Really I haven’t posted that much about TBI this year. First of all, I was focusing on Rumah Bahasa, a new rogue operator which was employing teachers on tourists visas and taking up to 3 months to “process” customer refunds. Mind you, this wasn’t just any capricious demand for a refund. Rumah Bahasa had failed to open promised courses for months on end. Customers were getting bent out of shape at the mere thought of listening to more lies from Frendy Horas and his team of thieves and frauds. So most of the blogging has been about this “school”. But with 2 Rumah Bahasa branches now closed, the furore around them seems to have ebbed a little. At the very least, they don’t seem to be claiming as many victims as they once did. So what about The British Institute? How are they faring these days. Predictably, all the signs are that it is still little more than an ill-managed vanity project for a few rich fruit-loops.
As we have often said, Bu Mariam, the long-time TBI Director, was always a large part of the problem. She couldn’t even manage a single small school, TBI Sudirman, when she was in charge back in 2006. But with her in-laws on the board of the “charitable foundation” which runs TBI, she was chosen to become TBI Director, even though she had proven utterly incapable of running a single school. So began a “Comedy of Errors” reign of the school-chain, which has seen TBI’s market share being endlessly eroded by players big and small. TBI wit David Bradbury once dubbed her time in charge “The Reign of Error”, and it was a fitting moniker. This was a high-handed and despotic manager who routinely fired underlings as a cover-up for her own failings. She was a pathological narcissist who spent half her time reminding everyone that she was the boss, a dancing major, of Japanese descent etc etc. and half the time tormenting the poor women her reported to her.
So has anything changed? Sadly, no. Protected by her nepotistic connections at USG, she continues to prance around Indonesia striking poses and stroking her ego. Unable to turn up on time for meetings, and unable to name a single teacher at most TBI schools, she nevertheless never misses a chance to strike ludicrous poses for the camera. A celebrity in her own mind, she misuses her own power to flatter her ego, while the core business goes staler and staler. Just look at these cringeful snaps from TBI Malang. Queen Narcissist has turned up at TBI Malang and ordered her staff to greet her as if she were TESOL’s answer to Lady Gaga. Her wretched subordinates have submitted to her bizarre requests, forcing Blackberrys and Smartphones before her and acting as if she were a VIP or celebrity. There is something very “Sunset Boulevard” about the whole delusional game. Here is Bu Mariam: a very important person in her own TBI playground.
Can we have your autograph, Bu?