For this, the fourth interview probing into the tactics and methods of the TBI Mafia, we interview SW, the former manager of TBI Kelapa Gading. He has interviewed all of the TBI Bekasi victims as well as several former victims of Luke Preece. In this part he discusses the similarities between Luke Preece and Chicken Little, a famous folk tale character who created panic and hysteria in others by screaming, “The sky is falling!”
Would you say that Luke Preece has used similar tactics at different branches to oust people he hates?
Without a doubt. He has pulled the same shit time and again for years. Mariam and HR have received multiple complaints about him but they dismiss the complaints every time and pretend not to know anything is wrong with this clown.
Can you give us an example of one of these dishonest tactics?
One of the most common ones is what I now call the “Chicken Little” scare tactics. He has pulled this one time and again.
How does the “Chicken Little routine” work?
He goes into a school and finds an incredibly petty, or maybe even a fictitious, problem. He then runs back to his boss and says, “Look, Ibu Mariam. Sorry to disturb a personage as majestic and important as yourself, but we have an acute crisis, a near national emergency, at TBI Kuningan. I’m going to have to go in and sort out this mess again. But I need your enlightened guidance on how to handle this terrible and terrifying problem.” Being one of the laziest people around, she then says, “You sort it out Luke! What the Hell am I paying you all this money for if not to solve simple problems like this!” He then goes and stirs up even more trouble and scapegoats the whole mess on someone else- usually someone who has had the balls to stand up to his half-baked plans and schemes. Basically he runs around screaming, “The sky is falling”, all the time and then portrays himself as the only person who is capable and concerned enough to fix the problem. In reality, he invented the whole crisis and spread fear and hysteria about it to Mariam and the other Indonesian bigwigs.
That’s your general characterization of him. Could you give a specific example?
TBI Malang is a good example. In September 2010 there was a break-in at TBI Malang and a few computers were stolen. Bad news, sure, but these things happen, right? But Luke had planted a mole called Niah in as office supervisor. On the Monday after the break-in she rang Luke on his mobile phone, completely behind the school manager’s back, and told him what had happened. Cameron, another former manager, was in a taxi with Luke at the time he received the call, so he overheard it all. Luke had moved this woman to Malang from Bandung and she constantly spied on G*******, the school manager in Malang, for him. Later we learned that Luke rang Ibu Mariam and reported the break-in in the most distorted, hysterical way imaginable. He basically said to Mariam, “The school manager of TBI Malang is a thief! He is a criminal mastermind! He planned this robbery himself. It’s completely clear from the fact that he didn’t report the robbery to the police until six hours after the break-in had taken place.”
Was there any hard proof that G******* was involved in the theft?
Luke actually used the phrase “criminal mastermind” to describe the school manager. G***** was characterized as some kind of Ronnie Biggs because he took a few hours to report a theft! If that isn’t “Chicken Little” style scaremongering, what is? The manager several hours to contact the police- which he only did for insurance reasons anyway- and Luke goes around TBI Head Office screaming that this somehow proves that G******* staged a robbery at his own school. There was not a trace of proof G******* was involved and Luke’s accusations were base slander and character assassination at their worst.
Did Luke manage to get rid of G******* on this occasion?
No he didn’t. This time Luke’s smear campaign was so farfetched that even Mariam wasn’t having a bar of it. But that doesn’t make it okay, does it? He tried to get someone fired on baseless accusations, which is highly problematic. But do you think Mariam sat him down and said, “Luke, you can’t run around making these serious accusations of criminal activity without any proof?” Not a chance. Time and again she has tolerated or even condoned his scaremongering and slandering. She protects him whatever he does.
Where and when else did Luke pull the “Chicken Little” routine?
In November 2011 Luke’s close associate Matthew France wrote a Facebook status claiming that Cameron had told him by email that he wouldn’t be renewed at TBI in 2012. This was a bald-faced lie, as several leaked emails from various people have revealed. Work emails from Cameron, Luke himself and Tuti show that Matthew had been told numerous times in person that his position would be filled by someone unless he confirmed he wanted to be renewed by the end of October. He had been told this by Cameron and Luke several times each and he had never taken up the offer to stay on. He could have stayed on as a KTC if he wanted to. Once an email was sent by Cameron confirming his lack of interest in continuing with TBI, something which was mere fact, Matthew went on Facebook and said, “Fired by email after 3 years working for the company. Bullshitttttt!!!!!”
Why on Earth would Matthew France have lied so outrageously?
Matthew France had no degree, but Luke Preece often boasted he could get teachers without degrees into Penabur, a Catholic school chain in Jakarta, using a lady friend of his. She was the main recruiter for Penabur. In breech of Indonesian law, Luke Preece teed up a high-paying job at Penabur for Matthew France using his lady friend. Matthew’s various lies at TBI Kuningan were the price Luke charged. Matthew had been very close with Preece for years and Preece had always looked after Matthew- a famous cheapskate and miser who lived in a cheap kosan and ate mostly from cheap food-stalls- by giving him extra perks and bonuses. Matthew cared about only one thing, money, and Luke gave it to him ….for a price. We have it on record from several former teachers that Matthew was routinely lying to new teachers about various events and was even trying to sabotage TBI Kuningan by pressuring other teachers not to work overtime during peak periods. He lied about the circumstances in which various teachers left the company to new teacher sand made numerous frivolous complaints about Camerom, who, like G******* at TBI Malang, Luke was determined to get fired.
How did the Facebook status incident advance Luke’s cause?
Well, after the Facebook status went up, it was discovered oh-so-coincidentally by Luke’s best friend of 30 years, Scott Martin. Luke then went to Cameron and Tuti, head of HR, and started doing the “Chicken Little” routine bug time. I mean it was a single Facebook status from a single teacher, who the Hell cares, right? But Chicken Little went to Mariam and Tuti and said that this was a major embarrassment to the company and the reputation of TBI was in jeopardy.
The sky is falling!
Exactly. Preece then ran around TBI like a complete idiot claiming he’d been up all night trying to reason with Matthew to take the Facebook status down and he had refused out of sheer hatred for Cameron. I mean if a single idiot’s remark on Facebook is a threat to your company, then you have a very, very bad business on your hands. It was the biggest over-reaction I have ever seen and a functional company would have dealt with it in calm, measured manner. But Luke went into full “Chicken Little” hysteria mode and claimed that the future of TBI was at risk. At the time I was just incredulous at how much he blew it out of proportion.
What was the outcome?
Luke then wrote a four-page document to HR in which he described Matthew France was “dangerous”, “unbalanced” and “unstable” and speculated that there may have been outside factors which had brought Matthew to the edge of a break-down. He used the phrase, “Never have I seen a teacher descend in such a manner”, about Matthew and suggested that he needed to be “handled carefully” as he was so unstable. The four-page report was been published on this blog several times.
This whole thing is preposterous.
After Preece gained control of TBI in 2010 to 2011, he turned it into the biggest circus I have ever seen. It should be a laughing stock in Jakarta. It probably is by now.
Why would Preece have gone out of his way to write a 4 page report alleging that Matthew France was close to insane?
Preece is a sociopath- a socialized psychopath. You need to understand that he is completely insane. But he does have an agenda despite that. He has a single obsession, which is to gain control over TBI, which gives him opportunities for corruption and many potential victims to torment. He has a game plan.
OK but why the “Chicken Little” routine about Matthew’s sanity? Why write a detailed document supporting the view that France was unhinged?
Imagine you have taken over TBI by slandering and lying to people and have many, many former victims. What’s your main fear? Your main fear is that one of your victims exposes your “nice guy” mask, which will make it harder for him to fool people in the future. So what does he do? He collects dirt against people which he can use to manipulate, threaten and silence potential critics. Matthew had been doing Luke’s dirty work at TBI Kuningan for years. He must have known so much dirt on Luke. Matthew was a potential risk to Luke. So just in case Matthew ever decided to leak Luke’s embarrassing secrets, Luke already had an official HR report proving that Matthew was close to crazy. If Matthew had ever turned on Luke or spoken out, he would have had this HR report which “proved” that Matthew was crazy. Of course, what happened instead was that Cameron finally saw through Luke’s game and it was Cameron, not Matthew, who outed Luke as a liar and fraud. So Luke used his insurance policy against Cameron instead and started saying that Cameron was hated. Look at all the complaints Matthew made against Cameron! That’s your proof he was a terrible manager and deserved to be fired.
So he is constantly slandering and undermining every potential threat so that no one will listen to that person if they come forward and expose Luke’s lies and deceit.
Exactly. And even if people do make a formal complaint against Luke, Mariam will come forward and say, “I refuse to discuss any allegations against Luke Preece. We will pay out your contract but you have to sign a silence agreement first and never mention these allegations again.” The whole rotten system is sewn up. They are no better than common street criminals in my informed opinion.