Sunday, March 01, 2009


After leaving the Menteng Hospital I returned to the Bogor district of Babakan. I had stuck Chong’s photo to a piece of paper, added my telephone number and a sentence about a reward being offered for his safe return, made lots of photocopies, and brought them to the mental hospital.

"Has Chong been found yet?" I asked the grey little man in the mental hospital’s dusty front-office.

"Chong?" he said. He wore a puzzled expression. Or was it boredom?

I explained about Chong. "I’ve made this poster," I said. "May I give them out to people?"

"Yes." His face had become expressionless.

In the open-air market area just north of the railway station I distributed my photocopies, mainly to resting pedicab drivers. Nobody who looked at the poster recognised the face or seemed particularly interested. I didn’t want to stay too long in case someone in authority asked me what on earth I was doing. You probably need permission in triplicate before giving out leaflets.

Weeks passed but there was no word of Chong. He had vanished; and I would never see him again.

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