The details were sketchy. He was awoken by a phone call at midnight by one of the elders of the Filipino expatriate community in Jakarta. Something was definitely wrong. She wouldn’t call at this hour, he thought to himself.
“Hello?” he answered sleepily.
“Hi, Arnold,” greeted the feminine voice back. “It’s Jane. I have some terrible news.”
He quickly sat up, dread creeping through his body. “What’s wrong Jane? Are you all right?”
“Yes, I am. It’s Glen. He’s gone. He died earlier in the evening and the funeral is tomorrow at Tangerang,” she almost whispered into the phone.
Arnold’s stomach tightened. How could that be? He had just seen Glen a month ago outside of church. Admittedly, it was odd that Glen didn’t want to step into the service. Glen was nine years his senior but he was in the pink of health except perhaps for a leg injury that dogged him for almost two months after an ojek accident.
The first time Arnold rode an ojek, or motorcycle taxi, was also the last time he did that. He couldn’t stand the derring-do of the motorcyclist meandering in and out of the traffic. Arnold could almost touch the door of the next vehicle with his knee. But Glen was unperturbed until the accident. The ojek he was riding was seconds away from being rammed by a car and he was certain that the ojek would get hit. That’s when he decided to jump from the motorbike. Glen hit the ground, injuring his leg. He suffered crack in the bone and had to be on crutches. Meanwhile, the ojek driver drove away unharmed.
“Thanks Ate Jane. Thanks for letting us know,” he replied. “Allan and I will be there tomorrow. Good night.”
Putting his mobile phone back on the bed stand, Arnold tried to go back to sleep but sleep was nowhere near. He got out of bed and popped in a movie into his laptop.
Liza was walking out of the building when he spotted her. He ran to her and blurted it out.
“I received bad news last night,” he said gravely.
Damn, thought Liza to herself. The chain text message said good news would be coming, not bad news.
“What happened?” she asked apprehensively.
“A friend of ours, also an English teacher, died last night,” he narrated. “I just can’t believe that he died of a heart attack. He’s too young for a heart attack!”
“When and where is the funeral?”
“It’s at Tangerang, which is at the other side of Bekasi. Allan and I will be leaving at 3pm today to attend.”
“Did anyone know about his heart condition?” she queried.
“That’s the thing! We didn’t know he had a heart condition!” he said, his voice climber higher with each word.
“I’ll know the details later when we get to the funeral,” he added in a calmer tone. “He was with an international school in Jakarta and had been in Indonesia for eight years. The last time we hanged out together was when we watched the finals of Asian Idol.”
She let him ramble on. She didn’t know Glen and had never known him, but was nonetheless affected. Like her, he was away from home and dying in a foreign country was a tragedy. Dying before your time was a tragedy in itself, she told herself.
“The dark horse at the time was Hady Mirza from Singapore. He was just getting by with his charm. He didn’t have a fan base unlike the other contestants from Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia who were the top contenders. But Hady won! We were so surprised with the decision,” he rattled on.
It was the evening following their chat that Liza learnt about the death of one of the members of the community.
“Where’s Allan? Isn’t he coming with us for dinner at Hard Rock Café?” she asked.
“He’s still at the funeral. I’m not sure if he’ll be able to join us,” he answered, as the SUV crawled through the Saturday night traffic.
“Funeral? Didn’t you and Allan go yesterday afternoon?”
“We were on our way but we turned back because the jam was very bad,” he explained. “Allan is there right now. I didn’t go because I’m disappointed, sad and angry. I don’t feel good about attending Glen’s funeral.”
Silence settled inside the SUV.
“He didn’t die of a heart attack. Jane whispered to me in church that he hanged himself with a belt in his flat,” he went on.
“Suicide?!” she uttered in shock.
“His sister said he was depressed after he got into an accident. But the rest kept saying that he didn’t look depress at all,” he said, mixed feelings crowding his face.
Arnold continued: “We were in touch for a while but we lost contact. Glen loved going to the mall. He loved socializing but he was a loner. He was also the only guy I knew who brought his toiletry kit everywhere he went, including a straightener-crimper.
“He sent for his parents from the Philippines to keep him company here a few days before he killed himself. I was told he was feeling lonely although his sister is here. But she has her own family now – she married a local and has one child. He told me before that he was disappointed with his sister’s sudden marriage and pregnancy. He wanted her to help him in supporting the family.”
Note: Filipino Glen Osano Kordoro was found dead Thursday in his house at Modernland housing in Tangerang according to The Jakarta Post dated December 6, 2009. Tangerang police’s head of the crime unit Commissioner Budhi Herdi Susianto said his mother found the 38-year-old hanging near a window and Glen might have committed suicide as no marks of physical violence were found on his body aside from rope marks on his neck. “According to witnesses and friends, it was due to his depression,” he told tempointeraktif.com. His colleague, who requested anonymity, said Glen had been depressed since he got an accident three weeks ago. “He fell from ojek (motorcycle taxi) and his leg suffered a fissure.”
Details from the Filipino community revealed that Glen was 39 and it was his father who found him. He thought his son was simply looking out of the window until he noticed that his feet were not touching the ground. His father came in to ask him to come down for lunch. That Glen was indeed depressed and the leg injury was one of the reasons is the current scuttlebutt in the community.