and I guess not everyone does!

I agree that it was a selective clipping designed to solicit responses...the repugnant angle is always an interesting one and reminds me of the human need to slow down when passing by the scene of a fatal car crash, just gotta do it!

My beef is not so much with the original post but the comments that followed. For me it is the perpetuating of the stereotypes which prompts me to add my two pennies worth...

GJ said...

Hi Rob,

I have just read this from the start. Now I'm worried, as a novice here, only just over 12 months. I often have taken my Admin Manager out, especially to lunch and often to customer meetings. These meetings are often in shopping malls or restaurants. I worry what insults she may have received over this time, as I don't speak the language yet. She definately wouldn't tell me. BTW I'm well and truly in a relationship with FG from Syd, with no other intentions for Ms Admin Man than normal business practice, but I wonder now.... is this likely to be hurtful/harmful to her just being in my company. I would hate to think that having a lunch to celebrate a success would see her abused by people making these narrow minded assumptions.
I would hate to stop this but if this is what happens, I may need to be more sensitive to how we do things.


GJ said...

PS. Thanks for the insight. I was blind to the whole subject.


Rob Baiton said...


The abuse does not happen every single time we are in public and sometimes it would seem to be seasonal as Jakartass suggested in respect of this topic coming and going over time...

Others might feel differently on this, but for me I would not be making any changes, do things as you have been doing them for the past 12 months.

Having read your posts, business seems to be doing pretty well doing it as you have been :)

I think you would notice even if you were not looking out for it and even with your ever-improving Indonesian language skills, it is one of those human nature fight or flight responses, you just know if someone is taking the piss even where you don't speak the local lingo!

Sounds like you have a pretty good working relationship with Ms. Admin Man, so I would ask her by putting it into the context of you were reading somewhere...blah blah blah...and I think she would tell you!

GJ said...

Thanks Rob,

I will be watchful but will carry on as per previous. Ms Nila is great as I have written about on the blog. Just the thought of putting her in that position makes me sick. I will speak with her about this issue to see her thoughts. She is from Padang and tells me she can handle herself in relation to business issues not sure if abuse came. I would certainly challenge the individuals concerned, 'cause at 6'1" I can be intimidating if i want to.
Thanks again for the advice, much appreciated.


Rob Baiton said...

Dear All...seems like the comment that I could not post has been retrieved and posted by Unspun.

This posting has generated some interesting responses that are being posted on Unspun...


I was being harsh in my comments but I did not think that I was being too personal or offensive but it seems I thought wrong!

So, I posted a long-winded response explaining myself as sad as that is!

Finally Woken said...

Honestly, I never got any negative remarks about spending time for lunch or dinner with my Caucasian bosses, clients, vendors, or friends.

Maybe only once with the American consultant (remember I mentioned about the him who prefers nasi padang over pizza at Unspun's blog) who's over 60 (and I was in my late 20s), once turned up alone at Izzi Pizza where we usually went to, and the staff asked, where's your wife. Both of us thought it was hilarious.

And as I asked at Unspun's where did you guys receive such xenophobic treatments, because I've never experienced any!

Rob Baiton said...

Finally Woken...

Over 15 years in Indonesia the list of places would be a long one and some of the instances have certainly faded from memory in the intervening years. However, government offices and dealing with pencil pushing bureaucrats are always worth a cheap shot or two...

Other choice locations have been a number of plazas including Senayan, Taman Anggrek, Indonesia, and Pasar Raya some of the biggest commentators in these places are the Satpam...

It happens in office buildings as well, once again Satpams seem to be the primary offenders in this zone...but the building staff also know how to tee it up!

But most frequently it is just out in public, walking the streets between places...

The content of the offending speech varies but I think the posts so far give a general gist of the sorts of things that are said...

To be honest I should probably ignore all of the comments, and I cannot speak on behalf of the others, but as your languge skills get better and you understand more Indonesian and you come to have a greater appreciation of the culture and what is acceptable and what is not, the idea of not responding because in the "east" there is an emphasis on saving face loses its appeal.

If it was really about saving face and being polite for being polite's sake (basa basi) and courteous in the extreme (sopan santun) then the commentator would not make the unwarranted comments in the first place...

It is a minority of people and most definitely not a majority that partake in this kind of behaviour. My earlier posts combiend with Oigal's posts have struck a chord across at Unspun's blog.

My posts should not be construed as complaints or being miserable or hating Indonesians and Indonesia but rather as a reflection of my personal experiences in this regard...I do not label all Indonesians with the same brush for the discretions of a small minority.

I think that I probably speak for most of the bule posters on this blog and other blogs that if we were the miserable Indonesian haters we are sometimes demonized as being then we would not be here and we would not be married to wonderful Indonesian women. That is another blog entry though...

Thanks for dropping by and thanks for the feedback...How's that Scottish weather this time of the year?


treespotter said...

hi Rob, got here a bit late. It is silly, if not stupid really, such comments. but hey... maybe i'll get back on it later, maybe not. you guys seemed to have covered it pretty well :)

PS: can i have your email address?

treespotter said...

you can just drop me a not at a.treespotter(at)gmail(dot)com

oigal said...

Finally Woken,

Hey fair comment..perhaps it happens more out in the provinces. I guess it is true that due to where we are and the limited number of ..mmm...looking for right word..Upper establishments.. we tend to rub shoulders with some fairly ignorant types promoted way beyond their personal social ability..
I mean I don't get stressed at the local kid down the road refering to "BULES" or somewhat outrageous comments from local sayur man (and sometimes extermely funny). However when from someone who should know better and invairably delivered with the sneer of arrogance, I get my back up.