TBI’s VKU Denialism: Stage 1 of 3

One of the main ways to see that TBI was always governed by pathological liars is to notice the way that they have changed their story so often. They are now onto their “third version of the truth” about their illegal school chain. In this article we will walk you through the various versions of “the truth” these scoundrels have dished up to the gullible. Having said that, the intelligent, critical reader could have seen through their bluster and bullshit from the start. Allow us to introduce you to the “fact-free spin doctor” world of Luke Preece and his band of degree-less cronies.

Almost 2 years ago we broke the story that TBI was hiring teachers illegally on VKU visas. This meant that each VKU teacher (they used to call them “KTCs”, knowledge transfer consultants) would work 6 two-month contracts per year on a ‘business consultant’ visa. They would fly in and out of Singapore 6 times per year in order to renew these business consultant visas. Two British teachers had already been deported from TBI Bogor in 2007 for working on these visas (making the Jakarta Post and other media sources), so they knew beyond a doubt that these VKU visas were not for teachers. But in June 2011 Luke Preece sent a long email to all Group School managers telling them to resolve their recruitment crisis by employing unqualified teachers on VKU visas. We leaked various emails showing that the whole scam was the brainchild of Luke Preece, including one where he instructed managers to hire teachers that DIKNAS had explicitly rejected. At this point all Hell broke loose within TBI, and they went to Stage 1 of VKU Denialism: Hardcore Denial.

                                                    Stage 1- Hardcore Denial

For most of 2012 TBI was in Stage 1 about their illegal school, presided over by nasty TBI charlatan and bully, Luke Preece. They simply denied flat-out that there was anything wrong with their schools at all. The bloggers who “outed” them as con-artists and grifters were “psychotic”, “engaged in an insane vendetta” and “were the only problem with TBI, and now the problem was fixed!” Here is an example of Stage 1 hardcore denialism from Indonesian expat forum, Living in Indonesia. One user called Nimbus throws a set-up question, which super-angry original poster “ToBellow” pretends to ‘answer’:

Nimbus: I have a couple of honest questions: how far does all this affect the quality of teaching at said school? How does it stack up against competing English schools?

ToBellow: The quality of teachers compares favourably to most schools. The biggest problem was losing experienced teachers because of conflicts with the managers who were sacked. Now that that problem has been solved, things can only get better.

Now, I have heard it said that people often use the words ‘honest’ and ‘honestly’ when they are lying through their teeth. Nimbus ticks that box. Indeed, the whole thing looks like a set-up, and unsurprisingly one of the biggest participants on this online cluster-f**k is Jef Dam, a pseudonym of Luke Preece’s degree-less crony, Colm O’Mahoney. One of the others “Tudor” has posted more than 300 pro-TBI comments on this forum, so I wonder which company he works for?

But if you read the original poster closely and carefully, an intelligent reader will see that they all but admit that they are lying. The biggest problem at TBI is the managers who complained about Luke Preece’s illegal scams? Far from it. The biggest problem is TBI’s massive illegality and its unwillingness to follow Indonesian laws. Here is the full text from ‘To Bellow’- I wonder if works for TBI? For the intelligent reader, it is basically an admission that TBI is using 80% illegal labour.

ToBellow: Many teachers here will be aware of a website directed against a particular school in Jakarta. The owners of this website seem determined to disrupt the entire ESL system in Jakarta, if not all of Indonesia.

Vitriol is spewed from this website every day. Responses are either ignored or heavily censored. 

This leads to a lack of dialogue.

The website in question could potentially affect around 80-90% of all teachers in Indonesia, depending on how serious the bloggers are.

There is a lot of coded language here. It was worth carefully unpacking it. A lot of it is just hysterical, shrill language like something from a Daily Mail columnist. “Vitriol is spewed from this website every day.” “Seem determined to disrupt the entire ESL system in Jakarta.”

Wow, disrupt the entire “system” of Indonesia. That’s some serious subversive activity right there! Serious allegations to hang on a little limp word like “seem”! You make a huge unsubstantiated allegation based on a weasel word like “seem”, which refers to subjective individual perception. In other words, we have no proof at all that they are trying to disrupt anything except TBI, but let’s go for some massive fear-mongering using over-the-top claims. It is an obvious attempt to try and get teachers from other schools on your side by stirring up fear. The techniques of the demagogue and manipulator right there.

But there is more than fear-mongering going on here. There is also a sly admission that TBI is illegal after all. Look at this little gem of coded language: “The website in question could potentially affect around 80-90% of all teachers in Indonesia.” Huh? Why only 80%? What the Hell are they talking about? Clearly, the 80-90% is ‘ToBellow’s’ estimate of how many teachers in TBI don’t have the right degree. By extension, he is guessing that 80-90% of the whole TEFL industry is now based on teachers without the magic requirement- a degree in English. Once again, “ToBellow” is trying to position himself as the savior and protector of TEFL teachers in Indonesia, which is exactly what Luke Preece always did. He would get people fired behind their backs and then pretend to be your “best mate” to your face. He rose through TBI by pretending to be the saviour, all the while getting more qualified people sacked.

The important thing to note here is the deception going on. ToBellow assures the TEFL public at one point that the only problem TBI has is a couple of ex-managers. There is NO problem. Hardcore denialism. But at the same time, if you read closely, he is admitting TBI is now 80-90% based on illegal labour scams- an incredible figure surely. If there is nothing wrong at TBI, why are 80-90% of their teachers now in danger? In danger from what? The whole line they are running makes no sense!

This is the clue that ‘ToBellow” is actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing, who behaves like a master manipulator, stirring up fearing and loathing to advance his own agenda. And some people did see through it right away. One clever user (who appears to know the identity of ‘ToBellow’) added this comment at the time:

The poster of this has his (and it is a he) own agenda, so the above post is best taken with a huge pinch of salt. Or rice.

Well said. TBI’s agenda is defend their scam-ridden business model against the truth. But they can’t keep their story straight. Tomorrow we will move onto Stage 2 of their shifting version of “the truth.” I describe it is, “Yes, we’re crooks- but so is everyone else!”

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