The man who’ll take Sukumaran’s cell

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 22 Maret 2015 | 23.08

Kadek Arya inmate who got job as parking man in Kerobokan jail will be one of four inmates will move to the ex Myuran Sukumaran's cell Source: News Corp Australia

IT IS a moment that Si Yi Chen will never forget for the rest of his life.

In the pre-dawn, as armoured personnel carriers waited to take him away, Myuran Sukumaran grasped Chen's hand through the cell bars and asked him and fellow Bali Nine member Matthew Norman to take care of his beloved rehabilitation programs and the fellow prisoners in them.

That was 20 days ago and still now, sometimes Si Yi Chen thinks he hears a familiar voice.

Desperate times ... Si Yi Chen, with fellow Bali Nine member Matthew Norman, says he is struggling to cope after Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan's departure. Picture: Lukman S.Bintoro Source: News Limited

Since Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan walked out of Kerobokan jail their cellmates of 10 years have been living their own personal trauma, grieving the loss of people who were like family.

And there is a gap that cannot be filled.

Facing the firing squad ... Bali Nine ringleader Myuran Sukumaran pictured on the airport tarmac before boarding the plane to be transferred to Nusakambangan Island. Source: Supplied

Speaking through his mentor and friend, Joanna Witt, Chen, tells of the anguish of losing Sukumaran, the friend with whom he shared so much of his life and with whom he built and shared a vision to make life better for other inmates.

"Life without Myu is still hard to accept. Sometimes I think I hear their voices. We helped each other a lot when he is here so (it) needs time to adjust," Chen says through Ms Witt.

Rehabilitation program ... Bali Nine member Si Yi Chen learned to be silver smith assisted and sponsored by Canadian Joanna Witt (right) in Kerobokan jail. Picture: Lukman S Bintoro Source: News Limited

"The others feel the same and we are still praying and hoping for a miracle," he says of the wishes of all those in Kerobokan whose lives were touched by Chan and Sukumaran.

Chen, who turned 30 last week, says the gap left by their departure, for Nusakambangan where authorities want them executed, is big.

"We lived together for almost 10 years and we are like family and it is like someone from the family moved out and we expect them to come back."

Now Chen, who five years ago started a silver workshop and rehabilitation program in the jail with the assistance of Ms Witt, which is called Mule Jewels, is focusing all his energies on helping as many other prisoners as he can.

Rehabilitation programs ... Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were focused on helping their fellow prisoners. Source: Supplied

"People do change after 10 years, after seeing what drugs do to people and their families and we knew that we made a stupid mistake to do that and that's why we try to help people as much as we can," Chen says.

He and the others plan to keep the rehabilitation programs running.

And they are not giving up hope that one day, Sukumaran and Chan will be back at Kerobokan.

But for now the cells which Sukumaran and Chan made home for the best part of a decade are being repainted for new occupants. And the balance has shifted. Once there were eight Australians in the Tower Block, so-called because it is under a water tower. Now there are

three — Chen, Matthew Norman and Michael Czugaj.

Changes ... plans are now under way for four Indonesian prisoners to move into Myuran Sukumaran's old cell. Source: Supplied

Sukumaran had been in a cell on his own in the tower and Chan was sharing with an Iranian prisoner.

Plans are now under way for four Indonesian prisoners, who are at their end of their sentences for child sex offences, to move into Sukumaran's old cell. They are the prisoners whose job is to help the jail Governor, known as tamping. One is the parking man, who keeps control of the chaotic parking area at the front of the jail.

Kerobokan prison ... inmate Kadek Arya — who works as a parking attendant at the jail — will move to Myuran Sukumaran's former cell. Source: News Corp Australia

Jail governor, Sudjonggo, says the cell is currently being painted in readiness for the four.

And Chan's old cell will now be taken over by guards, to be used as a tower security post for the guards to shelter from the rain and sun.

Scott Rush is in Karangemsem jail in East Bali, after requesting a move and Martin Stephens and Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen are in Malang in East Java.

The only female member of the Bali Nine — Renae Lawrence — is in Bangli jail in Bali, moved after a plot against prison guards was uncovered.

Anguish ... a portrait of Si Yi Chen by Myuran Sukumaran. Source: News Limited

A dedicated group of women who have been at Kerobokan prison now for years, helping the Australians set up and run a raft of rehabilitation programs — Sukumaran's beloved art workshop, the silver jewellery workshop, English and computing classes, screen printing, graphic design, yoga, dance and so many others — are determined to help the prisoners ensure the programs continue.

"One of the last things he (Sukumaran) said to Si Yi was 'mind the workshops'. The way we are looking at it is that we are just minding them for now. We always talk as if he is returning," Ms Witt told News Corp Australia.

"There is a lot of healing going on in there (the jail) right now and there is a lot of grief, including the guards. There is a huge gap and we are going to hold this together until he comes back," she said.

Now in Bangli ... Bali Nine member Renae Lawrence was moved from Kerobokan prison after a plot against prison guards was uncovered. Source: News Limited

Ms Witt, from Canada and a longtime Bali resident, first started going into Kerobokan prison five years ago after hearing that Chen wanted to learn to be a silversmith. Initially it was private lessons and that grew into workshops for fellow prisoners, which they dubbed Mule Jewels. Chen learned the art and now teaches fellow Indonesian prisoners.

Denise Payne, who started running yoga classes in the jail four years ago, and who did yoga with Sukumaran in his final days at the jail, says Sukumaran's presence still looms large in the art workshop, which became his haven as his passion for art grew.

Art ... Myuran Sukumaran's painting of Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Picture: Zul Edoardo Source: News Corp Australia

Plea ... the back of the "Jokowi" painting tellingly reads "people can change". Picture: Zul Edoardo Source: News Corp Australia

Sukumaran's table is still there in the same spot. His paints are still laid out by colour, the way he liked it. His mixes are still there, the way he arranged them.

"In the art studio they have not moved Myu's table. Every time I go in there and look at it, everybody stops what they are doing and looks at it with me," Ms Payne says, tears in her eyes.

"For the people in the painting studio, they have to redefine who they are as artists without Myu. People counted on him, if somebody needed him he was there," she says.

Expression ... the smudged self-portrait was exhibited in The Netherlands on Friday. Source: Supplied

Therapy ... one of Sukermaran's darker pieces, painted before his transfer to the prison island. Source: Supplied

Sukumaran and Chan's reach went further than just the rehabilitation programs and Chan's ministry to prisoners. If prisoners did not have enough food, they made sure no-one went hungry. They counselled and supported countless numbers of Indonesian prisoners, even ensuring

their children went to school and those who needed medical procedures got them.

In his final weeks in Kerobokan Chan was officially ordained as a Pastor.

Tina Bailey, who conducts drawing and dance classes in the jail, and who will visit Sukumaran at Nusa Kambangan this week, says she and the others will work with the prisoners to build a structure to ensure that the programs continue.


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