I lost a friend, a joker and a professional photojournalist on Wednesday. Fabio Polenghi, 48, was shot and killed during a shootouts between the Thai police and the Red Shirts in Bangkok. Another 2 reporters were also injured.
I first met Fabio, an Italian freelance, in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 1997. We stayed at the same hotel but on different mission.
I was covering Dr Mahathir's official visit to Kasane, Botswana for the South African International Dialogue (SAID) while Fabio was looking at angles of the city.
For three days, we had breakfast and dinner together before parting. I remember teaching him a few Malay words like 'saya', 'kau', 'apa khabar' and 'terima kasih'. Few days after I got home, he called, saying he might come to Malaysia. I waited for 2 years but he didnt.
Surprisingly, I bumped into him at the residence of Guissuppe Mariascarpa de Marsellis, the Italian Ambassador to Malaysia in November 1999 and he immediately uttered 'alloooo kawan!'. I took him to NSTP the next day and then he left.
We did exchanged e-mails from time to time, the last was three months ago.
So long, Fabio. Rest in peace...