Give A Hand

Sometimes we want to help someone, who is going astray because we know that (s)he is actually good person inside. But  I realize that we cannot help somebody who actually doesn’t want to help themselves . Or they even don’t think that they might need a help from anyone. Should we bother to give a hand?


Many young people want to get marriage to their lover. They feel that their lover is the love of their life. It would be perfect to live together for the rest of their life. But I wonder whether they really understand what marriage is?

Well… I guess we have been indoctrinated with happily ever after Cinderella story without being shown what happen next after she got married to the prince. Who knows that they try killing each other…. ?! No?

That is why I don’t like attend wedding party.

Oktofani: 250415

Norwegian Men and Import Brides

Last week the documentary focused on Norwegian men and ‘import brides’. It is commonly known amongst Norwegians that Norwegian men import brides because Norwegian women don’t consider them ‘a catch’. So Norwegian men look elsewhere. When it comes to Norwegians marrying someone abroad certain trends have developed over the years. Currently most Norwegian women who marry from abroad marry from Sweden, Denmark and the UK.

Most Norwegian men who marry from abroad marry women firstly from Thailand, secondly from Russia and thirdly from the Philippines. The import brides have clear reasons for their marriage choice: Russian women marry Norwegian men because of the ‘Norwegianess’ – meaning that Norwegian men are more domesticated than Russian men therefore Russian women have less domestic responsibility and more ‘freedom’. South-east Asian woman marry Norwegian men because they want to up-grade their lifestyle and also use it as a means to support their family in Thailand.  Read the rest here

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 for more information.


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

Kontribusi Istri Bule dalam Rumah Tangga

Saya pun tiba-tiba teringat Henry yang pernah mengatakan pada saya bahwa kawan-kawannya dapat membeli rumah dan hidup berkecukupan karena istri mereka bekerja dan memberi kontribusi cukup signifikan pada rumah tangga.

Ya iyalah! Apakah saya harus heran? Semua orang juga tahu, sistem gaji bagi orang kulit putih sangat berbeda dengan gaji orang kulit cokelat atau hitam. Orang kulit putih cenderung mendapatkan gaji lima kali lipat daripada orang lokal ketika mereka bekerja di negara berkembang. Lihat saja berita di Kompas beberapa waktu lalu tentang kesenjangan gaji antara guru asing dan guru lokal di sekolah bertaraf internasional di Pondok Indah, Jakarta Selatan. Guru asing menerima upah antara Rp50 sampai Rp100 juta per bulan sedangkan guru Indonesia hanya menerima upah Rp 2 juta sampai Rp15 juta per bulan.

Ya, tentu saja, akhirnya saya enggak bisa memberi kontribusi yang cukup signifikan terhadap keuangan rumah tangga kami. Saya sebagai orang Indonesia dengan pendidikan universitas swasta di Yogyakarta hanya dihargai murah.

Ah, lucu sekali. Lucu sekali, kata saya dalam hati. Bisa dibilang, saya ini sudah pasrah dengan gaji murah karena sistemnya memang sudah seperti itu, tetapi saya masih harus makan. Eh, masih saja enggak dihargai, yang ada malah dicaci maki suami sendiri.


Bukan Untung Malah Buntung

Bicara masalah pernikahan sebagai kedok untuk kaya instan, beberapa bulan yang lalu saya bertemu dengan Jovita Zahira di sebuah restoran Jepang di jalan Seminyak, Bali. Kami duduk di teras luar sambil menikmati cerahnya siang hari ini di tengah musim penghujan di Pulau Seribu Pura.

Namanya Jovita Zahira, usianya 24 tahun. Empat tahun yang lalu, dia menikah dengan John Owen, warga negara Australia yang berusia 66 tahun. Setelah 3 tahun menikah, mereka dikaruniai seorang anak laki-laki bernama Steven Owen. Kini Steven berusia 8 bulan.

Berawal dari iseng-iseng mencari pacar di dunia maya, enggak disangka keisengan Jovita berakhir dengan mengucapkan janji pernikahan di depan altar dalam sebuah pernikahan sederhana di Salatiga, Jawa Tengah akhir tahun 2009 lalu.

John dan Jovita saling mengenal pada pertengahan tahun 2007 lewat dating site. John mengaku pada Jovita bahwa dia bekerja sebagai seorang tukang ledeng profesional. Saat itu, Jovita masih berusia 18 tahun. Dia langsung jatuh hati pada John ketika John mengirimnya sebuah e-mail yang menyatakan bahwa dia tertarik pada Jovita.

Mulanya Jovita kurang tertarik pada John karena perbedaan usia yang terlalu jauh. Dari saling berkirim e-mail, hubungan mereka berlanjut di Yahoo Messenger lalu Skype.  Hampir setiap hari mereka chatting. Seiring dengan perkenalan mereka, John menawarkan suatu dunia baru baginya.

Natal 2007, John mengunjungi Jovita di Salatiga dan membawanya untuk berlibur ke Bali dan Malaysia. Lalu pada Valentine’s Day 2008, John mengundang Jovita untuk mengunjunginya di Australia selama dua minggu lamanya. Dalam satu tahun, John mengunjungi Jovita sebanyak tiga kali sementara Jovita mengunjungi John di Australia sebanyak dua kali.

Meskipun harus pacaran jarak jauh, hubungan mereka terjalin dengan harmonis. John merasa telah menemukan sesosok pendamping hidup yang ia impikan selama ini. Muda, cantik, seksi dan bisa melayani laki-laki di rumah dengan baik.

Selain itu, Jovita enggak pernah neko-neko dengan menuntut John untuk membelikannya barang-barang mahal yang enggak berguna. Sesekali saja John memberi Jovita hadiah yang dapat dia gunakan dalam menjalin komunikasi mereka selama pacaran jarak jauh seperti laptop, modem dan smartphone.

Kadang jika John sedang mendapatkan rejeki berlebih, dia mengirimi Jovita uang sebanyak 500 AUD. Suatu ketika John mengatakan pada Jovita bahwa dia berniat untuk pindah ke Indonesia dan ingin membeli properti di kawasan Sanur, Bali sehingga dia bisa dekat dengan Jovita. John memang bukan orang kaya tetapi tabungannya cukup untuk hidup nyaman di Indonesia.

…. bersambung


A Huge Market for Asian Girls in Europe

Suatu pagi saya berbicara dengan mantan saya orang Jerman, Martin melalui WhatsApp. Well, he was not my real boyfriend but he  was my cyber ex-boyfriend back in 2005. Anyway, Martin menawari sebuah bisnis yang membuat saya sedikit tercengang ketika membaca pesannya di balik layar iPhone putih di genggaman tangan saya, it’s a human trafficking business.

Well… let me tell you something. You might find it interesting for your source of income. There is a huge market in Europe for Asian girls,” kata Martin

Saya termenung membaca kalimat Martin di balik layar iPhone putih di genggaman tangan saya. Saya bingung, antara paham dan tidak paham dengan apa yang baru saja dia katakan melalui pesan terakhirnya tersebut.

“Apakah kamu menikah dengan Henry karena uang? Kamu dulu lady escort, ya?” kata Martin sebelum saya sempat membalas kalimat sebelumnya.

Saya semakin bingung dibuatnya. Saya lalu tertawa terbahak-bahak. Jadi mantan pacar saya selama ini  berpikir bahwa saya cewek bayaran? Luar biasa! Sekali bajingan tetap saja dia bajingan. Enggak jauh berbeda dengan mereka yang bermental tempe! Dia selalu ber-negative thinking tentang saya. Jadi, Martin berpikir bahwa saya menikah dengan Henry karena uang dan pertemuan kami terjadi dalam sebuah transaksi prostitusi. Begitu? Lagipula kalau uang adalah motivasi saya untuk menikah, tentu saja saya enggak akan menikah dengan Henry. Punya apa dia? Pikir saya. Saya belum sempat membalas pesan Martin untuk kesekian kalinya.

“Cetta… are you there?”

“Ya! Well… let me tell you something that you did not know, my brother. Saya bertemu dengan Henry setelah saya putus dengan kamu. I was on my search to mend my broken heart. He promised me something, he kept his promises, he loves me and overall he is a good guy. He just does not know how to express his feeling to me. And keep in mind that I was never, not even once a prostitute! I know my value!” tutur saya panjang lebar melalui WhatsApp.

“Okay… I am sorry to think that way. So how do you manage your lavish lifestyle by getting a lot of Louboutin heels, Gucci handbag and other expensive shit?” tanyanya penasaran.

Saya hanya tersenyum membaca pesannya tersebut, meremehkan saya sekali dia, pikir saya tanpa membalas pesannya pagi itu.