Articles

Wimar: Losers are losers in any culture

The Jakarta Post
14 July 2004
Your Letter

Your editorial Xenophobia, a dangerous road in the July 12, 2004 issue of the Post makes some important points, but I wish to point out one blind spot. Most people assume that resentment at foreign intervention is political in nature, and hence it is xenophobic.

However, the behavior of some obnoxious foreigners calls for alarm without any help from xenophobia. These types of foreigners should not be protected under the cover of international understanding. Losers are losers in any nationality, but when they come with money and power their irritation value is multiplied.

In my work as an international consultant I often come across people who are entrusted with power in the form of financial support. Too many of them throw their weight around without any respect for local intelligence. They come in the form of know-it-all instant experts, but in the damaging version they actually try to dictate the actions and thoughts of their Indonesian counterparts.

I am sure it has nothing to do with nationalities, let alone governments. They are just losers who would be socially distasteful in their own countries. Sadly they seem to be supported by well-meaning funding agencies, multilateral institutions and multinational corporations.

Dear friends, please weed out these kinds of people and send them home. Do not defend them or hide them. Otherwise, you cannot blame locals who generalize from the unpleasant presence of these sorry specimens of international life.

WIMAR WITOELAR Jakarta

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