Minor Celebrity Defined

My niece went to Bali for a friend’s wedding and reported this item:

I was riding to the wedding with friends in a car, following the map provided with the invitation. It was about 5.30pm and the sun was still good and hot. One friend pointed to a blonde foreigner on the side of the road in a nice dress and said, “That’s Mercedes Corby.” She’s the older sister of infamous Australian marijuana prisoner Schapelle Corby. The younger Corby is serving a 20 year sentence stemming from her 2004 arrest when 4.2 kilograms (9.3 pounds) of weed was found in her boogie board bag entering Indonesia at Bali airport. Schapelle Corby, who came to Bali with her family to visit her sister, claimed the drugs were planted. Her case got massive attention in Australia and along with the Bali Nine arrests – Australians busted for smuggling heroin – put a temporary crimp in the flow of Australian tourists to Bali.

“She’s probably going to the wedding, too,” one friend, who’d met Corby a couple of times, said. The bride and Corby were both long-time residents of the same area of Bali and both Australians in relationships with Indonesians, so it made sense.

“We should have offered here a lift,” another friend said. “Maybe she knows where this place is.”

Although it looked close on the map, there was no sign of the turn for the wedding venue. No one we asked knew it was. So we figured we’d gone too far and turned back. We must have missed the turn, and this time we’d find it.

We passed Corby, still at the side of the road, but almost immediately realized there was no other possible turn ahead and quickly pulled into a parking lot to make a u-turn for another pass.

“Hi,” Corby shouted across the street at my friend she’d met.

“Do you know the wedding is?” my friend asked.

“It’s here,” Corby replied. “Just pull down this road and park behind that car.”

“Do you want a ride?” I asked.

“No, I have to stay here,” Corby said. “I’m the signpost.”

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie.

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2 Responses to “Minor Celebrity Defined”

  1. John Says:

    to funny.. Is this a true story??
    If so at least she has a sense of humour. I for one feel sorry for the corby’s and the flack they cop just for being a family who stands by each other. I know if it were my sister in prison for a crime I thought they didn’t commit I would be yelling and screaming alot more then they do..

    • Muhammad Cohen Says:

      My niece swears it’s true, and the others in the car back her up. I think the sense of humor, as well as the comfort with who/what she’s become, make Mercedes Corby a real mensch, rather an object for ridicule, and I’m glad that came through for you.
      Thanks for being a reader.

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