Nowadays, there can’t be many people in the Jakarta TEFL industry who haven’t heard the whispers about TBI Bekasi, the school which has earned itself the dubious honor of being TBI’s most disreputable franchise school. During 2012 and 2013 we spoke with no less than 5 previous expat teachers who had worked for Binsar, the school manager and owner, and they all shared tales of woe. One reported having to pay $2000 of his own money to Immigration because Binsar hadn’t got him the promised work visa. His final word on Binsar was the man was “a grifter, pure and simple.”
Another British teacher was also conned by Binsar. The Batak ‘businessman’ threatened that he would have the teacher arrested for working illegally in Indonesia if he didn’t accept a salary of Rp6 million a month, even though he had initially promised to pay him almost twice that amount. Binsar had promised to get a work visa but he then reneged on the promise and used the fact that the teacher had already been working for 1 month without one as leverage to intimidate him into working for half the promised salary. This teacher was also mugged in the school parking lot one day on pay day, leaving him without a cent for the whole month. All 3 teachers reported that they had personal objects stolen from the staffroom while they were in class. Binsar was reputed to have links to organized crime and a third teacher was beaten up and hospitalized by unknown assailants the day after she had a fight with Binsar and quit.
Binsar ‘Improves’ but Still Grooms Under-Aged Girls
By 2012-2103, Binsar had cleaned up his act to an extent. Shamed by the negative publicity his grifting had created, Binsar actually got a work visa for an expat for the first time and paid the teacher Rp9 million a month. This was still a miserable salary for the pleasure of living in grim, industrial Bekasi, but at least it was paid on time and in full. It was widely assumed that the damning criticism of previous teachers on this blog had forced him to give up the outright criminal behavior. But this teacher confirmed that Binsar, then 54 years old himself, encouraged teachers to date students and had 200 under-aged girls’ numbers stored in his Blackberry phone, most of them TBI students. Binsar had allegedly been arrested a few years earlier for sexual assaulting a TBI student but after a few days charges were not pressed. Apart from the alleged sex offenses, standards at the school were still rock bottom in 2013. Binsar was still yelling at teachers within the school, calling them stupid and refusing to breaking the law by refusing to pay THR, a sort of holiday pay entitlement.
Then, after our informant finished his contract, we lost our source. But a couple of days a saw that Binsar is now on the prowl for fresh victims. Again. And the job ad contains some a few surprises. Here it is below:
TEFL Teachers, Binsar Needs You!
The main surprise in the ad is that Binsar is now willing to pay Rp 12-14 million. That’s a wide range and knowing Binsar, you would have to guess that he will try and get away with paying the lower end of that range. After all, this is the man who locked up the sugar-bowl at TBI Bekasi because of his legendary cheapness. Furthermore, TBI Bekasi was the only known TBI school where teachers weren’t allowed to use the photocopy machine themselves because of fears about “cost blowouts”. This was the man who has lied to, threatened and cheated expat teachers to get them to work for as little as $300 a month. Having to pay 3 or 4 times that must hurt this infamous miser ever so much. And, in fact, the high new number and the fact that has paid for an ad on Tefl.com for the first time all suggest his business is under tremendous stress. That new salary is 33-50% higher than he was paying just 18 months ago.
Also, he says there are 3 positions empty, which is as many expats as have ever been employed there at one time. That suggests he hasn’t found a single expat who is willing to work for him. The cupboard- or should that be sugar-bowl?- is empty. All in all, this suggests mounting desperation on the part of the Grifter from Bekasi.
Haunted by His Sexual Transgressions?
What can explain the sudden leap in salaries at this infamous school? It isn’t as if bad publicity is anything new for him. Former teachers had written scathing critiques of his school as far back as April 2012. What has changed?
The answer seems to be the JIS case. With foreign teachers in Indonesia under a cloud of suspicion following a high-profile child sexual abuse case at the capital’s most prestigious international school, who would want to work at a school where the manager/owner is accused of being an alleged sex offender against minors? In May 2014, just 3 weeks after the JIS scandal emerged, there were advertised job vacancies for just about every local job position at the school: local teachers, sales assistants and the marketing assistant. Binsar needed to replace all of them, and it is only a very small school. It can’t be a coincidence that everyone left just after the JIS situation blew up. No one wanted to be around if another young girl complained and the police came looking for Binsar. Judging from the markedly higher salaries now on offer for expat teachers, staff recruitment still remains a nightmare for Binsar. And, in all honesty, who would want to work for this man?