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Ben Anderson’s Final Message to a Street Musician in Jogja

Works in Translation / Story

Raudal Tanjung Banua, translated by Labodalih Sembiring
Published as a part of Asymptote Journal – July 2023, Jul 01, 2023

Originally published in Jawa Pos, May 08, 2016 as Wasiat Kematian Ben Anderson kepada Seorang Pengamen Jalanan di Jogja.

Three months after the death of Benedict Richard O’Gorman Anderson in Batu—though his body was cared for in Surabaya—the word finally reaches Palrus through a sheet of discarded newspaper that he’s picked up to wrap his shoes in. The scrawny street musician chokes up as he reads the short article on the local newspaper’s second page. He has to convince himself that the aging bule with piercing eyes in the photo is indeed Om Ben, the man he once accompanied around Jogja.

He slowly folds the paper, deciding against using it as a shoe wrap. The news—having arrived way too late!—is as unexpected as his encounter with The Bule a few years ago. Probably in mid-2008. It marked the beginning of their friendship, and the news of his death has now drawn the story to a final close.

Read the full story here.

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