We haven’t focussed on TBI Surabaya because we never heard bad reports about it. Unlike most TBI franchise schools, it made a profit (a near miracle in TBI’s broken franchise system) and it even had computers from the 21st century. This contrasted with deadbeat schools like TBI Bekasi and TBI Medan which few people in their areas have even heard of. It also contrasts with the ancient, spyware-ridden computers at Binsar’s notorious school. But people should not be under the misapprehension that TBI appreciates the few franchise schools which have managed to do OK. In fact, Head Office is stingy with praise, eager to pass off their bunch of degree-faking frauds like Luke and Ashley as knowledgeable.
If people do OK without them, this will undermine their claims to be the “experts” (suppress guffaw here) at business management.They never even mentioned the fact that TBI Kelapa Gading had been turned into a profit-making enterprise by us, nor did they mention that we had landed top-drawer clients like Honda and Garuda. They have an envious, small-minded nature which begrudges other people success. Head Office has also never stopped complaining about the “pushy” TBI Surabaya owners behind their backs.
What Luke Said About Sam
When Luke was constantly pestering Cameron to go out for Indian with him, Luke would often gasbag about various TBI people behind their backs. Why Luke lavished all this attention and information on Cam is open for speculation, but it seems very clear he was trying to win our trust and confidence. He even gave us the keys to his house on 3 occasions. Now I know it is insane to go to such lengths to win people’s trust and then back-stab them from behind, but as we have said, the only possible explanation for all the stuff Luke has done is that he is a sociopath. (One in 50 men are- a surprisingly high figure). His behaviour is actually typical for a high-functioning sociopath but completely bizarre for an ordinary human. Sociopaths love manipulation and betrayal (think Iago say, in Shakespeare’s Othello- which is widely recognized as the best literary representation of a sociopathic personality).
Luke’s main revelation about the owners of TBI Surabaya (the only expat-owned TBI franchise) is that Ibu Ning-formerly the highly arrogant and nepotistic USG Director- absolutely loathed them and thought “they didn’t know their place.” According to Luke Preece, who enjoyed gossiping about them behind their back it seems, the owners, especially SB, were always ringing up Ibu Ning and complaining about how bad TBI’s support systems were. She resented them “bothering her” and thought it was completely inappropriate that they took their issues straight to her. In particular, according to Preece, she complained that they even rang her at 7 and 8 pm at night, disturbing her time with her family. She thought that SB didn’t understand the franchisor-franchisee relationship and they didn’t have the right to make demands of her. It was her job to monitor them. They had no right to be inconveniencing her in this way.
Ning’s Delusions of Grandeur
Now this story, for me, is highly revealing. It reinforces the impression of arrogance and high-handedness which is why so many TBI franchisees have complained about TBI in the past. They have delusions of grandeur which are totally inappropriate for a business setting. Ibu Ning, like Mariam, was a highly narcissistic individual who was known to fly into rages if people didn’t know who she was. Cameron was once berated because she appeared at TBI Kuningan unannounced and the office assistants didn’t recognize her. Mind you, she hadn’t been in there for 2 years, so how could anyone know her? But like most of the TBI narcissists, they live in a world where they can have ZERO involvement with the day-to-day running of the business, but expect to be venerated if they pop into TBI for the first time in 2 years. Delusions of grandeur are at play here. Is her image supposed to be installed on the walls of the schools next to the portrait of Jokowi? You have to wonder what planet these people live on.
It also reveals the hierarchical mindset of these people. They think that the franchisees are below them and should approach them with reverence and fear. If they point out that TBI Head Office is letting them down, this is viewed as an outrageous slight and insult and Head Office laughs at their presumptuous behaviour behind their back. It is all very Javanese, with Ning delusionally believing she is the “queen” of USG and needs to be treated lie a queen in the keraton (palace).
“Who does SB think he is, ringing Ibu Ning at home at 7 pm at night?” mocked Luke. Of course, he sided with Ning against SB, continuing his relentless brown-nosing of the TBI authorities, even when they are way out of line.
Luke and the TBI Top Dogs
Unlike SB, Luke understands the USG bigwigs very well, I think. He panders to their egos and many people have told us that is sickening to watch the way he piles compliments and unctuous praise on Mariam and Ning. Preece understands he is dealing with a bunch of pampered, delusional narcissists and he feeds them constant insincere flattery and is well-rewarded for his butt-kissing endeavours. Ning obviously trusts him enough to vent her spleen against the TBI Surabaya owners to him. Luke can surely be trusted to assure Ning and her other corrupt cronies that they are right and SB is wrong. How dare they call someone of your importance, Ibu Ning? But this Javanese court culture of endless toadying to power belongs in the keraton, not in a modern business. Ning is not a princess, despite all the airs she puts on. And Luke is doing TBI and Indonesia a disservice by pandering to the egos of people who are such a letdown to TBI’s staff, teachers, and business partners.