Indonesia to Expats: Get Out and Stay Out

The big picture about TBI is that the Indonesians (Ning and Mariam) decided around 2007 that they didn’t need expats anymore. They were encouraged down this path by an English charlatan called Ashley Platts who claimed to have invented KPIs, the Grow Model and other popular business training tools from 1980s Britain and sold it to the suckers for a “business consultancy” fee of around Rp 30 million a month. In Australia, we tell the apocryphal story of the con-man who sold the Sydney Harbour Bridge to a dumb sucker. This is basically what Platts has done at TBI. As well as selling them other people’s intellectual property, he has tried to sell them the idea that TBI should get rid of Whities (except himself and Luke- the two of them have an “understanding”). Not really liking Whities all that much (Ning NEVER contacted expat managers at all), they willingly leaped at a chance to get rid of those pesky bules. In 2007 almost all TBIs were expat-led; now 16 out of 17 have Indonesian managers. There is a very like-minded approach here between the powers that be at TBI and the current anti-foreigner thinking of the Indonesian government. This point was very illustrated by a story in yesterday’s Jakarta Post.

In this revealing story, they showed how there are now only 48,000 (legal) expats in Indonesia, down from a high of 77,000 in 2011 (this includes a large number of Koreans, Japanese and Chinese). The government are basically celebrating their success in getting rid of the foreigners. We have included the graph below which shows how Indonesia has managed to get rid of almost 40% of its expats in 2 years. Quite a “victory” for the rent-seeking, 3rd-rate priyayis at the Department of Manpower! Foreign teachers who are left should know that you are barely being tolerated by an Indonesian government which wants you out. Still, things could be worse. At least you aren’t a Shia, an Ayamidiyah or a Christian in West Java!


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