It was supposed to be a joyfull Christmas morning. We were staying late after midnight mass (starting at 11PM though) so I was still in bed when my cell phone rang this morning. I couldn’t get the phone in time, and when I checked the voice message, it broke my heart.
A former colleague and a dear friend of mine, Dr. Junibakti Sanubari passed away last night (Christmas day in Indonesia) at a hospital in Bandung while visiting his daughter in college. They were on their way home and stopped by his sister in law’s home in Bandung.
I met Dr. Sanubari almost 20 years ago while he had just completed his master degree from Phillips Institute of Technology in Eindhoven, Netherland. He was the first graduate from the then 29 years old Department of Electronics Engineering at Satya Wacana Christian University (SWCU) in Salatiga, Indonesia. I was a new Vice Dean of Academic Affairs at that time. Soon after he came back from the Netherland, we managed to get him a fellowship to have a short stay at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. At that time, my former Proferssor at the Graduate School of Opto-electrotecnhiques and Laser Applications at the University of Indonesia, Prof. Mahoki Onoda from Tokyo Institute of Technology made it a habit that every time he visited the State Universities in Indonesia, such as the University of Indonesia in Jakarta or the Bandung Institute of Technology, he would spend some time in our department at SWCU. Furthermore, with the strong support of my mentor, Prof. Toshimitsu Asakura of Hokkaido University (at that time), we managed to obtain few more scholarships from the Ministry of Educations (Monbusho) of Japan under the so called Inter-university exchange agreement or U-to-U program and made it possible for a few of my colleagues to work for their doctorate degrees in various Japanese University, including Hokkaido University, Muroran Institute of Technology and Tokyo Institute of Technologies. Dr. Sanubari was one of the scholarship recipients and indeed he did a good job there, obtained his doctorate and went back to become an instructor at his own alma mater.
After I moved to the United States, he visited us twice. Once, while I was doing my own doctorate at Penn State. I took him to visit Niagara Fall since it was only 6 hours from our home. Later, when I moved to Huntsville, Alabama, he visited us once more and I took him to visit the signal processing lab at Auburn University. Both of these visits were a side trip after attending the international conferences in the field of electronic signal processing. A few months ago, he emailed and told me that one of his student was doing some research on using fiber optics to probe the microphone vibration. I gave him some references on my early works, as well as related references by others, and that was the last time I heard from him. As of tonight, his name is still listed in the International Programme Committee members of SPPRA to be held in Innsburk, Austria, February 14 – 16, 2007. Most of his works co-authored by Prof. Tokuda of Nagoya Institute of Technolgy can be found in this page.
It’s hard to swallow, when someone younger than you passes away. After made a few phone calls this morning, I also found that another former colleague, Mr. Barkah Sancaya from the same department passed away four months earlier. It struck me like when I first heard that a dear friend of mine, my former college mate, Dr. Paulus Wiyanto of Bosscha Observatory in Lembang, Indonesia, passed away more than a decade ago. He was only 42 at that time. Those friends early return to meet the Creator really broke my heart. But there is a time for every thing under the sun…..I don’t know what else to say.
I sent an email to Prof. Keiichi Tokuda of Nagoya Institute of Technology early this morning (last night in Japan) but I’m afraid that every body is taking their year end vacation in Japan. Tonight I called the department office (daytime there) and a secretary there, Ms. Yasuko Mikame was so kind and asked me to resend the email so she could call Prof. Tokuda, who was out of town today. I have since received an email from Ms. Mikame that she has forwarded that email to Prof. Tokuda’s secretary.
I just got off the phone talking to Dr. Danny Manongga of Satya Wacana Christian University. They just came out from the funeral service for Dr. Sanubari in Semarang, and his body was going to be cremated in Ambarawa at the same time I wrote this post.
Again, it was a sad, sad day for me. Two days ago my cousin Ros passed away, and I still could not get in touch with my sister who went to visit my aunt at the village of Silu deep inside West Timor. I once read that in the US, people don’t die. They simply disappeared and are forgotten. However, I couldn’t help it when I sit down to remember my dear friends or my cousin. The only thing I could say is, Rest in Peace, all my friends and cousin Ros.
“Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air…..” ( 1 Thessalonians 4, 13-18)
My thanks to Mr. Reintje Saerang of Sydney Australia for the Words and my deepest condolence to the Ronabiha family for the passing of Mrs. Lodowika Ronabiha from my old hometown yesterday.