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Foreign Wives of Indonesians

Cross-Cultural Couples Club (C4)

Isla Winarto isla.winarto@gmail.com
Claire OrmerodĀ claire.ormerod@gmail.com

Membership is open to expatriate women of all nationalities, that are, or have been, married to Indonesian men. All foreign women in a serious relationship with an Indonesian man are also welcome, whether you are planning to marry or already married to an Indonesian, and regardless of the length of time spent in Indonesia. Members also include women who are divorced from or widows of Indonesian men.

There is no cost to join. The informal support group meets regularly for lunch, either at a restaurant or at a member's home.

Advice on legal status, nationality of children, schooling, immigration requirements, marriage regulations and family law, inheritance and other matters are shared freely amongst members. C4 is a member of Aliansi Pelangi Antar Bangsa (APAB), a group that is lobbying the Indonesian government to improve the laws and regulations that affect the lives of mixed marriage families.

Communication amongst members of the group takes place through a Yahoo group and a WhatsApp group. If you'd like to join, write to one of the contact persons above and ask that your name be added to the group.

History of C4

In 1982 four expat ladies with Indonesian husbands got to know each other through the ANZA (Australia & New Zealand Association) play group in Jakarta. Some of these ladies knew a few other foreign women married to Indonesians and we started to occasionally meet up to share our experiences, which were different from those of other expatriate women living in Indonesia on a short-term basis. From the beginning the purpose of the group has been for friendship and mutual support. 

As the group grew larger we started to meet up regularly once a month, usually at the home of one of the members. Many people did not have home phones, and mobile phones and the Internet did not yet exist, so communication was quite difficult and we relied on various other methods of letting people know when a lunch was planned, such as husband’s office phone, calling in to the home of friends who lived in the same area or sending a note with a driver.

Eventually it was decided to give our group a name and we chose Cross Cultural Couples' Club, abbreviated C4 "Chay Empat". This was a play on P4, the indoctrination program of the Soeharto regime’s ideology that was compulsory for many Indonesians in the 1980 and 90s.

In 2002 some members of C4 joined with women from other mixed-marriage organizations to establish Aliansi Pelangi Antar Bangsa (APAB), a group that is lobbying the Indonesian government to improve the laws and regulations that affect the lives of mixed marriage families. The financial support of numerous C4 members has been of great benefit to APAB and up to now some changes have been achieved through the Citizenship Law in 2006 and the Immigration Law in 2011. Several members of C4 are active members of APAB.

In 2004 the C4 Yahoo group was set up and this has enabled the group to grow to its current size of almost 250 members. We have members in other places, not just Jakarta, and are a very diverse group in age and nationalities. All sorts of topics are discussed on the Yahoo group, particularly advice in dealing with all of the legal requirements for living here.

Because of Jakarta's increasingly challenging traffic lunches now take place approximately once in two or three months.

Last updated December 30, 2022