Part 11. Luke Preece, Lilies and Minnie

In the period before Luke was about to move to Jakarta, he shifted three different teachers from Bandung into TBI Kuningan and they all caused problems. Did he ever make any comment on his poor record of recruitment?

    He did actually. He often said that Matthew France was a complete moron and a wanker and so on. Matthew was very disruptive and I spent a lot of time and energy dealing with his demands for better hotels or a different schedule or whatever he was demanding that week. Luke was certainly aware that his choices from Bandung hadn’t worked out well and admitted it to me, but behind my back he was telling Jodi and Mariam that this was somehow my fault. He did say a couple of times that he had been a good pick of talent in Bandung and wondered why his recruits for Jakarta had gone so badly, but I now think this was just a cover-up. He had encouraged Matthew and Minerva to cause maximum disruption.

Were you suspicious at first of why Luke hand-picked half the TBI Kuningan staffroom?

   No I wasn’t. I thought he was trying to help. I took his actions at face value.

Minerva has confirmed that Luke was behind her move to Jakarta. What did you know about her before she joined Kuningan?

   I had heard that she was regarded as abrupt by some people. But I also knew that her English was very good and I thought I could work with her.

What was her relationship with Lilies?

   They had been housemates or flatmates or whatever in Bandung, so I presumed they were quite close. At that point I knew almost nothing of Lilies so that didn’t mean anything to me.

I heard that they have lived together in Jakarta, too.

   Really? I haven’t heard that.

What was Luke Preece’s relationship with Lilies? (I mean professionally)

    He had appointed her as Marketing Officer at TBI Dago. He had then secured for her the position of Marketing Manager of all TBI.

Luke has a record of stacking management with his friends and cronies. Did he tell you that Scott Martin had been his friend since Primary School?

   Not at first. It was actually Jodi Shiek who told me this to me.

Did Luke ever mention that Lilies had been close with himself or Luke’s wife?

   No he never said that.

Would you say then that Luke had tried to keep his more nepotistic or cronyistic appointments hidden from you?

   Well he certainly wasn’t open about it. I had to find out from other people. Luke thinks he is much cleverer than he is. He thinks he can control what people know about him.

You went out many times for dinner with Luke. Did he ever mention his sex life to you?

   No, thank God. He did mention his marital problems, but we never talked about his sex life.

 Did Lilies ever discuss her relationship with Luke and his wife with you?

   Yes she did.

What were the circumstances of this disclosure?

   She asked if she could come to a dinner party at our apartment, because she was sexually attracted to one of the other invited guests. She said she liked bule men. The man wasn’t interested in Lilies in the end, but Lilies slept over the night and a couple of bottles of wine were consumed. She did most of the talking and told us a huge amount of information about her first marriage and much else besides. We didn’t get to bed until three in the morning. During the conversation she said that she and Luke had been lovers and that she had been banned from Luke’s house by his wife.

It would be regarded as grossly unethical to appoint a Marketing Manager without disclosing that you had had sexual relations with her. Did Luke ever confirm Lilies’s story?

   No he didn’t. I never asked him either. But then again Ibu Tuti didn’t know that Scott Martin was Luke’s best friend either. So Luke has a history of not disclosing this sort of thing. Anyway, that’s what Lilies said and I don’t think he’s ever going to be asked by Mariam to clarify what really happened.

How would you describe Lilies’s reputation in the company?

  She is widely loathed. People roll their eyes when her name is mentioned. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that none of the Indonesian staff can stand her.

What’s the problem with Lilies?

   She just makes life difficult for managers. I wanted to put TBI stickers on the school car and it took three months and umpteen different proposals before it happened. Mind you, we designed and produced the stickers ourselves. All she had to do was say, “Yes”.

In one of the leaked emails Luke wrote, “Get ready for war with Lilies!”  Why would you have to go to war with Lilies?

   Because Lilies stopped every marketing initiative I tried to do. If I wanted to do any promotions, I would have to fight her every step of the way.

That’s odd because Mariam told me that marketing was the key to driving growth in student numbers.  Do you agree with Mariam on that point?

    Yes, but they wanted to do all the marketing themselves. But Lilies was highly unproductive so nothing ever got done.

Do you recall what happened with the Imlek promotion which she organized?

   The materials got sent out to the franchise schools the day before the holiday. It was impossible for franchise owners to use them because they were so late. That sort of thing was typical of Lilies and the whole history of the Marketing department within TBI.

Do you think that Lilies would last if she did not enjoy the protection of Luke?

  I can only say no, but who knows in TBI. Mariam herself does nothing and has managed to stay in the role for years. The company is not based on merit. It is based on cronyism and Luke is the centre of nepotism within the company.

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