Woman’s Voice

Bali Undercover by Malcolm Scott [2015: EO]

Bali Undercover by Malcolm Scott [2015: EO]

When I published “Bule Hunter: Money, Sex and Love”  in September 2014, I received a stream of criticism in the net from many people. I would have understood that they criticized my book after they read it but they have not. They criticized it based on some media coverages. Those are including many Indonesian  women, who are in relationship with Western Men and feel offended with my writing as well as other people are who simply narrow minded.

Some of them said that it was just a bunch of gossip, some of them said that it’s not a journalism work because it’s very subjective yadda yadda yadda (Well honey, it’s hard to find an objective journalism work these days. Media is controlled by companies who are linked to govt). Anyway, there were big wave of nasty comments coming toward me. It was terrifying! 

Frankly, I was shocked reading those comments. I refused to read further for few weeks. But I must say that I am grateful because  those haters actually  inspired me  to write my next book. 

So when I went to  Times Bookstore in Plaza Singapura, I saw this book and purchased one. I read nearly half of the book within few hours over few glasses of Chardonnay. Since I read the title, I already assumed that it would have similar content to my book Bule Hunter. And YES IT IS! 

It talks about Indonesian women, Western men, Indonesian men, western women,money, sex and  relationship. However, it seems nobody attacking the Australian author Malcolm Scott. At least, I didn’t hear about it. 

Is it because the author is a man? Is it because the author is a Westerner? Or is it because he choose a soft title instead of Bule Hunter?! Or is it because it’s written in English and doesn’t get a lot of media exposure in Indonesia (if I understand correctly)? 

Oh well, we are still living in an era and place where women can hardly say their voices loudly and bluntly! 

Cheers,

Oktofani

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Hartoyo

Kemarin (10/9/14), saya diminta untuk memoderatori peluncuran buku “Bule Hunter: Money, Sex and Love” karya Elisabeth Oktofani dengan nara sumber  Myra Diarsi, aktivis perempuan dan juga dihadiri oleh ebbrapa peserta yang juga melakukan pernikahan campur antar bangsa di Reading Room, Kemang Jakarta Selatan.

Buku ini jika dilihat dari judul dan komentar-komentar dari Facebook atau berita di media banyak dapat kritik dari publik, terutama dari orang-orang bule itu sendiri maupun beberpa perempuan yang kebetulan menikah dengan bule.

Buku ini mengungkapkan kegelisahan2 atau “kemarahan” penulis atas pola ketidakadilan yang berkaitan dengan persoalan: 1. Relasi antara perempuan dan laki-laki dlam segala hal, 2. Relasi antara negara yg dianggap maju/beradab (barat), dalam hal ini laki-laki bule dengan negara2 timur/dunia ketiga/asia dlam hal ini perempuan Indonesia.

Walau penulis kurang membongkar atau menguliti secara detail pola-pola ketimpangan itu (katanya akan ada buku selanjutnya membongkar lebih dalam), tetapi penulis berhasil, minimal membuat saya memahami bahwa ini ada persoalan ketimpangan gender dalam perkawinan antar bangsa yg semakin rumit.

Sepertinya buku ini kalau diulas menggunakan buku Orientalis karya Edward Said dan buku The Clash of Civilization and the Remaking of World Order karya Samuel P. Huntington akan dapat inti persoalannya, tentunya menggunakan pisau analisis gender. – Hartoyo, General Secretary of Our Voice Indonesia

Catatan: tulisan ini diambil dari Facebook mas Hartoyo dengan ijin beliau

Elisabeth Oktofani: Exploring the world of ‘bule’ hunters

After dating many Caucasian guys, locally known as bule, since she was a teenager, 27-year-old writer Elisabeth Oktofani settled down when she married a Canadian three years ago.
“I had many relationships with bule and reached a point when I couldn’t care less if I dated a bule or not. But then I finally found a peace of mind with my husband, who turned out to be bule,” Fani said.

Her story dated to high school in Yogyakarta, when many of her girlfriends got invitations to connect on Friendster, the once-popular social media outlet, in the early 2000s.

Fani, however, stayed out of the fray. Initially.

“My hair was curly, I had a dark complexion and I had no boyfriend — I felt ugly. But then I got a friend request on Friendster from a bule who then asked to meet me in person,” Fani said. “So I thought if it was difficult to find local boyfriends, I would just try dating bule because they liked girls like me.”

After going out with a lot of Western men, she realized that many would appreciate her more if they could talk about many things with her.

“At first, I didn’t feel much appreciated — maybe because as a teenager, I had a lack of confidence and knowledge,” she said. “That’s why I easily ended up relationship with someone and find another one until I eventually realized that I also needed to be knowledgeable to hang out with them.”

She was often judged by the people around her about her relationships with the Westerners. They told her that she went out with them only because they were rich, and bule liked her because she was ugly.

“That annoyed me, because not all relationships between Indonesian girls and bule are like that. There are other things the society should know behind the relationship between Indonesian woman and bule,” Fani said.

She then decided to make a book which was based on her experience and her friends. The book, Bule Hunter: Kisah Wanita Pemburu Bule (Bule Hunter: Stories of Women who Pursue Westerners), aims to get rid of stigma attached to Indonesian women who date bule only for their money.

“We want to let people know that there are also relationships with bule that are based on love,” she said.

Fani said the idea to make the book popped up in 2007 when she first heard the phrase “bule hunter”.

“It was a funny word I thought. I started to find out more about this, listened to my friends who shared their experiences with bule, then the idea to write a book crossed my mind,” she said.

It was not until 2011 she really started working on it, spending almost two years to do the research for the book.

She interviewed friends, prostitutes and random women in Jakarta and Bali.

“I went to night clubs and hotels to find out about how women made their deals with bule. I also found out that there were many women who married to bule to be able to leave Indonesia or to improve their lives in Indonesia,” she said.

However, she said, after they left many were often surprised to know the fact that their bule partners were not as wealthy as they were in Indonesia.

“Many women that I interviewed also like to hang out with bule because sometimes they are more open-minded than Indonesian guys when it comes to sex and safe sex,” Fani said.

She then went to Bali to focus on finishing the project. By the end of 2013, Fani had completed a book that was blunt and a bit vulgar.

It was not too hard for her to find a publisher. Rejected by one of the nation’s largest publishers, who thought the work too much, Fani offered it to Rene Book, which agreed to print it after some editing.

“The publisher says this 311-page book is different, as it brings out the silent phenomenon in the society as well as becoming the voice of certain groups,” she said.

She added that she already had a plan to make the sequel.

Fani has always been into writing.

She started blogging since high school and her blog received responses from readers in many countries. She studied journalism at Atma Jaya University in Yogyakarta.

She become a freelance writer for a newspaper in Indonesia, took an internship in a lifestyle magazine in Bali, worked for one-and-a-half years for a newspaper in Jakarta, and became a freelance contributor for an American media outlet.

Recalling her life from the past through present day, Fani said she was so proud of being an Indonesian despite the fact that she enjoyed hang out with Westerners.

“We have several values that are always instilled in us, like honoring older people by not calling them only by name and other polite gesture in Indonesian tradition,” Fani said.

Fani is also busy with her current job as an assistant editor and a contributor for a growing media outlet in Jakarta.

“I covered social issues, human rights and also terrorism. And the book’s writing style has been highly influenced by my investigative journalism experience,” Fani said.

Bule Hunter: Kisah Wanita Pemburu Bule (Rene Book, 312 pages, paperback) will be launched at the Reading Room in Kemang, Jakarta, on Wednesday. Visit bulehunter.com for more information.

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This article is published by The Jakarta Post’s newspaper on Sept. 8, 2014