I Am Bitter #1

A few days ago I was invited to a “Recruitment Presentations” event held by one of the development banks. By the time the event was over, I basically had an enlightenment.

First of all, let me be clear: I am very very sceptical about the whole idea of development bank. The reason(s)? Well, hopefully this writing would explain it.

So. The event started and the first speaker was the Country Director. He explained a bit about the bank’s projects in Indonesia and how important they are and how the projects have the potential to change the course of the whole country and how they are reaching many many cities in Indonesia. Blah blah blah. What else is new?

The second speaker was one of the HR people. He started by introducing all of the staff who came with him to the event. One person has been working for the bank for 13 years, another for 24 years, while he, himself, has been working for the bank for 11 years. My thought: WHOA. This must be some bank!

Then, the speaker started to explain about the bank. By the time he reached his third slide, I wanted to laugh so hard, I seriously thought about leaving the room.

It was incredibly hysterical to witness how hypocritical the speaker was. His third slide mentioned the huge number of people living on less than $1.25 a day. He then said that he just realised the value of $1.25 on that day. His smallest rupiah bill was Rp20,000, which is currently valued at around $1.40. This meant that many people actually earn less than his smallest rupiah bill every single day. He then proceeded to explain his thoughts by immediately thinking about the huge amount of money he just spent on lunch at one of the hugest and most luxurious malls in Jakarta and he could not believe it.

I mean, REALLY?

It really took him 11 years working in a development bank to realise the value of $1.25 and how many people actually survive by earning that amount each and every day? REALLY?

Then, as he continued to explain about some of the job requirements, including the 5-8 years of international experience, which basically means you HAVE TO work OUTSIDE your home country, I had some thoughts:

  1. Most Indonesians DON’T even speak English at professional proficiency level. How can many Indonesians work abroad? Does being a domestic worker count as an international experience?
  2. Maybe they need people with 5-8 years of international experience because it generally take them 11 years to understand the value of earning $1.25 a day. Imagine if they’re recruiting people with zero year of experience, that person may only understand the value of earning $1.25 a day on their 30th work anniversary.


The funniest remark, though, did not come from the speakers. It actually came from one of the invitees. A guy, when given the floor, actually asked about salary and benefits once a person is hired by the bank.

When I heard the question, I actually snorted. I was trying my bestest not to crack, right then and there. I know and I perfectly understand that we all need money to survive. Also, I’m not saying that it was a dumb question – surely people are entitled to ask about salary at a “Recruitment Presentations” event. I was just wondering: was Joey right back in 1998? Is there no such thing as selfless good deed? 

Lastly, right at the very end of the event, the Country Director gave a closing remark. He asked how much everyone thought has development banks invested in infrastructure projects in Indonesia. When no one could answer, he said that only 0.7% of infrastructure projects are funded by the banks. I was shocked and I wanted to throw the glass I was holding to stage. The same guy was saying how the projects were going to change the course of the country – REALLY? With that small of investment? How could this so-called development banks invest so little but put so much pressure?


Anyway, I am actually glad that I went to the event. As I wrote in the beginning of this post, I am enlighten. I was not even sad at how materialistic we become. I understood. I understand and I simply wanted – and still want to right now – to laugh out loud at how hypocritical we all have become. Maybe we should just make peace with it and wait until the world crumbles down.


What is on your mind?