Thu, 26 Oct 2000

Master magician

It looks so easy for a magician to make a live rabbit appear or disappear before the audience's eyes. However, it requires the skill of a master magician to order a masseur of international fame by the name of Suwondo, to disappear into thin air and order him to reappear before the media.

When he disappeared six months ago without a trace, he was the chief masseur at the palace and an assistant whisperer of political jokes and the secret of how to stay young and get rich within a blink of the eye.

As already known, Suwondo was so trusted by the palace that he could convince the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) board that the President had instructed him to meditate for the well-being of the nation for about six months in a cave near a luxury house complete with a swimming pool and a billiard table and an army of singing birds.

For that noble purpose he needed some Rp 35 billion from the Bulog reserves. He got the money and disappeared. It must have been the work of a master magician that police did almost nothing to trace his whereabouts and put no price on his head. Only silence and public incomprehension followed.

Until the master magician was ordered to come out of his hideout palace to mix again with the common people.

The master magician is a human being when it concerns massaging his back and he missed Suwondo very much. It would be unfair to appoint a new masseur from among the newly appointed spokesmen of the President, no matter how loyal they are to the President's whims and inconsistencies.

Instead of interrogating the reappeared suspected thief, the police have been considerate enough to have independent doctors check his health. Due to humanitarian reasons, the police granted Suwondo's request to spare him from meeting the media.

Former president Soeharto succeeded in escaping the chair for the convicted when he suddenly lost his speech, his memory and his mind, leaving only a damaged brain behind.

The same idea crossed the suspected's mind. That is why he requested the police examine his frail health after only consuming fried chicken for so long.

Speakers of a radio talk show the other day almost pointed an accusing finger in the same direction where the master magician used to work. The legislature should now prove what is white and what is black when it takes up investigations into the infamous Bulog scandal.

The people are awaiting the outcome of this uproar more eagerly than the resolution of the Inter-Parliamentary Union conference.