One of the interesting things for the authors of this blog is the way how witness statements from teachers within TBI Bekasi all repeat the same themes: the tightness and miserliness of Binsar, his unwillingness to honour pledges, and the complete indifference of Head Office when confronted with complaints about his sharp and dishonest practices. These themes can all be found in the most recent TBI Bekasi teacher to come forward with his story.
In the early part of the report so far published, Binsar Simorangkir, a Fagan-like figure right out of a Dickens novel,only paid the teacher Rp 800.000 out of Rp 1.000.000 for his return air ticket to Singapore. Really? You are going to alienate a new teacher by not refunding a measly $20 of an air ticket in his first month in the school? I am sure Binsar sits and wonders why he finds it so hard to recruit expat teachers and why his teachers speak of him with terms like ‘as slippery as an eel’, but the answer is obvious to any sensible person. He treats his teachers with stinginess and miserliness and then expects them to perform wonders in the classroom. In reality, he should have been thankful to have found a serious teacher who had enough ‘stick it out’ commitment to complete his contract under such conditions. Instead he just reneges on promises and begrudges the teachers $20 and doesn’t even give an end-of-contract airfare contribution. Clearly, his reputation for being a miser and cheat is very well-deserved.
However, the new report is not all bad news. While Binsar has still continued his sharp practices, there are also signs of progress. Unlike all previous teachers, RG got a working visa, he received a salary of Rp 9.000.000 a month, which was always paid in full and he was paid on time. This is a massive improvement on previous teachers who only received Rp 6.000.000 a month maximum, even though he paid promised much more. The bravery shown by earlier teachers in coming forward with their stories has clearly shamed Binsar and TBI into doing better than in the past. Progress has been painfully slow and the situation is still far from adequate, but the ghastly exploitation of yesteryear seems to have improved.