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Jakarta Post

Assad, master shipbuilder who charmed the world

  • Duncan Graham

    Contributor

Jakarta   /   Fri, May 22 2009   /  01:23 pm

Assad: Courtesy of Nick Burningham Under normal circumstances, the death of Assad Abdullah al-Madani this month would have passed little noticed outside Pagerungan Kecil, a flat 5.6-square-kilometer island north of Bali and east of Madura. Governments tend to officially recognize the rich, powerful and famous, often overlooking the talented and creative little folk. Yet it's these unsung, ordinary achievers going about their lives quietly and competently who give the nation its great strength, rather than the strutting generals, preening politicians and ephemeral pop stars. This obituary would not have been written had two foreigners not met Assad in late 2002, when the traditional boat builder was about 68, though "still robust, big-bodied, sharp-minded and commanding respect", according to marine archaeologist Nick Burningham. He now lives ...