Thoughts on The Living in Indonesia Forum

Over the weekend I thought I’d do some research on the latest Indonesian schools situation. After all, this blog receives an average of 140 visits a day: we owe it to our readers- even the readers who heartily disapprove of our methods- to offer information on what is really happening. It has become harder to get reliable information since August 2012. They have fired people like Minnie for even being in contact with us and threatened Indonesian staff with jail time if they are caught being ‘moles’ for us. This is no hyperbole: Luke, Eny and Binsar are essentially the same in my book; they threaten people with prison who don’t obey their orders. So in the search for fresh information, I turned to that old chestnut, the Living in Indonesia Forum.

Back in March 2012 I was banned for my comments on that forum. My posts claiming that TBI was increasingly riddled with illegal teachers caused me to be blocked from the site. Revisiting the site after many months away, I was surprised to see that someone called ‘Tudor’, who calls us jobless idiots in one of his posts, then goes into a detailed description of how Luke Preece’s KTC system is working these days. (See the numerous screen dumps.) I had hit pay dirt!

‘Tudor’ may despise us, but he is saying exactly the same thing on that forum which we first exposed on our blog back in March 2012: TBI is riddled with illegal teachers. Since Luke Preece took over, the company has mired itself ever deeper in a business model based on breaking Indonesian laws (and possibly paying bribes to get out it. This is unconfirmed, but some anonymous  posters have said this is what is happening.)

In March 2012 we were accused of defamation for saying TBI employed people illegally. Now it is openly discussed on Living in Indonesia Forum and no one is banned. Our allegations are now being repeated, confirmed and discussed by some of the very people who have vocally denounced us in the past! Indeed, scarcely an eyebrow is raised by the notion TBI is deeply mired in a ‘business visa’ scam. Look through the forum and you will find musings on which schools are using ‘photo shop’ to make fake degrees, which ones have bought cheap online degrees for teachers and which ones employ people without any qualifications whatsoever. There is a new frankness to the debate, a new transparency, which simply wasn’t present months ago. No one thinks TBI is any paragon of virtue these days. It is regarded as just another dodgy language school: but at least it pays better than EF and most of the rest.

Luke Preece is a clever man. He is an immoral man, but he is smart. Back in March 2012 he cast himself as the defender of expat teachers and their families. This was always false, as he had got people like RW, the CELTA trainer, removed from TBI. He hadn’t batted any eyelid when Platts, his co-conspirator, persuaded the TBI Bogor franchise owner to fire the expat manager there. He had viciously defamed many of his former expat accomplices- Matthew France and Colm O’Mahony particularly- to Head Office. He was no more an expat’s best friend that a hungry wolf is the best friend of a lamb. But he exploited fear over the DIKNAS regulations to his advantage and diverted anger and vitriol towards us.

Yet the KTC was always his baby. It was him who has chosen to go the illegal route rather than spending money to aggressively recruit people with the right degree. It is Luke Preece who has dragged the name of TBI through the mud. All we have ever done is tell the truth about him. The KTC was supposed to have been phased out by June 2012. Even TBI Kuningan is now going into 2013 with a host of illegal teachers. He can no longer blame us. He has failed his own deadlines for phasing them out and removing the aura of ‘illegality’ around The British Institute. The open discussion of TBI’s lax practises in places like the Living in Indonesia Forum is his real legacy to this once-well-regarded school.

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