My time at TBI was very short. I was there for about 6 months. I was made Academic Director after only two months, but by my third month I didn’t want that position anymore as it entailed a lot more work than expected for nothing extra in return.
The man I worked for was called Binsar Simorangkir. He didn’t ask for qualifications or references, but he promised a start-up contract of 11 million rupiah per month plus a full visa and KITAS if we gave loyalty to his school. Being only TEFL qualified and having only 1 year experience behind me, I took this job, thinking it would be great and look great on my CV. Boy, was I naive.
The first paycheck, in total, was 5.4 million rupiah per month for 29 teaching hours per week. Multiplied by four, this meant I had worked 116 hours for only 5.4 million rupiah pay. When questioned about what the hell was going on, Binsar responded to say that he would not give me my full contract pay until I had a working visa, because he was afraid to get caught for hiring people without a visa.
With this 5.4 million- half the promised salary- I had to pay 3 million on rent and pay for a plane ticket to come in and out of Indonesia for an entry level visa, which he promised to reimburse (the flight not rent money) but never did. The first month was pure Hell, especially having only 1.1 million rupiah and waiting for the second paycheck. I was traveling from Kuningan to Bekasi everyday and back to work between 2 and 4 classes and getting only around Rp 100.000. Before payday of the second month Binsar told me there was a problem with Immigration and I would have to wait another month. I worked 35 teaching hours per week that month so I got 6.1 million rupiah, which was a bit more than last time but again I had to fly in and out of Indonesia again and, again, I didn’t get reimbursed for it.
Into my third month we had 2 new classes starting: a private class at 9am and a weekend class which was a 6 hour class 9am-3pm. Binsar insisted as I was one of the two only Westerners there, I had to do them because the other teacher wasn’t available. So it began: Monday-Friday 9am-9pm and Saturday 9am-3 pm for an average of 6.5 million a month.
Again this month there was a problem with the visa. I told him in my fourth month I was leaving and then the games really began. He said he would have me blacklisted if I left, said he would report me for illegally working and warned me that I shouldn’t cross him. I looked for a new job anyway. I was in a very difficult situation though, because I was working from 9am to 9pm, so I couldn’t do interviews or anything. After I told him I was leaving in the fourth month several things happened which I felt were masterminded by him. I was robbed directly outside of TBI and things were stolen out of my bag in the teacher’s room. This happened to all the other teachers too. We knew that it was the office assistants who were stealing anything left around and they were following Binsar’s instructions.
I was chased going home several times and got random phone calls and death threats. Eventually I’d had enough and just gave in and did what Binsar demanded. Halfway into the 4th month a man called ******** (name removed for security concerns) started and we became friends instantly. I warned him about everything and told him what was going on and he said it was typical Batak mafia behavior, but he could take care of himself. During my 5th month ******** called me and gave me a little warning about Binsar and offered me to work with him instead, but I had already met up with a man named ************ and got a job at a new consultant company (eventually though *** came and joined us too.)
In my last month at TBI I told Binsar I was leaving and as he started to threaten me. I sat calmly and told him my Visa and Kitas were already being processed and if he tried to report me I would go to TBI and let them know about his slave labour racket, enforced by threats, his taxation fraud scams and his use of hired thugs to to scare his staff into staying. He soon shut up. I got photocopies of all his books for the 6 months showing that when he told TBI he had only 200-300 students a month he actually had around 800 students, with only 4-5 teachers and was pocketing the extra money. I sent it to TBI Kuningan anonymously but nothing was done and it made me think they were all the same. TBI Head Office never even responded to proof of what Binsar was doing.
I managed to get out of there 2 years ago and I kept trying to warn potential teachers to get the hell out before it’s to late and Binsar has them round his finger. That was the hardest 6 months of my life, I swear, and I hope that bastard gets shut down.
I have references of people whom were there at the same time I would be happy to pass on to you as witnesses. I hope you can use my story on your site and it will help end these disgusting abuses. What you guys are doing is great. I would like this to be anonymous but if you feel verifying my story is better backed up by using my name, I have no problem. I would love Binsar to see my name as the one talking about his school.