From: Ruth Tiarma - A nobody. Indonesian citizen. Tiny flat, South-West England, United Kingdom.
Date: 16 Apr 2014


I remember the kindergarten I went to, back in 1994. It is a Catholic school that provides education from kindergarten to junior high school. I am not a Catholic, but my parents enrolled me anyway. It was not a prestigious private school, nobody has ever heard of it. Most of the pupils were from working-class families. We didn’t have fancy, sophisticated playground and toys. We didn’t have English-speaking tutors, only devoted nuns and local teachers. They can’t afford to outsource janitors; the janitors were an elderly couple from a rural area in Malang, East Java, who came to Jakarta to try their luck, and lived from the charity of the Church. They didn’t earn much, obviously, but you have no idea how devoted and genuinely nice they are to kids. The lady even dealt with kids who wet their pants, and other smelly “business” down there. They said we remind them of their grandchildren back at home, and it brings joy to them. They worked for years until the day I finished my 9th year I heard the old man passed away and the cleaning lady returned home to her village.

My kindergarten may not be the coolest, most popular preschool, but thank God, it’s a devoted educational institution. People who work for them are mostly people who live nearby, and looking for a job. And there is always, always, always a spot for them. As a “tukang parkir” (staff in the parking lot), driver, courier, “mbak-mbak kantin” (cafeteria staff), the school never ran out of “job vacancy”. And what those nuns did was not great financial growth for the business. They built a family. Most of the workers are Muslim, and all those nuns are Catholic but that doesn’t matter, they have great sense belonging of the school. What those nuns do is more a devotion than a business.

I went to a high school for girls and it’s pretty much the same. None of those people who work for the school wears fancy uniform, let alone speak English. In my high school there even was a special-need homeless man, taken care by the nuns, who lived in and used to wonder around the school area, but never he did any harm to the girls, he never even hurt a fly. Because I believe, somehow he understood that people in that school are his family. All the school staffs are one big family. A family that doesn’t earn much, but somehow is happy with all they’ve got.

A tragedy of child molestation just happened in a well-known international school in Jakarta. What enrages me is THAT THEY RECRUITED THE SCHOOL JANITORS FROM AN OUTSOURCING COMPANY, which clearly implies that they don’t know those people well, and yet they let them have FREE ACCESS to the children. It’s just as mediocre as keeping your door widely open to strangers to do whatever the hell they want to do to your kids?

Isn’t it ironic? Their parents install security system at home only to find that the school their children go to is an open bar for scumbags?

How could an institution that identifies themselves as “International School” compromise such standard? What is the definition of “International” do they apply? What country is their reference? Forgive me please, I never went to international school. I come from an ordinary middle class family. I don’t know if I missed something here. I may sound stupid, and my English is flawed. I have only my common sense to digest this twisted, clashing logics.

With that amount of school tuition per child, is it still too expensive to conduct a proper recruitment for the school staff? Why did they even hire adult males to work in the pre-school in the first place? Haven’t they heard that in most first world countries, which I’m pretty sure they’re familiar with, there is a very strict policy about who can and can’t be on school property? Why can’t they learn from it? Why, without any background check, they let those animals in? Let’s hope the management are not stupid enough to defend themselves by saying “We didn’t know that they are sexual predators”. That’s not the point! The point is, oh dear management, you didn’t know WHO THEY ARE and yet lo let them in anyway.

Just so you know, hiring staff to work in school area is not just the matter of “siapa yang bisa nyapu” (which one of them can swipe the floor), but which one of them CAN BE TRUSTED with those innocent children. I know it’s more cost efficient to hire people from outsourcing company. But seriously darling, you CAN’T, for God’s sake – I repeat – you CAN’T hire people from outsourcing company to work on school property, unless you want to do a background check beforehand, which is so much more time consuming. God only knows who those people are, what they’ve been through, and what’s their intention. There’s a reason why people are so cautious when they hire babysitters, why can’t you be cautious – for the same reason – on this matter?

I am not blaming JIS as an alma mater, please don’t get me wrong.. I am blaming the management, I curse them to say the least. I don’t care if people think I’m impulsive.

The word “trauma” is adapted from Greek in the late 17th century, which literally means “wound”. Wound heals, it will stop bleeding. But it will leave scar. And that, my love, can never disappear. It stays. Whatever compensation given to the victim, whatever cost and forces elaborated, the victim will never completely recover. And the school loss is NOTHING compared to the victim’s loss. IT’S A PAIN HE CAN’T ESCAPE, IT’S A NIGHTMARE HE CAN’T WAKE UP FROM. All those suffering his mother went through to give birth to him is for nothing. All because of a reckless, heartless, lack of holistic consideration on minor sector of the school system.

Isn’t it even more ironic? It all begins with the intention to enhance cost efficiency. To make a long story short, the consequences of the crude decision cost them their reputation.

Those nuns may not be able to do business impressively. They obviously don’t have major in business, but they are expert in devoting. And that’s what saves them. They reach people, and those people protect them in return. Those people are not paid in high amount of money. It’s not the money that matters, it’s the time those nuns invest to reach those people. They may not be smart; they may not be as professionally presentable as those outsourced staff, but what else matter when they do no harm to the kids?

Those nuns did not apply standardised recruitment process. They may be unaware that what they’re applying is a community-based school supporting system. They involve people and build a community in the school system. People are less likely to misbehave when they are part of a community.

This is the limitation of employing people from outsourcing company. It’s more like a “wam-bam-thank you ma’am” thing, they won’t give a shit about whatever the fuck is going on in there. I am not anti-outsourcing, sure there is some place for them, but not in school setting.

For anyone who owns or plans to start a business in education sector, the story of those nuns might sound like a fairy tale crap. But when a well-planned business management backfires, maybe those craps worth a try. It may or may not work but how do we know if we don’t even try? Try to think less about the business and more about building an education system wholeheartedly. We may not gain as much as we used to, so what? The profit made all this time can’t undo what happened yesterday anyway.

There is a lesson that can be learnt from what happened in JIS, and sadly we learn it the hard way.

You may own a school with Disneyland in it, or a spaceship for the school bus. But one sexual predator inside the school is enough to ruin literally everything; the past, the present, the future of the school, the entire universe of the school.

It’s over, love.

The kid said to his mummy “Boo boo clown put his wee wee into my fanny”

You can kill the clown, but you can’t kill the boo boo. You can kill the predators, but you can never kill the scandal. You’re screwed.

I believe in second chance for offenders from various criminal backgrounds, from plagiarism to voluntary manslaughter. But NOT to sexual offenders. For me, sexual assault, let alone to children, is the only crime on earth that can never EVER be justified. For whatever reasons, child molesters cannot be "not guilty". Not even ANY beast on earth mates with its youngster

OUT of JIS, OUT of school system, OUT of earth. Let’s get him out of here at any cost. If the government refuse to put boo boo clown to sleep, so help us God we’ll give him nightmare he can’t wake up from. After all as earthlings we can’t fight our protective instinct, what has those kids ever done to deserve such catastrophe?