‘Bule Hunter’: Don’t judge a book before you actually read it

First of all, I want to thank some of you who made some hateful comments about my friend Elisabeth Oktofani and her book, Bule Hunter.

No, seriously, thanks for making my friend famous. I mean, hey, if you bother to open your laptop and throw nasty remarks at her on the internet, it means you actually give a damn about it.  And, in addition, you make more people aware about her book.

There’s no such thing as a bad press.

But I think all of you need to take a moment to calm down, take a deep breath and, uh, eat a cookie. Some of those comments I’ve read so far are not only misdirected but also so wrong in so many levels. Clearly some of you haven’t read the book.

Repeat it after me: Calm down. Keep breathing. Eat a cookie.

First, I realize some of the people who give mean comments only judge the book after reading news in a particular online media. Like this one right here And, some of the comments become too personal I can’t even … whatever. I mean, the article only grasp some crumbs of the book but fail big time to take what the book is all about.

I’m not saying you have to read the book. But I think it’s just unfair to judge a book before actually reading it.

Even when Oktofani want to make the record straight by writing a letter to the editors of that online media, this lady right here, said “Oh, she only wrote a letter because she want to be famous.”

Lady, if you have a daughter and some random online media write something that will damage or hurt your daughter’s reputation by spreading news that is untrue, wouldn’t you want to do something about it?  Ugh, seriously, get real. I already did you a favor by link your blog so more people would visit it because I assume you’d like that. Thank me later.

Oh, and by the way, speaking of wanting to get famous, do you really think tearing other people down on your blog is an elegant way to gain traffic? Shame on you.

Perhaps is a good thing that this online media wrote those outrageous articles because more people are now aware of this book but, seriously people, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Moreover, you can’t judge a book before you actually read it.

First, some of the people berate the writer for her decision to choose the term “bule hunter” for the book’s title. “Bule” here is an Indonesian slang for Westerners and thus, “bule hunter,” is a derogatory nickname for Indonesian women who prefer Western male as romantic partner.

Look, the term “bule hunter” does exist. The writer did not coin the term but merely use it as the title of her book. Sadly, this term is sometimes also applied to ANY woman who ends up with a bule as a husband. What about those women who never intentionally search for a bule as their partner but end up with one anyway?

Google “self-deprecating humor,” people. Educate yourself.

Yes, netizens, Oktofani also write about those women in her book.  Real women, by the way. This book is not a work of fiction. This is not (I repeat: NOT) a novel. It’s a true story. Even though the tone of the book is casual, Oktofani gathered her facts just like how a journalist should. And journalist is, in fact, she is.

In Oktofani’s book, these real Indonesian women (granted, they didn’t reveal their true identity to protect their privacy) just want to give their side of the story.

No, Oktofani does not judge anyone here. I have it on good authority that a certain Facebook group, which consist of Indonesian women with foreigners as partners, bullies her. No, ladies, seriously. She’s actually on your side. Yes, she choose the title “Bule Hunter” to catch readers’ eyes (and, admit it, she succeeded), but this book is more than that.

I mean, come on, what she must do then? Make her book title “I AM NOT BULE HUNTER EVEN THOUGH MY LOVER IS A WHITE GUY SO DON’T JUDGE ME PLEASE”? She can’t do that, can she? Too long. And, let’s be honest, not catchy at all.

Some of the ladies in this book got story to tell. Yes, they are no saints. But these stories are real?

What about Nurmali? Who lost her husband and couldn’t find a proper job because she did not go to college (heck, she only attended elementary school)? If she want to sell her body so she can feed her children I say “you go, girl!” I mean, it’s her body. Unless you volunteer to pay her bills stop berating her choices.

In the book, Nurmali said she did not want to marry a bule. Yet she admit that her bule customers are more decent in terms of politeness, show her respect as a human being and, most of all, agrees to wear a condom when she ask. In other words, according to her, bule men are not hypocrites. And they give a damn about safe sex.

And what about Jovita? Who regret her choice to marry an older, white guy because not only he abuse her, he (almost, thank God) contracted her with HIV?

This book is more than just some women finding happy endings after marrying their husband. No, this is not “Pretty Woman.” Some of the women here actually struggle during their relationships with bule.

Stereotypical? Well, maybe some of the women are. But not all of them. And these are real accounts. This is not a novel (if any of you still refer this book as a novel I will slap your face with this book, I swear to God).

What Fani did was giving these ladies some chance to speak up.

If you don’t want to have a bule for a husband, by all means, don’t. Fani never (I repeat: NEVER) said in her book “You should go out and bang the first white guy you see.” If you think like that, all I can say is you misjudge the book. And I pity you.

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4 thoughts on “‘Bule Hunter’: Don’t judge a book before you actually read it

  1. Reblogged this on Bule Hunter and commented:
    Thank you for writing this piece. Apparently the hateful blog has been removed either by Kompasiana or by the author.

  2. Buku ini sangat mengundang kontroversi. Kebetulan aku tinggal di eropa tepatnya di Belgia selama 5 tahun. Belanda dan Belgia memiliki banyak pendatang asal Indonesia.. Entah itu karena mereka ingin mencari pekerjaan yang lebih layak atau karena mereka memiliki pasangan bule . Orang orang Indonesia memiliki stereotype yang kurang baik di mata orang orang belgia dan belanda. Apabila orang Asia menikah dengan orang belanda dan belgia, pertanyaan pertama yang akan mereka tanyakan adalah “umurnya suamimu berapa?” karena stereotype orang Asia disini adalah mereka mau menikah dengan bule umur berapapun demi kehidupan yang layak . Bahkan disini tepatnya 4 tahun lalu ada reality show tentang orang orang Indonesia, Vietnam, Philipine dan sebagainya yang ingin menikahi pria bule hanya demi uang. Namun.. Tidaklah semua pria asing demikian.. Kehidupan disini hampir sama seperti di Indonesia.. Ada yang alay ada yang sosialita. Ada yang gak laku-laku ada yang cuma mau one night stand aja, ada juga yang serius. Sebenernya tergantung dari ceweknya . Kalau ceweknya educated dan dapat menghargai dirinya sendiri mereka juga tau bagaimana cara mereka memperlakukan cewek. Tidak hanya itu disini pun terdapat stereotype kalau wanita Asia gampang di bodohi. Karena mereka mau saja menikah dengan pria tua berumuran 60-70 tahun, mereka mau saja di bohongi, di one night stand-in. Image ini terkadang membuat aku risih tinggal disini. Kalau aku menyetir mobil yang bagus. Mereka berpikir kalau suami aku adalah some old guy.. . Kebetulan aku menikah dengan pria berkebangsaan Belgia 2 tahun lalu. Suamiku umur 26 dia adalah seorang insinyur . Aku bertemu dia di kampus pada saat aku meneruskan kuliahku di Belgia. Aku sendiri adalah anak tunggal yg bisa dibilang cukup manja dan gak bisa apa apa.. Gak bisa masak, nyuci dll. Ben ( nama suami saya ) dia melakukan memasak, mencuci baju, bahkan sehabis dia pulang kerja dll.. Dia melakukan itu everyday.. Gak ada komentar atau kecewa atau marah . Kitapun hampir tidak pernah bertengkar . Sometimes, aku bilang sama pasanganku untuk membiarkan saya melakukan itu.. Tetapi dia bilang gapapa.. Biar dia aja.. Saya merasa sangat beruntung memiliki suami bule, karena mungkin apabila suami saya orang Indonesia , dia gak mau melakukan itu . DiA mengerti kalau aku gak terbiasa karena di Indonesia selalu pakai pembantu sedangkan disini sejak umur 7 tahun dia sudah terbiasa mencuci dan membantu mamanya memasak. Dan itu hal biasa disini . Jadi disini memasak itu bukanlah pekerjaan wanita . Wanita dianggap sederajat dengan pria. Well , jadi menurut aku.. Itu semua kembali lagi ke wanitanya. Bisa atau enggak dia menghargai dirinya sendiri. Kalau dia bisa menghargai diri dia sendiri orang lain pasti bisa menghargai dia.

    • Salam kenal Mbak Tari,

      Pertama-tama terima kasih banyak untuk komennya. Sungguh, sebagai salah satu pembaca awal buku ini ketika masih dalam bentuk manuskrip, saya sangat memahami apa yang dialami Mbak Tari. Dalam buku ini kisah-kisah nyata perempuan-perempuan Indonesia yang menjalin hubungan dengan pria-pria bule begitu beragam. Saya sendiri yakin kalau Mbak Tari membaca buku ini pasti akan memahami apa yang dialami perempuan-perempuan itu dan juga suka dukanya. Ya, memang buku ini menuai kontroversi, itu saya setuju. Cuma kalau dibilang buku ini “too stereotypical” menurut aku itu juga kurang tepat. Nyatanya di buku ini ada juga kisah dari perempuan-perempuan yang memang kebetulan saja berjodoh dengan bule. Mereka juga mendapat tudingan yang kurang enak. Maksud penulis di sini (dan saya percaya itu karena saya mengetahui ide dia menulis buku ini tidak tiba-tiba saja tetapi sejak lama) justru memberi “suara” bagi perempuan-perempuan itu. Semoga dengan adanya buku ini (sekalipun kontroversi) lama-lama bisa memberi sudut pandang baru ya, Mbak. Oh iya, aku sangat kagum sama cerita dari Mbak Tari. Contoh nyata kalau dalam pernikahan itu seharusnya equal. Salam kenal ya, Mbak. Aku sangat menghargai dan menghormati Mbak Tari sekalipun berpengalaman tapi komentarnya justru mengajak diskusi dan bukannya tuduh menuduh.

  3. Pingback: ‘BULE HUNTER': DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY READ IT | Bule Hunter

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