TBI Regime Change (Part 1) Saving Mariam’s Face

By the end of 2012, there had been signs of major distress within the TBI Mafia. Their long-time queen, Mariam Kartikatresni, was gone, replaced by Reza Suriansha, who was much less of a narcissistic drama queen and more of a behind the scenes guy. In today’s post we want to look at some peculiarities in how this regime change was done and suggest a very likely explanation for them. It was, in short, a classic bit of TBI-USG face-saving and window dressing, showing that it’s really the same old, same old inside the ailing company.

    There were four unusual elements to the way Mariam was removed from TBI:

  1) It was not announced to most staff. Months later many staff and teachers hadn’t heard of it

   2) The role of TBI Director was done away with. It no longer exists.

   3) Mariam has now been appointed the ‘director’ of a tiny section which used to have only a couple of people.

  4) Reza Suriansha is now C.O.O. (Chief Operations Officer) of both TBI and USG.

  Let’s contrast this series of events with the way it would more usually have been done in a normal company:

  1) TBI staff and teachers would be told their Director of 6 years had moved on.

  2) A new TBI Director would have been appointed.

   3) Mariam would have disappeared from TBI, not been shunted off to some make-work position with a glorified title.

  4) The new head of TBI would have been introduced to all staff and teachers.


Having had a couple of months to think about this, it is very very clear there is a simple explanation for all of this. In true Javanese tradition, overt conflict has been averted and a harmonious image has been preserved by a whole lot of Javanese face-saving. (The elderly members of USG wear little but brown batik when they get together for their chinwags).

     To understand what has gone on you need to remember that Mariam had powerful connections. Her in-laws were on the board of USG. Not even her arch-enemy Ning Anhar, the USG Director, had succeeded in forcing her out. She had been deposed as TBI Director before but she fought back with her connections in June 2011 and deposed her replacement, Pak Yoni, two weeks later. Such was her pull that she had stayed in the position despite years of embarrassing stuff-ups, broken promises and a nasty reputation as a bully. When Cam left Kuningan at the end of 2011, she was in line to be the next USG Director when Ning Anhar’s illness finally forced her out of the fray (she was already 77 years old). Mariam Kartikatresni never intended to be the ‘Director of USG Tests and Broom Closets’.

   Thus we say that everything which has happened is really about saving Mariam’s (airbrushed) face. Javanese face-saving explains all the irregularities in the case.

   Why has she been kept the title of ‘director’ of something despite being forced completely out of TBI? 

  To save her airbrushed face.

   Why was her removal as TBI Director never publicly announced?

  To save her well-connected face.

   Why is the new head of TBI called the C.O.O. and not Director?

  It was part of a deal designed to save self-promoting Mariam’s face.

   But make no mistake. Power of TBI has passed from her hands to those of Reza Suriansha. The last vestiges of her pull was used to gain a face-saving deal. She is yesterday’s news.



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