Bill Guerin, Farewell

We regret to report to our readers that Bill Guerin, a prolific writer who gave Asia Sentinel some of its most notable stories over the last year and a half, died February 2 in Jakarta of pancreatitis. He was 64 and had just returned from a holiday to the UK when he was taken ill. He was cremated on February 6 in the presence of immediate family, friends and colleagues.

A 13-year resident of Jakarta, Guerin, who described himself as an “ageing Scot,” was also the Jakarta correspondent for Asia Times Online, from which some of this biographical information is taken, and had been published by the BBC as well as in Jakarta Eye, his own publication. He was a contributing editor for SWARA, the Indonesian parliamentary news system, and was chief editor of the now-defunct Indonesian Observer Online. Guerin had a keen nose for the corruption endemic in Indonesian society and he wrote knowledgeably for us on, among other things, the Bakrie family’s responsibility for a disastrous gas well that went awry, causing a massive and destructive mud flow that continues to this day; the diplomatic spat over Indonesian bankers who fled to Singapore with billions of dollars, which culminated in Indonesia blocking sand barges to enlarge Singapore’s territory; the perilous condition of the country’s air travel industry; the ability of the Suharto family children to escape legal retribution, and many more stories.

Beyond that, however, what made Guerin special was his enthusiasm — for the story, for journalism, and for breaking through the nonsense that ordinary Asians don’t care about the corruption of their leaders. We will miss his presence both as a human being and as a contributor to these pages.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons and three daughters and many grandchildren. A memorial service is to be held in the UK next month. Those seeking details can contact, Darren Guerin at daz@theeventumbrella.com