"It was very hot that day. Perhaps he was drunk and depressed due to missing the flight and dehydrated."
Last week, Derek wrote about the arrest of a Noosa man in Sumatra after a so-called “rampage of violence.” He is now awaiting trial, spending his days avoiding wet-towel snaps and other silly things caged men do.
Yesterday, Mr Rielly shared with me a peculiar twist in the case.
A goat, he said, must be slaughtered to make amends for the young man’s crimes.
When one typically breaks the law, one moves into a smaller house, pays a fine, etc. Rarely is animal sacrifice a condition for reparations.
Curious, I dig.
Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones, 23, visiting Simeulue, an island on the Northern tip of Sumatra, is being held on multiple counts of assault, all while allegedly drunk and naked— on par, a spritely combination, but not always.
His defense? Sunstroke from surfing.
According to the police chief Senior Commissioner, Risby-Jones— sans shirt, sandals, or Beachgrit boardies— cracked a Moon Beach Resort security guard in the neck, ran onto the street, pulling multiple riders from their motorcycles before attacking a fisherman on the beach where Bodhi was knocked around pretty good before subdued by a group of locals who then tried to burn down the resort in retaliation.
Talk about Surf Fever, huh?
He was likely out at Jackals before hell broke loose; it’s a smooth point break with a drowsy right and smoking low-tide barreling left. Either way, nothing to get violent over.
The penalties for his crimes include up to five years in prison and 40 lashes with a cane. Seems fitting, no? Spare the rod, spoil the child, they say.
Yet the cell time and flogging is not enough for the community to feel at peace. The ultra-conservative Province of Aceh adheres to the Sharia Law policies and procedures manual.
According to village chief Suhardi Fleno, the hotel in which Risby-Jones stayed, the Moon Beach Resort, is equally to blame and must restore balance to the community.
“Besides restorative justice I’d like to explain that we have a tradition here which we will do,” he said. “It is called peusijuek, meaning we must have peace with the party that we have a problem with to prevent the same problem from recurring. It’s between the village and the resort. We don’t care if Bodhi gives the money to the resort [for the goat]. But we do care about the resort and our village. Bodhi is just a guest at the resort and the guests can come and go. We must slaughter a goat.”
Seemingly more concerned about the animal sacrifice than punishment for the offender, Fleno seemed to sympathize with Risby-Jones.
“I think he was depressed and dehydrated,” he said. “He should have [flown] out of Simeulue [earlier in the day] but then he missed the flight. He told us he surfed all day that day. Perhaps when coming back to his inn, he had a drink just to relax a bit after surfing all the day. It was very hot that day. Perhaps he was drunk and depressed due to missing the flight and dehydrated, it all led him to acting like that.”
It’s nice there is an understanding of the boy’s missteps. But as the Lorax spoke for the trees, permit me to have a word on behalf of the goat.
I spent years working a coastal farm. As scrub grew along the cliffs above the water, we used goats to bush hog. The wire-furred, devil-horned beasts butt and bit with spite. They’d loop around every tree making spider webs of their 100-foot leashes to be untangled a couple times a day. They are fetid and dim witted.
But, boy could they cut down brush.
I sure hope that goat about to be cut up in Simeulue fills the village belly.