In 2013 we broke the story of a scandalous new school chain in Jakarta: Rumah Bahasa, The House of Language. We had received a tip off about lies and scams at Rumah Bahasa from a teacher who had gone for an interview and then an information session. He had painted a portrait of utter dysfunction: a school where teachers were working on tourist visas; a school that where the “academic manager” didn’t even have a TEFL certificate; a school that was flying by the seat of its pants in terms of scheduling, salaries and curriculum. Yet at that stage, we didn’t know who the dalang (puppet-master) of this strange pantomime was. Nor did we know just how bad Rumah Bahasa truly was.
In the coming weeks we heard of a long list of complaints that closely mirrored the illegal antics at TBI Bekasi: teachers who were promised work visas that never arrived; Indonesian and foreign staff who were paid half or less of the promised salary on payday; and, perhaps worst of all, customers who had been waiting for months for a refund on courses which had never started. Then there were the predictable threats; if we didn’t remove all negative mention of Rumah Bahasa from this blog we would be sued. There were also intimations of violence against a foreign teacher who had turned whistle-blower against Rumah Bahasa; he was publicly challenged to a fist-fight.
Unmasking Frendy Horas
By this point we had learned the name of the owner of the school. He was a Chinese-Indonesian with the Batak-sounding name of Frendy Horas. Yet apart from these bare-bones details, he remained a somewhat enigmatic figure. While it was clear that was a sociopathic con-man who lied to and defrauded his customers and staff with monotonous regularity, we had never seen a picture of this murky figure. He had managed to maintain a degree of privacy and secrecy. But over the past 2 months that has now changed. Someone (we don’t know who) has now started a copycat blog on WordPress. They have re-printed every story we ever ran on this school chain and also added many interesting ones of their own. (More on these in the coming days).
Perhaps most controversially of all, they have obtained a copy of Frendy Horas’s KTP (identity card) and posted on the top of every post about Rumah Bahasa and its alleged crime boss. Astonishingly, it turns out this “sweet-tongued liar”, Frendy Horas, is a mere 24-year old. His youth notwithstanding, he has allegedly defrauded dozens and dozens of people, so in solidarity with the many teachers and customers who have been fleeced by him, we have decided to post the image of this identity card too. This man is considered so toxic a boss that it is necessary to issue the most extreme level of warning here: Do not work for this 24-year old con man or his toxic organization. Below is the ID card of this alleged con-man; buyer beware.
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