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.
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:
- Do you receive different treatments from Indonesian vs. Caucasian men?
- Have you been verbally abused by Indonesian men?
- Have you been verbally abused by Caucasian men?
- 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!