Bule Hunter: Sebuah Perenungan Bagaimana Melihat Diri Sendiri

Bule Hunter: Sebuah Perenungan Bagaimana Melihat Diri Sendiri

oleh Teguh Imam (Suara Kita)

Bule Hunter adalah catatan jurnalistik Elisabeth Oktofani atau biasa disapa Fani, mengenai perempuan Indonesia yang berelasi dengan cowok bule. Fani membagi buku ini ke dalam 3 bagian; Gold Digger, All About Sex, True Love. Jadi Fani melihat ada 3 motivasi  mengapa perempuan Indonesia lebih suka berelasi dengan cowok bule. Ada yang ingin kaya dengan cepat, ini yang Fani sebut dengan istilah Gold Digger, lalu ada yang beralasan karena bule dahsyat dalam seks, dan ada pula yang mencari cinta sejati atau true love karena perempuan ini merasa lelaki Indonesia sudah menjadi korban Iklan, bahwasannya cantik itu adalah rambut lurus, kulit putih dan hidung mancung.

Entah siapa yang mempopulerkan istilah Bule Hunter, tapi yang jelas istilah ini merujuk pada perempuan yang gemar ‘memburu’ lelaki bule dengan berbagai motivasi.  Istilah ini lebih memiliki makna negatif, perempuan  Bule Hunter lebih diidentikkan dengan pekerja seks. Fani menceritakan kisah perempuan Sri Dewi Utari (bukan nama sebenarnya) yang sering membawa cowok cowok bule ke sebuah kafe yang berlokasi di daerah Prawirotaman, Yogyakarta. Kebiasaan Sri membawa cowok bule ke kafe membuat orang-orang di sekeliling daerah tersebut mencap Sri sebagai pekerja seks dengan pangsa pasar kaum londho. Padahal cowok yang dibawa Sri adalah klien tempat dia bekerja di sebuah galeri seni. Bosnya Sri menugaskan dia untuk menjadi tour guide  lelaki-lelaki londho tersebut. Meskipin akhirnya Sri menikah dengan lelaki Perancis, namun pengalaman dilabeli pekerja seks tentu saja pengalaman yang tidak mengenakkan.

Pengalaman serupa juga dialami oleh Cetta. Dia nge-date dengan cowok bule pertama kali sejak dia berumur 17 tahun. Dan ketika Ceta dan cowok Bulenya jalan ke daerah prawirotaman, dengan gampangnya orang berkomentar,”Kecil-kecil nge-lonthe bareng bule, pinter.. bule duitnya  banyak, burungnya gede”. Cetta tidak mau membuang energinya untuk marah pada orang tersebut. Baginya omongan seperti itu adalah omongan orang yang tidak berpendidikan.

Salah satu poin penting buku ini adalah bagaimana buku Bule Hunter ini memberikan  persepsi lain kepada  orang Indonesia terhadap orang bule dan peradaban baratnya. Buku ini ingin mengungkapkan bahwa gak semua bule itu kaya dan dermawan, malah ada yang kere dan pelit. Enggak semua bule itu penisnya besar dan jago di ranjang, ada juga yang penisnya kecil dan permainan ranjangnnya gak enak. Enggak semua bule itu mencari cinta sejati, malah ada yang cuma mau dapet seks dari  perempuan Indonesia doang.

Setelah peluncuran buku ini, pro-kontra di media on-line pun mencuat. Ternyata banyak orang Indonesia yang merasa tersindir dan merasa boroknya kelihatan. Fani pun di bully di media sosial.

Buku ini benar benar membuat saya merenung, bagaimana orang Indonesia melihat dirinya sendiri dan melihat orang Bule. Pernahkah kamu berpikir bahwasannya produk-produk dari barat entah itu sepatu, baju, makanan  lebih bagus lebih enak dibandingkan dengan produk Indonesia? Bahwasannya cantik itu putih? Dalam proses menuju dewasa saya sering mendengar bahwa sesuatu dari  Barat itu lebih bagus daripada Indonesia. Ocehan itu sering keluar dari mulut guru-guru, tetua saya. Saya pun bertanya adakah yang bisa saya banggakan sebagi orang Indonesia selain sumber daya alamnya yang makin menipis? Kebudayaannya yang jadi rebutan dengan negara tetangga? Selain masyakatnya banyak dan makin tidak ramah?

Tahun 2013, saya ikut kelas musim panas bersama dengan anak-anak muda USA di Yogyakarta. Selama 8 minggu kami bekerja sama dan saling belajar mengenai kebudayaan masing-masing. Setiap kami berkunjung ke suatu acara, orang-orang Indonesia senang berfoto dengan teman-teman USA saya itu. Mereka pun kebingungan, “Kenapa orang Indonesia senang sekali minat foto bareng bersama kami?”, tanya mereka. saya pun kebingungan dan  menjawab sekenanya, “Karena kalian unik”. Namun teman Indonesia saya menyela dan berkata tidak, “It’s inferiority Syndrome”. Saya bersikukuh tidak demikian. Dia pun  kukuh dengan pendapatnya, “Admit it”, kata dia.  Dan saya pun diam.

Sulit mengakui antusiasme orang Indonesia terhadap orang Bule  adalah bentuk dari inferioritas. Namun hal itu mungkin saja benar. Pada akhirnya kita akan menjadi apa yang kita ucapkan dan kita percayai bukan? Jika kita berpikir bahwa orang Indonesia gak bisa apa-apa, orang Indonesia itu kalah pinter dari bangsa lain. Kemudian terus-menerus berucap bahwa kita, orang Indonesia, tidak akan mampu bersaing. Maka secara perlahan-lahan kita akan menjadi apa yang kita ucapkan.

Sungguh buku Bule Hunter sukses membuat saya bercermin ke dalam diri saya dan menghormati akar tradisi saya.

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Tulisan ini diambil dari catatan pribadi mas Teguh dan dibagikan dengan seiijin penulis

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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 bulehunter.com for more information.

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

What “Bule Hunters” Want

Indonesian women who have Western partners or husbands are often met with negative, sometimes harsh judgment from people around them, from gold diggers to exotic-looking harlots.

​When you see an Indonesian woman with brown complexion walking together with a Western man, for example, you might hear responses like, “Why on Earth would a bule want to be with a woman with a tampang babu?”

Bule is an Indonesian slang word for Westerners, while tampang babu means the face of a domestic help.

Irked by such stereotypes, Jakarta-based writer Elisabeth Oktofani decided to write  a book called Bule Hunter: Kisah Wanita Pemburu Bule (Bule Hunter: Tales of Women who Pursue Western Men). Published by Rene Books this year, it is based on her interviews with several women with Western partners to understand their motivation in pursuing the men.

“All this time, we have heard only the negative stereotypes about the women. To be fair, I think we need to listen to these women’s voices. So I’m trying to provide space for them in this book,” Elisabeth, who is fondly known as Fani, says.

No stranger to the issue, Fani has been married to a Canadian man for three years. After spending some time doing her research, she concludes the three things driving Indonesian women to pursue Western lovers: money, sex and love.

So, the stereotype that some Indonesian women go after Western men for their money is not a hundred percent wrong after all.

“Let’s face it, a lot of Western men who work in Indonesia are quite prosperous. This happens because they have privileges like higher salaries than local people,” she says, adding that when these men return to their home country, they may not be as privileged as they are in Indonesia.

Because of this, some Indonesian women who are “tired of being poor”, or those who may have a chance of a decent career but without the necessary motivation, choose to cling to Western men who provide them with a comfortable lifestyle.

“These women can have things they couldn’t afford before. They can now travel to different places. It’s a very comfortable life,” the former Jakarta Globe reporter says.
But things could turn ugly for these women when they have too high an expectation.

“Some of them had dreams of moving to their lover’s countries, where they would live a prosperous life. Unfortunately, as I have said before, a lot of westerners are not as prosperous in their own countries. They can live a lavishly in Indonesia thanks to the privileges given to them as expats here,” she says.

Real disappointment follows the high expectation when they find out that their European or American lives are not as glamorous as they had fantasized.

And then there is the darker side of this phenomenon: human traffickers who recruit Asian women by deceiving them with promises of romance with Western men.

Money and a lavish lifestyle, however, are not the sole reasons why some Indonesian women are so intent in finding a Western lover. Sex takes priority for some women.
“Some women that I interviewed said theyfound Western men to be sexy,” says Fani.

The women also feel more comfortable because Western men are more conscious about the importance of safe sex than Indonesian men.

“They are never reluctant about putting on a condom if their sexual partners ask them to do so. This makes Indonesian women feel safer when having sex with them, because safe sex is not just about avoiding pregnancy. Getting infected with sexually transmitted diseases is definitely scarier than getting pregnant,” she says.

Some of the women Fani interviewed said that Western men were also less judgmental on various sexual expressions than Indonesian men, though that is not always the case, as some can be judgmental too.
Finally, after a few years of relationship, the women might eventually find what they call “love”.

“Eventually, what motivates people to maintain a relationship is the fact that they find a good match in their partners, whether it’s because they have the same interests or they can discuss so many things with ease,” she says.
Indeed, this is the most important aspect in maintaining a relationship, regardless of the ethnicity or the origin of the partner. Her message: when choosing a life partner don’t confine yourself to people from one race or ethnicity.

“I used to be exclusively attracted to Western men too, but after I got married to one for several years, I came to realize that no matter where your partner comes from, the most important thing is the chemistry you have with him,” she says.

About Sebastian Partogi
Sebastian Partogi is a feminist writer living in Jakarta.

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What “Bule Hunters” Want is published by The Magdalene on Aug. 29 

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.

-Oktofani-