"Foreigners will probably have to spend for it."
But not if you're a top executive, because you don't "usually interact intensively with other workers
Well then, Mr. Boss, you can bloody well pay the bribe to enable me to pass the Indonesian language proficiency test for foreign workers - which is to take effect next year, and is mandatory in order to get or extend work permits here.
Actually, for about a year I'm alright, Jack, as my work permit will be renewed at the end of this year. I suppose I'll have to engage in more discourse witth 'Er Indoors in order to master the intricasies of bahasa, but what worries me a bit is that the test will be more or less similar to the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
Now, TOEFL is specifically designed to assess the capabilities of those about to enter their first semester in an American university; it is most definitely not a language test. A trained monkey could pass it.
Of course, there is no such thing as 'standard bahasa Indonesia'. What Bataks speak, apart from dialectical differences, sounds very different from that spoken, say, by Javanese. Presumably, there won't be a speaking component to the TOIFL, yet, surely, that is the main form of inter-action between foreigners and Indonesians.
As there are only around 28,000 foreign workers in Indonesia (.013r% of the population), it should not be too difficult to arrange oral testing, especially as, s
upposedly, the new TOIFL is being designed with job category subjects
English language consultants could be on to a good thing. Come to think of it, perhaps the powers-that-be could enlist my services.
At least I'll be sure to pass.
The Jakarta Post hasn't commented today on the new TOIFL, but it sure likes us expats. Following a series of articles on Outgoing Australia
, Diverse America
, Colorful China
, Shining Japan
, Dynamic Korea
and the India Diaspora
, it is now the turn of we Brits.Either in jest or seriousness, many Indonesians have wondered out loud whether it would have been better if we had been colonized by the English, rather than the Dutch, Japanese or Portuguese.
As for their English abilities, trips to the mall suggest that quite a number of Indonesian families now speak in English with their children. In schools, many apply English in their every day language. Although we're still far behind Malaysians and Singaporeans, the ability of Indonesians to speak English is slowly getting better, if only it's because they realize it's about the only way to a better future.
So, there's a simple solution to the problems of TOIFL. Don't introduce it at all. It would be far better for Indonesians, all 210 million of them, to learn English.