Murders in Friendster

Indonesia is a big country. In Singapore you may hear about a grisly murder once every quarter. In Indonesia, you hear about 4-5 times a day. But these are all distant, removed, events. In every single case, I don’t know the murderer(s), I don’t know the victim(s), it’s just an impersonal piece of news. Somebody murders somebody. So what? It happens every second in the world.

Until recently.

Less than a year ago, a Trisakti University student went missing. Her family and one particularly aggrieved male friend searched for her high and low to no avail, until the residents of Bandung, a city 175km away from Jakarta, smelled her decomposing body in a parked car, 3 days after the murder had taken place, and reported the car to the police.

She was on Friendster. The guy who went searching for her high and low with the family? He was the one who murdered her. (Because she was five months pregnant, and she asked him to marry her.) He was on Friendster as well.

While browsing their Friendster profiles–I was linked to them by 2 or 3 degrees of separation–suddenly it hit me how eerie this thing is. This murder was real. It was done by a friend of my friend. The victim was a friend of my friend. Usually, a friend of a friend tells your friend a “verifiable” rumor, which your friend tries to infect you with over coffee. A friend of a friend has the “latest truth about conspiracy in the govertment”, which your friend uses as an argument in a tea break session. A friend of a friend doesn’t go around murdering women he has impregnated. A friend of a friend doesn’t end up being murdered. There’s something positively wrong with all this.

A friend of a friend doesn’t get brutally raped. A friend of a friend doesn’t have somebody cutting her neck so deep she’s almost decapitated. Recently, a friend of a friend did. As I was looking at this cute young girl’s Friendster profile, I felt a chill running down my spine. I was looking at the profile of a brutal rape/murder victim. And she had just logged in several days ago. (Friendster has suspended her account since then.)

Friendster is really eerie sometimes.

Rest in peace, Yenny. Rest in peace, Amanda.

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