My name is Syarief, and I am a TBI mafia victim. Back in 2011 I was a freelance English teacher after my employer could no longer afford the hours to keep me employed full time. I know that doing so is very risky in Indonesia, and having to go through immigration on various tourist visas and extending them did prompt them to ask me many questions. Yet despite that the money was good when I was freelancing, and I did meet a lot of amazing students and worked for plenty of decent companies.
However I knew that if I wanted to have a long term future in Indonesia I need a kitas (or get married but at the time I wasn’t ready to tie the knot just to get a wife sponsored kitas.) I applied at many companies, but no reply. I heard about TBI, and figured it was a decent place to work at. So I called TBI Bekasi since it was the closest one to my house, and the lady on the phone gave me her email address. So I sent my CV, and waited patiently for a reply.
A week after I applied Mr. Simorangkir contacted me. So I went down, had an interview with him. He seemed like a nice and professional guy. Talked about his experience teaching English to Vietnamese refugees, and it seemed like he really did know the ins and outs of his profession. Little did I know that things from here on out were to get very messy. I agreed to work part time for him until he could get my Kitas sorted out. Nothing unusual… yet.
Although I worked part time for him he started to become a little bit pushy in regards to what I taught in class (one student complained that I was a little boring, so he had a minor row with me about that.) Didn’t think much of it, so I just carried on. Every day during the month of September, 2011 I went to his office and inquired about the kitas and my passport. He said the agent was unusually slow, but I could tell that he probably thought I was being annoying or too paranoid about my documents since I kept asking him the same stuff every day.
Towards the end of September everything was set, so I went to Singapore with my ex fiance to give the agent there all my documents. So far things were good, but I did notice that the teachers and staff there seemed to be rather distant from one another. Which is odd, since in Indonesia co workers become like family and are close and do everything together. Certainly different from all of my other teaching gigs.
Binsar and I discussed the contract, and I signed it in October 2011. No unusual clauses, but the contract was only in English (this detail will be very important later on.) I began teaching full time there. Althought the students for the most part were very apathetic in regards to learning, nitpick every little fault in how you do your job, and obviously bored to tears (mainly due to the materials we had to teach and lack of facilities to promote ‘fun learning’) the job was ok. The Indonesian English teachers were clearly professional and were truly experts in their field. I befriended a few, and they seemed content with their job. So I figured that this was going to be a very solid gig, and who knows a legit job I’ll get to have for years to come.
If only I knew what was yet to come aka the calm before the storm so to speak.