Caucasian vs. Indonesian Men (modified)

Note:
The original article was posted on Thursday, 20 March 2008. In regards to those who has requested me to remove the family reference, this article is rephrased, although I try not to go too far from where I stand and believe.

After the article is published as of today, I will remove all comments generated from the previous post respectively by tomorrow, because I don’t think they reflect my new one. All of you, however, are free to post new comments as usual. I never apply comment’s screening process, but I don’t tolerate abusive and dirty words.

I know since the original article was posted last Thursday, there are at least 4 reactions posted in other blogger’s pages. I do not wish them to do what I do here, nor would I start name callings in other bloggers’ pages, as some of them do. I will never jump into some bloggers’ pages (who talk about totally different things) and make degrading comments about other bloggers, just because we have had disagreement about something, somewhere else. It’s childish. But I believe all people are good at judging others’ characters, and they eventually will form their own opinion about each blogger.

By repost this article, it does not mean that I am easy to be bullied. It’s them who dragged their families as reference first, so when the information was out open loudly to public I thought it should be okay for me to use it as a point of reference. Obviously not. But I really do respect their wish, as I would have done the same thing too (and hope people will take my complaint seriously too, if it happens).

As I have mentioned to those who sent me private responds by emails, I never intend this post to be nasty, offensive, or abusive. I regret that the post generated nasty and harsh comments as well, and in return, has made most of people to choose to stay away from it. It should have been an interesting discussion.
====================================================================

I read Unspun‘s clipped article, originally from BaliBlog, regarding what (tourist? foreigners? cheap?) men perceive about Javanese girls. At first I didn’t jump into the discussion, since what Baliblog described about Javanese women was beyond degrading and not worthy to entitle my opinions.

But then the discussion was turned into how women (in general, not only Javanese) are treated by men in Indonesia. Two of the participants, Oigal and Rob, pointed out that Indonesian women are subject of snide remarks by local men because they are simply seen with Caucasians.

clipped from theunspunblog.com
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.

blog it
clipped from theunspunblog.com


Oigal…

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”).

blog it

I finally jumped into the discussion, stating that I have never experienced such thing in Jakarta, Bali, or in my hometown. Regardless of what I wear or don’t wear. I have never been labeled as a whore just because there is another human being walking next to me who looks slightly different from, but usually much taller than, me. And I couldn’t recall if my friends ever receive it either.

But I know that at some points, most of, if not all, (Indonesian) women have experienced (a) harassment(s) by local men. I myself was being physically harassed at least twice when I was younger, and it shattered my confident for a long time. And when I was working in a construction industry, I had to face the construction labours (a.k.a tukang) on a daily basis, and although most of them were very polite and nice, there were several occasions (usually when the project just started and they did not know who I was) where few of them whistled or made snide remarks when I entered the site. Usually I asked who did it – and never got the answer but a coward silence – and warned everyone in the room that they will be kicked out if they did it again. Other occasion was more serious (especially when they guy was holding an electric drill and twice bigger than me, and clearly held a misogynist belief), but so far I still could handle it without having to stomp my feet or say something rude back.

Although I never experience to receive a xenophobic treatment because I am seen walking with non-Indonesians, it does happen in Indonesia – and I am sure it does happen in everywhere else in the world too.

But then I see that the discussion is leaning towards local-men-are-jerk stereotype accusations. Oigal went further by embracing the holier than thou mode, posted an article that Kartini must be turning upside down in her grave. Although he didn’t mention that his fingers are pointed to local men in his post, his comments in Unpun’s clearly showed it.

Trouble is the base issue has little to do with “Bules”* but more to do with the insecure, offensive behaviour of a significant number of men to women in Indonesia.
Sexism reigns supreme from blatantly sex job advertisements which dictate age, weight and compulsory picture to behaviour that would earn a slap in the face (or legal action) in most other countries.

Clearly Oigal has never tried to apply to work in Singapore Airlines. Or being rejected to work as a casual staff in a clothing store in Sydney, where the store manager bluntly said they were “looking for an Australian staff, so piss off“. Discrimination happens everywhere, but only Indonesians are stupid enough to have everything printed so obvious, while other countries have their government guiding the equal opportunity (or so they say) for everyone.

I honestly am disappointed. I read Oigal’s blog regularly and I think he’s a refreshingly odd, bitter and funny at the same time. But now he seems just… angry about everything, and his holier than thou mode indicates there is a hidden superiority feeling towards everything and everyone, hence he surely was more right than anyone else. This reminds me of an Australian guy who was asking for a flat-white in a nice restaurant, and just because the staff did not understand, as the term flat-white is not common, he got instantly angry. I got annoyed, because I knew that he couldn’t behave such way in his home country. If you are being rude to the staff, you could end up at the other side of the restaurant.

But one thing that is not openly discussed at Unspun’s was that when the participants were ranting about how Indonesian women receive bad treatments from their local men, they do not mention that some expat/foreigners/bule/Caucacian treat Indonesian women without respect too!

At Unspun’s I gave several examples. One is an old Caucasian guy, who pinched my bum when I was trying to go to toilet in a very crowded bar. I screamed and threatened to kill him and the look on his face showed that he was very shock, probably because he could get away with it most of the time. Not this time. He apologized many times and was even more embarrassed to find out that I’m his co-worker’s friend. Later I found out his name is John (I don’t know his last name, but if I did, I’d gladly print it here in bold letters). So he’s embarrassed because 1) I protested and 2) I know his co-workers. Which means he would have done it thousand times with barmaids who couldn’t protest.

The other one was when I was in a bar/restaurant with Melly having dinner. The guy that I know vaguely was there with his friend and we were the only customers on a quiet night. By 8.00 PM they got really drunk and were getting louder, singing on top of their lungs, and kept asking the barmaids to turn the volume up, to the point we couldn’t handle the conversation normally. Politely I asked the barmaid to turn the volume down, and she did it. Poor lady, this old Briton went ballistic and screamed and swore with his dirty mouth, saying that he contributed so-so millions every month to this bar so he was entitled to do what he wanted. Melly and I left because we didn’t want to make any scene and we didn’t want to make the staff more scared to handle those guys. The friend, months later, came to Stuart’s leaving party and exposed himself to other ladies when he was drunk and must be dragged home.

And then there is another Kiwi guy who we label as Mr.Octopus because his habit of groping anybody who comes with a skirt. He ends up marrying a girl who is as young as his grand daughter.

With so many bad experiences, should I hate all Caucasian/westerners/bule/expat? No. Do I think all of them are sleazy bastard? No. Because I know that not ALL are like that.

I like reading Rob’s blog too, but I also cannot fathom that he thinks Indonesian women choose to be with Caucasian/Westerners because we receive bad treatments from Indonesian men. And here I am, thinking that it’s about inexplicable attraction. Surely you can’t control whom you are going to fall in love with? Maybe yesterday with an Indonesian, today with an Australian, tomorrow with an Arabian, and next year with an African!

I had been with Indonesian men, and just because I had bad experiences with them did not make me swear off Indonesian men forever. It did make me swear off men altogether, actually, for a while. The fact that I am married to a Caucasian doesn’t mean that I did not have bad experience with Caucasian either.

Stereotypical accusation is dangerous. And I honestly think that those expats with local wives can be more sensible and decently admit that Caucasians are as bad when it comes to degrading remarks towards women. It’s what jerks do. And as I mentioned before, a jerk is a jerk. Whether he’s white, brown, or yellow. Whether he’s a satpam (security guard) or a CEO. Whether he’s Indonesian or Caucasian.

Now I want to know your opinions as the other Indonesian female bloggers:

  1. Do you receive different treatments from Indonesian vs. Caucasian men?
  2. Have you been verbally abused by Indonesian men?
  3. Have you been verbally abused by Caucasian men?
  4. If you have a Caucasian partner, did you specifically target the race as your potential other-half? Why?

Would love to hear more stories re. these hot issues!

Further reading:
Caucasian vs. Indonesian Men (2)
Bule (Caucasian) Guy Dating Indonesian Girl

 

Comments

  1. Funny though that I enjoyed reading both the comments and the blogger’s article for this issue :)

    I am new in blogging however I would say that “everyone need to have a big heart & an open mind”. I have read many blogs, some bloggers sound really personal over matter but others are not at all. When we write something and others commented on it or used that article as their own inspiration, why not ?!? “blogging is the world without bounderies and free of mind”

    For me the beauty of blogging is be able the different character of each blogger from their writing which are different from reading newspaper or mag.

    Ps. Jerks are everywhere and it applies to all human being not based on race, nationalities or whatever. There are many great Causasions men & Asian men I knew that treat their spouse like a rare diamond. One of the example, my lovely hubby treats me like no others men ever treat me before and He is proudly Indonesian Chinese Man.

  2. Oh this is going to be a looooooonggg discussion, somehow.

    I think I have to agree with “jerk is jerk”, no matter what their nationalities are.

    I’m sorry for Oigal and Rob who had such an experiences from Indonesian men, but that simply because they are jerk full stop.

    In one occasion, I met bunch of Americans, friends of a friend and there is this guy, he said he likes me because I can speak English very well errr… That was such a downgrading comment for me, because based on his experiences with some Indonesian women (which I don’t know where did he meet them) most of them can’t speak English, what they did just giggles every time these guys are trying to make conversation. Geez…

    So, he underestimates Indonesian women and made the stereotype among Indonesian women. And I refuse to be treated like that, I debate almost every subjects he brought up, just to show him that some of Indonesian women have brain too.

    I stood up not just for me, but for all Indonesian women. So hopefully his point of view regarding Indonesian women will change.

    I’m not pointing my finger to anybody in particular, I just saying that what ever happened to Oigal and Rob could be based on personal experiences of those Indonesian men maybe they’ve met the fake couples before, and Oigal & Rob happen to be at the wrong place and the wrong time.

    Oh boy, this is the longest comment that I ever wrote.

  3. Want to share another experience, I have this Indonesian man and he underestimates and look down women who dated Caucasian men. In his mind, woman who dated Caucasian is “ayam” period. And he even doesn’t like to hang out in places with a lot of Westerners.

    Shame on him made that kind of stereotype and shallow judgement.

    But hey, jerk is jerk.

  4. Want to share another experience, I have this Indonesian man –> should be –> I have Indonesian friend.

    Typo, my mistake

  5. treespotter says:

    we should probably start a therapy group for the disgruntled.

  6. Bugger..suckered in again..

    AssM’d..

    You of all people should know, I am happy to argue, rant, rave on anything I say as invariably it’s a poorly thought out bitch on whats annoying me today. I mean 90% of your comments, I never moderated (ok the other 10% how many times can you tell me I am throwing up down at blok m) This topic had the potential be a very interesting debate particularly as a womens perspective was kicking in (and as a self confessed sexist there is no doubt there are a number of issues I had not considered).

    I made a serious mistake, I related a true life story involving people close to me for the purpose of validity rather than just a generic “they are ignorant pigs”

    Unfortunately, some people then introduced terms, I had never used and never would use even in the same paragraph as my dear ones, mixed and matched comments to suit some personal prejudices and even having requested a correction or deletion in the interests of good taste failed to do so..So much for sisterhood.

    Why I do not understand, as you yourself said “intelletual discussion the Blogosphere’s fair game, including her stabs at your alleged “sense of superiority”
    Stabs at my intellectual ability and smugness should make pretty easy and fun targets without infered attacks on others.

    Still, that’s life in blog world..to each his own ethics..

  7. I admit I used to think that, since I have grown up being overseas, foreign men, compared to Indonesian ones, tend to have a much modern thinking and will suit me better.

    I think it all goes back to the problem this country has, which is EDUCATION.

    It is true that I have experienced being sexually harassed by a lot of Indonesian men more than I have by foreign/Caucasian men, and I think it’s mostly because they are uneducated and they get away from it all the time. It is also up to us women to stand up for ourselves, but the problem is that we’re not backed up by the law.

    This country doesn’t think sexual harassment is an important issue for women. For example, I was once walking on the street and this man who was minding a street cart was teasing and cat-calling me in a most inappropriate manner.

    If I turned around, approached him and push his cart over until everything spilled onto the ground, who do you think will be called nuts? The response that I’d get was probably “You should just ignore them.”

    But until when?

    Yes, I have been abused by both Indonesian and Caucasian men. But I think every country has their own issue with this problem.

    Now, I have a Javanese fiance who is my dream man and everything I’ve wanted from a man. He is 100% Indonesian, just better educated.

    I never specifically dreamt or targeted a foreign man as a potential boyfriend.

    If he doesn’t rock my world, then he’s not the one, regardless of what race he is.

  8. @ therry

    “If he doesn’t rock my world, then he’s not the one, regardless of what race he is.”

    Well said, therry! Woo-hoo!
    (I am the single female version of Therry.)

    Eventhough I am a full supporter for free-education-for-all in this country, but maybe we could use another term for Education, how about Intellectuality? Virtue? Or Wisdom?

    I don’t know ya Ther’, I know a lot of educated people and yet that doesn’t stop them from being shallow and narrow minded. Well, some, not all.

    @ Anita

    I really don’t know what to comment anymore, I’ve ran out of words so to speak! As a matter of fact, you’ve basically said it all.

    I never did intend (and I am not exactly interested either) to become so intensely attached to this some sort of expatriate circle anyways. Back at Unspun’s, I just said things that I believe is right, everyone is free to disagree for that matter.

    One thing for sure, I do wish you and your family well. Hope this whole issue doesn’t prevent you from making the best out of your life there in Scotland.

  9. I agree, Cha. There are heaps of educated people who happen to be jerks as well. But maybe it was something to do with the fact that aside from being able to afford education they were used to the concept of having everything handed to them on silver spoons?

    He3x.

    Which made them think it’s okay to sexually harass people.

    Well I personally love reading Anita’s blog, she’s practically my new role model 😀

  10. rimafauzi says:

    Hi Anita.. I would like to answer your questions based on my personal experiences:
    1. Do you receive different treatments from Indonesian vs. Caucasian men?

    Yes. The Caucasian men I dated when I was still living in Indonesia somewhat think that I (and other Indonesian woman) are disposable. Gugur satu tumbuh seribu. Not so with Indonesian men.
    But those I met while I was living overseas have a totally different attitude.

    2. Have you been verbally abused by Indonesian men?

    Yes, by Indonesian, Caucasian and African American men. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a pushover, but I am fortunate enough to have a rather rich life and love experience.

    3. Have you been verbally abused by Caucasian men?

    Look at no. 2

    4. If you have a Caucasian partner, did you specifically target the race as your potential other-half? Why?

    I did target myself to marry a Caucasian/western man, though I ended up married to Indonesians, yes plural. I have been married twice (was predicted to marry four times, so I have two more to go lol)
    The reason why I wanted to go western (american or european) was because I felt that many Indonesian men were intimidated by me, they feel inferior to me and they are usually jealous and over protective. I like being in an equal relationship where we both have the same right and have good communication and hardwork together. In my experience, some of my western exes filled the void I had when dating Indonesian men. But as luck would have it, I finally met an Indonesian who is my equal partner. Lucky me because now I get the best of both worlds, an Indonesian man (which is less of a hassle because there is no cultural barrier between us) who is very open minded and liberal.

  11. wow, interesting contentious topic!!

    i dated both indonesians and caucasians (50:50 in ratio). each of them is different mostly not because they are I or C, but because each is unique individual. all of them are similar in quality, of course because i chose them :))

    and yes, i do have experiences of being harassed by white, brown, black, yellow skinned guys… ranging to taxi driver to phd candidate to professor… so, jerk is jerk, no matter what his color is.. and no matter high his education is…

    but of course, there’re some general cultural differences… so, yes, different treatments from C & I guy… but not about bad or good, just different ways and cultural framework in dealing with women, I guess.

  12. I’m getting more interested in this issue than before. What do you (all) think about this issue? It’s true happened in Indonesia:

    “How can it be not amazing to hear a story about a fight between an Indonesian housemaid and her majikan’s girlfriend? In fact, the majikan is a westerner and the girlfriend Indonesian.”

  13. Kimi from Aussie says:

    This blog was rather amusing but I respect the fact that you don’t hate all of our caucasian men. I’m in Australia, and of course I get the occassional comment from a caucasian man here. But it’s the same in Indonesia, perhaps worse because some had never seen a “bule” before. It didn’t bother me, though.

    Though I do prefer Indonesian men. They’re cute and can be super sweet. I actually have an Indonesian boyfriend now.

  14. Bonnie2405 says:

    Got this story from Unspun through some other blog. Hemm it is such an old story to compare between Caucasian vs Indonesia male and see which one more an ass compare to the other :)

    Well first of all agreed with Anita that jerk is jerk and it is indeed up to us as woman ho to handle it.

    To answer those questions of Anita:

    Do you receive different treatments from Indonesian vs. Caucasian men?
    Not really. Those Indonesian male that I date turned out not gave any different treatments than those of Caucasian.

    Have you been verbally abused by Indonesian men?
    hehehe those that I know won’t dare to even give it a try. And those that I don’t know hem…well once or twice happened when I walked with my not-indonesia-husband. But who cares! Don’t know them, don’t care!

    Have you been verbally abused by Caucasian men?
    hehehehe not really :) but if this ever happened then I’m sure it will be easy to reply to it in every language needed. What I experienced though a bit like Anita more to physical harrashment at bars both in Jkt, Kuta or in NL which easily to be solved with a very angry face and ready to punch that particular’s drunk face.

    If you have a Caucasian partner, did you specifically target the race as your potential other-half? Why?

    Couldn’t proceed to the WHY part because seriously never thought to have a Caucasian husband before. Always have an eye for Indonesian guy but who can resist when cupid did his job at unexpected time and place? :) I think it is a sickening generalisation that every indonesian woman that marry to foreigner are the gold digger and chose to marry these fellows because of a better life promises. Ugh…

  15. Rob,

    I am an Indonesian man who dated several American women and Polish women. When I was in the US and Poland, I experienced racism just as much as what you experienced with the Indonesian men (fortunately, not so much racism in Poland). I don’t think it’s part of our culture. It is just that when you are abroad and you date the locals, there are certain consequences/risks that you have to face as far as the local custom goes.

    Kris

  16. Cheekyface says:

    I would like to know anyones comments please…I am caucasian and wish to marry an Indonesian man. Currently I do not live in Indonesia ….but I am considering moving there when we do marry…..although, the other option is for him to move to my country. I would like to hear from any woman who has/is married to an Indonesian man, mainly about things like customs and poverty. I know there is a very different standard to life there which are very different from how westerners live.
    Any comments are very welcomed please.

  17. Cheekyface: it depends on where your future husband comes from. Mainly and traditionally, Indonesian men, just like any countries in Asia, are the breadwinner. They are expected to be the head of the family who have the final say. Traditionally women are expected to ‘follow’ what their spouses decide. However in the big cities the roles are just like in Western countries, some women earn more than their husbands and we have equal rights as the men.

    I’m not sure what you’re asking about poverty. Care to elaborate?

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