In June 2012 signs of stress within the TBI became evident, especially to anyone adept at reading between the lines, when TBI announced (with an air of desperation) that it was time to show a wajah baru to the world. The question that this raised for us was pretty obvious. What was wrong with the old face? If you read Mariam Kartikatresni’s online spiel, she reveals what was wrong with TBI’s wajah jelek yang tua (ugly old face) more than once. Here is one of the telling lines.
Yang terpenting bagi kami adalah para siswa tidak boleh sampai merasa bosan dengan program yang mereka jalani.
This translates roughly as, “The most important thing for us that our students don’t feel bored with their course.”
I read this aloud to Cam and he laughed and said, “So it’s let forget about that teaching business and focus on keeping the students happy. They’ve moved into the entertainment business now have they?”
What of course is very obvious is that these comments were prompted by a deluge of comments that TBI Kuningan had become very boring and dull after Eny took over in December 2011. We heard back in the first quarter of 2012 that student numbers had plummeted after Eny took over and numerous student complaints flooded in saying that TBI had become boring. (Then Okeu was rushed in to fix up Eny’s stuff up and student numbers recovered by late in the year.)
They also comment at one point that TBI is very different from the kesan kaku (the stiff, awkward impression and image), which was clearly what they were hearing. Hence the denial from Kartikatresni (since thrown on the ESL trashcan herself). Her reputation poisoned by her toxic relationship with Preece, none of this was enough to save her anyway.
Not yet finished she also promised that TBI would become simpler, more elegant and more flexible (whatever that means):
“BI mencoba melakukan perubahan tampilan menjadi lebih sederhana, elegan dan fleksibel.”
What is clear to us is that TBI was having a dog of a year in 2012. Companies do not deny being stiff, awkward, irresponsive and boring when they have received good customer feedback. They were clearly being berated by their customer and this was some kind of promise to do better. They also then embarked on a pathetic spending spree, handing out ipads left right and centre, desperate to win back lost love. We also heard from Minnie and others that Eny had stuffed up in this period and that feedback was largely negative. There is every reason to believe that TBI had a bad, bad year in 2012. After all, it was the year which finally cost Mariam her prized job.