Marzuki Ali Vs. Indonesia Girls

Here comes another buzz straight from the House of Representatives.


Marzuki Alie, Head of HOR (Courtesy of VivaNews)

Head of Indonesia’s House of Representatives, Marzuki Ali (cool name), lashes out against the exporting of Indonesian housemaids to foreign countries, calling the act “a bad move” and staining Indonesia’s reputation on an international stage.

He further added that many of these workers sent overseas are unskilled, making them prone to domestic abuse.

His remarks drew criticisms from organizations, and the public which many feel that it is “insulting” our “deficit heroes”. Whatever poetic names the public is going to call them, all I got to say is (as much as I hate to), the guy is not entirely wrong, except for the way he says it.
Exporting machinery, clothes, technology, media, etc; those are the cool stuff. When you go overseas, and sees a car made from your country, you get a tingling sense of pride. Japanese would feel that way everywhere.

But when your country is famous overseas for producing domestic labor, somehow deep in your head, that’s not something one should be proud upon. Why? I don’t know, I guess it’s just not “cool”.

A China national wouldn’t like it you were to say their country produces the best whores in the business.  A person from Bangladesh would bash you for calling their people all construction workers and illegal immigrants. A person from Malaysia would disagree if you were to say their country breeds Islamic terrorists, and racist Malays.

These issues overshadow the positive achievements of these countries.

And Marzuki Ali was right to point this out; that Indonesia’s reputation on domestic labor overshadows many other of Indonesia’s achievements and exports.

For example, Indonesia is a main exporter of shoes to many European countries, Indonesian students overseas ALWAYS get gold medals in International competitions (academic), Indonesia has highly artistic people and taste that are world renowned, and that many countries depend on Indonesia’s natural resources.

But when you go to a country such as Malaysia,  no one knows about these things, except the fact that plenty of Indonesians are housemaids. Usually with negative tone.

The branding of Singapore Airlines is known worldwide through the picture of a smiling, often quite attractive “Singapore Girl” wearing a Batik uniform. Singapore Girl is the airline’s mascot, and it works great for them. If the same mascot was used to promote Indonesia, the “Indonesia Girl” wouldn’t look nice and neat in Batik. She would be wearing t-shirt, pants, hair tied with a scrunchie and a mop on her hand, smiling and sweaty.

Now, there’s nothing wrong about being a housemaid. I think people who become maids are strong, and brave bunch. Being able to be away from their beloved family, usually for long period of time, and to endure the culture shock, loneliness and in some cases, the abuse.

But having a housemaid as an image, as a brand, is simply not attractive. It does not take a marketer to know that. And Marzuki Ali realizes this, and feels the need to address this issue, however, with poor execution skills.

There are some things that he said that were inappropriate for national television, so I guess he deserves the bad coverage.

I’m just here to outline the real issue, without provocation.


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